Alabama tramples Notre Dame captures 3rd national championship in 4 years

Roll tide? Did they ever. In what was arguably one of the most-hyped title bouts in recent memory, then-No. 2 Alabama (13-1) routed then-No. 1 Notre Dame (12-1), 42-14, Monday night in the BCS National Championship Game in Miami. The win secured back-to-back national titles for the Crimson Tide and the program’s third national championship in four years. Alabama finished No. 1 in the final Associated Press top 25 poll while Notre Dame dropped to No. 4 behind No. 2 Oregon and the season’s only undefeated team, No. 3 Ohio State, which was barred from this year’s postseason because of NCAA sanctions. Coach Nick Saban’s squad dominated the Fighting Irish from the game’s beginning, including a 28-0 lead at the contest’s intermission. En-route to its 42 points against the nation’s best statistical  scoring defense, Alabama amassed 529 total yards of offense, 28 first downs and gained an average of 7.2 yards on each of the 73 plays they ran Monday. Junior quarterback A.J. McCarron threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns on 20-of-28 passes. Alabama’s propensity to successfully run the football, though, perhaps best exemplified the extent of its dominance. After all, Saban called for 45 rushing attempts against the nation’s fourth-best run defense. It paid off. Redshirt junior running back Eddie Lacy rumbled for 145 yards rushing and a touchdown while freshman running back T.J Yeldon ran for 110 yards and two scores on 21 touches. In total, the Irish surrendered 265 yards on the ground. Not to mention, Alabama secured 38 minutes of possession time compared to Notre Dame’s 22 minutes. Conversely, the Crimson Tide’s defense gave the Irish’s offense fits. Alabama stymied Notre Dame’s running game to 56 yards and one touchdown on 19 attempts. In total, coach Brian Kelly’s crew totaled 302 yards and 16 first downs, but a 35-point deficit with 7:34 to play in the game’s third quarter was too much to overcome. Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson threw for 270 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 21-of-36 attempts. The mobile signal-caller could only muster nine yards rushing against the Crimson Tide. It was the first loss of the season for Notre Dame While the win likely solidifies Alabama as the nation’s preeminent college football power, the Crimson Tide arguably will head into the 2013 season as the favorite to, again, win it all. read more

read more

Gallery Ohio State defeats Indiana 7975 in the second round of the

Ohio State sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson (34) reaches for the jump ball in the first half of the game against Indiana at the Big Ten tournament in Chicago on Mar. 14. Ohio State won 79-74. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor The Ohio State men’s basketball team took on Indiana in Game 3 of the Big Ten tournament on March 14 at the United Center in Chicago. Ohio State won 79-74. Photos by Casey Cascaldo

read more

Mazda Miata Fiat 124 Spider recalled for downshifts nobody asked for

first_img Tags 2017 Fiat 124 Spider: the Fiata is fi-awesome! 42 Photos Recalls Mazda Fiat Fiat Mazda Share your voice More From Roadshow Post a comment 30 Photos Car Industry Convertibles Review • 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review 2016-2019 Mazda Miata: A return to form 2017 Fiat 124 Spider: The Fiata is Fi-awesome James Halfacre/Mazda While the Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 Spider are thought of as usually carrying manual transmissions, a number of each are also sold with automatic transmissions. It’s the latter cog-swapper that’s at the center of a recent recall.Mazda, Fiat and supplier Aisin have issued a recall for 14,370 examples of the 2016 to 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata and 8,933 examples of the 2017 to 2019 Fiat 124 Spider. All of the affected models carry automatic transmissions, as the issue stems from a component used to control those transmissions’ shift logic. The problem stems from Aisin’s transmission control module. According to the defect report sent to NHTSA, “due to inappropriate control logic of the clutch control software… [electrical noise] may cause the vehicle to unexpectedly downshift.” A downshift nobody asked for means the car may inadvertently pitch its nose downward and begin decelerating, causing stability concerns and possibly increasing the risk of a crash.Thankfully, both Fiat Chrysler and Mazda are unaware of any accidents or injuries that could be linked to this issue. Mazda first discovered the issue after receiving a field report from a US owner, and a second report eventually arose, but those reports didn’t mention accidents or injuries.Since the issue is related to software, technicians only need to perform a quick software update to remedy the issue. Owners will be notified by first-class mail in late March. 2019 Mazda CX-5 Diesel review: Was it really worth the wait? More about 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata review: Club life isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK 0last_img read more

read more

Dig at selectors Ajinkya Rahane makes his preference clear Number 4 favourite

first_imgAjinkya RahaneReutersThe constant chatter around India’s middle-order grew when the side was shunted out of the World Cup. This also put pressure on the selectors and the management and as a response, players like Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey were included in the squad to take on West Indies.However, Ajinkya Rahane, who vice-captain in Test matches, is still out of favour with the selectors as far as the ODI format is concerned. There have been voices of support in favour of Rahane’s inclusion for the number 4 position and now the player himself has made his preference pretty clear.”Incidentally, my number (sequence in the prize distribution) here is four… I really enjoy batting at No 4. That’s my favourite position,” Rahane said in his opening address at the Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) annual awards ceremony at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.Rahane will return to Test cricket against West IndiesRahane will return to action in the Test series against West Indies. Despite the fact that India’s favourites are part of the team, the senior pro is not taking anything for granted.”We all know they are a dangerous and unpredictable team. I’m really looking forward to the series against the West Indies,” Rahane said.A person who has always looked to put the interest of the team above personal milestones, the vice-captain said that he was looking at giving it his best and contributing as much as possible for the side.”It is important to respect them and play our game as we’ve been playing, especially in Test cricket. For me, it’s important to give my best. I always focus on contributing for my team and I think I’m just going to do my best as well. Once I go there, I will give my 100 per cent,” said Rahane. Ajinkya Rahane will return to Test cricketGareth Copley/Getty ImagesRecently, he also found support from captain Virat Kohli who said that the team understands the importance of Rahane as he has always stood up in tough situations and hence, will always be given a longer rope to prosper.”Jinx has been solid player for us through and through. That’s always been our communictaion. He is one of the most sorted guys. Really, really composed. He reads the game well also. Priceless fielder. We have all seen the impact he can create in Test cricket with is slip catching and everything,” Kohli said ahead of the series against West Indies.last_img read more

