10 months agoCrystal Palace monitoring Chelsea loanee Abraham

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Crystal Palace monitoring Chelsea loanee Abrahamby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace are monitoring Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham ahead of a potential move in January. The 21-year-old is currently on loan at Aston Villa, but Chelsea do have an option to recall in January.However, the Blues could recall Abraham and loan him back out again to a Premier League club.The Daily Telegraphclaim Crystal Palace would be keen on signing the Englishman as they continue to struggle in front of goal this season.Abraham has netted 12 times for Villa this season and manager Dean Smith remains hopeful he can retain his services for the second half of the season. last_img read more

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JDF to Get More Patrol Vehicles

first_imgCabinet has approved the award of a contract in the amount of US$7,436,430 to Toyota Jamaica Limited for the provision of 159 patrol vehicles for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).Details are outlined in a Ministry Paper tabled in the House of Representatives on September 18.“Although not purpose built for military applications, the selected Toyota model with modifications has proven to be very effective for the purposes of the Jamaica Defence Force,” the document said.Cabinet also approved a follow-on contract in the amount of US$594,184 to Canadian Bank Note Company Limited for the provision of maintenance and support services for the Jamaica Passport Issuance and Control System for a period of two years with effect from June 2017.The Jamaica Passport Issuance and Control System is the arrangement whereby blank passport books are personalised by the Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA).Meanwhile, Cabinet approved the award of a contract in the amount of US$856,532, plus General Consumption Tax, by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to Ceragon Networks for the upgrade of the existing power supply at the microwave ring sites from 24-volt DC to 48-volt DC, and to add a new microwave link to eGov Jamaica Limited as part of the upgraded work.“The microwave radio infrastructure is currently used by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, JDF, Department of Correctional Services and the Bank of Jamaica for secure, reliable voice communication islandwide,” the Ministry Paper stated.last_img read more

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We are confident of moving with this squad to WC: Carey

first_imgNew Delhi: Emboldened by Australia’s remarkable turnaround in the ODI series against India, vice-captain Alex Carey Tuesday said they are “really confident” of entering the ICC World Cup with a squad good enough to play like defending champions. The five-match series is poised at 2-2, thanks to Australia’s back-to-back wins after staring down the barrel at one stage. “As a player in the Australian cricket side we have been working hard in the last 12-18 months. Some success has started to come our way. We are really confident moving with the squad we take to the World Cup,” Clarey said on the eve of the series-deciding game here. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherCarey said it will only add to the strength of the side when Steve Smith and David Warner rejoin the side after serving out their bans. “Those are definitely some big names that might come back into the line. The guys that are in the side are performing well, so it’s only healthy for Australian cricket that the guys in the side are playing well and these guys that have done really well in the past have definitely put their hand up for selection when they are available.” Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenHe said he was not surprised by the way the Australian batsmen tackled India’s formidable spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who have tormented batters with their guile in recent times. “There has probably been a fair bit of media (analysis) about Australia playing against spin in the past. We have worked really hard on playing spin bowling in the nets over 12-18 months. I guess to see some reward, again it’s no surprise, but the guys are doing so much hard work off the field,” said Carey. The match will be played on a Feroz Shah Kotla wicket which may assist slow bowlers. Carey, though, said they are capable of handling whatever is thrown at them. “We played some local Indian bowlers that we tried in the nets, so I guess it’s really a good experience. Guys getting out there in the middle to have the confidence to take on their spinners got to be a great confidence tomorrow.” He said the strength of the Australian team at the moment is that they have plenty of options. “We take a lot of confidence that we trust the batters to perform their role. When Ashton did that the other night he did really well. They (Indians) are world class bowlers and I am sure they want to bounce back and it’s up to our batters to have a game plan to negate that. We trust the players to perform their role and take on the best bowlers in the world and do a good job.” Carey said it will be a contest to watch for since they have the momentum and India would be keen to bounce back after two defeats. “We were out under pressure early in the series. Some games were really close and now we have the series level at 2-2. It is obviously exciting going into tomorrow with the series on the line. Obviously (we will) take some momentum from the last game. The boys are felling confident. “India are going to bounce back quickly but I guess for us we thought we played some pretty good cricket in the first two games and we just fell short so to have the series at 2-2, really excited. I am really looking forward to and so are the guys.”last_img read more

