9 great reads from CNET this week

first_img Tags Sep 1 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors • 0 Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? The end of the year is near, even if the news cycle doesn’t seem to have noticed. GoFundMe returned more than $400,000 after learning one of the site’s campaigns was a scam. Fortnite, the shoot-’em-up video game, is reportedly set to turn a cool $3 billion in profit this year. And Silicon Valley billionaire Reid Hoffman apologized for unwittingly funding an Alabama disinformation campaign. If you missed any of the action, now’s your chance to catch up. And don’t worry… there’ll be plenty more in 2019. You thought the net neutrality fight was over? Think againTime’s run out to restore the rules using a legislative loophole. The fight, however, is far from over. Sarah Tew/CNET From NASA to SpaceX, 2018 was a great year for space news The launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket headlined a year of marvelous space milestones. deyhrbkvqaau6kd Virgin Galactic Here’s why Cher’s was the must-follow Twitter account of the yearThe global superstar is the antithesis of all the wrong types of tweeters. "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" - UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals Samir Hussein/Getty Images From iPhone XR to Galaxy S9, we just had the best year for phones ever Phones were fast, powerful and brimming with exciting features. The 2019 crop will likely be better. i-phone-xs-i-phone-xs-max-1 Angela Lang/CNET Facebook Watch may have been the best part of the social network’s bad year But it wasn’t that great. Jessica Miglio Jessica Miglio Google employees found voice in protest this yearYou’ll likely hear more. Google Walkout Me Too Protest James Martin/CNET Google Home’s 2018 in reviewOwning the smart home. google-home-hub-9 Chris Monroe/CNET Fighting fake news on social media is going to get harderThe shift to messaging and ephemeral content will prove challenging. FRANCE-INTERNET-COMPANY-STOCKS-FACEBOOK Joel Saget / AFP/Getty Images The best cars we drove in 2018You’ll want to drive ’em all. 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Steven Ewing/Roadshow ‘Hello, humans’: Google’s Duplex could make Assistant the most lifelike AI yet. Infowars and Silicon Valley: Everything you need to know about the tech industry’s free speech debate. Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 Share your voice NASA Facebook Google Instagram Porsche Snapchat SpaceX Tesla Twitter Volkswagen Apple WhatsApp See All Apple reading • 9 great reads from CNET this week Tech Industry Post a commentlast_img read more

Yuvraj Singh expected to announce retirement today

first_imgYuvi is likely to end his international career todayOne of India’s most successful batsmen in ODI cricket and winner of the man of the tournament award in the 2011 Cricket World Cup Yuvraj Singh is expected to announce his retirement from international and domestic cricket later today. The all-rounder has arranged an interaction with the media today at a hotel in Mumbai, where he is expected to make this declaration. There has been speculation about Singh calling it quits for some time now and the prospect of participating in tournaments such as Euro T20 Slam, to be played in Ireland, and GT20, to be played in Canada, may have served as an additional motivating factor.Indian players are barred from participating in overseas T20 leagues and as long as Yuvraj remains an active player in the Indian circuit, he cannot ply his trade in T20 events outside the country. By retiring, he could not only play these tournaments but other popular leagues across the world as a freelancer.Yuvi’s exploitsYuvraj Singh started his international career with a bang in 2000 during the ICC Knockout Trophy in Nairobi. In only his second match and the first innings of his career, the left-hander struck a brilliant 84 to help his team defeat the world champions Australia. Yuvraj was a key part of India’s 2011 World Cup victoryINDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty ImagesHe then went through a patch of bad form which saw him losing his place in the team. But when he returned to the Indian side during the home series against Zimbabwe in early 2002, he reasserted his class by rescuing his team with an innings of 80* and taking it to victory. After that he became a regular member of the ODI team.In all, Yuvraj played 304 matches and batted in 278 innings to score 8701 runs with 14 centuries and 52 half-centuries. He also took 111 wickets with one five-wicket haul. He was one of the best fielders in the world at the beginning of his career and started the trend of good fielding in the Indian side.However, Yuvraj couldn’t replicate his success in the longest format and despite playing 40 Tests, only scored 1900 runs with an average of 33.92, though he did manage three hundreds with a highest score of 169. As a bowler also, he got just nine wickets in his entire Test career.In T20Is, a career of 58 matches produced 1177 runs and 28 wickets and included his brilliant performance in the inaugural World T20 of 2007 which India won. His record in the IPL is mixed and this year, his team Mumbai Indians kept him on the bench after the first four matches of the season. This may have further prompted Yuvraj to consider retirement as his prospects in the IPL also are not looking that bright.last_img read more

Budget 2017 NITI Aayog not in favour of raising income tax exemption

first_imgThe National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog is not in favour of raising the income-tax (I-T) exemption limit in the upcoming budget (Budget 2017). Instead, it has expressed a view that the threshold for paying 10 per cent tax be raised from the current Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.This, according to the NITI Aayog, is a better way of expanding tax collection and at the same time, having an equitable approach to augmenting revenues, the Business Standard reported, citing the body’s officials. Currently, those with a taxable annual income above Rs 2.5 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh pay I-T at the rate of 10 per cent.Read: FM Arun Jaitley provides insights on income tax collection in IndiaThe other two slabs are — taxable annual income from above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 10 lakh (tax rate is 20 per cent) and those earning above Rs 20 lakh (tax rate 30 per cent). The exemption limit was left unchanged by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in last year’s budget.A few days ago, consulting firm Deloitte released a Pre-Budget Expectations Survey Report to say that the basic I-T exemption should be increased to Rs 5 lakh per year and the ceiling for claiming deduction under Section 80C should be raised to Rs 2.5 lakh.”The increase in the slab limit will kick-start savings, which will ultimately lead to increase in investment in the system,” the report said. Demands for raising the exemption limit and extend other incentives are doing the rounds in the run-up to the budget presentation; there is a belief that such measures would stimulate the economy that has taken a hit due to the demonetisation decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8, 2016.The impact of the currency ban on the economy was not reflected in the recent FY2017 GDP growth estimates released by the government. The world’s fastest-growing economy is expected to expand at 7.1 percent in 2016-17, though projections by analysts after factoring in the demonetisation impact put the growth rate below 7 per cent.”The sudden decline in money supply and a simultaneous increase in bank deposits is going to adversely impact the consumption demand in the economy in the short term. This, coupled with the adverse impact on real estate/construction and informal sectors, may lead to lowering of GDP growth,”  India Ratings had said in a note on November 11, 2016.A projection by Nomura said the growth rate in the early half of calendar year 2017 could even fall below 6 per cent, which will be a 20-year low. “Nomura’s CLI for India for early 2017 has slumped to the lowest level since the series started in 1996 and is consistent with GDP growth of below 6%. This suggests that there is downside risk to our Q1 GDP growth projection of 6.9% y-o-y; i.e., near-term growth may fall much more than expected,” the financial services group said in its note last month.Jaitley will be presenting the Union Budget for the next financial year on February 1, 2017.Earlier this week, the BJP government released the tax collection data for the April-December 2016 period. “The figures for direct tax collections up to December, 2016 show that net collections are at Rs 5.53 lakh crore, which is 12.01% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year. This collection is 65.3% of the total Budget Estimates of direct taxes for FY 2016-17,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.last_img read more

