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Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe says he is opposed to capital punishment

first_img Sri Lankan soldier arrested for attack on newspaper editor 10 years ago Post Comment(s) Where India stands in battle against measles, how Sri Lanka eliminated it Sri Lanka to revive suspended visa on arrival programme to 39 countries excluding India Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe says he is opposed to capital punishment Last week, the prime minister proposed to the Cabinet to set up a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to deal with issues of the post-conflict reconciliation. (Reuters File photo)Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sunday he and his United National Party (UNP) are opposed to the capital punishment, as President Maithripala Sirisena attempts to end a 43-year moratorium on death penalty to start executing drug convicts. Related News Advertising “I have discussed it with at least four parties in parliament and all of them are opposed to the capital punishment. I and my party are also opposed to it,” Wickremesinghe.This is not the first time that the two leaders have difference of opinions. Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe last October, triggering a constitutional crisis in the country.President Sirisena on Wednesday signed the death warrants to hang four drug convicts.All of Sirisena’s predecessors as Presidents had refused to sign the death warrants to carry out capital punishment. The death sentences have been commuted to life terms which usually lasts 20 years. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan center_img Advertising Best Of Express By PTI |Colombo | Published: June 30, 2019 10:27:52 pm Sirisena said Wednesday he was committed to bringing back capital punishment for drug offenders, months after vowing a tougher line on spiralling narcotics-related crime.This was despite Sri Lanka having become a party to the UN moratorium on death penalty and voting in favour of the moratorium just six months back.The international condemnation of decision to resume capital punishment has been coming since the President made his announcement. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence The last hanging came in June 1976 when Siripala alias Maru Sira, a noted criminal was hanged for murder and Sri Lanka’s last hangman quit in 2014 without ever having to execute anyone, citing stress after seeing the gallows for the first time. Another hangman hired last year never turned up for work.Justice Ministry in March said there were over 450 prisoners in Sri Lankan jails, including five women. Out of that at least 48 are drug convicts. While 30 of them appealed against their death sentence, 18 of them could be hanged, officials said.Sri Lanka in March advertised to recruit two hangmen to carry out executions. There were over 100 applications received by February 25 deadline, officials said. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield last_img read more

Sydney Brenner pioneer of molecular biology dies at 92

first_img Sydney Brenner, the Nobel laureate whose studies on the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans led to seminal discoveries in genetics and developmental biology, died today in Singapore. He was 92 years old.Brenner discovered fundamental steps in how cells use DNA to make the proteins that enable life. He found that sequences of three DNA bases code for the amino acids that form proteins. And he discovered that RNA molecules carry that information to ribosomes, the cellular machines that synthesize proteins.Brenner went on to pioneer another major breakthrough in biology: identifying and developing the transparent worm C. elegans as an ideal animal model; the worm is used today in labs worldwide. His early research on C. elegans and studies in the years that followed led to winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 with two colleagues, John Sulston and H. Robert Horvitz. The Nobel Committee wrote that the worm research helped identify “key genes regulating organ development and programmed cell death … and [it] shed new light on the pathogenesis of many diseases.” Andrew Cutraro/Redux Sydney​ Brenner By Jennifer Couzin-FrankelApr. 5, 2019 , 3:50 PM 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 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Sydney Brenner, pioneer of molecular biology, dies at 92 Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Brenner was born to Jewish émigré parents in South Africa, where his father worked as a cobbler, and he showed an early precocity for science, entering medical school in Johannesburg at age 15. Brenner quickly gravitated to genetics research: He met DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick in 1953, and soon relocated to the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom to work alongside him. As The Guardian said in an obituary, Brenner and Crick “shared an office for 20 years, talking non-stop, laughing uproariously and generating hundreds of ideas, which they tested in the laboratory with their indispensable research assistant Leslie Barnett.”Brenner, who was also known as an adept practical joker, continued to work into his 90s. He was married for almost 60 years; his wife, May, died in 2010. He is survived by three children and a stepson. Emaillast_img read more

House Democrats move to block part of Trumps fetal tissue policy

first_imgShawn Clover/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives moved today to block part of President Donald Trump’s recent policy to restrict federal funding for studies that use human fetal tissue donated after elective abortions. But their effort faces an uncertain road ahead.On a largely party line vote, lawmakers voted 225 to 193 in favor of an amendment to a 2020 spending bill that would bar the Trump administration from convening ethics advisory boards to review grant applications at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for studies that use fetal tissue. Three Democrats and all Republicans voted against the amendment.The Trump administration’s new policy, released 5 June, includes a requirement that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convene a 14- to 20-member ethics advisory board to review each and every NIH application that has been found worthy of funding by reviewers and involves human fetal tissue from elective abortions. The board would have up to 5 months to make a funding recommendation to the HHS secretary, who can accept or reject the advice. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By David MalakoffJun. 13, 2019 , 12:35 PM Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) House Democrats move to block part of Trump’s fetal tissue policy 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 Today’s amendment, to a spending bill that covers HHS and NIH for the 2020 fiscal year that begins on 1 October, would bar HHS from expending money to convene the panels. The amendment is sponsored by Representative Mark Pocan (D–WI) and nine other Democrats.Yesterday, a coalition of biomedical research groups, universities, and patient advocacy organizations released a letter supporting Pocan’s amendment. “We are deeply concerned about the delayed development of new therapies and the loss of scientific knowledge that will result from [the Trump administration] policy, and strongly support your attempts to prevent its implementation,” the groups wrote to Pocan and other amendment co-sponsors.One opponent of the amendment, however, questioned its wisdom during brief floor debate this morning. “How can we stand in good conscience and say we’re going to take … one of the most controversial areas of research and wall it off and say the federal government can’t consider ethics?” said Representative Andy Harris (R–MD). “Oh my gosh, that’s a step way too far.”Pocan and his allies still face numerous obstacles to blocking the Trump policy. The Republican-controlled Senate would have to agree to allow the amendment to remain in any final version of the spending bill. And Trump could veto any spending package that carries the language. Any final deal on the spending bill might not come until late this year.Update, 13 June, 1:46 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect the roll call vote to pass the amendment.last_img read more