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PHOTOS San Josés tope takes spectators on a colorful ride

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:PHOTOS: The best of Palmares Tope 2016 World tallest and shortest men meet on Guinness Records Day New theater company to host intensive Shakespeare workshop 5 things to know about Costa Rica’s gigantic Palmares Festival Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Costa Rica’s annual holidaytope, or horse parade, took place on Dec. 26 along San José’s Second Avenue and Paseo Colón.Thousands of riders and their equine companions came from different corners of Costa Rica to show off their best riding styles, saddles and outfits. Ticos lined the streets decked out in cowboy hats, jeans and boots to watch the spectacle. Many brought beach chairs, stools, food and drinks to comfortably enjoy the four-hour parade.Here’s a look in photos: Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Timescenter_img Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Times Andrés Madrigal/The Tico Timeslast_img read more

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German broadcast group ProSiebenSat1 has confirme

first_imgGerman broadcast group ProSiebenSat.1 has confirmed earlier reports that it is launching a pair of pay TV channels, ProSieben Fun and Sat.1 Emotions.ProSieben Fun will be a general entertainment pay TV service with shows from the main ProSieben channel sitting alongside US series and movies. ProSieben said that some series will premiere on the channel, which will also carry sports programming.Fun will be carried on Deutsche Telekom’s Entertain IPTV service.ProSieben said that Sat.1 Emotions will “revolve around dreams, desires, romance and love”. It will be programmed with telenovelas, series and movies from Sat.1 and, again, some of these will debut on the pay channel before free-to-air. The channel will, along with its stablemate Kabel Eins, on various pay TV services in Germany.last_img read more

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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

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Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo has announced that she is s

first_imgIndra Nooyi of PepsiCo has announced that she is stepping aside as CEO after some 12 years at the helm.Nooyi plans to stay on as chairman until early 2019. The company’s board announced Monday that it elected Ramon Laguarta, president of the company since 2017, to succeed her as CEO. PepsiCo prides itself on tapping its leadership from within — every other chief executive has come from its own ranks.”Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. This company has been my life for nearly a quarter century and part of my heart will always remain here,” Nooyi, 62, said in a statement. “But I am proud of all we’ve done to position PepsiCo for success, confident that Ramon and his senior leadership team will continue prudently balancing short-term and long-term priorities, and excited for all the great things that are in store for this company.”Nooyi’s last day as CEO will be Oct. 3, according to the company.Under her leadership, the food and beverage giant dramatically repositioned itself toward selling more nutritious options, such as hummus, juices and kombucha. PepsiCo hails her as a pioneer among business leaders who promote sustainability and seek to “do well by doing good.”She was promoted to CEO in 2006, not long before the mortgage crisis-fueled Great Recession.And as she steps aside, the company is highlighting her strong financial results. Shareholder returns rose 162 percent between December 2006 and December 2017. And the company’s net revenue has grown from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017.Nooyi is a rare minority female CEO in the business world. As of May, according to Fortune, there were just 24 female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies.She grew up in Chennai, India. The Wall Street Journal notes that “during food shortages in the 1960s her middle-class family stood in line for rice rations studded with stones.”In India, Nooyi played cricket as well as lead guitar in a rock band before heading to the Yale School of Management in 1978, according to Freakonomics Radio.She joined PepsiCo in 1994, rising through the ranks to become chief executive in 2006.In an interview with the program earlier this year, Nooyi described how different it felt to become CEO compared with other leadership positions.”When you become CEO, overnight you are the person calling all the shots, you’re responsible for making sure you get all the information from the company, crystallize it down to, simple ideas, and then tell the organization what to do,” she said. “Day one, you have to be ready to take on the mantle of being CEO.”She said the shift toward healthier products required totally realigning the company’s “innovation, marketing, execution and budgets” — and then changing the company’s culture.Nooyi said she has had to bear a different level of scrutiny than male CEOs, and that figuring out how to help more women climb the ranks remains a huge challenge:”How are we going to attract women who are more than 50 percent of all the college graduates who are getting all the top grades? How are you going to attract women to the workforce, where we need them, but allow them to balance having a family and taking care of aging parents, because they’re all part of a sandwich generation today, and still allow them to contribute productively to the workforce? I don’t have an answer to that. It’s got to be a concerted effort on the part of governments, societies, families, companies — all of us coming together.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

