first_img After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Margaret Mascarenhas, Margaret Mascarenhas dead, Margaret Mascarenhas books, who is Margaret Mascarenhas, Margaret Mascarenhas cancer Margaret Mascarenhas passed away in Goa (Source: Wikipedia)Popular author Margaret Mascarenhas passed away on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday in Goa. Mascarenhas was known for her diasporic novel Skin (2001) and The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos (2009). Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Top News Advertising By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 16, 2019 11:37:09 am Post Comment(s) The writer, who was in her late 50s, is suspected to have died of cancer.Born in the US, Mascarenhas was of Goan ethnicity. She had been living in Panaji for the past few years. In Goa, she co-founded the Blue Shores Prison Art Project, a prison art curriculum designed for inmates that focused on teaching creative writing to inmates. She was also on the Advisory Boards of the Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts and Goa Photo. Apart from this, she mentored writers through workshops and other events.Mascarenhas was reportedly working on her third novel Just Another Car Bomb (working title) set in Beirut.last_img read more


first_imgFour towns along the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers were in danger of being inundated as the rivers rose, the Department of Disaster Management said. “We are working together with local authorities helping the people and providing food,” said the department’s director, Phyu Lai Lai Htun.More people were expected to be forced from their homes on Monday, she said.Heavy downpours hit the tropical Southeast Asian country during the May-October rainy season, often triggering flooding. The northern state of Kachin was the worst affected, with 14,000 people forced from their homes near the banks of the Ayeyarwady river. Related News As India builds houses, Myanmar to reach out to Rohingya in Bangladesh By Reuters |Yangon (myanmar) | Published: July 15, 2019 1:46:34 pm Explained: Where are the world’s stateless people? Advertising Explained: The Hague rules on Kulbhushan Jadhav today Media published photographs showing submerged houses, vehicles and roads in Myitkyina, the state’s capital.Flooding also forced 3,000 people in the western Rakhine state to relocate, the disaster management department said.They included some of the thousands displaced by fighting between the military and the Arakan Army insurgent group since late last year, according to Tun Aung Kyaw, secretary of the Arakan National Party, who visited a camp for several hundred displaced people near the ancient city of Mrauk-U.“The whole camp is flooded and people are desperately in need of immediate shelter and food,” he told Reuters by telephone. myanmar floods, myanmar monsoon, myanmar rain, myanmar rainfall, myanmar heavy rain, monsoon floods, world news, indian express news Flooding also forced 3,000 people in the western Rakhine state to relocate, the disaster management department said. (File Photo)Days of heavy monsoon rain and dangerously high river levels in Myanmar have forced more than 18,000 people from their homes and flooded at least one camp for people displaced by recent fighting, authorities and a politician said on Monday.center_img Myanmar has restricted access to the conflict zone for most international aid agencies.The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a Facebook post it was helping the government respond to the flooding, while the Myanmar Red Cross, aid groups and private donors were also aiding the victims.“We are working closely with authorities and stand ready to support the government’s response,” Knut Ostby, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, said on Twitter. Best Of Express Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Advertising India and Myanmar forces coordinate to destroy NE insurgent camps across border NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Post Comment(s)last_img read more


first_imgInternet Reacts Seeing Through the Transparency Claim Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. YouTube’s Response YouTube “updated its policies to a simpler and more transparent system because of complaints from creators that the community guidelines strike system felt inconsistent and confusing,” CEO Susan Wojcicki said last month.Every creator would get a one-time warning providing the opportunity to learn about YouTube’s policies before being penalized, she added.YouTube on Wednesday tweeted that it had suspended the monetization of Crowder’s channel “because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies.”Demonetizing Crowder’s channel “was a subjective call, likely driven by an assessment of the political situation,” Jude suggested.”Many conservative organizations regard YouTube as being liberal and intolerant of conservative views,” he said. “Perhaps this was a way for YouTube to demonstrate that it tolerates both sides.”Users and advertisers who object to YouTube’s approach can simply “vote with their feet,” Page 1’s Goldstein said. “Ultimately, these companies will only change if failure to change will negatively impact their financials.” YouTube on Wednesday demonetized the account of right-wing commentator Steven Crowder following widespread indignation over its initial response to his attacks on Vox host Carlos Maza.Update on our continued review–we have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies. More here: https://t.co/VmOce5nbGy— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 5, 2019Crowder for years has attacked Maza, host of Vox’s Strikethrough series. Crowder’s homophobic and racist comments often spurred mass social media attacks and other abuse against Maza.Maza repeatedly flagged Crowder’s vitriolic YouTube videos, but his reports apparently went unheeded until late last month, when he posted a tweet that went viral.Since I started working at Vox, Steven Crowder has been making video after video “debunking” Strikethrough. Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity. Here’s a sample: pic.twitter.com/UReCcQ2Elj— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019 YouTube on Tuesday responded with a tweet stating an in-depth review of Crowder’s flagged videos found language “that was clearly hurtful,” but it went on to say that “the videos as posted don’t violate our policies.”As an open platform, “it’s crucial for us to allow everyone … to express their opinions within the scope of our policies,” YouTube said. Opinions “can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.” YouTube’s Policies YouTube does not endorse or support the viewpoints expressed in videos on its platform, it said.YouTube declined comment when approached by various reporters on the issue.It did offer to explain its decision on background to The Verge, which is owned by Vox Media, but editor-in-chief Nilay Patel turned down the offer because YouTube would not go on the record.”I believe that YouTube missed an opportunity here to be more transparent in the way it interprets and enforces its stated policies,” said Dan Goldstein, president of Page 1 Solutions.Like other social media platforms, YouTube “has an obligation to clearly state its policies on harassment and privacy,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Once stated, it must enforce them, or users won’t respect the boundaries.”YouTube did not shut the door on further action Tuesday, tweeting “there are other aspects of the channel that we’re still evaluating. We’ll be in touch with any further updates.” YouTube’s harassment and cyberbullying policy bars content or behavior intended to maliciously harass, threaten or bully others, including the following: Revealing someone’s personal information — although posting widely available public information, such as a public official’s office phone number, is allowed;Content deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone;Content that makes hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person;Content that incites others to harass or threaten individuals on or off YouTube; andSexualizing or degrading an individual who is engaged or present in an otherwise non-sexual context.YouTube will remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on various attributes, including the following:EthnicityGender identityNationalityRaceSexual orientationCrowder’s attacks on Maza appear to have breached both policies.However, what one person considers hurtful another might think of as spirited debate, said Michael Jude, program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.YouTube should “define a standard that satisfies everyone,” he told TechNewsWorld, but “I don’t think that’s possible given the subjective nature of what they’re attempting to control.” YouTube’s initial tweet in response to Maza sparked widespread outrage.Just say you make towering piles of cash off hate and be done with it. Stop insulting our intelligence— Ashoka Mukpo (@unkyoka) June 5, 2019Hi, @TeamYouTube.Your policies are bad.Please change them so that you AT LEAST demonetize harassers (instead of the harassed, as you do now).Thanks in advance.— Arthur Bárbaro (@ArthurBarbaro) June 5, 2019Surely anything that constitutes hate speech – which is not protected in law under free speech – should be in violation of your policies?— Folarin Akinmade (@A_King_Made) June 5, 2019And to be clear, Crowder is a hundred percent using hate speech. For the slurs alone, this isn’t in question— Folarin Akinmade (@A_King_Made) June 5, 2019″Your policies are bullsh*t then,” tweeted Melissa Dunphy, whose handle is @mormolyke.”Calling someone ‘Lispy sprite’ is harassment,” tweeted Julian Nader Saliani, whose handle is @salianij. “Saying ‘you’re being given a free pass as a crappy writer because you’re gay’ is harassment. Calling someone ‘Little queer’ is harassment. Calling someone ‘Mr. Gay Vox’ is harassment.”Media stories about YouTube’s initial response on Tuesday were overwhelmingly negative.Crowder on Monday posted what he called an apology on YouTube, but he used the video to level a broad round of insults against numerous targets, couched in disingenuous poker-faced sarcasm.last_img read more


