DAY TWO NATIONAL 18’S SUMMARY

first_imgDay two of the National 18 Years Touch Football Championships was another of picture perfect conditions. Queensland Secondary Schools Touch (QSST) and NSW Combined High Schools (NSWCHS) continued their dominance in both the Mens and Womens competition, but there are certainly other teams setting themselves to challenge for a finals berth on Saturday. MENS: In the Mens division NSWCHS, Sydney Mets, QSST, Central Queensland and North Queensland are looking like they will all be fighting for the title, although an upset or two can never be discounted. The Sydney Mets are looking to challenge the school sides, with Youth World Cup 20’s member Jai Ayoub leading the way with seven touchdowns for the tournament. NSWCHS have also had a relatively easy run, scoring double figures in each of the first four matches; Alyd Owen is leading the side with nine touchdowns for the tournament. QSST have not been troubled except for a 5-5 draw against Central Queensland, who look like a side that may just cause an upset in the finals. The local Northern Eagles side has played well and may just scrape into the top eight finals with matches against South Australia and Victoria still to play. South Australia and Victoria have struggled throughout the tournament, beaten severely most matches, and will no doubt be anticipating their match against each other. NT broke through for their first win at the Championships beating the ACT 7-3. WOMENS: In the Womens division a QSST side stacked with Australian representative players looks difficult to beat, scoring a remarkable 43 touchdowns for the tournament in just the first four matches. Gemma Etheridge and Belinda Hammett have each scored six touchdowns after four rounds, but with all of the QSST side able to score and do so multiple times, it seems the QSST side are red hot favourites. South Queensland Border Districts (SQBD) will be one side looking to challenge their Queensland competition, undefeated in pool three so far. The ACT look like they will miss out on a position in the top eight finals, disappointing considering the improvement they have shown in the past two years. TouchWest (WA) appear to be taking up the challenge to the dominance of NSW and Queensland however, after challenging the top ranked NSWCHS side in a tough 6-4 encounter. If TouchWest can beat NSWCCC in their match tomorrow, they will be virtually guranteed a top eight final and the highest finish of any non-Queensland or NSW side. NSWCHS had another tough match against the NSWCCC side before finishing round four with an easy 15-0 win over SA. Ashleigh Dobbins and Jessie Shea are leading the NSWCHS side, with six touchdowns each for the tournament. The afternoon borught some of the tighest competition so far, NSWCIS and SunCoast playing out a 4-4 draw, while the Southern Suns and the Scorpions also recorded a 4-4 draw. SWQ held off NT 5-4, denying the NT their first win of the 2004 Championships. The final round matches will be played on Friday morning, followed by the qualifying finals Friday afternoon. Play-offs, semi finals and grand finals will be played on Saturday from 8:00am. The Womens grand final will begin at 3:00pm Saturday, followed by the Mens grand final at 4:00pm. Entry to the Coffs Harbour International Sports Stadium is free. For all individual statistics and team positions on the ladders please use the links to the Sporting Pulse results page. This is found on the ATA results story. By Rachel Moyle, media@austouch.com.aulast_img read more

Agriculture Ministry to Lobby EPA on Pesticide Use

first_imgThe Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is seeking the assistance of key regulators in the United States, to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on pesticide options.Portfolio Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, explained that following on the work of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) committee, several pesticides have been evaluated and proven effective; however, they are not approved by the EPA.He said the Ministry will be soliciting the support of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “as we make representation to the EPA for having other pesticide options, besides Botran, which is the only chemical approved to date”.The FSMA committee was set up to develop a strategy to improve the capacity of farmers and fresh produce exporters to become compliant with the legislation, which is aimed at ensuring the safety of foods entering the North American country. The law requires that pesticides are used according to their EPA-approved label use.Minister Clarke, who was speaking at the opening of a training programme in good agricultural practices at the Knutsford Court Hotel New Kingston, on February 18, also used the opportunity to request the continued support of the USDA and FDA in strengthening the country’s food safety capacity. “You will recall that under Section 305 of the new FSMA, there is a regulation which speaks to ‘Building Food Safety Capacity of Foreign Governments’ and we wish to highlight to you that immediately, we are available for such assistance,” he stated.The five-day course, implemented by the Ministry in collaboration with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), is being executed by the US-based Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN).It aims to improve the competencies of officers of the Ministry and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), farmers, exporters, among other stakeholders.last_img read more

No Advisory to Close Schools Today – Education Ministry

first_imgThe Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is reiterating that schools should NOT be closed without prior approval from the Ministry.Information reaching the Ministry is that some teachers who turned up for work and in some cases principals had told students that there would be no school tomorrow. This is in contravention of the Ministry’s instructions.Seventy-five of the 466 schools checked today had classes in the earlier part of the day up to just before mid-day. Others had classes up to the end of the normal school day.In the meantime, the Ministry will be deploying additional personnel tomorrow, March 13, to support the schools.This support includes Regional Response Teams (RRTs) comprising officers from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, selected tertiary institutions, Secondary Schools Student bodies and the National Parent Teachers Association of Jamaica.last_img read more

Public Awareness and Community Engagement Training

first_img(Baltimore, MD) – On Saturday, July 22, 2017 at the McElderly Community Association Center, located 611 N. Montford Ave. from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM, a newly formed coalition of community-stakeholders, a group calling themselves the Neighborhood Outreach Services Alliance, is hosting a Public Awareness and Community Engagement Training, in partnership with the Baltimore Guardian Angels to prepare themselves, members and allies with the skills and training they need to take to the street to impact violence reduction from a holistic approach, and to connect neighborhood Baltimore City residents with services to improve their quality of life.The group is extending an invitation to residents from throughout Baltimore City to participate in this training, and to sign up to participate in their grassroots, community-based effort.For more information, contact: Elder Cortly C.D. Witherspoon, Sr. at (410) 500-2168.last_img read more

Belgian cable operator Telenet added 116700 net d

first_imgBelgian cable operator Telenet added 116,700 net digital TV customers in the first half of the year, including 71,300 in the second quarter.Triple-play customers grew 9% to 818,700 at the end of June, representing 38% of the company’s customer base. The operator also added 17,600 post-paid mobile customers in the quarter.Telenet ended the first half with 2.152 million cable TV subscribers, down 4% due to a 30% drop in analogue customers. Digital TV customers numbered 1.472 million, up 17% and broadband customers numbered 1.339 million, up 6%. Fixed telephony subs were up 9% to 920,200, while mobile customers were up 21% to 275,400. Overall ARPU per customer relationship was up 10% to €45.10.Telenet posted revenues of €727 million for the first half, up 9% year-on-year, with a slight tailing off of growth in the second quarter due to lower standalone handset sales, which it said was due to a shortage of Apple iPhone 4S inventory.last_img read more

Vivendi has secured overall control of Société dE

first_imgVivendi has secured overall control of Société d’Edition de Canal Plus (SECP), the company that controls the Canal+ premium channel family in France, as a result of the tender offer it initiated in May.Vivendi now controls 93.6% of SECP, with the tender resulting in the transfer of 45.2% of the share capital of the unit to it, on top of the 48.5% it already owned.Vivendi said it would reopen the public tender for a period of at least 10 stock market days at the same price of €8 per share to enable shareholders that not yet tendered their shares to do so.Vivendi initiated its tender offer in May after it said it received a request from “a large number of SECP’s shareholders” to do so. The unit controls Canal+’s domestic premium channels and its terrestrial broadcasting licence in France. Vivendi’s move, which was only made possible as a result of a 2009 change in the law to enable a single operator to control a terrestrial broadcasting licence, will simplify its ownership of Canal+ and give chairman Vincent Bolloré greater control.Vivendi controls its stake SECP through its 100% ownership of parent company Canal+ Group.last_img read more

