Best chief ministers poll: Karnataka CM S.M. Krishna tops charts consistently

first_imgClick here to EnlargePoll January 2002Pluses: A suave administrator and a firm believer in teamwork, his modern outlook, openness and accessibility have helped put the sheen back on Karnataka’s image. Minuses: Considered too soft and sometimes indecisive. Still has to execute all that he has promised. Could face difficulties because,Click here to EnlargePoll January 2002 Pluses: A suave administrator and a firm believer in teamwork, his modern outlook, openness and accessibility have helped put the sheen back on Karnataka’s image.Minuses: Considered too soft and sometimes indecisive. Still has to execute all that he has promised. Could face difficulties because Karnataka’s finances are in a mess.Call it Krishna and the art of political consciousness. For he has a Zen like approach to his job – a calm and a detachment that are reassuring. He doesn’t sound embarrassed about admitting that he enjoys the good things of life.Popularity IndicatorThe Congress party’s overall popularity may have shrunk in the past six months but three of its chief ministers head the popularity charts in the states. A.K. Antony and Digvijay Singh are the laggards. For the BJP, its relatively new chief ministers, like Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh, have done well, as has its Punjab ally Parkash Singh Badal. But there is a problem with other allies, notably O.P Chautala. The Haryana chief minister competes with Tamil Nadu’s O. Paneerselvam and Bihar’s Rabri Devi for the status of unpopular chief ministers.It may not be politically correct to do so especially when you head a state whose 53 million people have a per capita income less than the national average.His sartorial sense is regal and his official bio-data even lists designing men’s clothes as his hobby. He jots down notes with his blue Mont Blanc and has discarded the dowdy Ambassador car for a pearly white Hyundai Sonata.advertisementIn Karnataka he is known as the “Western Gowda” in contrast to a predecessor who went on to become prime minister and made a fetish of his earthy roots.In two years and four months as chief minister, Somanahalli Malaiah Krishna continues to lead with elegance, clarity and efficiency that have for the second successive year seen him being rated as India’s best chief minister by the INDIA TODAY-ORG-MARG poll.What is his secret? According to Krishna, it is his ability to blend orthodoxy and conservatism with modernism. It means being a quintessential Congressman in white kurtas while dealing with party politics and sporting Saville Row suits and a Dallas accent-he studied law in Texas-to woo foreign investors.Click here to EnlargeWhat Krishna certainly has done is bring Karnataka back in focus as the state of the future-an image that had slipped in the 1990s as a succession of chief ministers (one an unabashed tippler)-whittled away its prosperity.Industry big daddies such as Infosys Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy praise him for his “accessibility and openness to implement new ideas”. Software whiz Ashok Soota, CII’s president-designate, terms him the “feelgood” chief minister.Not one for getting embroiled in the nitty-gritty, Krishna sets targets and expect his colleagues to deliver. He also has set his priorities right, pushing for roads, jobs and houses for townsmen, irrigation schemes for farmers and drinking water for the poor.But Karnataka’s finances continue to be a mess, something he will have to answer for. He will turn 70 soon-the Old Turk he says derisively-but with tennis and yoga as pastimes Krishna appears fit to complete the remaining half of his term with panache.last_img read more

Axar Patel credits Virender Sehwag after snaring first hat-trick of IPL 2016

first_imgHat-trick hero Axar Patel, who joined forces with his new skipper Murali Vijay, to help Kings XI Punjab take the first step towards reviving their disastrous Indian Premier League campaign, credited mentor Virender Sehwag for his good showing on Sunday. (Full Coverage|Points Table)Kings XI were forced to axe South Africa star David Miller as skipper mid-way this IPL season. Led by Test specialist Vijay, Punjab stunned table-toppers Gujarat Lions yesterday to register their second win of this season. (Also read: Kings XI Punjab skipper Murali Vijay confident of reviving fortunes) Punjab, who were put into bat, were given a solid start by Vijay and Marcus Stoinis. However, Suresh Raina’s men struck back with regular wickets and restricted Punjab to a below-par total of 154. (Also read: Murali Vijay floored by Axar Patel’s ‘incredible’ bowling performance) The 155-run target had looked like a walk in the park for Gujarat. Destructive opener Dwayne Smith, after chasing a 180-run target against Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier in the season, had boasted of the team’s firepower.  However, on Sunday, the home team was stunned and was handed a thrashing. Thanks to Axar, who joined a legion of greats with a hat-trick against the Lions.The 22-year-old left-arm spinner dealt the death blows to derail Gujarat’s chase after Punjab pacer Mohit Sharma struck twice in the first six overs. Patel’s victims included Smith, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja.The young left-armer said he was thankful to Sehwag for helping him detoxify his thought process. “Sehwag asked me to do my own bowling analysis after every game. He wanted me to understand if my bowling style has changed over the years,” Axar told MumbaiMirror. advertisementNot many would have seen this coming from the youngster who had had a poor season before the game against Gujarat. From six matches, Axar managed only four wickets and leaked aplenty. On Sunday though, Patel was in his elements and was ably backed by skipper Vijay. Patel didn’t try to anything fancy but stuck to bowling arm-balls that has worked for him all these years.Axar said Sehwag had helped him understand his strengths and had asked him not to crib about what he wasn’t able to do. “Since every bowler is unique, he stressed that I shouldn’t ache to be what I am not. He felt I must not stress over deceiving batsmen in flight or change my trajectory too often, which is not my style anyway,” he said.The youngster chose yesterday’s spell as his best in T20 cricket. The young spinner said he was trying to do what he did in season 7 of IPL, in which he was named the ’emerging player of the tournament’ for picking up 16 wickets at a tidy economy of 6.22.”This has been my best bowling performance. I was just trying to do what I did in IPL-7. I was focusing on bowling in the right areas as that is something that had worked for me earlier. I had never taken a hat-trick in my career before, so it feels really special that I got the milestone at this level. The fact that we won the game and my efforts have resulted in a win makes it even more special,” Axar told iplt20.comAxar, who had played 22 ODIs and 4 T20Is, said he was focussed on getting back into the national team. “Now that I have bowled well, I will look to carry this confidence forward. If you feel confident about your game and your bowling, it opens more doors for you and ultimately you can win your place back,” he said.last_img read more

