July 22, 2019
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first_imgMagic the Ungathering The game’s biggest impact might be in highlighting how AR could beused with other properties — everything fromsuperhero franchises to Star Wars.”This game type could translate into hundreds of different genres, andthis would allow the games to appeal to people of many differentinterests — from cars to toys to hunting and fishing,” said Jon PeddieResearch’s Pollak.”Augmented reality gaming that is accessible to the mass market willonly get better over time, and these games are leading the charge,” headded.Given the success of Niantic’s past games, even if this one isn’t asmash hit, it could serve as a portent for how AR could be used forfuture titles.”Consumers and developers are becoming more familiar with AR and itspossibilities,” said Hanich.”However, we’ve seen that the most successful AR apps to date offer ARas an optional add-on. Niantic’s games — Ingress, Pokémon Go, and now Wizards Unite — are much more location-based games than AR-based,”she noted. To get started, players will be able to choose their wizarding houses. Gryffindor likely will be a fan favorite, but don’t rule out Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Potter purists, who believe they shouldn’t choose, can go to the Harry Potter official website and have theenchanted Sorting Hat place them in the house best suited to their magical background.The next step will be to choose an appropriate wand for castingspells. As any would-be wizard knows, this can take someconsideration. However, both wands and houses can be switched at anytime. This is the era of self-expression, so clearly the game’sdevelopers don’t want to lock players into anything.Where this game takes a notable turn from the more simplisticgathering gameplay of Pokémon Go is in the ability to assume a profession,such as professor, auror (an officer with the Department ofMagical Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Magic) or magizoolgist.Players also can snap a selfie and edit the photo to outfit themselveswith witch or wizard attire. Then, like magic, it is time to play. Niantic last week offered a few members of the gaming press achance to take in the magic of its upcoming Harry Potter: WizardsUnite augmented reality game. The game, which is being developed as partof a joint effort with WB Games San Francisco under the Portkey Gameslabel, promises to build on Niantic’s hugely popular Pokémon Go mobilephone game.Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, firstannounced in 2017, will use a mobile phone to blend augmented reality with the real world, much like Pokémon Go.Android users can preregister for theupcoming game on the Google Play store. It will be released later thisyear for both Android and iOS devices — with an iOS preorder comingsoon.Given Niantic’s involvement, it is a given that the gameplay willresemble that of Pokémon Go, but it also will take AR gaming in a newdirection. Players won’t just gather collectible creatures via theirhandsets. This time around, there are role-playing game (RPG) elements, including the ability to cast spells, discover artifacts, and encounter icon beasts and characters from the HarryPotter universe. AR Magic Sorting App More AR Worlds to Come In the context of the Harry Potter series, a Muggle is a person lackingany magical ability or who was not born in a magical family. The gamecertainly could give our real world Muggles the ability to feel abit magical.”Like Pokémon, Harry Potter is a highly popular media franchise,particularly among millennials,” Parks’ Hanich added.”The brand does not have quite the same universal appeal as Pokémon,but it does have a core group of fans who are deeply involved in thelore of the world,” she pointed out.”A complex role-playing game is likely to appeal to this group andalso keep them more deeply engaged over the long run than a moresimplistic game aimed at casual players,” Hanich noted.Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could succeed, but it probably will not become a sensation on the level of Pokémon Go, she suggested.In fact, the RPG element might deter some gamers who are not the most hardcore fans.”Harry Potter fans are legion, so getting people to try the game won’tbe hard, but it will depend on how much fun the game is,” said Enderle.Its success could come down to “gotchas, like in game purchases– or personal information sharing — and overall game play dynamics,” he added.center_img Perhaps the greatest selling point of the game is that Harry Potter:Wizards Unite promises an adventure in the real world. Of course the”real magic” will come not from spells or a wand, but from the power ofAR and a handset screen.In J.K. Rowling’s world, the magical realmexists side-by-side with the non-magical world, and through AR playersare able to cross over.”Since Pokémon Go first launched in 2016, we’ve seen a number of otherAR games launch as well,” said Kristen Hanich, senior analyst at ParksAssociates.However, none have risen to the same level of success, and evenPokémon Go was “successful mainly because of its tie-in to theextremely popular Pokémon brand, as well as its core gameplayelements,” she told TechNewsWorld.The question is whether this game could be too ambitious for today’sAR technology.”AR games should be best with AR glasses, but most of those suck or aretargeted at industrial applications, and playing AR Harry Potter on aphone or tablet won’t have the same level of magic,” said Rob Enderle,principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”Pokémon Go lent itself to using a phone, but if you want to do magic, thentruly engaging with the content would, I think, be more of arequirement,” he told TechNewsWorld.”So, while I think it has a lot of potential, the lack of AR glassesand high expectations set by the video — that likely won’t be met — willmake this a problematic game to bring to market,” Enderle added.Of course, venturing into the world with today’s VR headsets is notpractical, and even the now-defunct Google Glass really wasn’t up tothe task of allowing for an AR experience that could simulatethe magic of Rowling’s world effectively.”The big issue with this game is that the video sets expectations at alevel that we just can’t execute yet, and disappointment tends to wipeout the advocates you need to get to a critical mass of regularplayers,” noted Enderle. The AR features are optional, meaning that players candisable or ignore them without impacting the core gameplayexperience.”Developers have chosen to implement AR this way for two main reasons:First, AR is still relatively new — a significant percentage ofsmartphones do not currently support this technology, and requiring itmeans losing these consumers as potential users,” Hanich explained.”Second, while gamers are much more interested in AR than non-gamers,they don’t find it universally appealing,” she added.In U.S. homes with broadband, roughly half of the heads of household who played games for an hour or more per week rated “seeingand interacting with game characters as if they were in front of youin the real world” as appealing (rating 5-7 on a 7 point scale), while athird found it unappealing (rating 1-3), Parks Associates found.”In the future, AR-first gaming may prove to be wildly successful, butbefore that happens, AR-capable smartphones need to become more widelyadopted, and game developers need to figure which AR features moststrongly resonate with their players,” said Hanich, “and as always, the core gameplay experience will be king.” Magic for Muggles Casting Future Spells Whereas Pokémon Go was built around finding and capturing creatures andthen battling in game-world gyms, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite takes it up a notchwith the RPG elements, as well as the ability to “unite” with otherplayers in team-based challenges.Here is where Niantic could fail to catch lightning in a bottle theway it has done with its past AR games. Die-hard HarryPotter fans may appreciate the ability to create character. Still, theleveling up of said characters — dealing with skill trees and then theturn-based combat — could bring the real-world adventure to a grinding halt if it means constantly looking down at the screen to engage in activity.Yet, for legions of Potter fans, this might not be an issue.”People loved going out for Pokémon hunting, and there is pent-updemand for a location-based augmented reality game,” said Ted Pollak,game industry senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research.”It might not have the same impact as Pokémon Go, as it was partiallythe new technology of location-based AR gaming itself that caused someof its success, but this could still have mass appeal,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Adding the RPG element is probably a good thing to keep peopleengaged,” added Pollak. “That was one of Pokémon Go’s weaknesses, asthe novelty of the hunting wore out eventually.” Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter.last_img read more

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first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 7 2018Bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics lead to an estimated 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses per year in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control is launching an expansive effort to study various facets of the growing threat by funding researchers across the nation, including two prominent water experts at Virginia Tech.The CDC recently awarded two contracts to study antibiotic resistance in recycled water and in plumbing to Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards, both professors in the Charles Edward Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.Pruden and Edwards received the noteworthy contracts as part of the CDC’s wider effort to address emerging public health priorities. The work Pruden and Edwards are set to conduct for the next year falls under one of the CDC’s 10 major research areas of interest surrounding disease control. Both will focus their efforts on antibiotic resistant pathogens and resistance genes in water systems.Specifically, Pruden, the W. Thomas Rice Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading an effort to examine the issue in the context of wastewater reclamation, also known as water recycling or reuse.Water recycling is necessary to maintain sufficient water supplies for commercial, industrial, agricultural, and residential needs. While the purification systems must meet very high microbial reduction standards, these standards do not specifically address removal of antibiotic resistant organisms.Pruden’s project will explore the opportunity to intentionally design wastewater treatment and reclamation processes as a barrier to the spread of antibiotic resistance. Her team will partner with Kang Xia, a professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, and V. Jody Harwood, professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, to examine a range of markers of antibiotic resistance through local water reclamation facilities treating water for reuse purposes. Post-doctoral student Emily Garner and civil engineering graduate student Ishi Keenum round out the research team.Related StoriesAntibiotic susceptibility pattern of Enterobacteriaceae found in GhanaStudy: Surveillance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to be core focus for healthcare facilitiesFinger-prick blood test could help prevent unnecessary antibiotic prescribing for patients with COPDThe researchers will track a range of antibiotic resistant pathogens of concern and identify which water treatment and disinfection processes are most effective for their removal. They also plan to examine the potential for new strains of resistant bacteria to evolve during wastewater treatment through the use of advanced next generation DNA sequencing and bioinformatic tools that have been developed at Virginia Tech in collaboration with Liqing Zhang and Lenny Heath, associate professor and professor, respectively, in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech.Edwards, a University Distinguished Professor, serves as principal investigator for a project examining the plumbing and potential for pathogens to colonize the drinking water systems in hospitals, which face an added risk of infecting susceptible populations.Along with Pruden, civil and environmental engineering graduate students M. Storme Spencer and Abe Cullom, and Virginia Tech biological sciences professor Joseph O. Falkinham III, Edwards and his team will deploy a novel pipe bioreactor system for simulating building plumbing that was developed by Spencer to rigorously test the effectiveness of disinfectants, like those used in hospital plumbing.Because the parameters for killing antibiotic resistant bacteria are poorly defined, there is a need to identify which disinfectants are most effective, while also avoiding the possibility that the disinfectants themselves kill off the competition for resistant bacteria and promote survival of more resilient antibiotic resistant bacteria.The team will compare chlorine, chloramine, chlorine dioxide, copper-silver, and no disinfectant in terms of their ability to control pathogens and biofilm in a range of pipe materials including copper, plastic, and iron.Source: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2018/11/eng-CDCcontracts2018.htmllast_img read more

