EPA science adviser allowed industry group to edit journal article

first_img EPA science adviser allowed industry group to edit journal article It’s a perfect storm. So many things have been changed all at once, and every one of them weakens the process, and collectively it just creates a tremendously weak process that borders on being a total sham. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country It’s highly unusual to give an industry group, or anyone who funds scientific work, a chance to influence the outcome of research, according to scientists.”Certainly his ties to industry and comfort with allowing them to influence the science is concerning given he is heading a process where we know there will be heavy industry pressure to influence it,” said Gretchen Goldman, research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.The arrangement is unusual in the scientific community because it stands to discredit a researcher’s work, even if the group that provided funding makes innocuous changes, other researchers said. In this case, the access that Cox gave to API doesn’t seem to have dramatically altered the conclusions of his study. Instead, a small change here and there could have made it a friendlier vehicle for the industry’s message, Goldman said.It “implies that the messaging matters,” she said. Smog envelops Salt Lake City. Cox, who was nominated for his position by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has been critical of EPA air pollution regulations and has said that research showing the connection between air pollution and serious human health consequences is overblown. He sent E&E News a study that happened to contain copy edits, which he said were made by reviewers. It’s unclear which changes were made by API, and Cox denies that the fossil fuel lobbying group offered meaningful edits.Cox is a statistician who is now tasked with overseeing the advisory committee’s review of particulate matter pollution standards. It’s supposed to make a key health determination that could affect millions of Americans: chiefly whether the level of air pollution they are breathing is hurting them.The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee is meeting Wednesday and Thursday to review EPA’s science assessment for particulate matter. It’s part of the legal requirement under the Clean Air Act that EPA review scientific information related to the national ambient air quality standards for six pollutants. They are: particulate matter, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead and sulfur dioxide.Cox states in his study that API provided input before it was published last year.”This paper benefited from close proof-reading and copy-editing suggestions from API, but these reviews and suggestions were provided for the author’s consideration without constraints that any of them be incorporated,” he wrote in the study, which was published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology.API, which lobbies the government on behalf of fossil fuel companies, has a history of fighting regulations on air pollution, sometimes by pointing to the scientific conclusions of studies that it funded.Before Pruitt resigned amid a flurry of ethics investigations earlier this year, EPA replaced academic researchers on its science advisory boards with researchers supported by industry groups. Pruitt declared that scientists who received EPA grants had conflicts of interest, while those who are paid by polluting industries deserved a louder voice. That’s when he named Cox to lead the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.Under acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, EPA has gone even further to sideline scientists, particularly around air pollution. It recently disbanded a separate panel of scientists, who are supposed to review particulate matter pollution, and canceled plans for another panel that was to review ozone.Meanwhile, the Trump administration has remade the panel led by Cox. It now includes an academic and several state regulators who have downplayed the effects of air pollution.Cox’s 2017 study, which examines the causal relationship between air pollution and human health, was published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology. The journal has a reputation for publishing industry-funded work that’s sometimes used to argue against government regulations.Cox’s research questions previous studies that have connected serious human health problems to air pollution. It fits with the approach that Cox has taken when testifying to Congress: He emphasizes uncertainties, including in 2015, when he told lawmakers that health benefits of reducing ozone exposure were “unwarranted and exaggerated.” Read more… By Scott Waldman, E&E NewsDec. 10, 2018 , 9:55 AM Neither in effect nor in actual fact did they interfere with, shape, or direct my findings or the conduct of my research in any way. Originally published by E&E News When the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) begins a major review of air pollution standards this week, a researcher who has received funding from an industry group opposed to the rules will be leading the agency’s panel.Tony Cox, who was named chairman of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, accepted funding from the American Petroleum Institute (API) to help finance his research into particulate matter pollution. He also allowed the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group to proofread and copy edit his findings before they were published, according to his own acknowledgements. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Ravell Call/The Deseret News/AP Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Cox denied that API influenced his work and said the organization did not suggest any substantive changes. The fossil fuel group offered “some minor copy editing suggestions on punctuation and my use of ‘relation’ vs. ‘relationship,'” Cox said.”Neither in effect nor in actual fact did they interfere with, shape, or direct my findings or the conduct of my research in any way,” Cox said in an email to E&E News. “My research was complete before I drafted the paper, and nothing of substance changed thereafter except in response to journal reviewer comments and my own re-reading for clarity. My research is and always have been my own, and I do not accept outside interference.”Cox has a history of attacking established research on the health risks of air pollution, using his own statistical model to crunch data associated with particulate matter, or PM2.5.In one study, he said there was “no evidence that reductions in PM2.5 concentrations cause reductions in mortality rates.” In addition to API, he has received funding from the American Chemistry Council and Philip Morris International Inc., the tobacco company.There’s a large body of science that connects serious health ailments to air pollution. Ozone and fine particle air pollution are particularly dangerous to vulnerable groups of people, including children, the elderly, people with asthma and outdoor workers.The World Health Organization published research earlier this year that found nine out of 10 people globally breathe polluted air and that air pollution kills 7 million people annually. It’s one of the leading causes of death. Vehicle emissions are a leading cause of air pollution worldwide.John Bachmann, EPA’s director for science policy on air quality during President George W. Bush’s administration, said it’s “crazy” that EPA is barring researchers who received agency grants from sitting on advisory panels. They are often some of the best researchers, he said.That change means the panel overseen by Cox is reviewing air pollution standards without the help of a single epidemiologist. Altogether, the altered panels once included at least seven epidemiologists; they’re all gone, Bachmann said.He added that current members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee are qualified, but their capabilities, expertise and perspectives are greatly limited compared with those who once served on a specialized panel to review particulate matter. Pruitt disbanded it.”It’s a huge loss to claim you can review a document that has hundreds and hundreds of pages on epidemiology by people who don’t do it, don’t do the research in it and the one guy who has done some of it has a point of view that is not mainstream,” Bachmann said, referring to Cox.Cox’s 2017 study is a “review paper that focuses on epidemiological literature and application of epidemiological methods to case studies by someone who is not an epidemiologist,” said Christopher Frey, a former chairman of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and a professor of environmental engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.In the past, it was rare to appoint a chair who had not previously served on the panel, Frey said. The Clean Air Act requires reviews by the advisory panel to be thorough and to rely on the latest science. He said industry researchers, going back to tobacco industry efforts to discredit the health effects of smoking, are largely focused on uncertainty rather than the risks. Frey said EPA, when it funded some of his research, did not seek to edit his work beforehand.”In a regulatory purpose, you really want all the members of the committee to be perceived as impartial and free of conflict of interest, and I don’t think as a group this committee earns that perception.”Frey, who served as chairman of the committee from 2012 to 2015 and was first appointed in 2008 under Bush, said the current board is derived of stakeholders with a vested interest.The panel lost prominence in other ways too. In the past, there were dozens of people reviewing air pollution research for three years. Now, it’s seven people doing the review in one year.”It’s a perfect storm,” Frey said. “So many things have been changed all at once, and every one of them weakens the process, and collectively it just creates a tremendously weak process that borders on being a total sham.”Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net. Chris Frey, North Carolina State University Email Tony Cox, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee last_img read more