first_imgTesla Quality Top Gear used to be one of the most popular automotive shows in the world until one of its hosts slugged a producer for not having the right food and the entire cast left.Every week the show hosts pretty much abused themselves, and a bunch of cars, for our humorous enjoyment. It was the most popular car show in the world. The hosts were not race car drivers, mechanics, or automotive engineers. They were basically comedians using cars as a vehicle to entertain a lot of people.They liked some cars (Jaguars, Porsche, etc.) and were generally down on American iron and one or two European brands. When they tested the Tesla sports car they didn’t like it. I can’t blame them, because when I tested the Tesla sports car I didn’t like it either.Based on a Lotus, which isn’t known for reliability but is known to be one of the best track cars on the planet, it was kind of a rattling mess that sucked on a road track but would kick butt 0-60.They didn’t like the car, so Tesla — instead of taking their opinion in stride — sued the show. The company lost (apparently its similar fight with The New York Times played a role), but the litigationfocused people on the review that damaged Tesla’s image, not only as a car company but as a rebel brand. Rebels don’t sue comedians. Solar City, another Elon Musk company, recently was in danger of going under. To save the firm, Tesla bought it. Tesla, which has been unprofitable, increased its risk of failure by absorbing another unprofitable company. Two unprofitable companies, when added together, don’t make a profitable company.For the most part, the deal put more pressure on Tesla’s income statement, further reduced its reserves, increased the firm’s complexity, and made it less likely to survive. Now there should be a reasonably high synergy between solar power and electric cars, but that synergy has not emerged yet at Tesla. (Also, Solar Cityhas been having execution problems of its own.) In the U.S. dealers move cars. On much of the East Coast, the folks who own dealerships are politicians. Tesla rolled to market with a company store model that was at least as problematic as coming to market with an electric car.It meant Tesla had to set up and fund the entire sales channel as opposed to recruiting dealers that largely would self-fund the effort. The politicians who owned dealerships moved against Tesla and were able to pass laws barring Tesla stores in some states. Granted much of this activity was anticompetitive and should have been illegal, but it still created a huge drag on sales and expansion, which a new car company doesn’t need.Oh, and the stores, based on recent reports, perform very poorly compared to the traditional dealerships with regard to selling cars. Tesla recently announced that it was developing its own autonomous car processor and planned to displace its primary vendor of this technology, Nvidia. As noted, Tesla currently is short on operating funds and it recently has begun to beg suppliers for kickbacks in order to save the company.To create Nvidia’s current autonomous car platform (which is 10x the speed of the one Tesla currently uses) took five years and around US$2B (or about what Tesla now has in short term assets).They has neither the time nor the money, and this is an area in which it can’t scrimp on quality. At a time when the firm should be husbanding its cash and focused like a laser on getting the company profitable, why start an expensive development process to reinvent a very expensive component?In addition, it faces a bigger problem: charging infrastructure, particularly in city centers. Currently folks have mixed opinions on autonomous driving, but all seem to agree that the fear of not being able to charge an electric vehicle is one of the biggest concerns limiting sales. While the Tesla S and Model 3 are really good cars in their respective segments (initial quality aside), the Model X made almost no sense whatsoever. (Consumer Reports called it “Fast and Flawed.”) The easy path to creating a good SUV is to start with something like a Land Rover in terms of design target and then refine it to make the result uniquely yours.The Jaguar F-Pace is a good example, in that it borrows from the Range Rover with features but has more of a performance/design focus allowing it to stand out against its Range Rover peer. Granted, it helps that Tata Motors owns both Jaguar and Range Rover.SUVs basically are more masculine minivans, which means they need to be very reliable, they need to be as effective as trucks (carrying both people and materials), and they need offroad skills (that folks mostly won’t use but do consider when buying).Instead, what Tesla appeared to create was a pregnant Model S. Initially, the back seats didn’t even fold down, so you couldn’t use it to carry materials. It had gull wing doors that had a very high failure rate (way too complex), a windshield that was wicked expensive to replace — but so big that getting hit by a rock was a given — and no offroad chops at all. In short, it was an SUV that sucked at being an SUV. How do you miss THAT meeting? The Autopilot Fiasco Tesla vs. Top Gear There is something about having the most powerful processor in the world running on your rig that is just wicked cool, particularly if you are into water cooling. Practically, if you aren’t an engineer, graphics artist, video/photo editor, or massive strategy game player (and by massive, I mean big games like Ashes of the Singularity, which use a tone of resources), then you don’t need this part.Need and want are two very different things, however. If need prevailed, we’d all drive Smart Cars and the market for performance cars wouldn’t exist.Granted, you’d still need a top graphics card from AMD or Nvidia and an equally cool case, but the result would be a level of performance that you just couldn’t get on the desk till now.My favorite combination, at least from a branding perspective, is AMD Threadripper + Nvidia Titan. When you put the two together, “Titan Threadripper,” it just sounds impressively fast.I wonder how long it will be before AMD creates a Threadripper-like graphics card? I’m thinking Annihilation, so you’d end up with an Annihilation Threadripper box.In any case I’m all about performance, and since the AMD Threadripper is the highest-performing processor in market, it is my product of the week. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. Given its size and influence, Tesla’s failure would be catastrophic for a number of reasons. It likely would slow significantly the development of electric cars, which are needed to combat global warming (watching California burn this month has certainly driven that need home).It likely would begin a cascade of failures across Musk’s other companies, like SpaceX, which could find it difficult to raise necessary operating funds.It could cause a sudden change in the stock market, influencing it to become excessively conservative, resulting in a massive broad market correction. It could significantly set back innovation in the U.S automotive industry, accelerating a shift to China as the next big automotive superpower.The way to fix the company is to stop it from shooting itself in the foot. Get it to avoid unnecessary fights, focus it on profits, bring up quality, reduce distractions and crazy behavior, and operate like a real business, which means making some hard decisions about the names that are used and the sales channel that isn’t working well. Tesla doesn’t have a ton of time.By the way, it struck me to look at Tesla’s board of directors. Ironically, there is not a single car, manufacturing, sales, or transportation expert on it. I think I’ve just found the core of Tesla’ problems. Tesla is trending to fail spectacularly. (CEO Elon Musk actually has an impressive failure history.) Tesla has been burning cash at an unsustainable rate, and it keeps making avoidable mistakes that weaken it.Here’s what is weird: You’d think the firm’s biggest problem would be that every large car maker was working behind the scenes to kill it. However, with the exception of the dealerships (which I’ll get to), the car companies for the most part appear to have worked harder to emulate Tesla than to destroy it.I expect that if Tesla fails, all fingers will point to Musk and the executive team as problems because we focus more on blame than understanding the cause of a mistake. This is problematic, because folks then don’t learn from mistakes — they just learn to dodge blame and avoid risks, which would be the wrong lesson to take away from this.In short, Tesla’s biggest problem is itself.I’ll explain and then close with my product of the week: the Threadripper 2 processor from AMD — 32 cores of amazing! When I was growing up, a story about cruise control made the rounds. One version went like this: A guy came to the U.S. and wanted to tour the country on the road. He rented an RV, and when getting a briefing about the features, asked about the cruise control. The sales guy told him it was kind of like a plane’s autopilot. So, the guy went out on the road, set the cruise control, and went back to make some coffee. It ended really badly for the driver, the RV and the rental company.The industry lesson, whether these incidents actually took place or not, was “don’t call cruise control ‘autopilot,'” because people will do stupid things.So, what does Tesla call its adaptive cruise control? “Autopilot.” The feature has been implicated in some fatalities, and Consumer Reports evenasked Tesla to change the name. Tesla refused. One wonders whether Tesla would rather have dead customers then have to change a foolish name. Solar City Tesla X Self-Driving Capability One of the big advantages Tesla had was in approaching the market with nearly a clean slate. However, in manufacturing, decades have gone into creating processes that result in high-quality cars. What a lot of us thought Tesla did was just get rid of the processes that made no sense in their ramp-up to manufacture cars, but what it appears to have done is start everything from scratch. That resulted in relatively low quality for the initial runs of every car Tesla made.You’d think that by the time the Model 3 was released, this issue would have been sorted, but quality issues surrounding the Model 3 seem to be in line with, if not worse than, those that plagued the Model S initially.Adapting quality controls and accountability in line with Toyota should have been a goal for the firm, but apparently it was not. There is no price point where adequate quality is optional. In addition, because problems related to fit and finish, consistency in materials, and panel gaps had to be corrected in the field under warranty, Tesla’s ability to generate a profit was significantly compromised. Quality should have been job one. Instead, it constantly appeared to be an afterthought. For a luxury brand, being ranked toward the bottom on quality is never good. AMD Threadripper 2 Going private isn’t a bad idea. It worked really well for Dell. However, Dell was profitable, and assets exceeded liabilities, which means there was such a thing as stockholder equity.However, Tesla’s liabilities exceed assets by billions, which means there isn’t such a thing as stockholder equity. So how do you fund the effort? More importantly, bringing up the possibility — which did spike the stock and really screw with short sellers — has triggered scrutiny of Tesla’s financials and caused a lot of mini-heart attacks based on what people saw. It also may have triggered an SEC investigation, and those seldom end well.Both things could scare customers away from Tesla at a time when they are desperately needed to get the company into the black before the cash reserves run out. Going Private Dealer Issues Just the name “Threadripper” brings a smile to my face, and the part currently is the most desirable desktop processor in the market. Even the old 16-core version provided more performance than most folks ever would need. This current 32-core (64 thread) version pushes that envelope even more. Wrapping Up last_img read more