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first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018Don’t procrastinate. Most consumers who buy their own insurance on the federal health insurance marketplace face a Dec. 15 deadline. Advocates are reminding these customers that if they miss the deadline, they may not have a plan that starts in January 2019.Despite repeated efforts by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it remains the law of the land, and subsidies that help bring down premiums and reduce cost sharing are still available to help people afford plans sold on the marketplaces, also called exchanges. Those plans still must provide comprehensive benefits and limit out-of-pocket costs for consumers. If you buy an exchange plan, insurers can’t turn you down or charge you more if you have a preexisting medical condition.But Republicans did push through a major change in the law that takes effect in 2019: Consumers will no longer owe a fine if they don’t have health insurance. It’s not yet clear if that has tamped down interest, but data released by federal officials showed that the number of people who had signed up during the first two weeks of open enrollment was down by about 20 percent from a year ago.If you’re shopping for coverage off the exchange, you’ll probably encounter ads for short-term policies, which the Trump administration is promoting and for which it has loosened the requirements. Those plans generally have lower premiums, but they are riskier buys if you get sick, advocates say. More on those plans later.If you want to enroll in a marketplace plan, now’s the time to get cracking. Enrollment, which began Nov. 1, will close on Dec. 15 in about two-thirds of states, which use the federal exchange.Some people who live in states that run their own marketplaces may have extra time to sign up. California’s open-enrollment period doesn’t end until Jan. 15, for example, and in New York open enrollment runs through Jan. 31. In addition, people who’ve been affected by the wildfires in California may qualify for a special enrollment period that gives them even more time, according to a spokesperson for Covered California, the state’s marketplace.Although you may have more plans to choose from for 2019, there will likely be fewer enrollment pros on hand to help you pick the one that’s right for you. Here are some tips that may help.Review All Your Plan OptionsIf you’re already enrolled in a marketplace plan and don’t take steps to sign up during open enrollment, chances are the marketplace will automatically re-enroll you in your current plan or another one that is similar for 2019. Don’t let that happen.Even if you like the coverage you have, it’s critical to study the details. Your plan may have essentially the same name, but there’s no guarantee that the premium, deductible and other specifics — like the list of approved hospitals and doctors — will be the same. Check to make sure it still meets your needs.Many people will have more insurers to choose from for next year. Fifty-eight percent of enrollees will have a choice of at least three insurers in 2019, compared with 48 percent who did so this year, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) Meanwhile, the share of enrollees with just one marketplace insurer in their area will drop to 17 percent in 2019 from 26 percent this year.Premiums will edge down slightly for many people next year. The changes vary widely by region, but the monthly unsubsidized premium for the second-lowest-priced silver plan, called the benchmark plan because its cost is used to set the level of federal premium support, will drop by an average 1.5 percent in states that use healthcare.gov, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. For a 27-year-old nonsmoker, that will mean a $6 difference ($412 dropping to $406).(Silver plans are the most popular type of marketplace plan, picking up 70 percent of the cost of covered benefits, on average. Bronze plans are less generous, paying for 60 percent, while gold plans, at 80 percent, pay a greater share of the costs.)Keep The Benchmark Plan In SightPremium tax credits are available for people with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($12,140 to $48,560 for one person, or $25,100 to $100,400 for a family of four). With more insurers competing for your business and premiums heading down in some areas, the benchmark plan may change in 2019.If you have the benchmark plan or another one with an even cheaper premium this year, be sure to check out the benchmark plan for next year.”If you don’t stay with [the] benchmark plan, you could get sticker shock on your premium next year,” said Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.That’s because your subsidy will be reduced in line with the lower benchmark plan premium, and you’ll have to cover the difference if you don’t switch plans.Estimate Your Income CarefullyIf you’re ineligible for premium tax credits because your 2018 income is too high but you think it may dip below the 400 percent poverty threshold next year, it’s a good idea to sign up for a marketplace plan rather than buy a plan outside the exchange, said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.”People in marketplace plans whose income drops into subsidy territory are eligible for a special enrollment period to sign up for a subsidized plan,” Pollitz said. “If you’re enrolled in a plan off the exchange, you won’t have that option.”About 80 percent of people who enroll in marketplace plans qualify for premium tax credits.To avoid giving people more in advance premium tax credits than they’re eligible for, the marketplace typically asks for additional documentation to verify income when people project that their earnings will be lower than government data sources show.Related StoriesNew federal health insurance rule could help millions of Americans save money on drugs and careSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchThis sign-up season, the marketplaces are asking for more information from people on the other end of the income spectrum. People with incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level aren’t eligible for subsidies. (Lawmakers who wrote the ACA expected these low-income people to qualify for Medicaid, but some states have not expanded their programs under the health law.)For 2019 coverage, customers who estimate their income will reach or exceed that 100 percent mark, which would qualify them for premium tax credits, will generally be asked to provide additional income information if the marketplace’s data show that their income is below that standard.The change is supposed to help avoid fraud, but inaccurate estimates may not be intentional, said Tara Straw, senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”People in that income range who are often cobbling together income from part-time jobs may not have a great estimation of what their income may be for the coming year,” she said.Update The Marketplace With Your Personal And Plan InformationMake sure to update your income and family information in your marketplace account. Otherwise, the marketplace may make an error in calculating the amount of your premium contribution, and you could be on the hook to repay excess subsidies at the end of the year.If, while shopping for a plan, you get a notice that you’ve been automatically re-enrolled, don’t assume the marketplace will cancel that plan when you sign up for something else. Tell the marketplace that you want to terminate that plan, or you may end up owing a month’s premium for both plans while you get it sorted out, said Straw.Complicated Coverage Questions? Get Help NowThis year, the federal government cut funding for navigators — those groups and individuals helping people sign up for coverage on the marketplaces — to $10 million, continuing a steady whittling away of support for that program from more than $60 million two years ago.”My advice is ‘Don’t procrastinate,’ because there is less one-on-one help available in most states,” said Corlette.If you live in a state that runs its own marketplace, you may have an easier time finding in-person help with coverage questions. Those exchanges are generally spending significantly more on outreach and assistance than the federally facilitated exchange, according to an analysis by researchers at Georgetown University and published by the Commonwealth Fund.You may be able to find published answers to questions on your own with Georgetown’s Navigator Resource Guide or the marketplace FAQs published by the Kaiser Family Foundation.Approach Short-Term Plans With Extreme CautionTo make more affordable health insurance options available, the Trump administration issued a rule in August that eases restrictions on short-term plans that are less comprehensive than ACA-compliant plans. These plans generally don’t cover preexisting conditions nor benefits like maternity care or prescription drugs. They can be renewed for up to three years, but that will be at the insurer’s discretion.Because they offer much skimpier coverage than comprehensive plans that comply with the health law, short-term plans are generally cheaper.Any plan offered through a state exchange must comply with the ACA. But people shopping online may see noncompliant coverage featured on other sites and find it hard to distinguish ACA-compliant plans from short-term and other types of limited coverage, such as health care-sharing ministries and fixed-indemnity plans, said Corlette, who has examined these offerings.”It’s a mishmash of stuff that falls outside of the ACA,” Corlette said. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