Kashmir woman crosses over to PoK probe on

first_img Body sent home, PoK boy’s family thanks people on both sides Related News Sahoora is the last village on the Indian side of the LoC, and is around 20 km from Uri.Sources said Shaheena crossed an Army checkpoint near Sahoora and was allowed to proceed after she informed them that she was going to meet her maternal uncle.Shaheena’s family realised that she was missing after her cousin passed the same Army checkpost, and was told that Shaheena had informed them of her intention to visit Sahoora, a police probe has found.Another officer said, “Through the family members, we have come to know that she has crossed (the LoC) and is presently on the other side… The woman has relatives there (in PoK).” Advertising UGC warns against taking admission in PoK institutes Advertising Police have filed a missing person’s complaint and will take up the matter with the Army, which can subsequently approach the Pakistani Army over the case, a police officer said.A local unit of the Army is also probing how the woman managed to cross the LoC despite strong checks, an Army officer said.The woman, identified as Shaheena Begum (32), went missing on June 25. According to the J&K police, she had a dispute with her husband and told him that she was going to meet her relatives in Sahoora village in Baramulla district. pok, woman cross pok, indian woman cross border, indian woman in pok, indian express news Sources said Shaheena crossed an Army checkpoint near Sahoora and was allowed to proceed after she informed them that she was going to meet her maternal uncle.A woman from North Kashmir’s border town of Uri has managed to cross the highly secured Line of Control (LoC) to reach her relatives in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), police officials have said. PoK boy’s body found in Kashmir Written by Adil Akhzer | Srinagar | Updated: July 14, 2019 8:17:28 am 2 Comment(s)last_img read more

Donald Trump asks Supreme Court to unfreeze border wall money

first_img Donald Trump and Democrats clash over President’s ‘racist’ tweets By AP |Washington | Published: July 13, 2019 8:51:03 am Post Comment(s) Related News Advertising Explained: Trump’s immigrant policy; what the ICE planned, and why Two lower courts have ruled against the administration in a lawsuit over the funding. Last week, a divided three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco kept in place a lower court ruling preventing the government from tapping Defense Department counterdrug money to build high-priority sections of wall in Arizona, California and New Mexico.At stake in the case is billions of dollars that would allow Trump to make progress on a major 2016 campaign promise heading into his race for a second term. Trump ended a 35-day government shutdown in February after Congress gave him approximately $1.4 billion in border wall funding, far less than the $5.7 billion he was seeking. Trump then declared a national emergency to take cash from other government accounts to use to construct sections of wall.The money includes $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion from Defense Department counterdrug activities and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund. The Treasury Department funds have so far survived legal challenges, and the transfer of the military construction funds has not yet been approved. donald trump, us president donald trump, president trump, us mexico border wall, mexico border wall, us mexico border wall issue, world news, Indian Express Two lower courts have ruled against the administration in a lawsuit over the funding.The Trump administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to lift a freeze on Pentagon money it wants to use to build sections of a border wall with Mexico. At issue in the case before the Supreme Court is just the $2.5 billion in Defense Department funds, which the administration says will be used to construct more than 100 miles of fencing. The lawsuit challenging the use of those funds was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition. Late Friday, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan gave the groups until the afternoon of July 19 to respond in writing to the Trump administration’s filing.The administration wants the Supreme Court to lift the freeze on the Department of Defense money while it continues its case at the appeals court and, if necessary, appeals to the Supreme Court. The administration says the trial judge who initially heard the case and put a freeze on the funds was wrong and that the groups bringing the lawsuit don’t have a right to sue. Advertising They’re not afraid last_img read more

