Israel to name Golan town after Trump

first_imgJerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intends to name a new settlement in the Golan Heights after US President Donald Trump to honour his recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the strategic plateau. Netanyahu, who is on a trip to the region with his family for the week-long Jewish Passover holiday, said on Tuesday that there was a “need to express our appreciation” to the US President, the BBC reported. “All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights named after President Donald J. Trump,” Netanyahu, who has secured a fifth term in office in the recent Israeli elections, said in a video message. For decades, Washington did not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, but Trump announced his plan to overturn the US policy on March 21. Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981. The move has not been recognised internationally.last_img read more

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Schumachers wife urges media to leave doctors family alone

first_imgMichael Schumacher’s wife called on reporters Tuesday to stay away from the French hospital where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries from a skiing accident, and to leave her family alone.“Please support our shared fight with Michael. It is important to me that you take the pressure off the doctors and the hospital so they can do their work,” Corinna Schumacher said in a statement addressed “to the media”.“Please have faith in their statements and leave the hospital. Please also leave our family in peace,” the wife of the Formula One legend said. The former German champion remains in a medically induced coma since the accident on December 29 in the French ski resort of Meribel, where he owns a chalet.Schumacher’s fall has generated massive media interest, with his hospital in the French city of Grenoble under siege by reporters and photographers.A source close to Schumacher said Monday he had seen a “slight improvement”, after doctors said he was still in a stable but critical condition.Following a flurry of media speculation about his condition, the team treating him said they would give no details of the treatment the 45-year-old is receiving in order to protect his right to privacy.last_img read more

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Ambassador OwenJones Pioneer of AustralianMoroccan Relations