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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

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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

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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

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The world is getting greenerThats according to C

first_imgThe world is getting greener.That’s according to Chi Chen, a doctoral student in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. Chen has been mining data collected by an orbiting NASA camera that monitors green vegetation on Earth’s surface, day by day. This week, Chen and his colleagues published a new study showing that the amount of our planet’s land surface covered by green leaves increased between 2000 and 2017. The extent of the global greening is bigger than previously measured using other, less precise instruments. Even more interesting: Chen was able to pinpoint the causes of increasing — or decreasing — leaf cover in particular areas.In some places, changes in leaf cover apparently resulted from weather and climate change. The growing season is getting longer in some temperate areas, and rising carbon dioxide levels may be producing bigger, leafier plants.One large area of Brazil lost vegetation. “I personally checked the data, and that’s because of drought,” Chen says. The most striking changes, though, were the result of human decisions in China and India. Both countries have been getting a lot greener. Molly Brown, a geographer at the University of Maryland, has seen this greening up close. “These are really good examples of how policy can really make a difference,” she says.The greening of India, Brown says, comes from a huge expansion of irrigated agriculture: “Instead of having just crops when it’s raining, they also have a whole six months of cropping and greenness when it’s not raining.”This version of greening isn’t really so great for the environment, though. The irrigation drains groundwater, vegetation is wiped away at harvest time and the extra fertilizer farmers use releases greenhouse gases.In China, though, about half of the new leaf cover that Chen detected appears to be the result of a massive reforestation effort. It’s a government-sponsored attempt to prevent catastrophic dust storms that resulted from earlier deforestation.”They are really doing a good job,” Brown says. They have a large and comprehensive program of tree growing, tree planting, tree maintenance.”Those trees likely will stay in place, capturing dust and also carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas. They’ll store that carbon in wood and roots and soil, doing their part to slow global warming. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

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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

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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

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Jeremy Corbyn has said that the Conservative Party

first_imgJeremy Corbyn has said that the Conservative Party’s claims to care about workers rights are insincere, given their past record.Theresa May had claimed to be committed to protecting and extending workers’ rights in an attempt to get Labour MPs to support her Brexit deal.However, Corbyn said that, for many Tory MPs, weakening workers’ rights is part of the appeal of Brexit.“Just look at the record of the party opposite,” he said, “they attacked trade union rights through the trade union act. They kept this house up all night, opposing the minimum wage in 1997. They’re the party that introduced employment tribunal fees and introduced the public sector pay cap.”“For many of them, Mr Speaker,” he finished, “ripping up rights is what Brexit is all about. Tags:Tories /Labour /Minimum Wage /Conservatives /Worker’s Rights /Trade Unions /Employment Tribunal fees /Corbyn /trade union act / The Conservatives claim they care about workers’ rights.Their record says otherwise. pic.twitter.com/hydBI0u2mv— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 12, 2019last_img read more

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Childrens Tumor Foundation establishes significant research initiative to combat NF2