I still get the impression that there are forces b

first_imgI still get the impression that there are forces beneath the surface that spell big changes ahead.The gold price traded in a tight range throughout the Friday trading session everywhere on Planet Earth.  It appeared that every time gold tried to break above the $1,740 spot price mark, it got sold off…with the sell off at that London p.m. fix being the most obvious.The high tick of the day at the afternoon gold fix was $1,740.50 spot.  From there, gold got sold off…and closed for a small loss…down $1.10 on the day at $1,738.80 spot.  Net volume wasn’t overly heavy at 117,000 contracts.Silver traded sideways up until 10:00 a.m. in London…and then got sold down to its low of the day [around 32.05 spot] shortly after 1:00 p.m. GMT…about fifteen minutes before the Comex open.The subsequent rally got hit hard the moment that the London p.m. gold fix was in at 3:00 p.m. GMT…10:00 a.m. in New York…and then traded sideways into the 5:15 p.m. Eastern time electronic close.  The high tick at the fix was $32.89 spot.Silver finished the Friday session at $32.63 spot…up 32 cents on the day.  Net volume was pretty decent at 37,500 contracts…as I’m sure that JPMorgan et al were going short against all comers in that 2-hour early morning rally in New York, because it didn’t look like a short-covering rally to me.The dollar index opened at 80.81…and then traded lower…with the low tick [about 80.63] coming around 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time.  From there it rallied until precisely 8:00 a.m. in New York, before trading mostly sideways for the remainder of the day.  The index closed just above the 81.00 mark at 81.05…up 24 basis points on the day.The dollar index and the gold price were in sync right up until 8:00 a.m. in New York…and then broke down entirely.Despite the fact that gold’s high tick came at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time, there was absolutely no sign of it in the share price action…as they were under selling pressure right from the 9:30 a.m. open of the equity markets in New York.  The HUI finished virtually on its low of the day…down 1.60%.Even though the silver price closed well into positive territory again, it didn’t help the shares too much…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed down 1.09%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 4 gold and 8 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday.Over at GLD, an authorized participant withdrew 29,068 troy ounces of gold.  But SLV went in the other direction.  For the second day in a row, an authorized participant added a big chunk of silver.  This time it was 1,452,249 troy ounces.  On Wednesday it was 1,549,091 troy ounces of silver that was added, so a hair over 3 million ounces was added in those two day alone…and since last Friday [Nov. 2]…SLV has taken in almost 4.3 million ounces in total.  I’m sure Ted Butler will have something to say about this in his weekend commentary to his paying subscribers later today.Well, the good folks over at shortsqueeze.com finally updated their website with the latest short positions for SLV and GLD…but it was in the wee hours of this morning that it finally happened.  The short position in SLV declined by 9.24 percent…from 14,621,500 shares/ounces, down to 13,270,700 shares/ounces held short.  That’s still a lot of silver that’s owed to SLV…but don’t forget that 4.3 million ounces have been deposited in SLV since the beginning of the month, so this new short position number is probably wildly out of date by now.The GLD ETF went in the other direction, as the short position increased by 10.22 percent…from 16.99 million shares, to 18.73 million shares…or 1.87 million ounces in total.  That’s 58.16 tonnes of gold that should be on deposit at GLD, but isn’t.It was another big sales day at the U.S. Mint.  They reported selling 6,000 ounces of gold eagles…2,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 350,000 silver eagles.  Month-to-date the mint has sold 37,500 ounces of gold eagles…5,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 1,548,000 silver eagles.  Based on these sales, the silver/gold sales ratio is a bit over 36 to 1.  And as I keep saying…I do hope you’re getting your share, dear reader.The Comex-approved depositories showed that 935,196 troy ounces of silver were received by them on Thursday…and 554,126 troy ounces were shipped the door on the same day.  Of the amount received, JPMorgan Chase took in 785,407 troy ounces, bringing their depository total up to 25,030,654 troy ounces.  The link to that activity is here.Well, the Commitment of Traders Report showed improvements in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver…but certainly not as much as Ted Butler and I were expecting.In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by 4,054 contracts, or about 20.3 million ounces.  The Commercial net short position in silver is now down to 248.4 million ounces.The ‘Big 4’ traders are short 240.3 million ounces…virtually the entire amount of the Commercial net short position of 248.4 million ounces….and are also short a hair north of 45% of the entire Comex futures market in silver on a net basis.  The positions of the other 37 Commercial traders [the raptors] on the short side of the Comex silver market, are immaterial.Ted figures that JPMorgan Chase is still short a bit over 155 million ounces of silver on it’s own…and didn’t improve their position much during the reporting week, despite the big sell off on Friday, November 2nd.  Ted said that the raptors…some of the other 37 small traders [other than the ‘Big 4’] in the Commercial category…bought between 3,000-3,500 long contracts on that sell off.In gold, the Commercial net short position improved by 15,022 contracts, or 1.50 million ounces.  The Commercial net short position is now down to 20.77 million ounces of gold.The ‘Big 4’ short holders are short 13.10 million ounces of gold…and 31.9% of the Comex futures market in gold on a net basis.  The ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 5.41 million ounces of gold.  So the ‘Big 8’ are short 18.51 million ounces of gold, or 45.0% of the entire Comex futures market in gold on a net basis…the same as silver.  The short positions of the other 39 other traders in the Commercial short category are immaterial.As you can see, the tail is wagging the dog in both silver and gold.Here are the ‘Big 4’ and ‘Big 8’ short positions show in “Days of World Production to Cover Short Positions“…Nick Laird’s most excellent graph that lays bare the price management scheme in all four precious metals for the world to see.  The silver short position is particularly egregious…as it always has been.(Click on image to enlarge)The Bank Participation Report for November also showed improvements in the short positions of both the U.S. and non-U.S. banks from the prior month.In silver, 4 U.S. banks are net short 35,252 Comex silver contracts.  Ted figures that JPMorgan holds a bit over 31,000 contracts of that amount all by itself…and I’m guessing that virtually all of the rest are unequally divided up between HSBC USA, Citigroup…and one other U.S. bank…in that order.The 15 non-U.S. banks are net short 14,286 Comex silver contracts…and I’d bet that between 70 and 80 percent of that amount is held by Scotia Mocatta…with the balance split up between the other 14 non-U.S. bank…whose individual positions would be immaterial.From the October report to the November report in silver, the 4 U.S. banks reduced their net short positions by only 2,532 Comex contracts.  The 15 non-U.S. banks reduced their collective net short positions by 2,826 Comex contracts.In gold, 5 U.S. banks are net short 98,101 Comex gold contracts, or 9.81 million ounces…a decline from 10.62 million ounces held short in October.The 21 non-U.S. banks are net short 59,436 Comex gold contracts, or 5.94 million ounces…a decline from  7.86 million ounces held short in October.As I mentioned in the Commitment of Traders report [from which the data for November’s Bank Participation Report is extracted]…the big 4 in silver…and big 8 in gold…are short 45% of each of their respective markets on a net basis.On a gross basis [before all market-neutral spread trades are subtracted] the Bank Participation Report shows that…15 banks are short 23.6% of the entire Comex palladium market…17 banks are net short 35.7% of the Comex platinum market…19 banks are net short 39.5% of the Comex silver market…and 24 banks are net short 38.4% of the entire Comex gold market.Once the spread trades from each market are subtracted from the total open interest…then the short positions, on a percentage basis, shoot sky high…another 5.5 percentage points in silver…and 6.6 percentage points in gold.  I’m sure platinum and palladium would be similar.This is precisely what Nick Laird’s graph above shows in all four precious metals…except its shown in days of world production to cover those short positions…but the ratios remain the same no matter in what unit of measure the graph is computed.I thank reader ‘David in California’ for providing this Reuters chart that requires no further explanation on my part.(Click on image to enlarge)This next chart is courtesy of reader Anthony D. Cattani…and it doesn’t require any further embellishment from me, either.(Click on image to enlarge)Since this is my Saturday column, here are all the stories that were still sitting in my in-box up until midnight last night.  I hope you can find the time to read the ones that interest you.Liberals seem to assume that if you don’t believe in their particular political solutions, then you don’t really care about the people that they claim to want to help. – Thomas SowellI have a couple of musical selections for you today…one a pop classic from the early 1970s…and the other one was a ‘classic’ from Billboard’s Top 10 in 1834.The tune from 1972 that was a big hit…and the only hit for British singer Daniel Boone…a.k.a. Peter Charles Green…and I remember playing it on radio station CHAR when I was in Alert, North West Territories.  If you can remember the words, feel free to sing along, because I’m sure you’ll remember the tune…and the link is here.Niccolò Paganini (1782–1840) encouraged Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) to write Harold en Italie. The two first met after a concert of Berlioz’s works conducted by Narcisse Girard on 22 December 1833, three years after the premiere of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Paganini had acquired a superb viola, a Stradivarius — “But I have no suitable music. Would you like to write a solo for viola? You are the only one I can trust for this task.”Berlioz began “by writing a solo for viola, but one which involved the orchestra in such a way as not to reduce the effectiveness of the orchestral contribution.” When Paganini saw the sketch of the allegro movement, with all the rests in the viola part, he told Berlioz it would not do, and that he expected to be playing continuously. They then parted, with Paganini disappointed.Harold in Italy was premiered on 23 November 1834 with the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, Chrétien Urhan playing the viola part, Narcisse Girard conducting.Paganini did not hear the work he had commissioned until 16 December 1838; then he was so overwhelmed by it that, following the performance, he dragged Berlioz onto the stage and there knelt and kissed his hand before a wildly cheering audience and applauding musicians. A few days later he sent Berlioz a letter of congratulations, enclosing a bank draft for 20,000 francs.The viola is a strange instrument…and some string players, notably violinists, look on it with thinly disguised contempt.  One first violinist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra told me the most famous of viola jokes…and it goes something like this… Q: What’s the difference between a viola and an onion? A: Nobody cries when you chop up a viola… But, having said that, this 4-moment symphony is a jewel…and it took me many listenings before I began to appreciate the work for what it is…and it would be certainly included in any ‘desert island’ collection I was putting together.This video recording is from 1976…and features the Orchestre National de France.  Donald McInnes is the soloist…and Leonard Bernstein conducts.  It’s posted over at the youtube.com Internet site…and the link is here.I wouldn’t read too much into yesterday’s price action, although it was obvious that JPMorgan Chase et al were standing by at the London p.m. gold fix to make sure that none of the four precious metals got out of hand to the upside once the ‘fix’ was in.Although I’m happy that we’re enjoying a bit of a rally since the big smack-down on November 2nd…I’m still not prepared to break out the party favours just yet.  The Commercial net short positions in both silver and gold in the Commitment of Traders Report, although better, are nowhere near a wildly bullish buy point…so I’m still on the look out for “in your ear”.But, having said all that, I still get the impression that there are forces beneath the surface that spell big changes ahead.  It’s just the timeline that I’m not certain about.  One thing that I would be happy to bet some money on is that by May 1, 2013 the price of both silver and gold will be substantially higher than they are at the moment…as JPMorgan Chase et al can’t keep this up forever.  How fast we get there and how high we go, will very much depend on whether the bullion banks are still in control of the price as these expected rallies get underway.Will they be short covering rallies…or will the powers-that-be just stand aside for a little while and let the prices rise in sort a controlled retreat fashion…which is the process they’ve been using since 1999.  I don’t know the answer to that…and only time will tell.But I’m still ‘all in’.See you on Tuesday. Sponsor Advertisement On October 30, 2012, Mason Graphite Inc. began trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “LLG”. Mason Graphite is focused on the exploration and development of its Lac Guéret graphite property located in northeastern Quebec. Based on the current National Instrument 43-101 compliant Measured & Indicated mineral resource of approximately 7.6 million tonnes grading 20.4% Cgr (carbon as graphite), the Lac Guéret property hosts one of the highest grade graphite deposits known in the world. Mason Graphite is led by Benoit Gascon, CA CMA, who has held 20 years of executive positions at Timcal, including over 6 years as CEO. Timcal, now owned by Imerys, is one of the largest graphite producers in the world. Mason Graphite has 56.9M shares outstanding and 74M shares on a fully diluted basis. For more information on the company, please visit our website, email info@masongraphite.com or call +1 (416) 861-1685.last_img read more