By Isabella WangRabat – Just over a year has passed since the first Australian embassy was established in Rabat. MWN interviewed Australian Ambassador Berenice Owen-Jones, revealing the progress in relations and the pioneering woman behind it. When Berenice Owen-Jones came to Morocco as the first Australian ambassador, she was faced with a void. While the diplomatic relationship between Morocco and Australia had been established in 1976, there was in fact very little in Morocco to show this tangibly. There was no prior diplomatic post, and the relationship lacked infrastructure: no embassy, no chancellery, not even a database or contact list to provide a launching point.Reflecting on the beginning of her ambassadorship, Owen-Jones reminisces with incredulity, “When I landed here in July here last year, there was nothing.”Before her ambassadorship, Owen-Jones had envisaged Morocco as a country of wonderment and beauty. Like the conventional perceptions of the country, her ideas of Morocco were based on the symbiosis of fantasies and travels. She outlined, “I first came to Morocco a couple years ago and went to Marrakech.Morocco had this aura. I fantasized about Morocco; a lot of people do really. So I was delighted to be able to go on this trip.”But with Owen-Jones’ ambassadorship came dramatic shifts in her sentiments towards the country. Wonder transformed into determination and action, as Owen-Jones sought to uncover the many intricacies of Moroccan culture, society, and politics and pioneer the previously anemic Morocco-Australia relations.Read Also: Australia and Morocco: Opportunity for Trade and DialogueOwen-Jones’ goal was unequivocally simple: to overcome the “tyranny of distance” which will always be an inescapable fact in the relationship between Morocco and Australia. Her efforts in the first year of her ambassadorship have underscored that surmounting the distance is certainly possible. The ambassador notes, “I felt a bit like an explorer planting the flag in a new country, and that was quite exciting, and it was really up to me to work out the scope of the relationship, to make those networks.”Setting upon her diplomatic mission, Ambassador Owen-Jones has uncovered a new terrain of diverse relationships and projects in Morocco as she establishes bilateral relations through a multitude of fronts: from the chiefly political and parliamentary fronts to the educational and economic. Owen-Jones, alongside her counterpart, Moroccan Ambassador to Australia Karim Medrek, have organized a parliamentary dialogue between Morocco and Australia. Together they have forged a Morocco-Australia parliamentary friendship group to ensure that each country’s legislative institutions exchange and share views on bilateral relations, both on the regional and international level. Indeed, this month marks the visit of El Habib El Malki, speaker of the House of Representatives, to Australia, a further step in advancing and promoting parliamentary cooperation.Over the past year, Owen-Jones has also fortified Australia’s dialogue with Morocco on counter-terrorism.She notes the many efforts which define Australia and Morocco’s agreement on the issue, “We are already working with Morocco on counter terrorism in the Global Coalition against Daesh [ISIS] and Global Forum against Terrorism. Basically, we share the same goals in those forums. We share the same view the transnational nature of terrorist threat requires comprehensive, cooperative, and united approach at all levels.”Looking to Morocco as a paragon of counter-terrorism, sharing expertise is particularly significant for the ambassador. With the July 2017 terrorist plot targeting an Etihad flight departing from Sydney coming just before her ambassadorship, Owen-Jones stresses that counter-terrorism is an integral facet to bilateral relations. She lauds the ability of Morocco to combat terrorism and prevent radicalization through a multi-pronged approach, admiring that Morocco’s counter-terrorism policy integrates “a security dimension while helping to promote economic growth and social and human development; preservation of religious and cultural identity, whilst strengthening rule of law.”Yet, the ambassador is nevertheless anticipating the progress to come. She outlines imminent plans to bolster strategies on counter-terrorism, “Our ambassador for counter terrorism [Paul Foley] is coming to Morocco in a couple of weeks to attend a countering violent extremism conference in Marrakech in prisons actually, and we will organise a bilateral cause.”Owen-Jones’ past year as ambassador has seen her lead the frontier of relations in the business and economic sector. She notes, “I’m very pleased that the relationships on the business and commercial fronts are well on track.”She stresses the positive efforts of the Australia-Morocco Business Council in Marrakech, a platform for Moroccan and Australian businesses to discuss investment opportunities and market dynamics. Since 2008, Australia has had economic representation in Morocco; the Australian Commission for Trade and Investment (Austrade) had appointed Osama Alaoui as the representative in Morocco. The ambassador had sought to extend such ties. In 2017, Australian investment in Morocco was booming with AUD 150 million financing the mining sector and $110 million in agriculture. In February, she co-chaired in Morocco Austrade’s 6th “Australia unlimited” event. The event sought to showcase, particularly to the many Moroccan attendees from the political, economic and business world, what Australia can offer in trade and investment.But the ambassador envisions more for bilateral relations. With a strong steely look her in eyes, she affirms, “I’d like Australia to see Morocco as a partner choice in the region and vice versa.”Australian-Moroccan relations: Looking to AfricaThese are not the only plans for the ambassador: She now ambitiously focuses upon opening Australia to the rest of Africa. Afro-relations is a terrain rarely traversed in Australian politics.  But Owen-Jones hopes that the relationship between Morocco and Australia can bring further diplomacy and greater interactions in the region.She praises Morocco’s exemplary efforts with Africa, “Morocco is very influential in Africa. There is a depth of knowledge not just of Francophone Africa but all of Africa. And this is under the leadership of the King.”In pioneering relations with Morocco, she hopes that she will be able to dispel Australians’ misconceptions and ignorance about Africa. Her newly minted diplomatic post is the first of a greater outreach by the Australia government. As outlined in the Foreign Policy White Paper, Australia now looks towards Africa for greater relations. Ambassador Owen-Jones will be at the vanguard of this mission, as she insists on the need for greater awareness about Africa in Australia. To truly understand Africa is to both recognize the prosperous continent as a whole while also acknowledging the unique identities of the 54 states. Only last month on August 29-31, Australia held its 16th Africa Down Under Conference, which sought to foster awareness of Australian interests in African mining, energy, and agribusiness. The conference was the central pillar to Australia’s “Africa Week,” which comprised satellite events, such as the Australia-Africa University Network Forum and the Australian Africa Infrastructure Conference, all with the aims of creating a dialogue between Australia and Africa. The ambassador speaks proudly of the growing investments, as she lists the many manifestations of the thriving relationship. “There are currently 170 ASX listed companies, operating in 35 countries in Africa; 2-way goods and merchandise trades have reached 7.6 billion AUD in 2017.”Uncertainties which lie aheadWith the significant progression of Australia-Moroccan relations, certain issues nevertheless remain uncharted territories. Western Sahara is undoubtedly one of them. When asked about Australia’s stance on Western Sahara, Owen-Jones is neutral and diplomatic, reiterating precisely the statement of Australia, made in the United Nations: “Australia recognizes the Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory in accordance with UN classifications and we encourage all parties to dialogue on the issue.”She further outlines Australia’s neutrality, “We continue to urge all parties to support and continue all efforts to reach a lasting and peaceful political settlement for the Western Sahara. How we do that? We support UN efforts to find a settlement for the Western Sahara and we encourage progress towards referendum, commend the continual efforts of MINURSO and the UN Special Envoy Horst Kohler to resolving the conflict.”Yet the ambassador’s demeanour changes when questioned about Australia’s trade ties with Morocco and Western Sahara. When questioned about the controversial phosphates trade, imported from Morocco, yet sourced from Western Sahara, she disagrees adamantly. She insists that Australian companies, like Wesfarmers, have ceased imports, and that less than 2% of the phosphates come from the Western Sahara territory. In 2015, Australian company Incitec Pivot imported 63,000 tons of phosphate worth $7.48 million from the region, making it the world’s sixth largest importer of phosphates from Western Sahara. Only earlier this year in March did Lee Rhiannon, a senator from the Australian Greens party further question the company’s imports of Western Saharan phosphates: “The most significant resource exported by Morocco from Western Sahara is high-quality phosphate rock for agricultural fertiliser. Australia’s Incitec Pivot Ltd—IPL—purchases this fertiliser. Two other Australian fertiliser manufacturers have actually withdrawn from the trade since 2010. IPL has ordinarily received three shipments annually with a total value of A$14 million.”Rhiannon’s statements came with a reprimand for Morocco and its claim on Western Sahara. The inconsistencies in Australia’s discourse on the Western Sahara dispute reveal a need for greater exploration of the issue. With the Western Sahara issue, prominent on the Moroccan agenda, a comprehensive and consensual position would enable a more accurate assessment of Morocco and Australia’s trade relationship and forge a more genuine and realistic dialogue. Questions also loom for Australia-Morocco relations after the tumultuous shifts in Australian politics at the end of August. With a relaxed and nonchalant tone, the ambassador assures continuity: “It’s business as usual.”But Australia has been more sceptical. Susan Rimmer, Australian Research Council Future Fellow of Griffith University has addressed her concerns over the momentum of Australia’s foreign policy under the new leadership of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. She critiques, “Morrison’s foreign policy credentials are slim and his interest in foreign policy is low, not rating even a mention in his first speech to the nation as PM.”Critical for Morocco’s Islamic identity, Scott Morrison’s views on Islam are dubious; a 2011 shadow cabinet leak revealed that he had urged his party to capitalize on the electorate’s anxieties concerning immigration and Muslims in Australia. Development funds: Humanity in diplomacyYet, the trajectory for Australia-Morocco relations is nevertheless optimistic. Ultimately what upholds the very integrity of Australia-Morocco relations is humanity. For Owen-Jones, the relationship between Morocco and Australia must transcend just economic figures and a public façade of official visits and diplomatic hand-shaking. Her ambassadorship seeks to truly interact and change the individual lives of Moroccans, particularly those in rural areas, who may be marginalized from access to resources.  The ambassador’s eyes brighten slightly, and a wave of joy tinged with concern sweeps her face as she outlines the development funds under way. Project SOAR is a program aiming to empower girls through academic support, education and empowerment coaching. While Morocco has established the legal equality of women in the family code, and the status of women is undoubtedly improving, there are still problems of illiteracy and gender equity, particularly the high dropout rate of girls from school in rural areas.With specific support provided by the Australian Direct Aid Program, Ambassador Berenice Owen-Jones has championed the cause, visiting one of the program’s efforts in Essaouira, the “Girl Leaders Club.” Reflecting on her time, Owen-Jones says, “There is still a lot of work to be done. The fact that the embassy has been able to help in that way, but in a very tangible way is fantastic.”The tangible impact of her ambassadorship is integral to Owen-Jones’ aims. She repeats in awe, “You can see it, the light bulb moment within them,” as she refers to the tremendous rewards of empowering the more marginalized populations of Morocco.Such experiences extend further to the humanitarian work of Australian NGO “Red Goes Faster.” In the remote villages of the Merzouga region in eastern Morocco, the organization provides wheelchairs to disabled children, while also establishing the infrastructure to fit such wheelchairs according to the standards of the World Health Organization.Wheelchairs unlock a whole new realm of movement and possibility for the children. “It’s an extraordinary thing to do because we’re making a real difference to the lives of these children” she says, later showcasing the myriad of photographs depicting her time with the children. Looking back on the formidable year that has passed, I ask Owen-Jones about her proudest achievements. After outlining the many projects, visits, and obstacles of her ambassadorship, she pauses before noting, “Being a bit of a trailblazer. It’s a new embassy and I’ve set it up.”Her eyes gleam, unapologetically proud. Trailblazer. It is certainly an apt title. read more

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Tanzania Attacks on persons with albinism decline local attitudes must change UN

“People with albinism continue to live in a very fragile situation, as the root causes of the attacks against them remain rampant, and the effects of over a decade of violations have taken their toll,” said Ikponwosa Ero, the UN independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, at the end of her 11-day visit to Tanzania. Ms. Ero, however, praised the Government for its work to tackle the issue – which is rooted in the mistaken belief that the body parts of people with albinism have value in witchcraft practices. “I welcome the measures already taken by the Government and civil society, and the decrease in the number of reported attacks,” she said. “There have been positive measures to address witchcraft practices, including the registration of traditional healers.” “However, full oversight over their work has still not been achieved, and confusion still exists in the minds of the general public between witchcraft practice and the work of traditional healers,” the expert noted. She said more work was needed to address witchcraft and educate the public. Ms. Ero also highlighted concerns over the use of schools as protection centres for children with albinism, which in some cases have evolved from temporary shelters into long-term accommodation. Although there has been a significant reduction in the overall number of children in these shelters, more work remained to be done, she added. During her mission to Tanzania, Ms. Ero met with various high-level officials, civil society representatives, people with albinism, and their family members. Independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.She will present a full report and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2018. read more

