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Rocky Mountaineer extends Stay Play through end of Wave Season

first_img Share Rocky Mountaineer extends Stay & Play through end of Wave Season Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img VANCOUVER — Rocky Mountaineer is giving agents and their clients extra days to book the Stay & Play promotion, with offers worth up to $500 in added value, per couple, on vacation packages, including those combined with an Alaska cruise.The extension to March 29 keeps the promotion available through the end of Wave Season.“Our luxury rail and cruise packages enable guests to combine two incredible journeys into one amazing vacation, so they can experience the very best by rail and by sea,” says Rocky Mountaineer’s VP, Guest Experience, Deb Paulsen.Available on qualifying 2018 package bookings of eight days or more, clients who book the Stay & Play offer can apply their added value to additional hotel nights, sightseeing tours, Alaska cruises and more.One eligible vacation package is the 11-night First Passage to the West Classic with Cruise, with two days onboard Rocky Mountaineer combined with a seven-day Alaska cruise and a sightseeing tour in Vancouver.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThe Stay & Play offer runs until March 29 and must be requested at the time of booking. The offer has no cash value and other restrictions may apply. Tags: Promotions, Rail, Rocky Mountaineer Travelweek Group last_img read more

WestJet goes pink to support breast cancer awareness

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> WestJet goes pink to support breast cancer awareness Monday, October 1, 2018 Tags: Charity, WestJet Sharecenter_img TORONTO — WestJet and over 13,000 WestJetters are rallying together to support breast cancer awareness initiatives during the month of October through uniform updates, the CIBC Run for the Cure and fundraising campaigns.For the third consecutive year, WestJetters’ uniforms will look a little pinker in October with custom-designed pink neckwear and hats that have been made available to employees with 100% of the purchase price going to the Canadian Cancer Society.New for 2018, pink ‘personality’ pins were created and are available by donation for WestJetters to show their support year-round.As the official airline of the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure, WestJet has raised more than $441,000 for breast cancer research and programs since 2013.“As a proud supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society and the breast cancer cause, we are delighted that WestJetters have raised more than $441,000 in the last five years for life-saving breast cancer research and programs through our annual fundraising campaigns,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President Marketing Communications.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portal“Over half of our workforce is represented by women and it’s incredible to see us continue to unite together and show what our caring spirit can do in support of a tremendous cause. We are committed to making breast cancer beatable and will be proudly wearing pink this month to help bring awareness to those who have been affected by the disease.”On Sept. 30, some 40 teams of more than 360 WestJetters and their families will also participate in the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure, at over 18 locations across Canada.Carly Schur, National Director of Corporate Programs for the Canadian Cancer Society, notes that progress is being made against breast cancer, with the survival rate for the disease now at 87%. “More work needs to be done because breast cancer is still the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in our country. We are very thankful for WestJet and our other partners who are committed to funding breast cancer research, awareness and support programs, while also participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure which engages Canadians in this work,” said Schur. Travelweek Group Posted bylast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories When asked about Peterson’s contract extension, which made the 24 year old the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, Dockett didn’t hesitate to lavish some lofty praise on his teammate.“He’ll definitely be a future Hall of Famer,” Dockett told reporters at Cardinals Camp in Glendale on Wednesday.He went on to offer his two cents on the loud debate over who, exactly, is football’s best cornerback — Peterson, Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, New England Patriots’ Darrelle Revis or someone else — saying there was “no question” that his teammate was on top.“I’m not going to say no one else is better than him,” Dockett said of Peterson. “He works his tail off. He’s a dominant corner. He’s smart. He’s one of the most athletic guys in the league. And he plays hard.”Question after question came Dockett’s way about Peterson, his greatness and the size of his contract, and the quick-to-speak defensive lineman never shied away from the task of heaping votes of confidence upon his teammate. And he made a point of emphasizing Peterson’s work ethic and drive, above all else. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “He’s definitely deserving of everything he has earned,” he said. “He’s one of the young leaders around here. “He plays lights out. We knew the day would come. He’s one of those guys that’s humble and willing to prove to people that he’s the best corner in the league.”Then, as if in an effort to put Cardinals fans at ease that Peterson won’t be changed — on or off the field — by his suddenly magnified paychecks, Dockett offered a brief anecdote about the teammate he believes is Hall of Fame-bound. “He came in the locker room after he signed and you couldn’t even tell that he signed for that much money, because he was like, ‘I’m just ready to go to work.’” – / 13 The Arizona Cardinals didn’t sign Patrick Peterson to a record $70 million deal with the expectation that he’d slump into mediocrity, of course.Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim and the rest of the organization expects the opposite — the greatness Peterson has shown the league since he was drafted in 2011.And one member of the organization in particular, fellow defender Darnell Dockett, expects a high level of that greatness. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Palacio TangaraGo back to the enewsletter Oetke

first_imgPalacio TangaraGo back to the e-newsletter >Oetker Collection CEO Frank Marrenbach has announced the brand’s expansion into the Americas with the launch of two new hotels, in São Paulo and New York:“Today therefore, I am delighted to announce our expansion into the Americas; with not only one, but two extraordinary projects in two extraordinary cities: New York and São Paulo. With these two new properties we continue to carefully expand Oetker Collection portfolio whilst remaining truthful to our promise – not to just open new hotels, but to create true masterpieces. Guests will experience the levels of Oetker Collection quality and service to which they are accustomed and can trust that we will offer them a very special sense of place in both destinations.”Palácio Tangará, São Paulo: Opening 2017Palácio Tangará will open its doors in the spring of 2017. Built in the surroundings of the highly regarded Burle Marx Park, whose gardens were designed by Roberto Burle Marx, the hotel will offer 141 spacious guestrooms – including 55 suites – all with views overlooking the park.An acclaimed chef will drive the hotel’s dining experiences and there will be a signature restaurant, chef’s table, a bar, a wine cellar, a lobby and lounge bar, all with outdoor terraces.Additional facilities will comprise 11 function rooms, including a ballroom for up to 360 guests with terraces overlooking the park. The fitness centre and spa will have a private garden and there will be indoor and outdoor swimming pools as well as a kids’ club.Timo Gruenert, Chief Financial Officer Oetker Collection notes, “After our successful partnership in the Caribbean with Eden Rock – St Barths, the re-opening of The Lanesborough earlier this year and the prospect of an opening in New York, we are thrilled to launch a hotel in São Paulo, which is going to have it all: unique location, exceptional building, creative cuisine and the legendary Brazilian smile.”A New York MasterpieceA ‘New York Masterpiece’: Opening 2018Further north in the Americas, in Manhattan, Oetker Collection will open a ‘New York Masterpiece’ in the spring of 2018. Minutes from Central Park, the hotel will be located in the heart of the city, at 550 Madison Avenue, between 55th and 56th Street.The 43-storey postmodern skyscraper was created by the famous Philip Johnson and is an iconic New York landmark. The hotel will feature 170 rooms including 60 suites set across eight floors. There will be a cosy yet stylish bar with lounge area, a gourmet restaurant, a spa, a fitness centre and a 25m pool.Located above the hotel, from floors 21 to 43, the owning company of the building, the New Yorker Chetrit Group, will create a total of 115 luxury apartments to be sold to highly influential clientele from now onwards. These apartments are decorated by world famous designer Robert Stern and will be serviced by Oetker Collection as well.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more