I see you standing here asking for help about on

first_imgI see you standing here, asking for help, about once a week. You are always polite, and I respect that. I’d like to do something for you… something that would matter long-term. Giving you a few notes or coins now and then may be fine, but I’d really like to improve your situation more permanently. In other words, I’d like to give you a job. I used to hire people, and I especially liked hiring people who had been denied breaks. I did that whenever I could. If you and I could be transported back in time, I’d hire you. And I’d feel good about it, because I think having a job would do you a lot of good. That fact is, however, that I can’t hire you, and I’d like you to know why. I used to run my own contracting firm. I enjoyed the work and I liked being able to drive past a building and say, “I made that.” Having employees, however, was torture. I liked having them in some ways, of course – I liked the guys and it made me happy to see them take care of their families with paychecks that I signed. That was very gratifying. But it wasn’t enough, and there are three reasons why: #1: Making Payroll My first problem was simply cash flow. I was solely responsible for having enough money in the bank every week, and that could be nerve-wracking, especially when customers weren’t paying their bills on time. It’s not fun to think that a family won’t be able to buy groceries if you can’t collect your invoices. Still, that part didn’t cause me to give up on employees. It was hard, but so long as my employees were working, we were making money, so there was always something coming in at some point. Somehow, I was able to pull it off. #2: Being Hated Over time, some of my employees became jerks. This seemed to grow from envy and from stupid ideas about labor versus management. These guys decided that I was getting rich off of them, and demanded I pay them more – more than they deserved and more than the company could afford. And the really nasty part was this: It was always the guys I had done the most for who hated me most. And as soon as I sat down with them and explained why I couldn’t pay them more, they started stealing from me. I fired the thieves, of course, but these experiences really soured me on employees. I had not only given these guys a job, but I had legitimately felt good about helping to feed their families. In return, they hated me, called me names, and stole from me. By itself, that was almost enough to make me swear off employing people, but not quite. #3: The IRS What really drove me over the edge was dealing with the government and the IRS in particular. They were abominable. I had to file forms with every payroll, and if anything on them was wrong, they penalized me – heavily. And if I paid them a single day late, they penalized me – heavily. And if they said I did something wrong – even if I didn’t – there was no way to change their verdict. Reason and evidence simply didn’t matter. I eventually talked to a tax lawyer who explained the situation to me. He said: Forget about fighting, Paul. There is no ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in tax court. You’re automatically guilty, and you have to try to prove yourself innocent… which is very hard and very expensive. Just pay them. I know you hate that, but you have no other choice. Fighting them would ruin you. It wasn’t just the money that got me about this – it was that they were nasty, arrogant, heartless tyrants. Having the facts on my side didn’t matter. Intelligent arguments didn’t matter. Either I paid what they demanded or they would hurt me worse. In many ways, it wasn’t much different than the local gang of street thugs demanding protection money. So, that’s why I can’t hire you: Having employees locked me into a single role in life, that of a despised slave. When I finally realized that, I walked away. I was lucky that I had the ability to move into specialties and to thrive in difficult niches; other guys probably couldn’t have. So… What I really want you to know is this: I’d like to help you. You deserve a chance at a decent job. I’d like to be the guy who gave it to you, but the system demands that I must live as a slave in order to do so. And I won’t do that. I very much wish that things were different, and I feel sorry every time I drive by that I can’t hire you. But I would never ask anyone to live as a slave, and I won’t live that way myself. I wish you well, and if life in these parts should ever pull back from the present reign of oppression, I hope to run into you. And on that day, I hope to either hire you or do business with you. We would both have much to gain from it. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.comlast_img read more