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first_img Source:http://home.lww.com/news.entry.html/2018/11/28/study_shows_highcos-sLuo.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 29 2018Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a common condition with a high economic impact in both children and adults, concludes an updated review in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.Although the types of cost vary for children versus adults, FASD carries average costs of more than $23,000 per person per year, according to the analysis by Larry Burd, PhD, and colleagues of University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Fork. An accompanying editorial highlights the need for effective programs to prevent FASD and lessen its lifelong impact on the health and life of affected people worldwide.Worldwide Economic Impact of FASDFASD refers to the wide range of lifelong problems caused by exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. Even if a person with FASD does not have congenital malformations sometimes associated with the syndrome, they are at high risk of growth impairments and developmental delays, intellectual disability, and behavioral disorders.A recent study estimated that 630,000 babies are born around the world each year with FASD- about 1,700 per day. People with FASD are more likely to experience difficulties in school, mental health issues, unemployment, drug and alcohol dependence, homelessness, and troubles with the law. Nearly all cases will never be correctly diagnosed and as a result will never receive treatment appropriate for FASD. This is a major cause of preventable disabilities across the lifespan. “People with FASD often require lifelong and multidimensional services to address their ever-changing and complex needs,” Dr. Burd and coauthors write.To assess the worldwide economic impact of FASD, Dr. Burd and colleagues performed a comprehensive review of studies reporting data on the costs of this condition. The review identified 32 studies, mainly from the United States and Canada. Twenty studies provided data on healthcare costs for people with FASD. Other cost categories included residential care, productivity losses, special education, corrections systems, and “intangible costs.”Related StoriesSobering up: In an alcohol-soaked nation, more seek booze-free social spacesExcess grey matter in the brain can predict escalating drinking behavior in teensPeople use executive control processes to ignore cues that signal something rewardingTotal costs per person were estimated about $23,000 per year for children and $24,000 for adults with FASD (in 2017 dollars). There were significant differences in the cost categories: costs for residential care were higher in children, while healthcare costs were higher for adults. Average costs for special education were about $7,200 per year for children and $4,600 for adults.The data also suggested that FASD leads to substantial costs due to productivity losses – for example, among caregivers for children with FASD. There was also evidence of high costs to correctional and criminal justice systems due to FASD. Because of the inadequacy of evidence on these cost categories, the researchers believe their cost estimates are likely conservative.”While hundreds of thousands of children are born every year with this largely preventable condition, many countries devote less than one percent of the cost of caring for people with FASD to its prevention,” Dr. Burd and coauthors write. Information on the costs of these services and interventions is critical for developing interventions, prioritizing resources, and funding programs to prevent FASD.The evidence suggests that the per-person costs of FASD are substantially higher than costs for other common conditions. Estimated costs for children with FASD exceed those for autism ($23,000 versus $17,000), and the costs of FASD in adults are greater than those for diabetes ($24,000 versus $21,000). Acknowledging the limitations of available data, the researchers write, “Future studies should build on high-quality cost methodologies to generate data than can be compared across other [patient] populations.”Writing in an accompanying editorial, Robert J. Sokol, MD, of Wayne State University, Detroit, concurs with the limitations of the data. But he adds that further cost studies “won’t solve the problem of the huge number of kids born year in and year out worldwide who will never achieve their full potential because of prenatal alcohol exposure.””We need to develop effective prevention and mitigation strategies for FASD,” Dr. Sokol writes. “That is the appropriate conclusion from this analysis.”last_img read more

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first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 11 2018Immunotherapy has proved effective in treating a number of cancers, but brain tumors have remained stubbornly resistant. Now, a new study suggests that a slow-growing brain tumor arising in patients affected by neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) may be vulnerable to immunotherapy, which gives the immune system a boost in fighting cancer.The findings, made by an international consortium led by researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, were published online today in Nature Medicine.An estimated 100,000 individuals in the United States have NF1, a hereditary disease that can lead to the development of tumors throughout the nervous system, including a type of brain tumor called a glioma. Children usually have a slow-growing type of glioma, whereas adults often have a more aggressive type.But whether slow-growing or not, gliomas are difficult to treat. Most are highly resistant to chemotherapy, and radiotherapy can aggravate, rather than relieve, symptoms, such as headaches and seizures. Since the tumors typically engulf delicate brain regions, surgery is rarely an option.Immunotherapy has been successful for some patients with melanoma, lymphoma, and a few other types of cancer. But clinical trials have shown that, so far, it is ineffective for brain cancers in general.Global Study Looked for Vulnerabilities in NF1 Brain TumorsSurprisingly little was known about the molecular changes that occur in NF1 brain tumors, which has made it difficult to develop targeted therapies. In this study, researchers from 25 institutions around the world-led by Columbia’s Antonio Iavarone, MD, and Anna Lasorella, MD-performed an in-depth analysis of tumor samples from 56 patients to create the first comprehensive inventory of the genetic, epigenetic, and immune alterations in NF1 gliomas.”This inventory will give us a much better idea of how to design individualized treatments,” Iavarone says, “but two findings from our study may have immediate clinical repercussions for NF1 patients.”Many slow-growing NF1 gliomas appear susceptible to immunotherapyRelated StoriesPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpImmunotherapy is ineffective for most brain tumors because the tumors are infiltrated with large numbers of cells called macrophages that thwart the immune system’s attack.The new study revealed that many slow-growing NF1 gliomas contain few macrophages and produce proteins, called neoantigens, that can trigger an immune system attack.”We were surprised to find that approximately 50 percent of the slow-growing NF1 gliomas contained large numbers of T cells that have the ability to destroy cancer cells,” says Lasorella. These “high immune” tumors are good candidates for treatment with immunotherapy, which could unleash the T cells, and clinical trials are now being planned.This study also discovered that a subgroup of brain tumors in patients without NF1 share the same molecular profile as the slow-growing NF1 gliomas. Future studies will have to establish whether these “NF1-glioma-like” brain tumors also exhibit the same immune features and are potentially vulnerable to immunotherapy.Aggressive NF1 gliomas could be weakened with DNA-damaging drugsAlthough aggressive NF1 tumors were packed with macrophages and are likely to resist immunotherapy, the researchers also found that many had a genetic defect that may leave them more sensitive to DNA-damaging therapies.Cells in these aggressive tumors can reproduce, but the new cells contain many DNA errors. “If we treat the aggressive tumors with DNA-damaging agents, we might be able to introduce even more DNA errors that eventually prevent the cells from replicating and stall the growth of the tumor,” says Iavarone.Radiotherapy and some current cancer drugs damage DNA, but drugs are also in development that may be more effective in cancer cells with this specific genetic defect.Source: https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/some-brain-tumors-may-respond-immunotherapy-new-study-suggestslast_img read more

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first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 17 2019Below is a summary of a study published online today in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. This article will be freely available for a limited time. SHEA members have full access to all ICHE articles through the online portal.Title: “Current infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship program practices: A survey of the SHEA Research Network.”Summary: This study was conducted within the SHEA Research Network, a large consortium of healthcare facilities dedicated to conducting high-quality studies related to infection prevention and control and antibiotic stewardship. The survey demonstrates that surveillance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to be a core focus for healthcare facilities. As compared to a similar 2013 survey, active surveillance for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has declined, while active surveillance for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is now performed in half of centers.Related StoriesCurved shape of bacteria can make it easier to find foodBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerAntibiotic combination effective against drug-resistant PseudomonasThis work further highlights the growth in financially supported antibiotic stewardship programs over the past 5 years, as well as frequent use of rapid molecular diagnostic tests to expedite appropriate antibiotic therapy for patients with bloodstream infections. Finally, while half of facilities anticipated increased responsibilities for infection control and antibiotic stewardship staff, the minority anticipated increases in funding for this important work.Highlights: – Antimicrobial stewardship programs were present in 95 facilities in 2018, an increase from 85 percent in 2013.- There’s been a shift in focus toward active surveillance for MDR-GN organisms, with fewer facilities reporting active MRSA surveillance, which may reflect 2015 CDC recommendations- Financial support for physician stewardship medical directors increased to 78 percent in 2018 from 52 percent in 2013.- Monitoring of environmental cleaning effectiveness was more frequent in 2018, when it was performed in 98% of facilities compared to 80 % in 2013.- Ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide mist were used for environmental cleaning in 37 and 16 percent of facilities, respectively, in 2018 and 2013. Source:Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of AmericaJournal reference:Chiotos, K. et al. (2019) Current infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship program practices: A survey of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network (SRN). Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. doi.org/10.1017/ice.2019.172.last_img read more

