10 months agoSolskjaer reveals Rashford pep-talk month before taking Man Utd job

first_imgSolskjaer reveals Rashford pep-talk month before taking Man Utd jobby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he had a chat with Marcus Rashford a month before taking the job.Solskjaer has won his opening three games with Rashford starting in all of them scoring twice.Speaking to Stadium Astro, Solskjaer revealed he spoke to Rashford after United’s 1-0 Champions League win against Young Boys.He said: “I went to see the Young Boys game just a month ago and I met him and Jesse [Lingard] in the corridor just as I was leaving the game.”He had a few chances in that game and [I said] ‘don’t worry son, just relax a little bit.'”Solskjaer continued: “Yes, of course you’re excited by working with all this talent but then going into detail is what I can do best.“That was my ‘X factor’, scoring goals. So if I can help and guide him a little bit then great.”It’s all in the head. You know what to do, that’s key in everything and then be able to do it.”So videos of good finishes, bad finishes, discuss things and then go out and practice and be as good as you can possibly get. There’s always time for another practice session.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

9 months agoAC Milan captain Romagnoli: We believe we can beat Juventus

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say AC Milan captain Romagnoli: We believe we can beat Juventusby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli insists they can handle facing Juventus in the Supercoppa.The match is being held in Saudi Arabia.”We have positive sensations, it’s a lovely atmosphere and wonderful to be here playing for an important trophy that can give a positive slant to our season,” said the captain in his Press conference.“We are ready and want to give our all in order to win the tournament. We have great respect for Juventus, who are undoubtedly the strongest side in Italy, but we believe in our capabilities too and know anything can happen in a knockout match.” last_img

Police probe apparent onice violence at Alberta kids hockey tournament

first_imgLETHBRIDGE, Alta. — An on-ice confrontation between a referee and some adults at a three-on-three hockey tournament for children in Lethbridge, Alta., is under investigation by police.Cellphone video shot by a spectator appears to show five unidentified people not on skates approach an official on the ice Sunday at the eighth annual Quest for the Cup tournament.The referee initially skates backwards before getting shoved by someone in the group.Both people then fall to the ice before a third person intervenes.It’s not known what prompted the confrontation at the tournament, which involves boys and girls between the ages of seven and 12 and is put on by the Lethbridge-based skills development organization, High Performance Hockey.A statement posted to High Performance’s website Sunday evening confirmed the altercation occurred and says the organization is co-operating with the police investigation.The statement said the tussle “should serve as an example to all about the importance of ensuring the rink is a safe place for our children. Actions like this have no place in our game”It also said the tournament is an opportunity for players to enjoy the game of hockey with their friends.“For that reason, we are especially disappointed to see an act like this occur.” (CTV Lethbridge, The Canadian Press)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Jordan Hall has big day in win over Buffalo

Shelby Lum / Photo editorRedshirt senior running back Jordan Hall pushes through the line with the ball in a game against Buffalo on Aug. 31. OSU won, 40-20Coming into Ohio State’s season opener against Buffalo, the question was, “Who was going to step up as running back?”After OSU’s 40-20 victory, though, the question is, “Who can stop Jordan Hall?”The redshirt senior running back was named the starter in the week leading up to his team’s season opener, but there were some doubts about his ability to perform as the main running back.Hall quelled any doubts that the fans had by halftime, tallying 126 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground in the first half. He finished with 159 yards on the day, a career high.Both of his touchdowns came on big runs in the first half, one of which was a career-long at 49 yards. The other, a 37-yard sprint, came one play after Buffalo had cut the lead to 10 points and all but dashed any hope the Bulls had for a comeback.Junior quarterback Braxton Miller said that Hall’s second touchdown helped to keep the momentum in Ohio State’s favor as the game was starting to slip away from the Buckeyes.“It slipped a little bit. But Dontre (Wilson) came back with a nice kickoff return, we got up a little bit and then Jordan scored a nice little run,” said Miller.Hall credits his touchdown runs to the holes that were created for him by the offensive line.“I just was like wow, I don’t know if they messed up or the O-line just did what they do and I just (saw) it and I took it,” Hall said.It was a long journey back for Hall, who, despite being named a captain in 2012, missed 9 of 12 games because of two separate injuries.“It was tough, it wasn’t as tough because we won every game, so I feel like if we had lost a couple of games it would have been even tougher because I would have felt like I could’ve helped,” Hall said when asked about his time spent on the bench last season. “But we won every game so I was happy for my teammates.”During the offseason, it was believed that Hall would fill the H-back role in Meyer’s offense, but senior wide receiver Chris Fields started at the position Saturday, due to his ability to both run and catch the ball.Hall said he spent time preparing to be the H-back, but was also ready if he was needed as a traditional running back.“I was going to be the H and coach told me I had to learn both positions, so wherever they put me, I’m going to do what I have to do to help the team win,” Hall said.Hall finished the game with three catches for 14 yards to go along with his rushing total, but also caught a pass for a two-point conversion from senior quarterback Kenny Guiton.The two-point conversion was the second in a row for OSU, with Guiton being in on both conversions.“The first one we had a guy over to the right…basically Drew called it for me. He was like ‘You want me to block ‘em?’ and I said ‘Go ahead.’ I ran it in. And then the next one they had about four guys there, and I’m like they don’t have enough to hold Jordan and the offensive line. So I just threw it out,” Guiton said.Hall was glad to see the team come out to a fast start, taking a 23-0 lead after the first quarter, but felt that after that the team got complacent and slowed their pace.“Coach (offensive coordinator Tom Herman) Herman challenged us to come out fast, get things going, and I think we did that,” Hall said. “In the second half we slowed down a little bit, but we’ll be better next week.”Senior running back Carlos Hyde, the expected starter heading into the season, will return from suspension on Sept. 21 against Florida A&M. With Hall’s performance in the opener, it will be interesting to see what Meyer decides to do in the backfield.Hall isn’t worried about the return of Hyde, saying it’s about the team, not his individual stats.“We’re all brothers on the team, whatever we’ve got to do to get a win and do what our goal is this year, that’s our main focus,” Hall said.OSU next plays host to San Diego State at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 at Ohio Stadium. read more

Opinion Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman shouldnt be judged based on one

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman waves to the crowd during the Super Bowl Parade Feb. 5 in Seattle.Courtesy of MCTIn the two weeks between the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XLVIII, every person who encountered any type of sports media likely learned the name of Richard Sherman.The third-year cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks stole headlines from many other worthy story lines heading into the biggest sporting event of the year.Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning breaking single-season passing records and leading the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl in his second season after returning from a career-threatening neck injury?The NFL’s best offense squaring off against the NFL’s best defense in a true test of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object?How would the Seahawks’ offense, with running back Marshawn Lynch arguably being the only player who would rank in the top 10 of NFL players at his position (Lynch finished with 1,257 yards on the ground, good for sixth in the league), keep up with the prolific scoring of the Broncos?All of these buzzworthy topics took a backseat to the controversy surrounding the 25-year-old defensive back’s on-camera reaction to a sideline reporter’s questions after the Seahawks’ Jan 19 victory.Sherman’s deflection of a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree into the waiting arms of linebacker Malcolm Smith sealed the NFC Championship victory and a Super Bowl berth for Seattle.With the attention of the football world on him, Sherman had set himself up for a potentially huge payday and possibly some new endorsement deals.After Sunday’s game, Sherman’s name did not make the front page of many newspapers after he turned in a quiet but efficient performance in Seattle’s 43-8 victory over Denver.He was credited with three tackles and one pass deflection in a game where his most noticeable effects on the game were the two times play was stopped while Sherman sprawled on the turf in pain.Sherman was carted off the field during the fourth quarter with a high ankle sprain, but returned to give a relatively subdued interview — a far cry from the outburst that garnered so much attention two weeks prior.He had practically forcibly grabbed the spotlight while enthusiastically proclaiming himself to be the “best corner in the game” in the postgame interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews after his team’s 23-17 win.Despite not making any spectacular individual plays or boasting an impressive stat line, Sherman played an integral role in a team effort that held Denver and its NFL MVP quarterback to one score in the entire game.Manning never looked comfortable in the pocket, and he often checked down to short-yardage passes. He threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, was sacked, was involved in a safety after his center snapped the ball over his head, and had eight of his passes batted down in a disappointing outing.Sherman might not have earned a spot on the Super Bowl highlight reel, but at least he did not turn in a dud like Manning.Most importantly, Sherman added “Super Bowl Champion” to a résumé that already includes being a two-time first-team All-Pro and Stanford graduate.Hopefully, his calmer postgame demeanor this time around will silence his critics, at least temporarily. Social media exploded with derision and racial slurs directed toward Sherman after his outspoken on-air rant in the Andrews interview.Despite being loud, Sherman does not have any obvious character flaws or negative history and would actually make a great role model for young athletes.He was salutatorian of his high school class of Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., and attended a college known for academics instead of athletics, graduating after five years with a degree in communications and starting a master’s instead of leaving early for the NFL.“I really wanted to make that known to people that you can go to Stanford from Compton,” Sherman said when he was drafted.After the deciding play in the NFC Championship Game, Sherman congratulated Crabtree by saying “helluva game” and extending a handshake. Crabtree reacted by shoving Sherman’s facemask, which presumably was the catalyst for Sherman’s now-infamous rant.The world should judge Sherman on his credentials and achievements instead of his volume in one interview. He’s proven himself to be one of the best corners in the league, if not the best, as he claimed. Or, if Sherman goes off on another rant, maybe he can rant about his support of academics, good sportsmanship and opposition of illicit drugs. It would be hard to call him a “thug” after a rant like that. read more

