Optimism at Canadas annual science policy summit but also doubts

first_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe OTTAWA—Scientists and policy experts gathered here last week for Canada’s premier science policy conference. It was the first since a new Liberal government took power, replacing a Conservative government that had drawn fierce complaints from many scientists as a result of its moves to muzzle government scientists, shut down science advisory mechanisms, and shuffle spending priorities. And although many participants expressed relief over the election results, they also voiced a list of research deficiencies and needs that seemed so long it took on almost liturgical tones.Speakers decried decimated science policy advisory mechanisms and politicians’ efforts to disregard evidence and sanitize documents. And they highlighted other problems. Stagnant research budgets. Muzzled government researchers. Excessive bureaucratic control. National labs converted into toolboxes for industry. Incentive systems that reward commercialization over discovery. Scientific R&D tax credits, loan programs and targeted research initiatives that yielded little industrial benefit, or were primarily aimed at again bailing out aerospace giant Bombardier.Odd, then, that Canada’s latest Nobel laureate, physicist Art McDonald, had a rosier view. Canadian science is actually quite robust, particularly basic research conducted within academia, he told ScienceInsider during an interview at the 7th annual Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC), held here from 25 to 27 November. “We’re close to the top in the [Group of 7 industrial nations], in terms of citations per capita, in the academic sector,” said McDonald, a professor emeritus at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, who will be awarded a share of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics on 10 December for discovering that neutrinos have a detectable mass. “In fact, if you look at the impact of citations, compared to world averages, in virtually all the academic areas, [Canada’s average is] greater than the world average.”Not that McDonald thinks academic research in Canada is necessarily without its woes. Like virtually all delegates to the meeting, the former director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory believes that former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 9 years and 271 days in office have left aspects of Canadian science lacking. He objected to policies that have precluded scientists at the nation’s federal intramural laboratories from conducting basic research, for example, and what he sees as a lack of adequate operating funds for new research facilities created under a multibillion dollar national infrastructure program.McDonald also noted that, despite a government push to boost applied research in industry, “unfortunately, there’s very little R&D being done by Canadian companies. So the real question is how do you get Canadian companies to decide to do R&D here, or to incorporate innovation in their activities, value-added to the basic resources that we’re shipping all over the place.”Other attendees presented the new Liberal government, led by the hip Justin Trudeau, with wish lists for action. Foremost were demands that it redress the widely-held beliefs that scientific evidence has become a non sequitur in government policy-making—and that scientists are shut out of providing input into decisions.Harper, speakers noted, had scuttled the position of National Science Advisor and axed numerous science advisory bodies and advisors in line departments. Among the harshest critics of those moves was none other than the last man to hold the national science advisory position, chemist Art Carty. The moves were a function of “inbred behavior,” he said, and reversing them will “require a fundamental change in attitude, philosophy, and transparency within government, and by the bureaucracy.”“That will not come easy,” predicted Carty, now executive director of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Nanotechnology, because Harper’s policies served only to promote a bureaucratic environment in which “secrecy and control have become the norm.”Trudeau’s Liberals have already vowed to recreate some manner of national science advisor, and lifted a much-protested prohibition against scientists talking to the media. But conference delegates advocated an array of other mechanisms to ensure that policy makers hear scientists and weigh evidence. Suggestions included re-establishing national scientific advisory panels and structures, as well as creating an agency similar to the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, which crafts reports that inform legislators on issues such as energy and Internet security, and fund fellowships to train a new generation of science policy advisors. Others called for establishing a science secretariat within the Prime Minister’s Office, or a government-chartered science advisory body similar to the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, or the defunct Science Council of Canada, to provide independent recommendations on matters of science.But economist Peter Phillips, of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan, cautioned that the wave of euphoria engulfing Canada’s scientific community, and the flood of new advice, might be for naught. There’s no real evidence, he says, that Trudeau’s Liberals are actually committed to elevating science to some new part of the political atmosphere. Although the Liberals made a commitment to developing an “innovation agenda,” details have been altogether sparse, and he says nothing in Canadian history suggests governments of any political stripe have been particularly responsive to science.“We’ve always muddled through,” Phillips says. “We haven’t made many catastrophic errors. We haven’t been particularly progressive in our use of science in government, or policy in government to drive science for socio-economic interests. In some cases, our successes have been in spite of government effort. In some cases, they’ve been aided and abetted by government policy. But innovation, science, and technology have not been high priorities over the past 50 years for any government. I suspect we’ll just continue to muddle through.”Equally problematic is the notion of actually achieving some manner of consensus among scientists with regard to policy matters, Phillips adds, in part because science and evidence speak largely to probabilities rather than certainties. “It’s not clear how to manage the competing perspectives that come out of a very pluralistic community of scholars and practitioners who call themselves scientists.”Ironically, achieving consensus within the scientific community, and within disciplines, lies at the core of another major issue which surfaced at the meeting. Gilles Patry, president of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, called on the Liberals to launch a process to develop a roadmap that would guide future Canadian investment in both domestic and international “big science” projects. Those projects could be in disciplines including particle physics, astronomy, Arctic research, high-throughput computing, and health (from genomics to dementia). And panelists suggested drawing a roadmap will require Canadian scientists to think hard about their priorities, and their best opportunities to make a mark.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

