1 Dec
2019

Congress, NCP now focus on seat swap

first_imgThe Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) may have fixed a seat-sharing arrangement for the Assembly elections, but the parties are now facing the challenge of deciding which constituencies they will each contest.The two allies have agreed to contest 125 seats each, but will have to exchange seats they had previously contested based on the current political scenario. The alliance now rests on a smooth transfer of seats, talks for which are in progress. On Wednesday, the senior leadership of the State Congress held day-long deliberations in Delhi to decide candidates for 100 seats. And on Thursday, both parties held a meeting and talks are likely to be over within a day or two. “Both parties have reached an understanding that each will contest 125 seats. This formula has been reached on the basis of the present strength of the parties. A number of seats will be exchanged, and that will be finalised within a day or two,” said a senior Congress leader, who was part of the negotiations. He said neither ally wishes to push the discussions to a breaking point.A senior NCP leader, too, confirmed the seat-sharing formula. “There are allies such as Raju Shetti, Left and others. We will be sparing 38 seats for them,” he said. NCP president Sharad Pawar has already announced five candidates from Beed district. The Leader of Opposition in the Council, Dhananjay Munde, will contest from Parli against his cousin, Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde. Besides, Sandip Kshirsagar will contest from Beed, Namita Mundada from Kej, Prakash Solanke from Majalgaon and Vijaysinh Pandit from Gevrai. “The exchange of seats will take place based on the present political scenario. We may get seats which were never with us but are favourable to us now, and vice versa,” the Congress leader said.Sources said the NCP has asked for seats such as Igatpuri, which the Congress has contested in the past. Two seats in Navi Mumbai, which were with the NCP, may go to the Congress as local NCP leaders have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2014, the parties had contested the elections independently. In 2009, the NCP fielded candidates in 117 seats, and the Congress in 171. The share of the Congress has come down to 125 owing to the losses it suffered in successive Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the State. Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said the alliance with the NCP was final. “We are together and will be fighting the polls in an alliance. As of now, our alliance is unaffected by whether the BJP and Shiv Sena contest together or not. We are of finalising candidates and the list will be out soon,” he said.last_img read more

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28 Sep
2019

Ohio State womens basketball blown out ousted from Sweet 16 by Tennessee

OSU senior guard Ameryst Alston (14) dribbles the ball during a game against Wagner on Nov. 22 at St. John Arena. Credit: Elizabeth Tzagournis | Lantern PhotographerThe last time the Tennessee and Ohio State women’s basketball teams met before Friday was in the 2011 NCAA Sweet 16 round. Fast forward five years to Friday night, and the two had a rematch in that very same rebound.The No. 7 seed Lady Vols were not the favorite coming into the matchup with the Buckeyes in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but they disregarded the predictions from analysts and dominated the third-seeded Buckeyes 78-62.Tennessee came out of the gates strong and played with efficiency, taking quality shots from all areas of the court. Redshirt sophomore guard Diamond DeShields left the game for a stint with an injury, but would later return to contribute an all-around performance to the Lady Vols’ success.Tennessee took control of the contest in the first half by breaking the press with ease and using its height in the paint to its advantage.Tennessee’s post play was led by redshirt sophomore center Mercedes Russell who went a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, taking over the OSU forwards. The Springfield, Oregon, native showed poise on the block with her effortless post moves and displayed her clean shooting form, putting the ball through the nylon throughout the evening.Along with Russell’s success, senior forward Bashaara Graves also didn’t miss a shot in the first half, shooting 5-of-5.OSU, on the other hand, was far from perfect, struggling to get an offensive flow in the first 20 minutes of play. Only shooting 25 percent as a team in the first quarter, the Buckeyes had to find a solution to their offense if they wanted to keep it close going into the locker room.Missing their lead defender, senior guard Cait Craft, to a season-ending hand injury, the Buckeyes didn’t have a player to turn to shut down the Volunteers scorers.Senior guard Ameryst Alston, who has been struggling to perform because of a wrist injury suffered in the Big Ten tournament, did not want her senior year to end earlier than it had to be, ignoring the wrist pain and completing some of the acrobatic shots that she regularly converted before the injury.Sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell took matters into her own hands for the rest of the first half, knocking down a slew of 3-pointers and finishing the half with 11 points.Even though OSU trailed after the first half of play, the Buckeyes did not show the urgency that they needed to catch up to the Lady Vols. OSU ignored the offensive strategy that it typically followed throughout the year and lacked energy on defense, putting the Scarlet and Gray in even more of a hole as the second half of play got underway.Tennessee’s offensive movement continued to be pristine and showed shades of coach Pat Summitt’s rosters back in the day. The Buckeyes simply had no answer for Tennessee and were unable to enforce their high-velocity pace that has been their go-to all season long.Russell would go on to score a game high 25 points and grab 14 rebounds, while Graves finished with 14 points and nine boards.Despite her injury, DeShields ended her night with 10 points and dished out seven assists, while grabbing five rebounds as well.On the Scarlet and Gray side, Alston led the Buckeyes with 21 points, ending her collegiate career on a strong note. Mitchell would follow her with 20 points, though she shot just 5-of-15 from the field.With the loss, the Buckeyes will board the plane back home to Columbus to begin their offseason, while the Lady Vols are set to continue to the Elite Eight to take on Syracuse and compete for a chance to make it to the Final Four. read more