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Man missing for three days found safe and well by gardaí

first_img Nov 28th 2016, 1:33 PM Image: Sam Boal Man missing for three days found “safe and well” by gardaí After a public appeal, the man has been found gardaí announced last night. GARDAÍ HAVE LOCATED a 36-year-old who was missing since the morning of 27 November.The man, who was last seen on Marlborough Street in Dublin, has been “been located safe and well”.Gardaí thanked the media and the public for their assistance in raising awareness of the man’s disappearance.Read: Confirmed: Pope Francis will visit Ireland in 2018 >Read: 92% of Irish people believe that cannabis should be legalised when recommended by a doctor > 24,539 Views Short URL https://jrnl.ie/3106811 6 Comments Monday 28 Nov 2016, 1:33 PM By Garreth MacNamee Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Image: Sam Boal Share76 Tweet Email last_img read more

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Gardaí seize cannabis plants worth €200000 in Mayo

first_img GARDAÍ HAVE ARRESTED a man after discovering a grow house with an estimated €200,000-worth of cannabis plants in The Neale, Ballinrobe, Co Mayo.Yesterday, as part of an on-going operation in the Mayo area, gardaí in Castlebar working with the Divisional Drugs Unit, carried out a search at a house in the Ballinrobe area of Co Mayo.They discovered 261 cannabis plants at various stages of growth, and recovered various items of drugs paraphernalia.A man in his 50s was arrested at the scene and is currently detained at Castlebar Garda Station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996.Read: Cannabis worth €500,000 seized outside shopping centre in KildareRead: Man charged after cocaine and cannabis worth €1.5m seized in Artane Image: Garda Press Office Short URL Thursday 6 Apr 2017, 3:38 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Share60 Tweet Email2 Image: Garda Press Office 35 Comments http://jrnl.ie/3327448 By Gráinne Ní Aodha Apr 6th 2017, 3:38 PM 12,958 Views Gardaí seize cannabis plants worth €200,000 in Mayo A man in his 50s has been arrested in connection with the seizure.last_img read more

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Know Your Sport Take our weekly quiz

first_img 229 84 Well now. There’s not much we can say about that. Do you even like sport? Stephen Attride 8. The Laois football captain suffered a double skull fracture in their win over Carlow on Sunday. What’s his name? Kimberly Connor https://the42.ie/4072331 PA Share your result: Answer all the questions to see your result! Eight Dallas Cowboys Two You scored out of ! Cora The Explorer INPHO PA 7. By how many points did South Africa trail before coming back to beat England in their Test last weekend? Friday 15 Jun 2018, 5:00 PM Arsenal Silver INPHO 88 Game Changer Share 232 4. Scott Gregory had the worst opening round of the US Open. How many shots did it take the Englishman? PA PA By Steve O’Rourke PA 22,402 Views The questions just didn’t suit you this time. Try again next week. 5. Zack Martin became the highest paid guard in the NFL this week. What team does he play for? 10. New Zealand teenager Amelia Kerr shattered a world batting record against Ireland this week. On what score did she finish with her stumps intact? Ross Munnelly Follow us: the42.ie Know Your Sport? Take our weekly quiz How closely were you paying attention to this week’s sporting headlines? Short URL Chelsea Jun 15th 2018, 5:00 PM Gold Artem Dzyuba Denis Cheryshev Four 6 Comments 3. It was announced this week that Cora Staunton would become the first female GAA player to release an autobiography. What will it be called? Bronze 21 Share7 Tweet Email 189 INPHO Aleksandr Golovin 24 Colm Begley INPHO 9. Who was announced on Wednesday as Katie Taylor’s next opponent? Share You scored out of ! 6. Irish internationals Katie McCabe and Louise Quinn signed new deals with which Super League club this week? 80 Tweet New England Patriots Reading INPHO 182 You scored out of ! Share Hold The Mayo INPHO You scored out of ! Six Denver Broncos Share your result: Share your result: 92 PA Jasmine Clarkson 1. Four different players scored for Russia in their World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia. Which of this quartet was not among them? Heather Hardy Top of the pile, you really were paying attention this week. 18 Tweet Code Breaker Fulham Oakland Raiders The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us! PA Donal Kingston 15 Victoria Bustos 2. How many personnel changes did Joe Schmidt make for Ireland’s second Test with Australia on Saturday? Share Not too bad at all. If you’d paid a little more attention you could have won the gold. Tweet Yury Zhirkov Share your result: Wooden Spoon Tweet PA Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

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Le roi Richard III avait des vers intestinaux

first_imgLe roi Richard III avait des vers intestinauxLes chercheurs britanniques qui étudient depuis plusieurs mois déjà la dépouille de Richard III d’Angleterre viennent de découvrir que le monarque était porteur de vers intestinaux. C’est fou tout ce que l’on peut apprendre aujourd’hui, à partir de la dépouille d’un homme mort depuis plusieurs siècles. L’homme en question ? Richard III d’Angleterre dont le squelette a été retrouvée l’année dernière par des archéologues de l’Université de Leicester sous un parking de la ville. Grâce aux ossements du monarque qui a régné en 1483 et 1485, les chercheurs sont parvenus à en apprendre beaucoup sur le roi décrit par William Shakespeare comme un tyran bossu et sanguinaire.Loin de ce sinistre aspect, ils sont même arrivés à reconstituer son visage, plus doux et calme qu’on ne l’imaginait. Côté santé, les archéologues ont confirmé que Richard III était bel et bien atteint d’une importante scoliose et qu’il avait perdu une partie de ses dents, en raison de caries et d’un manque de soin. Mais aujourd’hui, c’est une toute nouvelle trouvaille que l’équipe britannique a annoncée dans la revue The Lancet. Selon elle, le monarque était également porteur de vers intestinaux, plus précisément de parasites appelés ascaris ou Ascaris lumbricoides.Des oeufs bel et bien issus des intestins du roi Ces vers, dont les femelles adultes atteignent jusqu’à 35 cm de longueur et les mâles mesurent de 15 à 30 cm, entrainent une ascaridiose qui se traduit par de nombreux troubles intestinaux.  C’est en analysant à l’aide d’un microscope les échantillons de sol prélevés dans le bassin et le crâne du squelette de l’ancien monarque que les archéologues ont découvert la présence d’oeufs de ce parasite. Chez Richard III, les œufs retrouvés mesuraient jusqu’à 8 mm pour les plus grands.”Ce que nous avons trouvé, c’est plein d’oeufs de vers à l’endroit où les intestins devaient se trouver. Il n’y avait aucun oeuf de parasite d’aucune sorte dans le sol du crâne et des niveaux très bas dans la tombe”, a expliqué Piers Mitchell, chercheur au département d’archéologie et d’anthropologie de l’Université de Cambridge qui a dirigé l’étude. “Cela montre qu’un nombre significatif d’oeufs dans le sol doit véritablement provenir des intestins du roi et ne pourrait être une contamination venant du sol”. Une parasitose passée inaperçue ? Les oeufs ont été identifiés à l’aide d’un puissant microscope après avoir été séparés du sol en utilisant des tamis. Dans de bonnes conditions, les oeufs morts peuvent rester préservés pendant des centaines d’années grâce à la nature robuste de la paroi de leurs cellules. Ces vers se servent normalement de leur hôte pour rester en vie, notamment en volant une partie de leur nourriture. Aussi, ce genre d’infestation conduit souvent à une malnutrition voire à la mort chez des personnes qui ne peuvent pas beaucoup se nourrir.À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?En revanche, dans le cas de Richard III, les spécialistes estiment qu’il devait certainement avoir une alimentation très riche, ce qui a pu ne pas faire remarquer les symptômes dues à l’infestation par les parasites. Selon Jo Appleby de l’Université de Leicester qui a aidé à découvrir le squelette, ces vers étaient très communs à l’époque médiévale. Aussi, “il peut être surprenant que Richard était infestée par des vers, mais c’est quelque chose que vous pouvez attraper très facilement par contamination fécale”, a t-elle souligné à BBC News. Des cuisiniers médiévaux méticuleux Néanmoins, les archéologues n’ont pas trouvé la présence d’autres vers, pourtant également courants à l’époque, dans la dépouille de Richard III. Ceci signifie selon eux que, malgré l’infestation par les ascaris, les cuisiniers du roi prenaient beaucoup de soin à préparer la nourriture. “Les parasites sont tués par la cuisson complète de la viande, donc peut-être que les chefs médiévaux étaient plus consciencieux que certains pourraient penser”, a conclu le Dr Mitchell. Le 4 septembre 2013 à 13:12 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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Money to Burn Poll Should You Buy a Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw

first_img Money to Burn: Should You Buy Mac Tonight Merch?Money to Burn Poll: Should You Buy an N-Gage? Stay on target Resident Evil 4 is one of the greatest games of all time. Its haunted Spanish setting, full of not-zombie intelligent peasant foes, is a master class in survival horror atmosphere. Meanwhile, its gameplay mechanics reinvented the third-person shooter, and put it on the path of becoming one of the most prominent gaming genres. It’s also way more substantial than it first lets on. It’s fantastic.It’s also super silly. The Resident Evil franchise has never backed away from goofy B-movie charms, from grainy FMV cutscenes to hilariously stilted dialogue. Resident Evil 4 proudly carries on this tradition. Sure it’s legitimately tense and thrilling, but often times Leon S. Kennedy’s attempt to save the president’s daughter feels more like a lost Snake Plissken adventure than even the Metal Gear Solid games do.The perfect visual metaphor for Resident Evil 4 as a great goofy experience is the chainsaw controller that accompanied the game’s original Nintendo GameCube release. Does this bloody, bulky, absurd abomination look like a comfortable way to play the game? Not really. Do I still want to hold a big chainsaw while outmaneuvering enemies holding their own big chainsaws? Absolutely.Resident Evil 4 has since come to every platform imaginable, but should you buy the GameCube Resident Evil 4 chainsaw controller if you have Money to Burn? Let us know! Should You Buy a Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller?Yes (Money!)No (Burn!)VoteView ResultsCrowdsignal.comShould You Buy a Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller?Money to Burn is Geek.com’s ongoing series of polls. We put up a geeky auction or sales listing, talk about it, and leave it up to you whether or not the physical item is worth buying (Money) or is just cheap trash (Burn). And of course you should leave a comment explaining your rationale. Then be sure to keep coming back to Geek.com to vote in the latest poll. Dispose of that income, you dorks!last_img read more

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Surprise Soulless Sex Robots Offer No Human Health Benefits

first_imgStay on target Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain Sex, like milk, does a body good: it lowers blood pressure, burns calories, lessens pain, improves sleep, and eases stress.Unfortunately for well-heeled loners, though, there is no evidence (yet) to suggest sex robots—anthropomorphic devices with customizable genitalia—can cure physical, mental, or social aches.A new report published this week in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health exposes a lack of clinical research data on sexbots—unsurprising given their recent rise to fame.But limited availability and excessive price tags haven’t curbed curiosity.“We became aware that doctors are being asked for their professional opinions on sex dolls and robots,” study co-author Chantal Cox-George, a doctor at St. George’s University Hospitals, told The Washington Post.Some advocates defend the cyborgs as promoting safer sex: Imagine a red-light district full of robotic prostitutes made of bacteria-resistant fiber, and flushed for human fluids after use.Sounds … gross. Yet optimistic.“It is speculative whether the development of a sexbot marketplace will lead to lesser risk of violence and infections, or drive further exploitation of human sex workers,” the research paper said.Perhaps they can provide therapeutic value, allowing folks to practice without pressure. Or, more likely, a racy robot may further isolate someone with sexual dysfunction, or alienate couples already struggling in the bedroom.Cox-George and co-author Susan Bewley, an obstetrician at King’s College London, also examine sexbots’ potential to treat pedophiles and sex offenders (they “strongly caution against” it), as well as whether these tailor-made, idealized machines will change societal norms.“There are worries about blurred boundaries to consent and permission for enacted violence when sexbot ‘personalities’ can be selected that simulate non-consensual sex—that is, rape,” the pair wrote.For now, Cox-George and Bewley urge medical practitioners to follow the “precautionary principle”—i.e. avoid the clinical use of sexbots until their benefits have been empirically proven.“There is a social responsibility to protect the public from harm, unless findings emerge to show no harm,” Cox-George said.Get a behind-the-scenes look at how sex robots are made in this photo essay by brave European Pressphoto Agency photographer Aleksandar Plavevski.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

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Tree branches wind gusts damage 5 cars in Deerfield Beach

first_imgDEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Two cars were totaled in Deerfield Beach after some tree branches came crashing down.The branches broke through both cars’ windshields and also damaged another three vehicles, Monday.A total of five cars were damaged along East 13th and Newport Center Drive.Officials said strong wind gusts are to blame.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

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Google workers urge tech giants to drop forced arbitration

first_img0:57 The group says 60 million Americans are affected by forced arbitration. In other tweets, the organizers showed employees and contractors how to search through their contracts to find their arbitration clauses. The group also laid out the arbitration policies of several big tech companies. For example, organizers said Facebook forces arbitration in cases of discrimination and wrongful termination, but not sexual harassment. Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The campaign is the first major protest of the year from Google workers, after standing up against their employer on several occasions last year. In one case, they protested Project Maven, an initiative to use artificial intelligence to improve the analysis of drone footage. A handful of Google employees resigned, and in April more than 4,000 workers reportedly signed a petition addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai demanding he cancel the project. In June, Google said it wouldn’t renew the Maven contract or pursue similar contracts, though it’d still work with the military.Workers also united against Dragonfly, a project to build a censored search engine for China. Employees wanted Google to create an ethical review process that included input from rank-and-file workers, not just from high-level executives. Hundreds of Google employees, mostly software engineers, also joined with Amnesty International in a letter demanding Pichai cancel the project. Last month, Google “effectively ended” Dragonfly, according to The Intercept, after it shut down access to data that was key to the project.But the big moment for protesters at Google last year was the walkout, which drew 20,000 workers from Google offices around the world. That protest set the stage for Tuesday’s campaign. “To the workers who quietly sent us their own employer agreements and shared their stories with us … your courage is the kind we hope to see from our leaders and lawmakers in 2019,” organizers wrote. First published Jan. 15, 6:10 a.m. PT.Updated, 11:37 a.m. PT: Adds more details from the campaign. The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.Who won CES 2019: Amazon or Google? CNET’s Amazon and Google reporters debate products, partnerships and presence. The series of tweets started at 6 a.m. PT, and will continue until 3 p.m. PT. Campaign organizers also said Monday that Google is still using the old arbitration policy in contracts and offer letters. Google didn’t respond to a request for comment. Now playing: Watch this: Google employees stage walkout, Apple touts new products Google headquarters in Mountain View, California Stephen Shankland/CNET When Google workers walked out of their offices in November to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims, one of their demands was that the company end its policy of forced arbitration in cases of sexual assault and discrimination. Forced arbitration often means workers can’t take their employers to court when they complain internally. Google partly capitulated, ending the practice when it dealt with sexual assault. But organizers said the change didn’t go far enough, and now a group of Google workers is pushing for tech giants to drop the practice altogether. The group, called Googlers For Ending Forced Arbitration, on Tuesday launched a social media campaign meant to pressure their employer and other Silicon Valley companies. The protest will take place on the group’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, where participants will post facts about forced arbitration, as well as interviews with workers who have been affected by the practice. “In surveying the employees of 30+ tech companies and 10+ common Temp/Vendor/Contractor suppliers in the industry, not a single business could meet 3 basic criteria of a transparent & equitable workplace,” the group tweeted Tuesday morning. Google Alphabet Inc. Post a comment Tech Industry In surveying the employees of 30+ tech companies and 10+ common Temp/Vendor/Contractor suppliers in the industry, not a single business could meet 3 basic criteria of a transparent & equitable workplace. #EndForcedArbitration #googlewalkout #MeToo #TimesUp #DumpForcedArbitration pic.twitter.com/9j22FmLUEb— End Forced Arbitration (@endforcedarb) January 15, 2019 Tags 0 Share your voicelast_img read more