The project must benefit people living in the Coun

first_imgThe project must benefit people living in the Council area and groups in receipt of other funding from Council are eligible.Application forms are available now by e mailing equality@derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com or alternative formats are also available by calling 028 71 365151.The closing date for registrations is Friday August 24th and applications must be received by Friday September 8th 2017.APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW FOR DECADE OF CENTENARIES GRANT AID was last modified: August 17th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: “This is an opportunity for local groups to take ownership of the events programme and bring it into the local community by applying for funding to host their own events and initiatives to mark the latest anniversaries.“The period from 1913 – 1923 was a pivotal one in our shared history and Council aim to continue to mark and remember the centenary of that period in an inclusive and mutually respectful manner.”The total grants fund for the Decade of Centenaries scheme 2017/18 is £30,000 and has been split into ‘Tier One’ grants of five awards of up to £2,000 and ‘Tier Two’ grant of two awards of up to £10,000.Applications will be accepted from constituted community and voluntary sector organisations who can prove they have good governance in place including insurance, financial accounts and relevant documents. ShareTweet LOCAL community and voluntary sector organisations can apply now to Derry City and Strabane District Council for funding to develop events or initiatives to mark the 100th anniversary of the historic events of 1917 / 18.The Decade of Centenaries grant aid programme is part of Council’s commitment to mark the 100th anniversary of the significant events that occurred from 1913 – 1923, in a fitting manner that represents the diverse narratives of the period.The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, encouraged local groups to apply now to play an active role in that programme.“Council is committed to working with community groups and organisations to share ideas, pool resources and be part of the creation of a unique and distinctive local programme to mark the Decade of Centenaries,” he said. APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW FOR DECADE OF CENTENARIES GRANT AIDlast_img read more

Investors are running for cover… Financial marke

first_imgInvestors are running for cover… Financial markets around the world have had a meltdown over the last few days. US stocks are coming off their worst week in four years… The Euro Stoxx 600, an index that tracks 600 of Europe’s biggest companies, has lost 8% over the last five days… And in China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is down 38% since early June. There’s been almost nowhere to hide from this global sell-off…except in gold. The price of gold rose 3.8% last week, while US stocks lost 5.8%. These are average gains. The very best gold stocks gained far more. In the 1990s, Doug Casey made a 26,000%-plus return on one junior miner. It’s not uncommon for small gold-mining stocks to rise 1,000% during a strong market. We call these “10-baggers.” Recommended Links Training UPDATE Wednesday’s Training session has been changed to an Emergency Market Briefing.  Dr. Eifrig will present an update on the market including what’s going on, what’s coming next and the safest investments you can make today. Learn More. — •  Right now, gold miners are coiled like a spring… Gold mining stocks are some of the cheapest stocks on earth right now. Gold miners are in their second-worst bear market since World War II. They’ve been falling since April 2011. As a group, gold miners are down 82% from their 2011 high… The chart below compares the HUI, a gold miner index, to the price of gold. The lower the ratio, the cheaper gold-mining stocks are compared to physical gold. As you can see, gold-mining stocks are the cheapest they’ve been in the HUI’s 20-year history. Cigars with Doug Casey in the Desert On October 16 – 17, Doug Casey is hosting a collection of the world’s sharpest financial minds… including James Altucher, Marc Faber, Gerald Celente, and Richard Maybury… for the 2015 Casey Research Summit in Tucson. To get all the details for this must-attend event, click here. Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida August 25, 2015 – Most investors see these charts and vow to never buy a gold mining stock. They want nothing to do with a sector this volatile. It’s true that investing in gold mining stocks isn’t for everyone. But if you do want a shot at the huge gains gold mining stocks can offer, now’s the perfect time to get in. As we mentioned earlier, gold mining stocks go through huge booms and huge busts. And the best time to get in is just after a huge bust…like we just had. Louis James, editor of International Speculator, travels the world to find the next 10-bagger mining stocks for his readers. No one knows more than Louis about gold miners… You can find out Louis’ favorite junior mining stocks right now by subscribing risk-free to International Speculator. But you should act quickly…we’re doubling the price of International Speculator soon. Click here to get started. •  Meanwhile, most commodities continue to crash… In June 2014, the price of oil topped $106. A barrel of oil now costs just $38. While oil gets the most headlines, regular Casey readers know that it’s not the only commodity that’s hurting. Aluminum and copper have also hit fresh six-year lows. And just yesterday, the Bloomberg Commodity Index, which tracks 22 different commodities, slipped to its lowest level since August 1999. For comparison, the US stock market is 47% higher than it was in 1999. China’s problems are dragging down commodities. China has the world’s second-biggest economy. It’s also the largest consumer of commodities. During the first quarter, China’s economy grew at its slowest pace since 1990. And its stock market is crashing…The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese stocks have lost $1.2 trillion in value over the last four days. Two weeks ago, China’s central bank devalued its currency, the yuan, in an effort to help its economy. A weaker currency makes a country’s exports cheaper. But it also makes imports more expensive. The Wall Street Journal explains how a weaker yuan will put even more pressure on commodities… Most commodities are priced in dollars, so a weaker yuan will raise the cost of imports for buyers in China, weighing on demand. Given China’s role as a huge buyer of global commodities—it consumes nearly half of the world’s annual output of metals, for instance—any drop in demand there is likely to put further downward pressure on resource prices, many of which are already at multiyear lows. E.B. Tucker, editor of The Casey Report, points out that oversupply is the other reason why commodity prices are so low… Global copper production was 151,000 tons higher than demand during the first half of the year. It’s the same story for other commodities. The world produces more oil than it needs…iron ore production is running at full steam while prices crash… and this year’s corn crop will likely be the third-largest ever in the US. Producers continue to flood the market despite weak prices. This is how commodities work. Prices rise. Suppliers ramp up production. They oversupply the market. Then prices collapse. It’s a predictable boom and bust cycle. We’ll have more on the collapse in commodities later this week… Chart of the Day Stock markets around the world crashed yesterday… The MSCI World Index fell 3.7% on Monday. This index tracks stock markets in the United States, Japan, and other developed nations. It was the index’s biggest single-day drop in four years. According to Bloomberg Business, Monday’s sell-off erased $2.7 trillion from the value of stocks worldwide. The crash pushed the MSCI World Index into a correction. A correction is when an index falls 10% or more from its high. The MSCI World Index is now down 12% from the all-time high it set in May. It’s down 7% on the year. Today’s chart shows yesterday’s $2.7 trillion drop-off in the value of stocks worldwide. Louis James, editor of International Speculator, says gold is doing exactly what it should… The worsening stock market crash in China is spreading around the world. The Nikkei is down in Japan. So are the markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, India, Australia…and, of course, in the US. In this context, it makes sense for gold to rise. That’s what a “safe haven” asset should do in times of financial chaos. Gold is the ultimate wealth insurance. Unlike stocks, bonds, and paper currencies, gold is valuable no matter what happens to the global financial system. It’s preserved wealth through recessions, wars, and every kind of financial upheaval. That’s why people always flock to gold during a financial crisis. •  Gold miners are doing even better than physical gold… GDX, an ETF that holds major gold miners, has gained 8% since hitting a record low on August 5. Investors own physical gold for security. Gold stocks won’t give you security. They’re extremely risky and extremely cyclical. This means they go through huge booms and huge busts. The reason to own gold stocks is leverage. During gold bull markets, gold stocks usually rise much higher and much faster than the price of gold. Gold mining stocks can make huge gains in short periods…if you buy them at the right time. The chart below shows how gold stocks jumped 1,331% and 319% during the last two gold bull markets.last_img read more