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 23 2019On the occasion of World NF2 Awareness Day, the Children’s Tumor Foundation has announced the establishment of a significant research initiative dedicated to finding effective treatments for NF2, along with a substantial investment of $2.3 million in this bold new effort. Called the ‘NF2 Accelerator Initiative’, this three-year undertaking will be dedicated to bringing active NF2 treatments to the clinic (and patients) by expanding the clinical drug pipeline for NF2, improving drug selection through the development of innovative testing models, and the development of gene therapy options that address the underlying genetic causes of NF2.Neurofibromatosis, also known as NF, is an under-recognized genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and manifests in three distinct forms: NF1, NF2, and schwannomatosis. NF2 is the second most common type of NF and affects approximately 1 in every 25,000 people of all populations. It is caused by mutations in genes located on chromosome 22, and is a progressive disorder characterized by many different manifestations, including the development of tumors such as vestibular schwannomas, meningiomas and ependymomas. NF2 can lead to a variety of symptoms, including hearing loss, tinnitus, balance problems, and more. While the tumors are benign, their location in the body limits surgical options and can create serious health issues, with no effective non-surgical treatment options currently available.As a global leader of NF research, the Children’s Tumor Foundation is dedicated to developing cures for all three forms of NF. The Foundation and its partners have bolstered the NF2 research field through a team science approach, called Synodos. Launched in 2014, Synodos for NF2 brought together a multidisciplinary team of scientists from 12 world-class labs at academic and medical centers of excellence who pledged to work together. The Synodos teams shared information, datasets and results in real-time at every step of research development. (All that data is now publicly available at nfdataportal.org). That collaborative effort resulted in the identification of promising new clinical candidates for NF2, and today’s announcement of the NF2 Accelerator Initiative leverages that new knowledge into a new and ambitious structure, with the goal of speeding up the drug discovery process.The NF2 Accelerator Initiative will concentrate on opportunities in three areas:1. Expand the Clinical Drug Pipeline for NF2This effort will focus on discovering novel therapeutic targets and the development of preliminary biomarkers to help validate existing therapeutic targets for NF2. In order to expand the pipeline, CTF is planning to: Source:Children’s Tumor Foundation Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degeneration2. Improve Drug Selection for NF2This focus is on the development of animal models to improve drug testing and efficacy within NF2. Today on NF2 Awareness Day, we’re proud to announce the next chapter of NF2 research aimed at bringing treatment options to those who are living with neurofibromatosis type 2 faster. By expanding the clinical drug pipeline, improving drug selection, and developing gene therapy options, we’re pushing forward in the development of critical innovations to help solve the challenges of NF2, and most importantly, improve the lives of NF2 patients and their families.”Annette Bakker, PhD, President of the Children’s Tumor Foundation Lead funding for the NF2 Accelerator Initiative has been provided by Jim and Kathy Thoms; Nicole and Roland Thoms; Carol Harrison Kalagher; and Beth and John Morris. To support the NF2 Accelerator Initiative, please visit ctf.org/endnf2.center_img Based on the success of the Foundation’s Synodos for NF1 pig models, the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) recently developed similar animal models for NF2. This phase of the NF2 Accelerator project will expand research on these models and provide better understanding of how different manifestations of NF2 develop over time. Development of image-based animal models for vestibular schwannomas to combat the limited availability of preclinical resources that allow for efficient drug testing. 3. Gene Therapy for NF2Much of NF2 drug discovery and development is primarily focused on inhibiting the processes that are activated as a consequence of the loss of the NF2 gene. CTF has invested in gene therapies in the past but has now received a very exciting gene therapy proposal that has the ability to be a real treatment option for patients with NF2. Participate in and co-fund a phase 2 clinical trial using Brigatinib, a promising drug that came out of the Synodos for NF2 effort. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company has agreed to co-invest in the trial. Study protocol and clinical trial site selection is being developed. The trial is aimed to be open for recruitment soon. Offer Drug Discovery Awards to researchers and institutions focused on the next phase of NF2 clinical candidates. An RFA (Request for Application) is being launched today to support exploratory and development drug discovery projects. Information can be found at ctf.org. Offer Young Investigator Awards to early-stage researchers as an investment in basic research and the expansion of understanding of the processes that drive NF2. These awards will be available in 2020.last_img read more

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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