first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 14 2018Dr. Marise Parent, professor and associate director of the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University, has received a three-year, $1.2 million federal grant to study how brain areas involved in memory control eating behavior.The grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health will be used to explore how the hippocampus, a brain structure that is critical for memory and learning, inhibits eating behavior at a biochemical level. The project’s ultimate goal is to identify new pharmacological and behavioral strategies for treating diet-induced obesity and other eating-related disorders.Parent is the principal investigator for the project. Georgia State collaborators include Dr. Daniel Cox, associate professor in the Neuroscience Institute, and Dr. Aaron Roseberry, associate professor in the Department of Biology, in addition to a scientist from the University of Iowa.Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaParent and her colleagues hypothesize that memory can be a powerful tool for controlling eating behavior because it provides a record of recent energy intake that likely outlasts most physiological signals generated by a meal.”When you decide what you’re going to eat, how much you’re going to eat and if you’re going to eat now, often those decisions are influenced by your memory of what you’ve recently eaten,” Parent said. “Your memory can keep a really good record of what you’ve just eaten and influence your future eating behavior, but we don’t know which brain areas accomplish this and how it is achieved at the biochemical level. That’s what we’ll study with this grant.”Scientists recognize the brain influences humans to eat when there’s a need or deficiency and to feel good or experience pleasure.”We have been arguing that it is important to consider the role of other kinds of controls in the brain that we call cognitive controls,” Parent said. “Those might actually be more easily modified by intervention, so we should really understand how those work if we want to understand problems associated with overeating or undereating. If you don’t understand how brain areas involved in cognition control eating, then your understanding of how the brain controls eating is incomplete.”The other piece that’s interesting is that if you damage the hippocampus, it turns out you’ll eat sooner and you’ll overeat. A lot of things damage your hippocampus, like obesity, PTSD, depression, alcoholism and stress. So, all of those things might contribute to overeating through a novel mechanism that hasn’t been previously considered, by actually impairing your memory and impairing the functioning of this brain area.”Source: https://news.gsu.edu/2018/11/13/researcher-gets-1-2-million-federal-grant-to-study-how-brain-controls-eating-behavior/?last_img read more


first_img Source:http://www2.cnrs.fr/presse/communique/5741.htm Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 15 2018To protect neurons and limit the damage after a stroke, researchers from the CNRS, the University of Caen-Normandie, University Paris-Est Créteil, and the company OTR3 have pursued an innovative path: targeting the matrix that surrounds and supports brain cells. Their results, just published in the journal Theranostics, have confirmed this strategy on rats, and will lead to a clinical study between now and late 2019. With over 300 cases per day in France, stroke is the leading cause of handicap among adults, and the second cause of death. 80 to 85% are caused by the occlusion of a cerebral artery by a blood clot (ischemic stroke), with nearby neurons dying because of oxygen deprivation. The only existing treatment involves eliminating the blood clot, which is only possible during the first few hours following a stroke, and consequently available only for a minority of patients. Moreover, brain lesions can persist and worsen long after the start of a stroke, with no treatment being currently available to slow them, or to improve functional recovery.Related StoriesPeople who worked long hours have higher risk of stroke, shows studyUse of statins linked to reduction of mortality risk in dementia patientsStem cell stimulation shows promise as potential stroke treatmentNumerous avenues of research are studying how to protect neurons from this degeneration. However, treatments attacking this degeneration have only met with clinical failure, which prompted a team led by a CNRS researcher, Myriam Bernaudin, to take an interest in a little explored domain: the environment of the cells, known as the extracellular matrix. This matrix, which offers the cells structural support and houses growth factors, ends up being disorganized following a stroke, thereby amplifying neuronal death. The team from the laboratory Imagerie et stratégies thérapeutiques des pathologies cérébrales et tumorales (CNRS/UNICAEN/CEA) thus approached colleagues specializing in the extracellular matrix at the laboratory Croissance, réparation et régénération tissulaires (CNRS/UPEC), along with the biotechnology company OTR3, which had already brought to market “matrix therapy” treatments for the healing of cutaneous or corneal ulcers.The researchers demonstrated on rats the effectiveness of this new approach in protecting the brain and improving functional recovery after an ischemic stroke. The intravenous injection of an agent that mimics certain structural components of the extracellular matrix, known as heparan sulfates, protects and reconstitutes this matrix, promotes the development of new neurons and the regeneration of blood vessels, and improves the recovery of sensory and motor functions.It is therefore a promising avenue for limiting the aftereffects of a stroke, one that would complement existing techniques for eliminating blood clots. Pilot clinical trials should begin between now and late 2019.last_img read more


Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 18 2018A federal court ordered a Michigan-based food manufacturer to discontinue selling food products until the company complies with federal regulations and other requirements. This action follows several inspections conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which found Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) in the company’s food preparation area.U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney for the Western District of Michigan entered a consent decree of permanent injunction on Nov. 30, 2018, between the U.S. and Saranac Brand Foods, and the company’s co-owners, Dennis M. Nowak and Daniel R. Nowak. Saranac Brand Foods specialized in manufacturing a variety of 35 different ready-to-eat foods including prepared salads, dips and sauces.The consent decree prohibits the defendants from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling and/or distributing foods at or from their facility, or any other facility, until certain requirements are met. The defendants told the court they discontinued all food operations in August 2018 and intend to dissolve the company. If the defendants choose to resume operations, the consent decree requires them to notify the FDA and take corrective actions before resuming operations.”The FDA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have documented a pattern of food safety violations at this facility. The inappropriate and unsafe practices of Saranac Brand Foods. not only violated the law, but also put consumers in harm’s way,” said FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Melinda Plaisier. “This type of behavior is unacceptable to the FDA and is why we took action to prevent the defendants from introducing contaminated or potentially contaminated food products into the marketplace.”Related StoriesLean manufacturing methods spur innovations in the testing of drug delivery devicesNew personalized prosthetic liners could help more amputees walk againResearchers improve training modules for future surgeons with 3D printingAccording to the complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the FDA, FDA and state officials inspected the facility several times since 2012 and found L. mono in the facility during three separate inspections. The inspections also documented that the defendants were processing food under insanitary conditions, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). L. mono is a pathogenic bacterium that can cause listeriosis, a rare but potentially life-threatening illness. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women and developing fetuses are particularly susceptible to listeriosis.In August 2016, the FDA issued the defendants a Warning Letter, informing them of the L. mono contamination and objectionable conditions at the facility. The Warning Letter emphasized the serious nature of the deficiencies and stated that it was the defendants’ responsibility to ensure that their products comply with the FD&C Act. In November 2017, the FDA’s investigators issued the defendants a list of inspectional observations that identified insanitary conditions observed during a follow-up inspection.Consumers are encouraged to contact the FDA to report problems with any FDA-regulated products.The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products. Source:https://www.fda.gov read more


first_imgImage Credit: Lori Werhane By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJan 9 2019A new study has shown that adults with ASD are better at detecting relief and regret on the faces of others compared to those who do not have the condition. The results of the study were published in the latest issue of the journal Autism Research. Source:https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aur.2056center_img Lead author Heather Ferguson, from the department of neurolinguistics, semantics and syntax at the University of Kent, in a statement said, “We have shown that, contrary to previous research that has highlighted the difficulties adults with autism experience with empathy and perspective-taking, people with autism possess previously overlooked strengths in processing emotions.”Related StoriesAtypical eating behaviors may indicate autismTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTProblem behaviors may provide clues on gastrointestinal issues in children with autismThe team looked at 48 adult participants – 24 with and 24 without ASD. The participants were given to read a story about a person who experiences regret or relief. They used eye-tracking methods to assess the reactions of the participants. In the story the protagonist or the person makes a decision that leads to a good or a bad outcome and the mood at the end of the result is summer up as “happy or annoyed”. If the final emotion did not match up to the narrative of the story, the participants were confused and either spent more time re-reading the passage or looked back at the previous sentences for clues. This meant that the participant was trying to make sense of the story that seemed absurd. For example one of the stories said in details how a woman decided to buy the shoes she loved and then she was annoyed. The ey tracking helped the team detect the emotional and neurological responses to the story.The team explained that most of the participants could predict the end of the story saying if the protagonist would be relieved or feel regret. This is called “counterfactual thinking”. There have been studies showing that people with ASD have a disrupted counterfactual thinking. This study refutes those findings. The researchers found that people with ASD were somehow better than those without in this form of thinking.Authors conclude, “Thus, our findings reveal that adults with ASD can employ sophisticated processes to adopt someone else’s perspective, and use this in real-time as the reference for future processing… These findings suggest that the previously observed difficulty with complex counterfactual emotions may be tied specifically to difficulties with the explicit expression of emotions rather than any difficulty experiencing them implicitly at a neurocognitive level.”last_img read more


first_imgUsing an infrared binocular eye tracker, the researchers collected gaze pattern data of 57 patients with FXS at baseline and following three months of blinded treatment. Participants were between 12 and 45 years old, had an IQ below 70, and were randomly assigned to receive either one of three doses of mavoglurant (25mg, 50mg, or 100mg) or placebo.The study found that patients treated with mavoglurant looked significantly more at the eye regions of the human faces relative to baseline and compared to those treated with a placebo. Also, participants on the treatment had greater pupil dilation as a sign of reactivity to faces relative to baseline and to participants taking the placebo. David Hessl The results of the study, published in PLOS ONE, present the first clinical evidence that this class of drugs improves eye gaze behavior and alters reactivity to faces in patients with FXS.Gaze avoidance, a hallmark feature of FXS, reflects social anxiety and interferes with social engagement and social-emotional development. Individuals with FXS make less eye contact, look less at the eye region of human faces and have greater pupil reactivity to emotional faces, when compared to typically developing individuals. These objective indicators serve as biomarkers that appear to be sensitive to the treatment. This by itself is encouraging on the biomarker development side, and hopefully will open others’ eyes to the possibility that the mGluR theory and modulation might still be clinically and scientifically relevant for people with fragile X.”David Hessl Source:https://health.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/contenthub/13502 Related StoriesOlder adults with low circulating vitamin K levels more likely to develop mobility limitation, disabilityRevolutionary cancer drugs that target any tumor to be fast-tracked into hospitals by NHSPortable device attached to smartphone can diagnose eye disease remotelyBerry-Kravis is currently leading a study funded by NIH through the NeuroNext network to evaluate the effects of Mavoglurant on language learning in 3-6-year-old kids with fragile X in a new trial design. Hessl is leading the eye tracking portion of this trial.“The eye tracking study supports the plan in our NeuroNext study to evaluate the drug effects on learning, also a core feature of FXS, in children who may have more potential for improving the learning ability relative to older patients.”FXS is an X chromosome-linked genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems including learning disabilities and cognitive impairment. FXS occurs in approximately 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 8,000 females and is associated with significant reduction or complete absence of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP).The manifestations of the disorder vary and consist of physical features, intellectual disability, autism or autistic-like behaviors. It also includes high rates of anxiety and social withdrawal, inattention and distractibility, disinhibition and impulsivity, hyperactivity, aggression and self-injury.center_img Earlier clinical trials with humans failed to show improvement in teenagers and adult patients with FXS. With a series of failures to show significant behavioral improvement over placebo in clinical trials, this study provides support that mavoglurant can be a promising drug that may impact a core behavioral feature of FXS and can encourage researchers to look at different trial designs. Jan 22 2019First clinical study of mavoglurant to show positive effect in humans Researchers at MIND Institute at UC Davis and Rush University Medical Center have found that mavoglurant, an experimental drug known as a mGluR5 negative modulator, can positively modify a key characteristic behavior in individuals with fragile X syndrome (FXS). Social anxiety is one of the most important manifestations of FXS. Gaze avoidance is a pretty good indicator of this social anxiety or avoidance, and that can be measured with an eye tracker. One issue facing our field is the lack of validated biomarkers that can help us determine whether a treatment has engaged its target and is having any effect on behavior. Sensitive laboratory-based biobehavioral measures can be useful tools for detecting targeted treatment-related responses.”David Hessl, clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a researcher at the MIND Institute Mavoglurant appears to target a core problem in FXS patients.This type of drug has been one of the most studied ever in preclinical models of developmental disability. It has produced improvement in the fragile X mouse, fly and rat models. Yet these findings could not be extrapolated to human trials. The findings in this study suggest the drug is targeting the brain and has an effect on FXS. The eye tracking test may be a biomarker indicating that the trials completed thus far may not be looking at the right outcomes.”Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, pediatric neurologist at Rush University Medical Center and co-author of the paperlast_img read more