List of razakars to be displayed in every union Minister

first_imgLiberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Huq. File PhotoLiberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Huq on Friday said a list of razakars as well as freedom fighters will be published and displayed in every union parishad by December, reports UNB.He said this while speaking at a meeting on approving the design of Mujibnagar Parjatan Motel in Meherpur.The meeting was jointly organised by liberation war affairs ministry and the Meherpur district administration.Housing and public works deputy chief Asifur Rahman Bhuiyan showed the main design of the Mujibnagar Smrity (Memorial) Centre.Minister Huq said the construction will start before 17 April next year.He said the government also plans to name roads, bridges and culverts after freedom fighters.Farhad Hossain, state minister for the ministry of public administration, attended the meeting as the special guest.Meherpur deputy commissioner Ataul Gani, superintendent of police SM Morad Ali and liberation war affairs ministry secretary SM Arif-ur-Rahman were also present.last_img read more

10th Annual National 5k Walk for Epilepsy

first_imgThe Epilepsy Foundation will host its 10th annual National 5k Walk for Epilepsy near the Washington Monument on the National Mall April 16. The walk started in 2006 and has raised nearly $10 million to help provide services for people living with epilepsy, awareness for seizure recognition with first aid, and research toward better treatment options. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals will debut a special “Talk About It” tent for people to open up about theirconcerns and personal experiences around epilepsy. The tent will give participants a VIP Hollywood experience with cameras, a red carpet, paparazzi and special guests, including Rick Harrison (Reality TV personality), Jerry Kill (Former Head Coach of University of Minnesota Golden Gophers), Haely Jardas (Washington Redskins Cheerleaders), Dana Pirolli (Former Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader) and Alan Faneca (NFL Hall of Fame Nominee). The walk will also include live performances, family activities, and an “Ask the Experts” Q&A to help everyone better understand epilepsy from top doctors and experts. The walk will begin promptly at 9 a.m., starting at 15th Street and Independence Avenue NW. There will also be an optional 1 mile “Family Fun Walk” that loops around the Washington Monument.last_img read more

Wall carvings in Saudi Arabia appear to offer earliest depiction of dogs

first_imgRock art at Shuwaymis appears to show two dogs leashed to a hunter. Credit: M. Guagnin et al., Journal Of Anthropological Archaeology, 5, 2017 (Phys.org)—A combined team of researchers from Max Planck University and the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage has documented what might be the oldest depictions of dogs by human beings. In their paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology , the team describes the wall engravings and the means by which they attempted to date them. The researchers note that the dogs depicted in the rock bear a striking resemblance to modern Canaan dogs, which still live a feral existence in the area. They also acknowledge that a lot more research is required before a consensus can be reached regarding the age of the engravings. Prior research has suggested that humans first arrived in what is now Saudi Arabia approximately 10,000 years ago. Those first visitors were believed to be hunter-gatherers—researchers have found images of them carved into stone walls in the area. Prior research has also found evidence that people in the area domesticated animals and became herders approximately 7000 to 8000 years ago. They, too, have been depicted in stone etchings, and researchers have also found the bones of some of their livestock. Now, it appears that during the time between these two periods, people may have domesticated dogs and used them to hunt other animals for food. This new evidence is part of a collection of stone carvings the team has been studying at two sites in Saudi Arabia: Jubbah and Shuwaymis.The stone carvings depict hunters, armed with bows, surrounded by dogs, some of which appear to be tethered to the waists of their human masters. It is not currently possible to directly date stone carvings, of course, so the researchers had to use other types of evidence. They noted the weathering of the rock, for example, which can be used as an approximate aging test. But more importantly, they noted the location of the engravings and the sequence of engravings in the area. Those depicting tamed, leashed dogs appear to occur in a general timeline from approximately 8000 years ago. If the age of the engravings can be confirmed, it would push back the earliest depiction of leashed dogs by approximately 3000 years. © 2017 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Science Like humans, dogs found to have fitful sleep after negative experiences Citation: Wall carvings in Saudi Arabia appear to offer earliest depiction of dogs (2017, November 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-11-wall-saudi-arabia-earliest-depiction.html More information: David Grimm. Oldest images of dogs show hunting, leashes, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6365.854 Maria Guagnin et al. Pre-Neolithic evidence for dog-assisted hunting strategies in Arabia, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2017.10.003 , www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0278416517301174 Explore furtherlast_img read more

Few drinks may change how memories are formed

first_imgJust a few drinks in an evening may change how memories are formed at the fundamental, molecular level, a study suggests. One of the many challenges with battling alcohol addiction and other substance abuse disorders is the risk of relapse, even after progress towards recovery, said researchers from Brown University in the US. Even pesky fruit flies have a hankering for alcohol, and because the molecular signals involved in forming flies’ reward and avoidance memories are much the same as those in humans, they are a good model for study. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe study, published in the journal Neuron, in flies found that alcohol hijacks this memory formation pathway and changes the proteins expressed in the neurons, forming cravings. Researchers uncovered the molecular signalling pathways and changes in gene expression involved in making and maintaining reward memories. “One of the things I want to understand is why drugs of abuse can produce really rewarding memories when they’re actually neurotoxins,” said Karla Kaun, an assistant professor at Brown University. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveLed by Emily Petruccelli, who is now an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University in the US, the team used genetic tools to selectively turn off key genes while training the flies where to find alcohol. This enabled them to see what proteins were required for this reward behaviour. One of the proteins responsible for the flies’ preference for alcohol is Notch, the researchers found. Notch is the first “domino” in a signalling pathway involved in embryo development, brain development and adult brain function in humans and all other animals. Molecular signalling pathways are not unlike a cascade of dominos – when the first domino falls (in this case, the biological molecule activates), it triggers more that trigger more and so on. One of the downstream dominos in the signalling pathway affected by alcohol is a gene called dopamine-2-like receptor, which makes a protein on neurons that recognises dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. “The dopamine-2-like receptor is known to be involved in encoding whether a memory is pleasing or aversive,” Petruccelli said. Alcohol hijacks this conserved memory pathway to form cravings. In the case of the alcohol reward pathway studied, the signalling cascade didn’t turn the dopamine receptor gene on or off, or increase or decrease the amount of protein made, Kaun said. Instead, it had a subtler effect – it changed the version of the protein made by a single amino acid “letter” in an important area. “We don’t know what the biological consequences of that small change are, but one of the important findings from this study is that scientists need to look not only at which genes are being turned on and off, but which forms of each gene are getting turned on and off,” Kaun said. “We think these results are highly likely to translate to other forms of addiction, but nobody has investigated that,” she said. Kaun is working with John McGeary, assistant professor at Brown, to look at DNA samples from patients with alcohol abuse disorders to see if they have genetic polymorphisms in any of the craving-related genes discovered in flies. “If this works the same way in humans, one glass of wine is enough to activate the pathway, but it returns to normal within an hour,” Kaun said. “After three glasses, with an hour break in between, the pathway doesn’t return to normal after 24 hours. We think this persistence is likely what is changing the gene expression in memory circuits,” said Kaun. “Just something to keep in mind the next time you split a bottle of wine with a friend or spouse,” she said.last_img read more