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Social robots can lead to more positive emotions in sick children study

first_imgJoining Breazeal and Logan on the paper are: Sooyeon Jeong, a PhD student in the Personal Robots group; Brianna O’Connell, Duncan Smith-Freedman, and Peter Weinstock, all of Boston Children’s Hospital; and Matthew Goodwin and James Heathers, both of Northeastern University.Boosting moodFirst prototyped in 2006, Huggable is a plush teddy bear with a screen depicting animated eyes. While the eventual goal is to make the robot fully autonomous, it is currently operated remotely by a specialist in the hall outside a child’s room. Through custom software, a specialist can control the robot’s facial expressions and body actions, and direct its gaze. The specialists could also talk through a speaker — with their voice automatically shifted to a higher pitch to sound more childlike — and monitor the participants via camera feed. The tablet-based avatar of the bear had identical gestures and was also remotely operated.Related StoriesPuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDCWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaDuring the interventions involving Huggable — involving kids ages 3 to 10 years — a specialist would sing nursery rhymes to younger children through robot and move the arms during the song. Older kids would play the I Spy game, where they have to guess an object in the room described by the specialist through Huggable.Through self-reports and questionnaires, the researchers recorded how much the patients and families liked interacting with Huggable. Additional questionnaires assessed patient’s positive moods, as well as anxiety and perceived pain levels. The researchers also used cameras mounted in the child’s room to capture and analyze speech patterns, characterizing them as joyful or sad, using software.A greater percentage of children and their parents reported that the children enjoyed playing with Huggable more than with the avatar or traditional teddy bear. Speech analysis backed up that result, detecting significantly more joyful expressions among the children during robotic interventions. Additionally, parents noted lower levels of perceived pain among their children.The researchers noted that 93 percent of patients completed the Huggable-based interventions, and found few barriers to practical implementation, as determined by comments from the specialists.A previous paper based on the same study found that the robot also seemed to facilitate greater family involvement in the interventions, compared to the other two methods, which improved the intervention overall. “Those are findings we didn’t necessarily expect in the beginning,” says Jeong, also a co-author on the previous paper. “We didn’t tell family to join any of the play sessions — it just happened naturally. When the robot came in, the child and robot and parents all interacted more, playing games or in introducing the robot.”An automated, take-home botThe study also generated valuable insights for developing a fully autonomous Huggable robot, which is the researchers’ ultimate goal. They were able to determine which physical gestures are used most and least often, and which features specialists may want for future iterations. Huggable, for instance, could introduce doctors before they enter a child’s room or learn a child’s interests and share that information with specialists. The researchers may also equip the robot with computer vision, so it can detect certain objects in a room to talk about those with children.”In these early studies, we capture data … to wrap our heads around an authentic use-case scenario where, if the bear was automated, what does it need to do to provide high-quality standard of care,” Breazeal says.In the future, that automated robot could be used to improve continuity of care. A child would take home a robot after a hospital visit to further support engagement, adherence to care regimens, and monitoring well-being.”We want to continue thinking about how robots can become part of the whole clinical team and help everyone,” Jeong says. “When the robot goes home, we want to see the robot monitor a child’s progress. … If there’s something clinicians need to know earlier, the robot can let the clinicians know, so [they’re not] surprised at the next appointment that the child hasn’t been doing well.”Next, the researchers are hoping to zero in on which specific patient populations may benefit the most from the Huggable interventions. “We want to find the sweet spot for the children who need this type of extra support,” Logan says. Source:Massachusetts Institute of Technology Child life staff provide a lot of human interaction to help normalize the hospital experience, but they can’t be with every kid, all the time. Social robots create a more consistent presence throughout the day. There may also be kids who don’t always want to talk to people, and respond better to having a robotic stuffed animal with them. It’s exciting knowing what types of support we can provide kids who may feel isolated or scared about what they’re going through.”First author Deirdre Logan, a pediatric psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 26 2019A new study demonstrates, for the first time, that “social robots” used in support sessions held in pediatric units at hospitals can lead to more positive emotions in sick children.Many hospitals host interventions in pediatric units, where child life specialists will provide clinical interventions to hospitalized children for developmental and coping support. This involves play, preparation, education, and behavioral distraction for both routine medical care, as well as before, during, and after difficult procedures. Traditional interventions include therapeutic medical play and normalizing the environment through activities such as arts and crafts, games, and celebrations.For the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the MIT Media Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Northeastern University deployed a robotic teddy bear, “Huggable,” across several pediatric units at Boston Children’s Hospital. More than 50 hospitalized children were randomly split into three groups of interventions that involved Huggable, a tablet-based virtual Huggable, or a traditional plush teddy bear. In general, Huggable improved various patient outcomes over those other two options.The study primarily demonstrated the feasibility of integrating Huggable into the interventions. But results also indicated that children playing with Huggable experienced more positive emotions overall. They also got out of bed and moved around more, and emotionally connected with the robot, asking it personal questions and inviting it to come back later to meet their families. “Such improved emotional, physical, and verbal outcomes are all positive factors that could contribute to better and faster recovery in hospitalized children,” the researchers write in their study.Although it is a small study, it is the first to explore social robotics in a real-world inpatient pediatric setting with ill children, the researchers say. Other studies have been conducted in labs, have studied very few children, or were conducted in public settings without any patient identification.But Huggable is designed only to assist health care specialists — not replace them, the researchers stress. “It’s a companion,” says co-author Cynthia Breazeal, an associate professor of media arts and sciences and founding director of the Personal Robots group. “Our group designs technologies with the mindset that they’re teammates. We don’t just look at the child-robot interaction. It’s about [helping] specialists and parents, because we want technology to support everyone who’s invested in the quality care of a child.”last_img read more