Israel Folau’s fight for religious freedom leaves behind ugly mess

first_imgShare on Messenger The Israel Folau dispute is set to become a test case for religious freedom in Australia with ramifications that will potentially go way beyond the confines of rugby. Rugby Australia chief-executive Raelene Castle announced Folau’s $4m contract had been terminated after an independent panel found he committed a high-level breach of the code of conduct for posting religiously inspired, anti-gay, comments on social media.Folau has three days to appeal the decision, but there was strong speculation he will by-pass an appeal and take the matter straight to the Supreme Court. He confirmed he was “exploring his options” but there is not much point in Folau appealing. Even if a new three-person panel was appointed to hear an appeal, it is highly unlikely Folau would escape without any sanction at all. Topics Share on Twitter Play Video Rugby Australia terminates Folau’s contract – as it happened Share on Facebook Unlike the US, Australia has no constitutional or statutory bill of rights that protects religious freedom. Section 116 of the Australian Constitution precludes the federal parliament from making laws that prohibit the free exercise of any religion, but does not stop the states from making such laws. But the Federal Fair Work Act prohibits discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity in employment contexts as do laws in all states except NSW and South Australia. Read more Australia sport Support The Guardian Since you’re here… Israel Folau sacked by Rugby Australia: here’s why – video report Reuse this content RA stated Folau was entitled to his religious beliefs, but had to express them more “respectfully”. If ever laws required clarification, it is those relating to religious freedom in Australia.While Folau fights for the right to religious freedom, what about the state of the game he is leaving behind?RA is not flush with funds. There is a report that RA has already spent more than $350,000 in attempting to sack Folau. Could it afford a protracted and costly legal battle it is not guaranteed to win? Going from a code of conduct hearing to a court-room would be a whole new ballgame.Folau’s controversial social media comments have divided the community and the game. Some of Folau’s former teammates at the Wallabies and the NSW Waratahs have publicly criticised his comments, but many are Pacific Islanders who share his religious beliefs and may feel resentment at the way he has been treated.The Waratahs’ season has been adversely affected by Folau’s absence. They have won only one of four games since he was suspended and will struggle to make the playoffs. And, of course, rugby is now without the services of one of its best players in a World Cup year.There will be a lot of soul-searching about how rugby arrived at this point. Is there anything RA could have done to prevent it? Were there missteps along the way in handling the issue? When Folau posted his first anti-gay comment a year ago, RA simply could have stated that Folau’s views were his own and did not reflect those of the organisation and left it at that.Did Rugby Australia pursue Folau over the matter to uphold its policy of inclusion or was there commercial pressure from sponsors? Or a combination of both? Or was this matter always going to end up in court no matter what RA did or did not do?If Folau takes legal action and is successful, it be a victory for religious freedom across Australia, particularly in workplaces, and if he fails, he will become Australia’s first sporting religious martyr.center_img 1:45 Australia rugby union team Israel Folau sacked over social media posts after panel rules in favour of Rugby Australia Israel Folau Share via Email Read more And given Folau believes he has done nothing wrong, it would be hard to see him accept a suspension or a fine. For Folau it seems the issue is not just about saving a multi-million contract, but a crusade for the right to express his religious beliefs without discrimination. Folau believes he has a “duty to share God’s word.”Folau, 30, has steadfastly rejected overtures to end the dispute, which re-ignited on 10 April when he posted that Hell awaited homosexuals and an array of other sinners if they did not repent.Folau could have saved his career by taking down his offensive posts, but did not do so; he reportedly knocked back an offer of $1m to settle the matter before the code of conduct hearing, but rejected it out of hand. He has dismissed mediation as a possible solution.All of this leads to the conclusion that the matter was always heading to a court of law where it will almost certainly become a test case – a legal action whose purpose is to set a precedent. There has certainly been nothing like the Folau dispute in the history of Australian sport, perhaps even workplace relations in general, where contract law is pitted against freedom of religion. features … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Rugby union Share on Pinterestlast_img read more

TAS to Host SSA National Championships

first_imgProspect Park in Launceston will be the venue for the 2008 School Sport Australia National Touch Championships hosted by Touch Football Tasmania.In excess of 300 participants from all States and Territories will contest the ONLY truly National competition in the sport, from Monday 20th – Friday 24th October in 12 & Under and 15 & Under divisions.Trials are set to commence in Hobart on Sunday 18th May for Tasmanian teams being selected to represent in their home state, in boys and girls for both age divisions. For more information visit the Touch Football Tasmania websitelast_img

25 days agoCleverley calls on fans to ‘stick with’ struggling Watford

first_imgCleverley calls on fans to ‘stick with’ struggling Watfordby Freddie Taylor25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveTom Cleverley wants everyone associated with Watford to stay patient as they attempt to climb out of a hole.The Hornets have yet to win a game all season, while they only have two points from their first seven league games.It puts them rock bottom, four points off safety. But Cleverley does not want a knee jerk reaction from players, fans or management.”Stick with us,” he said to reporters when asked what he would like to tell fans.”It’s not a work rate issue, hopefully they can see that. Maybe at times, there’s been a lack of quality and maybe a lack of intensity defensively but stick with us, we’ll keep putting the work in and we’re working for our performances to improve.”As players, we just have to be accountable for our own performances, take responsibility and work as hard as we possibly can until it gets better.”We’re a team with two points out of seven, low on confidence, it’s not clicked. “The new signings have both started today and maybe we need a little bit of time to bed in, but you’ve just got to be accountable for yourself and that’s what I’m going to do until we’re out of this little lull we’re in.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Blaz Rola wins mens NCAA Singles Championship