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first_imgMany people don’t realize just how stressed and anxious they are, or that their alcohol use could be directly related to those conditions.”Jin Yoon, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Researchers are looking to target the root causes of alcohol use, in this case related to stress and anxiety that might lead to drinking.”Most of the approved medications for alcohol use work in one of three ways: blocking the rewarding effects of alcohol in the brain, altering the way it is broken down when consumed, or alleviating withdrawal symptoms,” said Yoon, the principal investigator of the pilot study. “However, we know that elevated levels of stress and anxiety and alcohol use are related. We want to identify medicine that more directly and proactively targets stress-related processes, rather than the brain’s reward center and dopamine pathways, to provide more effective treatment.”The medication being studied is pioglitazone, a drug commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes that works by restoring the body’s proper response to insulin. The study will assess whether it can also target the body’s reaction to stress in the brain’s peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, which are proteins that exhibit both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective responses.Related StoriesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyUranium toxicity might have caused obesity and diabetes in Kuwait, finds new studyStudy explores the effects of near-miss experiences associated with 9/11 terrorist attacks”Pioglitazone may reduce alcohol use by altering some of the motivational factors driven by stress and anxiety that can make drinking rewarding,” said Yoon. “We hope that the medicine reacts to inflammatory systems that can be set off when exposed to both chronic stress and consistent alcohol use. Regular alcohol use, along with drug use, can actually alter the body’s stress response system and cause inflammation, prompting users to crave more of those substances. We hope this medication helps to right that cycle by reducing overall stress levels, as well as reducing the response to stimuli that evoke stress and/or anxiety.”The drug has been found to be successful at reducing alcohol consumption in animal studies, and a UTHealth study found that it can help treat cocaine addiction in people.Participants are being recruited in the Houston area for this study through August. To qualify, you must be between the ages of 21 and 40, have no current medical conditions, have a history of stress and/or anxiety, and drink alcohol.The study takes four weeks to complete, and requires a baseline screening, a daily commitment to take the medication, four weekly check-ins, and two stress assessments. The stress tests include the cold pressor test, where the participant will submerge their dominant hand into an ice bath for two minutes while researchers assess their cortisol levels, blood pressure, and overall stress response. Alcohol craving will be assessed using a questionnaire. Participants will be compensated for their participation and travel. Source:University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonJournal reference:Schmitz, J.M. et al. (2019) PPAR-gamma agonist pioglitazone modifies craving intensity and brain white matter integrity in patients with primary cocaine use disorder: a double-blind randomized controlled pilot trial. Addiction. doi.org/10.1111/add.13868. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 17 2019Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) are investigating if a medication used to regulate blood sugar can alter motivation to use alcohol by targeting the brain’s stress response system.last_img read more

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first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 17 2019The good news is that adolescent “sexting” is not at epidemic levels as reported in some media headlines. The bad news is that it also has not decreased despite preventive efforts by educators and others. Most commonly, the term sexting has been used to describe incidents where teenagers take nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves and exchange that content via text or private social media messages. While intended to be shared with trusted romantic partners, these images also can find their way into the hands of others.While national studies have contributed to the understanding of sexting behavior among minors, the prevalence estimates are dated (prior to January 2011), and therefore, little is known about its frequency and scope on a national level in recent years.A new study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is providing a much-needed update to what is currently known about the nature and extent of sexting among youth today.The study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, examined prevalence rates for sending and receiving sexually explicit images or video among a nationally-representative sample of 5,593 American middle and high school students (ages 12 to 17). Researchers focused only on explicit images and videos (as some previous studies have conflated the picture by also including explicit texts) in order to isolate those experiences that have the greatest potential for problematic outcomes.Results show that across all sociodemographic variables explored, the vast majority of students were not participating in sexting. Approximately 14 percent of middle and high school students had received a sexually explicit image from a boyfriend or girlfriend, while 13.6 percent said they received such an image from someone who was not a current romantic partner. About 11 percent of students reported sending a sext to a boyfriend or girlfriend.Interestingly, most of the students who were asked by a current boyfriend or girlfriend to send a sext complied (63.9 percent). Among those students who were asked to send a sext by someone who was not a current romantic partner, only 43 percent complied.Males were significantly more likely to have sent and received a sext from a current romantic partner. However, males and females were equally likely to receive them from someone who was not a current boyfriend or girlfriend. Female students were more likely to have been asked to send a sext by someone who was not a current romantic partner (14.3 percent), but only 34.1 percent complied.Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyAmong the different racial groups examined, no statistically significant differences emerged with regard to sexting participation. As expected, older youth were more likely to both send and receive sexts. Students who identified as non-heterosexual were significantly more likely to be involved in sexting in all its forms.With regard to frequency, about one-third of the students who sent or received explicit messages did so only once. Most commonly, students engaged in these behaviors “a few times.” Fewer than 2 percent of all students said they had sent a sext “many times,” while 2.6 percent said they had received sexts “many times.”Overall, about 4 percent of students said they shared an explicit image sent to them with another person without their permission, and the about same number believed an image of them was shared with others without permission. This, of course, can lead to instances of “sextortion,” which the authors also have studied. Males were more likely to have shared an image and were more likely to believe an image they sent had been shared with others without permission.Non-heterosexual students were approximately twice as likely to have shared an image with others and to believe their image had been shared with others without permission. It also appears that 15-year-olds were the most likely to have shared a sext and to believe a sext of them was shared without permission.”Findings from our study provide a very important message for youth who may believe media headlines that suggest sexting is more widespread than it actually is,” said Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within FAU’s College for Design and Social Inquiry and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, who co-authored the study with Justin Patchin, Ph.D., a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “Showing adolescents clear evidence that a relatively small proportion of teens engage in sexting could actually result in decreased overall participation since it underscores that it is not as normal, commonplace, or widespread as they might believe.” Source:Florida Atlantic Universitylast_img read more

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first_img Source:https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2019/03/grant-pelvic-organ-prolapse-treatment-research-disparity.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019Is it normal to pee a little when you laugh?It’s a simple question many women ask, and as a symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary incontinence in women is surprisingly common. However, it can also accompany a related and more debilitating disorder known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition characterized by the abnormal descent of the female pelvic organs.Though not life-threatening, pelvic organ prolapse affects half of all women over the age of 50 and is notoriously difficult to treat; surgery is often the only viable option, but success rates are low, with 30 percent of women requiring additional procedures. Many of these pelvic reconstructive surgeries also utilize surgical mesh, a controversial material that comes with its own set of problems.With a new grant from the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech researcher Raffaella De Vita hopes to address those problems – and improve overall treatment approaches and outcomes for pelvic organ prolapse.An associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics within the College of Engineering, De Vita will use animal models to study both the passive and active properties of the uterosacral ligaments, a group of tissues and structures that are predominantly responsible for supporting a woman’s uterus, cervix, and vagina. Yizheng Zhu, an assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will also serve a key role on the grant by developing imaging systems to quantify ligament cell and tissue deformation under various load conditions.”Before we can address issues with current pelvic organ prolapse treatments, we first need to take a closer look at healthy uterosacral ligament tissue,” said De Vita. “What are the mechanical properties of these tissues when they’re functioning normally within the body?”That knowledge will help researchers develop new tissue models that can dramatically transform prolapse prevention and treatment, leading to the development of new stretching routines (known as Kegel exercises), surgical reconstruction guidelines, and even responsive mesh grafts that can be used in POP repair.The team also hopes to raise awareness about the need for further research on the disorder – and ease lingering public stigma associated with the condition.”Pelvic organ prolapse is extremely overlooked,” said Alyssa Huntington, an engineering mechanics doctoral student who studies cellular-level aspects of the project. “The proportion of the population that’s affected by it versus the proportion of research being conducted on it is vastly different.”In women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, damaged uterosacral ligament tissues and structures cause the reproductive organs to fall out of place. In severe cases, this descent can even cause the vagina or uterus to protrude outside of the body. Daily symptoms include discomfort and heaviness in the vagina, pain during sexual intercourse, difficulty using the restroom, and the onset of other symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction (such as urinary and fecal incontinence).Related StoriesComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairAnd that’s just the half of it.”Pelvic organ prolapse carries a lot of physical considerations, but it’s more debilitating psychologically,” said De Vita. “It comes with a lot of anxiety and this idea of not feeling good about your body, and many women suffering from this condition also experience depression. It diminishes a woman’s overall quality of life.”Physicians and researchers don’t know exactly what causes pelvic organ prolapse, but they can point to a set of risk factors. Older women and those who have given birth to three or more children tend to experience POP at higher rates, and smoking, obesity, and heavy weightlifting can also increase the risk.However, researchers can’t quite explain why some women develop pelvic organ prolapse and others don’t.”We hope our research can produce objective criteria that rely on evidence,” said De Vita. “Can we say that based on what we know about mechanical properties of healthy ligaments, certain women are more likely to develop prolapse, and then give appropriate recommendations for prevention?”One important focus of De Vita’s research will be the development of surgical mesh that can be used effectively in pelvic reconstructive surgeries. Because traditional mesh grafts don’t expand and contract alongside organs and tissue, they often cause serious problems within the body, including pain, infection, and even organ perforation.Eventually, the team would like to create an active mesh for pelvic organ prolapse that’s patient-specific, one that not only moves along with internal tissues but could also accommodate different mechanical properties depending on the needs of different women.It’s that real-world impact and the avoidance of a one-size-fits-all approach that first attracted biomedical engineering doctoral student Kandace Donaldson to the project – and to Virginia Tech.”I’m definitely passionate about this area, and when I was looking at graduate schools and labs I wanted to work with, I was focused on social impact,” said Donaldson, who works on tissue-level aspects of the project.”The proportion of the population that stands to be helped by this research is just huge,” she said.last_img read more