Plea in Supreme Court Abortion law violative of privacy

first_img Appeals court puts Trump abortion restrictions on hold again Related News A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta issued notice on the plea which said the provisions on abortion in the Act were arbitrary, violative of the privacy rights of women, violates their bodily integrity and autonomy, and is unconstitutional.The petitioners – Swati Agarwal, a teacher; Garima Sekseriais, a digital marketer; and Prachi Vats, a public relations and corporate communication specialist – have sought quashing of Sections 3 and 5 of the Act.They contended that “the right to exercise reproductive choice, i.e. the right to choose whether to conceive and carry pregnancy to its full term or to terminate is it at the core of one’s privacy, dignity, personal autonomy, bodily integrity, self determination and right to health recognized by Article 21 of the Constitution as has been held” by the court in the past. More Explained NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Advertising This, they said was also violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.“Restricting the permissible length of pregnancy to 20 weeks is excessive and harsh and has no nexus with the object of the Act which is affording medical care to pregnant women and preventing maternal mortalities,” the petition said.It added, “With the advent of science and technology diagnosis of fetal abnormalities is possible at subsequent stages and with the advancement of science and technology it has become possible to terminate pregnancy even at later stages.”The petitioners also questioned Section 3(4)(a) of he Act, which mandates consent of a guardian for termination of pregnancy in case of minor and mentally ill persons, and said the provision is arbitrary and destructive of right of bodily integrity and autonomy of such women.“It is submitted that the guardian cannot be made the ultimate decision maker regarding termination or otherwise of the pregnancy given the irreversible physical, mental socio economic consequences that ensue as result of pregnancy. As a result of such a provision a minor is forced to bear the burden of pregnancy and the burden of raising a child if the guardian refuses the consent to terminate the same. It is submitted that the consequences of pregnancy on a woman are drastic and irreversible and therefore should not be left to the whims and fancies of the guardian,” their plea said. abortion, pil on abportion, reproduction, right to decide on reproduction, womens rights, supreme court, abortion pil in supreme court, abortion lawa, abortion laws in india, indian express A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta issued notice on the plea which said the provisions on abortion in the Act were arbitrary, violative of the privacy rights of women, violates their bodily integrity and autonomy, and is unconstitutional.The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking quashing of relevant provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which criminalise abortion except in situations prescribed by the Act. Advertising Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Post Comment(s) Alabama woman who lost pregnancy in shooting is charged in foetus’ death Advertising They added that “the impugned provisions and the lack of access to safe abortions affects the fundamental right to health, reproductive choice and right to privacy of women of the country”.Where the pregnancy is not older than 12 weeks, Section 3(2)(a) of the Act mandates formation of opinion by a medical practitioner that its continuance would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health, or there is substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.The petitioners say this is “violative of right to privacy and right to reproductive choice of a woman which inhere and are recognized by Article 21 of the Constitution”.There was “no need” for such a condition “since the adverse consequences of termination are negligible or nil when compared to the risks involved in carrying the pregnancy to it full term”, the plea said. They argued, “Such a requirement reduces the fundamental right of reproductive choice to an exception.”It also infringes on the right to health, as recognised by Article 21 of the Constitution, which “affords constitutional protection to the choice of a woman to make a choice to abort which entails far lesser / negligible to her health”, the petition submitted.They pointed out that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014, proposed to do away with the restrictions and proposes that the pregnancy not exceeding 12 weeks can be terminated on the request of the woman.The plea also challenges Section 3(2)(b) of the Act, which deals with the termination of pregnancy beyond 12 weeks and not exceeding 20 weeks. This, the Act says, can be allowed if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion that the continuance of pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman, or of grave injury to her physical or mental health, or there is substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities. Supreme Court notice to Centre on petition seeking to decriminalise abortion Best Of Express Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook The petitioners referred to the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Aadhaar case, where it said that marriage, procreation and sexual orientation are all integral to the dignity of individual. By Express News Service |New Delhi | Published: July 16, 2019 2:05:18 amlast_img read more

Research points to potential new treatment for hearing loss

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 15 2018Researchers have taken an important step toward what may become a new approach to restore the hearing loss. In a new study, out today in the European Journal of Neuroscience, scientists have been able to regrow the sensory hair cells found in the cochlea – a part of the inner ear – that converts sound vibrations into electrical signals and can be permanently lost due to age or noise damage.Hearing impairment has long been accepted as a fact of life for the aging population – an estimated 30 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. However, scientists have long observed that other animals – namely birds, frogs, and fish – have been shown to have the ability to regenerate lost sensory hair cells.”It’s funny, but mammals are the oddballs in the animal kingdom when it comes to cochlear regeneration,” said Jingyuan Zhang, Ph.D., with the University of Rochester Department of Biology and a co-author of the study. “We’re the only vertebrates that can’t do it.”Research conducted in the lab of Patricia White, Ph.D., in 2012 identified a family of receptors – called epidermal growth factor (EGF) – responsible for activating support cells in the auditory organs of birds. When triggered, these cells proliferate and foster the generation of new sensory hair cells. She speculated that this signaling pathway could potentially be manipulated to produce a similar result in mammals. White is a research associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience and lead author of the current study.”In mice, the cochlea expresses EGF receptors throughout the animal’s life, but they apparently never drive regeneration of hair cells,” said White. “Perhaps during mammalian evolution, there have been changes in the expression of intracellular regulators of EGF receptor family signaling. Those regulators could have altered the outcome of signaling, blocking regeneration. Our research is focused on finding a way switch the pathway temporarily, in order to promote both regeneration of hair cells and their integration with nerve cells, both of which are critical for hearing.”Related StoriesLarge-scale screen of mouse mutants reveals 38 new genes involved in hearing lossPoor hearing may prevent older adults from actively participating in their health careStudy uncovers potential modifier genes in patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth diseaseIn the new study, which involved researchers from URMC and the Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary, which is part of Harvard Medical School, the team tested the theory that signaling from the EGF family of receptors could play a role in cochlear regeneration in mammals. The researchers focused on a specific receptor called ERBB2 which is found in cochlear support cells.The researchers investigated a number of different methods to activate the EGF signaling pathway. One set of experiments involved using a virus to target ERBB2 receptors. Another, involved mice genetically modified to overexpress an activated ERBB2. A third experiment involved testing two drugs, originally developed to stimulate stem cell activity in the eyes and pancreas, that are known activate ERBB2 signaling.The researchers found that activating the ERBB2 pathway triggered a cascading series of cellular events by which cochlear support cells began to proliferate and start the process of activating other neighboring stem cells to become new sensory hair cells. Furthermore, it appears that this process not only could impact the regeneration of sensory hair cells, but also support their integration with nerve cells.”The process of repairing hearing is a complex problem and requires a series of cellular events,” said White. “You have to regenerate sensory hair cells and these cells have to function properly and connect with the necessary network of neurons. This research demonstrates a signaling pathway that can be activated by different methods and could represent a new approach to cochlear regeneration and, ultimately, restoration of hearing.” Source:https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/5448/study-points-to-possible-new-therapy-for-hearing-loss.aspxlast_img read more

Researchers compare stools of breastfed and formulafed infants

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 7 2018When researchers compared the stools of 40 infants who were exclusively breastfed with those of 13 who were exclusively formula fed, the average daily stool frequency was significantly higher in the breastfed than formula fed infants during the first month of life (4.9 versus 2.3) and second month of life (3.2 versus 1.6).The Acta Paediatrica study also found that the stools were more liquid in the breastfed infants during the first three months, and infrequent stools were 3.5 times more likely in the breastfed infants (28 percent) than formula fed infants (8 percent).”The underlying mechanisms of the infrequent stools syndrome in exclusively breastfed infants are unknown,” the authors wrote. “Many hypotheses have been put forward, from better digestion of the fat in mother’s milk than formula milk to a greater number of saccharolytic bacteria that can degrade unabsorbed and unabsorbable sugars.”Source: https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/acta-paediatrica/study-compares-stools-breastfed-and-formula-fed-infantslast_img read more