read more

Uncertain week ahead as domestic global uncertainties persist

first_imgTraders are apprehensive of a breather in the market in the week ahead after its sharp upward correction following the sell-off frenzy in September and October.The week will be one day short with the Guru Nanak Jayanti holiday on Friday, effectively dampening traders’ risk appetite because of the long weekend ahead. Domestic issues like the central bank board of governors meeting on Monday and the assembly election in Chhattisgarh could influence the situation. International factors like the oil price uncertainty and Brexit stalemate could also cast a shadow on Indian indexes.Some analysts believe there could be some volatility, especially in the earlier part of the week, as the stocks lose their swing back steam after two weeks of gains.Last week saw both primary indexes, Sensex and Nifty, gaining around 1 percent defying international crude uncertainty following news of Opec production cut back that could nudge up the prices.The Indian rupee’s marginal appreciation against the US dollar and the decline in bond yields were events of trader interest last week, but the week ahead could be different.The tension in US-Saudi Arabia relations over the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) finding implicating Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi could cloud traders’ risk appetite.Crucial hurdlesThough the indexes are headed north, there could be crucial hurdles that could derail the rally for at least in the short term, Foram Parekh, an Indiabulls analyst told MoneyControl.The federal elections likely around May next year will continue to weigh on the market until then, Parekh said.The market will keenly watch the second phase of the assembly elections in Chhattisgarh state on November 20, the movement of the rupee against the dollar and crude prices, Rahul Sharma, Senior Research Analyst at Equity99, was quoted by MoneyControl as saying.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board meeting on Monday is likely to see some fireworks, especially after the government nominee on the board made clear the view that the government is not happy with the way the RBI is approaching banks’ non-performing assets provisioning. The Dalal Street will be watching closely governor Urjit Patel’s response to the government stance made clear by S. Gurumurthy a couple of days back. The street would be interested in how much Patel would yield as much as if he would at all yield ground on key issues.The government is keen on easing the lending norms to the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector, relaxing the Prompt Corrective Action framework for weak banks and laying down new guidelines for the size of the reserve the central bank should maintain.Steep declineBrent crude’s nearly 5 percent fall to $66.76 a barrel last week is expected to continue, despite the Opec decision to enforce a production cut. The exemption that the US has granted to eight countries to continue to Iran oil imports despite the sanction is acting as a stabilising factor.The recent steep decline in crude oil prices is also a big positive for India’s macroeconomic position assuming oil prices stay at current levels, experts said.”India’s macroeconomic position appears to have stabilised with crude prices slipping to below $70 a barrel. We will see stable Indian rupee and interest rates and a manageable fiscal position over the next few months if crude oil prices were to remain below $75 per barrel,” Kotak Institutional Equities said.Experts reckon the technical position of the markets to be strong after an attack of the bulls from previous week’s low. The benchmark index’s closing near the high after a decisive break out of the tight 10,450-10,650 range indicated strong bull force.F&O positionsNifty’s near-term hurdle is believed to be 10,650, after which the upside is likely to continue, In case Nifty beats its 200-day EMA, placed around 10,700, the rally may pick up further strength.The F&O market shows maximum call open interest of 34.07 lakh contracts set at the 10,800 strike price, which is considered a resistance level for the November series, followed by the 11,000 and 10,700 strikes, according to market watchers.Maximum put open interest of 35.88 lakh contracts was seen at the 10,200 strike price, which is seen as a support level for the November series, followed by the 10,500 and 10,400 strikes.last_img read more

read more

Niger tanker truck blast toll rises to 76

first_imgThe death toll from a 6 May tanker truck explosion near the international airport in Niger’s capital has risen to 76, state television reported late Sunday.An earlier official report Tuesday gave 60 dead, including 55 who died at the time of the explosion a few hundred metres (yards) from the airport in Niamey.Most of the victims were trying to collect spilt fuel flowing from the overturned truck when the blast occurred. About 40 people were injured.Security official Hamani Adamou Abdoul-Aziz had earlier warned that the toll was likely to rise as several people had sustained severe, life-threatening burns.The driver of the truck has told investigators that an electrical failure caused him to lose control of the vehicle and its brakes. The truck overturned by the railway track as he was trying to stop it and people then rushed to collect petrol spilling from the vehicle.According to witnesses, a motorcyclist who had filled his cans tried to restart his bike, which caused a spark that ignited the 50,000 litres (13,000 US gallons) of fuel.The massive explosion on route RN1 near the airport left the burnt truck’s wreckage, motorbikes and debris scattered over the road.Nearby houses were damaged by the fire.Niger held three days of national mourning from Wednesday to Friday in memory of the victims.last_img read more

read more

No new taxes slew of sops for fishermen in Tamil Nadus Budget

first_imgPanneerselvam, who also holds the Finance portfolio, announced exemption of VAT on fishing accessories like fishing ropes and floats, fish net twine, fishing lamps and fishing swivel, apparently to appease the vast fishermen community. Besides, the government reduced VAT on mobile phones from 14.5 per cent to five per cent.Presenting the Budget, Panneerselvam said the state has to rely more on its own strength, besides slow growth in States’ Own Tax Revenue (SOTR), even as devolution and grants in aid of the Centre are expected to go down. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJI”Notwithstanding this increased financial burden and the slow growth in SOTR, our government has decided not to impose any new tax,” he said. The opposition DMK boycotted the proceedings and staged a walkout after its floor leader M K Stalin was denied permission by Speaker P Dhanapal to raise some issues.Among tax sops offered by the government, which Panneerselvam termed as ‘critical concessions’ to boost the manufacturing sector, were withdrawal of electricity tax on plants using biomass, Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: Kovindexcluding bagasse.He said the government proposes to raise net borrowings to Rs 30,446.68 crore and overall outstanding debt would be in excess of Rs 2.11 lakh crore by end of March 2016.However, the fiscal deficit would remain at 2.89 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product as against the norm of three per cent.O Panneerselvam, who presented the four-year-old AIADMK government’s first Budget in the absence of party supremo and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, waging a legal battle over her conviction in a disproportionate assets case, heaped encomiums on her, saying she has “unfailing courage, benevolence, wisdom and zeal.” Talking on resources for financing the Budget, he said SOTR growth remains a serious challenge even as “sluggish economic environment” in the country has significantly affected the growth in collection of commercial taxes.Besides, due to the fall in international crude oil prices and the consequent decline in retail rates of petroleum products, commercial tax revenue has been further “dented” to an extent of Rs 1,000 crore in the current year.last_img read more

read more

Digital accounted for 723 of video revenues in t

first_imgDigital accounted for 72.3% of video revenues in the UK in 2018, but DVD and Blu-ray are still important for delivering the top-selling titles, according to trade body the ERA.The Entertainment Retailer’s Association year-end figures show that last year UK digital video revenues were up 26% year-on-year to £1.689 billion, driven by streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky’s Now TV, as well downloads from Amazon, Apple and the Sky Store.By contrast, physical retail sales were down 16.9% at £616.9 million, while physical video rentals were down 27.7% at £31.7 million.Despite this, the best-selling film-to-own in 2018 was Hollywood musical The Greatest Showman, which sold 2.69m units – 71.3% of them on DVD or Blu-ray disc. The ERA found that of the top 20 films-to-own last year, an average of 74.1% of sales were from physical formats.“Video was arguably entertainment’s most dynamic sector in 2018,” said ERA CEO, Kim Bayley. “Streaming services have transformed the viewing choices of the British public by offering 24/7 access and convenience.“Meanwhile sales figures show the continuing loyalty of video consumers to DVD and Blu-ray, still the default choices for gift-buying and building a video collection.”Overall, physical and digital video revenues reached £2.338 billion in 2018, putting the market 7.4% ahead of its 2012 low-point but still “well below” its historic 2004 high of £2.953 billion.Across all entertainment categories – video, music and games – total physical and digital revenues were up 9.4% year-on-year at £7.537 billion, with the games sector heralded by the ERA as the “biggest winner in digital entertainment’s digital transformation”.For the first time in 2018, games were found to account for more than half of the entire UK entertainment market at 51.3% – some £3.864 billion across physical and digital. This was thanks to growth areas like direct-to-console downloads and mobile and social gaming.“The games industry has been incredibly effective in taking advantage of the potential of digital technology to offer new and compelling forms of entertainment,” said Bayley. “Despite being the youngest of our three sectors, it is now by far the biggest.”last_img read more

read more

So I stand with the victims survivors and famili

first_img“So I stand with the victims, survivors and families affected by sexual violence and fully support the the campaign to Break the Silence,” added the Foyle MLA.PRIORITY MUST BE GIVEN TO ERADICATING DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE – MULLAN was last modified: February 8th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: SINN Féin’s Karen Mullan is calling for greater political priority to be given to eliminating domestic and sexual violence.The Foyle MLA was commenting after attending an ‘Open Day’ in Derry organised by NEXUS as part of Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2018.Karen Mullan said: “In today’s society men and women continue to suffer horrendous forms of sexual violence and abuse. “This is a traumatic and emotional experience.“The crimes of sexual violence and abuse have a devastating effect on the lives of its victims and their families.“The inequalities and discrimination ithat create the context where people can be raped, beaten, trafficked and mutilated on a daily basis, must be challenged by everyone including political parties.“Although sexual violence and abuse primarily affects women, we should acknowledge that they also affect men, non-binary people and especially children – girls and boys. ShareTweet FOYLE MLAKAREN MULLANNEXUS DERRYPRIORITY MUST BE GIVEN TO ERADICATING DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE – MULLANSEX ABUSESinn Feinlast_img read more