Costa Ricas Chinchilla meets with Cuban President Raúl Castro

first_imgThe presidents of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, and Cuba, Raúl Castro, met in the framework of the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Chile, to discuss regional issues. The two nations will head that organization along with Chile, the current chair holder.Cuba will chair the forum starting this week, and Costa Rica will assume leadership in 2014.The two leaders discussed cooperation agreements in education, culture, health and the environment.The meeting is the first to occur between the presidents of both nations after decades of broken diplomatic relations, which were restored on March 18, 2009.On Jan. 10, Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo signed in Havana a cooperation agreement that includes areas such as education, political consultation, science and technology, professional development and ecotourism, to be developed in the near future. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Office Loan Defaults Bring CMBS Default Rate Up in Q3

first_imgOffice Loan Defaults Bring CMBS Default Rate Up in Q3 October 30, 2012 518 Views The cumulative default rate for commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) in the U.S. rose over the third quarter, largely due to an increase in defaults among office loans, according to the latest data from “”Fitch Ratings””:http://www.fitchratings.com/web/en/dynamic/fitch-home.jsp. [IMAGE] The rate rose from 13.2 percent in the second quarter of this year to 13.5 percent in the third quarter, according to Fitch. The total amount in CMBS loans that defaulted in the third quarter was $2.2 billion. The total number of newly defaulted loans during the quarter is 119. Office loans made up more than half of both newly defaulted loans in the third quarter and year-to-date defaults, according to the ratings agency. [COLUMN_BREAK] Of the $2.2 billion newly defaulted CMBS loans in the third quarter, $1.4 billion were office loans. Despite the slight increase in defaults, Fitch says new issuances of CMBS loans are staving off the CMBS default rate somewhat. “”The increase in new CMBS issuance over the last two quarters has helped to stem rising default rates,”” stated Britt Johnson, senior director of Fitch Ratings. New issuances have risen almost three-fold over the year, according to Fitch. In the third quarter, new issuances totaled $6.2 billion. In the first quarter, they totaled $2.1 billion. However, Fitch found in addition to the 119 newly defaulted loans in the third quarter, 81 CMBS loans reached maturity and did not refinance. These loans totaled $1.7 billion. Eleven of the 81 are now paid in full–accounting for $723 million of the $1.7 billion. Those that are not paid in full and have not been refinanced include 37 five-year loans from the 2007 vintage, totaling $1.1 billion, and 24 ten-year loans from the 2002 vintage, totaling $132.7 million. During the third quarter, three loans with values greater than $100 million defaulted, including One Skyline Tower, a $678 million office space in Virginia; Colony IV Portfolio B, a $171 million loan on office/industrial spaces in six states; and Kroger Center, a $116 million office space in Florida. in Data, Secondary Marketcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies CMBS Defaults Fitch Ratings Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage-Backed Securities Service Providers 2012-10-30 Krista Franks Brock Sharelast_img read more

The play is an intimate factbased one woman perf

first_imgThe play is an intimate, fact-based one woman performance which celebrates Ruby’s life, music, triumphs as well as exploring the darker elements of her story.Born in Belfast in 1935 and raised from humble beginnings on the Donegall Road, Ruby Murray became a singing sensation and went on to become a huge international star. Topping the bill at the London Palladium in the 1950s she remains the only artist in history to have five records in the UK top 20 in the same week. However, with major cultural shifts in the sixties coupled with poor management, difficulties in her personal life and an increased dependence on alcohol, Ruby’s career was relatively short-lived. She died in 1996 at the age of 61.Former civil servant turned writer Michael Cameron was inspired to write Ruby! his debut play, when he saw a painting of Ruby Murray by local artist Christine Trueman at a pop-up gallery in Belfast’s Corn Market. Actor Sam McCreadyBelfastNew play celebrating life of singer sensation Ruby Murray coming to the AlleystrabaneTHE ALLEY THEATRE The passing of a mutual friend brought artist and writer in contact which spurred Michael to research Ruby’s life.The play was developed with access and support from Ruby’s immediate family including her first husband Bernie Burgess, their son Tim Murray, as well as creative support from well-known writer, director and actor Sam McCready.Speaking ahead of the Alley Theatre performance, Michael Cameron said: “Ruby! ultimately came about as a way to remind everyone what an amazing talent Ruby Murray was and equally to tell her remarkable story. “I think we’ve got the balance right in this play, audiences will hear a soundtrack of her beautiful original songs as well as perhaps discovering things about her life that they didn’t previously know. “It is a drama in its own right, a show that people will love even if they don’t know a lot about Ruby Murray. Libby Smyth’s performance and Richard Orr’s directing will thrill audiences!”The play will give the audience a chance to spend an intimate evening with Ruby as she tells her incredible and emotional story. Accompanied by a soundtrack of original Ruby Murray songs produced by Duke Special, don’t miss this powerful new drama!Ruby! will be performed at the Alley Theatre at 8pm on Thursday 28th February. For booking details visit www.alley-theatre.com or call Box Office on 02871 384444.New play celebrating life of singer sensation Ruby Murray coming to the Alley was last modified: February 8th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: RUBY! A new play presented by Little Willow Productions celebrating the life of Belfast born Ruby Murray, who became one of the most successful singing stars in the world in the 1950s, will be performed at the Alley Theatre on Thursday 28th February 2019.The new play – featuring a soundtrack of Ruby Murray’s original songs – tells of the singer’s triumphs, such as her London Palladium shows and her tragedies – which included a battle with alcoholism and troubled relationships.Ruby! is written by Michael Cameron, directed by Richard Orr and stars Libby Smyth as Ruby Murray. ShareTweetlast_img read more