Anopheles species may be important vectors driving spread of Mayaro virus in

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 9 2018Mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are well known as primary vectors of malaria. But a new study suggests that Anopheles species, including some found in the United States, also are capable of carrying and transmitting an emerging pathogen, Mayaro virus, which has caused outbreaks of disease in South America and the Caribbean.Mayaro virus — which can cause fever, joint aches, muscle pains, headache, eye pain, rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — first was isolated from the blood of five symptomatic workers in Mayaro County, Trinidad, in 1954. Since then, it has caused sporadic outbreaks and small epidemics in several South and Central American countries.In addition, imported cases may be on the rise, with several reported recently in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, according to researchers.”Because the symptoms of Mayaro infection are similar to those caused by other arboviruses [arthropod-borne virus] such as dengue and chikungunya, its prevalence in areas where these other viruses circulate may be higher than reported,” said the study’s senior author, Jason Rasgon, professor of entomology and disease epidemiology, College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State.Rasgon explained that Mayaro virus is thought to be transmitted primarily by canopy-dwelling mosquitoes of the genus Haemagogus. Human infections are sporadic, he said, because Haemagogus species tend to live in rural areas in proximity to forests — where they cycle the virus among nonhuman primates and birds — and do not typically prefer to feed on people. However, when the virus is introduced into urban areas, other mosquito species potentially could trigger epidemics in human populations.”With the recent increase in imported cases, there are invasion concerns similar to those associated with Zika and chikungunya viruses,” Rasgon said. “But little is known about the range of mosquito species that are capable vectors of Mayaro, so our aim was to address that knowledge gap.”In this study, the researchers tested six mosquito species — Aedes aegypti, Anopheles freeborni, An. gambiae, An. quadrimaculatus, An. stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus — for their ability to transmit two strains of the Mayaro virus. The four Anopheles species were selected to cover different geographical regions: North America (An. freeborni and An. quadrimaculatus), Africa (An. gambiae) and Southeast Asia (An. stephensi).Related StoriesMice cured of HIV in an experiment sparks new hopeCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentVirus employs powerful strategy to inhibit natural killer cell functionMosquitoes were allowed to feed on human blood spiked with the virus via a glass feeder. Researchers then assessed each species at seven and 14 days after infection to determine infection rate (rate of mosquitoes with infected bodies among those analyzed), dissemination rate (rate of mosquitoes with infected legs among those with positive bodies), transmission rate (rate of mosquitoes with infectious saliva among those with positive legs), and transmission efficiency (rate of mosquitoes with infectious saliva among the total number analyzed).They found that Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus were poor vectors of Mayaro virus, with either poor or null infection and transmission rates. However, the results, reported today (Nov. 7) in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, demonstrated that all four Anopheles species were competent laboratory vectors of the virus.”The capacity of the two North American species of Anopheles to transmit Mayaro is particularly relevant to the United States, because the estimated geographic distribution of these species covers the entire country,” Rasgon said.”The transmission cycle of Mayaro involves mostly nonhuman primates and birds, although there is some evidence of circulation in rodents and marsupials,” he said. “We don’t know about the capacity of North American mammal species to act as vertebrate reservoirs, but it’s possible that Mayaro virus could be maintained in a human-mosquito-human urban cycle similar to what we’ve seen with chikungunya.”In addition, the researchers noted, Anopheles mosquitoes tend to take multiple blood meals between egg-laying events, and this bite frequency increases their capacity to transmit viruses.”Despite the fact that Anopheles mosquitoes are widely dispersed worldwide, they currently are neglected as potential vectors of arboviruses,” Rasgon said. “Our results suggest that Anopheles species may be important vectors driving the emergence and invasion of Mayaro virus across geographically diverse regions of the world, and more research is needed on their epidemiological role in virus invasions.”Source: https://www.psu.edu/last_img read more

Genetic testing can help personalize diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease study

first_img Source:https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/patients-kidney-disease-genetic-testing-may-soon-be-routine Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 26 2018DNA testing can identify a genetic culprit in about 10 percent of adults with chronic kidney disease and impacts treatment for most of them.A new study has found that genes cause about 1 in 10 cases of chronic kidney disease in adults, and identifying the responsible gene has a direct impact on treatment for most of these patients.”Our study shows that genetic testing can be used to personalize the diagnosis and management of kidney disease, and that nephrologists should consider incorporating it into the diagnostic workup for these patients,” says Ali Gharavi, MD, chief of nephrology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a co-senior author of the study.The findings were published on December 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine.It’s estimated that 1 in 10 adults in the United States have chronic kidney disease. Yet, for 15 percent of patients with chronic kidney disease, the underlying cause of kidney failure is unknown.”There are multiple genetic causes of chronic kidney disease, and treatment can vary depending on the cause,” says Gharavi. “But many of the genetic types are rare and can be difficult to detect with traditional diagnostics.And because kidney disease is often silent in the early stages, some patients aren’t diagnosed until their kidneys are close to failing, making it more difficult to find the underlying cause.”DNA sequencing has the potential to pinpoint the genetic culprits, but has not been tested in a wide range of patients with chronic kidney disease.”Our study identifies chronic kidney disease as the most common adult disease, outside of cancer, for which genomic testing has been demonstrated as clinically essential,” says David Goldstein, PhD, director of Columbia University’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and a co-senior author of the study.In this study, researchers used DNA sequencing to look for genetic kidney disorders in 3,315 individuals with various types of chronic or end-stage kidney disease. For 8.5 percent of these individuals, clinicians had not been able to identify the cause of disease.Related StoriesArtificial intelligence can help accurately predict acute kidney injury in burn patientsNew study identifies eight genetic variants associated with anorexia nervosaMolecular switches may control lifespan and healthspan separately, genetic discovery suggestsThe researchers found a genetic disorder responsible for about 9 percent of the participants’ kidney problems, and DNA testing reclassified the cause of kidney disease in 1 out of 5 individuals with a genetic diagnosis. In addition, DNA testing was able to pinpoint a cause for 17 percent of participants for whom a diagnosis was not possible based on the usual clinical workup.DNA results had a direct impact on clinical care for about 85 percent of the 168 individuals who received a genetic diagnosis and had medical records available for review. “For several patients, the information we received from DNA testing changed our clinical strategy, as each one of these genetic diagnoses comes with its own set of potential complications that must be carefully considered when selecting treatments,” Gharavi says.About half of the patients were diagnosed with a kidney disorder that also affects other organs and requires care from other specialists. A few (1.5 percent) individuals learned they had medical conditions unrelated to their kidney disease, In all of these cases, the incidental findings had an impact on kidney care. “For example, having a predisposition to cancer would modify the approach to immunosuppression for patients with a kidney transplant,” adds Gharavi.”These results suggest that genomic sequencing can optimize the development of new medicines for kidney disease through the selection of patient subgroups most likely to benefit from new therapies,” says Adam Platt, PhD, Head of Global Genomics Portfolio at AstraZeneca and a co-senior author of the study.While the current study shows the utility of DNA testing in people with kidney disease, another study led by Goldstein and Gharavi found that DNA testing in healthy individuals vastly overestimated the prevalence of kidney disease-associated genetic conditions.”Altogether, our research suggests that DNA testing may be most useful when balanced with clinical information,” says Goldstein.last_img read more