read more

Exactly How Much Gold Do We Have Theres growin

first_imgExactly How Much Gold Do We Have? There’s growing concern that a lot of official gold has been leased out into the market and that sooner or later, as happened back in the late 1990s, one or more parties, perhaps bullion banks or a metals exchange, would run into difficulty trying to meet a physical gold delivery commitment. For a short video on the mechanics of gold leasing, click here. If a lot of gold has been leased out, someday it will have to be rebought, and difficulties may emerge if the gold cannot be rebought in sufficient quantities without creating mayhem within the financial system by causing a very large hike in the price of gold. Important: The amounts of gold leased by central banks is a very closely guarded secret, and we do not have direct information on them, which means we have to try and back-calculate these amounts by other means. A recent and thought-provoking study regarding gold leasing was done by Sprott Asset Management in March. After accounting for all known flows of gold into and out of the US over the past 22 years, the Sprott team arrived at a figure of nearly 4,500 tonnes of gold that cannot be accounted for. Here’s the summary flow chart: (Source) If you do the math, that $11.041 billion in “gold stock” works out to 261 million ounces of gold, or more than 8,000 tonnes. That’s a nice pile and more than enough to forgo the return of 4,500 tonnes, right? Not so fast. Those 261 million ounces of gold actually belong to the US Treasury. Quite confusingly, both the Fed and the Treasury claim this same reserve amount of gold on their balance sheets, an accounting mystery that I have not resolved to my complete satisfaction. (I have heard that the Fed’s balance sheet has an offsetting liability, though I have yet to locate it). Here’s the current report of US gold holdings put out by the Treasury: (Source) In short, because gold is not consumed and never misplaced, there has to be a balance between gold supply and demand. It cannot be printed out of thin air, and it is this inconvenient fact that really matters the most here. One caveat: Because of the explosive nature of the above findings, Adam and I sought out an opposing view. We talked with a managing partner at an NYC commodity firm that tracks and reports on gold and silver as specialty areas, and their view was that the US has actually been a net importer over the same time period. I could not resolve the massive discrepancy between these views, so I have more research to do. When asked directly how the US government’s own import-export data could be this far off the mark, the response was that gold is only counted if it is in wrought form, meaning that it has been fashioned into bars, coins, rods, etc. Uncomfortable with the implication that the US had somehow imported 4,500 tonnes of unwrought gold – that is, gold in the form of dust, pellets, or gold ore – I asked if it was realistic that unwrought gold alone could account for so many missing tonnes. The response left me with plenty of doubts. So more digging is required. Presumably this gold came from leasing arrangements and from official sources, as there are no private suppliers that could possibly match these enormous amounts. Further, it should be noted that one very important missing value in this flow chart is private investment – such as gigantic hedge funds buying gold, or you or I buying coins – which means that the actual shortfall would be higher than 4,500 tonnes, because private investment subtracts tonnage from the amount available for export. Depending on how much private demand you estimate (and it has been considerable over the past 13 years), you might double the shortfall or perhaps even go higher. There’s really no other possible source for that gold than from “official” sources, meaning the Fed and/or the Treasury. The only other explanation is that thousands and thousands of tonnes of gold somehow got into this country without being detected by US trade and customs officials, which implies that a rather large series of crimes had to be committed. Because I almost completely discount the idea of illicit gold imports being of a material size, that just leaves us to try and figure out how much leasing the Fed and the Treasury have supported over the prior decades, as we will see below. The facts are easy enough to grasp. The US has exported vastly more gold than it has imported, and that gold had to come from somewhere. It is very doubtful that accounting errors can explain away even 1% of this discrepancy. This leaves gold-leasing from the Fed as the most likely source for all that gold, and it is such a large amount that I know of no possible source on the face of the planet where such an amount could be purchased. This is why Germany seeking to repatriate their gold is such a big deal. What if that gold has already been loaned out? To put it mildly, any whiff that the world’s central-bank gold is not where people think it is would really be an enormously unsettling admission to have to make. Another caveat: There are other experts out there who dispute the figures of this Sprott study. I’m in contact with one of them, probably the best-credentialed of the bunch. If I receive data contradicting Sprott’s analysis, I’ll present it in a subsequent post here on the site. Where It Came From In the meantime, let’s play a game here. Suppose for the sake of argument that the US is missing 4,500 tonnes of gold that has been leased out, and it’s time to either admit that it’s been lost to the world or get it back somehow. That is, the bullion banks will have to pay back the gold they borrowed with cash, or come up with the gold. How much are we talking about? In current terms of ~$1,380 per ounce, those 4,500 tonnes of missing gold pencil out to a liability of some $200 billion. While the Fed might decide that it is able and willing to forgo its gold and allow the bullion banks to deliver cash instead of physical to avoid their probable failure, the Fed does not own that much gold to deliver. Not even close. If you look at the Fed’s balance sheet, they claim to have ~$11 billion in gold (listed as an asset, by the way), but that number is a historical aberration. The Federal Reserve, just like the Treasury Department, carries gold on its books at the rate of $42.22, a price set way back in the 1930s and not touched since. This means the Fed has, on its books as an asset, some 261 million ounces of gold, or more than 8,000 tonnes of gold. The Federal Reserve Balance Sheetcenter_img (Source) See? There are those same 261 million ounces of gold listed for the identical $11.041 billion. So who really owns it? Well, that’s another mystery to be resolved on another day. For now, let’s just try to figure out where the 4,500 tonnes of gold came from before we worry about the claims and responsibilities of actual ownership. The main point I want to make here is that if 4,500 tonnes has been leased out by the Federal Reserve, it could not have been done without the Federal Reserve leasing out either gold belonging to the US Treasury (i.e., US citizens) or belonging to other countries for whom the Fed is holding gold “in custody.” How can I be sure? Because the Fed does not have any other gold listed anywhere else on its balance sheet. If it’s holding some as an asset, it’s hiding it, and I just don’t think that’s the case. The Fed is holding a lot of gold for other countries as a custodian, but that’s a liability of the Fed, not an asset. So the conclusion is simple enough: The Fed has leased out the gold of US citizens, other countries, or both. One other possibility is that the Treasury Department did it directly, but they, to my knowledge, have never been involved in gold leasing, nor have I heard even the first hint of rumor that they might have been involved. Any gold leased into the market belonging to the US Treasury was almost certainly conducted via the Federal Reserve. I would presume that if the Fed has lent out a lot of Uncle Sam’s gold, that had to have been done with the full knowledge of the Treasury Department, because that gold could only have come from the so-called “deep storage” category, which means either the Fort Knox, Denver, or West Point vaults. Recently, there was a big splashy show of claiming that the United States’ gold had been audited. Not only was it all there, we were told, but we learned it was more pure than previously thought! Carefully read the below article and see what impressions are created for you: Gold at NY Fed Is Intact, Some Purer than Thought, Audit Finds Feb 13, 2013 NEW YORK – The U.S. government’s gold in New York is safe in a vault underneath Manhattan, and some of the precious metal there is purer than previously thought. That’s according to a first-ever audit conducted last year by the Treasury Department of U.S. gold on deposit at Federal Reserve banks in New York and elsewhere. The New York Fed holds 99.98% of the U.S.-owned gold bars and coins in the custody of the Federal Reserve. The rest of the gold is on display at Fed banks in cities such as Richmond, Kansas City and San Francisco. If you came away with the impression that 99.98% of all the United States’ gold was audited and 1) found to be there and 2) found to be in even better shape than originally thought, then congratulations are in order to whomever wrote those careful, slippery words. The truth is that the Fed only holds 13.4 million ounces of the Treasury’s physical gold (see image above of Treasury gold) out of some 261.5 million ounces – just about 5%. So the more accurate sentence would have read: “The New York Fed holds 5% of the US-owned gold bars and coins, and these were fully accounted for in our recent audit. The other 95% has not been fully audited in decades.” Not quite as impressive-sounding, is it? So the audit confirmed that at least 5% of the nation’s gold is safe and sound. But that’s all we know. Because every audit request by former Congressman Ron Paul to check in on the gold held in deep storage has been utterly rebuffed. No such audit has been conducted by an independent third party in many decades. So we really don’t know. But we are still left with Sprott’s unexplained data showing that the US has exported 4,500 tonnes more than it has imported, and perfectly sane logic leads us to conclude it had to have come from the Fed, the Treasury, or both. Now, suppose again that the 4,500 tonnes are missing and that either an audit or a collapse in the bullion-leasing game would reveal as much. If you were in charge of that potentially nightmarish scenario, what would you do? If it were my job, I would do everything possible to scare that gold back into the markets where I could purchase it, preferably at a cheap rate and on the sly, with the hopes that I could get that done before anybody was any the wiser. The alternative – a breakdown in the gold delivery market – would create massive price spikes, panic, immediate demands by other central banks for their gold, and quite possibly a lot of financial instability at a very, very vulnerable time in financial history. I should remark that there’s never really a good time for such an event, but now would be especially poor timing, given the state of things. If indeed the US is short 4,500 tonnes (or 145 million ounces), then for every dollar that the price of gold is dropped, $145 million of potential losses are avoided on the repurchase of the leased gold. This could be the story of the decade, maybe century, if the Sprott data is remotely accurate. If it is, then when all of this has to finally be undone, my prediction is that agreements will be broken, allies will be stiffed, and the Fed will not willingly part with whatever gold actually remains, no matter who thinks they own it (Germany, et al.) or how many times Bernanke says that the Fed holds it merely out of tradition. The level of secrecy surrounding gold, gold leasing, and the complete lack of a full audit of deep-storage gold all suggest there’s something to hide here – not the opposite. There’s an awful lot of smoke out there right now, and the concerted US public relations campaign to convince the world that gold is useless strikes me as both strident and desperate. Conclusion Again, if the Sprott analysis is accurate, there’s a lot of missing gold in the US equation, and it had to come from official sources, either of US origin or belonging to other countries. Either way, the leased gold represents a tremendous liability of the Fed and the bullion banks to which it was loaned. In this context, the gold slam begins to smell like an operation designed to shake as much gold as possible out of weak hands so that the bullion banks can begin to recover it to square up their accounts. GLD, the gold ETF that so many small investors participate in, is one large, obvious target, as it was sitting on 1,350 tonnes as of January 2013. The most recent figure I have shows that GLD has coughed up close to 175 tonnes and will certainly lose more in the coming days, as long as the price of gold is held down or even dropped further. But even if GLD loses it all, that won’t even cover a third of lowest possible estimate of the US shortfall. And we can be sure that other central banks in the UK and European arena have played similar games, so there will certainly be some competition for every tonne of gold that is released. It is my distinct impression that something is very wrong behind the scenes, and I am about as worried now as I have ever been. But I’m also excited because it means that finally some interesting things are about to happen. The long, boring quiet period in the markets, where the price of everything was manipulated or distorted by official actions and volatility was managed down to unbelievably low levels, is probably over. This is good news because it means that markets might again be able to function more normally and give us useful information and price signals that can help us determine which direction to go in. Along with this feeling of unease, one line of thinking I have is that gold and silver are getting closer to the day when you or I will not be able to purchase physical bullion at any price. Were a major bullion bank to openly renege on its lease commitments, or the LBMA or COMEX were to declare force majeure and fail to deliver physical, all domestic stocks of gold and silver bullion would evaporate for all practical purposes. When queried about what would happen if even 10% of the US population decided to access the physical bullion market, one large dealer told us it would just break the system. It’s a very narrow pipeline that delivers relatively few rounds, bars, and coins to a very small population of bullion holders. Any big flood and the 5-6 week wait times we now see will certainly get longer. Not many dealers and/or wholesalers will want to honor such long lead times when/if prices are volatile or skyrocketing higher. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and there is a lot of smoke in the bullion world right now. I am more certain than ever that holding physical bullion is a must-do for everyone who wishes to preserve their purchasing power. I am not yet issuing an Alert on this matter, but I am wrestling very hard with the urge to do so. I need some more hard information to justify such a drastic step, but for now my gut is telling me that something is about to break open. More to come as this fast-breaking situation develops. Chris Martenson, PhD (Duke), MBA (Cornell) is an economic researcher and futurist specializing in energy and resource depletion. As one of the early econobloggers who forecasted the housing market collapse and stock market correction years in advance, Chris rose to prominence with the launch of his seminal video seminar, The Crash Course, which has also been published in book form (Wiley, March 2011). It’s a popular and extremely well-regarded distillation of the interconnected forces in the Economy, Energy, and the Environment (the “Three Es,” as Chris calls them) that are shaping the future, one that will be defined by increasing challenges to growth as we have known it. In addition to the analysis and commentary he writes for his site Peak Prosperity, Chris’ insights are in high demand by the media as well as academic, civic, and private organizations around the world, including institutions such as the UN, the UK House of Commons, and US State Congresses.last_img read more