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28 Sep
2019

Diary from the Kentucky Derby

The 4th Street bars are open until 8 a.m., and fans are stuck deciding between continuing on into the late night derby eve festivities, or making sure they sleep just enough to be able to tailgate in a few hours.Often times for college co-eds, derby eve wins out.Then comes the actual day of the derby, when fans battle the imminent hangovers to fire up the grills, sip on screwdrivers, and start tailgating at 9 a.m., five hours after they had left the bar the night before.After seven hours of burgers, brats, beer and corn-hole, it’s race time.But the lowly college kids don’t get to sit in the stands next to Denzel or Madonna. They pay $40 to wade through the mud-ridden swampland that is the infield.At first glance, the infield is so big it’s hard to tell there is a horse track bordering it. Where there aren’t vendors, betting windows and porta-johns, there’s mud — lots and lots of mud.After placing their bets, fans hit the infield.Meandering around the infield, there was actually a lot to do. Mostly though, it consisted of the most intoxicated 5 percent of the crowd putting on a show for the rest of the fans.When these dedicated fans weren’t mud-wrestling, they were being carried out in handcuffs or stretchers.Then finally, at 6:30 p.m. it was time for the race. Drinking, eating and avoiding sleep for the last 24 hours, all for this two-minute long race.From the infield, about a 30-yard stretch of the race can be seen, at best. The race was shown on a giant scoreboard though, and when it started, the entire infield roared. Fans watched as Super Saver moved toward the front, and by the time they got to the end of turn-two, Super Saver ran by, leading the pack.Super Saver won the race, the bed of roses and the prize money.Only at the Kentucky Derby can one spend $200 and 48 hours celebrating, see horses for all of five seconds, and still have it be one of the highlights of the year. Kentucky is known for more than basketball and cheap tobacco.The Kentucky Derby, now in its 136th year, is the oldest continuous sporting event in the U.S. It is as seasoned in years as it is in tradition.Bonnets, derby pies and mint juleps are just some of the common traditions seen at the derby.But it’s the things NBC doesn’t televise that make the Kentucky Derby so great, for the college kid at least.The derby, to college kids in Louisville, is like New Years meets the Fourth of July meets the OSU-Michigan game.Derby eve is almost as big as derby day itself.Fourth Street (the Louisville equivalent of High Street) was closed off all evening, the cheapest draught beers were $8, and the cover charges to get into any of the bars lining the streets were as much as $40. Oh, and there was a little stage in the middle of the street, where 3 Doors Down played a full set list for all the bar-goers to hear.As midnight approaches on derby-day, the bars shut off their music and all of Fourth Street counts down in blissful drunken harmony to the day the whole state seems to revolve around.For the horses, the derby is a sprint — but for fans it’s quite the marathon. read more

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28 Sep
2019

Offensive explosion led by Cardale Jones Devin Smith gives Buckeyes 59 point

OSU senior wide receiver Devin Smith celebrates after scoring one of his 3 touchdowns in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. OSU won, 59-0.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorINDIANAPOLIS — More than three years ago, a pair of future Ohio State football players connected in a high school all-star game for a seemingly meaningless touchdown.On Saturday night, that connection re-emerged in a big way as redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones found senior wide receiver Devin Smith for three scores in a 59-0 blowout victory over the Wisconsin Badgers, giving the Buckeyes their first Big Ten title since 2009.Jones and Smith last connected for a touchdown in the 2011 Big-33 classic, which pits some of the best high school football players from the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.That connection, which was a 54-yard touchdown pass, was reminiscent of the Buckeye win over the Badgers as Smith hauled in scores of 39, 44 and 42 yards from Jones, who was making his first career start for OSU.Jones took over the starting spot after redshirt-sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett fractured his ankle during OSU’s win over Michigan to close out the regular season.Smith finished the game with a Big Ten Championship Game record 137 receiving yards to go along with his three scores.Smith said he discussed that game in June of 2011 with Jones prior to the Big Ten title matchup.“I knew when J.T. went down that Cardale was going to be the quarterback,” Smith said. “I just told him, ‘lets get back to the Big 33 all-star game we played in together’ and that right there (his performance) says it all.”Jones completed 12 of 17 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns, all to Smith.The redshirt-sophomore’s performance was of no surprise to Jones’ head coach Urban Meyer.“I knew he had the talent to throw the ball and execute but I figured there would be first game jitters,” Meyer said after the game. “There was none of that.”Barrett, who was on the sideline for the game, said he was happy for Jones and the way the team played as a whole.“Definitely proud of him (Jones) and he’s able to … just take over the moment,” Barrett said after the game. “He seized the moment, seized the opportunity and he did it as a team. It wasn’t just him, that was the great thing about it, he had help around him. And that’s the great thing about this team.”Jones said that he, along with his teammates, prepared with a sense of urgency heading into the matchup with Wisconsin.“We worked all week for this and as a team we had faith in one another,” Jones said. “There was no down time and we treated this like it was our game to take and we were going to leave it all on the field.”It wasn’t just Jones that made a statement for the Buckeyes, as sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott broke the Big Ten Championship Game record for rushing yards in the game as he rushed for 220 yards on 20 carries for two scores.The record that Elliott broke was once held by Wisconsin redshirt-junior Melvin Gordon who was bottled up by the Buckeye defense as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year rushed for just 76 yards on 26 carries.Elliott said that he wanted to step his game up Saturday, especially with Gordon on the opposite sideline.“Definitely. Just trying come out there and make a name for myself,” Elliott said. “I know it was a big stage, I knew everyone was going to be watching Melvin so I just wanted to come out and compete with him.”Eighty-one of Elliott’s 220 yards came on one single play as the sophomore back exploded up the middle for OSU’s second score of the game.Elliott gave credit to his offensive line for that run after the game.“It was basically wide open, I just had to break one arm tackle reaching off a block, and the line did it all,” he said.Elliott was overwhelmed in the locker room after the game, as he said the Big Ten Championship is the first championship he has ever been apart of at any level of competition.“Man, it feels so good. I can’t even explain it. I have never won a championship in my life,” Elliott said. “Made it to state three times in high school and we lost. Coming back after last year, get some redemption and make up for that loss we got last year.”The 59-0 win came against not only the No. 13 team in the country, but the second ranked defense in the nation as well.After the dominating performance, Elliott said he believes the Buckeyes belong in the first-ever College Football Playoff.“We definitely do. We came out here and we dominated today. I think we should,” Elliott said. “All year we have shown resilience. We had so many obstacles and we haven’t backed down, we never folded and we always come out and get better every week.”Meyer echoed his running back’s comments referencing the the level of play the Buckeyes have reached in recent weeks.“That is a question I know everyone is going to ask me. We just won 59-0 against one of the top teams in America,” Meyer said. “These kids are playing at an extremely high level right now.”Whether it’s in a high school all-star game, or in the Big Ten title game, Jones said it is exciting being able to showcase his abilities.“It was very fun, going out there showing everybody what we can do when we all come together as one,” he said.OSU will find out whether they will come together in the College Football Playoff or elsewhere tomorrow as the final rankings are scheduled to be announced at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. read more