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Broadcom shareholders approve plan to move back to US

Broadcom CEO Hock Tan visited the White House last November where he told President Donald Trump the chipmaker would be moving back to the US Citation: Broadcom shareholders approve plan to move back to US (2018, March 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-broadcom-shareholders.html Explore further Broadcom withdraws Qualcomm offer after Trump blocks bid © 2018 AFP Broadcom said Friday that its shareholders overwhelmingly approved a plan to move the computer chipmaking giant back to the United States from Singapore. 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. The company, which saw its huge buyout offer for rival Qualcomm blocked this month by President Donald Trump on national security grounds, said that the move will be completed on April 4, subject to approval by the High Court of the Republic of Singapore.Broadcom said more than 99 percent of its shareholders voted in favor of the plan.Earlier this month Trump issued an order barring the proposed $117 billion hostile takeover of Qualcomm, citing credible evidence such a deal “threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”It would have been the biggest-ever deal in the tech sector.Trump’s order made no mention of China, but an earlier letter from the US Treasury Department warned that a takeover might hurt US leadership in 5G, super-fast fifth-generation wireless networks now being deployed, and consequently pose a threat to US security.The presidential action was allowed because Broadcom is a foreign entity, but would not have been possible had it completed its redomiciliation.Broadcom was founded in California but moved its headquarters after a 2015 deal that merged it with Avago Technologies.On March 14, Broadcom said it was withdrawing its offer for Qualcomm. read more

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Bayer to cut 12000 jobs after Monsanto takeover