read more

In This Issue IMF says India to outperform ot

first_imgIn This Issue. * IMF says India to outperform other BRICS! * Eurozone/ Greece talks come down to. * The cheese that binds! * China’s inflation falls below 1%! And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Germany Posts Record Current Account Surplus! Good Day!… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Well, wasn’t I quite wordy yesterday? As I’ve said before, when there are that many things to talk about, and I get a good night’s sleep, watch out the next day!   So. how about yesterday?  Did you see that Germany posted a record Current Account Surplus in 2014?  And everyone says the Eurozone’s largest economy is in trouble. HPHM!  And did you see that the IMF had glowing things to say about India?  Or did you see that the euro first dropped then recovered and rallied on the day? All these things and more happened yesterday, so let’s not dawdle, let’s not beat around the bush, and let’s not put things off. Let’s go! So. First things first. And all you longtime readers know my affection for Surplus countries! Fundamentally they are the best in my opinion, and so too, should their respective currencies! But, the markets don’t play that game any longer, at least not for the last 7 years they haven’t. But, it’s still important in my book, and so I make a BIG Deal out of a country posting a surplus!  And that country yesterday was Germany, who posted not only a Current Account Surplus, but a record Current Account Surplus! Germany’s Surplus rose to 215.3 Billion euros ($244 Billion in dollar terms) in 2014, up from the 189.2 Billion euros surplus in 2013! That’s equal to 7.4% of the country’s GDP, and exceeds the 176.7 Billion euros China posted last year!    So, congratulations Germany! Yes, in recent years, there has been some criticism of Germany’s export driven economy. But what the heck! There are some very large companies in Germany, like Daimler and Siemens, and as long as people around the world want what they are selling, why would Germany put a governor on those sales?  Crazy people do crazy things and thin crazy things, folks. let’s hope they stay on the funny farm! Oh, and here’s something that has somehow slipped by me for some time now, but Germany has been at the top of the Current Account Surplus totals for countries since 2010. WOW!   Now that’s impressive!  And to think that wages in Germany rose 1.6% last year. So, it’s obviously not a case of cheap labor fueling cheap exports, now is it? The IMF just forecast that India’s economy will outperform the other BRICS nations in the next year. It would be the first times since 1999 that India’s economy outperformed China’s economy.  Last week I told you about the inflows of foreign investment into India that were the rage now, and in just 5 weeks of this year more than $7 Billion has flowed into India’s stocks and bonds.  So, things are looking up in India, boys and girls, let’s hope that the two guys responsible for guiding this ship to smooth water, PM Modi, and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Gov. Rajan are up to the task! And China reported their latest inflation data last night, and guess what? Well, deflation has come to China too! Chinese consumer inflation which last year was running around 6%, printed below 1% at .8% for the first time in 5 years.  Uh-Oh, I can hear the markets saying with concern, as they fear deflation more than inflation. The markets participants will tell you that they know how to deal with inflation, but deflation is something that they just can’t get their arms around.  Now, for my tastes, deflation doesn’t bother me that much, for it does keep prices down, and isn’t that a good thing?  I know, long term deflation is not good, but short-term I say, calm down and back up the truck to buy stuff before inflation comes back with a vengeance. So, of all these countries I’ve talked about this morning so far, here’s the report card for their currencies overnight..  The euro is down, the Indian rupee is stronger, as too is the Chinese renminbi. In fact most of the currencies are down or flat VS the dollar this morning. The price of Oil has remained Steady Eddie at $52 and change but the petrol currencies aren’t seeing any lift with the majority of them like rubles and real getting sold this morning. One of these things are not like the others. And that would be the Norwegian krone, which is basically flat this morning but leaning toward a gain. Well the International Energy Agency spoke up yesterday, and said that they believe Oil prices will rebound by mid-year. They believe what I’ve been telling you about, and that is the nation’s Oil output is going to slow because of spending cuts by Oil producers and Oil rigs closing.   It’s always nice to hear someone with tons of researchers say what I’ve been saying for a couple of months.  I bet these guys stay up at night, unable to sleep, talking about what that guy in St. Louis, Chuck, is going to come up with next, and how did he figure it out before they did! HA!  Use your noggins! Gold is down a buck or two, so basically flat this morning. The whackings that Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium have had to experience in the last week have left some marks on the shiny metals. This scenario tells me that the markets do not fear the geopolitical stuff going on in the world, they do not fear the risk that June passes by and the Fed fails to hike rates, they do not fear debts, deficits, or anything else that should be weighing on the dollar right now, but isn’t, for some-odd reason. Oh, and let’s not forget for one minute that the Eurozone/ Greece negotiations are coming down to the cheese that binds, and while you might say, but Chuck, that should effect the euro, not the dollar. And you would be correct!  But it’s something that should be giving Gold a boost, and isn’t. Kiwi (N.Z. dollar) is weaker this morning but, before this weakness the currency had recovered the ground lost after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) moved their bias from “tightening” to “neutral”.  I’ve been very impressed with the way New Zealand has been a bright light among the dim ones around the world. You know, with just about every country experiencing some sort of problem, New Zealand sails its ship in smooth waters. Price are rising here, which is something that’s rare today, and something should be said for the RBNZ remaining Steady Eddie with rates, when everyone else is cutting rates.  Just something to think about. The euro was up, then down, then back up, then back down in the past 24 hours. Volatility certainly has returned to the currencies, and I’m happy about that, for the most part. The stuff with Greece is weighing heavily on the euro, so any moves higher are met with resistance and reminders that Greece is still “there”.   Right now, the euro is weaker by ½-cent.  Everything I read says the same thing, about how the Eurozone has its stance on Greek debt, and Greece has theirs, and nary the two will meet.  But, tomorrow is the day when the refunding (LTRO’s) is done, and Greek bonds no longer qualify for collateral. What will they do? Let’s do some numbers on the back of a napkin here. Greece owes 5.36 Billion euro in interest, and 15.57 Billion euros in principal, for a total of 20.93 Billion euros, so for easy reporting’s sake, let’s call it 21 Billion euros. This is what Greece owes this year.   And, it’s not just 21 Billion euros in question here folks. I do believe that the Greek budget shows a total of 141.8 Billion euros as their total debt.  How in the world did a country the size of Greece get that amount of credit?  Didn’t someone, somewhere along the line question Greece’s ability to pay back their loans they were getting?  Of course they did!  And they did it every time Greece came to the markets with a bond auction.  