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6 Aug
2019

Cisco this week joined with partners to demonstrat

first_imgCisco this week joined with partners to demonstrate cable broadband remote PHY architecture and the use of DOCSIS infrastructure for mobile backhaul.At the SCTE Cable-Tech Expo in Denver, Cisco demonstrated its Infinite Broadband Remote PHY solution (RPHY) for cable access networks, which it claims to be the industy’s only standards-based distributed access architecture (DAA) on the market.Arris and Cisco demonstrated interoperability with each other’s Remote PHY (RPHY) solutions, including CCAP core technology and PHY nodes. Demos will include: the Arris E6000 CCAP Core supporting Cisco Smart PHY node and the Cisco cBR-8 CCAP Core supporting the Arris RPHY Node.Finnish vendor Teleste meanwhile used the show to launch its Open RPD specification-based node, the AC91000 Neo, and demonstrated nteroperability of its Remote PHY enabled node alongside Cisco’s cBR8 CCAP Core.Cisco also launched its new GS7000i Smartnode, adding new mass awareness telemetry and proactive control automation capabilities to the cable access network, according to the company.Cisco has also partnered with CableLabs to develop a way for DOCSIS to grow to handle mobile backhaul, for 4G/LTE networks to start with, and 5G installations as they start to emerge in meaningful ways, the company said.last_img read more