Viviana Aguirre 14 knows the air is bad when she

first_imgViviana Aguirre, 14, knows the air is bad when she has to reach for her inhaler once, maybe twice a week.The air in her low-income neighborhood in East Bakersfield, Calif., has been thick with smoke for weeks, she says, forcing her to remain indoors most of the time. It’s hard to tell, she says, whether the smoke is coming from the usual controlled burns in the farmers’ fields surrounding her home — or from the record-breaking wildfires blazing to the north and south of her.”I do see smoke,” Viviana says. “But I see smoke most of the time.”People like Viviana and her family are hit disproportionately when wildfires ignite — because smoke adds another layer of toxic substances to the already dirty air, researchers studying the issue say.”Without a doubt, these communities are at higher risk” when fires break out, says Emanuel Alcala, a health statistician and postgraduate fellow with the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at California State University, Fresno. “Especially because you already have other environmental hazards: toxic waste sites, poor quality of water, and sometimes no air conditioning.”More than a dozen major blazes still are raging across California, including the Mendocino Complex fire in the northern part of the state that has charred nearly 460,000 acres and is now the largest in the state’s recorded history.Fires are also burning in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Smoke from these blazes has drifted as far as Ohio. Portions of northern Nevada in July recorded some of their worst ozone pollution ever, because of the fires, and officials across the West have issued health warnings to alert sensitive groups — such as young children, older adults and people with respiratory diseases — to the potential risks.In neighborhoods like Viviana’s, which lies within a few miles of dairy farms, packing sheds and oil fields, particulate and ozone pollution already poses a health threat. The air is sullied by a constant, diesel-spewing stream of big rigs as well as by pesticides and dust from agricultural operations.The smell of petroleum and cattle saturates the neighborhood, says Gustavo Aguirre, Viviana’s father; existing pollution creates a noxious brew with the wildfire smoke.”When I go outside just to hang out with my friends, I start coughing and I have to come back in,” Viviana said.About 26 percent of school-age children in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s agricultural heartland, have asthma — the highest rate in the state, according to California Health Interview Survey.Cities in the valley top the list of those with the worst air pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association. The valley is also home to some of the state’s poorest communities: Seven of the 10 California counties with the highest child poverty rates are there, according to a 2017 report by the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund.”The geography and climate of the valley can trap unhealthy air for days, if not weeks,” says Will Barrett, clean-air advocacy director for the American Lung Association in California.The combination of industrial ozone and fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke becomes trapped between the mountain ranges surrounding the valley and pushes air quality to dangerous levels. “You’re combining two of the most widespread and pervasive pollutants,” Barrett says. “It really is a double whammy.”In southwest Fresno, a San Joaquin Valley community dense with public housing, Maria Garcia, 62, lives within 2 miles of a poultry processing plant, warehouses and Highway 99.Garcia considers herself healthy, but she says a persistent cough this summer left her gasping for air.She compares some of her recent symptoms — such as chest pressure and headaches — to those experienced by her adult son, who has asthma.”My guess is it’s probably the smoke,” Garcia says.Other regions in the state also are suffering. Smoke from the nearby Mendocino Complex fire has drifted into the San Francisco Bay Area, about a three-hour drive south of the flames.A mobile asthma clinic called the Breathmobile provides free appointments and pulmonary function tests for children at East Bay schools with a high number of students enrolled in Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program for low-income residents.”Kids on Medi-Cal have more asthma,” says Mary Frazier, a registered nurse and project director of the Northern California Breathmobile program. “It can be because they are exposed to more triggers. They live in low-income housing, which has some poor indoor-air quality and the houses are near freeways or industry.”When she starts visiting kids again in September after classes resume, Frazier expects to encounter many children who have been coughing and wheezing because of the smoke.Back in southwest Fresno, Gary Hunt, 54, has remained mostly housebound this summer, leaving home only for important errands and medical appointments. Even then, he wears a mask.Pollution from fires is “definitely making a drastic difference,” Hunt says, worsening his asthma and plaguing him with more fatigue, chest pain and headaches.But extinguishing wildfires won’t guarantee relief. There is a meat-rendering plant near his home, and busy state Route 41 is about a quarter-mile away. Both bring trucks — and the pollution they emit — into his neighborhood.”Because of where we are, we don’t really get a break,” Hunt says.Three years ago, Hunt had a severe asthma attack that sent him to the hospital. He had to leave his job as a school maintenance worker and lost his job-based insurance. He enrolled in Medi-Cal but soon learned that not all doctors accept public insurance — which means that getting quick access to care during fire season can be a problem.For instance, he says, he needs to see a pulmonologist — but has to wait three months for an appointment.People who rely on Medi-Cal or those without insurance can in some cases wait up to a year for treatment, says Kevin Hamilton, a respiratory therapist and the CEO of the Central California Asthma Collaborative.Hunt says he is frequently asked, even by physicians, why he and his family don’t move to a healthier community. The answer is that he simply can’t afford to move.”If I could, I wouldn’t be here,” he says. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

Updated 355 pm ETA rare condition causing weakn

first_imgUpdated 3:55 p.m. ETA rare condition causing weakness in the arms or legs — and sometimes paralysis — has been confirmed in 62 children so far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. One child has died of the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.At least 65 more cases are under investigation, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. So far, a common cause linking these illnesses has not been found.”There is a lot we don’t know about AFM,” Messonnier said during a teleconference for reporters. “I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven’t been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness.”The average age of the children is about 4, she said, and 90 percent of cases the CDC has been studying since 2014 have involved patients 18 or younger. Messonnier said scientists don’t fully understand the long-term consequences of the illness: “We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care.”Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 386 cases through Oct. 16, mostly in children. AFM appears to be seasonal, occurring mostly in the late summer and fall, but appears in greater numbers every other year. The number of cases in 2018 is on track to match a similar number of cases in 2014 and 2016. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be “premature” to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.It’s possible that some milder cases haven’t been reported by doctors to their state health department or the CDC, but Messonnier believes that number would be small. “This is actually a pretty dramatic disease,” she said. “These kids have a sudden onset of weakness and they are generally seeking medical care and being evaluated by neurologists, infectious disease doctors and their pediatricians and coming to public health awareness.”Possible causes being considered include viruses that affect the digestive system called enteroviruses, and possibly strains of rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, she said. The CDC is also considering the possibility that environmental toxins could be triggering the sudden muscle weakness. And it is not ruling out possible genetic disorders.Media reports in recent weeks have suggested that a “polio-like virus” might be triggering the condition, elevating fears that it might be polio itself. “Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases,” Messonnier said. She said that CDC has tested every stool specimen from AFM patients. None have tested positive for poliovirus. She also said West Nile virus hasn’t been linked to any of these cases, either.”As a parent myself I understand what it’s like to be scared for your child,” Messonnier said. “Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now. We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness of the arms and legs.”Messonnier stressed the rarity of the condition, emphasizing that it happens in fewer than one in a million children in the U.S. So far this year, cases have been confirmed in 22 states, based on findings from MRI studies and the cluster of symptoms a child has.The CDC says disease prevention steps should be followed, including staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and using mosquito repellant. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Traditional fables from the Republic of Congo are

first_imgTraditional fables from the Republic of Congo are collected in a new book, Congo Tales: Told By The People Of Mbomo — and illustrated with painterly photos that have a touch of magical realism.Eva Vonk, a Dutch film producer, came up with the concept for Congo Tales. It’s the first project from a new multimedia series called “Tales of Us,” which aims to communicate the importance of protecting remote ecosystems and the people who live there.Over the course of three years, Vonk, along with a local radio producer and a community activist, gathered tales told by people all over the Mbomo district in the Congo Basin, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world. It’s home to thousands of plant and animal species and to people as well.The basin is under threat from mining and logging, according to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.Congo Tales conveys that “a lot of wisdom comes from nature around us,” says Vonk. The stories often explore the relationship of people and their environment, with reminders that you can’t go against the rules of nature.The stories are mainly from an oral tradition. Each story they collected was translated into English, French and Lingala (a Bantu language) for the book and is depicted in stylized photographs by Dutch photographer Pieter Henket.Having shot the likes of Lady Gaga and Mary J. Blige, Henket brought his portraiture techniques to the Congo. Using a battery-powered strobe light to create dramatic lighting in the style of 17th century Dutch Golden Age paintings, he photographed volunteers acting out scenes from the stories.The book, published by Prestel in November, includes 24 myths, exploring life and death, rites of passage into adulthood and the power of nature.Vonk’s team, which included interpreters, set out to several villages to record stories. As the storytellers spoke, acted and sang, Vonk and her colleagues wrote the stories down in notebooks. With the help of Congolese brothers Wilfried N’Sondé, an author, and S.R. Kovo N’Sondé, a philosopher, they then translated the stories and adapted them for Congo Tales.After Vonk and her team selected the stories for the book, Henket brought a production team to Mbomo and began shooting scenes to illustrate the tales.This project was especially meaningful for S.R. Kovo N’Sondé, who goes by Kovo. Kovo wrote his Ph.D. on Congo’s traditional religions. When he was growing up in Paris, his father told him Congolese myths in French, which helped him connect to his family’s history. A few of the stories his father used to tell made it into the book, and Kovo says others are from family legacies as well. It’s important to record the stories, Kovo says, because sometimes they are only known by one person, often an elder.”There’s so much wisdom in traditional African religions,” he says, “and it’s dangerous to throw all that away.”Since the project’s completion, a local radio station has been broadcasting the stories from Congo Tales. Proceeds from the project will help keep the radio station running. Copies of the book are available in the Mbomo village school and Henket’s photographs are on display in Mbomo’s cultural center. Additionally, Henket’s original photographs will be auctioned at Christie’s in January, with proceeds going to similar storytelling projects through “Tales of Us.”Rachel D. Cohen is an intern on NPR’s Science desk. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Top officials from 13 states are joining Philadelp