Blaz Rola, junior for the Ohio State men’s tennis team, has been crowned the 2013 NCAA singles champion.Rola took down No. 3 Jarmere Jenkins of the University of Virginia 7-6(8), 6-4 on Sunday to complete his run through the tournament to claim the first ever singles championship in program history.Mark Batke / Lantern photographerAfter the Buckeyes fell to No. 1 UCLA last week it looked as though the men’s tennis program would be left without a national championship again this season. Rola was the highest ranked player entering the tournament for the Buckeyes but his No. 12 ranking did not instill much confidence in the OSU faithful.Despite this Rola defeated six ranked opponents, and only lost one set throughout the tournament en route to his championship victory.The championship comes a year after Rola advanced to the semifinals but fell 6-2, 6-1 to Kentucky’s Eric Quigley. It completed a 32-1 season for the Slovenian, his only loss coming at the hands of Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, the Big Ten freshman of the year.A hard fought first set saw Rola win the tiebreak 10-8 despite giving up four-consecutive wins to allow Jenkins to tie the set at 6-6. In the second set Rola broke in the 7th game and held serve for the rest of the match for the 6-4 and the championship.This was not the first national championship Rola has earned in his time at OSU. He was last season’s doubles champion with his partner Chase Buchanan. Rola is also a four-time All-American and a three-time unanimous First Team All-Big Ten pick. read more

Aaron Craft Lenzelle Smith Jr prepare for final home game as Ohio

Senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. (32) takes a shot during a game against Wyoming Nov. 25 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 65-50.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorBeing in the same recruiting class with the likes of Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger, Ohio State senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. might have been a bit overshadowed initially among Buckeye fans.Thomas and Sullinger — both five-star products out of high school — were big pieces of the OSU squads who made trips to the Final Four and Elite Eight in back-to-back seasons. But they’ve since moved on to play professionally, and even though Craft and Smith Jr. might have been second-tier then — they’ve certainly left their mark on the program.“Both guys, you look at how many games they’ve won here, championships they’ve been a part of, it’s really an amazing four years,” OSU coach Thad Matta said Friday, two days before the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on No. 22 Michigan State in what will be the final home game of the regular season. “I think with that said, both guys have had a major impact on this program in terms of making it better. And that’s what we ask guys to do.”Craft and Smith Jr. were the fastest players in school history to record 100 wins, reaching that milestone in just 119 games after OSU beat North Florida 99-64 Nov. 29.Craft, Smith Jr. and the rest of the Buckeyes have had some tough and exciting contests against the Spartans recently.Last season, the Buckeyes beat Michigan State 61-58 in the Big Ten Tournament, but fell in the two teams previous meeting this season in East Lansing, Mich., 72-68 in overtime in their first lost of the season. With a familiar opponent on the docket for their final home game at OSU, Craft said he wouldn’t rather it be against anyone else.“I honestly don’t think there could be a better way to play our last game here. I’ve loved playing against Michigan State,” Craft said Friday. “Since freshman year we’ve always had great battles with them. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m excited to see what we can do as a team going into this game.”For Smith Jr., however, the game against the Spartans means something a little differently because of the friendships he’s formed with members of Michigan State’s team.“It’s actually kind of the sweet but not so sweet moment. Just seeing as how I’m so close to some of those guys on the team,” Smith Jr. said Friday. “We’ve hung out in the summer, we went to the Big Ten media days in Chicago … We talked, had fun and it’s different when you see them on the opposite side of the court. It’s like, ‘I’m not here to be your friend, don’t even talk to me.’”Craft enters the game as OSU’s all-time leader in steals and assists with 293 and 623 respectively, and with numbers like those is likely to be remembered fondly in Buckeye lore. But he said he doesn’t think about being in the same breath as former players like David Lighty, Mike Conley Jr., Greg Oden or Scoonie Penn.“I just don’t feel comfortable putting myself in close to the same categories of guys that (have) come before,” Craft said. “I’m just very honored and humbled to continue on what they’ve established here. And to play a very small part of that.”Aside from it being Craft and Smith Jr.’s final go around at the Schottenstein Center, the game against the Spartans (23-7, 12-5, 3rd in the Big Ten) holds implications for next week’s Big Ten Tournament. OSU (22-8, 9-8 tied for fifth in the Big Ten) sits one game behind Nebraska for fourth place in the conference, and would need a victory against the Spartans and some help to finish in that spot and earn a first-round bye in the tournament.OSU has lost two straight games, falling on the road last week to Penn State and Indiana. Matta said no matter where they finish in the standings, a win against Michigan State would certainly be a step in the right direction.“This is our 18th Big Ten game, and 16 of them have been tooth and nail and down to the last couple minutes,” Matta said. “With that said, you’re playing a team that’s obviously a great basketball team. It’s a great opportunity for us to come out and close out the final game of the season.”As OSU searches for any bit of momentum it can get its hands on as the season draws to a close, Smith Jr. agreed with Matta and said a victory Sunday would be key to build that.“We can get a lot of momentum here with a win on Sunday to carry us over into the Big Ten Tournament,” Smith Jr. said. “We can get that going, and if we get hot at the right time, that’s the name of the game. You want to play your best basketball toward this time of the season and I think we can accomplish that.”Matta has gone on record as saying he would get behind putting up a statue commemorating Lighty’s accomplishments and what he’s meant to the program outside the arena. The same would go for Craft and Matta said he would want to “put it right next to David.”When Craft was told his head coach said that about him, though, he naturally spun it back to be more of a team oriented affair.“Legacy and all that stuff, it’s not about me, it’s not about Lenzelle. It’s about this university and the things we’ve been able to do as a team, whether it’s putting a year up on the banners in the gym,” Craft said. “That’s what’s going to be remembered. That’s what should be remembered.”Tipoff between the Buckeyes and Spartans is set for 4:30 p.m. Sunday. read more