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28 Jul
2019

Flat boron is a superconductor

first_imgShareEditor’s note: Links to images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduFlat boron is a superconductorRice University scientists predict 2-D material – no longer theoretical – has unique properties HOUSTON – (March 30, 2016) – Rice University scientists have determined that two-dimensional boron is a natural low-temperature superconductor. In fact, it may be the only 2-D material with such potential.Rice theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and his co-workers published their calculations that show atomically flat boron is metallic and will transmit electrons with no resistance. The work appears this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.The hitch, as with most superconducting materials, is that it loses its resistivity only when very cold, in this case between 10 and 20 kelvins (roughly, minus-430 degrees Fahrenheit). But for making very small superconducting circuits, it might be the only game in town.The basic phenomenon of superconductivity has been known for more than 100 years, said Evgeni Penev, a research scientist in the Yakobson group, but had not been tested for its presence in atomically flat boron.“It’s well-known that the material is pretty light because the atomic mass is small,” Penev said. “If it’s metallic too, these are two major prerequisites for superconductivity. That means at low temperatures, electrons can pair up in a kind of dance in the crystal.”“Lower dimensionality is also helpful,” Yakobson said. “It may be the only, or one of very few, two-dimensional metals. So there are three factors that gave the initial motivation for us to pursue the research. Then we just got more and more excited as we got into it.”Electrons with opposite momenta and spins effectively become Cooper pairs; they attract each other at low temperatures with the help of lattice vibrations, the so-called “phonons,” and give the material its superconducting properties, Penev said. “Superconductivity becomes a manifestation of the macroscopic wave function that describes the whole sample. It’s an amazing phenomenon,” he said.It wasn’t entirely by chance that the first theoretical paper establishing conductivity in a 2-D material appeared at roughly the same time the first samples of the material were made by laboratories in the United States and China. In fact, an earlier paper by the Yakobson group had offered a road map for doing so.That 2-D boron has now been produced is a good thing, according to Yakobson and lead authors Penev and Alex Kutana, a postdoctoral researcher at Rice. “We’ve been working to characterize boron for years, from cage clusters to nanotubes to planer sheets, but the fact that these papers appeared so close together means these labs can now test our theories,” Yakobson said.“In principle, this work could have been done three years ago as well,” he said. “So why didn’t we? Because the material remained hypothetical; okay, theoretically possible, but we didn’t have a good reason to carry it too far.“But then last fall it became clear from professional meetings and interactions that it can be made. Now those papers are published. When you think it’s coming for real, the next level of exploration becomes more justifiable,” Yakobson said.Boron atoms can make more than one pattern when coming together as a 2-D material, another characteristic predicted by Yakobson and his team that has now come to fruition. These patterns, known as polymorphs, may allow researchers to tune the material’s conductivity “just by picking a selective arrangement of the hexagonal holes,” Penev said.He also noted boron’s qualities were hinted at when researchers discovered more than a decade ago that magnesium diborite is a high-temperature electron-phonon superconductor. “People realized a long time ago the superconductivity is due to the boron layer,” Penev said. “The magnesium acts to dope the material by spilling some electrons into the boron layer. In this case, we don’t need them because the 2-D boron is already metallic.”Penev suggested that isolating 2-D boron between layers of inert hexagonal boron nitride (aka “white graphene”) might help stabilize its superconducting nature.Without the availability of a block of time on several large government supercomputers, the study would have taken a lot longer, Yakobson said. “Alex did the heavy lifting on the computational work,” he said. “To turn it from a lunchtime discussion into a real quantitative research result took a very big effort.”The paper is the first by Yakobson’s group on the topic of superconductivity, though Penev is a published author on the subject. “I started working on superconductivity in 1993, but it was always kind of a hobby, and I hadn’t done anything on the topic in 10 years,” Penev said. “So this paper brings it full circle.”The work was supported by the Office of Naval Research and by the Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The researchers utilized the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Supercomputing Resource Center supported by the Department of Defense.-30-Read the abstract at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b00070Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related Materials:Yakobson Research Group: http://biygroup.blogs.rice.eduGeorge R. Brown School of Engineering: http://engr.rice.eduImages for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/03/0402_SUPER-2-web-1sjicvt.jpgRice University scientists have determined that two-dimensional boron is a natural low-temperature superconductor. It may be the only 2-D material with such potential. From left: Evgeni Penev, Alex Kutana and Boris Yakobson. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceUniversity. AddThiscenter_img http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/03/0402_SUPER-1-web-1ysmuqe.jpgElectrons with opposite momenta and spins pair up via lattice vibrations at low temperatures in two-dimensional boron and give it superconducting properties, according to new research by theoretical physicists at Rice University. (Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)last_img read more

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26 Jul
2019

Sexist Job Ads Discriminate Against Women in China Even Specifying Applicants Required

first_img Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Add to Queue Job ads in China openly discriminate against women, regularly stating employers’ preference for male applicants.Some ads list a preference for men, others try to lure male applicants by describing the attractiveness of future female co-workers, while many more place unfair and unequal demands on women applicants.Analyzing more than 36,000 job ads from the last five years, Human Rights Watch released a new report on Monday detailing the extent of discriminatory job ads in China.”Nearly one in five job ads for China’s 2018 national civil service called for ‘men only’ or ‘men preferred,’ while major companies like Alibaba have published recruitment ads promising applicants ‘beautiful girls’ as co-workers,” Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, said.In the past, Alibaba has repeatedly advertised “beautiful girls” or “goddesses” that work for the company in its job ads, and described them as “late night benefits.”But even in January this year, Alibaba advertised three roles primarily for men. An ad for a government affairs senior specialist stated “men preferred,” as did an ad for restaurant operations support, while the ad for a crowd-sourcing delivery manager said “men only.”Last year, advertisements for feed reviewers at Baidu, who were likely being hired for censorship-related work, listed “men” alongside other job requirements such as an associate’s degree. In 2016, a job ad for the company’s filming program manager job ad stated the role required “strong logical reasoning ability, effective execution skills … men and manly women [need apply].”In response to the new report, Baidu told AFP its the job ads have been removed while Alibaba said it would conduct “stricter reviews” of its ads going forwards but the ads referred to in the report were outdated.”Sexist job ads pander to the antiquated stereotypes that persist within Chinese companies,” Richardson said. “These companies pride themselves on being forces of modernity and progress, yet they fall back on such recruitment strategies, which shows how deeply entrenched discrimination against women remains in China.”Performance by government departments were no better.Out of all national civil service jobs that were reviewed so far this year, 19 percent included the terms “men only,” “men preferred” or “suitable for men.” There was just one instance of a job ad that required the applicant to be a woman.Last year, 55 percent of jobs advertised by the Ministry of Public Security specified “men only.”These ads typically state working conditions such as “frequent overtime,” “heavy workload” and “frequent travel” that appear to be the reason for excluding women. One ad in the ministry’s news department listed “need to work overtime frequently, high intensity work, only men need apply.”One job ad site has attempted to stop the sexist ads by banning gender discrimination phrases, but there are easy workarounds. Human Rights Watch found numerous uses of Chinese characters that sound like “man,” use a Romanized version or swap “man” out for other colloquial terms.Sexist job ads in China are not a recent problem.Research from 2013 found gender-targeted ads are common in China, and that an employer’s preference for a women workers is often related to their age, height and beauty rather than skill.There are often gender-specific criteria for women hires.If organizations do try to hire women, Human Rights Watch found employers often add in strict, gender-specific criteria regarding appearance, marital status, motherhood or even alter educational requirements.In Shaanxi province, researchers found the actual job title for female train conductors was “fashionable and beautiful high-speed train conductors.”Another ad for train conductors in Hebei required women to weigh “below 65 kilograms,” be between “162 centimeters to 173 centimeters” tall and have “normal facial features, no tattoos, no obvious scars on face, neck or arms, good skin tone, no incurable skin conditions.”At Alibaba, the sole job available in January that included the Chinese character for “woman” required the applicant to “possess fine personal image.”Other ads appear to indicate employers would prefer to avoid the hassle of maternity leave, particularly under China’s new two-child policy.One job ad listed “[Applicants must be] women married with children or men.” Another, for a senior manager position at an internet company, required a “female, married with children, excellent image and temperament.”Even Beijing court assistants, who were required to be female, needed to have “proper looks.”In a number of instances women were able to apply for jobs only if they had higher qualifications than their male counterparts. In one city looking to hire management assistants, 47 positions were open to men who had high school diplomas. Two of the three same positions open to women required an associate’s degree.China is still battling gender inequality.When China ended its one-child policy, state media declared women could now return to the home in order to “better raise children.”This belief closely aligns with what appears to be the state’s desire for women to marry and remain in the home. In 2015, Beijing’s office of marriage registration caused an uproar when one of its posters saying: “Being a good wife and good mother is the biggest achievement of a woman,” began circulating online.The pressure for women to marry is so great that those who are unmarried after 27 are considered “leftover women” and “spoiled goods.”When measured for gender equality, China ranks 100 out of 144 countries. Next Article –shares Tara Francis Chan Image credit: Greg Baker | Getty Images Register Now » Sexist Job Ads Discriminate Against Women in China — Even Specifying Applicants’ Required Height, Weight and Facial Structure 5 min read This story originally appeared on Business Insider China Many job ads in China openly discriminate against women according to research from Human Rights Watch. April 23, 2018 Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel.last_img read more