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first_imgThe study also states that CBD has an “excellent safety profile and is well tolerated, even at high doses.” However, THC does pose increased risks to adverse effects, with THC in particular being linked to increased risk of disorientation and dizziness.More ‘rigorous clinical trials’ are neededIt goes on to emphasize “More larger and rigorous clinical trials are needed, including further exploration of dose-response and interactions with other medicines.”The study claims the lack of trials investigating the effects of unlicensed cannabis products is partly due to the “regulatory challenges” that hinder research on drugs in Schedule 1.Dr. Freeman emphasizes said “Research on unlicensed cannabis products has been limited to date. The rescheduling of cannabis and allocation of dedicated UK research funding will improve the evidence we have to guide clinical decision-making.”CBD products that can be bought in health food shops and via the internet have their THC content legally restricted to up to 0.2 percent in the EU. However, in reality the declared amounts of THC in these non-medicinal CBD products, which are sold as herbal remedies and not regulated medicinal products, can vary widely and be misreported.This means that some products exceed the legal limit set by the EU. Additionally, their CBD content can be lower than in clinical trials.Cannabis oils bought online often contain the psychoactive ingredient, THCAn undercover reporter for the Daily Mail posed as a father on Facebook groups where parents discuss using cannabis oils to treat their children for a range of conditions. Within these discussions were links to a number of dealers who had posted adverts for “Full spectrum high quality THC oil”.The cannabis oils the reporter was able to buy online had THC levels in excess of 80 percent, discovered through laboratory tests.Additionally, sellers were free to make unsubstantiated claims about what their cannabis oils could treat, leaving parents trying to alleviate their children’s conditions vulnerable not only to exploitation, but also to the increased risk of serious complications caused by unregulated products.A “60ml course” of cannabis oil was offered to the Daily Mail reporter for £1,500, and edible “sweets” for £25.Packages containing the cannabis products were often disguised as gifts to be posted to buyers, and TicTac Drug Identification laboratory in London found that one sample contained 86 percent THC and a low level of CBD.Neurologist Professor Orrin Devinsky, who is a world-leading expert on cannabis-derived medication for childhood epilepsy, warned parents against giving the high THC cannabis oils to their children, saying:“It’s not something that we have safety and efficacy data on. When [the medicine] is high in THC, we know it can have psychiatric effects.”Co-author of the study published for the BMJ Dr. Michael Bloomfield, Head of Translational Psychiatry at University College London, spoke on the benefits of the new study. By Lois Zoppi, BAApr 8 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Although specialist doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) have been allowed to prescribe cannabis-derived medicines since November 2018, a lack of research into their effects is leaving patients open to buying unlicensed products, sometimes containing over 400 times the legal limit of certain key ingredients.271 EAK MOTO | ShutterstockLeading scientists and clinicians from the University of Bath and University College London (UCL) recently published a review that describes the ranges of cannabis-derived products available and highlights the need for more information to better educate clinicians and patients about the medicinal properties of these products and their effects on the body.Lead author of the study Dr. Tom Freeman, from the University of Bath’s Addiction and Mental Health Group explained: Cannabis and its related products had been strictly regulated until new policies put into place on 1 November 2018 allowed cannabis products to be used for medicinal use in the UK, among a number of other countries.While there have been claims that cannabis-based medications can help manage conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and the side effects associated with chemotherapy, this particular study advises that because they often “lack quality standards,” cannabis-based products sold in health shops and online “should not be used for medicinal purposes.”Differentiating between THC and CBDCannabis-based products intended for medicinal uses contain cannabinoids from the cannabis plant itself, including THC (Δ8-tetrahydrocananbinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), or a combination of the two.THC, which is just one of the 144 different cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis responsible for inducing the high experienced by users. By contrast, CBD is not intoxicating. Synthetically produced cannabinoids designed to produce the same effects as their natural counterparts are also used in medicinal products.THC and CBD can have different clinical benefits when used independently. For instance, THC, when used on its own, can be effective as a treatment against nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, and CBD when used independent of THC may be effective against relieving treatment-resistant epilepsy.The therapeutic benefits of THC and CBD when used in conjunction is thought to be due to their contrasting mechanisms of action.CBD is safer than THCThe study explains how cannabis-based products could cause harm to patients, drawing on the following example to explain their contrasting mechanisms: Dr. Chandni Hindocha of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at UCL, another co-author of the study reinforced the need for more research, stating,“Resources must be made available to update and educate clinicians about cannabis and cannabinoid-based medicines.We would like to encourage doctors to maintain a compassionate and evidence-based approach when engaging with their patients in this rapidly developing field, in order to provide the best standard of care.”SourceMedicinal use of cannabis based products and cannabinoids. BMJ 365:l1141. 4 April 2019. There have been leaps and bounds in our scientific knowledge in recent years, which combined with confusing claims about the medicinal uses of these drugs can be potentially perplexing for doctors and patients. We hope that our new guidance is helpful to doctors and patients worldwide. Much more research is needed into this new class of medicine.” In this complex and rapidly evolving field, there are several different cannabis-based and cannabinoid medicinal products. These differ in their THC and CBD content, who can prescribe them, and the conditions they may be used to treat. Here we provide an update for clinicians in advance of forthcoming NICE guidelines.” CBD increased plasma endocannabinoid levels in a clinical trial in schizophrenia, which correlated with the degree of symptom improvement. When taken together with THC, CBD may offset some of the adverse effects of THC and CBD may contribute to safety as well as therapeutic effects.”last_img read more

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first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 24 2019New research by neuroscientists from the University of Sussex shows that drinking only one pint of beer or large glass of wine is enough to significantly compromise a person’s sense of agency.Sense of agency is the feeling of being in control of our actions. It is an important aspect of human social behavior, as it implies knowledge of the consequences of those actions.This new study, Effect of alcohol on the sense of agency in healthy humans, is the first to test the effect of alcohol on sense of agency. The study focused on low doses of alcohol, typically consumed during social drinking, that do not produce a large impairment of behavior. Until now, research has mostly focused on the loss of inhibitory control produced by obvious drunkenness, characterized by impulsivity, aggression, and risky behavior.Dr Silvana De Pirro, Lead Author of the Research Paper: Our study presents a compelling case that even one pint of beer is enough to significantly compromise a person’s sense of agency. This has important implications for legal and social responsibility of drivers, and begs the question: are current alcohol limits for driving truly safe?” Explaining how the study was conducted, Dr De Pirro said: “Measuring a person’s sense of agency is tricky. When people are explicitly asked to tell how in control they feel, their answers are affected by several cognitive biases, such as poor introspection, the desire to conform to researchers’ expectations, or even the inability to understand the question correctly.”Sussex researchers relied therefore on an indirect measure called ‘intentional binding’, which has been developed to investigate the unconscious mechanisms of ‘volition’. When physical stimuli (such as sounds or lights) follow voluntary actions (such as moving a finger or a hand), people judge actions as occurring later and stimuli as occurring earlier than in reality, hence ‘binding’ the two. The neural mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon are thought to participate in creating the sense of agency.Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchSobering up: In an alcohol-soaked nation, more seek booze-free social spacesStudy: One in five university students affected by problematic smartphone useIn the experiments, subjects drank a cocktail containing doses of alcohol proportional to their BMI to produce blood alcohol concentrations within the legal limits for driving in England and Wales. These doses of alcohol, corresponding to one or two pints of beer, produced tighter binding between voluntary actions and sensory stimuli. This suggests that small amounts of alcohol might exaggerate the sense of agency, leading to overconfidence in one’s driving ability and to inappropriate, potentially dangerous behavior.Professor Aldo Badiani, Director of the Sussex Addiction Research and Intervention Centre (SARIC), said: “It’s important to note that in our experiments, all the participants stayed within the legal alcohol limit for driving in England, Wales, the US and Canada. And yet we still saw an impairment in their feeling of being in control.”In England, Wales and North-America, the argument to lower the limit has much momentum. The results of our study support the implementation of such a change in the law.”The legal limit for driving in England and Wales is currently 80 mg/100 ml. The legal limit for driving in Scotland and most European countries is 50 mg/100 ml.The study, Effect of alcohol on the sense of agency in healthy human, published in Addiction Biology today Friday 21 June, was the result of a collaboration of the Sussex Addiction Research and Intervention Centre, Sussex Neuroscience and the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex, with the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Source:University of SussexJournal reference:De Pirro, S. et al. (2019) Effect of alcohol on the sense of agency in healthy human. Addiction Biology. doi.org/10.1111/adb.12796last_img read more