Ohio State football more than all right with JT Barrett at quarterback

OSU redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett scans the field during practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Aug. 9.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorWhen a team loses its senior Heisman-candidate quarterback, it can typically expect to see a big drop off in its offensive strength.If you ask Ohio State redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett, though, he’ll tell you that won’t necessarily be the case as redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett takes the place of the injured Braxton Miller.“I think with the way they (Barrett and redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones) have been playing right now, I don’t think we’ll skip a beat,” Vannett said Monday after practice. “I think we’ll be just fine.”While Barrett has yet to take a snap outside of practice for the Scarlet and Gray, he and Jones have been practicing with the first-team offense since the spring. Miller initially injured his shoulder against Clemson in the Orange Bowl to end last season, paving the way for Barrett and Jones to get the only significant reps at quarterback in spring practice.Miller was limited again this fall because his shoulder was sore after an offseason surgery. And then he tore his throwing shoulder labrum in practice Aug. 18.Vannett said practice time will help the offense continue on the same beat going forward, even though the team initially expected Miller to make a full recovery from the first injury.“We did a really (good) job with our quarterbacks, 0having J.T. and Cardale getting reps in the spring as well with (Miller) out,” he said. “It’s not like it’s a last minute thing where we’re just jumping in and kind of rushing stuff.”Senior wide receiver Evan Spencer said there will be changes to the offense, but agreed that Barrett, as well as Jones if he plays any reps, will be ready to go because of the amount of practice time they’ve had since the season ended.“They’ve been throwing the ball so much all throughout camp, and really all throughout the offseason, that it’s not that much of a transition for us just because that’s what we’ve been going through,” Spencer said.While many wrote off OSU as a contender in the National Championship race after Miller went down, Spencer said he’s seen enough in practice to have plenty of confidence heading into the season.“Personally, I think what we’ve been seeing out at practice — and a lot of the other seniors can back me up — is … we’ll be way more than all right this year,” he said. “That’s for sure.”OSU coach Urban Meyer said he believes Barrett and Jones have been up to the challenge since Miller was injured, and the changes at the position will be helped along by a plethora of talented receivers.“J.T. and Cardale responded very well (after Miller’s injury),” Meyer said at a Monday press conference. “The biggest issue I see, or the positive we have right now, is we have a good one and two group of receivers that are just rotating out.”Meyer said there will be six different receivers rotating through the lineup, with the plan being to give Barrett the freshest and most rested targets possible throughout OSU’s season opener.Then-redshirt-freshman quarterback Cardale Jones (12) avoids a defender during a game against Florida A&M Sept. 21 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 76-0.Lantern file photoEven though Meyer announced Barrett as the No. 2 quarterback before Miller went down with his injury, he said there isn’t a big gap between his and Jones’ talent. The third-year OSU coach confirmed, though, that Barrett is the starter heading into the season.Meyer also said it would be possible for Jones to come in for Barrett if the latter doesn’t perform up to expectations in the first weeks of the season.Regardless of his performance on the field, Spencer said the team has confidence in Barrett as a leader, which is a role he has taken on since Miller’s injury.“You could kind of tell from the beginning of camp that (Barrett) was trying to work on his maturity and his leadership as a young player,” Spencer said. “But after Braxton went down in practice, I think he kind of realized pretty quickly, ‘All right, well, time to take a leadership role.’”Spencer said as soon as the team realized Miller would be out, Barrett stepped up to the challenge of filling those shoes.“In the huddle from then on, when (Barrett) was in practice and doing stuff like that he was just making sure that he was keeping people going,” Spencer said. “If we were having a rough day, he was making sure that we’d stay up, that we’d stay motivated.”Meyer said one of the first things he noticed about Barrett was his competitive spirit. He said Barrett isn’t any louder as a leader than Miller, but added the’s “very confident.”Spencer said Miller and Barrett have different leadership qualities, but said both are good at what they do. He added Barrett is a strong motivator and he’s excited to see what happens going forward.OSU’s first game of the season is scheduled for Saturday against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

Calcutta Walks strikes the right chord with foreign domestic tourists alike

first_imgKolkata: At a time when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has chalked out elaborate plans to boost tourism of Bengal and Kolkata, a move taken by Calcutta Walks has become immensely popular among foreign and domestic tourists.Calcutta Walks organised by Iftekhar Ahsan over a decade ago has become quite popular among the tourists. The walks are conducted everyday by Ahsan and his associates. The groups are taken to visit north and south Kolkata. In north Kolkata, the walks start from Sovabazar- Sutanutui metro station then Bagbazar and ends at Sovabazar Rajbari. Belonging to the well known Bose family of North Kolkata, Dr Pasupati Bose and his brother Nandalal, Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsthe famous painter and artist, it was in this house Swami Vivekanada was treated over breakfast after his return from the West in January, 1897. Sri Ramakrishna had visited the house to see the oil paintings of gods and goddesses. It was a custom to keep the photograph or oil painting of Queen Victoria in the houses of rich people in those days but no photograph of Queen was there in the house. The house played an important role during the movement to protest against the proposal to partition Bengal by Lord Curzon in 1905. The building is in shambles now. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe group members are taken down the lanes and by lanes of north Kolkata. There are such narrow lanes in north Kolkata where just one person can pass. The groups are taken to the bank of river Hooghly in Baghbazar. It was here in North Kolkata that Job Charnock, a representative of the east India Company started trade.In south Kolkata, the walk is organised in areas surrounding Park Street. “There is great enthusiasm among the tourists. The history of Kolkata is not only about buildings, mansions and monuments. It is something beyond the monuments. Every street has a history and every locality has a story to tale.”It may be mentioned that the state tourism department is planning to introduce religions tourism where people will be taken to different religious places in north Kolkata and finally to Dakshineshwar temple and Belur Math as these places are in high demand.last_img read more