The Latest Efforts to Make the iPhone Obsolete Could Have Teeth

first_imgYou are going to see a number of foldable screen devices at Mobile World Congress, but this technology is still pretty raw, and I doubt it will do any real damage to iPhone sales directly. Still, it is yet another technology coming to market that Apple is unlikely to have.Ironically, given that the OS needs to be changed to use it, Apple is likely the firm that could have done foldable screens best, since it owns its OS. So, this is a missed opportunity, but not a critical one, and it probably qill take a year to get the price of this technology down below nosebleed territory anyway. I think this is one of those cases when it is better to do it right than to go early, and the first set of products don’t yet look “right” to me. The Biggest 5G Problem Mobile World Congress almost always has been a predominantly anti-Apple event, but up to now, it really hasn’t done much damage to Apple. This time is different, however. Apple is out of position for the 5G rollout that founds the event, and it is at war with the leading U.S. 5G technology vendor, Qualcomm.Further, Apple technology vendor Intel has been having severe execution issues (particularly following allegations that it stole Qualcomm’s intellectual property. If true, this won’t end well for either Apple or Intel).Still, it’s likely we will see the beginning of a reversal of centralized data center placement, a significant increase in extended reality headsets that can be used with smartphones, some impressive new 5G smartphones, and some wild devices with foldable screens that only the most tech forward of us will buy. It should be an interesting week. Qualcomm on Monday announced a major initiative adding headsets to smartphones and enhancements to the standalone AR/VR product efforts as well. Much like earphones are a major component of smartphone use for many, these initially hard-wired glasses will allow you to better interact with your phone while leaving both hands free and your eyes much more focused on where you are going.These headsets will do a lot. They’ll give you a better entertainment viewing experience when you have down time. They’ll also improve navigation and voice-to-text instant messaging (you can see the text or IM and respond to it verbally).When using a headset with a camera, you’ll be able to blend what is real with what is virtual (like being able to see competitive online prices for items you are looking at while out shopping or even viewing on your computer screen. These headsets should better integrate the meta information in the cloud to the real world around you.They could even notify you if you were walking into a dangerous area and automatically guide you out even if it was too dark to see.The low latency high-bandwidth performance of 5G will make it far easier to pull even rich information from the cloud. It is these headsets that are the most likely to drive incremental high bandwidth use. Given Qualcomm’s war with Apple, these headsets likely won’t work with iPhones. TheMobile World Congress, which kicked off on Monday, is the annual event where everyone who hates Apple goes to grouse about their profits and point out Apple’s lack of real progress. That’s pretty much everyone who is anyone, aside from Apple itself, which also is at the event.Much like CES often does, MWC tends to spin pretty hard toward the “I hate Apple, I’d like to be Apple” crowd of competitors. What makes this year different is the level of technology advancements that will be shown, with an emphasis on those tied to the rollout of 5G, which initially will not be accessible to Apple.I’ll give you an idea of what’s likely to appear at the show and point out one of the big 5G problems that people mostly aren’t aware of yet (but AT&T and IBM are). It actually could lead to the strongest argument yet to abandon the iPhone.I’ll close with my product of the week: the nReal Light mixed reality glasses — one of the headsets that will be announced as connecting to Qualcomm’s big extended reality initiative at MWC. Wrapping Up At Mobile World Congress, most of what you see will be tied to the 5G rollout, and the new hardware and services related to the rollout. This is an increasing issue for Apple, which isn’t expected to launch new 5G phones until late in 2020. The new 5G phones will effectively obsolesce any pre-existing iPhone, so why would anyone buy a new 4G LTE phone during the 5G ramp at the high end?Granted, we did have the 5G E effort from AT&T, but a lot of folks have beenmaking fun of it. Doesn’t an attempt to trick people into buying a 4G phone that has been branded improperly amount to fraud?)Perhaps of greater consequence, Apple’s war with Qualcomm will have significant repercussions on its already declining sales, and Apple won’t be alone. I expect any company that launches a high-end phone without 5G support will find sales volume tepid at best, because people willing to buy at high price points likely will want to avoid looking stupid when their expensive new device prematurely becomes obsolete.It isn’t just phones, either. You’ll see service enhancements from companies like Microsoft tied to Azure (announced Sunday) that will make use of this capability, unique never-before-seen hardware, and even new entertainment offerings. Watch for gaming and commercial apps (like remote medical) that will make use of this significantly increased performance and impressively low latency. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. 5G Update With any major rollout of a technology, there are issues. With 5G, you must swap out both the cell tower technology and the phones. You have to find compelling reasons to fund this change at both ends, and you must understand the network loading so you can avoid bottlenecks.The upgrade process on the cell towers has started, and there isn’t a single carrier that doesn’t understand that failure to move aggressively with 5G will mean losing customers. This is because 5G provides data rates in line with wired networks and is particularly powerful at the network’s edge, making massive difference for folks using data there.In addition, and discussed far less, is the massive reduction in latency, making coming initiatives like the Microsoft Virtual Desktop possible, and giving users the opportunity to run full Windows apps on their phones and connected tablets, regardless of OS.So that gives us the towers and the compelling reasons for people to upgrade — but what about the data ecosystem? This issue came up at IBM Think earlier this month, when AT&T and IBM both pointed out that the data demands from 5G will force a change from centralized data centers to distributed data centers placed nearer the users because of network loading.You see, low latency and high bandwidth at the end points does you no good if there are bottlenecks in the networks connected to the massive centralized data centers that have been built all over the world.For small nations, this likely won’t be huge problem, but for large countries like the U.S. and China, it will mean a huge change in the network topology at a national level. This also means that if you are already near one of these existing mega data centers and an early 5G deployment, you are likely to see the biggest initial benefit from 5G. Foldable Screens The issues with AR and VR come down to expensive hardware, a lack of compelling content, uneven setup experiences, and way too much crap in the market. Among the products that will be showcased this week, coupled with Qualcomm’s announcement on Monday, are the nReal Light AR Glasses.Launched at CES this year, these glasses have a dedicated Qualcomm processor. At a US$1,000 price point, they aren’t a cheap date, but they provide adequate performance and a relatively attractive glasses-like form factor. My expectation is that the price for these will come down sharply if you connect them to a new smartphone that supports Qualcomm’s new extended reality specification. Qualcomm’s Move to AR/VR as a Smartphone Feature The glasses operate at HD resolution, which is less than I’d like, but certainly adequate for most AR types of tasks, including viewing videos and playing games. The range of view looks pretty good at 52-degrees, and it has two cameras so that the device can see what you are seeing and better integrate the virtual images it is rendering with the real objects you have in view. (You can get a sense of what is possible with the glasses with this video).These are the first high-quality extended reality glasses that appear to be attractive enough for people to wear, though they are tethered. Coming up with a way to carry your phone comfortably while connected to the glasses likely will be somewhat problematic.Because the nReal Light AR Glasses are a big step into our coming extended reality future, they are my product of the week. (They are due to hit the market in the third quarter of this year.)The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. nReal Light AR Glasseslast_img read more

3D printing may aid in the treatment of osteoarthritis

first_img Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/journal-orthopaedic-research/3d-printing-may-help-treat-osteoarthritis Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 24 2019In a Journal of Orthopedic Research study, scientists used 3D printing to repair bone in the joints of mini-pigs, an advance that may help to treat osteoarthritis in humans.Specifically, the investigators used 3D printing with a needle-array to generate articular cartilage and subchondral bone using constructs composed of mesenchymal stem cells derived from fat tissue. Printed constructs were implanted into osteochondral defects created in the knees of six mini-pigs. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging tests revealed significant repair within the defects at three and six months post-implantation.last_img read more

Resources must be provided for governments new rapid care measures to be

first_imgSource: https://www.bma.org.uk/ Mar 12 2019Responding to the government’s announcement today of new rapid care measures in England, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair, said: The BMA has consistently believed that arbitrary targets can result in unintended impacts on patient care, especially when they are linked to funding. For example, when the health secretary reinterpreted the four-hour A&E target in 2017 to include only urgent cases, rather than all attendances, there were concerns that NHS managers simply redefined what cases are “urgent” so that the target can be met and resources secured. A recent BMA survey found that 77 percent of doctors agreed that “national targets and directives are prioritized over quality of care” and 74 percent agreed that “financial targets are prioritized over quality of care.Enabling vulnerable patients with mental health issues to gain easier access to higher standards of care is an encouraging focus of today’s announcement and long overdue. It is also important that we should continue to press for diagnosis of cancer to be improved and that any delays in subsequent treatment should be addressed. Ultimately, all these proposals must be fully supported by clear commitments to provide the resources necessary so that NHS staff are able to practically deliver any service improvements to patients.The health service is still waiting for increased funding for NHS estate buildings, public health and social care. There remains a lack of clarity on how the current workforce shortages are to be remedied, which is of critical importance given the pressures across both secondary care and general practice. Any new proposals will struggle to succeed unless the fundamental pressures facing the health service are tackled.We must ensure that any change to the target system is accompanied by clear, unambiguous measures to increase transparency – and not reduce accountability or information about how well care is delivered. It is vital that the piloting of new standards create a greater culture of openness where we have a true picture of the experience of patients and the challenges facing our health service. The BMA will be examining the detail of these proposals in order to guarantee that the public has the ability to hold the government to account.”last_img read more

New approach to prescribing antibiotics could curb resistance

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Mar 22 2019Researchers at Rice University have proposed a new approach to understanding how to prescribe antibiotics in a way that will help to curb antibiotic resistance. Shutterstock | Kateryna KonCurrently, a course of antibiotics does not necessarily eradicate all of the bacteria infecting a patient and any remaining bacteria can be especially effective at timing their re-emergence.Related StoriesNew methods to recognize antimicrobial resistant bacteria and how they workStructure of bacteria responsible for traveler’s diarrhea decipheredCurved shape of bacteria can make it easier to find foodNow, Anatoly Kolomeisky and Hamid Teimouri argue that it should be possible in the future to prescribe a more accurate dose that will ensure every last bacterium is dead or at least minimize the chances of bacterial colony developing resistance.As reported in the Royal Society journal Interface, the study has shown that the fluctuating rates at which bacteria grow can increase the length of time it takes for a colony to completely die out, thereby improving the bacteria’s chances of developing resistance.”Our calculations suggest this fluctuation, which bacteria can easily do, might help them bide their time and try different mutations. We think this is the possible first step in antibiotic resistance,” says Kolomeisky.The study showed that the fluctuating growth rates mean the bacterial extinction probabilities currently used to determine dose do not correlate with actual extinction times.Kolomeisky says that current models only tell doctors the probability that a course of antibiotics will work. This means that when doctors calculate how much antibiotic a person should receive, everyone is treated equally: “They assume you have a huge amount of bacteria in your body and use a very simple deterministic model to prescribe the minimal concentration of antibiotic. Below that threshold, they say you will not be cured, and above it, you will always be cured.”The researchers now present a preliminary model that accounts for the random fluctuations by incorporating the size of an infecting colony and averaging the amount of time it will take for the colony to die out completely.”We care much more about the average time to be cured, not the probability. This will give doctors a much clearer description of what should be done,” concludes Kolomeisky. Source:https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/ru-bbt032119.phplast_img read more