UN talks to tackle tough question Who should benefit from DNA collected

first_imgThis jellyfish is among the hundreds of marine organisms that have had patents placed on their DNA. Pasquale Vassallo/Getty Images It is not the first time nations have wrangled over how to share genetic resources. Under another U.N. pact, the 2010 Nagoya Protocol, 105 countries have agreed to rules to prevent so-called biopiracy: the removal of biological resources—such as plant or animal DNA—from a nation’s habitats without proper permission or compensation.Those rules don’t apply in international waters, which begin 200 nautical miles from shore and are attracting growing interest from researchers and companies searching for valuable genes. The first patent on DNA from a marine organism was granted in 1988 on a sequence from the European eel. Since then, more than 300 companies, universities, and others have laid claim to sequences from 862 marine species, a team led by Blasiak reported in June in Science Advances. Extremophiles have been especially prized. Genes from worms found in deepsea hydrothermal vents, for example, are now used in cosmetics. And BASF has patented other worm DNA that the company believes could help improve crop yields. The conglomerate, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, says it found most of its 5700 sequences in public databases.“There’s nothing illegal about what they did,” Blasiak says. But the trend has helped catalyze global discussions about whether and how to share any benefits that arise from high seas patents.It may take years for nations to agree on a marine biodiversity treaty; the talks now underway are just a first round. But an “ideological divide” between developing and developed countries has, so far, “led to stalemate” on how to handle marine genetic resources, says Harriet Harden-Davies, a policy expert at the University of Wollongong in Australia.Most developing nations want to expand the “common heritage” philosophy embedded in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which declares that resources found on or under the seabed, such as minerals, are the “common heritage of mankind.” Applying that principle to genetic resources would promote “solidarity in the preservation and conservation of a good we all share,” South Africa’s negotiating team said in a recent statement. Under such an approach, those who profit from marine genes could, for example, pay into a global fund that would be used to compensate other nations for the use of shared resources, possibly supporting scientific training or conservation.But developed nations including the United States, Russia, and Japan oppose extending the “common heritage” language, fearing burdensome and unworkable regulations. They argue access to high seas genes should be guaranteed to all nations under the principle of the “freedom of the high seas,” also enshrined in the Law of the Sea. That approach essentially amounts to finders keepers. But, traditionally, countries have balanced unfettered access with other principles, such as the value of conservation, in developing rules for shipping, fishing, and research in international waters.The European Union and other parties want to sidestep the debate on the “common heritage” language while addressing the potential unfairness of marine bioprospecting. One influential proposal would allow nations to prospect for high seas genes, but require that they publish the sequences they uncover. Companies could also choose to keep sequences private temporarily, in order to be able to patent them, if they contribute to an international fund that would support marine research by poorer nations. “Researchers all around the world should be put all on a level playing field,” says Arianna Broggiato, a Brussels-based legal adviser for the consultancy eCoast, who co-authored a paper on the scheme this year in The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law.Many researchers, meanwhile, hope whatever rules emerge don’t stifle science. Some complain that the Nagoya Protocol, for example, has sometimes led to burdensome paperwork, complicating even studies aimed at protecting biodiversity. Worse, many say, is a recent proposal to use the pact to regulate the use of not just genetic material, but also publicly available gene sequences.It’s also possible that nations ultimately won’t reach a new agreement and will maintain the status quo. But if developed nations continue to claim valuable genetic information from the high seas, developing nations could have little incentive to protect those waters, warns marine policy expert Thembile Joyini, a New York City–based adviser to South Africa’s government. “You want all of us,” he said recently, speaking as an individual and not representing his government, “to have the feeling that we all own the ocean.”*Correction, 4 September, 11:50 a.m.: This story has been updated to correct the size of the zone of international waters surrounding national coastlines. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Eli KintischSep. 3, 2018 , 12:30 PM It’s an eye-catching statistic: A single company, the multinational chemical giant BASF, owns nearly half of the patents issued on 13,000 DNA sequences from marine organisms. That number is now helping fuel high-stakes global negotiations on a contentious question: how to fairly regulate the growing exploitation of genes collected in the open ocean, beyond any nation’s jurisdiction.The overarching goal of the talks, which open tomorrow at the United Nations in New York City, is crafting a new agreement to protect biodiversity in the high seas, which include two-thirds of the ocean. Much of discussions, which will run until 17 September, are expected to focus on long-standing proposals to establish protected zones where fishing and development would be limited or banned. But the negotiations also aim to replace today’s free-for-all scramble for marine genetic resources with a more orderly and perhaps fairer regime.Many developed nations and industry groups are adamant that any new rules should not complicate efforts to discover and patent marine genes that may help create better chemicals, cosmetics, and crops. But many developing nations want rules that will ensure they, too, share in any benefits. Scientists are also watching. A regulatory regime that is too burdensome could have “a negative impact” on scientists engaged in “noncommercial ocean research,” warns Robert Blasiak, a marine policy specialist at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country U.N. talks to tackle tough question: Who should benefit from DNA collected from the high seas?last_img read more

Universities held hostage in Nicaraguas political crisis

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Oswaldo Rivas/REUTERS Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Lizzie WadeDec. 18, 2018 , 4:00 PM Students, seen here protesting in July, have been at the forefront of the opposition against President Daniel Ortega. Universities ‘held hostage’ in Nicaragua’s political crisiscenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email The repression has struck particularly hard at Nicaragua’s universities, where firings, arrests, and attacks on students have brought higher education and research to a virtual standstill. “It all started with university students, so universities have been the target of repression,” says Huete-Pérez, who spoke at a 13 December meeting at UCA to discuss the crisis. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights now considers students one of the most imperiled groups in the country. “The university system is being held hostage,” says María Luisa Acosta, a human rights lawyer and president of the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences (ACN) in Managua, which organized last week’s meeting. (Acosta went into exile in June after being threatened by paramilitary forces.)Critics say state universities have been co-opted by the government, especially the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) in Managua, which fired more than 40 professors and expelled nearly 100 students who had demonstrated or expressed support for the movement. “We were fired because we spoke out against the silence and complicity that allowed the universities to permit students to be killed, repressed, and detained,” says sociologist Freddy Quezada, another speaker at the meeting, who lost his job in July. (UNAN did not respond to Science’s interview requests.)The crisis is also disrupting collaborations with foreign scientists. Huete-Pérez’s department had to suspend the Nicaraguan Biotechnology Conference, which UCA organized every 2 years with scientists from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other U.S. universities. Evolutionary biologist Axel Meyer of the University of Konstanz in Germany isn’t sure whether he can continue his studies of fish evolution in Nicaragua’s crater lakes this winter; Gerald Urquhart, a tropical ecologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing who has worked in Nicaragua for decades, has postponed fieldwork indefinitely and canceled his study abroad program in Nicaragua. “I am saddened by the limitations this places on my relationship with Nicaraguan colleagues,” he says.UCA, a private Jesuit university, is one of Nicaragua’s last remaining bastions of free speech. In addition to publicly supporting the student movement, “they opened their doors to thousands of demonstrators” after the government fired on a protest in May, killing at least 17, says Carlos Tünnermann Bernheim, a former minister of education and UNAN rector. But teaching has been disrupted, as at most universities. “It’s not safe enough to bring students to campus,” Huete-Pérez says. He and others are holding classes online, but it’s not the same, he says: “I teach biochemisty and biotechnology. You need a lab for that.”Now, UCA faces a more direct threat. The Nicaraguan legislature is considering a bill that would end the state funding the university receives under a law that designates its work as public service. “It’s a direct aggression,” says Josefina Vijil, a UCA education scientist and a member of ACN’s leadership. Much of UCA’s public funding goes to scholarships, “so if they do this, the ones who suffer are the students,” Tünnermann Bernheim says.Vijil especially worries about lasting psychological trauma to the researchers and students who lived through the crisis. Still, she and other participants in the UCA meeting spent time brainstorming for the day when students are back in classrooms, and made tentative plans for writing a book about university autonomy. “We need to start imagining—and articulating—the country we want in 50 years,” Vijil says. Este artículo está disponible en español.Molecular biologist Jorge Huete-Pérez, a professor at Central American University (UCA) in Managua, is one of many Nicaraguan academics whose life and work have been upended by an escalating political crisis. A longtime critic of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Huete-Pérez was inspired in April when demonstrations against a proposed cut to social security evolved into a new movement against Ortega’s stranglehold on political power and his brutal repression of dissent. He felt a responsibility to support the students on the movement’s front lines and joined their protests many times.But on 14 October, about 2 weeks after the government outlawed political demonstrations, Huete-Pérez flinched. “I was about to open the [car] door to get out and join” another protest, he recalls, when police began to beat and arrest demonstrators close by. He slammed the door and sped away. “I literally felt like I was running for my life,” he says. “I had not been that scared in a long time.”Many others, too, have recently stayed home in the face of an intensifying crackdown by Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista movement that overthrew a dictator in 1979. Ortega has become increasingly autocratic since beginning his second stint as president in 2007. More than 300 protesters have been killed and at least as many have been arrested, according to Amnesty International; some have been charged with terrorism. Tens of thousands more have gone into exile. Just last week, police raided offices of an independent newspaper and several nongovernmental organizations, including a leading human rights group.last_img read more