Microsoft reports loss due to tax charge

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. Citation: Microsoft reports loss due to tax charge (2018, February 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-microsoft-loss-due-tax.html Microsoft tops forecasts with 16% profit growth Explore further Microsoft on Wednesday reported a hefty loss in the past quarter, as it set aside billions of dollars for taxes on profits it expects to bring back to the United States following passage of a major tax overhaul. © 2018 AFP Microsoft said its loss for the past quarter was $6.3 billion—as it took a charge of $13.8 billion to pay taxes The technology giant said its loss for the quarter to December 31 was $6.3 billion—as it took a charge of $13.8 billion to pay its taxes.Revenue for Microsoft’s fiscal second quarter rose 12 percent to $28.9 billion as it saw gains in business services and cloud computing.Once the world’s largest technology company, Microsoft has been rebooting as consumers shift away from Windows-powered computers to mobile devices.This has pushed Microsoft to focus on the internet cloud, artificial intelligence, and services for connected “internet of things” devices.”This quarter’s results speak to the differentiated value we are delivering to customers across our productivity solutions and as the hybrid cloud provider of choice,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Our investments in IoT, data, and AI services… position us to further accelerate growth.”Microsoft shares rose 2.45 percent in after-hours trade to $95.01 as investors welcomed the results.”Microsoft just keeps on trucking, showing success in modern business transformation,” said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.”The company is one of the few older tech companies who has been able to turn the corner and be relevant in the cloud, commercial AI and IoT. Microsoft has a long list of businesses who are doing these kind of activities with them.”Like other big multinationals, Microsoft is repatriating a large portion of its overseas cash holdings to take advantage of a favorable tax rate under the reforms championed by President Donald Trump and approved last year by Congress.Microsoft has more than $130 billion overseas, and its repatriation will trigger a US tax bill estimated at $13.8 billion.Microsoft has not said what it intends to do with its cash. Tech rival Apple has announced it would make major new investments with its repatriated profits.The new bill implements a tax rate of 15.5 percent compared with a possible 35 percent rate under prior law.Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research has been upbeat on Microsoft, predicting strong results earlier this month for the tech giant, largely due to its Azure cloud division which manages systems for companies and government agencies and competes against services from Amazon, Google and others.”Enterprise IT budgets are opening up, and Microsoft is benefiting from overall improving IT spend,” Chowdhry said in a research note.Chowdhry added that Microsoft “seems to have a much better win rates with US federal government agencies” that rivals. read more

Campaign against online videogame bullies flops

©2018 Chicago Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Citation: Campaign against online video-game bullies flops (2018, April 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-campaign-online-video-game-bullies-flops.html Explore further It seemed like a killer idea: combat sexist harassment in online video games by unleashing hit squads of talented female players to slay the bullies. But after marketing agency FCB Chicago launched “Bully Hunters” last week with a splashy livestream, the campaign was mocked by gamers, criticized by harassment experts and disowned by the companies it had enlisted as supporters. Within days, the agency shut it down.What went wrong?According to the agency, the demise of Bully Hunters was a case of good-intentioned naivete colliding with the idiosyncratic, often-aggressive world of online gaming. Others, though, say it was the result of cynical opportunism that exacerbated the problem the marketers were trying to solve.Fighting harassment “is a real, honest-to-God issue which unfortunately now has been tainted by this insincere, totally superficial effort,” said Rebecca Rothschild, a Chicago gamer and writer who has endured online bullying. “It bothered me on a lot of levels.”Liz Taylor, chief creative officer of FCB Chicago, said Bully Hunters was a pro bono project for the agency, akin to campaigns it has done on handgun violence, colon cancer and Chicago’s bid for the second Amazon headquarters.Researchers have established that in-game harassment is a pervasive problem, and Taylor said she has personal experience with it: Her teenage daughter endured online harassment so upsetting that she no longer enjoys gaming.”There were a lot of people in the agency who had a passion around trying to make the gaming environment a safer, more inclusive place for everyone,” she said.But one thing they didn’t have was experience. Keisha Howard, founder of a female-centric video game consultancy and event organizer called Sugar Gamers, said that was evident when she talked with FCB Chicago about the concept.She said she was bothered by the idea that girls and women need saviors to protect them from gaming bullies. She also was concerned about the title FCB Chicago focused on—Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO, a popular first-person shooter game that is notoriously complex.”They went for the biggest bear and didn’t do their research on the game,” Howard said. “It was easily torn apart by hard-core gamers who absolutely understand that title.” 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. FCB said the campaign wasn’t a marketing opportunity for brands, but several companies and organizations still lent their support, including SteelSeries, a Chicago-based maker of gaming accessories, and the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women.On April 12, the agency launched Bully Hunters with a livestream from Chicago’s Ignite Gaming Lounge. It began with a montage of vicious insults recorded during games, followed by a woman’s voice intoning over a countdown: “This ends in three, two ….”The set featured “casual gamers” playing CS:GO on computers, while across the room, the “Bully Hunters” waited to enter the fray. An online tool was supposed to summon them into the game, where they would track down and eliminate bullies, leaving a calling card in the chat: “Harassment is not a game.”The livestream included two purported episodes of harassment: In each, a voice that sounded like it belonged to the same man made vulgar, sexist and threatening remarks to female players, only to be dispatched by a Bully Hunter.The action seemed artificial to veteran CS:GO players, who accurately called it out as fake. One of the livestream’s hosts, Nati Casanova, a popular gamer who goes by the handle ZombiUnicorn, later said she flubbed a scripted line meant to emphasize that the encounters were staged.”We would 100 percent agree that that key message didn’t come across,” Taylor said. “Our intent was never to mislead anyone. It was to point out this is what could happen in the real world.”But the damage was done. Online sleuths, looking up gamer profiles, revealed that a victim and a Bully Hunter appeared to be the same person. Others picked apart the statistics on harassment presented during the livestream.PewDiePie, a YouTuber who is the biggest celebrity in gaming, was particularly unsparing. In a video viewed more than 3.5 million times, he blasted the organizers and the participating companies, saying they were exploiting a serious problem to sell gear.”You did more harm than good here, clearly,” he said. “This is so idiotic that no one is going to take harassment seriously. That’s how stupid it is. So don’t pretend that you took a step forward; this is taking a step back.”The companies quickly put up statements distancing themselves from Bully Hunters. SteelSeries said its only role was to donate equipment and “support the call for positive change” and that it hadn’t been involved in executing the campaign.The only group that stood by the effort was Chicago NOW. Paloma Delgadillo, the chapter’s president, said she wasn’t surprised by the blowback but rejected the idea that it harmed the anti-harassment movement.”As an activist, you never have perfect tools in your toolbox,” she said. “I’m of the opinion that if there’s a problem, we always need to be looking for a solution. If it doesn’t work, it’s OK. Hopefully this brings attention to it.”Jesse Fox, an Ohio State University professor who has studied sexist behavior in video games, said Bully Hunters relied on a faulty premise—that harassers can be brought to heel through chastening defeat.”We know from aggression studies in video games that when they get more frustrated they get angrier, and they’re more likely to (bully),” she said. “When someone comes in and wipes the floor with you, you’re not going to be amenable to hearing the message.”She said more productive approaches would involve developing online tools to ban the most toxic offenders, and encouraging players to tamp down harassment the moment it takes place, thus denying trolls the validation they crave.After the barrage of criticism, FCB Chicago took down Bully Hunters’ website and social media accounts. All that remains are YouTube copies of the livestream and hundreds of blistering critiques.Taylor said while the agency is still processing the hard lessons of the campaign, it is still committed to promoting an anti-harassment movement among gamers.”I hope people understand we did this to try to make the world a better and more inclusive place,” she said. “That is what is so gut-wrenching and heartbreaking about where it is right now.” Why sexual harassment is worse than other types of abuse online read more