Today is the final day for the big traders to be o

first_imgToday is the final day for the big traders to be out of the May futures contract in silver. The gold price didn’t do much of anything in Far East trading—and was back to Friday’s close in New York by the London open on Monday morning.  It popped for a couple of bucks at that point before trading virtually rule flat into the noon London silver fix.  Then it rose another couple of bucks before inching higher into the London p.m. gold fix.  The price blasted higher, but it was obvious that JPMorgan et al were at battle stations, as volume exploded—and the price wasn’t allowed to get far.  The rally finally petered out around 12:45 p.m. EDT.  From there it inched lower for the remainder of the New York trading session, both COMEX and electronic. The low and high ticks were recorded as $1,177.60 and $1,206.70 in the June contract. Gold finished the Monday session in New York at $1,201.70 spot, up $21.30 from Friday’s close.  Net volume was monstrous at 185,000 contracts, as “da boyz” threw everything but the kitchen sink at the rally once the price broke above its 50-day moving average. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 403 gold and 72 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  In gold, the largest short/issuer was JPMorgan out of its client account with 372 contracts.  HSBC USA was in very distant second with 31 contracts.  Not surprisingly, the tallest hog at the trough as a long/stopper was JPMorgan out of its in-house [proprietary] trading account with 211 contracts—and Canada’s Scotiabank was on the receiving end of 186 contracts. In silver, all 72 contracts were issued by JPMorgan out of its client account—and Canada’s Scotiabank stopped 70 of them.  The CME Group stopped one contract, so it could deliver five contracts into it’s 1,000 troy ounce mini-silver contract.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that the remaining gold open interest for April fell by 26 contracts, down to 415 contracts.  With 403 contracts already posted for delivery tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if the 12 contracts remaining will get delivered on Thursday, or will they simply disappear.  In silver, the April open interest jumped by 50 contracts to 72 contracts and, obviously, they are all out for delivery tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see who the big short/issuers and long/stoppers are in the May delivery month—and we’ll find some of that out on Thursday evening, as it’s First Notice Day. There was a big gold withdrawal from GLD by an authorized participant on Monday.  This time it was 105,527 troy ounces.  And as of 8:50 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.  But when I checked the Internet site about 3:45 a.m. EDT, I saw that an authorized participant had added 1,434,162 troy ounces.  Based on the price action, it’s a reasonable assumption that this was used to cover an existing short position, just like the 1 million ounce add to SLV on Friday. There was a small amount of gold sold at the U.S. Mint on Monday—4,000 troy ounces of gold eagles—and 500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes. The in/out activity in gold at the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday are barely worth mentioning, as 700 troy ounces were shipped in—and 132 troy ounces were shipped out.  Nothing to see here. There was decent in/out activity in silver, as 259,426 troy ounces were shipped in—and 259,426 ounces were shipped out the door.  None of it involved JPMorgan.  The link to that activity is here. For a change, there wasn’t any in/out activity at all in the gold kilobar warehouses in Hong Kong on Friday. Despite my best efforts, I have a large number of stories today—and I’ll happily leave the final edit up to you. Not one ounce of the 59 million equivalent ounces sold by the speculators in the managed money category this [past reporting] week was remotely connected to legitimate hedging; yet the sale was the indisputable sole price influence. That silver prices only declined by around 30 cents in the reporting week proves that the commercial buyers were more interested in buying the 59 million ounces from the managed money traders than they were in driving prices even lower. What this proves is that silver prices are being set on the COMEX with no regard to the actual world of silver production or consumption. The managed money long side is down to less than 42,500 contracts and is undoubtedly less than that since the cut-off and near the 40,000 contract non-technical fund core long position I have long postulated. Unless I’m off by a country mile (always possible), significant additional managed money long liquidation is not likely. The short position of the technical funds, at 32,283 contracts in the current report is already larger than the peak in January and higher, admittedly, than I thought it would be at this point. And it must be higher still since the cutoff. Simply put, the rocket fuel tanks appear to have been topped off in silver. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 25 April 2015 There was no precious metal news to speak of on Monday—and the fact that prices blew up at the London p.m. gold fix [just like they melted down on Friday at that time] should be proof positive that this was all paper trading on the COMEX/GLOBEX between the brain-dead technical funds in the Managed Money category on one side—and the Commercial traders on the other. I was surprised that silver’s net volume was as low as it was, but I’m sure that  a certain portion of it was used to put out the fire in silver—and that was very noticeable in gold, with a huge blow-out in volume when gold broke above its 50-day moving average.  Silver just broke above its by only a few pennies. Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals courtesy of Silver traded quietly either side of $15.80 spot all through Far East and London trading, but starting shortly after 9 a.m. EDT things changed.  The first bump up in price took it up to $16 spot—and then it had two more quick rallies, one at the gold fix—and the other at 10:45 EDT just before London closed.  