Football 3star class of 2018 prospect Master Teague commits to Ohio State

Three-star 2018 running back prospect Master Teague committed to Ohio State Sunday afternoon, becoming the 13th player in his class to announce his intention to play for the Buckeyes.Teague becomes the lowest-rated player and the only three-star member of OSU’s 2018 recruiting class. The 247Sports composite rankings slot him as the No. 501 player in the class and 25th-best prospect at his position.pic.twitter.com/ihf8e2fwdD— Master W. Teague III (@33_blackman) June 11, 2017Teague is the third running back in his class to commit to OSU, following four-star prospects Brian Snead (No. 80) and Westerville, Ohio, native Jaelen Gill (No. 34). The Murfreesboro, Tennessee, native Teague is the second player from his state in the 2018 class to commit to play for the Buckeyes.

Liberty Global continues to be one of the most tec

first_imgLiberty Global continues to be one of the most technologically innovative cable operators around, thanks in no small part to the contribution of group chief technology officer Balan Nair. Next year will see the commercial launch of its Horizon set-top/gateway, the fruit of long-term planning stretching back over the last couple of years.Age 45Education BSc Electrical Engineering, Masters of Business AdministrationPrevious positions CTO of AOL; CTO and CIO of Qwest CommunicationsLast year’s highlights We made huge progress in building a strong organisation in our European operations, and are working on some real exiting products for launch early next year.Most significant industry development Software technologies have evolved significantly. The processing power of chips have grown dramatically as well. And the combination, along with price efficiencies, make for impressive product opportunities.Goals for next year Be more operationally efficient. Be able to deliver on committed product launches. Beginning the transition to more web services in our products. Do all of this in while maintaining capital efficiencies.Industry challenges and opportunities We are beginning a new era of competition, where, the distribution pipe, the end devices and the quality of content are going to be key differentiators. This transition is capital intensive, but it is cable’s to lose.Alternative career choice I would love to be a stay at home dad.TV character most identified with I don’t want to insult any TV character or personality by identifying myself with them .Most admired personality I admire the pioneers in the pay TV space and am lucky to work for a couple of them: John Malone in the US and Mike Fries outside the U.S.Life outside work Being a dad, running, skiing, eating and enjoying the company of friends and family.last_img read more