Dont want to be hit for extras on your flight Bots—and FIU—could

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. Miami-based Farelogix and Florida International University are creating airline booking technology to deliver “dynamic offers” tailored to the evolving needs of fliers choosier than ever.”Consumers are starting to dictate what they want in a travel package,” Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson said. While travelers once simply searched for the lowest fare, they are now asking for amenities like more leg room, priority boarding and additional carry-on luggage.More options means a more complicated booking process. That’s where Farelogix comes in. It is crunching the data created by those extra choices to suggest air-ticket combinations that will appeal to each passenger.”Our program will say, ‘This looks like a leisure-trip booking.’ ” That will allow the airline to suggest a flight that might be different from a business flier, he said. “Or if it looks like (the flier) is a college kid, we’re going to discount a middle seat to see if they’ll buy that.”For airlines, the payoff is in creating more loyal customers. The technology is not about finding ways to increase prices on travelers by jamming in more perks, he said. Instead, he said, customers will be more likely to see more precise results.To help meet the data demand, Florida International is forming the Data Science for Airlines Informatics (DSAI) program. Students will study and apply advanced predictive analytics specific to the airline industry. The results are enhanced with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Farelogix will serve as the principal corporate partner, working with students to develop new data models for optimizing airline revenue management.Farelogix has already hired at least five FIU grads. That success led to a longer discussion about setting up the permanent program. Several major carriers have already signed up to use the new data-driven booking technology.Surprisingly, there has been little academic research to date in this specific field, said Steve Luis, IT and business relations director for FIU’s Computing & Information Sciences program.”Researchers have just started looking at this problem,” he said. “It’s blue sky.” Explore further ©2018 Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Outsmarting the airlines on price could get harder If the complexities of booking flights is making you long for a road trip, some robot relief is on the way. Citation: Don’t want to be hit for extras on your flight? Bots—and FIU—could help (2018, May 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-dont-extras-flight-botsand-fiucould.html read more

Washington state sues Google Facebook over campaign ad data

first_imgIn this Nov. 28, 2017, file photo, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks at a news conference in Seattle. Ferguson is suing Google and Facebook, saying the companies failed to maintain information about political advertising as required by state law. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) Explore further Washington law requires the companies to maintain information about buyers of political ads, the cost, how they pay for it, and the candidate or ballot measure at issue, according to the lawsuits, filed in King County Superior Court on Monday. The companies also must make that information available to the public upon request.Ferguson said neither Facebook nor Google did so, even though Washington candidates and political committees have spent nearly $5 million to advertise on those platforms in the past decade.”Washington’s political advertising disclosure laws apply to everyone, whether you are a small-town newspaper or a large corporation,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Washingtonians have a right to know who’s paying for the political advertising they see.”Social media companies have been under pressure to be more transparent when it comes to political ads, including issue ads, which factored prominently in Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections.Facebook has started allowing users to search an archive of political ads. It announced last month that it was expanding its ad disclosure requirements, which include labels which users can click to learn more about who paid for the ads and how many people saw them.”Attorney General Ferguson has raised important questions and we look forward to resolving this matter with his office quickly,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management, said in an emailed statement.Last month Google said it would do a better job of verifying the identity of political ad buyers in the U.S. by requiring a copy of a government-issued ID and other information. Google would also require the disclosure of who is paying for the ad.”We are committed to transparency and disclosure in political advertising,” Google said in a statement Monday. “We are currently reviewing the complaint and will be engaging with the Attorney General’s office.”The lawsuits in Washington state cited reporting by the Seattle alternative newspaper The Stranger, which sought the information from Google and Facebook last December, to no avail.The state is seeking fines and legal fees. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Monday sued Google and Facebook, saying the companies failed to maintain information about political advertising as required by state law. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Facebook to label election-related ‘issue ads’ in US Citation: Washington state sues Google, Facebook over campaign ad data (2018, June 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-washington-state-sues-google-facebook.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Driverless cars offer new forms of control – no wonder governments are

first_img This is a variation of the trolley problem, which dominates academic and popular thinking about the ethics of driverless cars. The problem is that such debates not only dismiss the complexity of the system in which driverless cars will exist, but are really moral red herrings. The real ethical issues lie in the politics and power concerns with driverless cars.Governments across the world are taking a deep interest in driverless cars. The German government has produced ethical guidelines for driverless cars. The UK government has promised driverless cars on the road by 2021, and the Russian government by the end of 2018. China has ambitious plans to connect driverless cars to the internet and install sensors in roads and traffic lights by 2025.Most revealing is the way driverless cars feature in the EU’s white paper on the future of Europe in 2025, published in March 2017. They form a telling part of a snapshot of how Europe might look in a future where EU countries have effectively joined to become one federal superstate. In this scenario, the white paper says, driverless cars will flourish, flitting unhindered across borders from city to city. There’s a reason why governments are so keen on driverless cars – and it’s not just because of the potential economic benefits. They offer the chance for even greater tracking and even control of citizens’ every move. Far from setting us free, driverless cars threaten to help enable new forms of surveillance and oppression.A driverless car is a computer on wheels, the ultimate internet-connected mobile device. Bristling with sensors, it provides a constant two-way flow of information. The car sends information about its performance to the manufacturer. It receives software updates, control signals about adjustments to its behaviour. The manufacturer knows where the car is, what the road conditions and temperature are and how the vehicle is performing at a particular speed. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Credit: Shutterstock Explore further Traffic light tech will be tested in UK, allows cars to leverage signal change 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 car’s insurer may receive minute-by-minute information about the car’s state, location, speed and the condition of the road it’s on, and could vary the insurance accordingly. It could even give ten minutes’ warning of loss of cover and halt the car. Meanwhile, government databases will also be likely to know where the car is, whether it is meant to be there and where it’s going. And even, using predictive analytics, where it will go for its next journey. Smart motorways will manage flows of traffic, slowing down driverless cars as part of a stream of communication between the car and the road. In smart cities, traffic lights will reroute cars into detours according to calculations and predictions about traffic jams, road works, or state requirements.center_img Markets in fast routes through cities and to central destinations may be created. Companies may pay for employees to use priority virtual routes. Travel logs may make it quite clear where you’ve gone and when. Reasons for your journey may be inferred predictably from the landscape, from destinations and from timing.End of autonomyFor more than 130 years, cars have represented the ultimate in autonomy, individuality and democratic freedom. Our car trips are private and anonymous. We can go where we like and when we like. We don’t have to tell anybody. And we retain responsibility for whether we obey the law. Driverless cars will bring that to an end.Now manufacturers, governments and city authorities will know where we’re going, what we’re doing and when. If anyone doesn’t like what we’re doing, they will be able to stop us, withdraw technical and accident cover, stop us using particular roads or streets, or just shut us down. It won’t be the car that’s autonomous but the authorities and systems that run and maintain that car, that draw and send information to and from the car.Driverless cars will herald a new age of citizen control. In the rhetoric of making us safer and reducing risk, power will be taken away and delivered to central authorities – whether they are cities, governments or commissions. To render us safe, governments will leave us powerless.Now the controllers can simply change our route for their own purposes, whether to prevent traffic jams or to clear a route for a dignitary. Now they can send us to particular shops, or directly to a police station. Now the controllers can manage populations of cars to meet the purposes of the council or government.In a democratic state, the growing flow of personalised information towards centralised authority will provides the basis for the regulation and enforcement. Its new managed citizens will be the target for behavioural nudges and advertising flowing into the driverless car. In the dictatorial state, the authorities can stop you going to a demonstration, or stop you going to church.And such centrally managed systems, which will be essential for the safety of driverless cars, are not only open to the inevitable technology failures of complex systems, but also to hacking and attacks by other states and individuals. Why hack into one car, when you can hack into a whole city system and bring traffic to a halt, or crash 30,000 cars into each other?In reflecting on the ethics of driverless cars we need to move beyond the constraints of trolleys and levers to a wider agenda that addresses the concepts of autonomy, community, transparency, identity, value and empathy. Our ethical debate has to address the power shifts, the political responsibilities and the human rights that our vision of driverless cars may require to be sacrificed. Provided by The Conversation Credit: Shutterstock Citation: Driverless cars offer new forms of control – no wonder governments are keen (2018, June 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-driverless-cars-keen.html Imagine a state-of-the-art driverless car is zipping along a road with a disabled 90-year-old-passenger. A young mother with a toddler steps into the road. The car must make a decision: drive into the mother and child and kill them, or career into a wall and kill the passenger.last_img read more