Scientists decry USDAs decision to end cat parasite research

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe WHITE COAT WASTE PROJECT VIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT Scientists decry USDA’s decision to end cat parasite research Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Meredith WadmanApr. 9, 2019 , 5:10 PMcenter_img For the past 37 years, a small research lab in Beltsville, Maryland, has been the world’s leading hub for scientists working on Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that infects more than 1 billion people globally, causing death, blindness, and birth defects. Operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the facility is a source of expertise and rare, sought-after materials for researchers working to stop the parasite, which can be transmitted by food and has no human vaccine and no cure.But last week, the lab fell victim to pressure from animal welfare activists and members of Congress concerned about its use of cats, the only animal in which T. gondii completes the sexual stages of its life cycle. USDA abruptly announced it was shutting down the lab’s work, saying the program, which cost $625,000 annually to operate, had “reached its maturity” and “achieved” its agricultural research goals.The 2 April decision, which lab chief Jitender Dubey learned about from media reports, has left researchers scrambling for alternatives. “I’m really angry about this,” says Laura Knoll, a parasitologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who relies on samples from the laboratory. During a December 2018 external review of the lab she took part in, she says, “The validity and necessity of the research never seemed to be in question.” (USDA declined to answer a list of questions from Science and denied a request to interview Dubey.) Email A closed laboratory relied on cats to sustain its research program. The laboratory is “an incredible resource,” says Robert Yolken, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. “It’s a loss for Toxoplasma research in the U.S. and around the world.”But parasitologist Jim Keen, a former USDA scientist now at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, sees things differently. Last month, he and the White Coat Waste Project, a Washington, D.C.–based advocacy group, released a report that argues the laboratory’s work is “unnecessary and unjustifiable.” The 14-page document, titled USDA Kitten Cannibalism, details how researchers fed infected meat, including cat meat, to kittens, in order to harvest parasite oocysts—infective, hardy forms of the organism—from their feces. Researchers then euthanized the animals, killing dozens each year, because they might spread the parasite if adopted as pets. Keen reviewed 121 Toxoplasma studies published between 1985 and 2018 that involved killing cats or dogs and had Dubey as a co-author. He concluded that much of the lab’s recent work is “irrelevant to American public health and the USDA’s mission.”Outside scientists disagree. The lab has made several key contributions in the past decade, says David Sibley, a Toxoplasma researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. One was developing a blood test that can inform parasite control strategies. The test indicates whether a person has become infected by eating undercooked meat or by ingesting parasite oocysts shed by cats.The report marked the latest salvo in White Coat Waste’s efforts to end cat use at USDA’s Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory in Beltsville, which housed the Toxoplasma facility. The group has placed billboards attacking USDA on buses and this year persuaded 61 members of Congress to sponsor the Kittens In Traumatic Testing Ends Now (KITTEN) Act. One KITTEN Act co-sponsor, Representative Brian Mast (R–FL), called closing the program “a decisive victory against government animal abuse and wasteful spending.”But many researchers say the lab’s demise will undermine efforts to fight the devastating parasite, which is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness and causes roughly 190,000 babies to be born with defects each year. In the United States, which has about 1 million new infections annually, it is the second-leading food-borne killer, causing about 750 deaths.“There is no laboratory in the world” that produces T. gondii oocysts with the same efficiency, says one U.S. researcher, who asked for anonymity to avoid being targeted by animal activists. “Centralizing production actually minimized waste and the number of cats required.” (Several scientists predict the closure will drive cat use to less-expert U.S. labs, or offshore.)The loss of the lab will slow efforts to develop a vaccine to protect cats from infections, scientists say. That’s a top public health priority, and one that Dubey was pursuing, because it would stop the animals from shedding the oocysts that infect both livestock and people.The closure will affect collaborations by U.S. and European researchers to develop better methods of detecting parasite oocysts in drinking water and soil. Other imperiled studies focus on keeping T. gondii out of the food supply. One—requested by USDA inspectors—is examining whether U.S. rules for curing hams are stringent enough. Another is testing methods for cleaning oocysts from fresh fruits and leafy greens. Other studies are probing why the parasite makes only some infected people very sick.Scientists are also worried about the fate of the Beltsville lab’s unparalleled collection of more than 1000 T. gondii strains and its trove of tissue samples and reagents. “They can’t just throw them away,” says geneticist Chunlei Su of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, who used the lab’s DNA samples to study the parasite’s global genetic diversity.Knoll, for her part, says losing access to oocysts from the lab will disrupt her studies—which aim to find alternatives to cats in Toxoplasma research.last_img read more

The Worlds Ignoring The Sudan Massacre

first_img#PrayforSudan #SudanMassacre “God bless Sudan! My mind can’t fathom what is going on… how humanity can be so inhumane,”. pic.twitter.com/YnprwESELy— 𝓢𝓚’ (@0thugxx) June 14, 2019The TMC didn’t just disperse the protesters, they led a large-scale massacre that left 120 people dead with 40 more bodies dumped in the Nile river. One such protestor was 26-year-old Mohamed Mattar who was allegedly killed while protecting two women from TMC attacks. He’s become a symbol for the movement and the fact his favorite color is blue has led to thousands of social media users – celebrities included – to turn their social media profile pictures blue. Sadly, the Sudanese activists have had to turn to social media to raise awareness of the situation because — as is typical with massacres in Africa — nobody seems to give a damn. More By daviddtss How to help Sudan:https://t.co/mI9SdBHGFQ pic.twitter.com/aowOTlAcAH— . (@baklavabae) June 13, 2019I have yet to find a floor to how little Black life is valued in this world. Just when I think I’ve seen Black folks treated worse than dogs or material holdings and imagine the depths of how we can be disregarded, I find new examples of how little we are worth. So when I think about the way the rest of the world refuses to care about the lives lost in Sudan and the amount of grief expressed over a historical building, I’m reminded that we are the only people who will care about us. We are the only ones who will fight for us. And we are the ones who have to maintain awareness and find ways to survive in a place where that survival is neither expected nor welcome. But at the very least, we as an entire human race have got to get to the point where we care as much about human lives as we do buildings when both go up in flames.David Dennis, Jr. is a writer and adjunct professor of Journalism at Morehouse College. David’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Smoking Section, Uproxx, Playboy, The Atlantic, Complex.com and wherever people argue about things on the internet. #PrayForSudanThis video explains what’s happening in Sudan. Sudan is in complete internet blackout to hide the massacre. Be their voice and spread the awareness. #BlueforSudan pic.twitter.com/UJNNjoxj2Q— Mohamed Abdulwahab (@MohamedAbdulwa) June 14, 2019 Africa , Notre Dame Cathedral , Sudan , Sudan’s Independence , Sudanese Dear White People: Make Your White Friends Watch ‘When They See Us’ Have you heard?There’s a vicious government-sanctioned massacre happening in Sudan that has resulted in hundreds of dead protesters. Here’s what happened: young activists in the country staged protests after the overthrow of leader Omar al-Bashir led to the military announcing that it would assume control for three years. The pro-democracy activists had been leading demonstrations and sit-ins since April. On June 3rd, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) decided to disperse the sit-in by using the most violent means available. A Complete, Recent Timeline Of Disaster For Americans Visiting The Dominican Republic The TMC’s motivation was to silence the protests, to quell the uprising that would usurp a militaristic regime’s power. However, the protesters would not relent. They put their lives on hold. They sacrificed. They made noise. They formed a voice that could topple oppression until the TMC was so threatened that they unleashed death upon a populace of innocent men, women and children. SEE ALSO:Why White People Need ‘When They See Us’‘When They See Us’ Humanizes The Central Park 5 Caribbean beach full of tourists this speaks a million words.. #SudanMassacre #Sudan pic.twitter.com/isGk4x5Mrb— dana (@danaxnee) June 14, 2019Sudan doesn’t get such tribute. Instead, Sudanese death — and, in general, African death and Black death — is rarely cause for international recognition. Nor is it cause for action. It’s barely cause for news reports. That’s because so much of the world sees genocide in Africa as a natural topographical occurrence like a Seattle rainstorm or a Florida hurricane. According to society’s narrative, African death is never an anomalyis supposed to happen. Stop Telling Black Folks To Settle For A Candidate Just To Beat Trump In 2020 Sudan Is Burning But People Don’t Care Because It’s Not A Cathedral The Sudanese crisis has been relegated to the margins of mainstream media outlets and TV coverage, nestled firmly behind Donald Trump’s latest threats of treason or creative ways to say “racist” without saying “racist.” As I shake my head at yet another case of massive Black death being overshadowed by…well … literally anything else, I can’t help but think back to April.On April 15th, just a week after the Sudanese protests began, ironically, the infamous Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris went up in a blaze. The fire, in which no one was injured or killed, was a devastating tragedy across the world as a place of worship and history was mostly lost to us forever. Immediately, GoFundMe pages went up to donate to the rebuild and news stations ran side-by-side video of the fire throughout the day while pundits lamented the fall of an international monument.last_img read more