Child physical abuse more likely to increase when the caregiver was male

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 27 2019Over 1,700 children die from child abuse each year in the U.S., and far more sustain injuries that result in hospitalization. These deaths and severe injuries are preventable, but effective strategies require a deeper understanding of the caregivers causing the harm and the circumstances surrounding the child’s injuries.The odds of child physical abuse vs. accidental injury increased substantially when the caregiver at the time of injury was male, according to a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics. When the male was the boyfriend of the mother or another caregiver, the odds of abuse were very high. Injuries were also much more severe when the child was with a male caregiver. In contrast, abuse as the cause of injury was substantially less likely when a female caregiver was present, with the exception of a female babysitter. Caregiver arrangements that were different than usual also were associated with increased risk of abuse. These findings may help improve early recognition of abuse when a young child is injured and may also inform future abuse prevention strategies.Related StoriesWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymoma”Given that we found strong associations between certain caregiver features and the likelihood of abuse, it is vitally important for clinicians evaluating the child to ask about who was present at the time of injury,” says study author Mary Clyde Pierce, MD, from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who is the Principal Investigator on the Bruising Clinical Decision Rule study that supplied the data. Dr. Pierce is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Through a better understanding of caregiver features, screening for child abuse can be refined, evidence-informed clinical decisions can be made, prevention efforts can be focused on populations at greatest risk, and policies can be tailored accordingly.”The study examined data on 1,615 children younger than 4 years of age who presented to a pediatric emergency department with an injury. Twenty-four percent of these children were determined to be physically abused. The majority of severe injuries were classified as abuse (77 percent), and nearly all cases of severe injury in which fathers and boyfriends were present involved abuse. Child abuse prevention efforts frequently target mothers, but our study confirms previous research that the presence of male caregivers poses a greater risk of abuse, so the focus must shift for prevention strategies to be successful. Future prevention strategies also should educate parents that leaving their young children in the care of people unfamiliar with the challenges of caregiving, even for brief periods of time, can be dangerous.”Mary Clyde Pierce, MD, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Source:Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicagolast_img read more

Emirates throws Airbus A380 a lifeline with jumbo order

Explore further It said it regarded Emirates as the only airline with the capacity to place an order of the size required to keep production going.”Quite honestly, if we can’t work out a deal with Emirates there is no choice but to shut down the programme,” Airbus sales director John Leahy said Monday.The company said it needed to build at least six of the aircraft per year for the programme to remain viable.On Thursday, Leahy seemed relieved that Airbus’ strategy of staring down Emirates appeared to have paid off, saying the programme was now good to go on for at least another decade. The order comes just days after Airbus sounded alarm bells on the future of the A-380 Emirates Airlines said Thursday it has struck a $16 billion deal to buy 36 Airbus A380 superjumbos just days after the European manufacturer said it would have to halt production without new orders. “This new order underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years. I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s,” Leahy said.Airbus is hoping China will lead a revival in orders once demand for long-haul planes picks up, arguing that the plane is ideally suited for mass-market travel and for heavily congested airports.Emirates operates a fleet of 269 wide-bodied aircraft and flies to 157 destinations.Airbus said it has delivered 222 A380s to 13 airlines so far.Stock market investors welcomed the news of the order, pushing Airbus shares more than two percent higher on the Paris bourse in mid-session business.Calling the deal “a relief for Airbus”, independent commercial aviation expert John Strickland said it probably saved the A-380 programme.”Without it, production would likely have been terminated,” Strickland said.”It is not a guarantee of financial success for the programme but buys Airbus time to go out and secure additional orders from other airlines,” he said. © 2018 AFP Citation: Emirates throws Airbus A380 a lifeline with jumbo order (2018, January 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-emirates-airbus-a380-lifeline-jumbo.html Airbus overtakes Boeing, says could halt A380 programme (Update) The company said it had placed firm orders for 20 of the double-decker aircraft with options for a further 16. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2020.Emirates is already the world’s biggest customer for the A380 with 101 in its fleet and 41 more firm orders previously placed.”This order will provide stability to the A380 production line,” the airline’s chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said.”We’ve made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates,” he said in a statement. “Our customers love it, and we’ve been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix.”The Dubai-based airline said that with the new order it will have commitments for a total of 178 A380s worth $60 billion.The deal was expected to be signed during the Dubai Airshow in November but was delayed without any explanation amid reports of tough negotiations.Instead, Emirates inked a deal to buy 40 Boeing Dreamliners for more than $15 billion.Airbus’s decision in 2007 to pursue the A380, capable of packing in 853 seats, was diametrically opposed to Boeing’s bet on the Dreamliner, marketed as a more efficient plane that could be used for both medium and long-distance flights.But the economics of the four-engine A380 have proved daunting, with airlines having to operate every flight at full capacity in order to make a profit.’It buys Airbus time’Airbus warned on Monday that it might have to end production of the A380, having booked no new orders for the plane in two years. The Emirates order should see the A-380 programme through the next decade or more This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Research shows four in five experts cited in online news are men