More than two decades after South Africa ousted a

first_imgMore than two decades after South Africa ousted a racist apartheid system that trapped the vast majority of South Africans in poverty, more than half the country still lives below the national poverty line and most of the nation’s wealth remains in the hands of a small elite.”The country was very unequal in 1994 [at the end of apartheid] and now 25 years later South Africa is the most unequal country in the world,” says Victor Sulla, a senior economist for the World Bank in charge of southern Africa. “There is no country that we have data about where the inequality is higher than South Africa.”Sulla is the lead author of a new report on poverty and inequality in South Africa.There are various ways to look at economic inequality and South Africa scores terribly on all of them. Income inequality looks at the gap between what the lowest paid workers earn each day versus the salaries of top employees.”The people at the bottom in South Africa, they get wages comparable to the people who live in Bangladesh. It’s very, very poor. Wages of less than $50 a month,” Sulla says. “If you take the top ten percent, they live like in Austria. So it’s very high level even by European standards or even by U.S. standards. And we are talking just about employees, people who are getting paid.” And not the super-rich who are earning income from factories or property or other investments.In addition to a huge problem with income inequality, South Africa also has a significant problem with wealth inequality. Wealth inequality looks at the range of a person’s assets. So a businessman in Johanesburg might own real estate, factories or other investments while a farmer in KwaZulu Natal might not even own the land she’s tilling.This new report from the World Bank finds that the top 1 percent of South Africans own 70.9 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 60 percent of South Africans collectively control only 7 percent of the country’s assets.”How is that possible? Someone must explain this to me!” exclaims 30-year-old Phiwe Budaza, reached on her cellphone in Cape Town. “How is that even possible?”Budaza, who grew up in the township of Khayelitsha, says inequality is part of life in South Africa.”There’s always been a difference between the white and the black but I think it’s getting worse now,” she says. Before her cellphone battery dies Budaza says she doesn’t have a permanent job. She freelances as a photographer and in her words “hustles” to cover her bills.”I work as a bartender and I work for a rental company that rents cameras and film equipment,” she says.”It’s hard for someone like me who doesn’t have a full-time job to survive in Cape Town. The rent for an apartment [in the city] is like three times what I earn in a month.” She says she ends up living outside the city, which makes it harder to get to some jobs.Budaza is not alone in struggling to make ends meet every month in South Africa. The nation’s official unemployment rate is currently at 27 percent compared to roughly 4 percent in the United States.”South Africa is really facing the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” says the former head of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, about the report. Dlamini-Zuma is a long-time anti-apartheid activist who now heads up a national planning commission in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet.”We are a relatively rich country but with a lot of poor people,” she says.If things don’t change dramatically in South Africa, Dlamini-Zuma adds, the country will fail to reach its goal of eliminating extreme poverty (people earning less than $1.90 a day) by the year 2030.South Africa has been focused on trying to bring down poverty and reduce inequality. And it’s had some success. Post-apartheid, the government launched a significant Black Economic Empowerment program to promote the transfer of white-owned business to black investors. South Africa has invested heavily in social programs including free primary education, a plan for universal health care, infrastructure projects to expand access to clean water and minimum income grants to parents.Sulla at the World Bank says South Africa under the post-apartheid ANC government has been a leader on social programs.”Their social protection programs in terms of different grants and support for the poor are working very well,” he says. “This country is one of the best in the world in terms of the efficiency of its social protection system.”Yet despite these efforts the number of South Africans living below the national poverty has actually been increasing since 2011. In 2015, 55.5 percent of South Africans or more than 30 million people were surviving on less than $5 a day.Sulla says the lack of progress against poverty is partly due to what he calls “opportunity inequality.” Some people have more access to opportunity than others. And the people who’ve traditionally had wealth and economic opportunities continue to enjoy those benefits.Dlamini-Zuma says the legacy of the apartheid regime still casts a long shadow over the opportunities available for millions of South Africans.”We should not shy away from acknowledging that apartheid was a system that systematically excluded black people from the economy, from skills, from everything. So overcoming that has to be a big part of what we do.”She says South Africa’s progress will be measured on the progress it makes against the “dehumanizing scourge” of poverty.”Poverty stops us from reaching our full potential individually and collectively,” she says. “It’s not good to be the country with the highest inequality in the world. We need to get ourselves out of that space. But it’s not going to be easy.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Theres new evidence that mild pulses of electrici

first_imgThere’s new evidence that mild pulses of electricity can relieve depression — if they reach the right target in the brain.A study of 25 people with epilepsy found that those who had symptoms of depression felt better almost immediately when doctors electrically stimulated an area of the brain just above the eyes, a team reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology. These people were in the hospital awaiting surgery and had wires inserted into their brains to help doctors locate the source of their seizures.Several of the patients talked about the change they felt when the stimulation of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex began, says Kristin Sellers, an author of the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. One person’s response was: “Wow, I feel a lot better. … What did you guys do?” The stimulation only lasted a few minutes. After it stopped, the effect on mood quickly faded. To be sure that the effect was real, the researchers also pretended to stimulate the lateral OFC in the same patients without actually running current through the tiny wires implanted in their brains. In those sham treatments, there was no discernible change.The results add to the evidence that patients with depression can be helped with an approach known as deep brain stimulation.DBS is an approved treatment for tremors, including those associated with Parkinson’s disease. But results with depression have been less consistent, and DBS isn’t approved for this purpose by the Food and Drug Administration.The latest study represents “another piece in a very complicated puzzle, a very important piece,” says Dr. Helen Mayberg, a pioneer in the use of DBS to treat depression. The study also offers strong evidence that stimulating the OFC can temporarily improve the mood of a person who is feeling depressed, says Mayberg, who directs the Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics, which is part of the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. But it’s unclear whether the stimulation can produce long-lasting changes, she says. Also, the study couldn’t answer a critical question because it only looked at people who were reporting transient symptoms of depression. “What happens if you did this in people who actually have failed every kind of treatment for a major depressive episode and are chronically and intractably ill,” Mayberg says.Meanwhile, her own team has been able to help about 80 percent of those patients by stimulating a different area of the brain — one that happens to share many connections with the OFC. The latest study offers “more evidence that [DBS] is something that is real and will work for depression,” says Al Fenoy, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.Fenoy is part of a team that has had success treating depression by stimulating yet another brain area that shares connections with the OFC. “We’re all (working) along a very similar pathway,” he says. “One of the common denominators might be this orbitofrontal area.”But it’s also possible that different types of depression will require different targets, Fenoy says.All of the research on brain stimulation reflects a move away from the long-held view that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. “A more sort of modern conception is thinking of depression as a circuit dysfunction, meaning that there’s something about the way cells in the brain are talking to each other that is not quite right,” says Dr. Vikram Rao, an author of the new study and an assistant professor of clinical neurology at UCSF.So researchers have been trying to identify faulty circuits and make them work better using electrical pulses. The challenge has been to find areas that have a really good connection to the malfunctioning circuit”The way that I like to think about it is we’re trying to get onto a highway and there’s a lot of different on-ramps,” Sellers says.The UCSF team took a novel approach to this task by studying patients with epilepsy who were awaiting surgery. That meant they already had wires inserted into their brains to help doctors locate the source of their seizures.In a previous, related study, UCSF researchers had used a different group of epilepsy patients to identify circuits in the brain that indicated whether people were happy or sad. This time, they were able to use these wires to not only monitor various brain circuits involved in mood but also electrically stimulate some of those areas.The researchers were able to use the technique in many different areas in the brain. And Sellers says they got an immediate response when they stimulated the OFC. “What we found was that consistently, stimulation in the lateral OFC was improving mood in symptomatic patients,” Sellers says. What’s more, more powerful stimulation produced a more dramatic improvement in mood, she says. There were no issues with side effects, including mania, which has been seen in some previous experiments with brain stimulation.That’s probably because the OFC offers a really good on-ramp to brain networks involved in depression, Rao says. “It does seem to be a crossroads for connecting many different brain regions that had been implicated in regulating our mood.”And Rao says the results suggest that stimulation of this area is improving the function of a faulty circuit, rather than just making everyone happier.”Only the people who had symptoms [of depression] to start with improved their mood, which suggests that perhaps the effect of what we’re doing is to normalize activity that starts off abnormal,” Rao says. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Sweden Lists Itself on Airbnb for Free

first_img Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Airbnb Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business News reporter Sweden Lists Itself on Airbnb for Free –shares Image credit: Airbnb via PC Mag Forget about a tiny, expensive Manhattan studio apartment: Why not reserve an entire rustic forest on Airbnb for your next camping trip? Or maybe your own private island? Perhaps you’d like to pitch a tent on a secluded beach with huge limestone columns jutting out of it?As long as you’re willing to make Sweden your destination, you can find all of that and more on Airbnb starting on Tuesday, and best of all, it’s free. The listings are actually a marketing gimmick devised by Sweden’s tourism agency to highlight the country’s “freedom to roam laws,” which allow anyone to access and camp on public lands for free, according to the country’s Airbnb profile. “Allemansrätten — or the freedom to roam — is a principle protected by Swedish law that gives all people the right to be free in Swedish nature,” the profile explains. “In other words, Swedish nature isn’t just a piece of land with trees and lakes and cliffs — it’s a home with all the necessities and amenities that any great home should have.”You can’t actually book any of the listings — each one simply includes a “Visit Sweden” link that takes you to the tourism agency’s website instead of a booking button. You also aren’t guaranteed to have the spot you select all to yourself, but considering that Sweden is among the least densely-populated countries in Europe, your odds are pretty good.The Swedish public lands listing is a much-needed bright spot for Airbnb. Critics claim the company strains the supply of affordable housing in major cities, and municipal governments worldwide have passed legislation that restricts the types of listings on the site. Those laws have resulted in years of litigation, especially in the U.S.Perhaps to counteract some of the negative attention, Airbnb appears to have agreed to the Swedish campaign as a goodwill gesture: Fast Company reports that neither the tourism agency nor Airbnb is getting paid. Register Now »center_img Next Article May 24, 2017 This story originally appeared on PCMag Tom Brant 2 min read The marketing gimmick is designed to draw attention to the ‘freedom to roam’ law that allows anyone to visit Swedish public lands for free. Add to Queuelast_img read more