By Marin Katusa Chief Energy Investment Strategis

first_imgBy Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment StrategistOne of oil’s most important characteristics is its fungibility, which means that a barrel of refined oil from Texas is equivalent to one from Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or anywhere else in the world. The global oil machine is built upon this premise – tankers take oil wherever it is needed, and one country pays almost the same as the next for this valuable commodity.Well, that’s true aside from two factors that can render this equivalency void. In fact, crude oil prices range a fair bit according to the quality of the crude and the challenge of moving it from wellhead to refinery. Those factors are currently wreaking havoc on oil prices in North America: a range of oil qualities and a raft of infrastructure issues are creating record price differentials. And with no solution in sight, we think those differentials are here to stay.The Parameters of PricingThe first factor in oil pricing is quality. The best kind of crude is light and sweet: “light” means its hydrocarbon molecules average on the small side within the oil range; and “sweet” means it does not contain much sulfur. Light, sweet crudes are the easiest to refine into petroleum products, which makes them more desirable than heavy, sour crudes.No two reservoirs produce identical oil, though reservoirs in the same region often produce similar crudes. For example, conventional oils from Texas are generally lighter and sweeter than the crudes that make up the European benchmark Brent blend; this is why West Texas Intermediate crude oil carried a premium over Brent crude for years. Similarly, Bonny Light oil from Nigeria is a bit heavier and sourer than Algeria’s Saharan Blend and therefore receives a slight price discount.But wait, you say – isn’t Brent more expensive than WTI? Yes, today it is. This graph shows the two prices’ movements over the last 25 years.(Click on image to enlarge)For most of the graph the prices track very closely, with the green WTI line sitting just above the black Brent line. Then, in the second half of 2010, the relationship starts to shift: WTI prices started to lose ground against Brent. The differential was only a dollar in November 2010, but by September 2011 Brent crude was worth US$27.31 or 32% more than WTI. The differential narrowed in December but has recently opened up again, with the spot price of Brent closing US$13.88 above that of WTI yesterday.The characteristics of WTI and Brent crude oils did not change during 2010, so the pricing reversal must have stemmed from the other factor that impacts crude-oil prices: infrastructure. More specifically, WTI prices started to slide because of a lack of infrastructure.North America’s Fantastically Flawed SystemNorth America has a long history of oil production and processing. Decades of producing oil and consuming lots of petroleum products have left the continent with a pretty good system of pipelines and refineries… but pipelines are annoyingly stagnant things that tend to stay where you build them. And it turns out that the pipelines of yesterday are in the wrong places to serve the oil fields and refineries of today.America’s oil infrastructure was built around two inputs – some domestic production and large volumes of imports. You see, while the Middle East may be the biggest producer of crude oil in the world, most of the refining occurs in the United States, Europe, and Asia. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it’s easier to ship massive volumes of one product (crude oil) than smaller volumes of multiple products (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and so on). The second reason is that refineries are generally built within the regions they serve, so that each facility can be tailored to produce the right kinds and amounts of petroleum products for its customers.During World War II, the US War Department (now the Department of Defense) divided the United States into five regions to facilitate oil allocation. The regions were called “Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts,” or PADDs.The United States is split into five oil districts to help with regional administration of a crucial asset. Thanks to the US EIA for the map.Today, refineries in PADD I on the East Coast process oil shipped to the district’s Atlantic ports from all over the world. Its refineries produce enough petroleum products to meet about one-third of regional demand; the rest comes from imports of refined products, primarily from the Gulf Coast but also from Europe. PADD V, on the West Coast, processes domestic oil from California and Alaska, as well as imported oil.While the East- and West-Coast PADDs are not connected to the rest of the crude oil system, PADDs II, III, and IV have become very interdependent. PADD III, on the Gulf Coast, has more refining capacity than anywhere in the world and accounts for 45% of total US capacity, with 45 refineries processing more than 8 million barrels of oil per day from countries like Mexico and Venezuela as well as domestic sources. Refineries in the Midwest and California push the US’s total refining capacity to 18 million barrels of oil a day.While domestic production has always helped meet the US’s oil needs, imported oil has long ruled the day. The US has relied on imported oil so heavily for so long that the country’s oil infrastructure is built primarily around refining imported oil and then moving refined products – gasoline and diesel and the like – north, from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, or inland, from refineries on the coasts to customers in the interior.It was not, it is important to note, designed to move oil from the interior of the country to refineries. But that is what is needed today.Oil’s a-Flowing, But with Nowhere to GoNorth American oil production is on the rise in a serious way, and there are two prime culprits: the Bakken shale and the oil sands.The Bakken shale formation underlying North Dakota gets most of the credit for the resurgence in US domestic output, though some of the shales in Texas are also contributing notably. Production in the Bakken is so booming that North Dakota’s crude output topped half a million barrels a day for the first time in November, up from just 300,000 bpd in 2010. The state is on track to surpass both California (539,000 bpd) and Alaska (555,000 bpd) this year to become the number-two oil-producing state in the United States.Oil from the Bakken is generally mid-weight and fairly sweet. Ideally it should stay in the Midwest, because the refineries around Cushing are still designed to process light sweet oil. However, the other area where North American oil production is booming produces just the opposite. In fact, oil from the Canadian oil sands is so heavy that it has earned a distinct moniker: “bitumen.” And there is a tsunami of bitumen on the way. The two million bpd being produced in the oil sands today is set to increase 50% in just the next three years.However, Canada’s oil sands are not the only place in the world producing heavy oil. In general, global production is gradually moving towards heavier, sourer crudes because the easy deposits of light, sweet crude are being tapped out. And that has forced refineries to evolve.A refinery designed to handle light, sweet WTI crude cannot switch to heavy, sour oil sand bitumen without some serious upgrades. To that end, US refineries have invested billions in upgrades over the last decade to enable them to process heavy oil. The catch is, now the refinery army along the Gulf Coast needs heavy oil – just as they couldn’t easily switch from light to heavy, they can’t switch from heavy back to light.The obvious source is the oil sands. It’s a win-win: Oil-sands producers want to get their oil to suitable refineries, and the heavy oil refiners on the Gulf Coast want Canadian crude, because without access to bitumen they are being forced to pay a premium for to secure heavy oil supplies from Venezuela.But that potential win-win is instead a losing predicament for all, because the pipelines to move that oil simply don’t exist.Remember how the US’s oil pipelines were designed primarily to move refined products from the Gulf region and the coastal refineries to inland customers? Well, those pipelines of yesterday now run the wrong way. Today what North America’s oil machine needs are pipelines running from the oil sands to the Gulf Coast. At the moment there is just enough capacity to get bitumen partway there – it gets to Cushing, the oil hub. And then it gets stuck.This chart tells the story perfectly. The vast majority of Canada’s bitumen is ending up in PADD II – in Cushing – where it simply sits in tanks because there is no heavy oil refining capacity in the Midwest, and there is very limited pipeline capacity to move oil south.Cushing is overwhelmed. The storage tanks at Cushing are at record levels, housing no less than 46.7 million barrels of oil. The recent reversal of the Seaway pipeline is helping – Seaway used to move refined products north from the Gulf Coast but has now been flipped to carry oil south. It is currently moving some 150,000 barrels of oil a day; volumes are expected to rise through the year to reach 400,000 bpd by early 2013. The pipeline’s owners would ideally like to twin the pipe, but regulatory proceedings for that project are not yet under way.The much-debated Keystone XL pipeline will also help. While routing and approval for the northern section of the pipeline are still under debate, construction of the southern leg of the project, running from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, is set to begin this summer. It could be operational before the end of next year.No matter what happens with the Keystone pipeline, the US will face ever-increasing competition for Canada’s oil. In fact, competition over oil from Canada – and around the world – is creating a new Cold War between the US and China.But even with Seaway reversed and Keystone XL’s southern leg in place, the glut of oil at Cushing will continue to grow. Production from the oil sands and the Bakken is simply growing too quickly for infrastructure to keep up. And when oil becomes landlocked, it loses that key characteristic – fungibility – that helps make it so valuable.North American Oil Differentials: Here to StayWith so much supply landlocked, Canadian oil prices are taking a serious hit. The benchmark price for Canadian heavy oil is Western Canada Select (WCS), which is currently trading at just US$59.33 per barrel. By contrast, WTI is priced at US$82.70, which means the differential is a whopping US$23.37 per barrel, or 28% higher.(Click on image to enlarge)Even Canadian synthetic – a partially upgraded bitumen product that has historically carried a premium to WTI – is trading at a discount to its American peer: Canadian synthetic is at US$79.13 per barrel.It’s a double-whammy differential: Canadian oil is heavy, which discounts its price; and the system to move it to suitable refineries is clogged up, creating another discount. Neither of those situations is going to change any time soon, and that means oil-sands projects may soon be on the chopping block.The oil sands is one of the costliest oil regions in the world to develop; and with WCS prices so low, the economics behind many new oil-sands projects have become pretty weak. New oil-sands mines require a price of around US$80 per barrel to break even. If an upgrader is part of the plans, that break-even price rises to almost US$100. In-situ projects, which use wells and underground steam injection to extract oil from the sands in place, usually carry a break-even price near US$60 per barrel.But even with some projects postponed and others slowed, bitumen production is still expected to climb rapidly. Estimates range, but most observers agree that it is likely the oil sands will be producing close to 2.7 million barrels a day by 2016, up from 1.6 million bpd last year.That kind of investment means that every time new pipeline and refining capacity is built, supply will catch up and the system will remain chockablock. And that means the differential between Canadian and US oil prices is settling in for a long stay. There are ways to benefit from this differential, but given the complexity of the situation, only informed investors will be able to take advantage. Additional Links and ReadsIraq and Iran Cuddle Up in OPEC, But for How Long? (Reuters)Historic rivals Iraq and Iran are growing closer in their OPEC policy preferences, specifically in wanting an oil price near US$110 per barrel. Their joint force is providing a counterweight to the more moderate Gulf Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia that have long dominated the cartel. However, relations could again grow strained later in the year when Iraq passes Iran to become OPEC’s second-biggest producer.Lower Oil Prices Will Crimp Industry Spending (Globe and Mail)The oil and gas industry invests no less than a billion dollars in Canada every week and has been doing so steadily since 2006, only taking a breather during the financial crisis in 2009. However, leading indicators suggest that corporate wallets are getting leaner and spending is set to slow down in the second half of this year, falling to the lowest level since 2005. The culprits? Low oil and gas prices.Natural Gas: Where Deep Pessimism Bodes Well (Globe and Mail)With many analysts now in agreement that natural gas prices can’t go much lower, is it time to invest? This article takes a tour through what happened to natural gas prices and where they might be heading from here.A Chance for BP to Get Its Kremlinology Right (Globe and Mail)BP is in a lucrative but loveless Russian marriage that seems headed for divorce, but BP CEO Bob Dudley might have found an elegant way to salvage his company’s Russian strategy. BP’s joint venture with TNK is on the rocks after TNK sued to prevent the British company from finalizing another Russian joint venture, a massive partnership with Rosneft that has since gone to rival ExxonMobil. Now it seems Rosneft might be willing to buy BP out of its deal with TNK in a deal that would involve cash and access to promising new fields in the Russian Arctic, an arrangement that would get BP out of its loveless marriage without having to give up its coveted Arctic foothold.last_img read more