first_img An analysis conducted by the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power on behalf of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London has found that four out of every five people quoted as experts in online news articles by the main UK news outlets are male. The research analysed a representative sample of all news articles published online across a seven day period by major news outlets including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, Daily Mail, Star, Express, The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Mirror, Sun, and the Telegraph.The imbalance is even greater for certain fields, such as foreign politics and business and finance, where men make up almost nine out of ten expert sources. And despite all the media campaigns and focus on equal representation in recent years, these figures haven’t materially shifted since a similar study was carried out in 2010.So what’s driving this imbalance? It’s true that the UK is unfortunately still a country with a well-documented under-representation of women in leadership positions across various sectors (not least news journalism), and this certainly plays a part. But previous research has identified other factors. A tendency to rely on known contacts, reliable performers and suggestions from previous informants all militate against a widening of the expert pool.And then there’s the question of who we consider to be an “expert”. Judgements about who is and isn’t credible play a large role in determining who gets to be a source, and therefore have a voice, in the national conversation. But judgements about credibility are not value-free. A series of studies have shown that we find the same information to be more credible when it is presented by a man, rather than a woman. Whether it be political tweets, articles about sport or abstracts for scientific papers, simply changing the name on the information has been shown to affect respondents’ judgement of the quality, competence or expertise of the content. 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. Provided by The Conversation Credit: Shutterstock Who gets to speak? Who do we listen to? And whose opinions do we respect? These questions are always important, but even more so now, as the UK faces an uncertain future, and political leaders need to make some tough decisions. So it’s disappointing to learn that female voices continue to be marginalised in the nation’s news coverage. Women’s expertise is going untapped and unheard at a critical time. White men’s voices still dominate public science. Here’s how to change thiscenter_img Explore further This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Citation: Research shows four in five experts cited in online news are men (2018, July 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-experts-cited-online-news-men.html Updating the address bookThese biases show just how hopelessly naïve it is to argue that expert sources should “just be the person with the best expertise”. This person is a chimera – for how on earth would this expertise be ranked? Any attempt to work out who they are would be influenced by biases, not only on the part of the journalist in terms of judging their credentials, but by the fact that those credentials were earned in a gender-biased world.A related line of thought might concede a level of bias in the selection of experts, and yet contend that it doesn’t matter. After all, aren’t experts there to simply present the facts and give an objective assessment of reality? While I’m sure many academics would be touched by this level of faith in their pronouncements, it is far from the truth.A fascinating study from earlier this year illustrates the point. After surveying more than 1,000 economists from 18 countries, the researchers found that female economists were far more likely than men to prefer government interventions over market solutions. They were also more likely to be in favour of increased environmental protection, to think that labour market policies were unequal, and were slightly more likely to disapprove of austerity. Such questions could hardly be less central to the future of society.The differing views of female economists are not due to some inherent “redistributive gene” that is missing on the Y chromosome, but because such views rely on an analysis of certain approaches, and different life experiences will inform how we weight the associated costs and benefits. Indeed, as Sweden’s feminist government is showing, from foreign policy to which streets to snowplough first, the answer to policy questions changes when you include the perspective of the other half of the population.Journalists have a responsibility to seek out diverse voices, rather than “neutrally” hold up a mirror to society. Who we see explaining the world around us sends a strong symbolic signal about whose views we value, and what is possible for different groups of people. Surely if anything is going to challenge bias then it will be seeing female names in areas that society codes “male”. This may require extra effort from journalists to look beyond their existing networks, but with a wealth of resources – from The Women’s Room to SheSource and more – there is no longer any excuse not to make it.last_img read more

Novel architecture boosts energy and spectrum efficiency for Internet of Things wireless

first_imgCredit: asharkyu, Shutterstock The explosive growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is helping to improve industrial processes, energy and city management, transportation and healthcare. This is thanks to the collection, analysis and exploitation of massive physical data. But amassing such data depends on the wireless connection of billions of cost-efficient battery-powered sensors. The scale at which this massive collection of data is envisioned is challenged by the limited energy and spectrum efficiency of today’s IoT wireless communication solutions.The EU-funded project HEASIT “dealt with the development and commercialisation of GreenOFDM, a disruptive innovation that will bring high data rates at a high-energy efficiency to wireless low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) for the IoT,” says project coordinator Loic Lietar. “It aimed at defining, developing and introducing to the market a modem in the form of an integrated circuit that will be the heart of low-power high-data-rate networks.” Overall, the objective was to deliver an integrated circuit that embeds a breakthrough patented algorithm. Unique processor “Interestingly, it turns out that the architecture we adopted and developed for this implementation proved to have more value in an adjacent market – that is the analysis, mostly in the form of artificial intelligence inference of image, sound and motion, at ultra-low power,” explains Lietar. “So the outcome of HEASIT is GAP8, a processor that is uniquely positioned in the market, with an energy efficiency that is 20 times superior to anything else available.”There’s a consensus among experts regarding the explosion in the number of connected objects in coming years. IoT services increasingly call for wireless connectivity that ensures Mb/s data rate in addition to kilometres of range, years of autonomy and low cost. Starting with the GreenOFDM algorithm, one of the project partners developed a fully programmable solution in the form of a multicore processor with a unique energy efficiency. The architecture built on two world-class open-source projects (RISC-V and PULP), which is a very novel approach in the semiconductor industry. At system level, they combined an emulation of GreenOFDM with the open-source protocol stack long-range wide-area network to successfully realise point-to-point radio communications. Significant cost savingsHEASIT’s strategy was to offer a high-data-rate radio interface – GreenOFDM – to LPWANs. GreenOFDM offers a considerable cost advantage and more autonomy than wifi and long-term evolution technology alternatives. It also maintains the existing network architecture and functionalities of LPWANs, which neither wifi nor long-term evolution technology alternatives can do. “The HEASIT innovation dramatically reduces the cost of deploying and operating rich sensors in the field,” the coordinator adds. “Consequently, this enables a much larger number of those sensors and ultimately significantly enriches the spectrum of IoT use cases.”The first customer had a working prototype in July 2018. “We have sold to prospective customers more than 100 development kits with our GAP8 processor, and are on track to be in volume production in the first quarter of 2019,” concludes Lietar. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The collection of data that will benefit societies relies on the wireless connections of billions of low-cost battery-powered sensors. An EU initiative has developed a novel architecture that combines energy and spectrum efficiency for Internet of Things (IoT) wireless communication. Explore furthercenter_img Better, faster wireless communication on the horizon for mobile device users Citation: Novel architecture boosts energy and spectrum efficiency for Internet of Things wireless communication (2018, August 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-architecture-boosts-energy-spectrum-efficiency.html Provided by CORDISlast_img read more

Driverless cars are going to disrupt the airline industry

first_img Citation: Driverless cars are going to disrupt the airline industry (2019, June 11) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-driverless-cars-disrupt-airline-industry.html This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. In our study, we showed people trips of different lengths and asked them to choose whether they would rather drive themselves, take a flight or ride in a self-driving car. In general, the data indicated that people always preferred driverless vehicles over manual driving. Taking a driverless car got even more attractive if people were told that after flying, they would need a rental car in their destination city. On short trips, with a five-hour drive, two-thirds of people would rather drive themselves. That didn’t change much when they were offered a self-driving car, unless they were told they would need a car in their destination city. Then nearly three-quarters of people preferred a self-driving car to flying. As trips got longer, people were increasingly likely to prefer flying, but self-driving cars were still a compelling option. On the longest trips we asked about, with a 45-hour drive, only about one in 10 people preferred driving themselves—but that changed to one in six when the option was to have a car drive itself. In follow-up work, we’re looking at how the costs of each transportation method might affect consumers’ choices—including whether they’re traveling alone or in a group with friends or family members.How will this affect the airlines?Losing even one in 10 customers would substantially reduce airlines’ revenue. They don’t make much money on each flight as it is; less income would likely cause them to shrink their service, flying fewer routes less frequently.The problem wouldn’t just be customers who chose not to fly. Some passengers might split trips between self-driving cars and airplanes, which would further reduce airlines’ revenue. For instance, a person in Savannah, Georgia, who wants to go to London could choose to change planes in Atlanta—or take a self-driving car to the Atlanta airport, and skip the layover.These changes could substantially change the aviation industry, with airlines ordering fewer airplanes from manufacturers, airports seeing fewer daily flights and lower revenue from parking lots, and even airport hotels hosting fewer guests. The future of driverless cars is appealing to consumers—which means the future of commercial flight is in danger. Explore further A future with driverless cars means people will have more options to avoid driving on their own, beyond trains and buses. Provided by The Conversation Driverless cars: once they’re on the road, human drivers should be bannedcenter_img Credit: The Conversation Imagine someone who lives in Atlanta and needs to travel to Washington, D.C., for business. This is about a 10-hour drive. A flight takes about two hours, assuming no delays. Add to that the drive to the airport, checking in, the security line and waiting at the gate. Upon arrival in D.C., it may take another 30 minutes to pick up any checked bags and find a rental car—and even more time to drive to the specific destination. The average person would estimate a total travel time of four to five fours. Most people would choose to fly instead of driving themselves.However, if they could have a fully driverless car take them there, the choice changes. Passengers could eat, drink, work and sleep during the 10-hour drive. They could leave whenever they want, and pack whatever they want—including liquids and pocketknives—with no searches or scans. When they get to D.C., they wouldn’t have to find a rental car and navigate to the actual place they’re going. Which would you choose? Now imagine the self-driving car has a reclining seat with actual legroom, or even a bed. It’s more than a little tempting.What do consumers say?As experts in public opinion research, we know that the American public loves how quickly flights can cover large distances, but hates the security checks, long lines, delays, risk of losing baggage and overall hassle of the flying experience. We also know that at the moment, most people are reluctant to ride in driverless vehicles – including school buses and even ambulances that could speed their treatment in an emergency. However, our data also shows that as people learn about the benefits of driverless cars, they become more accepting of the new technology. Over time, people will feel comfortable using autonomous cars (and ambulances), just like they adjusted to riding in the first automobiles. Credit: photo-denver/Shutterstock.com As driverless cars become more capable and more common, they will change people’s travel habits not only around their own communities but across much larger distances. Our research has revealed just how much people’s travel preferences could shift, and found a new potential challenge to the airline industry. 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