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first_imgTOYOTA RAV4: The automaker’s small SUV is the new American family car, with over 400,000 sold last year. Now it’s new and improved, and that should boost sales further as the country keeps shifting out of sedans. The fifth-generation comes on all-new underpinnings that Toyota says will give it better handling and a smoother ride. It also has a wider, more athletic stance and sits a little lower. The distance between the wheels grows by 1.2 inches for more passenger and cargo space. It comes standard with Toyota’s safety system, which includes automatic emergency braking. It’s powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed transmission, or a 2.5-liter gas-electric hybrid system with a continuously variable transmission. The 2019 RAV4 goes on sale by the end of this year. Price and gas mileage will be announced later.___NISSAN LEAF: Nissan just restyled the Leaf electric car this year, but its 150-mile battery range was far below its main competitors, the Tesla Model S and Chevrolet Bolt, both of which can go over 200 miles on a single charge. But sometime before the 2019 model year ends next summer, Nissan will unveil a version with a bigger battery that can go over 200 miles, the range many industry experts consider the threshold to ease driver fears of running out of juice. Nissan isn’t saying exactly when it will reach showrooms, nor is it giving the price or a precise battery range. The current Leaf starts at $29,990 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, but the longer-range version almost certainly will cost more. There’s a little room for the price to grow and still be competitive. Tesla’s Model S starts at $35,000 but you can’t buy one yet for under $49,000. And Tesla’s tax credits will expire at the end of the year. The Bolt goes for $37,495 including shipping, without the tax credit. From new top-selling pickup trucks to an essential range extension for an electric car to the most popular SUV in the country, the 2019 model year for new vehicles has something for everyone. In this Jan. 13, 2018, file photo, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado High Country pickup is unveiled in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) Edmunds rounds up latest full-size pickups This Jan. 15, 2018, file photo shows the 2019 Ram 1500 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) Citation: Dueling pickups, popular SUV among new models coming in 2018 (2018, September 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-dueling-pickups-popular-suv.html In this March 28, 2018, file photo, the 2019 Toyota Rav4 is shown at the New York Auto Show in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) Fiat Chrysler’s Ram brand and General Motors’ Chevrolet will go at each other and rival Ford with tough-looking new full-size pickup trucks, while Nissan is stretching the range of the electric Leaf to beyond 200 miles on a single charge. A revamped Toyota RAV4, the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. that isn’t a pickup truck, is on sale. And there’s even a new super-fast and luxurious $300,000 Aston Martin sports car.Here are five new models to watch for the coming model year:___RAM PICKUP: The 2019 Ram keeps the current look of a semi cab, but it grew by 4 inches and is slightly wider. The grille is larger, with a forward-leaning, aggressive slant and the hood is higher to look more like a big rig, as well as to help the truck glide through the wind. It’s 225 pounds lighter than the outgoing model to compete with lighter rivals, and the frame is almost entirely made of lighter, high-strength steel. The tailgate and other parts are made of aluminum. Even the chrome Ram logo at the rear got a more chiseled, brawny look. Fiat Chrysler says its interior room is the largest in its class. Power is the most significant change. The truck gets a mild hybrid system standard on most gasoline versions. It replaces the alternator with a motor and a 48-volt battery pack, which can shut down the truck at stop lights to save fuel and boost acceleration. The system reuses braking energy to charge the battery. Buyers get the choice of a 305 horsepower 3.6-liter V-6, a 395 horsepower 5.7-liter V8 or a 3-liter V-6 diesel with 240 horsepower. With two-wheel-drive and a mild hybrid V-8 engine, the truck gets 19 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. That’s two miles per gallon better than the 2018 version with a similarly sized engine. The new Ram went on sale earlier this year. A base Tradesman quad cab starts at $33,390 including shipping. The company is also selling the outgoing Ram 1500 model as the “Classic” for those looking for regular cabs or lower-priced models. ___ASTON-MARTIN DBS SUPERLEGGERA: The latest addition to the British luxury sports car maker’s lineup means “super light,” in Italian. The coupe with a curvy body and panels made mostly of carbon fiber attached to an aluminum frame has a V-12 engine that puts out 715 horsepower. With its eight-speed automatic transmission, the replacement for Aston Martin’s Vanquish S can go from zero to 62 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 211 mph, the company says. Yet the rear-wheel-drive car weighs only about 160 pounds more than a mainstream Toyota Camry with a V6 engine. The big engine was moved low and as far back as possible to reduce the center of gravity and optimize handling, the company says. Yet the gas mileage isn’t too bad: 22.9 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. The DBS Superleggera starts at just over $308,000 including shipping in the U.S., where deliveries start in the fourth quarter.center_img © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. ___ This photo provided by Aston Martin shows the DBS Superleggera. The latest addition to the British luxury sports car maker’s lineup means “super light,” in Italian. The coupe with a curvy body panels made mostly of carbon fiber attached to an aluminum frame has a V-12 engine that puts out 715 horsepower. (Aston Martin via AP) ___CHEVROLET SILVERADO: The nation’s second-best selling vehicle loses about 450 pounds as General Motors tries to meet government fuel economy requirements that will be in effect through at least 2020. Engineers took the weight out by melding different metals. All of the swinging parts, including the doors, hood and tailgate, are aluminum, but stationary parts such as the bed are still steel. The new truck is just under 2 inches longer than the old one for more cargo and interior space. The short bed in the crew cab, for example, is 1.7 inches longer than the outgoing truck. The frame is made of lighter “high-strength” steel, and there’s ample aluminum elsewhere. Buyers will get a choice of four engines and multiple transmissions, including a four-cylinder for the first time in recent history. The 2.7-liter turbocharged four isn’t a wimp. It puts out 310-horsepower, but its mileage wasn’t released. Also available are two V-8 engines—a 5.3-liter one with 355 horsepower and a 6.2-liter powerplant that puts out 420 horsepower. Both can shut off any number of cylinders for better gas mileage. And there’s a holdover 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6 on the base work truck. A two-wheel-drive model with the smaller V-8 gets 19 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, one mpg better than the comparable 2018 version. A six-cylinder diesel is coming later. Crew cabs starting at $36,095 (including shipping) for the short bed are arriving at dealers now with other models coming later in the year. In this Jan. 16, 2018, file photo, the 2018 Nissan Leaf is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Provided by Youris.com The area is the hub of an ambitious refurbishment plan supported by the EU project REMOURBAN, which aims to promote more sustainable cities. Valladolid hopes to halve energy consumption and to cut the neighbourhood’s CO2 emissions by 80 per cent.Just around the corner from the newly painted façades, only one building has remained untouched. Initially some citizens rejected the refurbishments, and strongly fought the project. However, when the works started in the summer of 2016, and the benefits became clear, many resisters changed their minds, petitioning the mayor to include them. But the EU subsidies had already been allocated to those residents who had been part of the project from its inception.José Luis Casaseca Salas, here on the right, is the president of the local landlords’ association, and was my guide during the visit. He told me that at the beginning of the project, citizens were sceptical and couldn’t believe that the EU and the Valladolid municipality, were ready to cover 70 per cent of the renovation costs. So José took the lead and organised several community meetings to discuss the initiative: “I wanted the area to look modern,” he said. He observed that the original pipes in the buildings were losing heat, and “losing heat means losing money.” But it took him almost two years to convince all the 1,180 residents from 398 individual dwellings.The main interventions included the installation of an external envelope on the building, and an exterior thermal insulation cladding system on the façades and roofs with 60 mm panels, explained experts from Veolia and Acciona Construcción, Spanish companies carrying out the renovations.The installation of a new 850 kW biomass boiler and the replacement of the heating network has reduced the district’s energy consumption by 45 per cent, according to the Municipality.José and some of his neighbours said that before the project, each flat possessed its own hot-water boiler, paid for separately. Now, to reduce energy costs, the provision has been centralised, with a connection to the central heating network through external pipes. New thermostats have been installed on radiators in each flat, and energy consumption is monitored through a digital platform. Third parties play a key role to making buildings energy efficient Citation: Renovating buildings to save energy (2018, October 30) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-renovating-energy.html Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Credit: Max Planck Florida Institute The tower was the most impressive part of the visit. The south façade has been covered with 458 m2 of photovoltaic panels, providing energy for the building and the 56 families living in it. Adding LED lighting in communal areas was part of the refurbishment.Each family had to pay €2,939 towards the renovation of the FASA district. But officials from the Valladolid Municipality and my local guide José said that this amount will be mitigated by lower energy bills. Savings in energy consumption will therefore end up paying for the renovations.Besides my visit to the FASA district, I toured the city on a silent electric bus, which needed only 20 minutes for a battery recharge. Valladolid’s public transport company, AUVASA, now includes five electric buses, two of which were bought by the project REMOURBAN for €400,000. The European Commission covered 40 per cent of this cost.Officials from the Municipality explained that the buses have a hybrid-series arrangement, with a generator based on a Euro 6 diesel combustion engine and an on-board electric power accumulation system, which delivers high-efficiency energy and low emissions. All buses are provided with USB sockets to recharge mobile phones.Inthe past few years, Valladolid has led the way towards smart, sustainable mobility. Measures include tax incentives for businesses that use electric vehicles, free parking, and special access in the historic city centre for the so-called VELID (limited-size electric vehicle). The fleet has about 50 electric vehicles including buses, taxis, electric cars and motorcycles belonging both to citizens and private companies (e.g. hotels, shopping centres). Some of the citizens explained to me that they even set up a WhatsApp group to discuss the best charging points in the city.The city has 34 public charging stations for electric vehicles, with plans to reach 63 points by 2020, thanks to the EU project. These measures are complemented through ICT technologies and strategies like smartphone apps and the implementation of contactless RFID (radio frequency identification) cards to enhance intermodality among buses, rented bicycles and car sharing. In the suburbs of Valladolid, a city in central Spain, one district is at the forefront of Europe’s energy transition. With its 19 residential buildings and a single tower block, surrounded by a small park, it was built in the 1960s for employees of the car manufacturer FASA-Renault, which gave its name to the neighbourhood. The factory workers have long since moved on, and this middle-class district is now home to many retired people. read more