first_imgTop officials from 13 states are joining Philadelphia in urging a federal court to allow a site to open where people can inject illegal opioids under medical supervision, the latest escalation in a legal battle with the Justice Department that may determine whether such facilities, known as supervised injection sites, can start to operate in America.In Philadelphia, where drug overdoses — most involving opioids — kill three times as many people as homicides, a nonprofit called Safehouse has been working to launch an injection site as a way of combating the city’s opioid crisis.But the Justice Department has mounted a legal challenge to block it before it opens, claiming such a site violates federal drug laws and would enable drug use. A friend-of-the-court brief submitted Wednesday by leaders from five cities — Ithaca, New York City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle — says injection sites, widely used in parts of Canada and Europe, need to be part of the way cities respond to the opioid crisis. “The opioid crisis has taken a major toll on American cities and counties, including ours,” the city leaders wrote. “Despite our efforts, the existing methods of combating the opioid crisis have proven to be too little, or at least too late, for far too many of our residents.” In a separate brief, attorneys general from Washington, D.C., and seven states including Michigan, New Mexico and Oregon also urged the court to allow the injection site to open. “As laboratories of experimentation and the primary regulators of public health, States should be free to adopt cutting-edge medical interventions,” the top state law enforcement officials wrote. The other top state law enforcement officials who signed on to the brief are from Delaware, Minnesota, Virginia and Colorado. The opioid crisis has also resulted in an alarming death rate in the cities that are exploring injection sites like the one Philadelphia is pursuing.In New York City alone, more than 1,000 people die every year from overdoses. “That means more New Yorkers die of opioid overdoses than from homicides, suicides and vehicle crashes combined,” the city leaders’ brief notes. But legal uncertainty and other issues have slowed the efforts to open supervised injection sites. However, city leaders say they believe no other option is able to put a significant dent in lethal overdoses. “These trends have continued despite extensive efforts by local governments and health departments to curb the crisis, including policies to expand medication-assisted treatment, clean needle exchanges, and the distribution of naloxone to first responders and public health workers,” the city officials wrote. Justice Department officials have stated that the idea of a supervised injection site violates so-called crack house laws that make it a crime to own a property where drugs are being used, but Safehouse planners and an alliance of local leaders counter that statutes from the 1980s were never intended to apply to what they view as a medical facility in the midst of a public health crisis. The city leaders write that the sites “would be places where drug users can obtain medical supervision and treatment. The act of allowing drug users to [inject drugs] in a supervised environment where they can be rescued if needed, rather than on the street or in a restroom stall.” A barrage of other briefs were also filed to the federal court in Philadelphia on Wednesday both in support of and opposing the proposed site. Among them, one written by a group of 64 current and former law enforcement officials, including former Justice Department officials, claiming that federal prosecutors were “distorting federal drug laws” in trying to shut down the country’s first attempt at opening a supervised injection site.But a group of six neighborhood associations around the Philadelphia neighborhood of Kensington, the heart of the city’s opioid crisis and the preferred location of the injection site, wrote a brief pleading with the court to not allow the site in their community, fearing such a facility would invite additional crime and drug trafficking. “Law abiding citizens walking to and from work and young children traveling to school face the risk of getting caught in the violence and become targets for the dealers looking to increase their customer base,” wrote the neighborhood group, which filed the brief along with the city’s Fraternal Order of Police.”The police, who are experts in this area, know what Congress knew. They know from bitter experiences that concentrating drug use in a place like the one that Safehouse proposes will bring more addicts, more dealers and more violent crime to neighborhoods that are already suffering,” the brief says.Yet, the brief from the states’ attorneys generals argues that studies have shown that injection sites have proved to save lives in other countries, and that it is time for the U.S. to give the controversial measure a chance. “States that are home to metropolitan areas should be free to experiment with this potentially lifesaving intervention, as well as others, without fear that public health nonprofits or doctors in their jurisdictions will be subject to prosecution,” the group wrote. The case is pending in Philadelphia before U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh, who will rule sometime after a July 22 filing deadline. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