Channel Sevens coverage woes continue in Man Utds clash with Leeds

first_imgLed by David Basheer and former Glory player Stan Lazaridis, Channel Seven’s coverage caused plenty of football fans to cringe online. For such pro-United commentary, Channel 7 and struggling with some basic pronunciation. #MUTOUR- Neil Sherwin (@neilsherwin) July 17, 2019Hint to Channel 7: Eric Bailly is not pronounced how it is spelt. #MUFCvLUFC #MUTOUR- The Football Sack (@TheFootballSack) July 17, 2019Channel 7 commentary bingo:-Leeds are a big club-This doesn’t feel like a friendly-I’d love to see Leeds in the premier league-James is going to be a special player-Any reference to Lukaku transfers- Leeds glory years- The Australian connection#MUNLEE #LeedsUnited- Miller (@mmiller003) July 17, 2019-Paul Pogba breathes(Bash on the channel 7 commentary): “TERRIFIC ATHLETICISM WHAT A WORLD CLASS TALENT”- Jasprit Bumrahs bowling action (@miketheshark_1) July 17, 2019Did @Channel7 just claim that there are ’60-70 matches in the Championship for Leeds to play?? 😂😂 #MUFCvLUFC #mufctour- Russ Gibbs (@RussGibbs10) July 17, 2019@TheWorldGame why can’t SBS have the rights to comment the Man U/ Leeds game. @Channel7 commentary is embarrassing.@TheWorldGame is the home for watching football in Australia.- Andrew Glasson (@AndrewGlasson3) July 17, 2019To make matters worse for the free-to-air broadcaster, who hasn’t covered the round ball game for a few years, they then mistakenly confirmed Red Devils keeper David de Gea has re-signed with the club – much to the surprise of journalists watching on in the press box.Channel 7’s commentary team just claimed De Gea has signed a new contract. Cue 15 English journalists shooting each other bemused sideways glances in the media box, as they know very well no such deal has been announced.#MUFCvLUFC #MUTOUR- The Football Sack (@TheFootballSack) July 17, 2019David Basheer just said on commentary that De Gea has penned a new deal at United. Bemused looks in the media box, first we’ve heard of it being confirmed 🤷🏻‍♂️ #MUTOUR- Neil Sherwin (@neilsherwin) July 17, 2019While the TV coverage left something to be desired, the Red Devils impressed in the first 45 minutes against Leeds, scoring twice without reply against their old rivals.Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford both on target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side after they beat Glory 2-0 on Saturday. After being slammed for their coverage of Manchester United’s first pre-season match against Perth Glory, Channel Seven have shown few signs of improvement in the Red Devils second clash with Leeds United.center_img While the action on and off the pitch was surpassing what was dished out at Optus Stadium on Saturday night, the broadcaster’s woes continued on Wednesday, with their commentary team particularly struggling. last_img read more

People Are Overdosing on Wasp Spray in West Virginia

first_imgSeveral people in a county in West Virginia recently overdosed from wasp spray, which they used as an alternative to methamphetamine, according to news reports. Police in Boone County say they’ve seen a rise in residents abusing wasp spray to achieve a meth-like high, according to local news outlet WCHS. The practice is believed to have played a role in three overdoses in the county last week, WCHS reported. “People are making a synthetic type [of] methamphetamine out of wasp spray,” Sgt. Charles Sutphin, of the West Virginia State Police, told WCHS. [‘Breaking Bad’: 6 Strange Meth Facts]Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65954-wasp-spray-overdose-meth.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  The practice is known as “wasping,” and it has emerged as a concerning drug trend in recent years, according to a 2018 report from ABC News. Users either combine the wasp spray with meth, or use the spray by itself as a meth substitute. People can crystallize the spray liquid on hot metal sheets, which allows the substance to be inhaled or injected, ABC News reported. Bug sprays contain active ingredients called pyrethroids, which stun and kill insects; but in humans, the chemicals can interfere with nerve signaling, which can lead to abnormal sensations, and in some cases, seizures or paralysis, ABC News reported. The chemicals can also lead to increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, headache, nausea, problems with coordination, and swelling and burning sensations. Police in Boone County are working with medical centers to determine the best treatment for those who abuse the spray, WCHS reported. 5 Weird Effects of Bug Bites 9 Weird Ways You Can Test Positive for Drugs 5 Lethal Chemical Warfare Agents 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 GameUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoPrime811 Highly Unnecessary Expenses People Waste Money On EverydayPrime8UndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndolast_img read more

Gadkari to inaugurate Vizag port projects on Friday

first_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari July 09, 2018 SHARE COMMENTcenter_img Andhra Pradesh Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari is visiting the city and Visakhapatnam port on Friday to inaugurate several projects and to lay foundation stones for several others, according to Visakhapatnam port chairman M.T Krishnababu.Briefing the media on the minister’s visit here on Monday, Krishnababu said several major projects had been taken up in recent years in the port under the public-private partnership (PPP) model and also several infrastructure projects improving road connectivity to the port.The minister would inaugurate two new post panamax rail-mounted quay cranes and equipment in the Visakhapatnam container limited on Friday afternoon (Rs 150 crores), and also the upgraded and modernised iron ore handling complex by the Essar group (Rs 580 crores), and also inaugurate West Quay 7 and 8 berths constructed at a cost of Rs 243 crores.The minister would lay foundation stones for several projects being taken up under the Bharatmala such as the Sabbavaram to Sheelanagar road project at a cost of Rs 549 crores, the six-laning of Anandapuram to Anakapalle section of NH-5 (new NH-16) at a cost of Rs 2013 crores, and several others.Krishnababu said the chairmen of the 12 major ports in the country and senior NHAI officials would participate in the review meeting to be conducted by the minister earlier on Friday.Anit Dixit, the regional officer of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), also spoke. ports COMMENTSlast_img read more