The high tick of the day came a minute before the London close—and the price didn’t do much after that. The low and high ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $15.68 and $16.445 in the May contract. Silver finished the Monday session at $16.40 spot, up 64.5 cents cents from Friday’s close.  Net volume was well in excess of 100,000 contracts, but it all netted out to only 28,000 contracts, so it didn’t appear that there was much interference in the silver rallies—and had all the hallmarks of short covering. Platinum chopped around unchanged until it hit its spike low shortly before 11 a.m. in Zurich.  Then it rallied a bit into the London p.m. gold fix—and away it went to the upside as well.  The high came at 1 p.m. EDT in New York—and from there it got sold off a bit into the close.  Platinum finished the day at $1,146 spot, up 23 dollars from Friday. The dollar index closed late on Friday afternoon in New York at 96.90—and rallied unsteadily in Far East and morning trading in London, hitting its 97.27 high tick shortly before the COMEX open in New York.  From there it got sold down to its 96.48 low tick about 12:45 p.m. EDT.  The index rallied back to 96.80 by 2 p.m.—and then chopped sideways in a tight range into the close.  The index finished the day at 96.86—down only 4 basis points from Friday. Once again the price activity in the currencies—and in the precious metal market—weren’t even close to being related. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff  the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, I was out with my camera again on Sunday.  It’s spring, but this far north in continental North America, it arrives slowly.  A lot of the waterfowl and a few other species of birds have returned from the south, but the rest are weeks away from showing up. The first photo is of a jackrabbit—and it’s not quite in focus as the auto focus couldn’t keep up with him.  They’re very common around here—and this one looks a little shaggy, as it’s in the final throes of losing its inner and outer winter coat.  This is not your cute little bunny, this is a big animal—and there are only a few dogs it can’t outrun. The silver equities turned in a better performance—and their highs came about the same time as gold’s, but they didn’t sell off as much after that, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 4.18 percent.center_img Here’s your typical drake mallard in its breeding plumage.  I was using a 1.4x teleconverter with my 400mm telephoto lens when I took this shot, so the image quality is not quite what it could be.  The photo below it is of a drake mallard as well, as it flew overhead.  It’s a view very few get to see for any length of time—but at 1/3,200 of a second, the wing action gets stopped cold—and you can view the wing pattern at your leisure. The gold stocks gapped up a bit at the open—and barely reacted to the big jump in price at the London p.m. fix.  However they did continue to rally steadily from there, hitting their zenith minutes before 1 p.m. EDT, which was gold’s high tick on the day.  From there they slid lower for the remainder of the Monday trading session, giving back over half their gains, as the HUI only closed up 1.90 percent.  I was underwhelmed. Here’s the 5-minute tick gold chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  All the volume that mattered on Monday came between the London pm. gold fix and the COMEX close, which was 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. EDT—08:00 till 11:30 on this chart, which is scaled for Denver time.  Add two hours for EDT—and don’t forget the ‘click to enlarge’ feature. Palladium rallied as well, but on a slightly different time schedule from the other three precious metals.  The low came about the same time as platinum, but the high came shortly after it’s rally at the London p.m. gold fix.  From there, like platinum, it got sold down into the the close of electronic trading.  Palladium only finished up 8 bucks on the day. And as I write this paragraph, the London open is fifteen minutes away.  All four precious metals got sold down a bit during the first couple of hours of Far East trading on their Tuesday morning—and have all traded pretty much ruler flat since then.  Gold is hanging onto the $1,200 spot mark by its proverbial fingernails at the moment. Gold volume is a bit over 16,500 contracts, with virtually all of it in the current front month, which is June, so it’s all of the HFT variety.  Silver volume is very decent, but once you remove the roll-overs, net volume is barely moving the needle at 1,500 contracts.  It’s like yesterday’s price action never happened. The dollar index has been chopping sideways as well—and is currently down 8 basis points. Today is the final day for the big traders to be out of the May futures contract in silver, so I expect Tuesday’s volume to be pretty chunky as well, with a tiny net volume.  Of course that may all go out the window if we have another price surprise in COMEX trading this morning, but I don’t ever remember big price moments on this particular day of the trading month—but after yesterday, I guess one shouldn’t rule it out entirely.  But if I had to bet money, it would be on the former scenario. Today, at the close of COMEX trading, is also the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report—and it will be interesting to see if all of the reporting week’s price/volume action makes it into that report, particularly Monday’s action.  We’ll see. And as I send today’s column off to Stowe, Vermont at 5:15 a.m. EDT, I see that all four precious metals are still down a hair from Monday’s close—and with the exception of palladium, all are trading absolutely flat.  Gold’s net volume is way up there at 27,000 contracts, with 99 percent of that in current front month. As expected, there’s still heavy roll-over volume in silver, but net volume is still extremely light at barely over 2,100 contracts—and the dollar index is virtually unchanged from two and half hours ago, down 5 basis points. I haven’t the foggiest notion as to how the precious metals will trade for the remainder of the Tuesday session, but I will be surprised if we do see a lot of price action either today or tomorrow, as the May silver contract goes off the board. That’s all I have for today—and I’ll see you here tomorrow.last_img read more