Bloomberg Opens 75 Million Venture Capital Fund

first_img Next Article Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. June 5, 2013 Add to Queue –shares Image credit: qz.com Technologycenter_img Bloomberg L.P. announced today the creation of a $75 million venture capital fund called Bloomberg Beta. It says it will be run strictly for financial return rather than as a means of bringing new products and services to Bloomberg.The fund’s focus, says Roy Bahat, the head of Bloomberg Beta, is on “the next horizon for Bloomberg” in areas such as data technology, media distribution and human-computer interactions. As startups continue to disrupt established markets, many large companies are creating investment arms and incubator programs to pursue innovation.Bloomberg quietly established the fund in January, with headquarters in San Francisco, and it has already made investments in a handful of startups. Among them are cloud-computing provider Nodejitsu and programming-tutorial site Codeacademy.Bloomberg Beta exists as a separate legal entity from its parent company. Bahat says this structure will prevent ethical breaches such as preferential coverage of the startups in its portfolio by reporters in Bloomberg’s news division.Ian Finley, a vice president of research at Gartner, a technology research firm, disagrees. “The legal entity thing doesn’t actually change the picture,” he says. A “side benefit” of Bloomberg Beta may be that it can provide Bloomberg News and Businessweek reporters with “some visibility into reporting areas that their competitors might not have,” says Finley. Bloomberg came under fire last month over news that its reporters routinely spied on the activity of people who were using the company’s Bloomberg Terminals, a computer system used widely in the financial industry.Finley doesn’t doubt that Bloomberg journalists are forbidden from showing favoritism to startups in which Bloomberg Beta actually invests. But he says that won’t necessarily stop the venture capitalists from passing tips to reporters about other startups they have examined. “A typical VC firm of $75 million is not going to make that many investments, but they will review thousands of startups a year,” he says. “So there may be a huge amount of value there, with a very low chance for ethics problems.”But Bahat says his firm won’t provide inside information to the parent company’s news division. “The way that I’ll work with Bloomberg journalists is exactly the same way that I would work with journalists anywhere else,” he says. “I will protect the confidentiality of the companies that we invest in, and of the companies that we don’t invest in.”For a company with a current market capitalization of $1.25 billion, $75 million may seem like a small bank account for a venture fund. But Bahat says it’s “just the right amount of money” for working with early-stage companies. “A fund of this size actually enables you to do a lot,” he says. “We’ll be writing checks at a range of different sizes.”Bloomberg is not the only big media company to cultivate startups. The New York Times Co. also invests in digital startups. What’s more, the Times Co. opened an incubator earlier this year for early-stage media companies. Its inaugural class of three is halfway through the four-month program.”The Times has some of the smartest people in the industry, working on some of the same problems that we are,” says Andrew Whalen, co-founder of Delve, one of the timeSpace startups. Delve is a social news reader and recommendation engine designed to keep organizations on top of crucial news in their industry. “Having access to the knowledge inside this company has been pretty incredible.”Related: The New York Times Gets Into the Incubator GameWhalen calls his tenure so far at timeSpace a mutual learning experience, in which he and his seven coworkers met with “a good cross-section of teams at the Times, everyone from design to product to tech to the newsroom.” Times staffers have provided crucial insight and feedback as Delve redesigns its product, Whalen says.Whalen would not confirm whether or not the Times Co. is interested in investing in Delve. But he did say his eight-person startup will be launching a private beta with pilot companies this summer, and is planning to do a “broader public push” in the fall, at which time the company will seek Series A financing.Bloomberg Beta and other recent efforts by large media companies to cultivate startups have a predecessor in IDG Ventures, the venture-capital arm of International Data Group, the American company that owns the PCWorld and Macworld media properties. The company launched IDG Ventures in 1996.Why is now the right time for a Bloomberg venture-capital fund? Bahat cites the falling cost of starting a company, which gives rise to exciting investment opportunities for large companies. “Sometimes the best inventions come from outside your walls, and you have to embrace that,” Bahat says. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Brian Patrick Eha 5 min read Bloomberg Opens $75 Million Venture Capital Fund Register Now »last_img read more

Get Ready for the Achocolypse The World Is Running Out of Chocolate

first_img Reporter Add to Queue –shares Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Chocolate Kate Taylor Dark Chocolate Today in horrifying news: the world is running out of chocolate.Chocolate makers Mars and Barry Callebaut are anticipating chocolate shortages in coming years, reports The Washington Post. The industry already can’t keep up with how much chocolate the world wants to eat – and it’s only going to get worse.Last year, the demand for chocolate was roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than produced – a difference the industry expects to widen. In fact, by 2020, Mars and Barry Callebaut predict that we will want 1 million more metric tons of chocolate than the industry will be able to churn out. By 2030, the figure could swell to 2 million metric tons, the paper reports.Why can’t chocolate makers keep up the cocoa-hungry customers? Crops of cocoa have been suffering due to dry weather in West Africa, where most cocoa is produced, and a fungal disease that has wiped out around a third of global coca production. The problems are similar to the coffee industry, where a fungus threatens to drag down the global production of coffee by as much as 40 percent.Related: What the Devastating Coffee Fungus Means for U.S. Coffee ShopsIncreased demand has also played a role in potential shortages. With chocolate consumption increasing in countries like India and China, demand for cocoa beans in Asia has risen 29 percent over the last five years. Plus, the Washington Post says the rising popularity of dark chocolate means more cocoa is used per serving than ever before in the era of the milk chocolate bar.The long-term future of chocolate looks even more treacherous. The chocolate industry relies primarily on small farms with increasingly elderly farmers and disease-prone aged trees. If the next generation wants to enjoy chocolate, a new generation of farmers is going to have to step up.Already, chocolate makers are raising their prices. Hershey announced a price hike for the first time in three years in July, and the candy company’s competitor Mars followed suit soon after. Related: Hershey Raises Prices for First Time in 3 Years as Cocoa Costs Spike November 17, 2014 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 Image credit: Pixabay Next Article Get Ready for the ‘Achocolypse’: The World Is Running Out of Chocolate Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

UIC researchers receive 17 million NCI grant to study Southeast Asian fruit

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 18 2019Researchers will investigate mangosteen fruit as potential treatment for prostate cancerFor generations, traditional healers in Southeast Asia have used the mangosteen fruit to treat skin infections, wounds, dysentery and urinary tract infections. A new $1.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute will enable researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago to study the fruit and its potential as a treatment for prostate cancer.Led by Dr. Jeremy Johnson, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the UIC College of Pharmacy, the researchers will expand on prior work, which identified phytochemicals in the fruit that can disrupt the function of the androgen receptor, a critical target in prostate cancer.Related StoriesComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchResearch on cannabis use in women limited, finds new studyTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CT”Mangosteen contains unique xanthones, which are a type of antioxidant, that promote androgen receptor degradation,” Johnson said. “This mechanism has not been identified with any other compounds and this approach could help deal with the very serious and common problem of drug resistance with FDA-approved drugs for prostate cancer.”In past studies, Johnson’s group reported that mice treated with their mangosteen extract had prostate tumors that were 88 percent smaller than tumors in a control group.Over the course of five years, the new funding will enable researchers to study how specific xanthones in mangosteen inhibit androgen receptor activity in prostate cancer cells. Johnson, who has also worked as a pharmacist, and his team will study how orally administered mangosteen xanthones are absorbed in animal models; they later will conduct experiments to determine what dose of the mangosteen xanthones are most effective at preventing or treating prostate cancer, also in animal models.Round with a deep purple outer layer that surrounds the white pulp fruit, mangosteen is cultivated primarily in Thailand and other Southeast Asian and Pacific Rim countries. A long history and folklore surround mangosteen, also referred to as the “Queen’s fruit,” for its unique flavor and medicinal benefits. Queen Victoria, who lived from 1819 to 1901, is said to have offered a cash award to anyone who could bring mangosteen back to England.Many in the U.S. may not be familiar with the mangosteen fruit, Johnson said. It was not approved for import into the country until 2007 but he says it may be found in local Asian grocery stores or Chinatown.Along with his research on mangosteen, Johnson and his laboratory are studying Mediterranean herbs – including rosemary – for inflammatory bowel disease and colitis. Source:https://today.uic.edu/nci-awards-1-7-million-to-uic-for-research-on-southeast-asian-fruitlast_img read more