first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 1 2019For patients undergoing “tummy tuck” surgery (abdominoplasty), satisfaction with the aesthetic outcome is the main factor affecting whether they write a positive or negative online review for their plastic surgeon, reports the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).But interactions with office staff and postoperative follow-up by the surgeon also influence plastic surgery ratings on online review sites, according to the study by ASPS Member Surgeon John Y.S. Kim, MD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues.Just Three Percent Rate of Negative Online Ratings after AbdominoplastyThe researchers analyzed ratings of plastic surgeons on three popular review sites: Google, Yelp, and RealSelf, which is dedicated to plastic/cosmetic surgery ratings. The study included nearly 800 reviews written by patients who underwent abdominoplasty in six metropolitan areas: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Miami.Dr. Kim and colleagues performed a quantitative analysis to identify statistically significant themes affecting patient satisfaction after abdominoplasty. Across the three sites, 86 percent of reviews were positive (4 or 5 stars) and 14 percent were negative (1 or 2 stars). Source:http://home.lww.com/news.entry.html/2019/02/28/online_reviews_after-jY40.html Good aesthetic outcomes were the “dominant driver” of positive reviews. “No patient who reported being happy with their aesthetic results left a negative review, indicating that a good aesthetic outcome virtually guarantees a positive review,” the researchers write. Interactions with office staff were the next most important factor – all reviews mentioning negative staff interactions were negative reviews.t Postoperative care and follow-up by the plastic surgeon was also associated with patient satisfaction. In some cases, patients who were satisfied with follow-up care left good reviews despite cosmetic problems or complications.center_img Related StoriesCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusRewiring of nerves gives movement to paralyzed arms and handsOther factors – including surgical complications and the costs of surgery – were classified as “nondominant” factors. “Performance on these factors, while influential to satisfaction, is overshadowed by other factors,” Dr. Kim and coauthors write. “Because online reviews are few and polarizing,” the researchers note, “they are unlikely to be representative samples of a surgeon’s total practice.”In a previous qualitative analysis of online ratings after breast augmentation, Dr. Kim and colleagues found that reviews were affected not only by aesthetic outcomes, but also by interactions with the plastic surgeon and staff. The new study is the first quantitative analysis of factors affecting patient satisfaction after cosmetic surgery.While identifying cosmetic outcomes as the predominant factor, the study shows that interactions with office staff also contribute to positive reviews of plastic surgeons. “The fact that interactions with staff and postoperative care were almost as important as the actual aesthetic outcome speaks to the importance of the ‘service’ aspect of plastic surgery,” Dr. Kim comments. “In essence, patients have expectations for quality of care that go beyond the operating room.”last_img read more


first_imgMarking their 26th year, the Awards highlight Cambridge’s best business talent, with winners selected by a panel of experts encompassing a broad range of business expertise. The ‘Small Business of the Year’ category recognizes IONTAS for achieving sustained growth, and demonstrating increased market strength, whilst remaining profitable.Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTIONTAS is focused on antibody discovery and developing cutting-edge technology for protein-based drug discovery. The Company’s proprietary mammalian display platform makes antibody drug discovery more efficient and allows the discovery of antibodies that are amenable to manufacturing, a technology being increasingly adopted by Biotech and Pharma companies. In parallel, IONTAS is also making breakthroughs through its KnotBody technology, which enables the generation of drug leads to a class of target (ion channels) previously considered intractable to antibody development.Dr John McCafferty, Founder and CEO, IONTAS, commented: Mar 25 2019IONTAS Limited (IONTAS), a leader in the discovery and optimization of fully human antibodies, has won ‘Small Business of the Year’ category at the Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards 2019. Source:https://www.iontas.co.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/mar/25/iontas-named-small-business-year-cambridge/center_img I am honored that IONTAS has won this award, which is a testament to the talents and hard work of the team. The company’s success can be attributed to our scientific ethos of quality service and insightful research, without compromising on investment in ground-breaking research. I am very proud of what we have achieved, and look forward to continuing our contribution to the development of novel drugs targeting unmet medical needs.”last_img read more


first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 3 2019With summer break and longer days ahead, parents of young teens may be wondering whether to let good sleep habits slide over the next couple of months. New research from the University of British Columbia suggests there are more benefits to a good night’s sleep than simply feeling refreshed. Related StoriesUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleepSleep decline in one’s 50s, 60s increases risk of Alzheimer’s diseaseSleep quality linked to memory problems in new studyThe study, published in Preventive Medicine, looked at 3,104 students in British Columbia aged 13 to 17 over a period of two years.”Even if these teens had difficulty falling asleep just one night a week, if that was a regular occurrence over two years, it really seemed to affect their overall health,” added Conklin. “What was particularly interesting was that the relationship between chronic, poor-quality sleep and health outcome was stronger in the boys than it was in the girls.”However, the research found no relationship between poor health outcomes and those who chronically had less than eight hours sleep a night.As an observational study, this research does not look into cause and effect, but the researchers say the findings signal that cumulative sleep problems matter for the health of young people.”It shows that there’s definitely a link between poor health and chronic poor-quality sleep, which may be gender-specific, and I’m looking forward to seeing more research explore that connection,” said Conklin.She added that the findings highlight the need for parents to work on the many recommendations around about sleep hygiene practices. “Other studies have specifically shown that late-night screen use and caffeine consumption have harmful consequences for falling sleep. Young people’s health may benefit from parents enforcing sleep schedules and placing restrictions on screen time,” Conklin said.Source:University of British ColumbiaJournal reference:Conklin, A.I. et al. (2019) Chronic sleep disturbance, not chronic sleep deprivation, is associated with self-rated health in adolescents. Preventive Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.04.014. Chronic, low-quality sleep was associated with poorer health outcomes among young B.C. students. Kids who regularly had trouble falling or staying asleep were almost two and half times as likely to report sub-optimal or less than excellent health, compared to those who did not.”Study author Annalijn Conklin, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UBC and a scientist with the Centre for Health Evaluations and Outcome Scienceslast_img read more


first_imgThe findings reinforce the idea that a versatile and healthy diet plays a key role, and even has an independent role in health. If we can intervene in deviant eating behaviours, such as food neophobia, already in childhood or youth. This will help to prevent potential future health problems early on.Hereditary factors and our genotype only determine our predisposition to food neophobia. Early childhood education and care and lifestyle guidance in adulthood can provide support in the development of a diverse diet.”Research Professor Markus Perola from the National Institute for Health and Welfare Source:National Institute for Health and WelfareJournal reference:Perola, M. et al. (2019) Food neophobia associates with poorer dietary quality, metabolic risk factors, and increased disease outcome risk in population-based cohorts in a metabolomics study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz100. Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 18 2019Food neophobia, or fear of new foods, may lead to poorer dietary quality, increase the risk factors associated with chronic diseases, and thus increase the risk of developing lifestyle diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.These are some of the findings of a study conducted by the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Tartu in Estonia.Food neophobia is an eating behavior trait in which a person refuses to taste and eat food items or foods they are not familiar with. The study examined the independent impact of eating behavior, and especially food neophobia, on dietary quality as well as lifestyle diseases and their risk factors. So far, little research has been carried out on this area.The study monitored individuals aged between 25 and 74 years in the Finnish FINRISK and DILGOM cohorts and an Estonian biobank cohort during a seven-year follow-up.Food neophobia is hereditaryFood neophobia has been observed to be a strongly hereditary trait: twin studies have found that up to 78% of it may be hereditary. The trait can be easily measured using the FNS questionnaire (Food Neophobia Scale), which contains ten questions charting the respondent’s eating behavior. The FNS questionnaire was also used to measure and quantify the fear of new foods in this study.Food neophobia is common in children and older persons, in particular. Few studies have so far been carried out on food neophobia in the adult population.Traits similar to food neophobia, including picky and fussy eating, also occur in different age groups in the population. These eating behaviors may also have a significant impact on dietary quality and subsequently health. As different traits associated with eating behaviors have overlapping characteristics making a clear-cut distinction between them is challenging.Food neophobia has independent health impactsRelated StoriesDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useThe study found that food neophobia is linked to poorer dietary quality: for example, the intake of fiber, protein and monounsaturated fatty acids may be lower and the intake of saturated fat and salt greater in food neophobic individuals.Additionally, a significant association was found between food neophobia and adverse fatty acid profile and increased level of inflammatory markers in blood. Subsequently, food neophobia also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or type 2 diabetes.It is often thought that the impacts of eating behavior and diet on health are mainly mediated through weight changes alone. In this study, however, the impacts of food neophobia emerged independently regardless of weight, age, socioeconomic status, gender or living area.Your parents were right: you should always try all foods!last_img read more