On Jan 23 2017 President Trump signed an execut

first_imgOn Jan. 23, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that bans U.S. aid to any health organization in another country that provides, advocates or makes referrals for abortions.The full impact of the order won’t be felt until September. That’s when the U.S. government fiscal year comes to an end. At that point, every international organization that does not comply with the order will be excluded from U.S. funding, says Marjorie Newman-Williams, president of Marie Stopes International, an organization that provides contraception and safe abortion in dozens of countries.But health groups that aren’t complying with the policy are already feeling the effects. The U.S. has pulled the plug on funds that had been previously allocated but not yet spent prior to the Trump order. “Marie Stopes can talk about its own sad stories of programs that have had to close,” says Newman-Williams. Its outreach services, which were funded by USAID in countries like Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Madagascar, Pakistan and Myanmar, have already stopped, she says.That’s the case for Family Health Options Kenya, Kenya’s oldest provider of sexual and reproductive health services. FHOK disagreed with the terms of the “Mexico City” policy, which has been reinstated by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan first issued it.In October 2017, $640,000 that was in a four-year pipeline for ongoing work was lost because the funds, which came from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, were discontinued. Since then, $1.56 million more has been lost because FHOK was unable to renew project funds and bid for future U.S. funding, says Amos Simpano, director of clinical services. FHOK says that amounts to nearly 60 percent of the organization’s funding.On a visit to Washington, D.C., this spring, Melvine Ouyo, an FHOK reproductive health nurse, sat down with NPR to discuss the effects of losing that much funding. One of the organization’s 14 clinics has closed down, and a clinic in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum and where Ouyo works, could be next. FHOK has also ceased outreach services to underprivileged communities, which it estimates has affected more than 76,000 women and young girls to date.Though abortion is legal under Kenyan law if the health or well-being of the mother is at risk, some pregnant women and girls who now lack access to medical care because of the funding cuts are resorting to unsafe measures out of desperation. They visit “curtain clinics,” she says — secret spaces run by people who aren’t nurses or doctors — or use household items like crochet needles to terminate their pregnancies.The loss of funding has also jeopardized essential services that are unrelated to abortion — like cancer screening of reproductive organs, treatment for HIV, postnatal care and vaccinations for diseases.The funding policy — called the “global gag rule” by its critics — is meant to discourage abortion. But a Stanford University study makes the case that restricting family planning funds can lead to more abortions. Researchers analyzed survey data in 20 African countries between 1994 and 2008 and found that rates of induced abortions rose sharply in countries that were most affected by the rule. A report by Population Action International found that when the policy was in effect between 1984 and 1992, “there was no evidence that the policy reduced the incidence of abortion.”Ouyo was in the United States to attend Capitol Hill Days, a conference around reproductive rights that is hosted by Population Connection Action Fund. When she sat down with NPR, she said the decision not to comply with the Trump order was made by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, of which FHOK is a member organization. “It was a worthwhile decision, though it has negative consequences,” she says.This interview has been edited for length and clarity.Tell me about how this has affected the clinic you work at in Kibera.We had to lay off six staff [out of 10] just to be able to sustain the clinic. We also have not been able to acquire any [new] equipment in the past several months because of a lack of funding. We have not improved any of our equipment [such as autoclaving machines used to sterilize equipment]. It means we are still just operating from where we were last year.What health problems do you see going unaddressed?Because we have not been able to provide outreach services, which basically serve disadvantaged communities, we cannot provide screening services for HIV and AIDS and be able to initiate treatment for those who test positive, and provide health education [for prevention]. It means that people in these communities will live without any precaution. A child who requires immunization and [whose] parents may not be able to afford transport to facilities [could] get communicable diseases — measles, TB, diphtheria, hepatitis. And if one gets it, they infect another and another in the community.Who are some of the people that rely on your clinic?There was a young orphan girl, about 10 years old, who was sleeping at her uncle’s [home] after she lost her parents. And the uncle persistently sexually abused her. And when she got pregnant at 13 years, this is a pregnancy from incest, she would not just carry on the pregnancy. So this girl comes to you suicidal. What do you do as a professional? She had already attempted unsafe abortion. She had taken herbs given [to her] by friends. Her friends referred her to us and she was able to access safe abortion services.With the funding loss, what is FHOK doing to survive?We have to put a small fee on the services we are providing. It has caused the clients to shy away from seeking care. At the Kibera clinic, we are charging half a dollar, because it is within the slum and we know the clientele we are dealing with. And still, not all will be able to pay. We feel the pain of not being able to provide those services.Other countries, like the Netherlands, have started raising funds to help international organizations that are suffering because they did not agree to the terms of the Trump order. The Dutch government created a funding initiative called “She Decides” and has raised about $200 million from governments, foundations and philanthropists. Are you receiving funding from elsewhere? The main alternative that FHOK started was to start charging the client. We receive a reduced grant [by about $99,000] from the International Planned Parenthood Foundation.What does it feel like for you right now?It feels painful knowing that someone would benefit from your education, your passion, your career and you cannot do that. It kills your morale.How do you cope, knowing that your health clinic isn’t as effective today?Just like the previous years when we had the global gag order, I still have this hope that I have to hold on, to press on. I am hopeful that someone will hear my cry.Sasha Ingber is a multimedia journalist who has covered science, culture and foreign affairs for such publications as National Geographic, The Washington Post Magazine and Smithsonian. Contact her @SashaIngber Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Imagine if you had a rice delivery system that was

first_imgImagine if you had a rice delivery system that was supposed to deliver grain from point A, a government warehouse, to point B, homes of low-income residents.But for every 100 kilos of rice that left the warehouse less than 50 kilos were actually reaching people’s kitchens. This was the situation in Indonesia for nearly two decades as the government tried to provide a nutritional safety net to the nation’s poorest citizens.The program called Raskin, or Rice for the Poor, was set up in the wake of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Its goal was to deliver subsidized rice each month to Indonesia’s most vulnerable households.”It’s an enormous program,” says Abhijit Banerjee, an economist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who’s studied the Raskin program for years. “Indonesia is one of the biggest countries in the world. And this is their largest social support program.”With more than 250 million people Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world after China, India and the United States.”If you’re a person interested in poverty then this is one of the places where you want to be working,” says Banerjee. And the Indonesian government recognized that Raskin desperately needed to be fixed. It was spending $1.5 billion a year on the program but less than half the rice was actually reaching the intended recipients.Here’s how the program was supposed to work. The central government shipped the rice to thousands of distribution points across the chain of islands that makes up the Southeast Asian nation. Then officials at the village or neighborhood level were in charge of handing out the rice and collecting a meager subsidy. Low-income families are supposed to get 15 kilos of rice a month — about 33 pounds — at roughly 15 cents a kilo, about a fifth of the going price in the market.Many of the local officials, however, decided to distribute the rice to residents who weren’t on the government’s poverty rolls but who they felt were in need. Others decided to set the subsidy price themselves. This wiped out much of the intended benefit of Raskin, which was to provide a staple food at a rock bottom price for the country’s poorest citizens.But it turned out that there was a really simple way to make the program far more efficient.”It’s not rocket science,” says Banerjee. “There’s a certain tendency among both social scientists and policymakers to assume that the solution to a complex problem has to be complex, and I don’t think that’s always true.”Banerjee and a group of colleagues in 2012 began to test possible ways to plug the leaks in the Raskin program. They found that the solution didn’t lie in tinkering with controls at the warehouse or updating bureaucratic policies in Jakarta.The solution lay in giving recipients written proof of what they were entitled to under the program.Banerjee and his colleagues sent hundreds of thousands of postcards to the intended beneficiaries of Raskin in more than 500 villages. The cards stated explicitly that you, Joe or Jane Citizen, are eligible for this program, this is exactly how much rice you’re supposed to get each month and this is how much you’re supposed to pay.”The whole point is this changes your bargaining power,” says Benjamin Olken, another economist from MIT who worked with Banerjee on ways to improve Raskin.So the village leaders no longer had a monopoly on information. It was much harder for them to arbitrarily decide who gets how much rice and at what price.Once villagers have an eligibility card with their name on it, they’re in a much better position to demand their full ration.”It made a big difference,” Olken says. “Just sending out the cards to a village led the eligible beneficiaries to receive 26 percent more rice than in the control villages.” Out of 572 villages in the study, 378 were sent the cards.In these types of aid programs confusion and obfuscation are often the accomplices of corruption. And it’s not enough to publish the rules of the program on a government website or a local newspaper — as they were for Raskin.Banerjee says the people who were skimming off Raskin had an incentive to keep the program mired in mystery. Banerjee says many recipients didn’t even know what that they were supposed to pay for their ration. “The price was something that was set for seven years. It was the same price,” he says. “Yet many people didn’t know the price.”The MIT economists tested various methods of publicizing eligibility for Raskin.They found that the most effective intervention was to send personalized postcards to recipients and then also post flyers in the village declaring who was eligible.There’s an economics term (it’s also used in game theory) called “common knowledge.” Olken says that’s what they were trying to get to with Raskin. It’s a social state where everyone knows the rules of the program and everyone knows that everyone else knows the rules.”[Recipients] can go to the village head and say, ‘Look I know that I’m eligible. And I know that you know that I’m eligible.'” Olken says. “And so if the village head says, ‘No, you only get five kilos.’ You can say, ‘No, no, I know my rights. And, look, it says it here on the paper what my rights are.'”Olken and Banerjee’s analysis of the use of postcards to improve the efficiency of Raskin was published in the Journal of Political Economy. Meanwhile, Indonesia has taken their ideas on Raskin eligibility cards and expanded them to cover several other social programs, including a school subsidy and a temporary cash transfer program. The government in 2015 sent out a credit-card sized I.D. called Kartu Pelindungan Social or “Social Protection Card” to more than 15 million Indonesians, letting them and aid officials know what benefits they should be getting. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