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Will expose corruption in Kaleshwaram Congress

first_imgWarangal: Kazipet Railway Station was abuzz with Congress workers on Monday with a delegation led by the TPCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy was on its way to Tummidihatti in Adilabad district to expose how the TRS government had changed the design to construct the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP), by Telangana Express train.Although the train had just a few minutes of stopover, Uttam Kumar Reddy and senior leader Komatireddy Venkat Reddy got down to speak to party’s local leaders. Also Read – JIH organises Eid Milap for sanitary workers Advertise With Us Speaking to the media persons after the train left, the Warangal District Congress Committee (DCC) president Naini Rajender Reddy said that in a bid to expose the irregularities committed by the TRS government a delegation of senior Congress leaders led by theTPCC president was going to Tummidihatti project site. “The Congress will expose the misdeeds of the TRS which in the name of redesigning had changed the original Pranahita Chevella project and resorted to construct the KLIP. We will expose how the TRS government had escalated the costs of the project for its own gains,” Rajender Reddy said. Also Read – GHMC distributes saplings to KV students Advertise With Us The TRS establishment which amassed crores of rupees through such illegal activities spent them to win the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. After the elections, the TRS also resorted to buy the MLAs of the other parties, the DCC president alleged. It may be mentioned here that the Congress has been arguing that if the project was taken up at Tummidihatti on Pranahita river, it would have been completed by now with a cost of just Rs 38,000 crore instead of splurging nearly one lakh crores on KLIP. The Congress is of the opinion that TRS had redesigned the project only to earn crores of rupees through commissions. Jangaon DCC President Janga Raghava Reddy, senior leaders Katla Srtinivas Rao, EVV Srinivas Rao, B Srinivas Rao, K Srinivas, Dr Puli Anil Kumar, Meesala Prakash, Embadi Ravinder, M Sridhar Goud, M upender, M Satyanarayana, B Kumar Yadav, K Kishore, K Ganesh, G Koteshwar and Banka Sampath Yadav among others were present.last_img read more

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India Inc Welcomes Union Budget 20122013

first_imgLeading business bodies and industrialists in the country welcomed the Union Budget 2012-2013 presented by the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha Friday.Reacting to the Union budget, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) president R V Kanoria praised the Finance Minister for targeting overall fiscal deficits from present 5.9 percent to 5.1 percent.However, stating that the budget presented in the Lok Sabha is not going to stimulate growth in the economy, the FCCI has said that the budget seeks to raise additional Rs 40,000  crore revenue through taxation, but there is no mention of controlling subsidies on diesel and food.The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said the Union Budget for 2012-13 is well-balanced and pro-active with well-defined measure to bring back the economy on higher growth track.Despite current economic situation coupled with domestic political compulsions and challenges like elevated inflation, the government has tried to tread the path of fiscal consolidation with prudent macro-management, Myiris.com quoted Assocham president Rajkumar Dhoot as saying.Adi Godrej, president designate at CII and chairman, Godrej Group, told to CNBC-TV18, “I was happy to hear his Budget speech on power, coal, infrastructure and agriculture. There were some good announcements there – I hope it’s followed up. Execution will be important but the announcements were good. The disappointing part was the excise duty hike.”Vijay Mallya, Chairperson of Kingfisher Airlines, said that it was a good balanced and pragmatic budget.”Finance Minister in budget speech announces for Aviation (a) ECB upto $ 1.0 b (b) direct import of fuel (c) FDI upto 49% by foreign airlines,” Mallya posted on his Twitter wall.Chanda Kochhar, CMD of ICICI Bank, said fiscal deficit 5.1% of GDP as positive news, but more than expected borrowing limit was negative due to which bond yields spiked.Stating that the Union Budget as a “realistic one”, Uday Kotak, executive vice-chairman and managing director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, told CNBC-TV18: “Expecting something dramatically reformist in current situation not realistic.”In an interview, Ashok Wadhwa, group CEO, Ambit Holdings, told the TV channel, “This budget is low on delivery and high on F&O. A lot of good measures, if executed appropriately and in time. I had not expected the category to be broadened and taxes to go up.”last_img read more

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ICC World Cup 2019 Jacques Kallis reveals darkhorse picks his favourite to

first_imgFormer South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis believes that South Africa can play ‘without any pressure’ and hence, can aim for a good finish in the 2019 World Cup. South Africa have always come into the tournament as favourites but have managed to trip in crucial moments. The Proteas have won only one of seven World Cup knockout matches since making their tournament debut back in in 1992 and tasted defeat in the semi-finals four years ago.However, Kallis believes not being tipped as potential winners might work in South Africa’s favour this season. “The results they have over the last few years haven’t been as good as they would have liked maybe but this is a great place for them to be (not being talked about),” he told reporters at the tournament opening ceremony in London on Wednesday. Jacques Kallis”Coming here without any pressure around their neck, they can play with freedom — South Africa are my dark horse side,” added Kallis.South Africa take on England in the openerSouth Africa will take on England in the opener. The hosts are widely tipped to be the favourites and go all the way and clinch the trophy in their home conditions. Kallis said that the journey of England ever since they were ousted back in 2015 has been unbelievable.”It has been unbelievable — where they have come from four years ago to now is incredible. They come in as favourites and the guys all know their roles, but they have the pressure of being at home as well,” the legendary all-rounder said. Faf du PlessisAnesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images”It will be interesting to see how they (England) adapt if things don’t go their way — and that can always happen in a World Cup — how they react to that,” he added.Batting has been the cornerstone of this England team’s resurgence and the likes of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan have set the stage alight on numerous occasions. “It’s an exciting feeling being in this team as you have world-class players all around you and the opposition might get 370, but there’s a belief in the dressing room that we can chase it down,” said England leg-spinner Adil Rashid.South Africa coach Ottis Gibson, who was England’s bowling coach not too long ago, believes England will be the side under pressure since there is this feeling that the side will have to play extremely bad, not to win the tournament.last_img read more