Oil shouldnt be rallying This month the price

first_imgOil shouldn’t be rallying. This month, the price of oil has jumped 12%. Yesterday, it closed at its highest price since early July. While this is a big move, it’s not uncommon for commodities. Remember, commodities are volatile. One day, they’re soaring. The next, they’re crashing. It’s important not to get caught up in their day-to-day swings. Still, this rally caught our eye… You may remember that oil crashed in the summer of 2014. It’s since plunged 75%. In January, it hit its lowest level since 2003. Oil tanked because there was simply too much of it. High prices and innovative techniques like “fracking” triggered a huge boom in global oil production. Over the last decade, U.S. output nearly doubled to the highest level since the 1970s. Production in other major oil-producing countries hit record highs. The global economy ended up with more oil than it needed. For the past two years, the global economy has been working through a giant oil surplus. Progress has been slow. According to International Energy Agency (IEA), the global economy is still oversupplied by more than 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). Yet, oil’s rallying. Today, we’ll show you what’s pushing oil higher. As you’ll see, it won’t cure the industry’s biggest problems… • Hopes of a production “freeze” caused oil prices to surge… Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a cartel of 14 oil-producing countries, said it plans to hold informal talks in Algeria next month. The purpose of this meeting is to bring stability back to the oil market. Some analysts think OPEC could even freeze production at this meeting, meaning it would cap production at current levels. We aren’t holding our breath… • OPEC has already tried to cap output a couple times over the past year… The most recent talk took place in Qatar in April. OPEC even invited non-members like Russia. It was the first time in 15 years OPEC met non-members to discuss fixing output. Oil rallied ahead of the meeting on hopes that OPEC would reach an agreement. The talks went nowhere. Iran, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, didn’t even show up. • OPEC isn’t acting like a cartel… Right now, it’s every member for itself. And it’s not hard to see why… Oil is the economic backbone of every OPEC nation. It makes up 80% of Saudi Arabia’s exports…66% of Kuwait’s exports…and 46% of the United Arab Emirates’ exports. If these countries stop producing oil, their economies could fall apart. Last month, Saudi Arabia pumped a record 10.67 million bpd, which broke the monthly record set last June. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are also producing record amounts of oil. If OPEC was serious about “stabilizing” the market, it wouldn’t keep flooding the world with oil. • Even if OPEC agrees to freeze production, it won’t make much difference… As we’ve said many times, the world needs oil companies to cut production, not cap it at record highs. It’s true that production in some parts of world, including the U.S., has come down. But more cuts are needed. According to the IEA, “the massive overhang of stocks is also keeping a lid on prices, with both newly produced and stored crude competing for market share.” A huge surplus isn’t the only factor keeping oil prices low either. • The global economy is slowing… A few weeks ago, we told you oil demand was plummeting. According to the global investment bank Barclays (BCS), oil demand is growing about one-third as fast as it did a year ago. Oil is the most important commodity on the planet. It literally powers the global economy. If demand for oil is weak, it’s because the global economy is headed in the wrong direction. According to Forbes, China’s economy, which is growing at the slowest pace since 1990, is weighing on oil. The economies of Japan and South Korea, two major oil importers, are also showing signs of fatigue. Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline demand is weak. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. gasoline stockpiles hit their highest seasonal level since 1990 last month. Gasoline, a byproduct of oil, keeps our cars running. If folks are buying less of it, it’s because they’re driving less. That’s not a good sign for the economy. And it’s bad news for oil prices. • Oil companies have two big problems right now… The world still has too much oil. And households and businesses are consuming less oil. This tells us oil prices could stay low for a long time. Some folks might read that and think they should avoid all oil stocks. But Casey readers know one of the best ways to make huge gains investing is to buy beaten-down markets. That’s because crisis investing, as we like to call it, often allows you to buy world-class businesses for dirt-cheap prices.  • For the past two years, the oil market has been a bloodbath… Major oil companies like Chevron (CVX) and Exxon (XOM) have lost billions of dollars due to low oil prices. More than a hundred smaller oil companies have gone out of business. But, remember, the oil market is cyclical. It experiences big booms and busts. And since the world isn’t about to stop using oil, oil stocks will boom again. During the 2009–2014 boom, the average U.S. oil producer gained 256%. Right now, many oil stocks are trading at deep discounts. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP), which tracks major U.S. oil producers, is trading 56% below its 2014 high. • If you want to get back into oil stocks, stick with the best… Oil prices could stay low for years. So make sure you only invest in companies that can make money at low prices. We also like companies with quality assets, healthy profit margins, and little to no debt. In other words, we want companies that can “weather the storm” if oil prices fall again. In March, Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, recommended a company that checks all these boxes. According to Nick, this company can make money at as low as $35 oil. Nick’s oil pick has returned 19% since March. But it’s not too late to invest in this elite business. The stock is trading 23% below its 2014 high. Recommended Link Recommended Link • You can learn more about this world-class oil company by signing up for Crisis Investing… To get started, watch this new presentation. It explains how to access Nick’s top investing ideas today. It also talks about the biggest crisis investing opportunity you’ll ever come across. As you’ll see, it’s only a matter of time before this crisis hits. When this crisis makes landfall, it could put millions of Americans out of work. Even more people could see their life savings disappear. This short video explains how to “flip” this crisis into an opportunity to make huge gains. If you stick to our plan, you could be part of a new class of millionaires that emerges from this crisis. The best part is that you don’t even have to do anything exotic, like trade options. All you have to do is make simple investments at the right time. This FREE video explains exactly how to do this. Chart of the Day The retail sector just flashed another warning sign. Today’s chart shows the performance of retail giant Target (TGT) since the start of August. You can see Target’s stock plunged 6.3% today. It’s headed for its second-worst day in five years. Target’s stock nosedived after it reported a 10% decline in second-quarter profits. Management blamed the bad results on a “difficult retail environment.” It doesn’t expect business to pick up anytime soon. This morning, management said this year’s sales and profits would likely come in lower than expected. Target isn’t the only major retailer bracing for tough times. Last week, Kohl’s (KSS) lowered its profit outlook for the year. And Macy’s (M) recently announced plans to shut down 14% of its stores by the end of the year. This tells us something is very wrong with the economy…and that more trouble could be ahead. You see, consumer spending makes up 70% of the U.S. economy. When the economy slows, folks will stop buying designer jeans and expensive cologne to make sure they don’t miss a mortgage payment. They’ll hold off on buying a new watch to save money for the essentials. Today, Target and many other big American retailers are trading like we’re in a recession. To learn the best way to protect your wealth—no matter what happens to the economy—click here. —center_img Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida August 17, 2016 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. — $3,000 Gold? If the Federal Reserve makes this one move, gold could double quickly. But don’t rush out and buy physical gold. This tiny gold investment could make 6 times more than physical gold. Will this put the U.S. Mint out of business? [new gold discovery] ONE little-known loophole allows you to buy certain types of gold (of 0.9999 purity – the highest-grade gold available) for more than $100 cheaper than you can buy it from the gold dealers you see in magazines and on TV. It’s even cheaper than the best and most well-known online brokerages and the U.S. Mint. But fair warning: I have no way of knowing how long this loophole will remain open. So click here to get all the details now.last_img read more