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first_img Explore further The only material we use more than concrete is water. Credit: Shutterstock But construction has suffered for decades from remarkably poor productivity compared to other sectors. While agriculture and manufacturing have increased productivity 10-15 times since the 1950s, construction remains stuck at the same level as 80 years ago. That’s because construction remains largely manual, while manufacturing and other industries have made significant progress in the use of digital, sensing and automation technologies. We and other research groups see 3-D-printed concrete as a possible solution to these problems. The technique will likely also give architects the freedom to inject more creativity into their designs for new structures. Problems facing constructionOur modern civil infrastructure is almost entirely built with concrete. We use more than 20 billion tons of concrete per year. The only material we use more than that is water.The construction industry is facing a number of serious problems, including low labour efficiency and high accident rates at construction sites. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the construction industry has the highest rate of work-related injuries (59 per 1000 workers). Citation: Concrete printing in 3-D will put an end to boring buildings (2018, November 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-concrete-d.html This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. The author pictured with a 3-D-printed concrete building design. Author provided Researchers are exploring various types of concrete. The concrete for 3-D printing must not set when it’s inside the printer, but it needs to set and strengthen as soon after it is extruded as possible. This kind of concrete is called “set-on-demand”.When it comes to actually printing the concrete, special printers are needed. Typically, the size of the printer needs to be larger than the component being printed. However, researchers are exploring printers or robots that can “climb” on parts of the concrete that are already set in order to print other sections. HousesThis 3-D-printed concrete house was built in 24 hours during a harsh Russian winter. It was the first such house to be built in a single location.BridgesAn 8-metre 3-D-printed concrete bridge for cyclists was unveiled in the Netherlands last year. The bridge, which was printed by Eindhoven University of Technology, has more than 800 layers and took three months to print. There are also difficulties in quality control at construction sites, high levels of waste and carbon emissions, cost blow-outs, and challenges in managing large worksites with a vanishing skilled workforce.Disruptive technologies such as 3-D concrete printing can offer solutions. A 3-D concrete printer being used for concrete printing research. Credit: Misanthropic One/flickr, CC BY The benefits of 3-D concrete printing3-D construction uses additive manufacturing techniques, which means objects are constructed by adding layers of material. Conventional approaches to construction involve casting concrete into a mould (known as formwork). But additive construction combines digital technology and new insights from materials technology to allow free-form construction without the use of formwork. Eliminating the cost of formwork is the major economic driver of 3-D concrete printing. Built using materials such as timber, formwork accounts for about 60% of the total cost of concrete construction. It’s also a significant source of waste, given that it is discarded sooner or later. According to a 2011 study, the construction industry generates 80% of total worldwide waste. Pouring concrete into formwork also limits the creativity of architects to build unique shapes, unless very high costs are paid for bespoke formwork. Free-form additive construction could enhance architectural expression. The cost of producing a structural component would not be tied to the shape, so construction could be freed from the rectangular designs that are so familiar in current building architecture.What we could build3-D concrete printing is being explored for use in the construction of houses, bridges, buildings and even wind turbine towers. Leading the way in 3-D concrete printing This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Intricate structures3-D concrete printing has an advantage over conventional construction methods when it comes to building non-rectilinear shapes, such as curved shapes with intricate details.It’s still early daysThis field of research is still in its infancy. The biggest hurdle in the development of concrete 3-D printing is the concrete itself. Conventional concrete in its current form is not suitable for 3-D printing, so new and innovative alternatives need to be developed. Provided by The Conversation Construction is one of the largest industries in the world economy – worth A$10 trillion globally (equivalent to 13% of GDP).last_img read more

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first_imgPlaying video games on smartphones is attractive mostly to casual players This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Video games on smartphones have taken off in recent years and accounted for nearly half of the global video game market in 2018, according to a report from French telecoms research group Idate.”Most analysts predict the mobile game industry is moving towards a focus on casual players. ‘Hardcore’ gamers that care about displays would probably much rather play on a dedicated portable console,” said Fitch Solutions analyst Cristina Liberal.The purchase by China’s biggest gaming group Tencent of a majority stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell in 2016 highlights the growing focus on the mobile video game market, she added.Smartphone video game competitions are now held, especially in China where Tencent launched its widely popular mobile strategy game “Honor of Kings” in 2015.And popular games such as “Clash of Clans” and its successor “Clash Royale”, which were developed by Supercell, are now a regular part of the esports scene where they can be played on mobile phones.Esports is a form of competitive video gaming with multiple players battling against each other usually in teams, often in matches that are streamed live to throngs of fans. © 2019 AFP Mobile video game players’ mindset: They don’t consider themselves “gamers,” survey finds Expert gamers usually prefer to play on dedicated consoles While gaming is taken into account by handset makers when they design their devices, few have moved to make specialised models for video games.This contrasts with computer makers who have put out many models aimed at video game players which are often more expensive and much more powerful.Xiaomi, Asus and ZTE have phones geared towards gaming but often the difference with their other devices is negligible.”The only differentiation factor is to modify settings, like display or battery usage. Mobile game developers prefer to focus on ‘casual’ gamers that don’t require extra features, and generate more cash,” said Liberal.Most mobile games do not need high powered devices to work well so the incentive to come out with a device geared specifically to gaming is low.Husson said video gaming helps underpin smartphone sales “but not to the point where it could compensate for the decline in sales” of handsets.”If there was a real demand for smartphones specifically for gaming, we would have already seen them, therefore it is not really the case. What could possibly change things are flexible screens, which open up new possibilities,” he added.Samsung and Huawei have both unveiled in recent days new smartphone models featuring screens that can fold open like a tablet and others firms are expected to follow their example. Explore further ‘Key element'”Video games are inevitably a key element in the conception of smartphones,” said Thomas Husson, a consumer devices analyst at research firm Forrester as the Mobile World Congress trade fair was underway this week in Barcelona.They require devices with “high level of performance” and low latency, or response times, to work well, he added.Honor, a sub-brand in Chinese telecoms giant Huawei’s smartphone portfolio, highlighted the advantages of its new View 20 model for video game players such as a large screen and cooling system when it was presented at the end of 2018 in Paris.South Korea’s Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone seller, in 2016 introduced a gameboard that could be paired with its Galaxy S8 flagship phone for gaming.”Video games are very important for us,” a Samsung spokesman said, adding the company prefers to make handsets that “respond to many different needs” instead of a model dedicated to a specific use such as gaming. Few dedicated devices Citation: Handset makers look to gamers for sales boost (2019, February 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-handset-makers-gamers-sales-boost.html Honor smartphones are all geared up for gaming and even have cooling systems Smartphone makers hope video games will help them stand out in a crowded market with dwindling sales, but analysts warn that handsets don’t have the power or the screen size to lure hardcore players.last_img read more