A userled campaign is celebrating a £200 000 bi

first_imgA user-led campaign is celebrating a £200, 000 “birthday gift”, after the Scottish government announced funding that will pay for some of the extra costs faced by disabled people who want to stand in next year’s local government elections.One in Five a cross-party Scottish campaign which was launched a year ago, said the announcement of the new Democratic Participation Fund for Disabled People – which will be run by Inclusion Scotland on a pilot basis until May 2017 – was “magnificent news”.The fund will run alongside the Access to Politics for Disabled People project, which is offering non-financial support to disabled candidates standing in May’s election to the Scottish parliament and prospective candidates for the 2017 elections.The £200,000 funding could embarrass the UK government, as its own Access to Elected Office fund has been lying dormant since the 2015 general election while its effectiveness is reviewed.Jamie Szymkowiak, founder of One in Five, said the announcement provided disabled people with “plenty of time to consider standing for selection in the 2017 local government elections”.Marco Biagi, Scotland’s minister for local government and community empowerment, said: “We know disabled people often find it difficult to access elected offices due to the many barriers that exist, and the additional cost of being disabled is one of them.“I am delighted to announce this funding, which comes as a direct response to one of the key demands from disabled people’s campaign organisations, who all highlight that funding is a major barrier for disabled people to even consider accessing politics.”Pam Duncan-Glancy, Labour’s One in Five ambassador, said the announcement was “a great birthday present” for One in Five.She said: “Paying for the extra costs associated with being disabled – like covering the costs of personal assistants or accessible travel – is a huge barrier.“This fund will make immeasurable difference to disabled people seeking to be involved in politics.  We are proud to have been key to making it happen.”Inclusion Scotland research has found that less than five per cent of MSPs are disabled people.Sally Witcher, chief executive of Inclusion Scotland, said: “This new fund has the potential to make a real difference, not just to individual disabled people, but ultimately to the strengthening of Scottish democracy.“Participation in public and political life is everyone’s human right and there is much work to do to ensure that this right can be fully exercised by disabled people.”Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said: “The Scottish government are leading the way in helping disabled people become elected politicians.“The UK government needs to move faster and introduce a larger fund in England and Wales.”She added: “We also want Scottish politicians to press the UK government to change electoral law to enable job-sharing in elected political office, so that more disabled people and carers can stand for election.“This is needed in local, regional and national government.”Members of One in Five and other disabled people’s organisations celebrated the campaign’s first anniversary outside the Scottish parliament this week (pictured).They called for political parties to make this May’s elections as accessible and inclusive as possible, by taking measures such as producing manifestos in accessible formats, subtitling campaign films, hosting hustings in accessible venues, providing more British Sign Language interpreters, and extending the use of livestreaming of campaign events.Since its launch, One in Five has signed up more than 40 political organisations and local party branches to its five-point charter.It has also persuaded the Scottish government to change the rules governing elections to the Scottish parliament so that spending on a parliamentary candidate’s disability-related costs will no longer count towards the legal limit on their election expenses.Duncan-Glancy said: “The challenges facing disabled people in politics are numerous and we have been quite overwhelmed by the engagement of all political parties in Scotland who have embraced the challenge with open arms, honesty and a thirst to do better.”last_img read more

Disabled campaigners and politicians have raised s

first_imgDisabled campaigners and politicians have raised serious concerns about the social care inspection regime, after last week’s revelations that the number of cancellations and postponements rose by more than 360 per cent in just one year.The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has so far refused to say why the number of inspections of adult social care services that were cancelled or rescheduled rose so sharply from April 2015 to April 2016.The figures – revealed by CQC after a freedom of information request by Disability News Service (DNS) – show 25 inspections were cancelled in April 2015, rising to 103 in April 2016, while the number of inspections rescheduled increased from 25 in April 2015 to 130 in April 2016.Despite CQC’s refusal to explain the rise, the Department of Health (DH) was in disarray this week, suggesting at one point that “ultimately the cancellations are a result of funding and fee issues, of which we would not comment”.But when DNS tried to clarify how the fees CQC charges care services to be regulated was connected with a rise in the number of cancelled inspections, a DH spokeswoman said she was “not attempting to make a direct link between funding and cancellations”, and then that it “would be both incorrect and wrong to quote me as suggesting that fees and funding are linked”.Despite the continuing refusal of both DH and CQC to explain why cancellations and rescheduled inspections have risen so sharply, disabled campaigners and politicians have suggested that the figures pose serious questions about the way CQC is being run.Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of the service-user network Shaping Our Lives, said there had been concerns ever since CQC replaced its predecessor organisations about whether it was well-funded enough to “make possible the sensitive and thoroughgoing regulation that the human services for which it has responsibility demand”.Beresford said CQC had continued to make news “for all the wrong reasons” since its launch.He said this may reflect “the worrying state of social care more generally” but that the cancellation figures provided “no reassurance” that CQC was able to take on the “increasingly difficult and important role it has to play across social care and health”.He said: “Perhaps a root and branch review is now needed and one that puts service-users and carers more strongly at the centre of its operation – rather than apparently weakened, as its poor handling of the Experts by Experience issue has suggested.”Jonathan Bartley (pictured), the Green party’s work and pensions spokesman, who is standing alongside Caroline Lucas in a job share to lead the party, said CQC’s regime of adult social care inspection “appears to be disintegrating”.He said: “The potential impact that so many cancelled inspections will have on rooting out abuse and other poor practice in places where so many people are potentially vulnerable is alarming.”Labour’s shadow minister for social care, Barbara Keeley, also raised concerns after being shown the figures by DNS.She said: “It is worrying to see such a significant increase in the number of CQC inspections being cancelled and rescheduled.“These cancellations, especially if they are last-minute, can be disruptive to staff and to service-users.“We need an effective body to root out abuse and raise quality standards in social care.“Ministers need to reconsider the cuts they are making to the CQC’s budget and whether this is impacting on the organisation’s ability to do its job properly.”The freedom of information request was originally submitted by DNS in an attempt to discover the impact of changes to CQC’s troubled Experts by Experience (EbE) programme.Earlier this year, three of four new contracts to run the EbE programme – in which people with experience of using services accompany CQC inspectors on their visits – were handed by CQC to Remploy, the disability employment business formerly owned by the government but now mostly owned by the scandal-hit US company Maximus.In February, DNS reported that these contract awards had led to confusion, chaos and a stream of resignations by Experts, particularly over Remploy’s decision to slash their hourly rates of pay.The CQC figures show that inspections that were cancelled or rescheduled as a result of “insufficient non-CQC resources” (which includes those where there were problems finding Experts to take part) rose from six in July 2015 to 26 in April 2016, an increase of more than 330 per cent.Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said she believed the Experts by Experience programme had been “corrupted to fit in with austerity budgets”, while the “spirit and purpose of the programme has been lost”.  Bott led the National Centre for Independent Living when it developed the programme with CQC’s predecessor, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, working with local disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), which she said was “still the best way of running a programme like this”.  She said: “A number of DPOs including ourselves and Spectrum sent a letter of concern about the last tendering process to CQC, but our concerns were not addressed.“Experts have to be locally recruited and supported in the community. This work is not suitable for large national contractors.”She added: “I’m not surprised people feel let down and no longer want to have anything to do with it.“It’s not just a question of recruiting experts but also providing support during and after the inspection.  “If this doesn’t happen then many people are excluded from being able to take part.  “The hourly rate is a crucial principle to get right as it reflects respect for the expert. Lowering the fee undermines this principle.”Last week, journalist and former Expert by Experience Claire Bolderson wrote in her blog that the Remploy part of the EbE programme was “in chaos”, with Experts “leaving in despair”, emails going unanswered, and some Experts being asked to travel “absurd distances” to inspections, while senior Remploy staff had apparently been told by CQC in April that “the company was ‘non-compliant’ in almost a dozen areas”. Meanwhile, the Commons public accounts committee has warned that the Department of Health (DH) is not doing enough to safeguard the interests of disabled adults and other service-users receiving personal budgets for social care.Its report was published against a background of increasing demand for adult social care, but a real terms fall in spending by English local authorities.The committee concluded that it was “not assured that local authorities can fully personalise care while seeking to save money, and are concerned that users’ outcomes will be adversely affected”.It criticised DH for its “complacent” response to concerns about social care funding, as it had told the committee that this had been addressed through the spending review process, which introduced new powers for local authorities to raise council tax by an extra two per cent to increase social care funding, and provided extra money through the Better Care Fund.The committee also warned that adults who receive council-funded social care “are not yet getting the support they need consistently in order to get the most out of personalising their care”.And it pointed out that DH does not believe that “everyone counted by local authorities as having a personal budget does actually have genuine choice and control over the services they receive”.The report calls for more research to show how local authorities can implement personal budgets “to maximise benefits to users”.The previous day, the Commons communities and local government committee launched an inquiry – and an appeal for written evidence – into “the financial sustainability of local authority adult social care and the quality of care provided”.Clive Betts, the committee’s chair, said that adult social care was “coming under increasing pressure as a result of growing demand and declining local authority budgets”.He said: “Our inquiry will look at the financial sustainability of this care and support to see what can be done to allow councils to continue to meet their legal obligations for future generations.”last_img read more