Oh, and the Eurozone has agreed to pay Greece’s interest of 5.36 Billion euros, and that leaves 15.57 Billion euros in principal that has to be dealt with. I could go on and on with this Greek debt stuff, but it’s mind numbing folks. I just keep thinking about how Greece was showed how to hide their debt, so they could gain admittance to the euro. I can’t tell you who showed Greece how to hide their debt, but I’m sure you can figure it out, as they are the heartbeat of every market..   But think about this here in the U.S..  will we ever face this kind of problem because of the debt that we’ve accumulated? Probably. and then people will question how the debt was ever allowed to grow so large, and the markets will be asked, “but didn’t you ever question their ability to repay the loans?” And the markets will answer yes we did, but. Seals and Crofts are playing their song: Summer Breeze on the iPod right now. What a mellow, morning song, eh? There was a time in the mid 70’s when I listened to so much acoustic guitar music, Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, CSN, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, America, and Seals and Crofts, and Cat Stevens, among others.. I played all their songs on my guitar. I used to entertain people all night long playing my guitar and singing these songs. Oh, I still loved my hard driving rock n roll but had to be in the mood to listen to that!  I have so much acoustic rock music on my iPod, just to remind me of that time. It was a good period in my life, and so I love to reminisce.. A good changeup I must say, I was getting really carried away there with the Greek, Eurozone, and U.S. talk!  Whew! Glad that led me away from going any further down that road!  One more thing though on the Eurozone before we go on. Germany will see the states inflation reports tomorrow. I don’t think they are going to show any rising inflation surprises.  and the euro will not react kindly to weak inflation data again.. But that’s for tomorrow.   and the U.S. Data Cupboard has nothing but 3rd tier data to print today, so this could end up being a pretty boring day. I guess that won’t happen if things heat up in the Eurozone with Greece, but it doesn’t appear to be the case right now. I did a ton of reading yesterday on the Jobs Jamboree that printed last Friday.  Everything I read talks about the phony numbers the BLS is using , adding and adding some more to the totals.  Nothing new as far as I’m concerned, it’s all in how things are presented, right?  I mean, the U.S. Administration didn’t like the GDP prints, so they came up with some “adjustments’ to add in, and voila! GDP is back where they wanted it. The same holds true with the jobs data.  The BLS already had a basket full of hedonic adjustments they used on the numbers, but the monthly numbers still weren’t what the Gov’t wanted to see, so, what to do, what to do? Ahhh, let’s add some more adjustments! That’s the ticket! That ought to get the jobs numbers where we want them, and voila!   I just shake my head in disgust folks. John Williams over at Shadowstats.com, you know the accountant that still calculates Gov’t reports the way they used to be calculated before they began making all these adjustments. Well, John Williams says that the real unemployment rate is still around 23%…  Of course you don’t hear his numbers being reported but ask yourself this question. Wouldn’t you rather see numbers from someone that calculates the numbers the way we always have in the past, or. a Gov’t agency that prefers to “adjust the numbers” each month?   Before I head to the Big Finish today. I wanted to mention that in a story that not many will see. Egypt and Russia are nearing an agreement to swap currencies and remove the dollar from the terms of their trade. No biggie, just another baby step toward removing the relevance of the dollar in the world of trade. Oh, and another thing. The Baltic Dry Index, the index used to get the pulse of worldwide shipping has reached an all-time low. Uh-Oh! Better get Maaco! For What It’s Worth. Ok.. So, you know me. I truly believe that we’ve dug ourselves a hole, and instead of trying to climb out of the hole, we just keep digging deeper into debt.  And that debt weighs on the economy and the people, who most of all can’t bear to carry any additional weight on their backs and shoulders.  But get this. Over half of Americans are feeling this weight, because between 2007 and 2013 the median wealth for over half of Americans dropped 40%, which leaves the poorest half with negative wealth, because of debt.. I only talk about this stuff because, I believe it’s a direct reflection on the economy, and the economy’s ability to grow. It can’t grow under these circumstances, it’s that simple. When a recent Bankrate poll found that almost two-thirds of Americans didn’t have savings available to cover a $500 repair bill or a $1,000 emergency room visit, and a Pew survey concluded that over ½ of U.S. Households have less than one month’s income in savings, and all of their savings, including retirement funds, amounted to 4 months of income, you get the picture, right?  It’s downright ugly out there, and I’m not here to pile on. I’m simply pointing out that when over ½ of U.S. Households are in trouble, where is the growth in the economy going to come from?  So, instead of talking euphorically about the U.S. economy, shouldn’t the Fed, see it for what it is? An economy that can’t grow, because it has no disposable income to spend for many Americans, and with debt on their backs, they are in the red. To recap. Germany posts an all-time record Current Account Surplus. The IMF says India to be best performing economy of the BRICS countries next year, and it’s coming down to the cheese that binds with Greek debt talks. The currencies are mixed today, and the euro has seen some major volatility in the past 24 hours, that has left the single unit down this morning. The price of Oil remained steady overnight, but the petrol currencies are lagging, and Gold is still getting dragged through the mud. Currencies today 2/10/15. American Style: A$ .7775, kiwi .7395, C$ .8010, euro 1.1290, sterling 1.5225, Swiss $1.0795, . European Style: rand 11.6420, krone 7.5935, SEK 8.3505, forint 274.05, zloty 3.7190, koruna 24.5485, RUB 65.93, yen 119.10, sing 1.3560, HKD 7.7540, INR 62.18, China 6.1295, pesos 14.86, BRL 2.8020, Dollar Index 94.75, Oil $52.24, 10-year 1.99%, Silver $16.98, Platinum $1,216.38, Palladium $778.68, and Gold. $1,239.17 That’s it for today. Man, I had sticker shock yesterday Big Time! OK, this is small potatoes, but still it shocked me. The other day when I made pancakes, I noticed that I needed a new griddle, so I went to a store that sells kitchen stuff, picked up a griddle and about dropped it on the floor! The price! WOW! I turned around and left the store, and decided I’ll have to make do with what I’ve got! YIKES!   Our Blues sure have been busy, they play tonight at home, then travel to Tampa to complete a 9 games in 15 days stretch. You know, if they didn’t have to play 80 regular season games, they wouldn’t have to clump games so tightly together like this!  I think 60 regular season games would suffice, then cut down the number to teams that make the playoffs, and you’ve got a game that doesn’t take you into June to crown a champion.  But, that’ll never happen, there’s too much money out there. Wings are playing: Band on the Run on the iPod right now. Paul McCartney. I saw him in the Grammys the other night, swaying and clapping his hands to an ELO song.. .he looked pretty darn good for someone nearing 73. I think anyway.  My walking is really beginning to be a drag for me. But I’m still doing it. my knees hurt, my back hurts, my pride hurts every time someone older than me flies past me on the path! Oh, well, I say. I don’t see them walking with a cane, and I doubt they took a dose of chemo this morning either! Rationalizations, when walking. That’s what it’s come to for me! UGH!  Better get this out the door, sorry for the delay yesterday, technical problems and for once they weren’t on my end!  I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday! Chuck Butler Managing Director EverBank Global Marketslast_img read more