As a science columnist for The New York Times Car

first_imgAs a science columnist for The New York Times, Carl Zimmer had reported extensively about genetics and the role gene mutations play in various ailments. After a while, he got to wondering about what secrets his own genetic code holds.”I wanted to know if there was anything I needed to worry about,” Zimmer says. “We all think back to our relatives who got sick and then wonder, ‘Is that in me?’ “So Zimmer worked with a genetics counselor to get his entire genome sequenced — an experience he describes as “very nerve-wracking.” He worried that he would discover a mutation that would put him on the path for a particular disease.As it turned out, the counselor told Zimmer he has a “boring genome.” Though Zimmer initially hoped for a more “exciting and exotic” assessment, the counselor reminded him “A boring genome is a really good genome.”Zimmer writes about the broader implications of genetic research and testing in his new book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity.Interview HighlightsOn how the new genetic editing technology known as CRISPR worksWhat happens with CRISPR is that scientists will design a molecule — think of it as a probe — and it will search around in the DNA in a cell until if finds a very specific short sequence. And it will grab onto it, and it brings on with it basically molecular scissors, which will then cut the DNA at that spot — kind of like cutting tape. And you can cut out a segment of DNA. And if you just do that, DNA will heal itself. Basically the two loose ends will stitch themselves together, and now that piece is just missing. Or you can add in a little piece of different DNA, and you can actually get the cell to put in that new piece of DNA where you just cut out the old one.On whether CRISPR technology could be used to treat diseases in humansWe’re just on the verge of human trials. They will be starting, hopefully very soon, for diseases like sickle-cell anemia. There’s actually a lot of research on muscular dystrophy as well. There are a few key diseases where scientists think these would be the best places to start. To basically inject CRISPR molecules into people’s bodies; these CRISPR molecules would then go to certain kinds of cells and repair one particular spot in their DNA. And that treats the disease.We shouldn’t look at this as a panacea. … There have been earlier kinds of treatments known as gene therapy, where you basically try to add an extra gene into someone’s cells. And that [seemed] like it was just a slam dunk, but then it turned out to not work very well for years and years. … So CRISPR could be even more exciting and truly revolutionary. We just have to wait and see what this first generation of human clinical trials show us.On his visit to an insectarium where a scientist is breeding genetically modified mosquitoes that are resistant to malariaFirst of all, you have to gown up before you go in there. … And then you go through an air lock, and then you’re in this room where there are mosquitoes living in all their different life cycles.So there’s a dark room where the female mosquitoes are laying their eggs, because they like to do it in the dark. And then the scientists pull the eggs out from these rooms and they inject DNA into them and then they put them in water, because that’s where mosquito larvae like to develop.And so you go into this other room where there are these tubs of water, and these snake-like things are slithering around in there and then they develop into adults. And the females need to drink blood; so [researchers] found that the containers for movie popcorn work really well. What they do is, they basically clamp a warm container of calves’ blood on top of them, and then the mosquitoes are underneath — on the underside of the plastic lid — basically poking through and drinking the blood and fattening themselves up. …You can tell that they’ve been genetically altered because they have red eyes, which is kind of spooky. But you look at that and you say, well, that means that these could be the cure for malaria. It really could happen. And hundreds of thousands of people die every year of malaria. We’ve thrown everything we can at it and this parasite is still knocking us down worldwide. So, maybe this could be it – so, that’s actually quite exciting.On how genetic testing was used in the Golden State Killer caseFor the Golden State Killer case, what somebody decided to do was take the DNA that they had from these crime scenes, and upload it to one of these open-access sites — not a commercial site — and then see if they could find any close matches. And they found that there were some people that looked like they were distant cousins of this person. And they went and did the genealogical research to figure out “Well, how would they be related?” And then said “OK, who are the possible relatives that this person could be, and where do they live?” And that actually helped narrow down their search until they made an arrest.On whether genetic testing companies will protect user privacyYou can choose different levels of privacy with a lot of these services. So, for example, some people will say “I want you to look at my DNA. I want you to tell me about my ancestry.” … For 23 and Me they’ll give you a few bits of information about your medical conditions, and that’s it. But they will try to get you to opt in to sharing your data for their own basic research. At 23 and Me, for example, there’s a whole team of researchers who are studying all sorts of … diseases, sleep patterns and so on. And then they will also go into partnerships with drug development companies who will take their data, looking at, say, 50,000 people with lupus and 50,000 people who don’t have lupus, and try to look for the genetic differences. Those could point the way toward possible drugs.Phyllis Myers and Seth Kelley produced and edited the audio of this interview. Bridget Bentz and Seth Kelley adapted it for the Web. Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.last_img read more