Edmunds rounds up latest fullsize pickups

first_img Explore further This undated photo provided by Nissan shows the 2018 Nissan Titan. It offers a 390-horsepower V8 engine as well as an XD version that splits the difference between the capabilities of a regular half-ton truck and a heavy-duty truck. (Courtesy of Nissan North America via AP) 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. In this Jan. 9, 2017, file photo, a 2018 Ford F-150 is displayed at the North American International Auto show in Detroit. Perennially the top-selling vehicle in America, the F-150 reigns supreme among full-size trucks. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) This Jan. 15, 2018, file photo shows the 2019 Ram 1500 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Ram shook up the truck world a decade ago with a new rear suspension design that delivered sedan-like ride comfort without sacrificing capability. The rivals have since caught up, but the new Ram, thoroughly overhauled for 2019 and now on sale, continues to innovate. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) In this Jan. 13, 2018, file photo the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado High Country pickup is unveiled in Detroit. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado features a ground-up redesign that results in a longer, lighter pickup. Weight savings of around 450 pounds should pay dividends for fuel economy and acceleration. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) This undated photo provided by Nissan shows the 2018 Nissan Titan. It offers a 390-horsepower V8 engine as well as an XD version that splits the difference between the capabilities of a regular half-ton truck and a heavy-duty truck. (Courtesy of Nissan North America via AP) 2019 RAM 1500Ram shook up the truck world a decade ago with a new rear suspension design that delivered sedan-like ride comfort without sacrificing capability. A refined, comfortable cabin and advanced tech features made its rivals look like archaic work trucks almost overnight. The rivals have since caught up, but the new Ram, thoroughly overhauled for 2019 and now on sale, continues to innovate.A new frame and body design yield more room for rear passengers and reduce weight by about 200 pounds. The Ram’s V8 engine (395 horsepower) returns with a revamped eight-speed transmission that makes more timely shifts. There’s also a 3.6-liter V6 base engine that will be paired up with an electric-assist system for smoother power and acceleration and a maximum tow capacity of 12,750 pounds. Redesigned front seats, new technology features and an optional 12-inch infotainment display add to the Ram’s winning streak of refinement. The MSRP for a 2019 Ram 1500 crew cab ranges from $34,495 to $56,495. This undated photo provided by General Motors shows the 2019 GMC Sierra. The 2019 Sierra will offer a more upscale interior than the Chevy, along with other exclusive features such as a carbon-fiber cargo box and enhanced technology. (Courtesy of General Motors via AP) With towing capacity of up to 13,200 pounds and up to 25 mpg combined city/highway fuel economy, there’s not much the F-150 can’t do. There’s even the bonkers 450-horsepower Raptor edition that can traverse broad swaths of off-road terrain without breaking a sweat. The MSRP for a 2018 F-150 crew cab ranges from $34,245 to $60,850. The 2019 F-150 is expected to be released later this summer.2018 NISSAN TITANBuilt in Mississippi, the Titan is nearly as American as its domestic rivals despite its Japanese origins. The current Titan was redesigned for 2017 with a bold new look and a new XD model that splits the difference between the capabilities of regular half-ton and heavy-duty pickups. The Titan offers a single 390-horsepower V8 engine and can tow up to 9,740 pounds. The XD version comes with the same V8 or an optional diesel V8 that helps the truck tow up to 12,640 pounds. The 2019 model year marks the start of a new cycle for some of America’s top trucks, led by redesigned pickups from Chevrolet and Ram. Ford’s top-selling F-150 had updates in 2018, and more may be in the offing for 2019. Typically, Japanese truckmakers Nissan and Toyota aren’t far behind with their own updates. Edmunds breaks down what you need to know about today’s crop of full-size pickups. 2019 CHEVROLET SILVERADOArriving at dealers in the fall, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado features a ground-up redesign that results in a longer, lighter pickup. Weight savings of around 450 pounds should pay dividends for fuel economy and acceleration.The new Silverado offers a taller driving position and more room in crew-cab models. It also has the largest cargo box in its class and a power-lowering and -raising tailgate that’s exclusive to the class.The Silverado offers a variety of engines: a V6 (285 horsepower), a V8 (355 horsepower), a larger and stronger V8 (420 horsepower), and a turbocharged four-cylinder (310 horsepower). A six-cylinder diesel arrives in early 2019.The Silverado’s mechanical twin, the GMC Sierra, is also new and goes on sale in the fall. The 2019 Sierra will offer a more upscale interior than the Chevy, along with other exclusive features such as a carbon-fiber cargo box and enhanced technology. The MSRP for a 2019 Silverado crew cab ranges from $34,600 to $53,000.2018 FORD F-150Perennially the top-selling vehicle in America, the F-150 reigns supreme among full-size trucks. Multiple trims and configurations, four engine options, and remarkable capabilities make the F-150 a benchmark. Engines include a new base-level 3.3-liter V6 (290 horsepower), along with two turbo V6 options (325 horsepower or 375 horsepower), a V8 (395 horsepower) and a new diesel V6 (250 horsepower). This photo provided by Toyota shows the 2018 Toyota Tundra. The Tundra can be had with one of two V8 engines. (Courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. via AP) 2018 TOYOTA TUNDRAThe Tundra has gone the longest of any in this group without a full redesign. It’s still plenty capable, offering two V8 engines (310 horsepower and 381 horsepower), two body styles and three bed lengths. It can tow up to 10,200 pounds, carry a 1,730-pound payload and handle itself well off-road. The Tundra also is built in the U.S.The aging Tundra could benefit from a diesel engine (increased towing strength), a smaller turbocharged V6 (better fuel economy) and a thorough technology update. Still, the Tundra has a charm for certain truck buyers. The MSRP for a 2018 Toyota Tundra crew cab ranges from $35,450 to $50,330. The 2019 model arrives in the fall.EDMUNDS SAYS: With new designs from Chevrolet and Ram and further refinements to the venerable F-150, it’s a great time for full-size truck shoppers. Most pickups offer similar capabilities, so look for such qualities as comfort and innovative technology to make a difference. The Titan’s not our first choice among full-size pickups, but it’s roomy and comfortable and it delivers legitimate capability at an attractive price. The MSRP for a 2018 Nissan Titan crew cab ranges from $35,930 to $56,800. The 2019 Nissan Titan arrives this fall. These 6 new SUVs are worth the wait © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This photo provided by Toyota shows the 2018 Toyota Tundra. The Tundra can be had with one of two V8 engines. (Courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. via AP) Citation: Edmunds rounds up latest full-size pickups (2018, July 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-edmunds-rounds-latest-full-size-pickups.htmllast_img read more