Three unions are boycotting a scheme that aims to

first_imgThree unions are boycotting a scheme that aims to monitor the number of disabled people and other minorities working in the broadcasting industry, because of its failure to release a detailed breakdown showing figures for individual programmes.Delegates at the TUC disabled workers’ conference in Bournemouth heard that the flaws in Project Diamond meant disabled people were “still likely to be denied access to work” and the ability to “change public perception in a positive way”.They heard that the refusal of workers in the industry to fill in Project Diamond monitoring forms was heaping pressure on the broadcasting industry over its refusal to release programme-by-programme data.The monitoring system was created by broadcasters BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky through the Creative Diversity Network, and aims to capture the equality data of all those working on programmes they commission.But the conference also heard that if a disabled character is played on television by a non-disabled actor, that is still counted in Project Diamond statistics showing how many roles are perceived by audiences to be disabled characters.Natasha Hirst, from NUJ, the journalists’ union, said it was “absolutely disgraceful that that is considered acceptable across the industry”.Proposing a motion that called on the TUC to demand transparent data and for potential penalties for offending broadcasters from the regulator Ofcom – which was passed unanimously – Hirst said the industry’s failure to release detailed figures meant “we cannot drive through the change and the transformation we need to see in broadcasting”.The Project Diamond monitoring scheme is currently being boycotted by NUJ, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the media and entertainment union BECTU, although not by the actors’ union Equity.Hirst said the boycott has been effective because workers had been refusing to fill in the monitoring forms.She said: “It is a great example of the power of action the trade union movements can have in creating and influencing change.”She added: “Disabled people are being denied the opportunity to work by the casting of disabled people in roles we should be filling.“We need complete transparency from the media companies if Project Diamond is going to have the impact we need it to have. The way it is being done is wrong.”Phoebe Kemp* (pictured, right, with Hirst), an Equity delegate, who seconded the motion, said: “We have to have access to the full statistics. We know they have the information, they won’t give it to us.”She also raised concerns about non-disabled people playing the roles of disabled characters.She added: “Nothing About Us Without Us. It is time for the broadcasting and entertainment industries to take note of that.”The conference also unanimously passed an Equity motion which criticised the continuing use of non-disabled actors to play disabled characters.Simon Balcon said that most delegates would consider such practices to be “akin to blacking up”.He said: “Great progress has been made in the area of representation in terms of race and sexuality but much more is needed to provide realistic portrayals of disabled people.”Mik Scarlet, an NUJ delegate, said: “When you go for a casting and you are disabled, it is most likely that you will not get the role.“They will see you because they can tick a box to say they have seen some disabled actors and then they will give it to a non-disabled actor.“What it means is the portrayal is not real.”Iain Scott-Burdon, from Unison, said he was “absolutely fed up” with seeing producers “hiring fakes” for films and television dramas.He said: “Non-disabled people playing our parts; they are as fake as you can get.“We need real, authentic Deaf and disabled people, professionals and experts at what they do.“We need to stop hiring fakes.”He also highlighted a positive example in which producers hired a Deaf child actor, Maisie Sly, for the Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child, which Scott-Burdon said was “really well received by the Deaf community”.*During the conference, Kemp performed an extract from her new one-woman play, May, based on the life of the disabled suffragette Rosa May Billinghurstlast_img read more

Facebook to Reduce News Feed Noise and Business Pages Could See Big

first_img Add to Queue Next Article Reporter Angela Moscaritolo –shares Facebook Image credit: via PC Mag The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. This story originally appeared on PCMagcenter_img January 12, 2018 This change will likely cause people to spend less time on Facebook, but make the time they do spend there ‘more valuable,’ according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Facebook to Reduce News Feed Noise and Business Pages Could See Big Hit 3 min read Facebook just announced a major impending News Feed change, which is intended to improve users’ mental health, but will likely cause Page admins to see a drop in engagement.In an effort to make the service better for people’s well-being, Facebook is changing up its News Feed ranking algorithm to start showing users more posts from family, friends and groups they are part of, and less content from businesses, brands and media organizations. This change will likely cause people to spend less time on Facebook, but make the time they do spend there “more valuable,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post.As another consequence, Facebook Pages will likely see a decrease in “their reach, video watch time and referral traffic,” according to Facebook’s News Feed Head Adam Mosseri. Pages posting content “people generally don’t react to or comment on” will likely see the most significant drop in engagement, he wrote, adding that “pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”News of these impending changes comes after Facebook in December acknowledged that passively reading your Facebook News Feed isn’t always good for your mental health. Those who interact with posts (commenting, liking, etc.) tend to feel better about themselves than those who just scroll and scroll, the company found.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it his New Year’s resolution to address this problem and fix other big issues facing the social network, including abuse and hate on the platform and along with foreign attempts to spread misinformation.”Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” Zuckerberg posted on his wall late Thursday. He explained that there’s more public content on Facebook today than posts from a person’s friends and family, so News Feed currently shows more of the latter. But going forward, that’s changing. “We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being,” Zuckerberg continued. “Research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”Zuckerberg said it will “take months” for these changes to completely roll out. If you follow a specific page you want to continue seeing its content in your News Feed (like PCMag, for example), be sure to select See First in News Feed preferences. Apply Now »last_img read more