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18 Jul
2019

1 in 6 insured hospital patients get a surprise bill for outofnetwork

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 20 2019About 1 in 6 Americans were surprised by a medical bill after treatment in a hospital in 2017 despite having insurance, according to a study published Thursday.On average, 16% of inpatient stays and 18% of emergency visits left a patient with at least one out-of-network charge. Most of those came from doctors offering treatment at the hospital, even when the patients chose an in-network hospital, according to researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Its study was based on large employer insurance claims. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)The research also found that when a patient is admitted to the hospital from the emergency room, there’s a higher likelihood of an out-of-network charge. As many as 26% of admissions from the emergency room resulted in a surprise medical bill.”Millions of emergency visits and hospital stays left people with large employer coverage at risk of a surprise bill in 2017,” the authors wrote.The researchers got their data by analyzing large-employer claims from IBM’s MarketScan Research Databases, which include claims for almost 19 million individuals.Surprise medical bills are top of mind for American patients, with 38% reporting they were “very worried” about unexpected medical bills.Surprise bills don’t just come from the emergency room. Often, patients will pick an in-network facility and see a provider who works there but isn’t employed by the hospital. These doctors, from outside staffing firms, can charge out-of-network prices.”It’s kind of a built-in problem,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and an author of the study. She said most private health insurance plans are built on networks, where patients get the highest value for choosing a doctor in the network. But patients often don’t know whether they are being treated by an out-of-network doctor while in a hospital.Related StoriesStudy: Two-thirds of pneumonia patients receive more antibiotics than they probably needChildren’s Colorado granted IAC’s Cardiovascular Catheterization accreditationFeeling safe and good sleep at night matter most to sick kids in hospital”By definition, there are these circumstances where they cannot choose their provider, whether it’s an emergency or it’s [a doctor] who gets brought in and they don’t even meet them face-to-face.”The issue is ripe for a federal solution. Some states have surprise-bill protections in place, but those laws don’t apply to most large-employer plans because the federal government regulates them.”New York and California have very high rates of surprise bills even though they have some of the strongest state statutes,” Pollitz said. “These data show why federal legislation would matter.”Consumers in Texas, New York, Florida, New Jersey and Kansas were the most likely to see a surprise bill, while people in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Maine and Mississippi saw fewer, according to the study.Legislative solutions are being discussed in the White House and Congress. The leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee introduced a package Wednesday that included a provision to address it. The legislation from HELP sets a benchmark for what out-of-network physicians will be paid, which would be an amount comparable to what the plan is paying other doctors for that service.That bill is set for a committee markup next week.Other remedies are also being offered by different groups of lawmakers. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

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18 Jul
2019

Fungal infection study identifies specific genetic vulnerability among Hmong people