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Shahid Afridis slap made Mohammad Amir confess to spotfixing claims Abdul Razzaq

first_imgRazzaq’s story about Amir is full of factual errorsReutersIn a stunning revelation, former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq has said that Mohammad Amir, the fast bowler who was banned from international cricket in 2010 for spot fixing, accepted his wrongdoing only after he was given a slap by former captain Shahid Afridi. It was during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010 that Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and the then captain, Salman Butt were found to be involved in spot-fixing as part of a sting operation by the English tabloid News of the World.Speaking to a Pakistani news channel GNN, Razzaq narrated the dramatic scene of the entire event. “When this thing (players’ involvement in spot-fixing) became known, we were on a tour of England. There, Mohammad Amir was called by Afridi into a room. I said to Afridi, let me also come with you. He said, you wait outside the room. Then, I heard the sound of a slap. Shahid Afridi slapped him (Amir) and said, ‘Amir, tell me what the truth is.’ Then he told everything,” the retired cricketer said.However, he also claimed that he became suspicious of the three players’ conduct much before the whole scandal burst into the public limelight. “These people (Butt, Amir and Asif) had been doing it (spot-fixing) for many matches. I suspected that he (Butt) deliberately didn’t bring the bat in line of the ball. So, I told him (Afridi) two or three times that I think he is getting out deliberately and not scoring runs deliberately. He ignored my views and said this is just your imagination running wild.”Alright, I thought, he was the captain and it was my duty to tell him this. In Colombo, we were playing the T20 World Cup and had a match against New Zealand. He was playing with me so I said to him that…we now have a good partnership…so let start hitting big shots. But he asked me not to. I didn’t realise it then and thought maybe he is right. But after a couple of overs, I said to him that I am starting to hit big shots, so, you give me the strike and take the single to bring me on strike. But he would deliberately take the single after playing two to three dot deliveries. He got me dismissed by putting me under pressure. I was annoyed and thought, what has he done? As soon as I returned to the dressing room, I told Shahid Afridi that he is doing this and has deliberately got me dismissed. But he said, “No, no, there is nothing like this.” Then, about a year later, the same thing happened in full view of everyone,” claimed the former Test cricketer. Afridi wasn’t part of the Pakistan team when the scandal came into lightReutersProblems with Razzaq’s claimsNow the problem with this statement is that the spot-fixing scandal broke in 2010. Sri Lanka hosted the World T20 in 2012, so Razzaq’s claim about him batting with Butt against New Zealand in Colombo during the event, about a year before the scandal can’t be true. Furthermore, when the involvement of these cricketers in such shady activities came to light, during the final Test of a four-match series in England at Lord’s, Afridi wasn’t part of the team and had, in fact, retired from Test cricket well before that. So, either Razzaq’s is mixing up events or concocting a story.What is a little bit more incredulous is his story about how his suspicions regarding Butt were confirmed. “We have a friend in UK who has a mobile shop. Mazhar Majeed’s (the middleman who facilitated the fixing) mobile was not working and he went to that shop. There must have been some technical fault and he (the friend) said you can pick it up two days later. When he was working on the mobile, he pressed the button and the mobile got turned on and he saw that there were many messages with the name ‘Salman Butt Cricketer.’ So, he read all the messages and copied them. He then told Afridi about it and also myself. That’s why they were caught,” Razzaq told everyone on a Pakistani TV show.It sounds too much of a coincidence that the chief figure in the fixing scandal would give his mobile for repair to the shop of a friend of Razzaq. Besides, how could a person casually deposit his mobile containing such sensitive information for repair? Lastly, it wasn’t Razzaq or Afridi, but the English tabloid which brought the sinister dealings into public view through a sting operation. Lastly, if Afridi and Razzaq knew about all this, their not informing the ICC is a punishable act itself.Unfortunately, the anchor of this show seemed unaware of all the facts and didn’t counter question Razzaq on the veracity of these facts. Otherwise, he may have been exposed as a fibber.last_img read more

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Why Are There So Many Close Calls On Houston Streets

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: – / 3Before chatting with Kinder researchers we thought we’d reach out to local cyclists about the close calls they’ve experienced. So we headed to the Heights to meet Angie Cabrera, an active cyclist who says she likes to ride all over the city.   And she also likes to have fun doing it. She told us about one epic jaunt, a “Prom Ride” from Montrose to the East End. That’s when riders get dressed up in formal wear and cycle into the wee hours.  But cycling isn’t always as fun as prom night. Cabrera told us about one recent close call when she was trying to make a left turn near Toyota Center.“So I always turn on the outer part left,” explains Cabrera. “Because I naturally assume the person on the left, you’re supposed to turn left. It’s a left lane only.”But instead of making the turn, Cabrera says that vehicle just sped on past.“I yelled in their window,” says Cabrera. “Their window was up but I know that they heard me. I was like, you’re supposed to turn.”So where else are people having close calls?Our next stop is Main Street where we meet Ricky Carroll. He’s a geophysicist at an oil and gas firm and he rides around downtown quite a bit. Carroll says most of his trips are uneventful. But he sometimes hears from drivers who don’t think he should be on the streets. Carroll says a couple of times a year he’ll hear a driver yell at him to “get a job.”“And I’m thinking, I ride a pretty nice bicycle,” says Carroll. “I have a job already and I pay taxes.”Carroll says he recently encountered a driver in a place where they weren’t supposed to be. He says a car came straight toward him in the green-painted bike lane on Lamar Street.  “It’s like, what are you doing?” says Carroll. “And I yell at him and he just kept on coming. I finally pulled to the side and he just rushed right by me. I tapped his car and said hey, you’re in the bike lane. But he didn’t seem to care. He stopped at the light and continued driving.”Those are just a couple of examples of close calls. And they apparently happen a lot. But if there isn’t a crash or a ticket those incidents will probably never get recorded.  Kyle Shelton was one of the researchers on the Kinder Institute study. “That’s a lot of data points that we’re not collecting,” explains Shelton. “And that’s a lot of these tense situations that aren’t going into the way we think about how we interact on streets.”  To do their study, Kinder recruited volunteers to record their close calls using a cellphone app. When the weeklong study was finished researchers had reports of over 130 near misses. Most of those happened inside the 610 Loop, places like downtown and the Med Center. The majority of close calls involved cars and bikes, incidents like passing too closely or turning in front of a cyclist. But why are those close calls happening in the first place?For one there’s the issue of distracted driving. Shelton says poor street design is also a problem, with roads that were essentially built to accommodate only cars. And that leads to what Shelton calls the “hierarchy of relationships” that makes walkers and cyclists feel marginalized. “And when we’re seeing stuff like they’re feeling they have to be prepared for an incident at any point or they feel like they are being ignored by drivers or that it’s just kind of an unsafe place in a lot of ways,” says Shelton. “That’s a really important message for us as Houstonians to hear.” Researchers say Houston’s new Bike Plan could go a long way in helping all road users co-exist. One of the goals of the plan is to set up an extensive network of on-street bike routes. On the law enforcement side, Houston police are conducting sting operations to go after drivers who pass too close to vehicles. Police Chief Art Acevedo says they’re also on the lookout for cyclists who break the law, like red light runners. Back in the Heights, we meet another cyclist who says it all boils down to personal responsibility. Monica Padron says she’s bikeless right now after getting hit by an Uber driver in Montrose. On top of that she’s also had plenty of close calls. “Unfortunately I feel like nowadays everyone is just so self-involved,” says Padron. “And they’re in a hurry for no reason, no good reason at all. It’s just they’re impatient.”Kinder researchers say they hope to reach out to more cyclists in the future, especially riders in low-income neighborhoods to see if they have the same experience. They’re hoping the results will help city planners focus on some of Houston’s trouble spots to help everyone share the road — at a safe distance.  View Fullscreen Share 00:00 /03:53 X Listenlast_img read more