Black Entrepreneur Teaches Business Ownership Through Board Game

first_imgEddie is a serial entrepreneur who owns five businesses and has always been passionate about teaching adults and youth the importance of business ownership; specifically individuals who are from underserved communities and underrepresented groups. He came up with the concept for a board game after noticing the lack of lessons surrounding entrepreneurship within school curriculums. In September, he created a crowdfunding campaign for the creation of The Entrepreneur Game and raised nearly three times more than his campaign goal from supporters across the globe.The game—which was designed for children 12 and older—takes players on an entrepreneurial journey. You start off as the CEO of your own company and throughout the game you go through stages of budgeting, marketing, investing, and negotiating. The goal is to evade going bankrupt. The winner of the game is the individual who has the most assets.“We may learn a few things in school, but one of the subjects it’s unlikely that we’ve been taught is entrepreneurship: how to create and build successful businesses of our own. Many of our schools barely teach our children the skills they need to survive,” Eddie said in a statement. “We owe it to our children and all of our futures to make sure they know that they are capable of creating a successful business. To make sure our children know that they can take their skills, talents and ideas to find a problem and solve it, to find a need and fill it, or to create a market and build it. Our children must grasp that among all of the things they can be now, and as they grow up, an entrepreneur is definitely within their grasp.” Major toy retailers are already eyeing the game to add to their shelves.SEE ALSO:Homeless 8-Year-Old New York State Chess Champion Finds A HomeEntrepreneur Aims To Open Detroit’s Only Black-Owned Grocery Store Black Entrepreneur , Board Game , Elliott Eddie , entrepreneur , Entrepreneurship , Games , Youth A Black inventor is aiming to teach youth the fundamentals of entrepreneurship through the creation of a board game. According to Black News, Elliott Eddie created The Entrepreneur Game as an educational tool that encompasses information about running a business. Twitter Welcomes Billy Dee Williams Back To ‘Star Wars’ With Open Arms Billie Dee Williams Star Wars Episode IX Trailer Black inventor creates game to help both children and adults learn to start a business. https://t.co/kpeOInKeNy— EverythingUnderground (@Evun_News) April 16, 2019last_img read more

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting Suspect Is Identified

first_img#VirginaBeach #ShootingStill a mass shooting !!Pray for victims !!The killer a municipal employee #DewayneCraddock,was killed by police !!! pic.twitter.com/BhvsbDiZII— jean serran (@jeanserran) June 1, 2019 In the meantime, investigators were working to learn more about Craddock. We are at the suspected shooter’s home in Virginia Beach. Police on scene #13NewsNow #VBSTRONG pic.twitter.com/KsX65M5iqE— Jaclyn Lee 13News Now (@13JaclynLee) June 1, 2019 I am at the home of the suspect. He lived above Cassetty Howerin. @WAVY_News pic.twitter.com/gW8CjGRYyG— Andy Fox (@AndyFoxWAVY) June 1, 2019 UPDATED: 3:19 a.m., June 1 — The death toll has risen after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach municipal building on Friday. A 12th person died from the gun violence that was allegedly perpetrated by DeWayne Craddock, a 40-year-old longtime city worker who was reportedly disgruntled after being fired recently.The 12th shooting victim reportedly died on the way to the hospital.The number of injured was reduced from six to four, according to the Associated Press, which reported that one of the people wounded was a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life. “This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said after the shooting. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”Cable news outlets described the shooter as being disgruntled and the Wall Street Journal reported that he was a “longtime city employee who had been fired entered a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., Friday afternoon to exact revenge.”A web page on the MyLife.com listed information about a Virginia Beach resident named DeWayne Craddock as being 40 years old and having a birthday on Oct. 15, 1978. It lists him as a Black registered Democrat and Christian who is married.The shooter died in an exchange of gunfire with police.Heavy.com produced a photo of DeWayne Craddock that showed an image of a Black man.If it does turn out that Craddock was the gunman, the fact that he is Black would offer a unique narrative surrounding the spate of mass shootings that have been taking place across the U.S. in recent years.“Statistics show that since 1982, the majority of mass shootings — 54 percent — were committed by white men,” Newsweek reported while citing statistics on mass shootings compiled by Mother Jones. “Black people were the second largest perpetrators of mass shootings based on ethnic background, but only accounted for roughly 16 percent of the total incidents during the same time period.”That Newsweek report was from 2017, before the Parkland massacre and other public shootings that resulted in mass deaths perpetrated by white males.Between 1982 and June of last year, 59 of the 101 mass shootings in that time span were launched by white people, according to data provided by Statista, which offers “statistics and studies from more than 22,500 sources.” Black people had the next-highest number of mass shooters at 16. The suspected mass shooter who killed at least 11 people and injured at least six others at a municipal center in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon was widely identified across social media as DeWayne Craddock. The Wall Street Journal also reported that the gunman was identified as DeWayne Craddock, a 40-year-old Black man who “made multiple firearm purchases in recent weeks.”center_img SEE ALSO:Maleah Davis’ Stepfather Tells Police What Happened To The Missing 4-Year-OldCharlamagne Tha God Compares Elizabeth Warren To Rachel Dolezal A Disturbing Timeline Of 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis Going Missing After Being Left With Her Stepfather Derion Vence, Maleah Davis, Brittany Bowens DeWayne Craddock , Mass Shootings , Virginia Beach mass shooting Original story:last_img read more

Suspect in stabbing incident turns himself in

first_imgShareTweetSharePinA man, who it is alleged was involved in a fatal stabbing incident in Roseau on Sunday, has surrendered to the police.24 year old Garth Jean Jacques of Bath Road died at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) after he was stabbed in the chest, shortly after being involved in an altercation with another man.The incident occurred at at ten o’clock Sunday morning.Reports are that the suspect walked into the police headquarters around six o’clock on Sunday night with his grandmother and his attorney Zena Dyer.last_img

SUSD psychologist retires after 42 years

first_imgPhoto by Diana HutchisonAfter 42 years with the SUSD, Psychologist Gaylan Jones is retiring. A ceremony was held on April 12 at the SUSD Governing Board meeting. Jones was presented a retirement survival bag of goodies and a plaque commemorating his 42 years of service. April 17, 2018 SUSD psychologist retires after 42 yearscenter_img By Diana Hutchison The Snowflake Unified School District Governing Board held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, April 12.  Over four dozen residents, district employees and family members were in attendance for a teary goodbyeSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img

Mali About 100 people killed in attack on Dogon village

first_img Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 0 Comment(s) Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘guilty of crimes’, will proceed further as per law: Imran Khan By Reuters |Bamako | Published: June 10, 2019 6:06:42 pm LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Behind Mali conflict: settled vs nomadic farmers, rise of militant outfits Fighting between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders has killed hundreds since January, including an attack on a village in March in which over 150 Dogon were killed by gunmen. (File/AP)About 100 people were killed during an overnight attack on an ethnic Dogon village in central Mali, a local mayor told Reuters on Monday.Fighting between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders has killed hundreds since January, including an attack on a village in March in which over 150 Dogon were killed by gunmen, one of the worst acts of violence in the West African country’s recent history.(More details awaited) Top News last_img