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 16 2019Ten years ago, in Marathon County, Wisconsin, 55 people were sickened by an uncommon fungal infection called blastomycosis. Thirty patients were hospitalized. Two people died.The fungus, Blastomyces dermatitidis, found naturally in wet soil and in decomposing wood throughout the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi Valley, can cause flu-like illness and in severe cases, death. Wisconsin has among the highest incidence rates of the disease in the U.S. and outbreaks ranging up to 100 cases periodically occur in the state.Given the size of the Marathon County outbreak, the state asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help launching an investigation -; unusually, 20 patients infected with the fungus were of Hmong descent. Investigators found that Asian people had a disproportionate risk of developing blastomycosis infections relative to other groups in the U.S. and they ruled out lifestyle explanations, such as gardening practices and recreation.Now, a new study led by University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers Caitlin Pepperell and Bruce Klein has identified a specific genetic vulnerability among Hmong people that renders them more susceptible to the disease-causing fungus. We were struck by this because it hadn’t been described before … rates were 10-to-100 times greater than one might expect based on population numbers alone. It’s really been a holy grail question -; why are some people more vulnerable and what is the basis for this?”Bruce Klein, infectious disease physician and professor of pediatrics, internal medicine, and medical microbiology and immunology at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Understanding these vulnerabilities is really important for patients, says Pepperell, also an infectious disease physician and associate professor of medicine and medical microbiology and immunology at SMPH, because it can help physicians make better-informed and more timely decisions about treatment for people who are at higher risk.”Unfortunately, a really typical story with blastomycosis is having a long delay to diagnosis because it’s a (relatively) rare disease and people are not familiar with it,” Pepperell says. The earlier people are treated, the better their outcomes.At the start of the study, recently published in the open-access journal mBio, Pepperell surmised that Hmong people in Wisconsin, who have “experienced a long series of forced displacements and migrations,” might be more genetically isolated than other groups and thus have less genetic variation powering their fight against some diseases.That’s because every gene we inherit exists in pairs called alleles -; we get one copy from each parent. Having two alleles that are different creates variation, but as is often the case in genetically isolated groups, the alleles can also be identical, or homozygous. A person who inherits one good copy of a gene and one bad still has some protection from its effects, while a person who gets two bad copies is more vulnerable.”Many disease-causing variants are homozygous,” Pepperell explains.With the help of her former graduate student, co-author Donny Xiong, the research team gained consent from nine of the affected Hmong patients to collect blood and examine their cells.Related StoriesStudy: Treatment of psychosis can be targeted to specific genetic mutationGene modulation goes wireless hacking the “boss gene”Researchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromePepperell and her graduate student, study co-author Mary O’Neill, looked for long stretches of homozygosity in the genomes of the Hmong participants. They found them in a region known to be important for immune responses to fungi.Within that region are genes for an immune element known as cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), which helps lead to the development of another immune responder known as interleukin-17 (IL-17), involved in teaching the body to fight fungal infections. The research team found that the cells of Hmong people created less IL-6 than the cells of European donors.The specialized cells that produce IL-17, called Type 17 cytokine T helper cells (TH17), “patrol the mucosal surfaces of the body and are important in alarming (the body’s) first-line defenses,” Klein explains. “They serve as the cavalry and mop up invaders.”Klein’s research team found previously in mice that TH17 cells are particularly important for responding to fungal invaders and that IL-6 is pivotal to their creation. The finding suggested to the researchers that Hmong people who produce less IL-6 may have fewer TH17 cells, and thus, less IL-17.So, Klein’s team went back to the mouse model and found that mice lacking IL-6 had significantly fewer TH17 cells than normal mice, were extremely vulnerable to Blastomyces infection, experienced progressive disease, and died sooner.The researchers also found that Hmong donor cells produced significantly less IL-17 than those from Europeans in response to infection with another more common fungus, Candida albicans. Both groups are more likely to have been exposed to this fungus before -; it’s responsible for thrush and common vaginal yeast infections.Klein and Pepperell continue to study genetic vulnerability to Blastomyces, which is part of a family of seven particularly pathogenic fungi that are harmless unless their spores are inhaled and take up residence in the lungs. Pepperell is interested in “zooming out” to see if other genes may be different in Hmong people, since this study looked specifically at immune-related genes and could be missing more of the big picture.For Klein, the work has been “extremely gratifying.” He has studied blastomycosis in Wisconsin since 1981, first as a trainee with the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, and long worked alongside the late state epidemiologist, Jeff Davis, who passed away just last year. Together, they helped establish Wisconsin as the first state to make it a legally reportable infectious disease.”It’s like: ‘Battle on,'” with this fungus,” Klein says. He appreciates the implications the findings have not just for individual patients, but also for public health more broadly. It also helps lay the groundwork for the future, particularly as plans are forged by UW-Madison to establish the SMPH Center for Human Genomics and Precision Medicine.”This is a great example of the Wisconsin Idea,” Klein says. “This is something we should be doing -; the state and the university working together for the benefit of public health and people in Wisconsin.” Source:University of Wisconsin–MadisonJournal reference:Merkhofer, R.M. et al. (2019) Investigation of Genetic Susceptibility to Blastomycosis Reveals Interleukin-6 as a Potential Susceptibility Locus. mBio. doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01224-19.last_img read more