A fountain of youth pill Sure if youre a mouse

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 11 2019Renowned Harvard University geneticist David Sinclair recently made a startling assertion: Scientific data shows he has knocked more than two decades off his biological age.What’s the 49-year-old’s secret? He says his daily regimen includes ingesting a molecule his own research found improved the health and lengthened the life span of mice. Sinclair now boasts online that he has the lung capacity, cholesterol and blood pressure of a “young adult” and the “heart rate of an athlete.”Despite his enthusiasm, published scientific research has not yet demonstrated the molecule works in humans as it does in mice. Sinclair, however, has a considerable financial stake in his claims being proven correct, and has lent his scientific prowess to commercializing possible life extension products such as molecules known as “NAD boosters.”His financial interests include being listed as an inventor on a patent licensed to Elysium Health, a supplement company that sells a NAD booster in pills for $60 a bottle. He’s also an investor in InsideTracker, the company that he says measured his age.Discerning hype from reality in the longevity field has become tougher than ever as reputable scientists such as Sinclair and pre-eminent institutions like Harvard align themselves with promising but unproven interventions — and at times promote and profit from them.Fueling the excitement, investors pour billions of dollars into the field even as many of the products already on the market face fewer regulations and therefore a lower threshold of proof. “If you say you’re a terrific scientist and you have a treatment for aging, it gets a lot of attention,” said Jeffrey Flier, a former Harvard Medical School dean who has been critical of the hype. “There is financial incentive and inducement to overpromise before all the research is in.”Mice frolic in Richard Miller’s pathology and geriatrics lab at the University of Michigan. Miller heads one of the three labs funded by NIH to test anti-aging substances on mice.(Melanie Maxwell for KHN)Elysium, co-founded in 2014 by a prominent MIT scientist to commercialize the molecule nicotinamide riboside, a type of NAD booster, highlights its “exclusive” licensing agreement with Harvard and the Mayo Clinic and Sinclair’s role as an inventor. According to the company’s press release, the agreement is aimed at supplements that slow “aging and age-related diseases.”Further adding scientific gravitas to its brand, the website lists eight Nobel laureates and 19 other prominent scientists who sit on its scientific advisory board. The company also advertises research partnerships with Harvard and U.K. universities Cambridge and Oxford.Some scientists and institutions have grown uneasy with such ties. Cambridge’s Milner Therapeutics Institute announced in 2017 it would receive funding from Elysium, cementing a research “partnership.” But after hearing complaints from faculty that the institute was associating itself with an unproven supplement, it quietly decided not to renew the funding or the company’s membership to its “innovation” board.”The sale of nutritional supplements of unproven clinical benefit is commonplace,” said Stephen O’Rahilly, the director of Cambridge’s Metabolic Research Laboratories who applauded his university for reassessing the arrangement. “What is unusual in this case is the extent to which institutions and individuals from the highest levels of the academy have been co-opted to provide scientific credibility for a product whose benefits to human health are unproven.” The PromiseA generation ago, scientists often ignored or debunked claims of a “fountain of youth” pill.”Until about the early 1990s, it was kind of laughable that you could develop a pill that would slow aging,” said Richard Miller, a biogerontologist at the University of Michigan who heads one of three labs funded by the National Institutes of Health to test such promising substances on mice. “It was sort of a science fiction trope. Recent research has shown that pessimism is wrong.”Mice given molecules such as rapamycin live as much as 20 percent longer. Other substances such as 17 alpha estradiol and the diabetes drug Acarbose have been shown to be just as effective — in mouse studies. Not only do mice live longer, but, depending on the substance, they avoid cancers, heart ailments and cognitive problems.But human metabolism is different from that of rodents. And our existence is unlike a mouse’s life in a cage. What is theoretically possible in the future remains unproven in humans and not ready for sale, experts say.History is replete with examples of cures that worked on mice but not in people. Multiple drugs, for instance, have been effective at targeting an Alzheimer’s-like disease in mice yet have failed in humans.”None of this is ready for prime time. The bottom line is I don’t try any of these things,” said Felipe Sierra, the director of the division of aging biology at the National Institute on Aging at NIH. “Why don’t I? Because I’m not a mouse.”The HypeConcerns about whether animal research could translate into human therapy have not stopped scientists from racing into the market, launching startups or lining up investors. Some true believers, including researchers and investors, are taking the substances themselves while promoting them as the next big thing in aging.”While the buzz encourages investment in worthwhile research, scientists should avoid hyping specific [substances],” said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor who specializes in aging at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.Yet some scientific findings are exaggerated to help commercialize them before clinical trials in humans demonstrate both safety and efficacy, he said.”It’s a great gig if you can convince people to send money and use it to pay exorbitant salaries and do it for 20 years and make claims for 10,” Olshansky said. “You’ve lived the high life and get investors by whipping up excitement and saying the benefits will come sooner than they really are.”Promising findings in animal studies have stirred much of this enthusiasm.Research by Sinclair and others helped spark interest in resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, for its potential anti-aging properties. In 2004, Sinclair co-founded a company, Sirtris, to test resveratrol’s potential benefits and declared in an interview with the journal Science it was “as close to a miraculous molecule as you can find.” GlaxoSmithKline bought the company in 2008 for $720 million. By the time Glaxo halted the research in 2010 because of underwhelming results with possible side effects, Sinclair had already received $8 million from the sale, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. He also had earned $297,000 a year in consulting fees from the company, according to The Wall Street Journal.At the height of the buzz, Sinclair accepted a paid position with Shaklee, which sold a product made out of resveratrol. But he resigned after The Wall Street Journal highlighted positive comments he made about the product that the company had posted online. He said he never gave Shaklee permission to use his statements for marketing.Sinclair practices what he preaches — or promotes. On his LinkedIn bio and in media interviews, he describes how he now regularly takes resveratrol; the diabetes drug metformin, which holds promise in slowing aging; and nicotinamide mononucleotide, a substance known as NMN that his own research showed rejuvenated mice.Of that study, he said in a video produced by Harvard that it “sets the stage for new medicines that will be able to restore blood flow in organs that have lost it, either through a heart attack, a stroke or even in patients with dementia.”In an interview with KHN, Sinclair said he’s not recommending that others take those substances.”I’m not claiming I’m actually younger. I’m just giving people the facts,” he said, adding that he’s sharing the test results from InsideTracker’s blood tests, which calculate biological age based on biomarkers in the blood. “They said I was 58, and then one or two blood tests later they said I was 31.4.”InsideTracker sells an online age-tracking package to consumers for up to about $600. The company’s website highlights Sinclair’s support for the company as a member of its scientific advisory board. It also touts a study that describes the benefits of such tracking, which Sinclair co-authored.Sinclair is involved either as a founder, an investor, an equity holder, a consultant or a board member with 28 companies, according to a list of his financial interests. At least 18 are involved in anti-aging in some way, including studying or commercializing NAD boosters. The interests range from longevity research startups aimed at humans and even pets to developing a product for a French skin care company to advising a longevity investment fund. He’s also an inventor named in the patent licensed by Harvard and the Mayo Clinic to Elysium, and one of his companies, MetroBiotech, has filed a patent related to nicotinamide mononucleotide, which he says he takes himself.Sinclair and Harvard declined to release details on how much money he — or the university — is generating from these disclosed outside financial interests. Sinclair estimated in a 2017 interview with Australia’s Financial Review that he raises $3 million a year to fund his Harvard lab.Liberty Biosecurity, a company he co-founded, estimated in Sinclair’s online bio that he has been involved in ventures that “have attracted more than a billion dollars in investment.” When KHN asked him to detail the characterization, he said it was inaccurate, without elaborating, and the comments later disappeared from the website.Sinclair cited confidentiality agreements for not disclosing his earnings, but he added that “most of this income has been reinvested into companies developing breakthrough medicines, used to help my lab, or donated to nonprofits.” He said he did not know how much he stood to make off the Elysium patent, saying Harvard negotiated the agreement.Harvard declined to release Sinclair’s conflict-of-interest statements, which university policy requires faculty at the medical school to file in order to “protect against any faculty bias that could heighten the risk of harm to human research participants or recipients of products resulting from such research.””We can only be proud of our collaborations if we can represent confidently that such relationships enhance, and do not detract from, the appropriateness and reliability of our work,” the policy states.Elysium advertises both Harvard’s and Sinclair’s ties to its company. It was co-founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Leonard Guarente, Sinclair’s former research adviser and an investor in Sinclair’s Sirtris.Related StoriesMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusIT Faces the Digital Pathology Data TsunamiStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsEchoing his earlier statements on resveratrol, Sinclair is quoted on Elysium’s website as describing NAD boosters as “one of the most important molecules for life.”Supplement Loophole?The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t categorize aging as a disease, which means potential medicines aimed at longevity generally can’t undergo traditional clinical trials aimed at testing their effects on human aging. In addition, the FDA does not require supplements to undergo the same safety or efficacy testing as pharmaceuticals.The banner headline on Elysium’s website said that “clinical trial results prove safety and efficacy” of its supplement, Basis, which contains the molecule nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene. But the company’s research did not demonstrate the supplement was effective at anti-aging in humans, as it may be in mice. It simply showed the pill increased the levels of the substance in blood cells.”Elysium is selling pills to people online with the assertion that the pills are ‘clinically proven'” said O’Rahilly. “Thus far, however the benefits and risks of this change in chemistry in humans is unknown.””Many interventions that seem sensible on the basis of research in animals turn out to have unexpected effects in man,” he added, citing a large clinical trial of beta carotene that showed it increased rather than decreased the risk of lung cancer in smokers.Elysium’s own research documented a “small but significant increase in cholesterol,” but added more studies were needed to determine whether the changes were “real or due to chance.” One independent study has suggested that a component of NAD may influence the growth of some cancers, but researchers involved in the study warned it was too early to know.Guarente, Elysium’s co-founder and chief scientist, told KHN he isn’t worried about any side effects from Basis, and he emphasized that his company is dedicated to conducting solid research. He said his company monitors customers’ safety reports and advises customers with health issues to consult with their doctors before using it.If a substance meets the FDA’s definition of a supplement and is advertised that way, then the agency can’t take action unless it proves a danger, said Alta Charo, a former bioethics policy adviser to the Obama administration. Pharmaceuticals must demonstrate safety and efficacy before being marketed.”A lot of what goes on here is really, really careful phrasing for what you say the thing is for,” said Charo, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin. “If they’re marketing it as a cure for a disease, then they get in trouble with the FDA. If they’re marketing it as a rejuvenator, then the FDA is hamstrung until a danger to the public is proven.””This is a recipe for some really unfortunate problems down the road,” Charo added. “We may be lucky and it may turn out that a lot of this stuff turns out to be benignly useless. But for all we know, it’ll be dangerous.”The debate about the risks and benefits of substances that have yet to be proven to work in humans has triggered a debate over whether research institutions are scrutinizing the financial interests and involvement of their faculty — or the institution itself — closely enough. It remains to be seen whether Cambridge’s decision not to renew its partnership will prompt others to rethink such ties.Flier, the former dean of Harvard Medical School, had earlier heard complaints and looked into the relationships between scientists and Elysium after he stepped down as dean. He said he discovered that many of the board members who allowed their names and pictures to be posted on the company website knew little about the scientific basis for use of the company’s supplement.Flier recalls that one scientist had no real role in advising the company and never attended a company meeting. Even so, Elysium was paying him for his role on the board, Flier said.Caroline Perry, director of communications for Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, said agreements such as Harvard’s acceptance of research funds from Elysium comply with university policies and “protect the traditional academic independence of the researchers.”Harvard “enters into research agreements with corporate partners who express a commitment to advancing science by supporting research led by Harvard faculty,” Perry added.Like Harvard, the Mayo Clinic refused to release details on how much money it would make off the Elysium licensing agreement. Mayo and Harvard engaged in “substantial diligence and extended negotiations” before entering into the agreement, said a Mayo spokeswoman.”The company provided convincing proof that they are committed to developing products supported by scientific evidence,” said the spokeswoman, Duska Anastasijevic.Guarente of Elysium refused to say how much he or Elysium was earning off the sale of the supplement Basis. MIT would not release his conflict-of-interest statements.Private investment funds, meanwhile, continue to pour into longevity research despite questions about whether the substances work in people.One key Elysium investor is the Morningside Group, a private equity firm run by Harvard’s top donor, Gerald Chan, who also gave $350 million to the Harvard School of Public Health.Billionaire and WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann has invested in Sinclair’s Life Biosciences.An investment firm led by engineer and physician Peter Diamandis gave a group of Harvard researchers $5.5 million for their startup company after their research was publicly challenged by several other scientists.In its announcement of the seed money, the company, Elevian, said its goal was to develop “new medicines” that increase the activity levels of the hormone GDF11 “to potentially prevent and treat age-related diseases.”It described research by its founders, which include Harvard’s Amy Wagers and Richard Lee, as demonstrating that “replenishing a single circulating factor, GDF11, in old animals mirrors the effects of young blood, repairing the heart, brain, muscle and other tissues.”Other respected labs in the field have either failed to replicate or contradict key elements of their observations.Elevian’s CEO, Mark Allen, said the early scientific data on GDF11 is encouraging, but “drug discovery and development is a time-intensive, risky, regulated process requiring many years of research, preclinical [animal] studies, and human clinical trials to successfully bring new drugs to market.”Flier worries research in the longevity field could be compromised, although he recognizes the importance and promise of the science. He said he’s concerned that alliances between billionaires and scientists could lead to less skepticism.”A susceptible billionaire meets a very good salesman scientist who looks him deeply in the eyes and says, ‘There’s no reason why we can’t have a therapy that will let you live 400 or 600 years,'” Flier said. “The billionaire will look back and see someone who is at MIT or Harvard and say, ‘Show me what you can do.'”Despite concerns about the hype, scientists are hopeful of finding a way forward by relying on hard evidence. The consensus: A pill is on the horizon. It’s just a matter of time — and solid research.”If you want to make money, hiring a sales rep to push something that hasn’t been tested is a really great strategy,” said Miller, who is testing substances on mice. “If instead you want to find drugs that work in people, you take a very different approach. It doesn’t involve sales pitches. It involves the long, laborious, slogging process of actually doing research.”KHN senior correspondent Jay Hancock contributed to this report. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.center_img The bottom line is I don’t try any of these things. Why don’t I? Because I’m not a mouse.Felipe Sierra, the director of the division of aging biology at the National Institute on Aging at NIHlast_img read more