first_img The planned job cuts will affect about one in every ten of the group’s 118,200 posts, “a significant number of them in Germany”, said the group in a statement.Bayer swallowed Monsanto in one of Germany’s biggest ever corporate takeovers at a cost of 63 billion euros in June.But barely two months later, a court ruling in the US left Bayer with multi-million-dollar damages to pay as the judge found that its newly acquired subsidiary Monsanto should have warned a user about cancer risks from its herbicide Roundup.Announcing details of the restructuring, Bayer said it planned to exit its animal health business, in order to concentrate resources on its core businesses of pharmaceuticals, consumer health and crop science.It is also looking at letting go of its Coppertone sun care brand and Dr. Scholl’s foot care product line.Following the tie-up with Monsanto, the group’s crop science division will be among the hardest hit by the job cuts, with 4,100 posts to go.The company said it expected to complete trimming its headcount by the end of 2021. German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer said Thursday it would slash 12,000 jobs in a major restructuring following the mammoth takeover of Monsanto, enabling it to save 2.6 billion euros ($3 billion) a year from 2022. Investors have been nervously watching the group since the cancer ruling in the US over Monsanto’s leading product Roundup, which contains glyphosate Germany’s Bayer completes purchase of Monsanto 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. © 2018 AFPcenter_img Explore further “These changes are necessary and lay the foundation for Bayer to enhance its performance and agility. With these measures, we aim to take full advantage of the growth potential for our businesses,” said Werner Baumann, Bayer board chairman.Glyphosate fearsInvestors gave a muted response to Bayer’s announcement, with shares in the group down 0.73 percent to 63.76 euros at around 1445 GMT, underperforming the DAX which was up 0.37 percent.Investors have been nervously watching the group since the cancer ruling in the US over Monsanto’s leading product Roundup, which contains glyphosate.Chemical campaigners and politicians in the US and Europe argue that glyphosate causes cancer, although Bayer points to scientific studies finding no connection.In October, a San Francisco judge upheld a jury verdict that found Monsanto liable for not warning a groundskeeper that its weed killer product Roundup might cause cancer, but slashed the damages award to $78 million from the initial $289 million.By the end of last month, the US subsidiary was facing 9,300 cases over glyphosate. But Baumann had stuck to its confident outlook in integrating Monsanto.He acknowledged that more lawsuits could come, but reiterated that Bayer would “defend ourselves with all means available.” The planned job cuts will affect about one in every ten of the group’s 118,200 posts Citation: Bayer to cut 12,000 jobs after Monsanto takeover (2018, November 29) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-german-pharmaceutical-company-bayer-jobs.htmllast_img read more

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Khan Academy Kerala govt ink MoU for elearning

first_img COMMENT Sandeep Bapna, India Managing Director, Khan Academy of India education The content enable teachers to track progress, identify gaps in learning, and use data to help individual students Kerala e-learning COMMENTScenter_img Khan Academy of India, a not-for-profit learning content and products organisation, has entered into an MoU with the Kerala government to bring the advantage of e-learning to the state.The partnership aims to empower teachers and enhance learning outcomes of students over a five-year-period, and was signed into effect by top officials in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.Beginning this year, it will cover 4,775 government and aided schools involving close to a lakh of teachers and over 20 lakh students in science and maths enrolled in classes 8 to 12.IMMEDIATE FEEDBACKKhan Academy content enables each student to progress through unlimited quizzes and questions at the right level for them, an official spokesman said. They get immediate feedback as they learn and, when appropriate, learning interventions are provided.Teachers can track progress, identify gaps in learning, and use data to help individual students as well as shape classroom discussion. Learnings from this intervention will be aggregated to inform the rollout across the rest of the schools.The partnership comes in the backdrop of Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) having deployed laptops, projectors and other ICT equipment and broadband connectivity to schools as part of its hi-tech school project.Simultaneously, KITE is developing a resource portal called Samagra, with online educational content and resources for teachers. Khan Academy’s resources would be linked to the portal.TEACHERS’ TRAININGIn 2018-19, KITE will impart subject-specific training to all one lakh-plus teachers to use resources available on Samagra and on Khan Academy. For the first year, KITE will enhance the ICT infrastructure in 20 schools to support personalised learning.Sandeep Bapna, India Managing Director, Khan Academy of India, told BusinessLine that the goal is to help students build strong foundation in these areas and move away form rote learning.“There are instructional videos as also practice problems where they can hone skills. Our belief is that if we do it right that would really unlock a huge potential in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) areas.”BUILDING CONTENTSpecifically, Khan Academy is doing a few things here, says he. One, it is building more and more content and aligning that to the national CBSE curriculum. It is also adding quite a lot to the practice content.Second, it is going to make available content in multiple languages, or, in as many languages as possible. Here it works with partners. For instance, for Kannada, it has a partnership with the Karnataka government where its teachers are building content.“We provide the knowhow, support and mentoring to creators for building this content. Other than this, we’ve a project going in Tamil, Hindi, Hinglish, Gujarati, and Bangla,”, Bapna said.Third, Khan Academy is looking to bring the content in classrooms and schools. In this context, the partnership with the Kerala government is a momentous one. A teacher can use the Khan Academy resources in a classroom setting. October 25, 2018 Published on SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more

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