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18 Jul
2019

Power to the people electricity finally reaches Indian landmark

Citation: Power to the people: electricity finally reaches Indian landmark (2018, March 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-power-people-electricity-indian-landmark.html Deepa Bhoir used to sit in darkness outside her island home and stare at Mumbai glowing in the distance. Now she stays up late watching soap operas—one of millions of Indians whose lives have been transformed by a drive to get power to every corner of the country. Bhoir and her husband Sasuram are among hundreds of villagers on the UNESCO world heritage-listed island of Elephanta to have had mains electricity installed in their houses for the first time.Local officials hope tourists, who take a short boat ride from the bustle of Mumbai to visit the island’s famed fifth century caves, will now spend more time and money there, boosting local businesses and jobs.”We’ve waited decades for this and we’re so happy. Now I can watch all my favourite shows without any interruptions. The TV is almost always on!” Bhoir tells AFP, grinning.The island is renowned for its temple caves dating back more than 1,500 years and is home to around 1,200 people.But despite living just 10 kilometres (six miles) from India’s financial capital, islanders have spent much of their lives without power.”Lacking electricity was depressing and we faced numerous hardships,” says Sasuram, explaining that he and Deepa would often sleep outside during the summer to try to keep cool.”It was sweltering inside. We would lie and look at the glittering lights of Mumbai and long for electricity to live fuller and more satisfying lives,” the 54-year-old adds. More than 16,000 Indian villages have been electrified since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, according to government data Lights finally come on for Indian village Explore further Local officials on Elephanta hope tourists, who take a short boat ride from the bustle of Mumbai to visit the island’s famed fifth century caves, will now spend more time and money there, boosting local businesses and jobs Engineers spent three months laying a seven-kilometre (four mile) undersea cable that connects a mainland substation to transformers in each Elephanta village.In brightly painted homes, ceiling fans whirl at high speed as light bulbs illuminate dark rooms struggling to keep out the stifling early summer heat.”It’s been 70 years since India’s independence and we’ve been promised electricity for so long. I’m just glad to see it before I die,” says 69-year-old Bhagwan Tali.Embracing changeElephanta, also known as Gharapuri, meaning “the city of caves” is a world away from Mumbai. Monkeys outnumber humans and there are no cars on the island, just a miniature railway.The only shops are stalls selling snacks and trinkets for tourists.”My business is weak as most cold drinks, ice creams and chocolates can’t be sold,” says 52-year-old shopkeeper Surekha Bhagat, eagerly waiting for her stall to be hooked up to the grid.Elephanta has one school—for children under 16—and there is no hospital, leaving the elderly and sick vulnerable during a medical emergency. 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. Every week, Tulsa Bhoir makes the one-hour boat trip to Mumbai to buy fresh vegetables, milk and other foodstuffs. The 43-year-old hopes electricity will spur infrastructure.”I’m excited to see how our island changes for the better,” she tells AFP.Devendra Fadnavis—the chief minister of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital—has said electricity means there is “tremendous scope for tourism” on Elephanta.Every day several thousand people visit the island’s seven caves, which contain ancient Hindu carvings, but leave before the last boat at 5:30 pm and rarely venture into the villages.Officials hope electricity will persuade them to spend the night. Some locals—including Sachin Bhagat, who wants banks and ATMs to open on Elephanta—are already planning to offer their modest houses as homestays.”The villagers aren’t afraid of change but are embracing it,” the 34-year-old says. “We want development so that our lives will become much easier.” A meter was installed in the Bhoirs’ home last month after the Maharashtra state government completed its 250-million-rupee ($3.8-million) electrification project for the island. © 2018 AFP BoredomResidents used kerosene lamps and candles until the late 1980s when they received diesel generators that provided intermittent electricity between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm every night.They were, however, unreliable and expensive and the limited supply meant the Bhoirs’ two children regularly did their homework by candlelight.Deepa and Sasuram were often unable to charge their phones or other electrical devices. They felt cut off from the world and battled boredom.”We would go to sleep early because there was nothing much to do. But now we stay awake to midnight or 1 am watching our favourite shows. It’s a welcome change,” says Deepa, 43.More than 16,000 Indian villages have been electrified since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, according to government data. There are still an estimated 33 million households without electricity and Modi wants them all to have power by the end of the year. In brightly painted homes, ceiling fans now whirl at high speed as light bulbs illuminate dark rooms struggling to keep out the stifling early summer heat A couple watch television on Elephanta island near Mumbai, where hundreds of villagers have had mains electricity installed in their houses for the first time read more

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18 Jul
2019

New mail and messaging tools expected for iPhones WWDC

first_img (c)2019 U.S. TodayDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. New iPhones won’t be out until the fall. But Monday, we’ll get a sneak peek at what new features Apple has planned for us, not just for the next models but recent iPhones and iPads as well. Explore further Imagine Apple’s App Store with no walled garden At its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple invites app makers to hear a road plan for what the company has in store, hoping that in return, the developers get excited and use the tools in their apps.As always, leaks of new features for what’s expected to be called iOS13 have made their way to Apple enthusiast sites. More on them shortly.Apple welcomes developers to San Jose, California, against a backdrop of storm clouds brewing over its practices with them. The Supreme Court said an antitrust case can go forward from iPhone users who allege that Apple engages in monopolistic practices in the App Store. Music streaming giant Spotify pushed the European Union to investigate its antitrust complaint against the App Store, and the hugely popular app Netflix recently stopped making itself available in the App Store, saying Apple’s commissions were too high.On Wednesday, Apple defended its business practices in a newly built app developer webpage, noting that it has paid out $120 billion to developers over the years for their share in fees from the site and arguing that it allows competitive apps to be side by side with Apple apps in categories like music, calendar, mail, messaging and cloud storage.”We believe competition makes everything better and results in the best apps for our customers,” Apple said.Tim Bajarin, a longtime industry analyst and the president of Creative Strategies, said Apple is smart to get its defenses out of the way before WWDC starts. “It takes it away from a lot of discussion at WWDC. They don’t need disruption there since their main purpose is to give developers more opportunities to make more money from Apple.” 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: New mail and messaging tools expected for iPhones, WWDC (2019, May 31) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-mail-messaging-tools-iphones-wwdc.htmllast_img read more