Type 1 diabetes symptoms are not recognized early enough among children in

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 14 2019Elwyn was a healthy 13 month-old toddler when she started drinking water from the bathtub. Over time, she became increasingly thirsty and demanded more and more breast milk. For her parents, this seemed like typical behavior related to a growth spurt. One day, however, they noticed that she was abnormally weak and rushed her to the emergency department.She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and had already developed a life-threatening complication of the disease known as diabetic ketoacidosis. She was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit, where she was treated for several days. Now two years old, Elwyn is still recovering, but doing better.Unfortunately, the late diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and its severe complications is not uncommon. According to a new study led by a team at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), more than 25% of children in Quebec diagnosed with type 1 diabetes already have diabetic ketoacidosis. Their findings, published today in CMAJ Open, indicate this number has been on the rise by two percent per year since 2001. Source:McGill University Health CentreJournal reference:Nakhla,M. et al. (2019). Increasing prevalence of diabetic ketoacidosis at diabetes diagnosis among children in Quebec: a population-based retrospective cohort study. CMAJ Open. doi.org/10.9778/cmajo.20190047 Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and affects around 4,000 children in Quebec. It occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin, an important hormone that helps your body control the level of sugar in the blood. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when the body produces high level of blood acids that become toxic.”Diabetic ketoacidosis is generally an avoidable and preventable complication of type 1 diabetes. If caught early, the child is started on insulin, preventing the development of diabetic ketoacidosis,” adds Dr. Nakhla, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at McGill University.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenPuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDCResearchers looked at the trends of DKA by analyzing data provided by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), which focused on the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in patients between the ages of 1 to 17 years, from 2001 to 2014. They identified a total of 5,741 new cases of diabetes among children and adolescents. Overall, 1,471 children presented with DKA at diabetes diagnosis (with a peak between 5 and 11 years old). Researchers also looked at different factors such as age at diabetes diagnosis, biological sex, socioeconomic and rural status.”We have not yet been able to establish the exact causes of the increased occurrence of DKA in Quebec,” explains first study author, Dr. Marie-Ève Robinson, a pediatric endocrinologist who was a research fellow at the Montreal Children’s Hospital at the time of the study. “It would appear that access to the front-line health care system could be a factor, especially for people living outside of major cities.” The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are not recognized fast enough by the parents, the schools or healthcare providers. A simple blood sugar test is all that is needed to diagnose a child with type 1 diabetes in presence of symptoms such as frequent urination, excessive thirst, weight loss, a lack of energy and constant hunger.”Dr. Meranda Nakhla, study’s lead author, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC and a scientist from the Child Health and Human Development Program of the RI-MUHC Our results show that action needs to be taken and underscore the need for awareness campaigns in Quebec, which are now non-existent, about the symptoms of type 1 diabetes among the general public and general practitioners across the province.”Dr. Meranda Nakhlalast_img read more