Karunanidhi extremely critical and unstableKarunanidhi extremely critical and unstable

first_imgKarunanidhi’s condition declines, next 24 hours crucial Leaders make beeline for ailing Karunanidhi’s residence, PM wishes him quick recovery Tamil Nadu DMK working president M K Stalin calls on TN CM Edapadi Palaniswami August 07, 2018 COMMENT Transient setback in Karunanidhi’s health, vital signs stabilising SHARE SHARE EMAIL Karunanidhi continues to be under intensive care; TN CM visits him center_img DMK president M Karunanidhi’s health condition is extremely critical and unstable, said Kauvery hospital on Tuesday in its latest medical bulletin. Hundreds of his supporters have swarmed the hospital praying for the well-being of the leader. COMMENTS File Photo of DMK chief M Karunanidhi.   –  The Hindu RELATED His son and DMK working president M K Stalin called on Chief Minister K Palaniswami at his residence and was closeted with him for some time, officials said. Chief Minister Palaniswami also held a meeting with top officials and he reviewed the situation.Kauvery hospital had said yesterday evening that Karunanidhi’s condition had “declined” and keeping his vital organs functioning remained a “challenge”. It had said the next 24 hours could be crucial.Meanwhile, hundreds of DMK cadres have collected outside the hospital in Alwarpet and the crowd is swelling by the minute. Many were seen weeping and chanting slogans hailing the leader. A woman supporter was seen fainting and being helped by others who sprinkled water on her face.Security has been enhanced at the hospital and the Gopalapuram residence of the nonagenarian leader. As concerns over Karunanidhi’s condition mounted, a general alert was sounded across the state. Security was stepped at major installations. SHARE Published onlast_img read more

Andhra Pradesh to have own High Court from January 1

first_imgAndhra Pradesh SHARE COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL November 05, 2018 judiciary (system of justice) COMMENTS Published on Come New Year and Andhra Pradesh will have a separate High Court as the Supreme Court has given the green signal for issuing the notification to this effect.It will be the 25th high court in the country and will initially function from a temporary structure till the permanent building comes up in the ambitious Justice City complex in the State’s capital Amaravati.Requirements metSince the bifurcation of the State on June 2, 2014, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have had a common High Court in Hyderabad, the latter’s capital city.A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that since all the requirements have been fulfilled, there is no embargo for the competent authority to issue a notification bifurcating the courts into the High Court of Telangana and High Court of Andhra Pradesh respectively.“We expect such a notification to be issued by January 1, 2019, so that the two High Courts start functioning separately and the High Court of Andhra Pradesh also starts functioning in the new building at the earliest,” the bench said.The court noted the submission of the State that the building, where the Andhra Pradesh High Court would be temporarily shifted would be ready by December 15.“It is also clear that the judges of the High Court, who would become judges of High Court of Andhra Pradesh, are satisfied with the facilities in the said building inasmuch as Full Court of the High Court has approved the proposal after Inspection Committee of Judges submitted a report in this behalf,” the bench said after perusing the affidavit of Andhra Pradesh.Villas to be hiredSenior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Andhra Pradesh, said the government would be hiring villas to take care of the residential needs of the judges at Amaravati.“We may place on record that in Amaravati a very big complex known as Justice City is under construction where the High Court and subordinate courts and even some tribunals would be accommodated and there is a provision for construction of residential complex for the judges of the High Court and judicial officers of subordinate courts,” the bench said.It said that hiring villas for residences of judges is an ad hoc arrangement till the Justice City gets completely constructed.last_img read more

Cyclone Fani ICICI Bank contributes Rs 10 crore towards relief in Odisha

first_imgICICI Bank has contributed Rs10 crore to aid the state government and the local authorities in their efforts to provide relief and assistance in the areas affected by the cyclone, Fani, in Odisha. The major part of this contribution has been extended to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The Bank also contributed at the district level for relief work.In addition, ICICI Bank has announced a slew of measures to help its customers in the affected parts of the state. The Bank will waive off penalties on late payment of equated monthly instalments (EMI) in May for retail loans—home, car and personal—for its customers who are affected by the cyclone. Also, there will be no penalty for late payment of credit card dues as well as no cheque bouncing charges for the Bank’s customers this month.Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, said, “We thank ICICI Bank for coming forward and supporting the state of Odisha in this time of crisis. ICICI Bank contributed Rs. 10 crore for the relief and rehabilitation work in the state.”Anup Bagchi, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Odisha in this hour of need. We, at ICICI Bank, are committed to assist the people of Odisha and give them a helping hand to recover from this natural calamity through our own initiatives as well as in partnership with the state government and district authorities.” Published on Damaged houses and grounded fishing boats stand along the coastline after Cyclone Fani passed through the Bhuvan village in the Odisha’s Puri district on May 5   –  Bloomberg SHARE COMMENTS Cyclone Fani impact: Odisha seeks $14 bn for reconstruction RELATED cyclonescenter_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL ICICI Bank also announced a slew of measures to help its customers in the affected parts of the state COMMENT May 07, 2019 home loans Cyclone Fani leaves 12 dead in Odisha, relief work underway last_img read more

Rajya Sabha elections Vaiko Anbumani others elected unopposed from Tamil Nadu

first_imgAIADMK COMMENTS RELATED SHARE SHARE EMAIL July 11, 2019 There were only six nominees in the fray for as many vacancies. Six candidates, including MDMK chief Vaiko and PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss, were elected unopposed in the biennial elections to Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu on Thursday.Returning Officer and Secretary, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Secretariat, K Srinivasan, announced here that Vaiko, DMK’s M Shanmugam and P Wilson, AIADMK’s N Chandrasekaran and A Mohammedjan, and Ramadoss were elected unopposed.For the six vacancies from Tamil Nadu, there were seven valid nominations. One of them — DMK’s backup candidate N R Elango — was withdrawn, he said adding that it left six nominees in the fray for as many vacancies. “As per the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act and other relevant rules, they were elected unopposed,” he said.Srinivasan handed over the certificate of election to them.Ramadoss and AIADMK’s two poll winners called on Chief Minister K Palaniswami at his chamber in the Secretariat who greeted them on their successful election. Similarly, Vaiko and nominees from the DMK called on party chief M K Stalin.The AIADMK and the DMK allotted one Rajya Sabha seat each to allies PMK and MDMK respectively as part of an electoral pact ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. SHARE DMK MDMK chief Vaiko convicted in sedition case , sentenced to one year imprisonment Published on VAIKO, MDMK leader   –  THE HINDU Rajya Sabha COMMENTlast_img read more