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Cosplay Gallery Fan Expo Canada 2017

first_img Photos: Best Cosplay at San Diego Comic-Con 2019Photos: Best Cosplay From Anime NYC 2018 Fan Expo Canada welcomed its 23rd year this past Labor Day weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the heart of Toronto, Ontario. This year’s guest list featured mainstream notables Tim Curry and Richard Dreyfuss, comics creators Jim Lee and Adam Hughes, animation stars such as Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty fame, and cosplay guests including Jessica Nigri.With a star-studded guest line-up, an expansive artist alley, and a geek marketplace full of toys and collectibles, Fan Expo Canada was a four-day multimedia experience that offered something for everyone. For attendees who didn’t mind waiting in line, this year’s show floor included a Thor: Ragnarok costume exhibit, Star Trek laser tag, a spooky VR experience promoting the upcoming It movie, and a variety of food vendors that sold poutine (yay) but lacked chicken tenders (boo).For those looking to shop, the exhibit halls were filled to the brim with vendors selling virtually anything to satisfy your nerdy needs: comics, toys (both new and vintage), homemade crafts, geeky apparel, cosplay items, and a booth selling bones and other oddities (at which, I definitely spent too much time lurking). Similarly, the artist alley featured rows upon rows of creators selling their wares, including original artwork, comics, enamel pins, and more.Fan Expo Canada 2017 drew a hefty attendance that undoubtedly surpassed last year’s count of 130,000+ fans, which made the exhibit halls feel as busy and crowded as San Diego Comic Con or New York Comic Con. Despite the massive crowds and lines, plenty of con-goers were still able to suit up to the nines, whether they were entering the costume contest, wandering the convention halls with friends, or dressing up for their very first time. Luckily, I was able to capture a sample of some of Toronto’s finest in cosplay craftsmanship.All photos by Betty Felon.View as: One Page Slides1. Viktor Nikiforov, Yuri Katsuki, & Yuri Plisetsky (Yuri!!! On Ice)2. Quentin Quire (X-Men)3. Black Panther4. Yondu (Guardians of the Galaxy)5. America Chavez6. Pidgey & Pokemon Trainer7. Rey (Star Wars)8. Bat-Mite9. Huntress10. Starfire, Nightwing, & Batgirl11. Zant, Link, & Skull Kid (The Legend of Zelda)12. Josie & The Pussycats13. Professor X (X-Men)14. Tomoyo, Kero, & Sakura (Cardcaptor Sakura)15. Thanos16. Loki17. Finn & Rey (Star Wars)18. Android 18, Vegeta, & Bulma19. Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service)20. Batgirl & Commissioner Gordon21. Guardian (The Legend of Zelda)22. Lottie (Snotgirl)23. Spider-Gwen24. Jewel25. Froppy, Deku, & Uravity (My Hero Academia)Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetlast_img read more

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Distracted By Office Noise This Gadget Can Help

first_imgNovember 3, 2016 Open offices can be hotbeds of creativity and collaboration, as well as noisy distractions. Spotify-blasting headphones can block it all out but will also make you deaf to stuff you still need to know.The Doppler Labs Here One earbuds fix all that: They stream music via Bluetooth while acting like a literal filter for wanted and unwanted noise — blocking out bad sounds (the copy machine, Frank in accounting’s personal calls) and letting through the necessary ones (your business partner talking directly to you).Here’s how: Built-in microphones take in all the sounds around you, which are processed by an internal computer, and then only the noises you select via an app are actually played into your ears. The app also features a volume control, so you can jack up specific sounds or frequencies (such as those associated with the human voice). You can even take phone calls using the device — but keep your voice down, out of respect for all your poor earbud-less coworkers. ($299 via preorder; hereplus.me) Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 1 min read Register Now » This story appears in the November 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more