Mozilla Pulls Facebook Ads Over Privacy Flap

first_img Apply Now » Facebook Mozilla has temporarily pulled its advertising from Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica controversy.The leak of data from 50 million Facebook users to the political consulting firm prompted Mozilla to examine Facebook’s default privacy policies, which can give third-party apps access to your profile data and activities.”The default permissions that Facebook gives to those third parties currently include data from your education and work, current city, and posts on your timeline,” Mozilla said in a blog post.Mozilla already started a petition that demands Facebook change its app permission policy so your privacy is protected by default. But on Thursday, it took things further, and pulled its advertising dollars from the social media platform.”When Facebook takes stronger action in how it shares customer data, specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third-party apps, we’ll consider returning,” Mozilla said in a separate blog post. But for now, it’s “pressing pause on our Facebook advertising.”Time will tell if other advertisers follow the Firefox developer’s lead. But according to Facebook, advertisers have thus far been satisfied with the company’s efforts on privacy. “Most of the businesses we’ve spoken with this week are pleased with the steps we’ve outlined to better protect people’s data,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a Thursday email.”They have confidence that we’ll respond to these challenges and become a better partner and company as a result,” the email added.In 2014, Facebook banned the type of data collection Cambridge Analytica benefited from, which involved scooping up information from Facebook users who gave their consent, but also their friends, who had not given their permission to do so. That web of connections ultimately gave Cambridge access to 50 million data files, including people’s Facebook likes and other identifying information.Facebook plans to examine Cambridge Analytica servers to ensure it destroyed the leaked data. But in the meantime, it will audit any company or developer who collected large amounts of Facebook user data prior to 2014. Those who refuse the audit or have been found misuing the data will be banned, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday in his first remarks on the Cambridge Analytica scandal.The social media giant also plans to further limit third-party apps from accessing your Facebook data. “For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in — to only your name, profile photo, and email address,” Zuckerberg said.In addition, Facebook will roll out a new tool to help you understand which apps have access to your data.In its Thursday blog post, Mozilla said it’s “encouraged” by what Zuckerberg promised. But it will wait for the social media giant to make the upcoming privacy protections official before resuming any advertising. March 23, 2018 3 min read Add to Queue 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Guest Writer The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Michael Kan Image credit: via PC Mag Next Article –shares The Cambridge Analytica controversy triggered the Firefox developer to press Facebook to change its default privacy settings for app permissions. Reporter Mozilla Pulls Facebook Ads Over Privacy Flap This story originally appeared on PCMaglast_img read more

Retraction of article Joy of cooking too much from journal

first_img Source:http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2717784/notice-retraction-joy-cooking-too-much-70-years-calorie-increases Related StoriesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTThe article was the result of a research work by Brian Wansink from Cornell University. The study had analyzed cookbooks for home recipes and claimed that home cooking led to increased calorie intake since many of the recipes tended to be rich in fats and carbohydrates. This in turn was raising the risk of obesity, the authors of the study had concluded.The journal had sent a letter of investigation to the authorities at the University where the work was conducted and in turn received an answer from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (Date 27 September 2018) that said, “This investigation has concluded that Professor Wansink committed academic misconduct in his research and scholarship.” The journal states that they tried to clarify this from the corresponding author Dr. Payne. That address and contact information did not finally lead to Dr. Payne they added.The team at the journal then asked for details of the data from Dr. Wansink. In response Dr. Wansink provided a re-analysis of the data. However, now the journal found that all the figures and numbers in the re-analysis were different from the originally published paper. The editors conclude in their notice, “In light of the inability to reproduce the published results, the editors cannot be confident in the integrity of the work reported in this article.”The referred article can be found at the following reference, “Wansink B, Payne CR. The joy of cooking too much: 70 years of calorie increases in classic recipes [Letter]. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150:291-2.”Wansink has been part of the team of experts who have helped to develop the U.S. dietary guidelines. His work recently came under scrutiny when a blog post unearthed academic misconduct. Since then many of his research publications have been retracted from well known journals. Image Credit: CanErmis / Shutterstockcenter_img By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDDec 9 2018In a short notification, the editors of the Annals of Internal Medicine have announced that they are retracting a letter called “The Joy of Cooking Too Much: 70 Years of Calorie Increases in Classic Recipes”. The article in question was published in 2009.last_img read more

Researchers develop nanoscale thermometers from diamond sparkles

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 3 2019Being able to measure, and monitor, temperatures and temperature changes at miniscule scales–inside a cell or in micro and nano-electronic components–has the potential to impact many areas of research from disease detection to a major challenge of modern computation and communication technologies, how to measure scalability and performance in electronic components.A collaborative team, led by scientists from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), developed a highly-sensitive nano-thermometer that uses atom-like inclusions in diamond nanoparticles to accurately measure temperature at the nanoscale. The sensor exploits the properties of these atom-like diamond inclusions on the quantum level, where the limits of classical physics no longer apply.Diamond nanoparticles are extremely small particles–up to 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair–that fluoresce when illuminated with a laser.Senior Investigator, Dr Carlo Bradac, UTS School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, said the new technique was not just a “proof-of-concept realization.””The method is immediately deployable. We are currently using it for measuring temperature variations both in biological samples and in high-power electronic circuits whose performance strongly rely on monitoring and controlling their temperature with sensitivities and at a scale hard to achieve with other methods,” Dr Bradac said.The study published in Science Advances, is a collaboration between UTS researchers and international collaborators from the Russian Academy of Science (RU), Nanyang Technological University (SG) and Harvard University (US).Lead author, UTS physicist Dr Trong Toan Tran, explained that although pure diamond is transparent it “usually contains imperfections such as inclusions of foreign atoms.””Beyond giving the diamond different colours, yellow, pink, blue, etc. the imperfections emit light at specific wavelengths [colours] when probed with a laser beam,” says Dr Tran.The researchers found that there is a special regime–referred to as Anti-Stokes–in which the intensity of the light emitted by these diamond colour impurities depends very strongly on the temperature of the surrounding environment. Because these diamond nanoparticles can be as small as just a few nanometres they can be used as tiny nano-thermometers.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairSlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthExciting study shows how centrioles center the process of cell division”We immediately realised we could harness this peculiar fluorescence-temperature dependence and use diamond nanoparticles as ultra-small temperature probes,” Dr Bradac said.”This is particularly attractive as diamond is known to be non-toxic–thus suitable for measurements in delicate biological environments–as well as extremely resilient–hence ideal for measuring temperatures in very harsh environments up to several hundreds of degrees,” he added.The researchers say that an important advantage of the technique is that it is all-optical. The measurement only requires placing a droplet of the nanoparticles-in-water solution in contact with the sample and then measuring–non-invasively–their optical fluorescence as a laser beam is shone on them.Although similar all-optical approaches using nanoparticles have successfully measured temperatures at the nanoscale, the research team believes that none have been able to achieve both the sensitivity and the spatial resolution of the technique developed at UTS. “We believe our sensor can measure temperatures with a sensitivity which is comparable–or superior–to that of the current best all-optical micro- and nano-thermometers, while featuring the highest spatial resolution to date,” Dr Tran said.The researchers at UTS highlighted that nanoscale thermometry was the most obvious–yet far from the only–application exploiting the Anti-Stokes regime in quantum systems. The regime can form the basis for exploring fundamental light-matter interactions in isolated quantum systems at energies conventionally unexplored. It opens up new possibilities for a plethora of practical nanoscale sensing technologies, some as exotic as optical refrigeration where light is used to cool down objects. Source:http://www.uts.edu.au/last_img read more

Researchers discover that pine nut shells are nontoxic and increase physical endurance

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 7 2019For several decades, the number of chronicle diseases has been growing. The main reason for this is the imbalanced diet. Biologists and chemists study natural foods concerning the fact that it can help strengthen health and prevent numerous diseases. They have designed a new concept, which is “functional food products”.Wild growing raw materials are the prospective sources of biologically active compounds. The Russian Federation has one of the biggest reserves of raw materials. The Eastern Siberia has endless cedar forests that cover territories of the Tyva Republic, Krasnoyarsk Region, Altai Region and the Republic of Buryatia, which is 18 million hectares. Annually, more than 1 million tons of pine nuts are harvested in Siberia.Related StoriesLow-carb diet may reverse metabolic syndrome independent of weight lossHealthy high-fiber diet could reduce preeclampsia riskHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declinePine nut shells are the source of carbohydrates, minerals and various organic compounds.Olga Babich, Svetlana Noskova and Stanislav Sukhikh, the researchers of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, together with their colleagues from Kemerovo State University have studied the processed product of pine nut shells. The carbohydrate-mineral complex is rich in fibers and vitamins. The researchers have also discovered that it is non-toxic and increases physical endurance, which is why it is recommended as a sports nutrition product.Lately, the authoritative scientific journal Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre has published the article under the title “Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre”. According to the article, dietary fibres are necessary for the health of the digestive system. They have a positive effect on blood vessels and lower blood sugar level.Source: Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal Universitylast_img read more