The governments cruel and unacceptable emphas

first_imgThe government’s “cruel” and “unacceptable” emphasis on linking health and job outcomes in its new work, health and disability strategy will have a significant negative impact on people in mental distress, say campaigners and experts.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health released their joint 10-year Improving Lives strategy last week, and it repeatedly stresses the need to “join up work and health”.The strategy includes proposals across social security, the workplace and healthcare, in response to a consultation that produced about 6,000 comments, including more than 3,000 emails.David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, described the strategy as “ambitious” and said the aim was to secure jobs for one million more disabled people by 2027, increasing the number of disabled people in work from 3.5 million to 4.5 million by 2027.Among the plans on healthcare are to more than double the number of employment advisers sent in to work within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, which provide treatment for people with anxiety and depression.The strategy – which contains the government’s response to last year’s Improving Lives work, health and disability green paper – also says the government is already running trials to test different ways of delivering “joined up health and work support” in settings such as GP surgeries.It claims that “many healthcare professionals recognise that good work generally improves health and act positively on this knowledge”, but adds that there is “more we need to do to ensure this practice is better embedded across all healthcare professions”.And it says it will work with NHS England “to explore opportunities to increase, where appropriate, the focus on work as a route to improved health and wellbeing, and to embed employment outcomes into evaluation measures”.But ‘Rita Bins’, a spokesperson for the user-led group Recovery in the Bin, said the strategy was “more of the same disastrous and cruel work as cure ideology” and represented a continuing emphasis on forcing people off disability benefits.Bins added: “It is also dishonest [because] there are twice as many unemployed people as vacancies, so a million jobs for disabled people would need government to create those jobs, government refuses to do so and its own growth forecast shows it can’t.“So in reality what this means is not a million more disabled people in work, but really a million more disabled people being cut off benefits.”Ellen Clifford, campaigns and policy manager for Inclusion London, said: “Concerns about the dangers of conflating work and health have been ignored, with proposals to put more employment advisers in IAPT and invest in research to support policy linking health and work.”Dr Jay Watts, a consultant clinical psychologist and a member of the campaigning Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said the government had been “obsessed with the idea that work is the true goal of life for a number of years”.She said that although the strategy’s intention was supposed to be to “improve lives”, there was no commitment to halting benefit sanctions, despite the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities calling in August for a review of their “detrimental impact” on disabled people. Disabled activists have repeatedly highlighted the deaths of disabled benefit claimants they believe were linked to the government’s sanctions regime, including those of David Clapson and Alan McArdle.And DWP admitted in 2015 that 10 of 49 benefit claimants whose deaths were subject to secret reviews by the department had had their payments sanctioned at some stage.Only last week, DNS reported “shocking” NHS statistics that showed almost half of the people in England claiming the main out-of-work disability benefit, employment and support allowance (ESA), had attempted suicide at some point in their life.Campaigners believe that those figures – uncovered by Watts – highlight the need for DWP to abandon its hard-line approach to forcing disabled people off benefits and into work through damaging rhetoric and unforgiving sanctions, but there was no sign of such a shift in the new strategy.Watts called last week for DWP to start treating ESA claimants with “dignity and respect” and shift from a regime of punishment “to a culture that encourages things like voluntary work which are good for mental health, but too frightening a possibility for many claimants who fear any sign of activity will be used to stop their benefits”.She said this week: “The pressure to pursue work makes many people feel like failures when they are not well enough to work, when there are no jobs available or when they are forced to accept jobs that are demonstrably bad for mental health.“Everyone I speak too feels guilt and shame at not working, with disastrous effects on mental health.“This is a direct cause of the current mental health crisis, and a direct result of government policy that situates the workless as worthless.“Both Improving Lives and evidence from the influential New Savoy Partnership suggests therapists will be under increasing pressure to ‘encourage’ patients into jobs. This is simply unacceptable.“Therapists must not follow the money, but clear the therapeutic space away from any demands other than listening to patients, and focusing on the goals they, rather than the government, set.” One mental health professional has already resigned in protest at links between the organisation she is a member of and the government’s work and health agenda.Patricia Murphy, an independent therapist who practises cognitive behavioural therapy, said on Twitter that she had resigned as a member of the branch liaison committee of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), after almost 20 years serving on various BABCP committees.She said she felt she was being “co-opted to get people back into employment” and was “disappointed and dismayed” that BABCP was “engaging so actively” with DWP.Both BABCP and Murphy had failed to comment on her resignation by noon today (Thursday).last_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA 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 Welsh government has been criticised for a “ludicrous” and “insulting” failure to address the adult social care funding crisis in a new draft framework on independent living.Action on Disability, its new draft framework and action plan, was put out to consultation this week, and aims to “develop and improve access to help, advice and services for disabled people in Wales”.The plan will eventually replace the Welsh government’s 2013 framework for action on independent living and follows a series of meetings and engagement events with disabled people, disability organisations and other stakeholders.The report says that this public engagement process saw concerns raised about “cuts to social care provision” which had led to “lower allocations” of direct payments, leaving disabled people “increasingly isolated, and the impacts to their wellbeing compromised”.But despite these concerns, the action plan refers only to previous strategies on services for visually-impaired people, Deaf and autistic people and those with learning difficulties, and fails to include any measures to address the cuts to support and the social care funding crisis.This contrasts with its 2013 framework, which included lengthy sections on access to social care, direct payments and personalised support.Of 44 actions supposedly aimed at improving the right to independent living in the new action plan, not one of them explicitly addresses the need to improve the overall access to care and support, although it does promise a review of the aids and adaptations system that supports disabled and older people to live independently in their own homes.Instead, the action plan covers areas including disability employment, higher education – including a planned review of policy on disabled students’ allowance – public appointments, and access to public transport.There is also no mention of social care in the section describing the Welsh government’s “commitments” on independent living, even though it promises to “work for continuous improvement” on how it fulfils its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).The failure of the action plan to suggest any measures to address the funding crisis and cuts to support suggests the Welsh government is in breach of the convention’s article 19, which says that governments signed up to UNCRPD should take “effective and appropriate measures” to enable disabled people to live in the community with “full inclusion and participation”.There is also no mention in the document of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), and the Welsh government’s decision to close its interim Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) scheme, which it has been running as a stopgap with UK government transition funding since ILF closed in June 2015.Because of the WILG closure, Welsh local authorities will be solely responsible for meeting the support needs of all former ILF-recipients by 31 March 2019.Nathan Lee Davies (pictured), who is leading the campaign to persuade the Welsh government to overturn its decision to scrap WILG, said the failure to address social care in the action plan was “ludicrous” and “insulting”.He said: “They seem like a load of ostriches burying their heads in the sand. It’s just really worrying.“I am disillusioned but far from surprised. It just seems like they are copying what the Tories have done in Westminster, with the same devaluing of disabled people.”He suggested that the Welsh Labour government had simply published a “flimsy” framework document in order to “placate the UN, and to be able to say, ‘look, we are doing something to support disabled people’”.He said that ministers – by closing the WILG – were “washing their hands” of responsibility for social care and handing it to local councils, which could not afford to meet their responsibilities promised under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, which Davies said should be renamed the Pie in the Sky Act.Responding to criticisms of the document, a Welsh government official said: “Our ‘Action on Disability: the Right to Independent Living’ framework is a high-level plan covering a wide range of issues in line with our national strategy, Prosperity for All.“A number of the actions in this draft action plan relate to social care; nevertheless we are open to suggestions on how the plan could be strengthened.“We encourage everyone to contribute to the consultation – which we launched this week – to influence our future work to support disabled people as best we can.”Davies has contrasted the actions of the Welsh Labour government with those of the UK Labour party, whose leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has publicly supported his campaign to save the WILG, as did members of Welsh Labour at their annual conference earlier this year.Davies is determined to persuade the Welsh government to keep the current system, which allows former ILF-recipients some security by receiving funding from three different “pots”: WILG, local authorities and their own personal contributions.He said that this “tripartite” system had provided the support he needed that led to him being recognised with an honorary degree by Wrexham Glyndwr University for his services to disability rights.He has also been involved with Wrexham football club, Disabled People Against Cuts, and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, as well as writing a new book, and running his campaign and a blog.He also worked with Disability Arts Cymru on a #SaveWILG exhibition of visual art and poetry earlier this year.Davies is now waiting to hear what will happen to his support package when WILG closes.last_img read more