read more

Tall people more likely to get cancers finds study

first_imgImage Credit: XiXinXing / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDOct 24 2018A new study suggests that tall people are more likely to get cancers because they have more number of cells that can undergo dangerous mutations.There have been studies earlier that have linked stature with cancers. Some researchers have suggested that for each 10cm height within the normal stature for humans, the risk of cancers increases by roughly 10 percent. Among dogs too, the bigger and taller breeds are more at risk of cancers than the smaller ones. The biological and plausible reasons behind this association could be the role of growth hormones that allow for increased height as well as contribute to increase risk of cancer. Childhood nutrition and illnesses could also play a role in this association say experts. Study leader Leonard Nunney, professor of biology at the University of California Riverside said in a statement, “One of the major hypotheses was that something was happening early in life that was making your cells more susceptible to cancer and, sort of incidentally, causing you to be tall.” The results of this new study is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.According to Nunney individuals from the time they are single celled zygotes to fully grown adults accumulate mutations within their cells. These mutations continue for life. If these mutations are dangerous, cancers may appear. As tall people have more number of cells, the number of cell divisions among them is also more. This could thus increase the cancer risk he explained.For this study the team of researchers compared overall risk of men and women of getting any type of cancer and analyzed it based on heights. The data was gathered from previous study cohorts from Korea, Norway, Sweden and Austria. The model developed took into account the number of cells of the body. The results showed that there was a 13 percent rise in risk of cancers for women associated with each 10 cm increase in height. The real life value is around 12 percent. For men the predicted rise in risk of cancers is 11 percent from the analysis and 9 percent in reality among the populations.Related StoriesNew study reveals ‘clutch’ proteins responsible for putting T cell activation ‘into gear’Using machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryAmong the 23 cancers considered, the rise in risk of the cancers with height was seen in 18 types of cancers, the researchers wrote. The ones that did not show association were for example cervical cancer which is caused by Human Papilloma virus (HPV) infection explained Nunney. Skin cancer melanoma on the other hand shows a remarkable association with height explained Nunney. This could be due to the higher levels of growth hormone called IGF-1 in their bodies he said. IGF-1 can increase rates of cell division. Melanomas typically need larger mutations to develop than other cancers and so IGF-1 could play a role, he said.The commonest cancers associated with height among women were those of thyroid, skin, colon, lymphomas, ovaries, breast and uterus. For men the commonest cancers linked to height were thyroid, skin, lymphomas, colon, kidneys, biliary tract and the central nervous system. No association of height could be found with cancers such as esophagus, stomach, mouth and cervical cancer among women and stomach cancer among men.Nunney explained that the number of cells is important adding, “Whether that comes from a better diet or the fact that your parents happen to be tall doesn’t matter … it is purely a number of cells, however that comes about.” He also added that men are more likely to get cancers than women because of their stature.According to Georgina Hill, from Cancer Research UK this study should not alarm tall people. She added, “…the increased risk is small and there’s plenty you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, such as not smoking and keeping a healthy weight.”Source: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/285/1889/20181743last_img read more

read more

Study Chronic opioid therapy associated with increased healthcare spending and hospital stays