Aadhaar can be used for cash transactions beyond Rs 50000 in place

first_imgBy PTI |New Delhi | Published: July 6, 2019 8:54:07 pm Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Related News Advertising IT to allot fresh PAN to those filing tax returns with Aadhaar: CBDT chief Banks and other institutions will make backend upgrades to allow acceptance of Aadhaar in all places where quoting PAN is now mandatory, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said Saturday.This follows the Budget allowing interchangeability of PAN and Aadhaar for ease of compliance of taxpayers.“Today you have 22 crore PAN cards which are linked to Aadhaar. You have more than 120 crore people who have Aadhaar. Then supposing somebody wants PAN, he has to first use Aadhaar, generate PAN and then start using it. With Aadhaar the advantage would be he now does not have to generate PAN. So this is a great convenience,” he said. After the Supreme Court upheld Section 139AA of the I-T Act, the government in March extended the deadline for linking PAN with biometric ID Aadhaar by six months till September 30.However, quoting of Aadhaar is mandatory for filing income tax returns (ITRs), following the Supreme Court order.The apex court, in September last year, had declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid and held that the biometric ID would remain mandatory for filing of I-T returns and allotment of PAN. Advertising Advertising Government panel floats digital ID for health records, may link Aadhaar aadhaar card for nris, aadhar, aadhar card, nri aadhar card, aadhaar for nris, aadhaar card for nris and foreigners, aadhar for nris, nris aadhar card, nris aadhar card 2019, NRIs aadhar card, budget 2019, budget, nirmala sitharaman budget, nirmala sitharaman, nirmala sitharaman budget 2019 In order to curb black money, quoting of PAN is mandatory for cash transactions, such as hotel or foreign travel bills, exceeding Rs 50,000. PAN is also mandatory on purchase of immovable property of over Rs 10 lakh.India’s national biometric ID Aadhaar can now be quoted for cash transactions of more than Rs 50,000 and all other purposes where traditionally income tax PAN number was a must, according to a top official. Best Of Express A five-judge constitution bench had, however, said that it would not be mandatory to link Aadhaar to bank accounts and telecom service providers cannot seek its linking for mobile connections. Explained: What are the latest changes to Aadhaar? Asked if Aadhaar can be used for deposit or withdrawal of cash worth more than Rs 50,000 from bank accounts in place of PAN, Pandey said, “There also you can use Aadhaar”.In order to curb black money, quoting of PAN is mandatory for cash transactions, such as hotel or foreign travel bills, exceeding Rs 50,000. PAN is also mandatory on purchase of immovable property of over Rs 10 lakh.While Aadhaar is backed by biometric data of individuals, there have been several instances of people quoting a wrong PAN or obtaining a PAN number fraudulently.On whether PAN will be phased out, he said that would not happen as people would have a choice to either quote Permanent Account Number (PAN) or Aadhaar wherever required. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Taking stock of monsoon rain “Because there are some people who are comfortable on PAN,” he said. “So PAN and Aadhaar both will exist because some people may prefer to use Aadhaar, some people may prefer to use PAN. But at the back end, for every PAN there will be an Aadhaar.”Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech on Friday said for the ease and convenience of tax payers, “I propose to make PAN and Aadhaar interchangeable and allow those who do not have PAN to file Income Tax returns by simply quoting their Aadhaar number and also use it wherever they are required to quote PAN.”Of the over 41 crore PANs issued, 22 crore have been linked to Aadhaar.Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act says that every person having PAN as on July 1, 2017, and eligible to obtain Aadhaar, must intimate his Aadhaar number to the tax authorities. More Explained Post Comment(s)last_img read more

RSS withdraws Ramlal from BJP after 12 years in key post

first_img Towards social politics Another change announced at the Vijayawada meeting was that Rakesh Jain, who was general secretary (organisation) of BJP in UP four years ago and now works as sangathan mantra of Sewa Bharti, an RSS organisation working among the deprived sections, will now be all-India joint head of paryawaran vibagh (environment department). This is a new dimension of the Sangh’s work, which was cleared at the Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha in March.Another pracharak, Gopal Arya, is already deputed to it, and sources in RSS said this new department will get office-bearers up to the district levels in the coming days considering challenges the country faces on the environment front.As general secretary (organisation), Ramlal worked with three BJP presidents: Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Amit Shah. ‘RSS activism at grassroots played major role in Lok Sabha polls’, says political scientist rss, rashtriya swayamsewak sangh, ramlal, ramlal rss, rss bjp, bjp general secretary, atal bihari vajpayee, rajnath singh, nitin gadkari, india news, indian express Ramlal, 67, was appointed in this post in February 2007, replacing Sanjay Joshi. Express photo: Prem Nath PandeyThe RSS has withdrawn its pracharak, Ramlal, who was general secretary (organisation) of the BJP for the last 12 years, the longest-serving leader in that post. He has been appointed sah-sampark pramukh (joint communication chief) of RSS. Although it is still not clear who will replace Ramlal as general secretary in charge of BJP organisation, the names on top of those doing the rounds are that of Shivprakash and V Satish, both national joint secretaries of BJP.The other two in the same post are B L Santosh and Saudan Singh. Of the four, Shivprakash is the RSS pracharak in the post.Satish is considered close to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah; he had worked with both in Gujarat. J&K cops overhaul village defence committees, PDP says Centre design to arm RSS workers Advertising After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Advertising The decision was taken at the RSS’s ‘pranth pracharak baithak’, which concluded in Vijayawada on Saturday.Sources said in his new role, Ramlal will be responsible for developing contact among “special category” – or elite – people.Sources present at the annual meet told The Indian Express that sar-karyawah Bhaiyaji Joshi announced the decision and told delegates, “Ramlal worked with BJP for many years and earned fame for his work. We have spoken to the BJP and are now putting Ramlal-ji on other work. He will be sah-sampark pramukh.”There were nearly 275 delegates at the meeting, most of them pracharaks of state-level and above, along with one or two each (deputed as pracharaks) from the Sangh’s other front organisations. More Explained Unlike his predecessors – K N Govindacharya and Sanjay Joshi – Ramlal leaves the post without any controversies. Govindacharya had to go on “leave” unceremoniously following his comments against Atal Bihari Vajpayee, while Joshi was removed after a controversial CD emerged. Madhya Pradesh Police later found it fake.(With Liz Mathew) Advertising General secretary (organisation) is a crucial post in BJP, and the leader helming it acts as a bridge between the party and RSS, its parent organisation. A full-time RSS ‘pracharak’ is appointed to the post, who works on deputation in the party until his repatriation.Ramlal, 67, was appointed in this post in February 2007, replacing Sanjay Joshi.As he exits the BJP organisation, Ramlal, active in the Sangh since the Emergency days, leaves a significant mark in the party’s history, holding a key post when it is at its peak. During his term, the BJP recorded stunning victories in two General Elections and several Assembly polls.With his exit, the transition of the BJP’s organisation is complete under Modi and Shah. Sources said there could be changes in the states as well, with Sunil Bansal, RSS’s man in Uttar Pradesh, likely to be shifted out. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Written by Shyamlal Yadav | New Delhi | Updated: July 14, 2019 7:30:40 am Related News Taking stock of monsoon rain 3 Comment(s) Best Of Express last_img read more

US hails talks with Taliban denies troop withdrawal window

first_img Post Comment(s) China acknowledges hosting Taliban’s chief peace negotiator for talks Related News A Taliban attack on children causes outrage, everywhere but at peace talks The Taliban promise to protect women. Here’s why women don’t believe them The seventh and latest round of peace talks between the US and Taliban is critical. (AP)A US official says the latest round of talks with the Taliban, now in their second week, has been “very productive,” while strenuously denying Washington sought a fixed deadline for the withdrawal of its estimated 14,000 troops from Afghanistan. By AP |Kabul | Published: July 6, 2019 4:19:17 pm Advertising A member of the American negotiating team in Qatar’s capital, Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office and talks are being held, told The Associated Press Friday that the U.S. “definitely did not offer” an 18-month withdrawal as part of a peace deal.Speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the talks, the U.S. negotiator was responding to a timeframe Taliban officials told the AP months earlier.Also on Saturday, prominent Afghan figures were headed to Qatar ahead of much-anticipated all-Afghan talks to begin on Sunday.last_img read more