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first_imgThe number of new clinical applications for positron emission tomography (PET) and PET/CT are constantly unfolding in new disease areas, and, subsequently, PET procedure volumes are increasing at unprecedented rates. The growing body of clinical evidence demonstrating that PET has greater sensitivity and is more accurate in detecting cancer compared to other imaging tools has weighed in heavily amongst healthcare decision-makers in government, prompting the recent proposal by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand reimbursement for PET. Expanded CoverageThe recently proposed national coverage determination (NCD) will consider extending coverage for initial diagnostic testing with PET for many Medicare beneficiaries who are being treated for cancer.Under the Coverage with Evidence Development (CED) program, CMS had issued a national coverage determination in 2005 that tied Medicare coverage of PET scans to the collection of clinical information about the effect of the test on the beneficiary’s cancer care. This information was obtained through the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) observational study. Without CED, these tests would not have been covered by Medicare.The purpose of CED is to develop evidence on the utilization and impact of the item or service evaluated in an NCD, so that Medicare can document the appropriateness of use of that item or service in Medicare beneficiaries under current coverage; consider future changes in coverage for the item or service; and generate clinical information that will improve the evidence base, which providers use to support their recommendations to Medicare beneficiaries regarding the item or service.The sponsors of NOPR submitted a formal written request to reconsider the 2005 coverage determination to CMS, based on the evidence they had collected and published. This proposed expansion in coverage marks the first time that CMS has reviewed medical evidence arising from its CED program.The proposed decision addresses coverage for cancer staging and restaging, in addition to initial diagnosis. Two important items in the CMS draft include a proposal to replace coverage for “diagnosis, staging and restaging and treatment” with “initial treatment” and “subsequent treatment.” CED will still be required for PET scans for subsequent treatment strategies, as CMS believes that the current evidence is not adequate to provide coverage for PET scans in guiding subsequent treatment. After a public comment period, a final decision is expected in April 2009.The Burden of ProofDespite the fact that many PET procedures have not been reimbursed, PET adoption has proliferated, leaving many to wonder: “How long will PET continue to go uncovered and what will it take for it to become the standard of care?”IMV Medical Information Division, a market research firm, estimated that 1.13 million clinical PET and PET/CT patient studies were performed in 2005, which represented an annual growth rate of 26.5 percent since 2003. Another leader in market research, Bio-Tech Systems Inc., expects that by 2010, PET procedures should rise to 2.1 million.In anticipation of growing utilization, the NOPR was created in 2006, and since its inception, several bodies of data have been released by various authors demonstrating the superiority of PET over other imaging tools in the management of cancer.One such study led by Bruce Hillner, M.D., found that clinicians changed their treatment plan 36.5 percent of the time based on PET scan results. Specifically, biopsies were avoided in 75 percent of patients who had planned to undergo one. This study also revealed that PET identifies more areas of active cancer than other imaging tools, a finding that appears to be consistent across a wide range of cancers.Another NOPR-backed study indicated that the course of treatment changed 43.1 percent. The most common changes involved switching to another chemotherapy agent 26.5 percent of the time or changing the current dose or duration of therapy 16.5 percent of the time. There are also several groundbreaking trials on PET imaging independent of NOPR. In a study led by Fritz Eilber, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, assistant professor in molecular and medical pharmacology and director of the Sarcoma Program at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, researchers directly compared PET to CT scanning in evaluating response to treatment in sarcoma patients. According to Dr. Eilber, the study demonstrates that the change in activity by FDG-PET was much more sensitive and accurate at detecting people who responded to treatment than Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) using CT, which is the current standard of care.In this study, eight sarcoma patients were scanned using PET/CT, treated, scanned again and lastly underwent surgery. “We compared the change in the PET to the change in the size [of the tumor] with how much of the tumor was dead. We had eight people who had what we considered a pathologic response, in which 95 percent of the tumor was killed. All eight were picked up by PET; only two of them were picked up by CT. So if those [two] patients were on a drug where you couldn’t take out the tumor, they could have been pulled off the drug, which could have been working,” Dr. Eilber explained. A tool to assess whether a patient is responding to treatment, Dr. Eilber stressed, is critical in cases of advanced disease in which case surgery may not be an option. “Basically it keeps you from interpreting somebody who has responded to treatment but has not had a decrease in size as a non-responder. And currently, a lot of studies [indicate] that type of patient would get pulled off the study because the tumor didn’t meet the size criteria changes.” Dr. Eilber suspects that more of these types of studies will be conducted, which will look at PET in the management and treatment of other types of cancer. “They just haven’t been done to a certain degree because the PET/CT scanner is relatively new,” he noted.High-Definition HybridsIn line with growing utilization and demand for PET imaging, manufacturers continue to drive advancements in hybrid technology, particularly for PET/CT.One of the buzzwords today in imaging is high-definition (HD). But beyond the hype, there are significant benefits that HD lends image quality; enough for Siemens Healthcare to introduce its latest PET/CT system, Biograph mCT, which includes advanced HD to create a new system that is capable of scanning the whole body in five minutes and allows for low dose scans. “High-definition PET enables improved delineation of small and early lesions, especially lesions without very high tracer uptake due to the improved resolution and higher lesion contrast obtained by HD and ultraHD technology,” said Partha Ghosh, M.D., clinical marketing manager, molecular imaging, Siemens Healthcare. “Thus patients with small metastases, early tumor recurrence especially in regions with distorted anatomy following surgery or radiotherapy and metastases with lower tumor burden causing it to have low FDG uptake are better visualized with HD and ultraHD technology.” UltraHD technology combines time-of-flight (TOF) and point-spread-function (PSF) reconstruction and offers 2-mm uniform resolution throughout the entire field of view (FOV) and 4 times enhanced lesion contrast compared to standard PET scans.He added, “This should help early diagnosis of metastases and tumor recurrence and evaluation of treatment follow up since visualization of small residual disease would otherwise be missed and would have a major impact on further treatment decision.” According to Siemens, with Biograph mCT, a facility may only need to purchase one imager instead of two, representing a huge cost-savings potential in a time when healthcare budgets are tight. With oncology applications representing more than 90 percent of clinical PET/CT exams, GE Healthcare integrated its BrightSpeed CT with the motion management capabilities of its Discovery PET system to create the Discovery PET/CT 600. The system is optimized for use in oncology and is capable of managing and correcting for motion during a scan. As a key component of the image chain, the Discovery PET/CT 600 includes a scintillator with high sensitivity level available, and GE BGO technology said to allow for improved lesion detectability, potentially reducing the dose requirement and allowing for faster scans and increased throughput.As new technology continues to enhance the image quality of PET/CT, and studies demonstrate the clinical efficacy of the system, the medical community is building its case for why Medicare should expand reimbursement for PET, and so far, it is a convincing one.Reference:NOPR is sponsored by the Academy of Molecular Imaging (AMI), and managed by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and ACR Imaging Network (ACRIN). The registry received input from—and is endorsed by—ACR, the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM). The NOPR Working Group was chaired by Bruce Hillner, M.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University and co-chaired by Barry Siegel, M.D., Washington University; R. Edward Coleman, M.D., Duke University; and Anthony Shields, M.D., Wayne State University. FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 News | Computed Tomography (CT) | June 17, 2019 International Working Group Releases New Multiple Myeloma Imaging Guidelines An International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) has developed the first set of new recommendations in 10 years for… read more Related Content Feature | February 12, 2009 | Amy Ballard, MEd, director of research, Arkansas Urology PET Builds its Case Clinical studies build the case for PET reimbursement and gain support from new hybrid technologies. X-ray images such as the one on the left fail to indicate many cases of advanced bone destruction caused by multiple myeloma, says the author of new guidelines on imaging for patients with myeloma and related disorders. Image courtesy of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | July 01, 2019 Bracco Imaging Acquires Blue Earth Diagnostics Bracco Imaging S.p.A. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Earth Diagnostics, a molecular imaging company… read more News | PET-CT | June 19, 2019 United Imaging Announces First U.S. Clinical Install of uMI 550 Digital PET/CT United Imaging announced the first U.S. clinical installation of the uMI 550 Digital positron emission tomography/… read more News | Radiation Therapy | May 31, 2019 RefleXion Opens New Manufacturing Facility for Biology-guided Radiotherapy Platform RefleXion Medical recently announced the opening of its new manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Hayward,… read more News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | May 17, 2019 New Phase 2B Trial Exploring Target-Specific Myocardial Ischemia Imaging Agent Biopharmaceutical company CellPoint plans to begin patient recruitment for its Phase 2b cardiovascular imaging study in… read more Figure 1. A high-fidelity 3-D tractography of the left ventricle heart muscle fibers of a mouse from Amsterdam Ph.D. researcher Gustav Strijkers. News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 07, 2019 Amsterdam University Medical Center Wins MR Solutions’ Image of the Year Award The Amsterdam University Medical Center has won MR Solutions’ Image of the Year 2019 award for the best molecular… read more News | PET-MRI | May 23, 2019 Study Explores Magnetic Nanoparticles as Bimodal Imaging Agent for PET/MRI Researchers from Bourgogne University in Dijon, France, showed that use of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (… read more GE Healthcare combined its CT with the motion management capabilities of its Discovery PET system to create the Discovery PET/CT 600. Image courtesy of MR Solutions. News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | June 05, 2019 BGN Technologies Introduces Novel Medical Imaging Radioisotope Production Method BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University (BGU), introduced a novel method for… read more News | PET-CT | August 15, 2019 United Imaging Announces First U.S. Clinical Installation of uExplorer Total-body PET/CT United Imaging announced that its uExplorer total-body positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system… read more News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | May 13, 2019 Blue Earth Diagnostics Expands Access to Axumin in Europe Blue Earth Diagnostics announced expanded access to the Axumin (fluciclovine (18F)) imaging agent in Europe. The first… read morelast_img read more

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