Source:https://www.ajmc.com/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 14 2018Amid public health concerns about the risks of opioid overuse, a recent study in The American Journal of Accountable Care® (AJAC) shows increased economic burden on patients and payers when opioid therapy for noncancer pain continues beyond the initial prescription.Using data from commercial insurance claims of working-aged adults, new research published in the December issue of The American Journal of Accountable Care® (AJAC) found that chronic opioid therapy (COT) for noncancer pain is associated with increased healthcare spending as well as hospital stays. The insights from the study, “Increased Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures Associated With Chronic Opioid Therapy,” can be used by payers to intervene after opioids are prescribed but before patients transition to long-term use.Related StoriesHave cancer, must travel: Patients left in lurch after hospital closesStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesApplication of machine learning methods to healthcare outcomes researchPatients who transitioned to COT, which is defined as daily or near-daily use of opioids for at least 90 days, had total healthcare expenditures that were $4607 higher than those of patients who did not continue long-term opioid use. Total expenditures, without prescription drugs, were defined as the sum of emergency department, inpatient, physician, and other spending. Inpatient spending alone among the COT group was $2453 higher than that of patients who did not transition to COT.The sample—derived from a random sample of commercial enrollees that was released under licensing from the IQVIA Real-World Data Adjudicated Claims database—comprised 3776 adults aged 28 to 63 years in the COT group and 16,425 adults in the non-COT group.With approximately 126 million Americans experiencing some type of pain in the past 3 months, payers, government agencies, and medical associations are trying to encourage nonopioid therapies for chronic noncancer pain. In 2017, opioid-related deaths surged past 72,000, with the increase driven by synthetic opioids.”Any intervention focused on curbing transition to COT has the potential to prevent inpatient use and can lead to cost savings for the payer(s),” the study noted, adding that reducing inpatient utilization benefits patients via improved quality of life and lower out-of-pocket costs.The authors, two of whom received funding from the National Institutes of Health, did not include in their study information on types of pain, response to pain treatment, socioeconomic status, and other factors.”We hope that these findings can help lay the foundation, including financial justification, for prevention programs related to identifying and curbing inappropriate chronic opioid use,” said lead author Douglas Thornton, PharmD, PhD, of the College of Pharmacy at University of Houston. read more

read more

Outpatient cleaning regimen cuts MRSA infection by a third

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Feb 14 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers at the University of California have discovered how to cut people’s risk of developing a dangerous MRSA infection once they have left hospital.Henrik Dolle | ShutterstockThe study found that patients cut their risk of infection if they applied a nasal antibiotic treatment and used mouthwash and antiseptic soap for six months.Approximately five percent of hospitalized patients have MRSA, which increases their risk of developing full-blown infection once they have been discharged. Such infections can cause complications with the heart, lungs, bones and skin, often resulting in patients having to return to hospital.Now, Dr. Susan Huang and colleagues have found that taking certain hygiene steps reduces the risk of infection by about a third.It’s a very simple solution. You don’t have to swallow a medicine, you just have to clean the outside of your body for a little while longer.”Dr. Susan Huang, Lead AuthorMany efforts have been made to curb MRSA infections inside hospitals, but now the focus is moving towards how patients are affected once back at home.As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 2,000 patients in hospitals across southern California who were carrying MRSA were provided with information on how to avoid infection developing.Half of the patients were also given mouthwash, antiseptic soap and a nasal antibiotic treatment to apply as part of a deep-cleaning approach. They were advised to use the products from Monday to Friday every other week for six months.Huang and team report that one year later, 6% of those in the deep-cleaning group had developed an MRSA infection, compared with 9% of those who were only given the information. The deep cleaners also developed less infections from any cause, at 20% versus 24%.Post-discharge MRSA decolonization led to a 30% lower risk of MRSA infection than education alone.”No serious adverse effects were reported. Forty-four percent of patients found their skin became dry or irritated, but generally, this did not put them off using the products.The products were funded by federal grants, but the cost per-person over a six-month period would otherwise be about $150 to $200.Co-lead author Robert Weinstein says it is worth patients doing whatever they can to prevent an MRSA infection. Source:Huang et al. 2019. Decolonization to Reduce Postdischarge Infection Risk among MRSA Carriers. NJEM.last_img read more

read more

PDIA1 enzyme levels could help diagnose individuals predisposition to cardiovascular disease

first_imgSource:Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São PauloJournal reference:Laurindo, F.R.M. et al. (2019) Protein disulfide isomerase plasma levels in healthy humans reveal proteomic signatures involved in contrasting endothelial phenotypes. Redox Biology. doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2019.101142. PDIA1 is fundamental for the ability of cells to migrate within the organism, and so it mustn’t be completely inhibited. When the surface portion, which corresponds to less than 2% of total PDIA1, is silenced, the cell survives but loses fine regulation of cell direction during migration. This can be leveraged in the search for new disease mechanisms and drugs.”Francisco Rafael Martins Laurindo Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 20 2019Measuring the blood plasma levels of an enzyme called PDIA1 could one day become a method of diagnosing a person’s predisposition to cardiovascular disease even if they are healthy, i.e., not obese, diabetic or a smoker, and with normal cholesterol.This is suggested by a study published in the journal Redox Biology by Brazilian researchers affiliated with the University of São Paulo (USP), the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), and Butantan Institute.The investigation was conducted under the aegis of the Center for Research on Redox Processes in Biomedicine (Redoxome), one of the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDCs) funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). Redoxome is hosted by USP’s Chemistry Institute.”This molecule belongs to the protein disulfide isomerase [PDI] family. Our study showed that people with low plasma levels of PDIA1 have a more inflammatory protein profile and hence run a higher risk of thrombosis. On the other hand, people with high levels of PDIA1 have more ‘housekeeping’ proteins associated with cell adhesion, homeostasis and the organism’s normal functioning,” said Francisco Rafael Martins Laurindo, a professor at the University of São Paulo’s Medical School (FM-USP) and principal investigator for the study.The study was conducted during the PhD research of Percíllia Victória Santos de Oliveira with a scholarship from FAPESP.The group analyzed blood plasma samples from 35 healthy volunteers with no history of chronic or acute disease. None was a smoker or a user of recreational drugs or chronic medication.Plasma was collected 10-15 times at intervals of days or weeks during a period of 10-15 months. Circulating PDI levels were within a small range for most individuals. Moreover, in a cohort of five individuals, PDIA1 levels were measured three times in a nine-hour period. The variability of the results was again negligible.”However, the measurements showed that some patients had high levels of PDIA1, while the levels were very low, almost undetectable, in others. When the tests were repeated for the same person over time, these values hardly varied at all,” said Laurindo, who heads the Translational Cardiovascular Biology Laboratory at the Heart Institute (InCor) attached to FM-USP’s teaching and general hospital (Hospital das Clínicas).The researchers also measured the levels of PDIA1 in 90 plasma bank samples from patients with chronic cardiovascular disease. The analysis consistently showed low levels of the enzyme.They then conducted several additional proteomic studies to investigate how the plasma levels of PDIA1 correlated with an individual’s protein signature. The adhesion and migration of cultured vein endothelial cells treated with PDIA1-poor plasma were impaired in comparison with those of cells treated with PDIA1-rich plasma.Related StoriesDeaths from cardiovascular disease have risen by 4 percent in the last 5 yearsEating blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseaseProbiotic containing common gut bacterium could halve cardiovascular disease ratesThese results led to the hypothesis that the plasma level of PDIA1 could be a window onto individual plasma protein signatures associated with endothelial function, which could indicate a possible predisposition to cardiovascular disease.The study also showed no correlation between PDIA1 levels and well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as triglycerides and cholesterol.The next steps for the research group include studying PDIA1 levels in conditions such as acute coronary disease, as well as other members of the protein disulfide isomerase family (there are more than 20 PDIs all told), to compare results and confirm whether all these enzymes are potential markers of vulnerability to cardiovascular disease.InhibitorsClinical trials of inhibitors of other PDIs are being conducted by different groups of researchers in several parts of the world. Because these enzymes play various essential roles in cell survival, Laurindo explained, it is important to understand their specific interactions in the cancer context to design inhibitors capable of eliminating tumors with a minimum of toxicity to normal cells.In another study, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, the researchers used an antibody to inhibit PDIA1 on the surface of vascular cells and observed the effects of stimulation with several different mechanical forces, such as stretching and alterations to the rigidity of the extracellular matrix.Resulting from research conducted during Leonardo Yuji Tanaka’s postdoctoral internship with support from FAPESP, the study concluded that surface PDIA1 inhibition affected the cytoskeleton, an intracellular framework of filaments, thereby hindering cell migration.last_img read more