Latest Facebook controversy puts heat on number two Sandberg

first_imgFacebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, long seen as a stabilizing force at the company, is facing scrutiny for her role in handling fallout over the social media giant’s response to misinformation efforts 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. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose office has shares in Facebook, said the latest developments highlight the need for an independent board chair to oversee Zuckerberg and Sandberg.”Where is Facebook’s board? The silence from the board of directors in the midst of continuous scandals is deafening,” Stringer tweeted following the Times report on research efforts on Soros.Others defended Sandberg, saying she was correct to look into powerful interests opposing Facebook and noting that Soros—who notoriously made a fortune by betting against the British pound in 1992—is known as a highly sophisticated investor.”FB management would have been absolutely remiss to not look into whether Soros was (again) manipulating a security for personal profit, to the detriment of the FB shareholder,” tweeted Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former Facebook product manager and author of a book on Silicon Valley.”He’s a hedge fund pirate answerable to no one, as bad as anyone on Wall Street. Why wouldn’t they check?”Some questioned whether Sandberg’s story had shifted since she said earlier this month she was unaware that the Facebook had hired Definers Public Affairs to conduct research on company critics.”Despite public claims to the contrary, Sheryl Sandberg knew @facebook had hired Definers to run opposition research,” tweeted the group Freedom From Facebook, one of the activist organizations which has led efforts to regulate or break up the social network. Citation: Latest Facebook controversy puts heat on number two Sandberg (2018, November 30) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-latest-facebook-controversy-sandberg.html Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, seen at a January 2018 meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, has been known for bringing politicam acumen to the social network which is facing increased scrutiny A prominent feminist and author with strong political connections, Sandberg has drawn fire in particular over an embarrassing effort to probe George Soros, the billionaire investor, after he assailed the online network as a “menace to society.”Facebook acknowledged Thursday that Sandberg asked her staff to conduct research on the Hungarian-born billionaire following his remarks early this year, out of concern that he held a “short” position that would profit from a decline in shares.”Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook,” a spokeswoman said, queried by AFP after a New York Times report on the matter.”That research was already underway when Sheryl sent an email asking if Mr. Soros had shorted Facebook’s stock.”Sandberg previously denied the use of nefarious tactics against Facebook critics with the company under fire for enabling the spread of misinformation, including Russian-led propaganda, during the 2016 US election campaign.Stabilizing force, or not? George Soros—who notoriously made a fortune by betting against the British pound in 1992—is known as a highly sophisticated investor Facebook’s number two executive Sheryl Sandberg, long seen as the “adult” at the youthfully-managed firm, has found herself the center of controversy over her role in pushing back at a growing chorus of criticism of the social media giant. “She’s not behaving as the adult she should have been,” Kay said. “Maybe they need another adult in the room.” © 2018 AFP Explore further Facebook says COO Sandberg asked for info on Soros The 49-year-old Sandberg has long been seen as a stabilizing force at Facebook, led by 34-year-old chairman and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, whose early mantra had been to “move fast and break things.”Among the tech whiz kids, Sandberg as chief operating officer offered a steadier hand as a result of her background working for former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the philanthropic arm of Google.Author of the feminist bestseller “Lean In,” Sandberg also drew attention in 2015 after the sudden death of her husband David Goldberg at age 47.Earlier this year she was dispatched to testify in Congress to defend Facebook’s efforts in dealing with misinformation and manipulation, in the wake of a scandal over user data hijacked by the Cambridge Analytica consultancy linked to Donald Trump.But the latest controversy over opposition research raised questions about whether Sandberg is living up to her role.Roger Kay, an analyst and consultant at Endpoint Technologies Associates who follows the tech sector, said the moves by Facebook and Sandberg showed “extraordinarily poor judgment” from a corporate governance view.last_img read more

Are selfdriving cars really the answer for older drivers

first_imgCredit: CC0 Public Domain Citation: Are self-driving cars really the answer for older drivers? (2019, July 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-self-driving-cars-older-drivers.html But driving is also one of the biggest challenges facing older people. Age-related problems with eyesight, motor skills, reflexes, and cognitive ability increase the risk of an accident or collision and the increased frailty of older drivers mean they are more likely to be seriously injured or killed as a result.”In the UK, older drivers are tending to drive more often and over longer distances but as the task of driving becomes more demanding we see them adjust their driving to avoid difficult situations,” explains Dr. Shuo Li, an expert in Intelligent Transport Systems at Newcastle University, UK.”Not driving in bad weather when visibility is poor, avoiding unfamiliar cities or routes and even planning journeys that avoid right-hand turns are some of the strategies we’ve seen older drivers take to minimise risk. But this can be quite limiting for people.”Self-driving cars, says Li, are seen as a potential game-changer for this age group. Fully automated, they are unlikely to require a licence and could negotiate bad weather and unfamiliar cities under all situations without input from the driver.But, says Li, it’s not as clear cut as it seems.”There are several levels of automation, ranging from zero where the driver has complete control, through to level five where the car is in charge,” he explains.”We’re some way off level five but level three may be a trend just around the corner. This will allow the driver to be completely disengaged—they can sit back and watch a film, eat, even talk on the phone.”But, unlike level four or five, there are still some situations where the car would ask the driver to take back control and at that point, they need to be switched on and back in driving mode within a few seconds.”For younger people that switch between tasks is quite easy but as we age, it becomes increasingly more difficult and this is further complicated if the conditions on the road are poor.” 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. Older adults no slower than young adults at taking control of semi-autonomous vehicles Led by Newcastle University’s Professor Phil Blythe and Dr. Li, the Newcastle University team have been researching the time it takes for older drivers to take-back control of an automated car in different scenarios and also the quality of their driving in these different situations.Using the University’s state-of-the-art DriveLAB simulator, 76 volunteers were divided into two different age groups (20-35 and 60-81).They experienced automated driving for a short period and were then asked to ‘take-back’ control of a highly automated car and avoid a stationary vehicle on a motorway, a city road, and in bad weather conditions when visibility was poor.The starting point in all situations was ‘total disengagement’ – turned away from the steering wheel, feet out of the foot well, reading aloud from an iPad.The time taken to re-gain control of the vehicle was measured at three points; when the driver was back in the correct position (reaction time), ‘active input’ such as braking and taking the steering wheel (take-over time), and finally the point at which they registered the obstruction and indicated to move out and avoid it (indicator time).”In clear conditions, the quality of driving was good but the reaction time of our older volunteers was significantly slower than the younger drivers,” says Li. “Even taking into account the fact that the older volunteers in this study were a really active group, it took about 8.3 seconds for them to negotiate the obstacle compared to around 7 seconds for the younger age group. At 60mph that means our older drivers would have needed an extra 35m warning distance—that’s equivalent to the length of 10 cars.”But we also found older drivers tended to exhibit worse takeover quality in terms of operating the steering wheel, the accelerator and the brake, increasing the risk of an accident.”In bad weather, the team saw the younger drivers slow down more, bringing their reaction times more in line with the older drivers, while driving quality dropped across both age groups. In the city scenario, this resulted in 20 collisions and critical encounters among the older participants compared to 12 among the younger drivers.The research team also explored older drivers’ opinions and requirements towards the design of automated vehicles after gaining first-hand experience with the technologies on the driving simulator.Older drivers were generally positive towards automated vehicles but said they would want to retain some level of control over their automated cars. They also felt they required regular updates from the car, similar to a SatNav, so the driver has an awareness of what’s happening on the road and where they are even when they are busy with another activity.The research team are now looking at what changes and improvement could be made to the vehicles to overcome some of these problems and better support older drivers when the automated cars hit our roads.Newcastle University’s Professor Phil Blythe, who led the study and is the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department for Transport, said:”I believe it is critical that we understand how new technology can support the mobility of older people and, more importantly, that new transport systems are designed to be age friendly and accessible.”The research here on older people and the use of automated vehicles is only one of many questions we need to address regarding older people and mobility.”Two pillars of the Government’s Industrial strategy are the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge and the Ageing Society Grand Challenge.”Newcastle University is at the forefront of ensuring that these challenges are fused together to ensure we shape future mobility systems for the older traveller, who will be expecting to travel well into their eighties and nineties.” With more of us living longer, driving is becoming increasingly important in later life, helping us to stay independent, socially connected and mobile. 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In pictures Fourstorey building in Mumbai collapses many feared trapped