Editors note This piece discusses suicide If yo

first_imgEditor’s note: This piece discusses suicide. If you have experienced suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide and want to seek help, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.In February 2016, Govin Munswami considered killing himself.He had just returned to his family farm after visiting his wife, Amanda, in the hospital.The morning before, she had showered and left home to visit her mother. As she approached her front gate, she realized she forgot her purse. She turned around, went back inside her house to retrieve it and attempted suicide.Her husband sat by her hospital bed for seven days as she lay dying. He listened as she apologized. She said that she had made a mistake and couldn’t explain her motive.Just six months prior, Munswami’s mother, Yvonne, took her own life after a fight with her husband, Munswami’s father, who succumbed to a fatal heart attack the next day.Before his mother died, Munswami was able to speak with her and ask her why she did it.”She said she didn’t know why,” remembers Munswami, a 31-year-old teacher with a sturdy build and solemn stare. He says that both women told him they had acted impulsively in a moment of despair and expressed regret for their decisions.Faced with these losses, Munswami felt compelled to take his own life. But then he thought about his wife. Before she died, she had asked him for two things: to forgive her and to finish his degree.”I’m still here,” he says. “Although life has been rough, every day is a new day of your life.”Munswami has begun to speak out against suicide in his rural community of Black Bush Polder, known by many as the “suicide belt” of the small Caribbean nation of Guyana. In a 2014 report by the World Health Organization, Guyana was cited as the country with the highest suicide rate in the world — 44.2 suicides per 100,000 deaths, four times the global average.(Editor’s note: A story we published on suicide in Greenland in 2016 stated that Greenland has the highest suicide rate in the world, but because it is a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it is not included in the WHO compilation.)The WHO report represented an effort to bring global attention to the issue of suicide. The goal was to encourage individual countries to take steps to prevent suicide, considering their specific culture and addressing local risk factors. In 2015, Guyana became one of only 28 countries to develop a suicide prevention plan in response to the report. The plan identifies factors that could contribute to the country’s high rate of suicide.’Factors Are Like Dominoes’There are many reasons for Guyana’s high rate of suicide, says Balogun Osunbiyi, president and co-founder of the Guyana Psychological Association, and a government psychologist. He agrees with the assessment of the National Suicide Prevention Plan issued by the Ministry of Health, identifying poverty, pervasive stigma about mental illness, access to lethal chemicals, alcohol misuse, interpersonal violence, family dysfunction and insufficient mental health resources as key factors.”All of these factors are like dominoes,” says Osunbiyi. “Sometimes it’s more of this, sometimes it’s more of that. But they are all factors on the table.”Guyana is one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, with a per capita GDP of $4,240. Approximately 60 percent of Guyana’s approximately 800,000 citizens live in isolated villages on the coast, where jobs — and community resources like mental health facilities — are limited.In these agricultural villages, most men farm rice or cut sugar cane, still working with the same kinds of cutlasses used a century ago. The majority of women stay at home and tend to their families, according to the World Health Organization.Records that we requested from the Ministry of Public Security show that approximately 70 percent of the country’s suicides occur in these rural regions. Osunbiyi says that in these communities, many people turn to alcohol and self-harm to cope with feelings of hopelessness, poverty and economic despair.While there may not be clinics and social support networks in these villages, there are plenty of rum shops, says Caitlin Vieira, a Guyanese government psychologist and addiction specialist. “Sporting,” Guyanese slang for drinking, is a popular pastime, she says.”In these rural communities, there is nothing to do but drink,” says Vieira. “Alcohol is huge in the culture. In some regions families will drink like they would play monopoly with the family.”A 2010 study by the Pan American Health Organization reported nearly 80 percent of Guyanese adolescents had their first drink before the age of 14, and some children try alcohol for the first time in elementary school. And while the relationship between alcohol and suicide is vastly under-researched, studies suggest that alcohol use disorder is a likely contributor to suicidal ideation and attempts.According to Osunbiyi, family dysfunction and domestic violence also contribute to Guyana’s high suicide rates.That is the story that Natasha Houston tells. She is a survivor of domestic violence, and like Munswami, she has begun to share her story to help others avoid tragedies like her own. In 2013, after enduring seven years of domestic abuse, Houston took their two children and left her husband, Richard Lord. But Lord, a sugar-cane cutter with whom she had eloped when she was only 13, found them in a nearby town. In a deadly and drunken fit of violence, he took the lives of their children — along with Houston’s right arm and most of her left hand. He fled into the woods behind their home. Neighbors found him weeks later, dead from an apparent suicide.Houston says Lord experienced a pattern of abuse that began as a child. When he was growing up, he witnessed his father abusing his mother in a household where corporal punishment was commonplace. According to Houston, once they were married, Lord would regularly drink to excess and often physically abuse her.While Houston’s story represents an extreme example, stories of gruesome domestic violence were repeated to us often in these most rural regions of Guyana, especially in Regions 2 and 6, where suicide rates are highest. Dr. Sonya Grey, medical superintendent of Suddie Hospital in Region 2, says she treats two to three people who have attempted suicide and at least one domestic violence-related injury per week. While she suspects many of her patients are victims of domestic violence, few report the offenses to the police, according to Grey.The National Suicide Prevention Plan states that East Indians, who make up roughly 40 percent of the population in Guyana, accounted for over 80 percent of the country’s suicides between 2010 and 2013. That statistic has led some experts, including Osunbiyi and Gaiutra Bahadur, a Guyanese journalist and Harvard Nieman Fellow, to look to the past for clues.When slave labor was abolished in 1838, plantation owners in Guyana began to import indentured servants, mostly from the lowest castes of India. In the social hierarchy of Guyana, these East Indians were relegated to a status lower than the freed African slaves. Indentured women ranked even lower than indentured men, and, in many cases, became the only property an indentured man could claim.”Two struggles for power unfolded simultaneously,” writes Bahadur in her book Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture. “One between indentured men and the system that made such wild claims to ownership — a system that saddened, emasculated and induced suicide — and another between Indian men and their women.”Bahadur studied these dynamics through the history of her own family. Her great-grandmother had come to Guyana from India and became an indentured servant in 1903. She suggests that this history of violence and exploitation manifests itself in the lives of the Indo-Guyanese today. According to both Osunbiyi and Bahadur, power dynamics and claims of ownership between men and their wives still persist in these mostly agricultural communities, especially those with high populations of East Indians.As a U.S.-licensed lawyer, mental health advocate and former managing director of the Guyana Foundation for three years, Anthony Autar has traveled the country discussing mental health conditions and access to mental health with his fellow citizens. In 2014, Autar led the Guyana Foundation to launch the largest private mental health initiative in Guyana’s history to address the WHO report on suicide, which had led to the media calling Guyana “the suicide capital of the world.” During these research and advocacy efforts, he found that many of Guyanese citizens had become accustomed to the residual trauma of these cycles of violence and suicide.”They think it’s normal,” he says. Autar says he didn’t realize that he too needed to seek mental health services until he moved to the United States to attend law school.Various studies, while not specific to Guyana, have shown that untreated trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder contribute to suicidal behavior. In Guyana, Autar says that much of the population has witnessed or experienced traumatic events like suicide, intimate partner violence and abuse. Until Guyana can effectively address and treat these concerns, Autar and many others believe that suicide and domestic violence will persist.Starting From ZeroAutar, Osunbiyi and the National Suicide Prevention Plan all site stigma as an important part of the puzzle. Many who do share their struggles with issues like depression or suicidal thoughts fear that, in small towns where gossip is reportedly common, they will be stigmatized or shunned due to a lack of awareness surrounding mental health.A primary source of that stigma, says Autar, is an antiquated piece of mental health legislation dating back to 1930, which defines people with mental health challenges as “idiots” or persons suffering from mental “derangement.”According to Autar, many people do not reach out for mental health support because they are afraid they will be locked up for an extended period. Eighty-five percent of patients sent for treatment spend more than five years in long-term care in a psychiatric hospital, and there are no laws that protect the rights of patients to refuse services or leave the hospital on their own accord.Many people, then, might keep struggles with depression or suicidal thoughts quiet for fear of being locked away at the National Psychiatric Hospital, which many still refer to as the “Berbice Madhouse.” One of the country’s three newspapers ran a headline last year referring to an “escaped psychiatric hospital inmate.”Someone experiencing suicidal thoughts could call the national suicide prevention hotline, but attempted suicide is still illegal in Guyana, and the hotline is run by the police. The psychologist Caitlin Vieira says that very few callers, if any, have been punished or arrested since the hotline’s start. Yet the fear of prosecution prevents many people from using the service, says Autar.Distance is also an obstacle. Many families in remote areas must travel hours to Georgetown Public Hospital in the capital to seek psychological evaluation, which can be both logistically and financially challenging. Two rehabilitation centers serve those struggling with substance abuse, and many cannot afford their services. One center serves only men. The mental health professionals who are able to travel to rural areas are overworked and often only able to devote minimal time to each patient, say Autar and Vieira.”We have so few mental health professionals who are properly trained,” says Autar. “It’s not easy at this point for [patients] to get the follow-up support that they need.”While much progress has been made since the WHO report on suicide, mental health care is still limited. According to the Ministry of Health, increasing the number of mental health professionals is a critical first step. Guyana’s Suicide Prevention Plan focuses primarily on improving mental health services and raising awareness for underlying issues that can lead to suicide like depression, alcohol misuse, and access to poison, which, according to the government’s plan, accounts for more than 65 percent of suicide deaths in Guyana.That plan pledges to increase the number of mental health professionals as part of an overall effort to decrease suicide mortality and attempted suicide rates in Guyana by at least 20 percent by 2020.According to Osunbiyi, approximately 120 medical doctors have participated in training for “moderate-severe depression intervention” from PAHO and the WHO in the past two years and are deployed across the country at various health facilities. Since 2014, the number of practicing psychologists and psychiatrists in Guyana has more than tripled, from seven in 2014 to 27 today. Many come from Cuba and others returned home to Guyana after earning educations in the United States and Canada.Statistics offer evidence that these initiatives may be working. Despite the stigma, people have begun seeking help in Guyana. In the four years since the WHO report, Guyana’s suicide rate has dropped by 32 percent to 30.2 suicides per 100,000 deaths, according to the most recent WHO statistics, released in April 2017.But Guyana still has the third highest suicide rate in the world. For Osunbiyi and other mental health professionals, there is still a long road ahead.”Some of us, we’re working 14 hours a day. It’s hard work,” Osunbiyi says. “It’s because we’re starting from zero. There was absolutely no structure before.”‘Let’s Talk’ There is still a long way to go before Guyana’s mental health services are sufficient for those in need, especially in the most isolated communities.In rural regions like Black Bush Polder, individuals may go days without interacting with others outside of their family, says Osunbiyi.”These communities are enclosed communities,” he says. “You go to the farm at five or six in the morning, you work until about two or three, you come back home.”According to Osunbiyi, this isolation forces many people in agricultural communities to cope with trauma, mental health issues and family dysfunction alone.While increasing the number of psychologists and psychiatrists in Guyana is a high priority for the Ministry of Health and the Guyana Psychological Association, training cannot happen overnight. In the meantime, community-based lay counselors are providing support for those in need. Many are survivors of domestic violence. Others have considered or attempted suicide themselves.Miriam Roberts-Hinds is the head counselor at the Guyana Foundation’s Sunrise Center, a community counseling and training center focused on mental health conditions. She uses her experience to reach others who are dealing with issues like suicide and domestic abuse. She says she could have been of one of the many suicide stories that pepper local newspapers. She became pregnant when she was only 15 after her first sexual experience with a man, eight years older, who became her husband. And she says he physically abused her.According to Roberts-Hinds, young girls in Guyana learn maxims like, “if he doesn’t hit you, he doesn’t love you,” and, “better the man you know than the one you don’t.””What [many women in Guyana] have been introduced to as ‘love’ is what we would term abuse,” says Roberts-Hinds. “That’s what they think as being normal.”Roberts-Hinds, who is now studying to earn a master’s degree in psychology, credits the support of her parents for giving her the ability to leave her husband and seek help when she had suicidal thoughts. She says her parents helped her to realize she had purpose and “goodness inside of her.”Others aren’t as fortunate, says Roberts-Hinds. The social norm in Guyana is not to speak up about abusive or traumatic situations, that you’d be seen as weak, “crazy,” or dangerous. Communication barriers due to stigma and social norms cause those in abusive or traumatic situations to stay silent.Osunbiyi agrees that displays of affection and positive communication need to be a greater part of Guyanese family life. This is why, every day, he wears a pin on his shirt that says, “Let’s Talk.” The pin is a symbol of the Guyana Psychological Association’s efforts to combat the stigma that prevents many Guyanese from seeking professional help for mental health issues.The association is bringing its efforts into the schools. Teachers are being trained to instruct students to communicate about their won mental health issues and about sources of stress in their life, such as abuse at home, substance abuse, and risky sexual behavior. The Ministry of Public Health has sponsored a program called “Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Teachers in Schools” and, according to Osunbiyi, is looking to expand the program to more schools in the coming years.Breaching the silence is critical, Osunbiyi and others believe — especially with youth ages 15 to 24, for whom suicide is the second leading cause of death, according to the National Suicide Prevention Plan. He hopes that opening up lines of communication could help reduce the country’s high suicide rate and also give people in abusive situations the ability to see that there is a life beyond the violence.That’s the message that Natasha Houston sends when she tells her story. Speaking out about domestic violence, she addresses crowds as large as 200, urging those in abusive situations to seek the help they need before their situations escalate.”Everywhere I go, people say, ‘What a beautiful girl. I wonder what happened with her hand?'” Houston says. “But my experience, it helps somebody else out there. It might be advice for them, for people in the same situation I was in.”In November 2017, Govin Munswami graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Guyana-Berbice, fulfilling his promise to his wife. In his sixth grade classroom in Black Bush Polder, he uses his experience to relate to students who might be struggling.The goal for Munswami, Roberts-Hinds and many others in Guyana is to teach children to express their emotions and discuss their personal issues with family members, friends and teachers. They hope that if people are better able to cope with difficult situations, the country’s high rate of suicide will continue to decrease.”After I share my story with young people who think their life is messed up, they say that if I can make it, maybe they can make it as well,” says Munswami.Reporting for this story was made possible by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.William Campbell Rawlins graduated from Boston University’s College of Communications with a master’s in journalism in 2017 and now works in public relations in Washington, D.C. He was a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Student Fellow in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @wmcampbellrMadeline Bishop is a writer living in New Hampshire. She graduated from Boston University with a master’s degree in public health in 2018, specializing in health communications and mental health. She was a 2017 fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and for the Public Health Post. Follow her on Twitter @madelinelbishop Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