What Googles Mobile OS Will Do for Your Next Cell Phone

first_img November 5, 2007 What Google’s Mobile OS Will Do for Your Next Cell Phone Add to Queue Tom Spring –shares Brought to you by PCWorld Technology 10 min readcenter_img No Google phone exists yet, but the search giant’s announcement of an open platform for mobile-phone apps is a step in the right direction. So when will we see the so-called Android phones from members of the newly founded Open Handset Alliance? We’ll dig into those and more of the key questions surrounding Google’s phone platform in this FAQ. Be sure to check back for updates as the story evolves. (Last updated: 11/07/2007 at 8:20 a.m.)Will a Google Phone ever be made?What has been announced so far?So what is this Android?When will I be able to buy a Google-powered phone?Will other carriers such as Verizon offer Android-based phones?How will Android phones differ from today’s coolest smart phones?Why is a Google mobile platform any better than an existing mobile OS from Palm or Microsoft?Will service providers be able to lock down phones?But with this “open platform” behind the phone, I’ll be able to hack it and customize it anyway, right?What will I be able to customize on an Android phone?What kinds of applications will we see? newWill added customization mean lots of hardware spec confusion when you buy a “Google” phone? newWill I need to know how much RAM, storage, and processing power my phone has? newShould I trust an Android phone? newWill Google phones only be cheap because they’re inundated with ads? newWhat does this have to do with Google’s battle for wireless spectrum? newWill a Google Phone ever be made?Google’s chair and CEO Eric Schmidt won’t officially say. But Schmidt does say that if all goes as planned, we’ll likely see many “Google phones” from a variety of wireless carriers. He also says that once software developers create a mature Android OS, it would be a prime time for Google to release a gPhone.What has been announced so far?The release of the Android platform and the launch of the Open Handset Alliance were the two most substantive news items to come out of Monday’s press conference.So what is this Android?Android is a Linux-based mobile software platform that Google hopes will be the operating system of mobile phones in the future. It will compete with platforms such as Apple’s OS X on the iPhone, the BlackBerry OS, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, and the Palm OS.Google announced the Android platform along with other members of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of 34 hardware and software companies plus wireless carriers committed to creating open standards for mobile devices.The Android platform, according to OHA, is free software available under the Apache open-source license. On November 12, a software developer’s kit (SDK) will release to developers. This will be the first chance for people to see an early incarnation of the OS.When will I be able to buy a Google-powered phone?The first Android phones are expected to be available to consumers in the second half of 2008. The most likely candidates to release Google-powered phones here in the United States are the wireless carriers–Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile–that are part of OHA.HTC and Motorola, both members of OHA, will build phones for the Android platform. Forbes is reporting on an HTC-built OHA reference design code-named Dream featuring a touch screen that swivels to reveal a full keyboard. Apparently HTC is considering a commercial version of the phone and could release such a device as soon as the second half of 2008.Will other carriers such as Verizon offer Android-based phones?Don’t hold your breath for Verizon and AT&T to jump on the Android bandwagon. These carriers say they are worried that the open-software standards could expose users to software attacks or security breaches.Beyond the security issues, wireless carriers have financial considerations, too. A cell phone that allowed customers to use any mobile Web application for free could threaten the revenue of carriers that charge customers for identical applications, such as access to e-mail, games, and GPS features.How will Android phones differ from today’s coolest smart phones?Google says Android will have a browser capable of handling any type of Web content that a desktop computer’s Web browser can handle. That design opens up a treasure trove of possible browser-based services already available to PC users, including contact management, document creation, GPS direction services, and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services.Many of these services could be implemented today but aren’t, largely due to the fact that wireless carriers currently offer basic browsers that restrict users to a walled garden of services.Why is a Google mobile platform any better than an existing mobile OS from Palm or Microsoft?In theory, software developers will be inspired to create mobile applications for Android, for two reasons. First, an open software architecture will allow software developers more flexibility in creating features.Second, Android will break the stranglehold that wireless carriers have on bringing new and free applications to customers. Now smaller companies will have more of an incentive to build innovative mobile applications that otherwise might not have reached consumers because the companies lacked the clout to broker deals with wireless carriers.Will service providers be able to lock down phones?According to the Android open license agreement, anyone can modify the OS to suit their needs–including locking it down. Conceivably a carrier could place restrictions on applications, such as VoIP services that took advantage of a mobile phone’s Wi-Fi capabilities. Being able to receive and initiate calls over VoIP for free on a handset could significantly impact a wireless carrier’s monthly revenue.While Google CEO Schmidt acknowledges that locking is possible, however, he said today that it would be “unlikely” for a carrier to actually do so.But with this “open platform” behind the phone, I’ll be able to hack it and customize it anyway, right?You’ve seen what has happened with the iPhone, right? With an open platform driving all Android phones, hackers should whip up something for any locked-down Android device even more easily. We’d bet that any sufficiently popular locked phones won’t remain that way for long.What will I be able to customize on an Android phone?The Open Handset Alliance platform allows for customization down to the screen you see when you open or turn on your phone. Imagine being able to customize your opening screen with personalized icons, news feeds, weather details, and voice-mail information. Think of a My Yahoo start page for your cell phone. Again, the amount of customization will depend on the carrier.What kinds of applications will we see?Some companies have expressed an intent to develop location-aware services that, for instance, automatically link users to reviews of nearby restaurants. Other services might include a photo application that matches pictures automatically with people you select from your address book. Other applications could include a more robust offering of online real-time multiplayer games.At Monday’s press conference, Google director of mobile platforms Andy Rubin promised the world when it came to applications, stressing that mobile programs would be on a par with apps that people know from the PC-based Web.Will added customization mean lots of hardware spec confusion when you buy a “Google” phone?Yes, but it won’t be anymore complicated than buying a cell phone today. Greg Sterling of Opus Research in San Francisco says with as many handsets expected to run the Android software there are bound to be low and high-end phones.Sterling says that because Android devices rely on third party mobile services and software for advanced features, low-end phones likely will not be able to take advantage of the most resource demanding applications, such as HD video playback. “This doesn’t differ a whole lot from what we have today,” Sterling says.Will I need to know how much RAM, storage, and processing power my phone has?One of the key features of the open handsets that run Google’s operating system is their ability to run applications and services from third-party providers. Just as you can’t run the most system-demanding games on a low-end PC, you won’t be able to run system-taxing mobile applications on low-end Android phones.OHA members say the goal is to maximize handset functionality while keeping system specs as low as possible. However, given that mobile phones are morphing quickly into portable multi-media devices it’s hard to imagine handsets that don’t ship with varying quality displays and storage capacity, for example.Should I trust an Android phone?The Google phones are based on an open operating system, meaning anyone can create software for it. Anyone includes hackers or people with malicious intent who can easily study the OS and create security threats – Trojans, worms, and viruses.But some like Charles Golvin, a wireless analyst at the consultant firm Forrester Research, argue open source software can actually be much less a security risk than closed operating systems like Microsoft Windows. He says the collaborative nature of open software translates into more eyes looking for problems and more hands to fix problems when they are identified.Golvin expects security to be the centerpiece to the Google devices. Companies will need to adapt their policies to deal with the new phones’ security and privacy implications, Golvin says.Will Google phones only be cheap because they’re inundated with ads?No. Google says that it doesn’t believe carriers will subsidize the initial cost or monthly service charges of the phone with advertising. However, over time Google believes this may change. How long we’ll have to wait is anyone’s guess.It’s no secret Google is entering into the mobile phone space to sell ads. But in Monday’s press conference Google said it had no intention of pushing ads on mobile users any harder than it already does with its Mobile AdSense program. Why?Golvin from Forrester points out that mobile phone users are not accustomed to seeing ads on their devices. Google knows this, Golvin says, and won’t risk irritating customers with a mobile ad blitz for cell phones.Google says a cut of the revenue from ads shown on Android handsets will be shared with the wireless carrier. Over time as mobile users become desensitized and mobile ads proliferate wireless carriers will likely reduce monthly fees, Golvin says.What does this have to do with Google’s battle for wireless spectrum?According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, they’re two different initiatives. Android will run well on phones built for any networks.Google is willing to spend $4.6 billion on an upcoming Federal Communications Commission 700MHz spectrum auction. The spectrum is prime wireless real estate for wireless carriers and Google who see it as a perfect opportunity to extend mobile broadband services nationwide.Analysts says this fits into Google’s mobile strategy of extending its reach to mobile phone and beyond. “If Google won the auction it gives them an open road to offer whatever kind of services Google wants,” Forrester’s Golvin says. It’s likely Google would lease the spectrum, if it owned it, to a wireless carrier on the conditions it place no restrictions on Google phones and devices. When will you be able to buy a Google phone? We’ll answer your questions about everything about Android, the Google phone, and the Open Handset Alliance in this evolving FAQ. Next Article 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Apply Now »last_img read more

New York Times to Invest in Startups Through Its Own Incubator

first_img 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Brian Patrick Eha The New York Times Co. is going to invest in early-stage media startups through its incubator, timeSpace.An experimental program within the newspaper company, timeSpace provided for three startups to spend the past four months collaborating with Times staffers and receiving crucial insight into the news industry and feedback as they developed their products.When timeSpace was first announced in January, the Times Co. said it would not take equity in startups as part of the incubator program, though it left open the possibility of investing at a later date. Geoffrey Isenman, vice president of corporate development for the Times Co., broke the news at a press event Tuesday.Isenman says the amount of the investment is still being debated, but that each company will receive the same deal. What’s more, the next class of startups at timeSpace will receive the investment at the beginning of their tenure, he says.On Tuesday, the startup founders who formed the incubator’s inaugural class presented their companies. The Times Co. had winnowed a field of about 500 applicants down to three, each of them tackling a specific challenge in the media industry. All three companies were given coworking space on the ninth floor of the Times building, where they worked in the midst of Times staffers whose expertise they drew on while creating their startups.Related: The New York Times Gets Into the Incubator GameFirst up was Delve, a social news reader and recommendation engine designed to keep users on top of trends in their organization and industry. Co-founder and chief executive Sandeep Ayyappan spoke on the difficulty of separating signal from noise in today’s growing flood of information. Valuable insights are lost. Even among coworkers, emails go unopened and tweets go unseen.”You’re only seeing a tiny sliver of all the interesting stuff that your colleagues are finding and sharing,” Ayyappan said. “Delve changes that.”Delve’s platform functions as a private social network for the employees of a given company. Each user receives personalized suggestions for what to read to stay current on her industry. Discussion tools make it easy to share knowledge with colleagues while keeping it away from competitors, and Delve archives everything so that you can find it later when you need it., Ayyappan said.Delve’s mobile app is awaiting approval in the Apple App store, he said.Brian Muller of OpBandit, who presented next along with his co-founder, Blaine Sheldon, wants to help media companies be more relevant to their audiences. The key question, said Muller, is “What do you put front-and-center of all the content that you produce?” To answer that, OpBandit provides an analytics dashboard that tracks engagement metrics and allows site administrators to create alternate versions of each piece of content.Related: Bloomberg Opens $75 Million Venture Capital FundWith OpBandit, a news outlet’s home page could be different for readers in one part of the country than for those in another, or could differ depending on time of day or other factors. For instance, some readers might see a different header image for a story than others. In short, OpBandit aims to promote the right version of the right content at the right time to maximize page views and engagement.The final startup, Mahaya, demoed a product called Seen that represents an effort to curate “the real-time web” in which most news stories live and die. “Our social feeds are the first draft of history” now, having taken over that role from newspapers and cable TV news, said Tarikh Korula, Mahaya’s co-founder. But social feeds are ephemeral; content disappears quickly, never to be seen again. In light of that, said Korula, “We’re trying to create a coherent first draft.”To that end, Seen, which is in beta, tracks public events, scans social media for the best content surrounding them and displays it in a layout that looks like a cross between a Tumblr photo feed and a magazine spread. The content is archived and updated continually throughout the event, so Seen users can keep up on events of interest, everything from the Electric Zoo Festival to protests in Turkey.Eventually, Seen hopes to function like “DVR for anything that happens in the world,” Korula said.For the Times Co., investing in digital startups is not new. Until now, however, it has done so only as an institutional investor at later stages in the life cycle of companies, and has never led a funding round, Isenman told Entrepreneur. That is what makes Wednesday’s announcement such big news.The purpose of the timeSpace investments is twofold, Isenman says. “One is financial, and the second is that notion of having skin in the game, and signaling our commitment.”Related: Inside Nerdist’s Media Empire for the Internet Age The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. New York Times to Invest in Startups Through Its Own Incubator Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 5 min read September 11, 2013 –shares Next Article Technology Add to Queue Apply Now »last_img read more