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18 Jul
2019

Video game designer establishes lab for renewable energy

first_imgA Dutch video game designer and entrepreneur has established a laboratory on the Big Island that is focused on developing alternatives to fossil fuels for energy, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. 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: Video game designer establishes lab for renewable energy (2019, July 1) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-video-game-lab-renewable-energy.html Here comes the sun Henk Rogers established the laboratory to test and develop renewable energy systems that he hopes will make the state’s energy use 100% renewable by 2045, ending the state’s reliance on fossil fuels that Rogers says is adding acid to the ocean and killing the coral reef, the newspaper reported Sunday.The laboratory, which is on a ranch, is currently focused on the use of hydrogen to create energy. The laboratory wants to use hydrogen energy cells to store the energy harnessed by the solar panels, to power the community water system, to create jobs and to cook food, the Tribune-Herald reported.The laboratory is run under the auspices of Rogers’ Blue Planet Foundation. One of Rogers’ software companies has the intellectual property rights to Tetris, according to the foundation’s website.Blue Planet wants to combine the use of solar energy and hydrogen energy cells. Because solar is an intermittent power source, it’s important to be able to store the energy to use during off-peak hours. There’s usually 3.8 hours of quality sunshine in the mornings at the ranch, but the sky clouds over as the day progresses.”We knew storage was important and the key,” said Paul Ponthieux, director and chief technology officer of Blue Planet Research. “We have to grab all our energy in the limited window.”The laboratory uses solar energy to pass an electric current through water to create hydrogen gas and oxygen, the newspaper reports. The hydrogen is then stored under pressure in energy cells, similar to a battery. Explore further © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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18 Jul
2019

US lawmakers challenge Facebook over Libra cryptocurrency plan

first_imgWASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers bashed Facebook on Wednesday over its planned cryptocurrency, saying the company had not shown it could be trusted to safeguard the world financial system and consumers’ data. The social media company is fighting to get Washington on its side after it shocked regulators and lawmakers with its announcement on June 18 that it was hoping to launch a new digital coin called Libra in 2020. It has faced criticism from policymakers and financial watchdogs at home and abroad who fear widespread adoption of the digital currency by Facebook’s 2.38 billion users could upend the financial system. “I have serious concerns with Facebook’s plans to create a digital currency and digital wallet,” Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the Democrat-controlled House Financial Services Committee, said in her opening remarks. “If Facebook’s plan comes into fruition, the company and its partners will wield immense economic power that could destabilize currencies and governments.” Lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee questioned David Marcus, the Facebook executive overseeing the project, who was grilled by the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday over the possible risks posed by Libra to data privacy, consumer protections and money laundering controls. The hearing in Congress proved to be even more tense on Wednesday. Facebook has been on the defence amid a backlash over mishandling user data and not doing enough to prevent Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. David Marcus, CEO of Facebook’s Calibra, testifies to the House Financial Services Committee hearing on “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Consumers, Investors, and the American Financial System” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts“You expect us to believe that you’re going to start collecting financial data and not share it because you promised not to do that?” said Democratic U.S. Representative Alma Adams. The social media company has said its digital wallet subsidiary Calibra will only share customer data with Facebook or external parties if it has consent, or in limited cases where it is necessary. Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney pushed Marcus to commit to a Libra pilot programme with 1 million users overseen by U.S. financial regulators, including the Federal Reserve. “I don’t think you should launch Libra at all,” Maloney said. “At the very least you should agree to do this small pilot programme.” Marcus, who was president of PayPal from 2012 to 2014, did not commit to a pilot but tried to assuage lawmakers by pledging not to begin issuing Libra until regulatory concerns had been addressed. “We will take the time to get this right,” Marcus said. He said the company had unveiled the project at an early stage in order to get feedback from all stakeholders. ‘INNOVATION IS GOOD’ While many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle aired concerns and scepticism about the project, several Republicans argued the government should not be reflexively opposed to new ideas from the private sector. Some noted Libra could produce benefits for people lacking traditional banking services. “We should presume that innovation is good; it presents enormous opportunity,” said Republican U.S. Representative Andy Barr. Slideshow (7 Images)Congress members asked how Facebook will ensure sufficient consumer protection and prevent the cryptocurrency from being used for illegal activities such as money laundering or terrorist financing. “I’m concerned a 2020 launch date represents deep insensitivities about how Libra could impact U.S. financial security, the global financial system, the privacy of people across the globe, criminal activity and international human rights,” said Republican U.S. Representative Ann Wagner. Facebook has said Calibra will be carrying out compliance checks on customers who want to sign up. Reporting by Pete Schroeder and Anna Irrera; editing by Cynthia Osterman, Bernadette Baum, Susan Thomas and Jonathan OatisOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more

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