New insights into molecular motors could help treat neurological disorders

first_imgBy Dr. Liji Thomas, MDJul 15 2019A new study reported in Nature Communications has discovered activators for molecules that act as motors to move materials around within nerve cells.Nerve cells form the basis of the nervous system in animals, as they transfer information between the various sensory and effector organs of the body and the brain and spinal cord. However, this function relies heavily on the transport of several proteins and other molecules between various parts of the cell.A nerve cell comprises a cell body, and multiple short branches called dendrites. It also has a long projection called the axon which carries signals away from the neuron. Nerve cells also have tiny tubular tracks composed of microtubules along which cargo is moved to and from the dendrites and axons by an attached molecular motor called KIF1C.Human cells synthesize many types of motor molecules, called kinesins and dyneins. These carry cargo towards opposite ends of the cell, and both motors are often present on cargoes so that they can change direction if their progress is hindered. However, there is still a vast field for research into the regulation of KIF1C in both space and time within cells, to allow its application in a host of neurological disorders. Researcher Anne Straube says, “If we understand how motors are shut off and on, we may be able to design cellular transport machines with altered properties. These could potentially be transferred into patients with defect cellular transport to compensate for the defects. Alternatively they can be used for nanotechnology to build new materials by exploiting their ability to concentrate enzymes or chemical reagents. We are also studying the properties of the motors with patient mutations to understand why they function less well.” There are 45 kinesins, but only a few of them are actually understood, in terms of what sets the motors in action. Among them, KIF1C is the fastest motor in nerve cells, and is used for various processes within the neuron that require cargo transport in either direction. Defects in this motor underlie several debilitating nerve disorders, including hereditary spastic paraplegia, that is known to affect about 135,000 people the world over. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are other conditions which are also linked to poorly functioning molecular motors.KIF1C is a typical molecular motor, a protein which acts as a chemical-to-mechanical energy converter. This helps it to carry diverse loads in dense core vesicles within the cell. KIF1C also transports molecules called integrins that are important for cell adhesions.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsKIF1C must remain at rest while the loading process is underway, and move the cargo once loading is complete until it is actually offloaded at the end of the trip. When compared to motor size, nerve cells are incredibly long, up to 3 feet. The transport system must be foolproof at the same time to avoid inhibition of nerve function.The current study at the University of Warwick was aimed at unraveling the mechanism of activation/inactivation of KIF1C. The scientists found that the inactive state of the KIF1C molecular motor is related to its autoinhibition, caused by the infolding of the molecule on itself. This causes its stalk to link to the part that attaches to the microtubules forming the tracks, and so keeps it out of action.When its function is required, it utilizes two other proteins on the cargo, called PTNPN21 and Hook3. Either of these proteins attaches to the stalk of the KIF1C molecule, which results in its unfolding and activation. The outcome is that it slots into the tracks and starts to run along them, rather like a marathoner beginning the race at the starter’s gun.When these proteins are present, they increase the rate at which the KIF1C lands on the tracks by about 40%. Thus the cargo is able to activate the KIF1C motor when loaded. This may be one way in which kinesins can transport cargo both ways without contradictory pulls. When these proteins are present, they can rescue the function of cells that lack adequate KIF1C expression.If this discovery is confirmed, it could be used to start up or increase motor activity to shift required cargo within neurons to normalize the functioning in KIF1C-depleted nerve cell disorders. The team is currently considering work on hereditary spastic paraplegia. Intracellular transport, kinesin motor proteins transport molecules moving across microtubules, 3D illustration. Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock Journal reference:PTPN21 and Hook3 relieve KIF1C autoinhibition and activate intracellular transport, Nida Siddiqui, Alexander James Zwetsloot, Alice Bachmann, Daniel Roth, Hamdi Hussain, Jonathan Brandt, Irina Kaverina & Anne Straube, Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 2693 (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10644-9, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10644-9last_img read more

Slovakia faces challenge of shifting gear into ecars

first_img‘Lack of vision’?According to International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates, worldwide electric vehicle production could explode from three million last year to 220 million by 2030.Given such prospects, encouraging e-car production at Slovak plants should be Bratislava’s number one priority, said Peter Badik, co-founder of Greenway, the largest electric vehicle charging network in Slovakia and Poland. Of the three global automakers operating in Slovakia, so far only VW produces electric vehicles Citation: Slovakia faces challenge of shifting gear into e-cars (2018, August 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-slovakia-shifting-gear-e-cars.html Slovakia to feel most pain from Trump car tariffs: experts Explore further The auto sector generates some 300,000 jobs in Slovakia, making it by far the largest employer in the country. © 2018 AFP “The opposite is true,” he told AFP. “If we keep ignoring technological progress and we don’t try to use it in our favour, it could become a huge problem for Slovakia.”He is echoed by Peter Sevce, director of the Slovak Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA), who insists that Bratislava needs to promote production of e-vehicles, battery management systems and electric engines. “There’s a lack of political will to deal with electromobility in Slovakia,” he told AFP, adding that there is also a “lack a vision about where we see the automotive sector in a couple of years.”According to VW Slovakia spokesman Michal Ambrovic, the e-up! model, the carmaker’s “first-ever mass-produced electric vehicle”, began rolling off the assembly line at its Bratislava plant in 2013.But Sevce contends that VW’s “other electric models will be assembled in Germany, due to fears of a fall in employment in the automotive sector.”Ambrovic declined to comment on this claim. He also refused to disclose the number of e-up! vehicles VW produces in Bratislava or any future VW plans for e-car production on Slovak soil. Slovakia runs the risk of missing the e-mobility boat by foot-dragging on incentives to encourage carmakers to produce electric cars Slovakia reinvented its economy twice in recent decades, first after shedding the communist yoke in 1989 and then again after separation from the Czech Republic. Low corporate taxes drew foreign investors, primarily in the electronics and auto sectors.A skilled workforce and wages that average half those in western Europe coupled with eurozone membership sweeten the deal.But analysts say Bratislava could be missing the e-mobility boat by foot-dragging on fresh incentives to encourage global carmakers to produce electric cars at their Slovak plants. A risk accentuated this week when BMW chose neighbouring Hungary for a new billion-euro factory where it will produce both electric and conventional cars.Of the three global automakers operating in Slovakia—Germany’s Volkswagen, France’s PSA and South Korean Kia—so far only VW produces electric vehicles.But even VW’s future plans for e-car production in Slovakia remain unclear, and it is the same story for PSA and Kia.A new Jaguar Land Rover plant is also due to open in September. Plans call for 150,000 cars to roll off the assembly line annually but it is unclear whether any will be electric.The auto sector generates some 300,000 jobs in Slovakia, making it by far the largest employer in the country of 5.4 million.Annual production has exceeded one million cars in each of the last three years and is forecast to grow by more than a third by 2020.Overall, the carmaking sector accounts for 44 percent of Slovakia’s total industrial production and 35 percent of its exports. A small country but ranked as a major automaker, Slovakia now risks paying a heavy price should it miss out on the accelerating change to electric cars, analysts say. ‘Prestige, regulatory concerns’PSA Slovakia is also not forthcoming about its plans regarding e-vehicles.Spokesman Peter Svec said the carmaker “is preparing for several projects” at its plant in Trnava, a town around 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of the capital Bratislava.”At this time, I cannot confirm the details associated with this potential investment,” he told AFP.Slovakia’s third carmaker, the Zilina-based Kia, was unavailable for comment.The economy ministry took one of its first small steps in June to promote domestic purchases of electric vehicles by creating a support scheme worth 3.3 million euros ($3.8 million).Ministry spokesman Maros Stano told AFP that measures to support the development of e-car charging stations across Slovakia are also planned.Martin Vlachynsky, an analyst with the Bratislava-based Institute of Economic and Social Studies, warned that although lagging behind in electromobility could prove problematic, “jumping in first can be risky” too.”Today, e-cars are more of a matter of prestige and regulatory concerns for automakers, due to emission limits,” he told AFP. “They are, and for some time will remain loss-making products,” he added.The expert also insists that decisions on scaling up e-car production should remain decentralised, at the level of car-makers. “This will minimise the risk that the state will take a step in the wrong direction,” Vlachynsky said. 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