Facebook Gives Away 360Degree Camera Design

first_img Tom Brant Facebook Gives Away 360-Degree Camera Design –shares Facebook’s 360-degree camera setup is a bit different than others on the market. At approximately $25,000, it’s not a steal, but you can build it yourself. And as of this week, you can also edit its design.Facebook on Tuesday uploaded the camera’s design blueprint and stitching code to Github, allowing anyone to improve on or adapt the rig’s specs to their specific needs. “We are very excited to contribute all the hardware designs and software as open source and to continue to iterate on the design, the code, and the whole 360 pipeline in the future,” Facebook research scientist Forrest Briggs wrote in a blog post. “We hope this will inspire others to build their own stereo 360 rigs and, most of all, to capture truly immersive experiences.”Facebook isn’t just doing this out of the kindness of its heart, of course. While it may not make any money off of the camera, open sourcing its design will likely lead to more high-quality, 360-degree footage. Video posted to Facebook is highly profitable, so much so that Facebook is willing to shell out millions of dollars to its most popular content creators.The camera itself is actually a rig composed of 17 different cameras. The stitching software takes the images they capture and transforms them into a stereoscopic 360 panorama suitable for viewing in virtual reality.”This software vastly reduces the typical 3-D-360 processing time while maintaining the 8K-per-eye quality we think is optimal for the best VR viewing experience,” Briggs explained. Next Article News reporter Add to Queue This story originally appeared on PCMag Image credit: Facebook Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Facebook Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. 2 min read July 28, 2016 Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

Computer Glitch Delays United Airlines Flights

first_img Add to Queue –shares Last year, Delta Air Lines canceled hundreds of flights and delayed many others after a power outage hit its computer systems. This story originally appeared on Reuters Computer Glitch Delays United Airlines Flights 2 min read United Airlines Next Article Image credit: Shutterstock The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. October 14, 2016 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Thousands of passengers were delayed worldwide after a computer glitch temporarily halted departures at United Airlines, the latest in a series of outages to affect rival companies in the industry.”Earlier tonight we experienced an issue with our weight reporting system, which caused system wide flight delays,” the airline said in a statement on its Twitter feed late on Thursday in the United States.”We have resolved the issue and are working to get customers to their destinations as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.”Passengers said they had been forced to wait onboard planes or inside terminals as flights were delayed for several hours.”On the plane for more than an hour, away from the gate and no communication. What’s happening?,” one passenger tweeted.In Paris, passengers complained as check-in lines grew for a flight to New York, a Reuters reporter said on Friday morning.The airline said the problem had been resolved as of 3 a.m. eastern time on Friday.It is the third computer glitch to hit United’s owner United Continental Holdings in recent months and the latest in a series of problems that have tested the reliance on technology of some of the world’s largest carriers.On June 2, 2015, software needed to dispatch United’s flight plan briefly lost functionality.In July 2015, the same airline’s flights were disrupted after a computer problem blocked access to reservations records.The following month, Delta Air Lines canceled hundreds of flights and delayed many others after a power outage hit its computer systems.And in September, a system-wide computer problem at British Airways caused significant delays.After the two previous incidents, United Continental Holdings said in July it had invested in backup plans.But multiple recent outages have prompted some experts and passenger groups to question whether the airline industry has invested enough in technological infrastructure, given new profits from baggage and cancellation fees.(By Ingrid Melander and Tim Hepher; Editing by Keith Weir) Reuters Apply Now »last_img read more

New therapeutic approach for patients with pancreatic cancer

first_imgThe researchers have found that a new combination therapeutic approach can effectively fight the disease and prolong survival among patients. The therapy has shown promise in the laboratory set up and now is ready for use among human patients in its clinical trials. The results of the study were published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Medicine.The team has opened up the therapy for clinical trials at HCI as well as other centres across United States along with support from University of California, San Francisco, and Columbia University in New York. The trial is named the THREAD trial and the details are available at National Clinical Trial Number 03825289. The therapy would use a combination of two FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved drugs that are currently being used for other types of cancer – namely trametinib and hydroxychloroquine. This therapy is oral and the drugs would be administered in the form of a pill. Eligible patients would be those who are diagnosed with “Metastatic Pancreatic Carcinoma Stage II, Pancreatic Cancer Stage IIA, Pancreatic Cancer Stage IIB, Pancreatic Cancer Stage III, Pancreatic Cancer Stage IV and Pancreatic Cancer Unresectable Pancreatic Carcinoma.”The researchers explain that pancreatic cancers are mainly due to a genetic mutation called the KRAS mutation. Mutation of KRAS leads to signals that promote abnormal cell growth in the cancer cells. Each cell has an important function call autophagy that keeps abnormal growth in check. Pancreatic cancer treatment deals with either KRAS mutation or autophagy. Neither of these approaches have been found to be useful or effective.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsIn this new approach the targets are not only KRAS but also the process of autophagy. The study was led by Drs Conan Kinsey, physician-scientist at HCI and Martin McMahon, cancer researcher at HCI and Professor of Dermatology at the University of Utah.McMahon said, “We were able to observe that the combination of these two drugs – which, when used individually, don’t have much of an impact on the disease – appears to have a very potent impact on the growth of pancreatic cancer. We have observed this in the lab in petri dishes, then in mouse models, and now in a pancreatic cancer patient on a compassionate use basis. Indeed, we proceeded from a petri dish to a patient in less than two years – a timeline that is rarely seen in medical science.”Yet another study was published in the same issue of the journal. This study too looked at the effects of modulating autophagy on pancreatic cancer. This study was conducted under the leadership of Drs Channing Der, Sarah Graham Kenan and Kirsten Bryant from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.Kinsey from the first study said in a statement, “In our paper, we show the response of a pancreatic cancer patient who had received surgery and multiple lines of chemotherapy prior to this combination. This patient, who has since succumbed to the disease, nevertheless had a remarkable response to these drugs for several months. We need to carefully evaluate this new combination therapy in the context of clinical trials to better understand if good responses might be seen in multiple patients. We also need to identify the specific features of any patient who may benefit, before any recommendation can be made about use on a larger scale.” This study received support from the National Cancer Institute. By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 5 2019One-year survival is low among patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have now come up with a potential new therapy for pancreatic cancer patients. Martin McMahon, PhD (left) and Conan Kinsey, MD (right)center_img Source:https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-019-0367-9last_img read more

Researchers invent graphenebased biosensor to detect stomachcancer causing bacteria