On rare occasions as a kid Renzin Yuthok and his

first_imgOn rare occasions as a kid, Renzin Yuthok and his family got to share a special breakfast. They’d gather around a table in their home in Bellevue, Wash., his dad would roll tsampa flour, butter and tea into balls called pa, and then he’d hand them out to his kids.The meal served a symbolic purpose for Yuthok: “From a very young age, [Tibetans] are taught that … reclaiming our homeland … is what our highest aspiration could be,” he says. Yuthok’s family fled Tibet in the 1950s, but their breakfast — and its grounding ingredient, tsampa — kept him connected to that dream.The word tsampa in Tibetan usually refers to ground-up, roasted barley flour, although occasionally the flour comes from wheat or another grain. It can be made into cereal, mashed into a poultice or mixed with yak butter and tea to make calorie-dense energy balls for long mountain treks (or breakfast treats for schoolkids). It’s tossed into the air at religious ceremonies and can be incorporated into wedding cakes. The Dalai Lama says he eats it for breakfast.Thanks to its hardiness (it’s one of the few cereal crops that can survive on the high, arid and harsh Tibetan Plateau), barley has sustained the Tibetan population for thousands of years. Scientists say the cultivation of barley may have enabled ancient Tibetans to expand their civilization into the Himalayas. Researchers have found barley traces in 2,100-year-old remains of tea, which means it’s possible that tsampa was eaten during that time.But over the last century, tsampa has become even more than a culturally significant staple food. It’s become a centerpiece of Tibetan identity and a tool of protest.Calling all tsampa eatersBetween 1950 and 1951, China annexed the region of Tibet. Most Tibetans called the event an invasion, while the Chinese, in documents solidifying the annexation, called it a peaceful liberation (though it involved a bloody battle in the region of Chamdo).Though Tibet’s rulers rejected Chinese claims to their territory, Tibetans had few sources of political unity back then. “Tibetans are diverse in language, custom, habits — there’s a lot of diversity within the single Tibetan group,” says Tsering Shakya, a Tibetan historian and associate professor at the University of British Columbia. So when the Chinese army entered the region in 1950, Tibetans initially lacked a unifying force.Tsampa — which is eaten across Tibet — soon became that force. “When [Tibetan resistance leaders] were looking to unite [Tibetans] into a single identity, they adopted tsampa as a symbol,” Shakya says. In 1952, two years after the Chinese occupation began, The Tibet Mirror, an independent Tibetan language newspaper, published a letter calling for revolt. Its first call-out? Tsampa eaters:”We, the tsampa eaters, chuba [traditional Tibetan outerwear] wearers, dice players, raw and dried meat eaters, followers of Buddhism, Tibetan language speakers…we must make the effort to end the [Chinese] occupation.”Years later, in 1956, the Mirror again called out to “tsampa-eaters” to “unite your minds” and “stand up!” The Mirror’s exhortations were one of a series of events that led to what’s known today as the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, when thousands of Tibetan protesters gathered in the streets of the capital city, Lhasa, calling for Tibet’s independence from China and later, mobilizing to fight the regime. The Dalai Lama fled the region during this time. In an essay about this time period, Shakya writes, “If Buddhism provided the atom of Tibetanness, then tsampa provided the sub-particles of Tibetanness. The use of tsampa transcended dialect, sect, gender, and regionalism.”This growing unity, coupled with support from anti-Communist countries like the U.S., was not enough for the relatively small Tibetan population to defeat the powerful Chinese army. They lost their fight for independence and are governed as part of China to this day. Thousands of Tibetans were killed during the 1959 uprising, and the Tibetan government-in-exile has estimated that the occupation led to the loss of 1.2 million lives.Making a comebackSince the 1950s, China’s incorporation of Tibet has fragmented tsampa’s place as the region’s staple grain, Yuthok says, partly because of an influx of Han Chinese who tend to prefer crops like wheat and rice.Still, people in Tibet eat far more barley per person than nearly anywhere in the world. And tsampa’s importance to Tibetan identity and struggle has not diminished. If anything, it has been making a comeback.Starting in 2008, a new wave of revolts began. In 2009, protesting monks cried, “Rise up, all tsampa-eating Tibetans!” In 2012, protesters ate tsampa and threw it up into the air during a mass prayer; at a different rally, according to a witness, monks were “chanting mantras and eating tsampa in protest.”So important was tsampa to these protests that the modern-day Tibetan resistance movement often goes by another name online: The Tsampa Revolution, or #TsampaRevolution.Tsampa has also found its way into Tibetan political music and youth culture. In 2012 the rapper Shapaley, who spent his childhood in Tibet, released a song called “Tsampa” on YouTube. The accompanying music video features the rapper sitting behind a bowl of tsampa, a traditional bag for storing the grain and a steaming cup of butter tea.”Our parents gave us tsampa so we’ll give it to our kids / the Tibetan spirit will always remain,” Shapaley raps. “You can threaten us but we keep doing our thing … you can’t stop us!” At the end of the video he throws what looks like a cloud of tsampa into the air, in homage to the traditional sang-sol ceremony — or perhaps to the monks protesting in Tibet that same year, thousands of miles away.A health food trend?Yuthok, who was born in Taiwan and moved to the U.S. as a kid in the 1970s, is now working with his aunts Namlha and Tzesom as they try to spark another movement with tsampa in North America. Their company, Peak Sherpa, sells tsampa as a hot cereal and as “energy bites” — sort of a cross between an energy bar and the traditional pa. The cereal, I can attest, is delicious — the grains are smaller and denser than oatmeal, making for a pleasing nutty taste without the gluey texture of oats.Because the barley used in tsampa doesn’t have to be heavily processed, it retains more nutrients, and the flour’s healthfulness rivals that of other ancient grains. Tsampa is high in fiber and essential minerals and it’s prebiotic, meaning it helps promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It has a low glycemic index, which helps keep blood sugar from spiking. Plus, from a marketing perspective, it could be seen as one more in a line of Tibetan foods that have caught on with the health-food crowd — like goji berries and butter tea (reinvented as bulletproof coffee here in the U.S.).So why has the Yuthoks’ company had a tough time breaking into the U.S. market? While they’re still relatively new, “it’s been really hard,” he admits. “I’d say we’re definitely a niche product at this point.” Though, he notes, “we definitely have our fans.”Here’s what he suspects: Hot breakfast cereals are a highly competitive sector. Oats are nutritionally comparable to barley. And at only a few cents per serving, oats are much cheaper — and they’re nostalgia-inducing.”People have a relationship with the Quaker guy, you know?” he says. “They love that guy, and what’s not to love?”Additionally, American barley is not exactly easy to eat. Most barley grown here comes in a tough, inedible hull that’s difficult to remove, making it hard for food producers to create “whole grain” foods out of the original plant, unlike rice or wheat. Much of our barley is used to brew beer and other alcoholic beverages.But that could very well shift soon. Tibetan barley lacks a tough outer hull, meaning it’s easy to thresh, like wheat — and that’s likely because of selective breeding by Tibetans over thousands of years, says Patrick Hayes, a professor of barley breeding and genetics at Oregon State University. Hayes is working on popularizing these Tibetan barley strains in the U.S. He plans to use them to develop locally adapted varieties.So far, so good. But Hayes is careful to acknowledge the true source of his current success. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this work without what [Tibetans] did over thousands of years.” If he ends up converting us all to barley, we will have tsampa eaters to thank.Susie Neilson is an intern on NPR’s Science Desk. Follow her on Twitter: @susieneilson. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