Calcutta High Court quashes notice for meeting to remove Bidhannagar mayor

first_img Related News kolkata calcutta high court, bidhannagar municipal corporation, sabyasachi dutta, bmc, bmc mayor, tmc, trinamool congress, mukul roy, indian express news Justice Chattopadhyay observed that in order to prevent horse-trading, the meeting will have to be held within two days. (Source: File)The Calcutta High Court Wednesday quashed a notice for a meeting of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to remove Sabyasachi Dutta as its mayor and directed that a fresh notice be issued and no-confidence proceedings held within two days. Calcutta High Court admits petition challenging removal of La Martiniere schools’ board members Advertising The court quashed the notice since it had not been issued as per the provisions of West Bengal Municipal Act 2006.It held that as per law, only the chairperson can issue a notice for a meeting of board of councillors of a municipal corporation.The BMC is run by West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).In the eye of a political storm over his recent meetings with BJP leader Mukul Roy, Dutta, also TMC MLA from Rajarhat-Newtown, has been at loggerheads with his party leadership for some time.In his petition, he had claimed that the attempt to remove him from the post of mayor is a “sinister coup” to transfer power for satisfying personal ego. BJP to move Supreme Court challenging Calcutta HC’s stay on rath yatra Chargesheet in Narada sting case likely in a month, CBI tells Calcutta High Court Justice Samapti Chattopadhyay directed the BMC chairperson to convene the meeting on the basis of a requisition by 35 of the civic body’s 41 councillors expressing ‘no confidence’ in Dutta.Justice Chattopadhyay observed that in order to prevent horse-trading, the meeting will have to be held within two days.In the notice issued to Dutta on July 9, the BMC commissioner had convened a meeting of the board of councillors on Thursday on the direction of the chairperson for removing him as mayor. Advertising By PTI |Kolkata | Published: July 17, 2019 9:27:11 pm Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Turning Social Media From a Problem Into a Solution

first_imgThe tech industry has a problem, as I pointed out in a recent column and as the book Technically Wrong spells out in detail.That problem appears to be worst with social media companies, which have exhibited nearly complete disregard for their users — who aren’t their customers — and even disregard for their home countries.At the heart of the problem is the disconnect between those who provide revenue for these “free” firms and those who use them. Mark Zuckerberg years ago became rather famous for pointing out that those who used his service were stupid, though he used a far more interesting term at the time.Since then he has insisted that he’s changed his mind, but I watched him in an interview on TV last week, and it seemed he still thought we were all dumb f*cks, claiming that Facebook shared only what users put on the service to share. In other words, “what’s the problem again?”I’m starting to think the name “Zuckerberg” should be the new single word alternative to “tone deaf.”We know that foreign operators used social media services aggressively in an effort to influence the outcome of the last presidential election and to change public opinion on a national level. In short, social networks have been used aggressively to harm U.S. citizens.We also have learned that in both the Parkland and the YouTube shootings, social media should have been aware of an attack threat long before one occurred.Whether we agreed to share information or not, we certainly did not sign up to weaken our country or to facilitate mass shootings.Social media services have demonstrated the power to change opinions, and they certainly have the data and resources to identify threats. The thing is, they need to manage these capabilities appropriately and at scale. I interviewed a company last week that has a solution. These giant social media companies have become not only a danger to the nation, but also a danger to their own employees. Their near total disregard for their users has created an environment where they really should start thinking about building defensible fortresses rather than open campuses. If they don’t change their behavior, their consistent lack of regard for users undoubtedly will result in more violence.However, there are AI tools that could be used to neutralize blossoming attackers and/or alert authorities about related impending harm, rather then being used to manipulate the populace in general.These services ultimately will manipulate us in some ways. However, they could be used to help keep us safe. They’ve done little to address other mass shootings, but given that their lives are now on the line as well, maybe they will step up.By the way, for anyone thinking of a better perimeter camera system, I also ran into Umbo Computer Vision last week. Its intelligent (neural network) camera system is capable of identifying a variety of approaching threats and eventually should be useful in identifying an approaching known attacker.Note to the NRA: This is a path that has nothing to do with gun control and yet could do a lot to keep the next mass shooting from happening. If folks stop shooting other folks, the Second Amendment would be a ton safer. Just saying. Darwin Ecosystem + IBM Watson Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. Darwin Ecosystem is one of a new class of companies that is artificial intelligence-centric. In this case, it uses the IBM Watson platform to analyze writing to determine personality types and changes in personality.One of the interesting things it did during the last election was to analyze the candidates. It even created a dynamic graph so you could look at each key personality trait individually.One of the interesting findings was that, over time, the personality differences between Clinton and Trump seemed to converge, while Sanders remained largely the same. It’s arguable that the convergence appeared to hurt Clinton and assisted Trump’s victory (though with all of the social media influence, this cause and effect is questionable). Another finding was that, at least with regard to certain personality traits, Trump was surprisingly close to Obama, also suggesting a connection between personality and success.What Darwin Ecosystem focuses on, however, is analyzing writing to determine employee problems at every level in a company. For instance, a board could use it as a tool to gauge whether a CEO was taking direction and becoming the CEO it wanted, as opposed to becoming far too enamored with abusing the privileges of the office. Management could use it to make sure an employee was well utilized and not burning out or even becoming violent.Anecdotal evidence suggests this tool also could be used to determine if a child or adult was becoming depressed and suicidal. In theory, it could be used to determine if someone was developing homicidal tendencies.Like all AI systems, this one uses pattern analysis and deep learning to make determinations about the authors of written works. As with most new AI systems, Darwin Ecosystems’ tools can be used at scale.This suggests that were a solution like Darwin Ecosystems applied to services like Facebook and YouTube, and tied into a response system modeled after what the Russians allegedly used against the U.S., you could have a strong defense against violence.This same model could be used to identify traitors, bullies, trolls, and a whole variety of bad actors as well, and then appropriate steps could be taken to alter their behavior. Basically, what it would amount to is human programming at scale. We’re already doing it — we just don’t apply it properly to our defense. Violence Defense The shooting incident that took place last week at YouTube had less to do with guns than with the failure of the police to act on information in a timely way and the inability of social media to be anything but part of the problem.Google has been giving this issue little more than lip service, but I expect it has become motivated to do more, given that YouTube — not some distant school — was the latest target. Funny how personal risk can change perspectives.However, in both the Parkland and YouTube events, social media — Facebook in the case of Florida, and YouTube in the case of YouTube — seemed to help inflame the attackers, or at least did nothing to reduce their anger or eliminate the threats.Foreign governments apparently want to interfere with elections and polarize U.S. citizens, which showcases abuse of an incredible power. Why can’t that power be used in better ways — say to keep kids and Silicon Valley employees safer?It can, and I’ll suggest how before closing with my product of the week: a new satellite box for the TiVo service. The Problem Sadly, it doesn’t yet support WiFi. Not sure how TiVo’s developers missed that meeting, but otherwise this is a huge improvement over the older product. It also looks far better, and at US$179 total (no service contract) it is an inexpensive way to make your TV smarter.While you can buy this at Best Buy or on Amazon, that will add up to 24 hours to your setup. If it comes from TiVo, it is generally play-and-go (something I learned the hard way).With the exception of the lack of WiFi, I love my new TiVo VOX (ordered three of them), and that makes it my product of the week. TiVo offers amazing products and services. It has had its ups and downs — for instance, streaming from the devices remotely to an Amazon Fire TV or laptop has been anything but stable — but it is still my favorite set-top box solution.With TiVo, you aggregate your streaming services with your over-the-air recordings to get more depth of choice than in any other solution currently in market. For instance, if you somehow miss recording an episode, it points you to the streaming service that has it so you don’t have to watch things out of sequence. With its new voice control, it’s far easier to search for what you want to watch.One of the unique aspects of the hardware solution has been the TiVo Mini, which allows you to move the programing from your primary TiVo DVR to anyplace in your house. The issue was that while TiVo updated its DVRs with the Bolt, the Mini largely was left years out of date. Well, that recently changed with the TiVo Mini VOX, which now supports 4K Ultra HD and voice control. What I’m suggesting is a solution that would start with an AI-based threat detection system that first would identify those who were displaying violent characteristics. Then it would be followed by two threat mitigation programs. One would feed posts designed to point the individual to nonviolent forms of rebellion or attack, while another would notify authorities who then could respond at the appropriate level.The system could generate and send to law enforcement a report ranking threats and attacks by their potential, so law enforcement or social services could respond appropriately.The mitigating posts sent to the emerging attacker would provide information on the collateral damage associated with attacks, how attackers were punished or killed, and credible posts suggesting meaningful alternatives that could result in better outcomes than violent acts.They could include pointers to suicide prevention or other services that could deal with whatever the AI, or the flagged human moderator, might decide would be the best program to move the target off the violent path.Instead of allowing technology to be used against us, we could be using it to keep us safe. Wrapping Up TiVo Mini Voxlast_img read more