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 20 2019Biosensors are currently used in healthcare to monitor blood glucose; however, they also have the potential to detect bacteria. Researchers at Osaka University have invented a new biosensor using graphene–a material consisting of a one-atom-thick layer of carbon–to detect bacteria such as those that attack the stomach lining and that have been linked to stomach cancer. When the bacteria interact with the biosensor, chemical reactions are triggered which are detected by the graphene. To enable detection of the chemical reaction products, the researchers used microfluidics to contain the bacteria in extremely tiny droplets close to the sensor surface.To get the bacteria to stick, the researchers covered the graphene with antibodies, a common way of anchoring bacteria to biosensor surfaces. However, although antibodies are very small (~10 nm), on the atomic scale and compared with the atom-thin layer of graphene, they are actually quite large and bulky. While the bacteria interact with the antibodies, the graphene cannot detect those bacteria directly as the antibodies on its surface block the signal; this signal blocking effect is referred to as Debye screening.To overcome the Debye screening limitation, the researchers instead decided to monitor chemical reactions being performed by the bacteria in the presence of certain chemicals, which they added to the tiny water droplet. The chemicals produced in the reactions are far smaller than the antibodies and can slip between them easily and reach the graphene surface. By only analyzing the bacteria in tiny droplets generated through microfluidics, the bacteria and their reaction products can be kept close to the graphene surface and the concentration of the reaction products can even be monitored over time. Our biosensor enables highly sensitive and quantitative detection of bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer by limiting its reaction in a well-defined microvolume.”Co-author Kazuhiko Matsumoto, Osaka University Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerThe graphene sensing surface is able to feedback electrical signals that vary depending on how much of the reaction product is present in the microdroplet and how quickly it is accumulating. These electrical signals can be used to calculate the number of bacteria in the droplet. The graphene is set-up in a field effect transistor (FET) structure, the role of which is to dramatically increase the electrical detection signals from the graphene sensing surface.”Our biosensor is essentially a mini laboratory on a graphene FET. This sensor demonstrates how two-dimensional materials such as graphene are getting closer to being applied in practical medical and healthcare applications,” first author Takao Ono says.The results of the study can be used to create a whole host of these “lab-on-a-graphene-FET” biosensors to detect various different bacteria. The detection of tiny concentrations of bacteria could be achieved in less than 30 minutes; hence, this work represents the possibility of faster diagnoses for potentially harmful bacteria in future. Source:Osaka UniversityJournal reference:Matsumoto, K. et al. (2019) Electrical Biosensing at Physiological Ionic Strength Using Graphene Field-Effect Transistor in Femtoliter Microdroplet. ACS Nano Letters. doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b01335.last_img read more

Dutch firm ASML perfecting microchip shrink for tech giants

The light has to be focused in a vacuum to stop it being absorbed by air—a difficult technological feat—and the parameters are so small that the machine is working “to within the size of an atom”.The tiniest speck of dust infiltrating the machine could ruin the design, leaving blank spaces on the chips.ASML now employs about 20,000 people, mostly engineers and most in Veldhoven, but it also has sites in Asia and the United States.And as it grows it is hiring. Some 3,000 new posts were added last year, with a similar number of new jobs expected this year. A former vice-president at French rail giant Alstom, he joined ASML in 2010 and has become increasingly passionate about its innovative technology.Accurate ‘to within an atom’The EUV system works by projecting the light through a blueprint, ASML explains. Using a series of complex optics, made by German company Zeiss, “the pattern is reduced and focused onto a thin slice of silicon coated with a light-sensitive chemical”.”The light interacts with the chemical effectively printing the pattern onto the silicon or wafer. When the unwanted silicon is etched away a three-dimensional structure is created.” This is repeated dozens of times, layer upon layer, leaving a grid of hundreds of chips on one silicon wafer. Citation: Dutch firm ASML perfecting ‘microchip shrink’ for tech giants (2018, May 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-dutch-firm-asml-microchip-tech.html ‘Phones are not for calling’Last year after two decades of research and development and billions of euros, ASML shipped its first 12 EUV machines to clients. Each costs about 120 million euros ($145 million). This year it has projected sales of 20 machines—by 2020, it hopes to be selling 35 to 40 a year.It is ironic that these machines, which produce chips of infinitesimally small dimensions, are the size of a bus. Three Boeing 747 aircraft are needed to transport one machine to a client.Long seen as a bellwether of the tech industry, the company is listed on both the Amsterdam bourse, the AEX, and the Nasdaq in New York. And pushing the boundaries of this technology is Dutch company ASML, which since its foundation in 1984 has quietly become a world leader in the semiconductor business.”There is more power in your smartphone today than was used to put man on the moon,” says ASML’s chief operating officer Frederic Schneider-Maunoury, animatedly waving his mobile phone in the air.When you open an app on your phone, the chain allowing you to book a flight, message a friend or check out who’s hot in your neighbourhood arcs all the way back most likely to ASML.Headquartered in Veldhoven, near the Belgian border, it builds sophisticated lithography machines to enable the world’s top chip makers—Intel, Samsung and Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC)—to produce the smallest, most powerful, most cost-effective microprocessors on the planet.Its newest machines use highly-focused extreme ultra-violet (EUV) light to imprint designs on the chips, and are at the cutting-edge of what is scientifically and technologically possible in the art of miniaturisation. Dust is the enemy. A speck of dust inside the manufacturing equipment can ruin chips Last year ASML announced profits had almost doubled to 2.12 billion euros Dutch hi-tech group ASML notches up ‘fantastic year’ Last year it announced profits had almost doubled to 2.12 billion euros on record sales of 9.05 billion euros.Only two other companies in the world—the Japanese giants Nikon and Canon—make lithography machines and neither has yet developed EUV technology. They call it “the shrink”—it’s the challenge of how to pack more circuits onto the microchips which power everything from our phones to our computers, even our coffee machines. A lens used in the manufacturing of semiconductors at Dutch company ASML, whose latest systems project blueprints of circuitry onto silicon wafers ASML employs about 20,000 people, mostly engineers © 2018 AFP Explore further “Our problem is not just to find the technologies, we than have to put it into the products in an economical way,” Schneider-Maunoury told AFP, in his office overlooking ASML’s sprawling site.”Why buy a new phone? It’s not to make calls on. I buy a new phone precisely because it allows me to do things that the previous phone didn’t,” he said.But this is a competitive market, and if the new phone “is going to cost me 10 times more, than I’m not going to buy it”. ASML’s chief operating officer Frederic Schneider-Maunoury has become increasingly passionate about the firm’s cutting-edge technology 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. read more

Diesel fallout and trade headwinds sap Daimler in 2018

first_img Explore further Net profits at the Stuttgart-based group tumbled 29 percent to 7.6 billion euros ($8.7 billion) last year, short of predictions from analysts surveyed by Factset.Unit sales grew 2.0 percent than 3.3 million vehicles sold, with similar growth in revenues, to 167.4 billion euros.But operating, or underlying profit dropped 22 percent, to 11.1 billion euros, after the group downgraded its forecast twice last year.”2018 was a year of strong headwinds—with the ongoing diesel debate, the changeover to the new WLTP test method and the global trade dispute,” chief executive Dieter Zetsche said in a statement.The group added that its profits were sapped by massive investments in developing new models and new technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as by increased costs for raw materials and currency effects.Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz cars and vans divisions weighed on the bottom line, with operating profit falling 18 percent and 73 percent.Both arms suffered “expenses in connection with ongoing legal proceedings and measures taken for diesel vehicles,” as the group was forced to recall 774,000 vehicles for refits when German authorities discovered software capable of deceiving emissions tests.Meanwhile the Trucks unit reported profits up 16 percent, thanks largely to higher demand from North America.Looking ahead to this year, Daimler forecast it would increase unit sales, revenue and operating profit “slightly” compared with 2018, although it still plans to plough more than 30 billion euros into investments. Citation: Diesel fallout and trade headwinds sap Daimler in 2018 (2019, February 6) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-diesel-fallout-headwinds-sap-daimler.html German car giant and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler reported Wednesday that costly investments, fallout from the industry’s diesel scandal and trade headwinds compressed its bottom line in 2018. Mercedes sold more vehicles last year, but higher investments and increased costs for raw materials sent profits skidding lowercenter_img © 2019 AFP Daimler profits hit by diesel scandal 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.last_img read more