The father of a man who took his own life after be

first_imgThe father of a man who took his own life after being found “fit for work” believes his son would still be alive if he had not been failed by the benefits system the government and its contractor, Atos.Stephen Carre, 41, from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, died in January 2010, after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed its decision that he was ineligible for its new out-of-work benefit, employment and support allowance (ESA).His father, Peter, said his son had suddenly stopped working in July 2007, and then lived off his savings for two years until his money ran out in 2009. His parents then paid his mortgage until he finally began claiming benefits in April 2009.Stephen (pictured) had previously worked for the Civil Service and then various electronics and communications companies, including as a telecommunications consultant, with firms such as Cisco, Ericsson and Lucient, mainly on software installations which manage mobile phone charges.After he quit his job, he rarely left his home, refused to talk to friends and relatives, or answer the door or telephone, and often spent days on end in the same room, surrounded by his possessions.He finally began talking again to his father and step-mother, Frances, in early 2009, and in April 2009 they persuaded him to apply for ESA.Peter said his son had struggled to cope with his anxiety and depression, although he had a girlfriend he saw occasionally.He said: “He couldn’t go anywhere on his own for the first time. I had to go with him to his psychiatrist. He would only go to certain shops, and only on a certain day.”Peter even had to accompany Stephen to the assessment centre two or three times before he was comfortable with the idea of attending his benefits eligibility test on his own.ESA had been launched by the Labour government less than a year earlier, and concerns about the test, the work capability assessment (WCA), had not yet fully emerged.At his assessment, a doctor employed by the government contractor Atos Healthcare decided that Stephen failed to match any of the criteria for eligibility and awarded him zero points, when he needed 15 to qualify for ESA.The assessor concluded that there was “no evidence to suggest that the client’s health condition due to their depression, is uncontrolled, uncontrollable or life threatening”.When that conclusion was rubber-stamped by a DWP decision-maker, Stephen asked DWP to reconsider the decision, as he believed it “disagrees wildly” with the opinion of his GP, his community psychiatric nurse and his psychiatrist.On his appeal form, he wrote that the medical assessment “bears no relation to the medical I had”, and that the report was completed by the assessor eight days after the assessment took place.He found out early in January 2010 that DWP had agreed with its earlier decision, so he was ineligible for ESA.Although he began the next stage of the appeal process, he took his own life sometime in the next few days. His body was found on 18 January 2010.Frances said she believes Stephen had made a sudden decision to kill himself, as he had recently been shopping and there was fresh food in his fridge.Two months later, at his inquest, the coroner heard from Stephen’s GP and psychiatrist, who both said they had not been asked by the Atos assessor or DWP to provide details of his state of mental health.The coroner, Tom Osborne, announced that he would write a Rule 43 report, a letter warning of a risk of future deaths if changes are not carried out by individuals or organisations.In the letter, Tom Osborne said the evidence had shown that the “trigger” that led to Stephen’s decision to take his own life had been “the rejection of his appeal that he was not fit for work”.He added: “I feel the decision not to seek medical advice from the claimant’s own GP or psychiatrist if they are suffering a mental illness should be reviewed.“Both doctors who gave evidence before me confirmed that if they had been approached they would have been willing to provide a report of Mr Carre’s present condition and prognosis.”DWP were told of Stephen’s death by his father, but they failed to inform the tribunal service, so when Peter Carre attended the appeal on his son’s behalf, he brought Stephen’s ashes with him.Because of the inadequacy of the Atos assessment, the appeal had to be adjourned.The following year, the tribunal ruled that Stephen should have been eligible for ESA and that the form completed by the Atos assessor was “not a sound basis” on which to turn down his ESA claim because of the eight-day delay between the assessment and the completion of the form, while there had been “no indication how much [of the form] was completed”.The tribunal concluded that the Atos assessor’s report was “a suspect document”, because it did not appear to have dealt with the information provided by Stephen’s ESA50 claim form.Later that month, the manager of Stephen’s local benefit delivery centre, in Luton, wrote to Peter Carre and said she agreed with the tribunal appeal that Stephen should have been eligible for ESA.Peter wrote back, and told her there had been a “dismal failure” by both the benefits service and Atos and that he had attended Stephen’s tribunals on his behalf “to bring to notice the inept handling by the registered medical practitioner at Stephen’s medical review”.Peter Carre told DNS that Atos, its assessor and DWP had all failed Stephen.He said: “Anyone could have seen that Stephen was incapable of work. It is totally beyond me how they could have found him fit for work.“If they had gone to his GP or his psychiatrist, I have no doubt the result of his assessment would have been different and he would probably still be with us today.”In a written statement responding to questions from DNS, a DWP spokesman declined to comment when asked if ministers would apologise to the family of Stephen Carre.He said: “Suicide is a tragic and complex issue and there are often many reasons why someone takes their life, so to link it to one event is misleading. “Since this inquest took place under the previous government we have made significant improvements to the work capability assessment, including improving the process for people with mental health conditions.“The percentage of people with mental health conditions who get the highest level of support has more than tripled since 2010, and we will continue to ensure that those who are able to work get all the help they need to move into a job when they are ready.”He said improvements made since 2010 include “improving the opportunities people have to present medical evidence”.The DWP spokesman said claimants were “encouraged to provide all evidence that will be relevant to their case at the outset of the claim, including medical evidence supplied by their GP or other medical professionals, while WCA assessors are “expected to seek further evidence in situations where it would help them to place someone in the support group without calling a claimant in for a face-to-face assessment”.He said a DWP decision-maker will “assess all available evidence and seek more if required to reach their decision”.But he admitted that DWP was still in discussions with Maximus – which took over the WCA contract from Atos earlier this year – to “pilot new evidence-seeking processes for claimants with mental health conditions”.Atos refused to respond to requests for a comment.last_img read more