Slovakia to feel most pain from Trump car tariffs experts

first_img Citation: Slovakia to feel most pain from Trump car tariffs: experts (2018, July 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-slovakia-pain-trump-car-tariffs.html As the world’s largest per capita car producer, Slovakia stands to be hit hardest if US President Donald Trump makes good on his threat to impose a 20 percent tariff on cars imported from the EU, analysts say. Trump’s threat was the latest salvo in an escalating trade war that saw the European Union slap duties on US-made jeans and motorcycles in a tit-for-tat response to US tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports.The spectre of US tariffs that sent shares in Fiat Chrysler, Daimler and BMW tumbling on European stock exchanges also spooked Slovakia’s automotive sector.It boasts Germany’s Volkswagen—which is Slovakia’s biggest private-sector employer—France’s PSA and South Korean Kia along with more than 300 automotive supply companies.All told, they generate over 300,000 jobs in the eurozone country of 5.4 million. Jaguar Land Rover will also open a new plant in September. This makes Slovakia the EU’s leading car and car part exporter to the United States in terms of share of GDP—and the most vulnerable to tariffs.”The ratio of overseas car exports to Slovakia’s GDP is significantly the highest among all countries of the EU, with it being up to 1.7 percent,” the Slovak Institute for Financial Policy (IFP) said in a study.”An increase in customs duties on car imports would have the biggest impact on Slovakia,” it concluded. As the only Slovakia-based carmaker that exports directly to the US, Volkswagen—and its many local suppliers—will suffer the most should US tariffs be slapped on the high-end Touareg, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne models produced at its Bratislava plant.Overall, the carmaking sector has a 44 percent share of Slovakia’s total industrial production and 35 percent of its exports.Last year, 1,001,520 cars rolled off assembly lines in Slovakia and exports were worth 3.7 billion euros ($4.3 billion). Explore further 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 AFP Germany’s Volkswagen exports cars from Slovakia to the US US tariffs on car imports are a double-edged sword Per capita, no country produces more cars than Slovakia Slovak Economy Minister Peter Ziga has said that Bratislava would rally for unity across the European Union in the interests of keeping the car sector tariff-free.Carmakers based in Slovakia have so far declined to comment on possible US tariffs.”As these plans are only speculations, we will not comment on them,” Volkswagen Slovakia spokesman Michal Ambrovic told AFP.The German company’s Slovak operation produced 361,776 cars last year, and 99.7 percent of its production was exported, with 20 percent to the US, according to an internal report made available to AFP.Groupe PSA Slovakia, maker of Citroën C3 and Peugeot 208 in Trnava, also declined to comment on the tariff impact, but spokesman Peter Svec did say that its plant does not sell to the US market. PSA produced 335,296 cars in 2017, 91 percent of its production was sold to customers EU countries, according to the company annual report.KIA Slovakia spokesman Andrej Sahaj also confirmed that sales of its vehicles are restricted to Europe. Annual production has exceeded one million cars in each of the last three years and is forecast to grow by more than a third by 2020.’Challenge’A 25 percent tariff on cars could cost Slovakia approximately 90 million euros, according to IFP calculations.Tariffs would “definitely pose a challenge for Slovak carmakers reaching out to customers in the United States,” Jan Pribula, Secretary General of the Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic (ZAP), told AFP.last_img read more

Weatherresponsive intersections could ease traffic congestion

first_img Citation: Weather-responsive intersections could ease traffic congestion (2019, March 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-weather-responsive-intersections-ease-traffic-congestion.html Researchers at the University of Waterloo collected data and ran computer simulations to determine that adjusting the signals at intersections in bad weather could reduce delays by up to 20 per cent.”We need to have weather-responsive signal plans,” said Liping Fu, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Waterloo. “Their timing should recognize weather conditions and change accordingly.”Signals in modern cities are timed using optimization models that analyze factors including traffic volume and speed to safely get as many vehicles as possible through intersections.”The problem is that those parameters all assume normal weather conditions,” said Fu, director of the Innovative Transportation System Solutions (iTSS) Lab. “In the winter, if the road surface is covered with snow and ice and visibility is poor, the numbers are not the same.”Researchers analyzed hours of video taken at a busy intersection near campus to measure how motorists alter their driving during snowstorms in terms of speed, stopping distance and other variables.That data was then used in computer simulations to optimize the timing of signals—the green, yellow and red intervals, for instance—at a single intersection and on a stretch of road with four co-ordinated intersections.Changes were also made to improve safety, such as increasing the yellow interval to account for vehicles travelling slower and requiring more time to stop.At the single intersection, changes to increase safety and reduce delays almost cancelled each other out.But even with adjustments to help avoid crashes, intersection delays in the co-ordinated corridor, especially in moderate traffic, decreased by up to 20 per cent.Fu said cities with computerized signal systems are already equipped to remotely and inexpensively adjust the timing of traffic lights to reap those benefits when snowstorms hit.Next steps include the development of technology using video cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) software to automatically tweak the timing of lights in response to traffic changes caused by weather, accidents or construction.”Ultimately we want signal controls so smart that they actually change themselves in real time based on what is happening in the road network for any reason,” Fu said. Explore further Provided by University of Waterloo 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.center_img More information: Zhengyang Lu et al, Effects of winter weather on traffic operations and optimization of signalized intersections, Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering (English Edition) (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jtte.2018.02.002 Cyclist/motorist crashes worse at stop/give way junctions Cities could ease congestion and improve safety during snowstorms by tweaking the timing of traffic lights to take road conditions into account.last_img read more

Flushed Goldfish Grew to Be KittenSize in Niagara River

first_img Photos: Giant Goldfish & Other Freaky Fish A monstrously huge goldfish was recently captured in the Niagara River in New York. The goldfish was presumably a discarded house pet that may have been illegally released or survived a traumatic flush down a toilet. Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW), a nonprofit working to protect and restore the Niagara River and Lake Erie watershed, caught and photographed the giant goldfish in the river’s Black Rock Canal, sharing an image in a Facebook post on June 14. [In Photos: Thousands of Goldfish Swarm in Colorado Lake] In the photo, Marcus Rosten, an employee of the nonprofit, cradles the fish in two hands; the orange leviathan measured a whopping 14 inches (36 centimeters) long, according to the post.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65770-giant-goldfish-in-river.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  An even more supersized goldfish was nabbed in California’s Lake Tahoe in 2013; it weighed in at just over 4 lbs. (2 kilograms) and measured nearly 2 feet (61 cm) long. Goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) are native to eastern Asia and belong to the carp family. They usually reach about 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm) in length when they live in aquariums or small fish tanks; at most, they grow to about 6 inches (15 cm) in captivity, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). But when goldfish are released into streams and rivers, they often grow to be 12 to 14 inches (31 to 36 cm) long. The first sightings of goldfish in New York waterways date to 1842; more than a dozen other states also noted the appearance of goldfish in rivers and streams by the end of the 19th century, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Today, goldfish can be found in waterways across New York State, “the result of illegally released pets or escapees from bait buckets,” the DEC reported. The fish can survive year-round in the Lake Erie watershed, and goldfish reproduce very quickly; a handful of goldfish released into a Colorado lake in 2012 multiplied to number in the thousands just three years later. Invasive goldfish directly compete with native fish, and in large numbers, they upset the natural biodiversity of vulnerable freshwater environments, a BNW representative told Live Science in an email. “Aquatic invasive species that don’t naturally belong in the Great Lakes, like this goldfish, are a constant threat to the health of native wildlife populations and their habitats,” the representative said. Across all of the Great Lakes, goldfish populations are estimated to run into the tens of millions, the BNW posted on Facebook. Image Gallery: Invasive Species Alien Invaders: Destructive Invasive Species Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoTop 10 Best Meal DeliveryMeal Kit Wars: 10 Tested & Ranked. See Who WonTop 10 Best Meal DeliveryUndolast_img read more