read more

BU professor awarded NIH grant to study Down syndrome

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 16 2019Tarik F. Haydar, PhD, professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has been awarded a two-year Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Funds from the $453,750 grant will be used to develop human stem cell-derived cultures to study a developmental abnormality in the formation and/or maintenance of white matter in the brain of people with Down syndrome. Pilot funds for this research were awarded by the BU Clinical & Translational Science Institute and an administrative supplement from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingHaydar received his doctorate degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine focusing on brain development in Down syndrome with Bruce Krueger, PhD. He completed postdoctoral studies at Yale University with Pasko Rakic, MD, PhD, examining control of forebrain neural precursor development. He then started his own independent laboratory at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, in 2002.Haydar joined BUSM in 2010 where he studies mammalian brain development using state-of-the-art molecular and surgical techniques. Using in utero electroporation (an electrical pulse to create temporary pores in cell membranes), in vivo genetic fate mapping (to study the embryonic origin) and gene expression profiling, his goal is to understand how the multiple populations of neural stem cells and progenitor cells in the embryonic brain generate the cerebral cortex. In addition, Haydar is using similar approaches to characterize brain development and function in Down syndrome using experimental models and human samples.Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, mild to moderate intellectual disability and characteristic facial features.The R21 grant mechanism is intended to encourage exploratory/developmental research by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of project development. Source:Boston University School of Medicinelast_img read more

read more

HSBC leaker Falciani freed on bail in Spain

Herve Falciani, seen here in 2015, is known as the “the man who terrifies the rich” for leaking documents that alleged HSBC helped clients evade billions of dollars in taxes Explore further The National Court judge seized Falciani’s passport and said the 46-year-old French-Italian national would not be able to move from his home in Spain while his extradition request is considered, according to the ruling seen by AFP.He also said Falciani would need authorisation to leave the town where he lives and must appear before court once a week.Falciani worked for the Swiss branch of HSBC and became known as the “the man who terrifies the rich” after leaking information in 2008 that alleged HSBC helped clients evade billions of dollars in taxes—a scandal that became known as “Swiss Leaks.”The information he leaked indicated that HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm helped more than 120,000 clients to hide 180.6 billion euros ($222 billion) from tax authorities.Minister denies Catalan linkA Swiss court in 2015 convicted Falciani of aggravated industrial espionage and handed him a five-year jail sentence.But he did not attend his trial and has avoided Switzerland since.He was arrested in Madrid on Wednesday at the request of Switzerland just as he was on his way to a conference about the need to protect whistleblowers.Spanish police had initially said the Swiss arrest warrant was issued last month but Switzerland’s justice ministry clarified Thursday it was actually put out in May 2017, raising questions as to why the detention only happened now.Falciani’s arrest comes as two prominent Catalan separatist leaders have fled to Switzerland to avoid legal proceedings over their role in the region’s independence drive, one of whom is targeted by a Spanish international arrest warrant.Justice Minister Rafael Catala on Thursday denied the two issues were linked.”There is no political decision, there is no government involvement in these issues,” he told reporters.’Snowden of tax evasion’Falciani became an IT worker for HSBC in 2000 and moved to the bank’s offices in Geneva in 2006.There, he obtained access to encrypted customer information.In 2008, he went to Lebanon with the information planning to sell the data, without success. Swiss authorities described it as “cashing in”.He then came back to Switzerland where he was under investigation and ended up leaving for France, where he passed on the pilfered information to tax authorities.This led to the prosecution of tax evaders including Arlette Ricci, heir to France’s Nina Ricci perfume empire, and the pursuit of Emilio Botin, the late chairman of the Spanish bank Santander.He rejects that he was only seeking financial gain, insisting he had wanted to expose how banks support tax evasion and money laundering.Since then, he has become known as the “Snowden of tax evasion,” in reference to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden who in 2013 revealed the scope of the US government’s electronic surveillance programme.Falciani had already been arrested in Barcelona in July 2012 on an international warrant issued by Switzerland after he arrived by boat from a French port.He then spent several months in a Spanish prison.But in 2013, the National Court ended up refusing his extradition on the grounds that the charges he faced in Switzerland are not considered crimes under Spanish law.The court’s ruling was very critical towards HSBC, accusing it of “seriously irregular” behaviour and defending Falciani, “who thanks to his collaboration allowed information to be handed over to various authorities in various states including Spain.” A Spanish judge on Thursday released on bail Herve Falciani, a former HSBC computer analyst detained in Madrid at the request of Switzerland for leaking documents alleging widespread tax evasion. HSBC in $100 million forex fraud settlement © 2018 AFP Citation: HSBC leaker Falciani freed on bail in Spain (2018, April 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-spain-hsbc-leaker-bail.html 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

read more

Chinas first homebuilt aircraft carrier begins sea trials

In this photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China’s Liaoning Province for sea trials Sunday, May 13, 2018. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP) China says it is building its second aircraft carrier The still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian at 7:00 a.m. to “test the reliability and stability of its propulsion and other system,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.The Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday.The 50,000-ton carrier will likely be formally commissioned sometime before 2020 following the completion of sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement. 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 new carrier is based on the former Soviet Union’s Kuznetsov class design, with a ski jump-style deck for taking off and a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant.China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, arrived as a mostly empty hull from Ukraine and was commissioned in 2012 along with its flight wing of Chinese J-15 fighter jets.State media reports say China is also planning to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier capable of remaining at sea for long durations. China has the world’s largest navy in terms of numbers of ships, although it lags behind the U.S. in technology and combat capabilities.It has been deployed to assert China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and is increasingly ranging farther into the Pacific and Indian oceans. China last year established its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, where rivals such as the U.S., Japan and several European nations also have a permanent presence. Explore further This May 9, 2018, photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency shows China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at a shipyard in Dalian. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, May 13, 2018, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Minoru Iwasaki/Kyodo News via AP) In this April 26, 2017, file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s newly-built aircraft carrier Liaoning is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony at a shipyard in Dalian. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, May 13, 2018, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP, File) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China’s Liaoning Province for sea trials Sunday, May 13, 2018. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. State media said the still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian early Sunday, and the Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday. (Hu Kaibing/Xinhua via AP) Citation: China’s first home-built aircraft carrier begins sea trials (2018, May 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-china-home-built-aircraft-carrier-sea.html China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier began sea trials Sunday in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country’s domestic arms industry. read more

read more

GM recalls 12M pickups SUVs for power steering problem

first_img 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 © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. Such a failure increases the risk of a crash. The company says it has 30 reports of crashes with two injuries, but no deaths.The recall covers certain 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs.Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners. No date has been set to notify customers, but GM says the software is available now, so owners can contact dealers to schedule repairs.More than 1 million of the trucks are in the U.S., and most of the rest are in Canada and Mexico. There’s a small number in other countries.GM recalled 2014 model year trucks last year for the same problem. This Jan. 25, 2010, file photo, shows a General Motors Co. logo during a news conference in Detroit. General Motors on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, is recalling more than a million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. because of power-assisted steering problems that have been cited in a number of accidents. GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. Such a failure increases the risk of a crash. The company says it has 30 reports of crashes with two injuries, but no deaths. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)center_img Toyota recalls cars, SUVs for steering, software issues Citation: GM recalls 1.2M pickups, SUVs for power steering problem (2018, September 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-gm-recalls-1m-pickups-suvs.html General Motors is recalling 1.2 million big pickup trucks and SUVs mainly in North America because of power-assisted steering problems that have been cited in a number of accidents.last_img read more

read more