New software package automatically creates plans and factor in variables

first_img Source:https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2018/october/smart-algorithms-boost-planning.html Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 1 2018Organizing care services is a complex task and a lot of planning goes into ensuring that they operate smoothly. Developed by adiutaByte, a spin-off project of the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing SCAI, adiuta.PLAN is a software package that can automatically create plans and factor in variables such as traffic levels and weather conditions in real time. The software also keeps plans updated to take into account other factors such as staff availability. Its innovative algorithms provide the perfect remedy for the grave shortage of care resources.Every day, companies produce manual plans that are then adapted throughout the day, costing significant amounts of time and effort. It might be a service roster for a hospital, fleet planning for a parcel delivery company, shelf planning in a warehouse, or indeed a service roster for outpatient care. In this instance, the care service provider has to do their best to distribute work amongst the carers on duty. Although there are already tools out there in the marketplace to help care providers with this time-consuming task, none of them are able to monitor whether the service roster is actually feasible after the plan is made. What they fail to offer is a solution that can automatically generate and optimize plans. This is the gap filled by adiutaByte, a spin-off project from Fraunhofer SCAI, and its software adiuta.PLAN, which solves complex optimization problems with new algorithmic approaches, supporting care providers in the daily planning of care routes and helping them to assign carers to patients. Sectors such as logistics and warehouse management also stand to benefit from the solution.Combining a range of algorithmic approachesFour people currently work on the adiutaByte team. The spin-off is planned for the first half of 2019, and is receiving funding from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as part of the Fraunhofer INNOVATOR program as well as through Fraunhofer Venture. Team leader Dr. Dustin Feld explains the approach that contributes to adiuta.PLAN’s success: “We’re combining a range of algorithmic approaches, drawing on clustering techniques and artificial intelligence methods. Isolated conventional algorithms or closed-loop mathematical modeling are not enough in scenarios in which a system must react dynamically to unpredictable events such as traffic jams, road blocks or staff absences.” Using a unique mix of algorithms, the adiuta.PLAN solution monitors travel and weather data in real time, and factors it into its planning.Different applications require personalized solutions. The goal might be to provide carers with a schedule that guarantees them a stress-free day, or it might be a tight plan run with military precision. The solution offers a choice of routes – the fastest, the shortest and the most cost-efficient. If the chosen plan can be optimized in another way, adiuta.PLAN will also display possible alternatives and suggestions.Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchDanbury Hospital launches ‘Healing Hugs’ for its most vulnerable patientsIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyFor instance, a road or bridge closure can throw a whole service roster off schedule. In such a scenario, the priority is to automatically update the plan as quickly as possible and compare the predicted plan against the actual situation. Other factors also play a key role in the optimization, including employee qualifications, customer preferences, staff absences and type of vehicle. “If a patient has a particular preference for a specific carer, our algorithms will automatically take that into account,” says Feld.Significant savings in time and administrative effortThe new automated solution offers great potential for optimization and savings, both in terms of time and administration, as the research team has successfully demonstrated in tests run on behalf of a 20-strong care team operated by the Johanniter humanitarian organization. “Normally, it takes the heads of the care team two hours each morning to draw up a plan for the 20 carers. With our solution, all they need to do is approve the automatically generated plan proposal,” says the computer scientist. The time needed for carers to get to and from appointments was also reduced by ten percent.Using machine learning for real-life planningMachine learning is another tool that can be used to increase the optimization potential still further: “Let’s take the example of drawing a blood sample. We know that the time taken to complete the task may well vary depending on the carer and the patient. Over a longer period of time, the algorithms can learn how long it usually takes, meaning that future service rosters more accurately reflect the reality of the situation,” explains Feld.adiuta.PLAN can be integrated into existing software solutions and, first and foremost, supplies the core algorithms, so that users can continue working in their preferred environment. Care providers can manage the optimization target and prioritization via a series of controllers and buttons. adiutaByte can also supply personalized user interfaces at the customer’s request. Mobile apps allow carers direct access to the plan while on the move.last_img read more

Women who drink more water experience fewer bladder infections study finds

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 1 2018In the controlled trial, women who drank an additional 1.5 liters of water daily experienced 48 percent fewer repeat bladder infections than those who drank their usual volume of fluids, said senior author Dr. Yair Lotan, Professor of Urology and with the Simmons Cancer Center at UT Southwestern. The participants self-reported their usual volume as less than 1.5 liters of fluid daily, which is about six 8-ounce glasses.”That’s a significant difference,” said Dr. Lotan, Chief of Urologic Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “These findings are important because more than half of all women report having bladder infections, which are one of the most common infections in women.”More than a quarter of women experience a secondary infection within six months of an initial infection and 44 to 77 percent will have a recurrence within a year, said Dr. Lotan, holder of the Helen J. and Robert S. Strauss Professorship in Urology at UT Southwestern and Medical Director of the Urology Clinic at Parkland Health & Hospital System.Physicians suspect more fluids help to reduce bacteria and limit the ability of bacteria to attach to the bladder.Symptoms for acute uncomplicated cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection (UTI), include painful or difficulty in urination, a feeling of a full bladder, an urgency or frequency of urination, tenderness in the lower abdominal area, and possibly blood in the urine.Because these infections are typically treated with antibiotics, the increased fluid could help reduce use of antibiotics and thereby help control antibiotic resistance, the researchers said.The findings appear in JAMA Internal Medicine. Among the highlights over the 12-month study period: Source:https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/ Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerNew class of cancer-killing agents shows promise in destroying cancer stem cellsNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerDr. Lotan, a member of UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, uses minimally invasive, robotic, and open surgical techniques to treat bladder, prostate, kidney, ureteral, and testicular cancer. He is nationally recognized for his research on urine markers in bladder cancer and molecular markers in other urologic cancers and was the first in North Texas to perform a robotic cystectomy, or removal of the bladder. UT Southwestern’s Urology Department developed the Snodgrass repair, a surgical procedure used around the world for hypospadias, a congenital condition in which the opening of the urethra develops abnormally; conducted the first large bladder cancer screening study in the U.S.; and was among the first in the world to offer continent urinary diversion for bladder cancer patients.center_img 93 percent of women in the Water Group had two or fewer episodes of cystitis compared with 88 percent of women in the Control Group who had three or more episodes. The number of cystitis episodes was about half in the Water Group compared with the Control Group. Overall, there were 327 cystitis episodes: 111 in the Water Group and 216 in the Control Group. The estimated mean annual number of antimicrobial regimens used to treat cystitis episodes was 1.9 in the Water Group compared with 3.6 in the Control Group. The mean number of antimicrobial regimens used to treat cystitis episodes was 1.8 in the Water Group compared with 3.5 in the Control Group. The mean time interval between cystitis events was 142.9 days in the Water Group compared with 85.2 days in the Control Group. The median time to the first cystitis episode was 148 days in the Water Group compared with 93.5 days in the Control Group.last_img read more