first_imgOther Galleries 7 images Fri, 12 Jul, 2019 Special tanker train reaches drought-hit Chennai with water: IN PHOTOS 6 images Thu, 04 Jul, 2019 Devotees take part in annual Jagannath Rath Yatra| See pics 6 images Tue, 02 Jul, 2019 In Photos: Security personnel conduct route march after clashes in Delhi’s Hauz QaziOther Photogallery CategoriesIndiaMoviesLifestyleTelevisionAdd new comment Your name * E-mail * The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Comment *More information about text formatsPlain textNo HTML tags allowed.Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.Lines and paragraphs break automatically.647×363: 483×271: 370×208: 170×96: 88×50: Section: PhotoIndiaGallery Image: Image: Caption: ‘Kesarbai’ building in Mumbai’s Dongri area collapsed at around 11:40 am today.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 1Image: Caption: At least 40 people are feared trapped under the debris of the four-storey building.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 2Image: Caption: Fire tender and NDRF teams carrying out rescue operation to pull out trapped people from the debris.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 3Image: Caption: Aerial view of the collapsed building in Mumbai’s Dongri area.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 4Image: Caption: Fire tender, police officials and NDRF teams carrying out rescue operation to pull out trapped people from the debris.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 5Image: Caption: The building was situated in a congested, crowded neighbourhood with structures on all four sides.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 6Image: Caption: An eyewitnesses saud that the building housed around nine families with over 40 people.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 7Image: Caption:  Locals were seen forming a human chain to clear debris with their bare hands.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 8Image: Caption: Rescue operations are on to pull out the people trapped under the debris.Thumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 9Image: Caption: Several people are feared dead in the incident.Thumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 10Image: Caption: Rescue teams pulling out a survivor from the debris.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 11Image: Caption: The building was situated in a congested area, which is hampering the rescue operation.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 12Image: Caption: Fire tenders and NDRF teams carrying out an extensive rescue operation to retrieve as many survivors as possible.Syndication: SyndicationThumb Image: Enable: EnableOrder: 13Source type: photogalleryShort description: In a tragic incident, a four-storey building in Mumbai’s Dongri area collapsed on Tuesday morning. At least 40 people are feared trapped under the debris of the building. The ground-plus-four-storey ‘Kesarbai’ building, located on Tandel Street, crashed around 11.40 am.Syndicate: YesPreview_unique_id: preview_5d2d9192be9701563267474_1569982_editCommentContent Publish date: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 – 13:00Story Extra Data: eyJzZWN0aW9uIjpbIjEyMDY1NzgiLCIxMjA4NTIxIl0sImNhdGVnb3J5IjpudWxsLCJzdWJfY2F0ZWdvcnkiOm51bGwsInN1Yl9zdWJfY2F0ZWdvcnkiOm51bGwsInN1Yl9zdWJfc3ViX2NhdGVnb3J5IjpudWxsLCJwcmltYXJ5X2NhdGVnb3J5IjoiMTIwNjU3OCJ9770x433: Short Headline: In pictures: Four-storey building in Mumbai collapses, many feared trappedApp headline: In pictures: Four-storey building in Mumbai collapses, many feared trapped1200x675:last_img read more

AP CM to visit Singapore from July 810

first_imgJuly 06, 2018 Published on SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT COMMENTS Singapore Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is to undertake a three-day tour of Singapore from July 8 to participate in the World Cities Summit Mayors’ Forum (WCSMF), according to a press release. He will hold discussions with delegates and dignitaries from different countries on his plans to develop Amaravati as a world-class capital.The WCSMF is organised in Singapore once in two years. Mayors from over 120 cities are expected to participate in the meeting aimed at developing smart cities. The Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) will set up a pavilion at the venue site with the cooperation of the AP Economic Development Board. State Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu, Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana and senior officials will accompany the Chief Minister. SHARElast_img read more

Delhis pollution level remains severe as thick haze engulfs national capital

first_imgThick smog hangs over Delhi NCR on Thursday, a day after Diwali was celebrated with bursting of crackers far beyond the two-hour limit set by the Supreme Court. Photo: RV Moorthy SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT COMMENTS November 09, 2018 Published oncenter_img Overall air quality index recorded at 426 Delhi’s pollution level remained ‘severe’ for the second day as a thick haze engulfed the national capital, even as authorities said there was significant improvement in the air quality compared to Thursday.According to data by the Central Pollution Control Board, the overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 426 which falls in the ‘severe’ category. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said the city’s air quality has “improved significantly” since Thursday, but the recovery was slow due to low surface wind speed.“At present, it continued to be in ‘severe’ but likely to improve further and will become ‘very poor’ by afternoon and will improve further by Saturday. The contribution of PM2.5 in PM10, which was 75 per cent on Thursday (against normal 55 per cent), has been reducing,” SAFAR said.It also said contribution to the PM2.5 pollution due to stubble emission was marginal. According to CPCB data, about 28 areas in Delhi recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while four areas recorded ‘very poor’ air quality. On Friday, the PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 272 µgm-3.According to SAFAR, the PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) level was recorded six times the permissable limit at 422 µgm-3. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”. AQI above 500 falls in the “severe-plus emergency” category.Delhi’s air quality on Thursday went off the charts to ‘severe plus’ emergency category as smog caused due to smoke from firecrackers engulfed the national capital. The overall AQI was recorded in the “severe plus emergency” category at 642, according to SAFAR data. The sharp spike in pollution on Thursday was caused by rampant burning of firecrackers that had led to the formation of a smoky layer across the national capital and drastically reduced the visibility, the authorities said. air pollution SHARE Delhilast_img read more