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first_img Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoNucificTop Dr. Reveals The 1 Nutrient Your Gut Must HaveNucificUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoBirch Gold GroupThis IRS Tax Law is Sweeping the U.S.Birch Gold GroupUndo A tree falls in the woods; but whether or not anyone hears it, the tree has no regrets. Nor does it experience fear, anger, relief or sadness as it topples to the ground. Trees — and all plants, for that matter — feel nothing at all, because consciousness, emotions and cognition are hallmarks of animals alone, scientists recently reported in an opinion article. The idea that plants have some degree of consciousness first took root in the early 2000s; the term “plant neurobiology” was coined around the notion that some aspects of plant behavior could be compared to intelligence in animals. Though plants lack brains, the firing of electrical signals in their stems and leaves nonetheless triggered responses that hinted at consciousness, researchers previously reported. But such an idea is bunk, according to the authors of the new article. Plant biology is complex and fascinating, but it differs so greatly from that of animals that so-called evidence of plants’ intelligence is intriguing but inconclusive, the scientists wrote. [The 5 Smartest Non-Primates on the Planet] AdvertisementPlants Know Their SiblingsPlants use chemical cues to recognize and cooperate with siblings, while spurring competition among rivals.Volume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Better Bug Sprays?01:33关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65905-plants-dont-think-or-feel.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0001:2701:27Your Recommended Playlist01:33Better Bug Sprays?01:08Why Do French Fries Taste So Bad When They’re Cold?04:24Sperm Whale Befriends Underwater Robot00:29Robot Jumps Like a Grasshopper, Rolls Like a Ball01:09Robots to the Rescue02:27Robotic Arms关闭  In animals, neurobiology refers to the biological mechanisms through which a nervous system regulates behavior, according to Harvard University’s Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. Over millions of years, brains in diverse animal species have evolved to produce behaviors that experts identify as intelligent: Among them are reasoning and problem-solving, tool use and self-recognition. Beginning in 2006, some scientists have argued that plants possess neuron-like cells that interact with hormones and neurotransmitters, forming “a plant nervous system, analogous to that in animals,” said lead study author Lincoln Taiz, a professor emeritus of molecular, cell and developmental biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. “They even claimed that plants have ‘brain-like command centers’ at their root tips,” Taiz told Live Science in an email. This perspective makes sense if you simplify the workings of a complex brain, reducing it to an array of electrical pulses; cells in plants also communicate through electrical signals, according to the article. However, the signaling in a plant is only superficially similar to the billions of synapses firing in a complex animal brain, which is more than “a mass of cells that communicate by electricity,” Taiz said. “For consciousness to evolve, a brain with a threshold level of complexity and capacity is required,” he added. Other researchers who recently investigated the neuroscience of consciousness — awareness of one’s world and a sense of self — found that in animals, only vertebrates, arthropods and cephalopods had brains complex enough to enable them to be conscious. “If the lower animals — which have nervous systems — lack consciousness, the chances that plants without nervous systems have consciousness are effectively nil,” Taiz said. And what’s so great about consciousness, anyway? Plants can’t run away from danger, so investing energy in a body system that recognizes a threat and can feel pain would be a very poor evolutionary strategy, according to the article. “Being conscious may seem like harmless fun for plants being cared for in a garden, but imagine, for example, the plight of trees during a forest fire. I would not wish to inflict on trees the consciousness and pain of being burned alive,” Taiz said in the email. “Being unconscious is in all likelihood an advantage to plants and contributes to their evolutionary fitness,” he added. The findings were published online July 3 in the journal Trends in Plant Science. In Photos: Plants in Danger of Disappearingcenter_img Image Gallery: Carnivorous Plants in Action What Distinguishes Humans from Other Animals?last_img read more

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first_imgJune 13, 2018 Published on File Photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.   –  PTI politics national elections SHARE SHARE EMAILcenter_img The grand alliance of opposition parties to take on the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not just the sentiment of politicians but also of the people, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said today. The Congress, he said, is trying to join together these voices and the work is going on. “It is the sentiment of the people and not just political parties which are opposed to the BJP, to have a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) that can take on the BJP, the RSS and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said at a press conference here.“Prime Minister Modi and the BJP are attacking the Constitution and institutions of the nation,” he alleged, saying the question facing the people is how to stop this. He said the opposition has been asking Prime Minister Modi to bring prices of petrol and diesel under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), but “he is not interested.” “There was an attack on Mumbai (through demonetisation). There are small industries, traders here…The leather industry and the cloth industry. They were attacked through the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ The whole country is sad. Small businessmen are sad and we are fighting for them,” he said. He said during the UPA government’s rule, the crude price was USD 130 a barrel that has now come down to USD 70 a barrel. “However, the benefit has not been passed on to the common man. Where does this money go? In the pockets of 15 to 20 rich people,” Gandhi alleged. The 47-year-old Congress president is on a two-day visit to Maharashtra since yesterday. COMMENTS SHARE COMMENTlast_img read more

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first_imgSHARE SHARE EMAIL judiciary (system of justice) The Haryana government today moved the Supreme Court seeking an early hearing in the matter related to its row with Punjab over the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.The matter was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud. The bench asked Haryana’s counsel to approach the apex court registry for listing of the matter before an appropriate bench.The apex court had earlier granted the Centre time to explore the possibility of an amicable solution to the SYL canal row between Punjab and Haryana. On July 11, the apex court said it was obligatory for Punjab and Haryana to respect and execute its orders on the SYL canal issue.The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal link was conceptualised and both states were required to construct their portions within their territories.Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped the work, leading to a spate of litigation. In 2004, the Congress government in the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with the intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers.The apex court had first decreed Haryana’s suit in 2002 asking Punjab to honour its commitments with regard to water sharing in the case. Punjab had challenged the verdict by filing an original suit that was rejected in 2004 by the Supreme Court, which asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructure work of the SYL canal project. Published on COMMENT Haryanacenter_img July 25, 2018 SHARE water (natural resource) COMMENTSlast_img read more

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first_imgcorruption & bribery defence COMMENTS COMMENT The BJP on Sunday accused the Congress of “defending” Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, and asked why it was “scared” of investigation into the case.The ruling party also condemned the Congress for allegedly giving a political colour to the issue and asked why the name of a Gandhi family member cropped up whenever a foreigner was caught for corruption.BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi alleged that the Congress was “jittery” since Michel’s extradition and its fears were evident as it sought to provide cover to him in court.“Ever since Michael was brought back to India, the Congress expectedly is nervous and jittery and that is coming to the fore, as was evident at its press conference today,” Trivedi told reporters.Asking why the Congress was “scared” of investigation, he said the Opposition party should allow the law to take its due course and the truth about corruption in the case would should come out.“I want to ask a pertinent question, whenever in the last 30-32 years the names of any foreign national cropped up in corruption cases in India, be it Anderson, Ottavio Quattrochi, Guido Haschke or Christian Michel, why were all of them found to be linked with the Gandhi family….why are they linked to a member of the Gandhi family,” he asked.Trivedi said the question is whether there was corruption in the AugustaWestland case and said that the CBI probe was ordered by the UPA government itself.The BJP leader said the issue of the corruption was raised in the Italian government and also in the courts there. “This issue was not a political one. There was corruption in the purchase of the helicopters which is linked to national security,” he claimed.“Why are you scared of investigation… Those who have been demanding probe into financial scams are holding press conferences to Michel’s defence, in a way.“We condemn the Congress for giving a political colour to the investigation process and ask them to let there be a fair probe into the matter,” he said. Asked about the Congress’ charge of the Modi government ending AgustaWestland’s blacklisting and allowing them to bid for Navy choppers, the BJP spokesperson said no questions were raised on the quality of the aircraft manufactured by these companies, but on the corruption in the deals.Trivedi also cited the example of Bofors guns, saying they were found to be of good quality and “that does not mean that the entire corruption in their purchase can be ignored”. RELATED December 30, 2018 Published on national politics Christian Michel made reference to ‘Mrs Gandhi’, being tutored from outside: ED tells court BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi   –  THE HINDU SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARElast_img read more

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first_imgThe King’s installation is scheduled to be held on July 30. KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was conferred the Darjah Yang Maha Utama Darjah Kerabat Diraja Malaysia by the government.At the same ceremony held at Istana Negara yesterday, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah was conferred the Darjah Utama Seri Mahkota Negara.The awards to the King and Queen were both presented by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.Sultan Abdullah was proclaimed the sixth Sultan of Pahang on Jan 15 and took the oath of office as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 31. Nation 11 Jul 2019 It’s work as usual for the birthday boy Related News Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah later surprised Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali with an impromptu birthday party.The Prime Minister appeared to be genuinely in the dark when the special cake along with a pulut kuning dish were brought into the room to mark his 94th birthday, which was on Wednesday.Dr Siti Hasmah celebrates her 93rd birthday today.Their Majesties then joined in when those present began to serenade Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah with the Happy Birthday song during the cake-cutting ceremony.The piano-shaped cake in black and white was decorated with flowers, a miniature violin, a piece of musical note and books – perhaps a reflection of Dr Mahathir’s well-known love for reading and Dr Siti Hasmah’s passion for music.Dr Mahathir and his wife of 63 years then fed each other a slice of cake witnessed by Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah. — Bernama Metro News 18 May 2019 King and queen break fast with the public Genuinely surprised: Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah feeding each other pulut kuning during a surprise birthday celebration at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur as Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah look on. — Bernama Related News Nation 12 May 2019 King and Queen break fast with PM and VIPs Volume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9 facebook twitter Email Linkhttps://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/07/12/govt-presents-awards-to-king-and-queen/?jwsource=clCopied EmbedCopiedLive00:0001:0601:06  {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

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