Natural nanoscopic particles identified as possible diagnostic tool for Alzheimers

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 3 2018Exosomes are natural nanoscopic particles released by most cell types, and are currently the focus of research because they represent a possible tool for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. These particles are not so easy to isolate, and nanotechnology may help in this process.It is recently shown that our bodies are equipped with nanoscopic messengers called exosomes. They are present in all our bodily fluids and play a key role in the transfer of signals between our cells. It has been demonstrated that they are able to cross the brain-blood barrier, which offers great potential for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases.Related StoriesNanotechnology treatment reverses multiple sclerosis symptoms in miceNew nanotechnology approach shows promise in treating triple negative breast cancerNovel technique that uses nanotechnology and photonics prevents bacterial infections on surgical implantsDeveloping analytical nanotoolsIn connection with the recently launched project called EXIT (EXosomes Isolation Tool), SINTEF, as part of a multidisciplinary team, will develop a miniaturised analytical tool designed to investigate exosomes in samples taken from patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Exosomes carry different molecules such as proteins, microRNAs and metabolites, which makes them particularly interesting materials for research.Key to the project are the electroseparation methods developed at the University of Leiden and at SINTEF’s high-tech laboratory known as MiNaLab. MiNaLab will develop a manufacturing process for nanofluidic channels, ranging in depths from between 50 and 100 nm. (For comparison, a human hair is approximately 100,000 nanometres wide.) Such channel dimensions enable the efficient pre-concentration of nano-sized particles, such as exosomes. The exosomes in turn represent an opportunity for use in diagnostics – something that is both innovative and challenging.Will improve our understanding of the diseaseThe analytical tool aims to concentrate and separate exosomes from paired samples of blood plasma and spinal fluid. Researchers hope that the exosomes can be used as an early-stage biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, enabling a diagnosis to be made before the typical symptoms appear. Researchers are also hoping that the study of paired samples of plasma and spinal fluid from the same patient will improve our understanding of the disease mechanism.The project was launched in April 2018 and is planned to continue until 2021. Source:https://geminiresearchnews.com/notes/can-nanotechnology-help-diagnose-alzheimers/last_img read more

Insilico to present latest research on biomarkers at Investing in the Age

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 30 2018Insilico Medicine, a Rockville-based company developing the end-to-end drug discovery pipeline utilizing the next generation artificial intelligence, will present its latest advances in human aging biomarker development at the Investing in the Age of Longevity Conference in London, 1 of November.New technologies in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are paving the way for advanced biotechnology research of aging. The presentation will focus on recent developments in biomarkers, using deep learning, blood biochemistry, gene expression, as well as imaging data. It will also cover the application of deep neural networks in drug discovery, including the generation of new models that could target the aging process.Related StoriesScientists discover rare autoimmune disease triggered by testicular cancerPersonalizing Nutritional Medicine With the Power of NMRArtificial intelligence can help accurately predict acute kidney injury in burn patients”We are happy to present some of our latest research at the Investing in the Age of Longevity Conference, which gathers the leading longevity scientists and investors. Longevity has fascinated mankind for centuries, and now with the increased scientific understanding of aging we are looking into the longevity industry as one of the greatest investment opportunities of all time,” says Polina Mamoshina, a senior research scientist at Insilico Medicine.Investing in the Age of Longevity brings together all the scientists and business leaders to discuss obstacles and objectives, share and learn the first-hand experience from the experts, as well as help investment companies utilize the scientific expertise in building a solid longevity investment portfolio. The Conference is held on the 1st of November.For the audience, interested in learning more about the opportunities and challenges of the industry, professor Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO and Founder of Insilico Medicine, will be participating in the panel discussion of the Conference jointly with other experts of the field.Source: http://www.insilico.com/last_img read more

Heart failure patients with stronger hearts have more depressive symptoms lower quality

first_imgNov 20 2018Heart failure patients fall into two general categories: those with weaker hearts, and those with stronger, but stiffer hearts that continue to eject the normal volume of blood with every beat. Although their hearts have different pump strength, new research shows that both groups suffer from similar levels of physical and cognitive impairments after a hospitalization for their heart failure, and that surprisingly, patients with stronger hearts have higher rates of depressive symptoms and lower quality of life.”The results speak to how bad heart failure is across the board,” says senior author Gordon Reeves, MD, Associate Professor of Cardiology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. “Heart failure is one of the most common reasons for older patients to be in the hospital and the issues experienced as a consequence of a heart failure hospitalization can have a huge effect on their daily function and independence. This appears to be true regardless of the pumping function of the heart and, in some regards, may actually be worse in those in whom the squeezing function is preserved.” The results were published online in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.Many treatments for heart failure – for example medications like angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or beta blockers, and certain types of pacemakers, — are only effective in patients with weaker hearts, those with a so-called reduced ejection fraction (rEF), meaning the main pumping chamber of their heart pumps out or ejects a smaller portion of blood than it should with each heartbeat. Heart failure in patients with stronger hearts, those with preserved ejection fraction (pEF), is actually the most common form of heart failure in older adults and is more likely to affect women, but there are far fewer effective therapies currently available.”This research gives us a much clearer picture of the symptoms and potential barriers to successful care affecting older patients with both reduced and preserved ejection fractions following a heart failure hospitalization, and gives us new insight into the interventions that might improve their quality of life and clinical outcomes,” said Dr. Reeves.Related StoriesCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adultsWeightlifting is better for the heart than cardioHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresDr. Reeves and colleagues from the coordinating center, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and Duke University Medical Center analyzed data from the first 202 patients enrolled in the ongoing multi-center REHAB-HF (NIH study number: NCT02196038) clinical trial. The overarching goal of that study, which aims to enroll 360 patients, is to determine the benefit of rehabilitation interventions for older patients recovering from a heart failure hospitalization who may find it challenging to complete the types of physical activity that are included in traditional cardiac rehabilitation. In fact, such patients are currently excluded from participating in cardiac rehabilitation by CMS policy because there has been so little prior research in these patients. The early baseline analysis presented in this interim report, is the first to look at the differences in physical performance, frailty, depression and cognition between preserved and reduced ejection fraction patients.In an accompanying editorial, Kelsey M Flint, MD from Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center and Daniel E Forman, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine; say that this characterization is significant, because heart failure is a condition that hasn’t been fully addressed by current standards of care. “Over 70% of Medicare beneficiaries who are hospitalized for heart failure (HF) die or are re-hospitalized by one year after discharge,” the editorial authors write.Using a number of assessments more common in the field of geriatric medicine than cardiology, the researchers found that both types of patients scored equally poorly on measures of physical ability, such as walking speed, getting up from a chair unassisted and endurance. They had similar scores on measures of frailty and also cognitive impairment. However, depression and quality of life scores were consistently lower in patients with preserved ejection fractions, or stronger hearts.”We think of these results as a call to action for the cardiology community,” said Dr. Reeves. “These findings indicate we need to do more than decongesting the hearts of these patients.” Source:http://www.jefferson.edu/last_img read more