AntiPiracy Bill Could Do More Harm Than Good for Small Companies

first_img –shares Anti-Piracy Bill Could Do More Harm Than Good for Small Companies Next Article Director of the Entrepreneur Partner Studio A bill in Congress that aims to punish “rogue” websites that publish or sell pirated content could potentially harm small businesses as much as it could help them.The “Stop Online Piracy Act” aims to punish online businesses that host copyrighted content without authorization — including peer-to-peer content sharing sites, among others. It was introduced last month by House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (D-TX).So far, the bill has gained support from major entertainment industry players including the Motion Picture Association of America. During a Congressional hearing this week, MPAA senior executive vice president Michael O’Leary argued that these rogue websites negatively affect the revenues of major Hollywood studios as well as the “95,000 small businesses across the country involved in the production and distribution of movies and television.”But while the SOPA bill could provide added protection for some small businesses, such as those in the entertainment industry, those who oppose the bill argue that the potential downsides outweigh the benefits. “While you’re trying to protect people who have innovated in the past by giving them an additional level of protection for their intellectual property, in doing so you risk penalizing the innovators of the future,” says Andrea Matwyshyn, assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. “You create a more constrained innovation space in an environment that’s more hostile to IP.”Entrepreneurs — especially those who are or plan to aggregate or remix content, or share content in new ways online — should pay attention to how the SOPA bill plays out in Congress and what the consequences will be, Matwyshyn says. No specific timetable has been set for a vote, she says.This week, tech giants including Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and AOL collectively voiced opposition to the bill, writing a letter to the Committee on the Judiciary. As currently written, the SOPA bill would allow copyright holders to obtain court orders to disallow other companies from doing business with the sites that are alleged to be in violation of copyright. It could also force search engines and domain registries to censor the infringing sites. The companies argue that the bill would undermine the intent of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which reduces the liability of online companies — large and small — that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sites.A similar bill, called the Protect IP Act, passed the U.S. Senate earlier this year but was effectively put on hold by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), over its potential to “muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth,” he said.When a statute has a “heavy-handed approach” such as SOPA or the Protect IP Act, there is potential that individuals or companies with deep pockets will leverage their legal expertise and the legislation to eliminate the ability of new entrants into the IP space with novel business models, Matwyshyn says. “There’s a relatively clear consensus, in at least some corners of the legal community, that this is not the best way to achieve the goals that Congress is aiming for,” she says. Entrepreneur Staff Technology Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brandcenter_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Add to Queue November 18, 2011 3 min read Jason Fell Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

New App Lets Public Help Map Disasters Conflicts and Outbreaks

first_img July 15, 2016 Swiping right or tapping on a mobile phone are not typical ways of helping poor communities, but a new app launched by a medical charity on Friday aims to use technology to help aid workers map areas at risk of conflict, disasters and disease.Using the latest in mobile gaming technology, MapSwipe lets users map remote, rural regions vulnerable to humanitarian crises.Hundreds of millions of people in crisis-prone communities are not mapped, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said, and without this data, aid agencies are unable to effectively plan for emergencies.”If you can’t visualize where your patients are when they’re in the middle of a cholera outbreak you’re missing a huge trick, because you can’t predict the behavior of the disease,” said MSF’s Pete Masters, who helped create the app.Users will swipe through a series satellite images on their phone, and tap the screen when they see buildings, houses or other signs of human activity.In essence, the public can help filter out uninhabited areas, such as deserts or bushland, so aid workers can concentrate on mapping places where people actually live.MapSwipe was developed as part of the Missing Maps Project, a collaboration between MSF, the British and American Red Cross and mapping platform Open Street Map.Masters, project manager of Missing Maps, said having accurate mapping data before a crisis hits is essential.”It’s not a reaction tool,” he said. “What we’re really trying to do is identify vulnerable places (with) ongoing, forgotten crises, and map them ahead of time.”So when the cholera outbreak happens, you’re not trying to map it now, you can say, ‘Here’s the data.’ And you can use it immediately.”The app will let users participate in current mapping projects in northern Nigeria, Madagascar and the border region between Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea which was hit by the Ebola virus outbreak.By rewarding users with virtual badges, Masters said he hopes the app will be as engaging as popular mobile games such as Angry Birds, Pokemon Go or Candy Crush.But ultimately, he said the app is about letting ordinary people participate in humanitarian work, even if they are unable to give money or volunteer on the ground.”We’re trying to provide meaningful engagement for people who have a few minutes to spare,” he said. “We don’t want to pretend maps save thousands of lives — doctors save thousands of lives.”But any increase in the support that we can give to the medical teams in terms of the data they can use … is an improvement.”(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, global land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, women’s rights, and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories) Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. –shares Image credit: Shutterstock Reuters This story originally appeared on Reuterscenter_img Register Now » New App Lets Public Help Map Disasters, Conflicts and Outbreaks Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Add to Queue 3 min read Medicallast_img read more

60 million in virtual currency hacked in Japan

first_img Osaka-based Tech Bureau, which operates virtual currency exchange Zaif, said its server had been illegally accessed and money transfered.”We decline to comment on the details of how this illegal access occurred, as it is a crime and we’ve already asked the authorities to investigate,” Tech Bureau said in a statement.It added that the virtual currencies stolen were bitcoin, bitcoin cash and monacoin.”We will prepare measures so that customers’ assets will not be affected” by the hack, it said, adding it would receive financial support from major shareholder Fisco Group.The current management team will step down after returning the lost assets to customers, Tech Bureau said.Japan’s financial services agency on Thursday began on-site inspections into the company, Jiji Press reported.Japan is a major centre for virtual currencies and as many as 50,000 shops in the country are thought to accept bitcoin.Earlier this year, Japan-based exchange Coincheck suspended deposits and withdrawal for virtual currencies after it had been hacked, resulting in a loss worth half a billion US dollars of NEM, the 10th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.Japanese authorities later ordered two cryptocurrency exchanges to suspend operations as part of a clampdown following the hack. Japan penalizes several cryptocurrency exchanges after hack © 2018 AFP Explore further Bitcoin can be used for payment at 50,000 stores in Tokyo.center_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. Citation: $60 million in virtual currency hacked in Japan (2018, September 20) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-japan-digital-currency-exchange-hacked.html Bitcoin and other digital currency worth around 6.7 billion yen ($60 million) has been stolen in Japan following a hacking attack, a virtual exchange operator said on Thursday.last_img read more