first_imgSeltzer notes that manufacturing jobs are not inherently family friendly. But in the post-War era, they have tended to provide low- and middle-skill workers with secure, middle-income positions. Without subsequent growth in middle-skill, middle-income service sector jobs, the decline in manufacturing¬ has left many workers worse off.”In the U.S. right now, there’s this sense that the economy is growing, unemployment is down,” says Seltzer. “Despite these positive economic indicators, we’re still going through this transition of deindustrialization that leads to more precarious work for many people.” Source:University of Wisconsin-Madison Once you account for the share of goods-producing businesses in an area, you find that it better explains declines in fertility than the unemployment rate does.”Nathan Seltzer, a doctoral candidate in the sociology department, University of Wisconsin-Madison This is the first study to compare how structural changes in the economy and cyclical changes in unemployment rates affect fertility nationwide. Earlier studies had identified transient effects on fertility based on a glut of foreign imports or the effects of local oil booms. Most previous research focused on links between cyclical recessions and fertility without accounting for long-term economic trends.It remains to be seen whether the record-low TFR represents delayed or foregone childbearing. A full account of a generation’s fertility is only possible after women pass their childbearing years, designated as ages 15 to 49. But even a temporary drop in childbearing can reduce lifetime fertility for a particular population.Fertility, in turn, affects many social and economic factors, such as the available workforce and the support of social welfare programs such as Social Security. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 19 2019As the Great Recession wiped out nearly 9 million jobs and 19 trillion dollars in wealth from U.S. households, American families experienced another steep decline — they had fewer children.Yet as employment eventually climbed and wages rose, fertility did not. The fertility rates for American women have continued to decline in the years since the recession ended and reached an all-time low of 1.7 children per woman in 2018.This continuous decline puzzled scientists, who had previously observed that economic recoveries tend to buoy fertility rates that decline during recessions. The Great Recession seemingly halted that trend.New research by University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist Nathan Seltzer identifies a link between the long-term decline in manufacturing jobs — accelerated during the Great Recession — and reduced fertility rates. Analyzing every birth in America at the county level across 24 years, Seltzer found that the share of businesses in goods-producing industries better predicted a metropolitan area’s fertility rate than the region’s unemployment rate.The link between manufacturing jobs and fertility rates was especially strong for Hispanic women, a larger share of whom work in goods-producing industries than do women from other racial or ethnic groups. Manufacturing business activity was a stronger predictor of fertility than the unemployment rate was for all racial groups.The results suggest that fertility rates are unlikely to return to pre-recession levels as manufacturing businesses continue to represent a decreasing share of the American economy.”These structural trends are driving this increased financial precarity and influencing women and couple’s decisions to have children,” says Seltzer, who published his findings this week in the journal Demography. “Metro areas that experienced steeper declines in goods-producing businesses were more likely to experience steeper declines in fertility rates.” The link between manufacturing businesses and fertility remained even when adjusting for other factors that affect fertility rates, such as education levels, marriage rates and the share of Hispanic women in the U.S. who were born in Mexico, which has been declining.Seltzer analyzed births from the National Vital Statistics System across all 381 Census Bureau-designated metropolitan areas from 1991 to 2014, an area representing 85 percent of the U.S. population. He converted that data into a measure called the total fertility rate, or TFR, a calculation of the expected number of children the average woman will have in her lifetime based on current birth rates. A TFR of about 2.1 children per woman is required to maintain a stable population size without any immigration.The Census Bureau provided data on the proportion of goods-producing or service sector businesses in an area. Business numbers provide the most reliable information about job opportunities in an industry.From 1991 to 2014, goods-producing businesses declined from 18.3 percent of all businesses to 14.2 percent. Seltzer found that this decline accounted for a loss in TFR from a low of 0.08 for white women to a high of 0.21 for black women.Related StoriesMaternal smoking and pre-eclampsia may affect fertility of offspringExposure to EDCs can affect sexual development and reproduction of future generationsStress during early pregnancy may reduce future fertility of offspringThroughout the Great Recession and subsequent recovery, from 2006 to 2014, manufacturing businesses declined by 2.4 percentage points. Over the same period, Hispanic women’s fertility fell 24 percent. Other racial groups saw a fertility decline of 7 to 8 percent.Seltzer found that the loss of goods-producing businesses during this period accounted for a quarter to almost half of the decline in TFR for women, depending on their race or ethnicity. The unemployment rate explained a much smaller fraction of these fertility declines. U.S. manufacturing is what built the middle class. As those industries have declined, there’s been little growth in jobs at a comparable skill and income level. Increasingly, people have to find work in the service sector that provides worse pay and less financial stability.”Nathan Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison last_img read more


Separated by thin partitions, 15 little photo studios used exclusively to update the website line up in a corner of Zara’s huge headquarters near Corunna in Spain’s northwest.Under a constant barrage of camera flashes, models strike pose after pose to get seven photos showing the piece of clothing under all angles.In total, 1,500 photos are put on line twice a week to match the speed at which articles of clothing are replaced in-store.Amazon, Alibaba competition”Online sales are becoming an element that is contributing significantly to the company’s growth,” said Pablo Isla, CEO of the Inditex group which owns Zara among other brands like Massimo Dutti, said this week at the annual results’ presentation.In 2017, these represented 10 percent of sales, a figure unveiled this week after years of secrecy over a crucial sector that Inditex only entered in 2010, on the late side.Sergio Avila Luengo, an analyst at IG Markets, said gaining “more visibility online” was the main challenge for Inditex if it wants to remain “competitive on the long term”.He said the retail giant started having trouble clearing its stocks for the first time in 2017 due to competition from Amazon, which sells everything from books to clothes.For its part Sweden’s H&M, Inditex’s arch-rival, has recognised that a drop in profits in 2017 was due in large part to online competition. Explore further Clothing retailers like Zara are looking to turn their network of stores into an asset instead of a liability as they try to deal with internet rivals like Amazon. Logistics investments, new technology… Faced with fierce online competition from the likes of Amazon, affordable fashion giants Zara and H&M are shoring up their defences, trying to use their stores to boost internet sales. The clothing market “is in big transformation,” CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in February.”It is happening fast and it is challenging everyone.”We know about the big online platforms, I’m thinking Amazon and (China’s) Alibaba, affecting our industry,” he said, adding smaller niche online players were also “a force to be reckoned with”.In the United States, Amazon was in 2016 the top online clothes vendor.It holds 11 percent of the global clothing market, and this is expected to rise to 19 percent in 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.German online clothing and shoes platform Zalando and Britain’s Asos, meanwhile, saw their European sales leap 25 percent and 34 percent respectively between 2012 and 2015, according to the Ecommerce Foundation. The extensive logistics infrastructure of Amazon gives it an advantage against clothing retailers. 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: Zara and H&M shore up defences as internet threatens (2018, March 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-zara-hm-shore-defences-internet.html Amazon primed to hire 2,000 new employees in France Major logistics challengeFaced with this threat, H&M devoted 45 percent of its investment to internet in 2017, or close to 600 million euros ($736 million), for a new photo studio and personalised apps for its clients.Inditex is also investing, but would not unveil how much.Both groups are gradually offering the possibility for next-day or even same-day delivery of online orders, as well as the possibility to easily pick up and return clothes to stores. © 2018 AFP These services may be crucial for customers but they represent a major logistics challenge, especially when faced with Amazon which already has “a much bigger logistics structure, already adapted to all sorts of different products,” said IG Markets analyst Avila Luengo.As it counter-attacks, Inditex has opened 19 warehouses in the world dedicated only to the internet, which are managed like stores. H&M is soon to follow suit.Both are also taking advantage of their thousands of stores, including for client delivery.When online sales are launched in new markets, “we get to profitability really quick,” H&M financial director Jyrki Tervonen told investors in February.He said this was “thanks to the fact we already have a store network, we are a well-known brand, appreciated among the consumers.”Inditex has invested a lot in the renovation of its stores, removing the smallest ones in favour of huge flagship shops in city centres.Both groups are implementing systems to avoid missing out on a sale if for instance the size isn’t available for a customer, by telling him or her that the item is available online.Gildas Minvielle, head of the economic observatory at the French Fashion Institute, said their strategy was to combine both sales methods.”Distributors that develop their stores and their online sales perform quite well,” he said. H&M and Zara-owner Inditex are investing in systems that help ensure they don’t miss in-store sale opportunities due to missing sizes, alerting customers the article is available online. read more