Leave PLUS alone

first_img Tags / Keywords: Tech News 09 Jul 2019 E-scooters put Swedish startup on road to positive cash flow Nation 09 Jul 2019 LGE: Proposed takeover of four highways will see motorists paying less for toll Related News Corporate News , Comment , Pankaj C Kumar As a concession holder, PLUS generates revenue from mostly toll collection and after paying for running expenses and interest on its debts, its free cash flow is mainly used for dividends. Based on audited 2017 figures, PLUS generated some RM3.8bil in revenue and it is a strong cash cow for its shareholders, generating some RM2.6bil in operating cash flows.After the payment of capex and repayment of debts, it had about RM0.8bil in free cash flows for distribution as dividends to shareholders. However, for 2017, PLUS reported a pre-tax loss and net loss, as its bottom-line was impacted by the amortisation cost of the concession acquired in 2012 as a non-cash item. This one-line item alone results in a charge of about RM1.1bil to its income statement in 2017. Despite paying RM690mil in dividends to its shareholders, PLUS’ cash reserves remained strong and in excess of RM3.3bil as at end of 2017. Majority of consumers do benefit from the dividends that are paid by PLUS to its shareholders. EPF and UEM Group, whose actual owners are all of us – members of the EPF and all Malaysians via the government’s ownerships of Khazanah Nasional. For EPF, dividends received from PLUS makes up its investment income, which is than distributed to members as dividends, while for the government, the dividends received from Khazanah is deployed for operating and development expenditure. Should PLUS be sold? The Pakatan Harapan’s promise in its manifesto in the 14th general election (GE14) was to abolish tolls and it intends to review all toll agreements and renegotiate to derive best value for money for the consumers with the ultimate aim of abolishing tolls gradually. The recent proposed acquisition of the four urban toll highways is a testament to the government’s commitment of not only ensuring no more toll hikes but for consumers to enjoy lower toll rates during off-peak hours and this will cease upon the expiry of the current concession periods for the four highways. It is believed that Maju Holdings, who had earlier attempted to acquire PLUS for RM36bil in 2017, is now knocking on the door for the second time. It’s proposal, according to a financial weekly, although entails a reduction in toll rates, calls for a longer concession period of between 10 and 30 years from the current concession period that ends in 2038. In addition, the toll reduction is said to be carried out over a six-year period while the highways would be fully lit up at a cost of RM5.3bil.The proposal also entails the government maintaining its debt guarantee throughout the concession period and the extended period as well. Based on PLUS’ 2017 audited accounts and Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd’s (MARC) rating report, out of the RM30.2bil PLUS’ debt papers, RM11bil are government guaranteed while the balance RM19.2bil papers are rated “AAA” by MARC. Should PLUS be sold to Maju Holdings? What does it mean in the context of Pakatan’s manifesto and its promises? Indeed, the proposal is seen as detrimental to all Malaysians as the proposal requires the government to maintain its debt guarantee for not only the concession period but for the extended period as well. Question is, will the potential new shareholder be able to raise the RM30.2bil bonds based on its own credit profile and reputation in the capital market without seeking the government’s additional support to provide 100% guarantee on the debt papers?Ironically, there was a rating downgrade on Maju Holdings’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Bright Focus Bhd’s (BFB) RM1.35bil sukuk papers from “A1” to “BB1” and at the same time placed on negative watch early last month by Rating Agency Malaysia (RAM). The rating agency further highlighted that the downgrade is based on the severe impairment in BFB’s debt-servicing metrics following further unanticipated advances by its 96.8%-held subsidiary, Maju Expressway SB, to the ultimate parent company Maju Holdings, in addition to a deterioration in Maju Expressway Sdn Bhd’s (MEX) projected annual cash flow. Based on RAM’s rating rationale, an entity rated “BB” has a weak capacity to meet its financial obligations and highly vulnerable to adverse changes in circumstances, economic conditions and/or operating environments. By the way, when a company’s paper is downgraded to “BB” level, most investors will shy away from the exposure to these papers as “BB” is deemed to be non-investment grade. Operationally, while Maju Holdings has the experience in running MEX, it’s 26 km dual carriageway, it is a pale shadow to PLUS’ massive 1,1070.5 km network. What PLUS invests in its highway network, inclusive of the massive rest areas, widening of roads and maintenance for an aged highway, is not the same as the relatively new kid on the block. Hence PLUS’ maintenance cost can be much higher than MEX, when measured on a per kilometre basis. The fact that the government has taken steps to nationalise privately-held assets via the proposed acquisition of the four urban toll operators and proposed reduction in toll rates without extending the respective concession periods suggests that selling PLUS to Maju Holdings will be in contradiction of the government’s intention to reduce the cost of living and abolishment of tolls in time to come. Should the government plan to nationalise the 49% not already owned, it should be discussing with the EPF to acquire the stake. Engaging Maju Holdings for the disposal of the 51% stake, whose main purpose is seen as free cash flow generation for an extended period of time, and on top of having the government to possibly take on higher debt guarantee, defeats the objective of Pakatan’s manifesto and its promises to the people. Worse, what if Maju Holdings uses these strong free cash flows to its parent company as advances, like how Maju Expressway has done so and as highlighted by RAM? But, if the reason why we are seeing fresh bids on PLUS is due to its attractive and recurring strong cash flow, any potential investor would have to be an investor with deep pockets and has the ability to raise the necessary funds to acquire PLUS on a willing buyer-willing seller basis and without the government having to provide any guarantee whatsoever. In conclusion, selling PLUS to Maju Holdings is not the solution to fulfil Pakatan’s election manifesto neither for the benefit of the people. After all, just two days ago, the Finance Ministry made a preliminary decision to oppose the takeover of PLUS by Maju Holdings after considering the views from Khazanah and the EPF. In addition, the government should not be selling a company with a “AAA” rating to another corporate which has a “BB1” market rating and worse, below investment grade. Just leave PLUS alone.The views expressed by the writer is solely that of his own.center_img PLUS Malaysia Bhd is a national asset owned by all Malaysians via UEM Group Bhd’s 51% stake in the company, which in turn is wholly-owned by Khazanah Nasional, the government’s sovereign wealth fund. The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is the other 49% shareholder in PLUS and as the EPF has more than 14 million members, these members are indirect owners of PLUS too. Both UEM and EPF completed the acquisition of PLUS for a staggering RM23bil in cash in January 2012. Today, PLUS owns several concessions and they include the North-South Expressway, the New Klang Valley Expressway, the Federal Highway Route 2, the Seremban-Port Dickson Highway, the North-South Expressway Central Link, the Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing, the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway, the Penang Bridge and Lebuhraya Pantai Timur 2 (LPT2). All in, PLUS owns a total length of 1,170.5 km and with the exception of LPT2 concession, which expires in 2034, all other concessions expire in December 2038 – a little over 19 years from now. Ever since PLUS was taken private in 2012 by the government and the EPF, there have been numerous attempts to buy it over from the present shareholders by several individuals via their respective vehicles and in return, providing “sweet deal” to not only the current shareholders but to highway users in the form of a freeze in toll rate hikes, potential discounted toll rates but with extended concession periods. Nation 10 Jul 2019 ‘Takeover is for public good’ Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more