This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Uber returns to Barcelona with licensed service Citation: Egyptian court rules Uber, Careem illegal; appeal expected (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-egyptian-court-uber-careem-illegal.html An Egyptian court on Tuesday ordered authorities to revoke the operating licenses of the Uber and Careem ride-hailing services and block their mobile apps and software. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The government and the companies are expected to appeal the administrative court verdict, which would prevent it from being implemented until a higher court weighs in.The administrative court in Cairo ruled that it is illegal to use private vehicles as taxis.Both companies provide smartphone applications that connect passengers with drivers who work as independent contractors.In a brief statement posted on its Facebook account, Careem said it “hasn’t been notified officially to stop its operations” and was operating normally. There was no immediate comment from Uber.Uber was founded in 2010 in San Francisco, and operates in more than 600 cities across the world. Careem was founded in 2012 in Dubai, and operates in 90 cities in the Middle East and North Africa, Turkey, and Pakistan.The applications took off in Cairo, a city of 20 million people with near-constant traffic and little parking. The services have recently started offering rides on scooters and tuk-tuks, three-wheeled motorized vehicles that can sometimes squeeze through the gridlock.The apps are especially popular among women, who face rampant sexual harassment in Egypt, including from some taxi drivers. Cairo’s taxi drivers are also notorious for tampering with their meters or pretending the meters are broken in order to charge higher rates.In 2016, taxi drivers protested the ride-hailing apps. They have complained that Uber and Careem drivers have an unfair advantage because they do not have to pay the same taxes or fees, or follow the same licensing procedures. read more


Cambridge Analytica’s acting chief executive, Alexander Tayler, said Friday that he was sorry that SCL Elections, an affiliate of his company, “licensed Facebook data and derivatives from a research company (Global Science Research) that had not received consent from most respondents” in 2014.”The company believed that the data had been obtained in line with Facebook’s terms of service and data protection laws,” Tayler said.His statement said the data was deleted in 2015 at Facebook’s request, and denied that any of the Facebook data that Cambridge Analytica obtained was used in the work it did on the 2016 U.S. election. Britain’s information regulator said Saturday it was assessing evidence gathered from a raid on the office of data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, part of an investigation into alleged misuse of personal information by political campaigns and social media companies like Facebook. Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Enforcement officers working for Information Commissioner arrive at the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Explore further Enforcement officers working for Information Commissioner arrive at the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) The scene at a window as Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) More than a dozen investigators from the Information Commissioner’s Office entered the company’s central London office late Friday, shortly after a High Court judge granted a warrant. The investigators were seen leaving the premises early Saturday after spending about seven hours searching the office.The regulator said it will “consider the evidence before deciding the next steps and coming to any conclusions.””This is one part of a larger investigation by the ICO into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social media companies and other commercial actors,” it said.Authorities in Britain as well as the U.S. are investigating Cambridge Analytica over allegations the firm improperly obtained data from 50 million Facebook users and used it to manipulate elections, including the 2016 White House race and the 2016 Brexit vote in Britain.Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny wrongdoing.The data firm suspended its CEO Alexander Nix this week after Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast footage that appeared to show Nix suggesting tactics like entrapment or bribery that his company could use to discredit politicians. The footage also showed Nix saying Cambridge Analytica played a major role in securing Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Enforcement officers working for Information Commissioner’s Office enter the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Citation: UK watchdog evaluates evidence from Cambridge Analytica (2018, March 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uk-watchdog-evidence-cambridge-analytica.html UK seeking warrant to access Cambridge Analytica servers (Update) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more


VPNs give users in China a way to see blocked websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Western news outlets Chinese people and foreign firms are girding for a weekend deadline that will curb the use of unlicensed software to circumvent internet controls, as the government plugs holes in its “Great Firewall”. © 2018 AFP The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has dismissed concerns that using state-approved providers could jeopardise the security of private data, saying they “are not able to see information related to your business”.’At the mercy of regulators’A member of China-based anti-censorship group GreatFire.org, which tracks internet restrictions, said the new rules are aimed at wiping out low-cost Chinese VPN providers and increasing control over access to information. “Are foreign companies at the mercy of Chinese regulators? Yes, probably. Will there be more surveillance? Absolutely,” said the member, who uses the alias Charlie Smith. Under the new licensing regulations, it is unclear whether companies or individuals will be punished for using unauthorised VPNs, or if the software will be blocked.But on December 21, Chinese citizen Wu Xiangyang from the south Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region was given a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence and 500,000 yuan ($76,000) fine.Wu “illegally profited” from setting up VPN servers and selling software “without obtaining relevant business licenses”, according to a news site managed by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.It was the most severe known VPN-related conviction. Last September, a 26-year-old man from Guangdong province was sentenced to nine months in prison in a similar case.Samm Sacks, who researches China’s technology policy at the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it is likely that China will be lenient to most foreign companies.”We will probably see selective enforcement. So far, there have not been many foreign companies that have experienced problems with their company VPNs,” Sacks said. “It just adds a new layer of uncertainty at a time when foreign companies are already facing a host of challenges to doing business in China,” she said.In the European Chamber of Commerce in China’s 2017 survey of its members, companies reported suffering from restricted internet and slow and unstable connections in China, before new VPN restrictions were announced.”Poor internet connectivity not only damages China’s efforts to portray itself as an innovative society, it also impacts overall productivity,” chamber president Mats Harborn told AFP. “Some reported losses of more than 20 percent of their annual revenue as a result.” ‘No, we don’t sell VPNs’Earlier this month, in the southern trade hub of Guangzhou, a small shop with the letters “VPN” painted in red on its wall said they no longer offered them.”No, we don’t sell VPNs,” a Chinese shopkeeper said curtly, refusing to explain why. But it was business as usual for a nearby store that was licensed to sell VPNs from state-owned telecommunications operator China Telecom. “We’ve had no problems. Our clients are mostly Chinese and African traders who want to keep in touch using Whatsapp,” a technician said. Citation: Foreign companies in China brace for VPN crackdown (2018, March 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-foreign-companies-china-brace-vpn.html A virtual private network (VPN) can tunnel through the country’s sophisticated barrier of online filters to access the global internet.VPNs give users a way to see blocked websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Western news outlets, as well as certain business network tools such as timesheets, email and directories.But new government regulations unveiled last year sent chills among users of the software, with a March 31 deadline for companies and individuals to only use government-approved VPNs.Currently, many foreign companies have their own VPN servers in locations outside of China. But in the future, dedicated lines can only be provided by China’s three telecom operators. Critics have slammed the new policy as a revenue grab that will eliminate cheaper VPN options and make internet users more vulnerable to surveillance.But some companies are still planning to comply. “We will apply for a VPN line with (the government),” the chief executive of a foreign-owned technology company told AFP. “As a company that is globally-focused based in Beijing, I think that’s the best option… because we don’t want to break the rules or have our VPN access disrupted,” she said, requesting anonymity. Some embassies in Beijing experienced disruptions to their communications due to restrictions on VPN usage late last year, prompting the European Union delegation to send a letter to the government to complain, diplomatic sources told AFP.American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai President Kenneth Jarrett warned that foreign companies and their employees could “bear the brunt of the new policies”. “Foreign companies, especially entrepreneurs and smaller companies rely on overseas platforms such as Google Analytics and Google Scholar,” Jarrett told AFP.”Limiting access to affordable VPNs will make it harder for these companies to operate efficiently and just adds to the frustration of doing business in China.” Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. 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A miniature blood vessel, formed on agarose/gelatin hydrogel. Green represents VE-cadherin, a protein that glues cells together, and blue is nuclei. Credit: Yongzhi Qiu Citation: Mini-vessel device probes blood interactions in malaria, sickle cell disease (2018, April 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-mini-vessel-device-probes-blood-interactions.html Biomedical engineers have established a model system for studying these problems, which has potential for use in other cardiovascular diseases as well. The system builds a network of artificial blood vessels, based on familiar “hydrogel” materials that dissolve with heat: gelatin and agarose, a sugar derived from seaweed.The results were recently published by Nature Biomedical Engineering.”The key technological innovation here is that our hydrogel can keep these vessels growing for weeks to months, which is much longer than standard approaches,” says senior author Wilbur Lam, MD, Ph.D. “With this system, we can study not only how vessels respond to aspects of disease but also how well the vessels will heal over time once those insults are removed.”Lam is assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.Working with Lam, instructor Yongzhi Qiu, Ph.D. and colleagues constructed a hydrogel-based microfluidic device, with branching vessels roughly 20 micrometers across. The device can then be coated by endothelial cells, which line blood vessels, and connected to a pump. An advantage of using hydrogels, the authors write, is that hydrogels are not as stiff as solid polymers, and thus respond in a more physiological relevant manner to changes in fluid flow.Once fully assembled, the endothelial cells weaken their barriers in response to inflammatory molecules such as TNF-alpha and then heal afterwards.The researchers also tested responses to heme, a component of hemoglobin formed when red blood cells break open, and they tested the effects of occlusion-prone red blood cells from sickle cell disease patients and red blood cells infected by Plasmodium parasites.The model system could be used to further dissect the effects of red blood cells vs other cells and inflammatory molecules, and to screen for drugs that could prevent damage to blood vessels, the researchers say. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Nature Biomedical Engineering In diseases such as malaria and sickle cell disease, red blood cells break down, with harmful effects on the rest of the body – particularly the lining of small blood vessels. Provided by Emory University Engineers create miniature self-sealing ‘wound’ More information: Yongzhi Qiu et al. Microvasculature-on-a-chip for the long-term study of endothelial barrier dysfunction and microvascular obstruction in disease, Nature Biomedical Engineering (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41551-018-0224-z read more


first_img © 2019 AFP Rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft stage a strike and protest at the LAX International Airport, over what they say are unfair wages in Los Angeles, California Citation: Rideshare drivers strike as Uber poised to go public (2019, May 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-rideshare-drivers-uber-poised.html Lyft’s loss in the past quarter widened to $1.1 billion, according to its first financial report as a public company.Revenue for California-based Lyft nearly doubled from a year earlier to $776 million and the number of active riders grew to over 20.5 million. Uber is expected to launch its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday at an estimated valuation of some $90 billion.The launch will be a major milestone for the company, which has raised billions and disrupted the taxi industry in cities around the world.It will also come in the rear-view mirror of a troubled market debut for Uber’s largest US rival Lyft, which has lost more than 15 percent of its value since its March IPO.Strikes that took place Wednesday highlighted a dilemma for rideshare firms, which have faced challenges from regulators and traditional taxi operators for using a business model relying on independent contractors.One group protested outside the New York Stock Exchange, where Uber is set to list shares, with some signs reading “Invest in our lives—Not their stocks.”Similar actions took place in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington and in Uber’s home town, San Francisco.Protests were held in Britain as well with drivers in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow called on to log off apps and demonstrate outside Uber offices, according to the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain.Rideshare companies maintain that drivers are able to thrive and maintain work flexibility, and that their business model would not work if drivers were treated as wage-based employees.Uber and Lyft did not immediately comment on the job actions.”While we aim to provide an earnings opportunity comparable to that available in retail, wholesale, or restaurant services or other similar work, we continue to experience dissatisfaction with our platform from a significant number of drivers,” Uber said in a filing with securities regulators.”In particular, as we aim to reduce driver incentives to improve our financial performance, we expect driver dissatisfaction will generally increase.”Lyft shares skidUber’s debut as a public company will follow the rocky market debut for Lyft. Uber aiming for stock market debut value of up to $90 bn: report Explore further Lyft said its losses deepened as a result of $894 million in costs that included stock-based compensation and related tax expenses in connection with its IPO.Lyft shares finished the formal trading day Wednesday down 10.8 percent to $52.91.Uber last month pulled back on its ambitious valuation target, while still pricing its share offering in a range that would make it one of the largest tech market debuts in recent years.The ride-hailing firm said in a securities filing it would sell 207 million shares in a range of $44 to $50 dollars, raising up to $10 billion.That would give Uber a market value of between $74 billion and $84 billion. Some media reports said the figure could be up to $90 billion accounting for restricted stock options.But the pricing target—still subject to change—fell below earlier ambitions of a valuation of more than $100 billion for the firm operating in some 700 cities around the world.Uber will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “UBER” sometime next month.”We continue to view Lyft as a one-trick pony domestic ride sharing player and ‘little brother’ to Uber,” Wedbush Securities equity research managing director Daniel Ives said Thursday in a note to investors.Uber is “paving a similar road” to what Amazon did to e-commerce and Facebook did for social media, he contended, expressing confidence in the company.Amazon of transportUber envisions becoming the “Amazon of transportation” in a future where people share instead of owning vehicles.If all goes to plan, commuters could ride an e-scooter to a transit station, take a train then grab an e-bike, ride share or e-scooter at the arriving station to complete a journey using the Uber smartphone app.Of course, shared car rides would be an option, eventually driven by computers instead of humans.Uber is also taking to the sky with an Elevate project to have electric aircraft carry people between “skyports,” taking off and landing vertically.Uber’s platform moves cargo as well as people, with a “Freight” service that connects truckers with shippers in a way similar to how drivers connect with people seeking rides.Uber is also seeing growing success with an “Eats” service that lets drivers make money delivering meals ordered from restaurants. Thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers turned off their apps in a US-wide strike Wednesday over pay and working conditions, casting a shadow over this week’s keenly anticipated Wall Street debut of ride-hailing leader Uber. Members of the Independent Drivers Guild rallied at Uber and Lyft headquarters in New York as part of a protest to press demands for better pay and working conditions for the independent contractors 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