The only hospital serving the community of rural C

first_imgThe only hospital serving the community of rural Callaway County, Mo. — Fulton Medical Center — was set to shut down last September. When staff arrived one afternoon for a potluck goodbye party, they were met with an unexpected guest, Jorge Perez, a management consultant from Florida. He announced he’d just bought the hospital, and planned to keep it open.When Perez spoke about the takeover four days later to a packed city council chambers in Fulton, Mo., he got a standing ovation.”We travel all over the country and we see the same thing we see here in Fulton: a town that’s fighting to keep their hospital,” Perez told the crowd.Rural hospitals, such as Fulton Medical, serve as a lifeline for health care and jobs in small towns, but they face dwindling revenues. Eighty-five of them have closed down in the last eight years and nearly 700 more, about one-third of the facilities, are at risk of closing.Yet despite their typically slim operating margins, Perez has been buying them. He and his business partners own or manage nearly 20 rural hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida and elsewhere. By the end of this year, he says, he wants to own 50 of them. A serial entrepreneur with a background in IT, he’s known for coming in to rural hospitals on the brink of closure with a promise to turn them around.”Part of our secret sauce is that we will bring in new services that didn’t exist before,” Perez said in an interview following the event in Fulton last September.But an investigation by NPR and its reporting partners uncovered a pattern of controversial business practices by management companies with ties to Perez, which can lead to big profits for the management companies, but high risks for vulnerable hospitals.’A shell company’Two and half hours drive north of Fulton, another Missouri rural hospital was nearing closure when one of Perez’s companies stepped in.Putnam County Memorial hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital, in Unionville, Mo. had struggled to stay in business for several years. It had scrambled back from the brink of bankruptcy in 2011, but budgets were still tight.Then in September 2016, Florida-based management company, Hospital Partners Inc., which Perez co-owns, took over operation of the hospital. David Byrns, co-owner of Hospital Partners, became Putnam County Memorial’s CEO.The new management had dramatic effects on the hospital’s finances, according to a report from the Missouri state auditor. In six months, Putnam Memorial generated $92 million in revenue. By comparison, the audit reported, the hospital had generated just $7.5 million the year before.But little of that revenue was staying with the hospital, according to Missouri auditor Nicole Galloway’s August 2017 audit report. “It appears that Putnam County Memorial Hospital is being used as a shell company for questionable lab activity that’s occurring across the country,” Galloway said in an interview after releasing the audit.According to Galloway’s report, Putnam hospital had started acting as a reference lab, and billing insurance for tests, including many performed elsewhere.Here’s how the hospital’s new management appear to have managed its turnaround, according to documents and hospital and court records NPR obtained:Within days of Hospital Partners’ takeover of Putnam County Memorial, a completely separate company with ties to Byrns and Perez — Hospital Laboratory Partners — was incorporated in Florida, according to the auditor’s report and claims in court records. This new lab company started billing insurers for tests through Putnam County Memorial hospital.Many hospitals have in-house laboratories to test specimens, such as blood or urine samples. But some tests are sent to specialized reference laboratories.”It’s a common practice,” says Tommy Barnhart, a health care consultant who focuses on rural health.The reference lab will bill the hospital at a negotiated rate, and then the hospital turns around and bills the patient’s insurance. “The hospital can charge whatever,” Barnhart says.The audit questioned the propriety of the lab billings at Putnam. It noted that 80 percent of the revenue did not stay in the hospital’s coffers: It went to private lab companies —some with ties to Perez—such as Hospital Laboratory Partners.”Based on our review of hospital accounts, the vast majority of laboratory billings are for out-of-state lab activity for individuals who are not patients of hospital physicians,” Galloway wrote in the audit.A public records request of the hospital revealed that between November 2016 and March 2017, Putnam County Memorial paid for over $26 million to Hospital Laboratory Partners alone.There’s another way that Perez and Byrn’s companies profited from their relationship with the hospital. Galloway noted in the audit that, during the same time period, Putnam Memorial contracted with a billing company that received 6 percent of the revenue generated by the lab program.A public records request showed Florida-based software and billings company Empower H.I.S. LLC was paid $11.8 million by the hospital between November 2016 and March 2017. Empower was registered in 2014 by Perez.In a press release announcing the audit, Galloway stated that she had turned her findings over to criminal authorities. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has called for a federal investigation into the billing arrangements, and the Missouri Attorney General’s office confirmed in a statement that it’s actively investigating the matter as well.A financial lifelineIn an interview at his Kansas City offices, Perez dismissed concerns about the lab billing arrangement, saying he runs similar programs at some of his other hospitals. He argued that the arrangements are legal — that there are even books on how to structure them (NPR located one such book, The Profit Machine in the Hospital Basement, published in 2016).Perez strongly defended the practice as a desperately needed lifeline for struggling community hospitals. “The only other opportunity this hospital had to survive was to put [together] a lab outreach program,” Perez said of Putnam County Memorial in an interview.Following release of Galloway’s audit, Hospital Partners issued a statement saying that since taking over the hospital’s operations, it had paid off $6 million of the hospital’s debts.Lab billing programs can sometimes be money-makers for small rural hospitals such as Putnam County Memorial — and others around the country that are trying the same strategy. Insurance companies typically cut small hospitals a deal, paying them at higher rates than other hospitals, says Michigan health care attorney Brian Bauer who advises hospitals on legal and financial matters.Bauer says he has seen several similar lab billing arrangements in the past two years. He says that while they may be legal, there’s a catch.When insurance companies make these deals with rural hospitals, he said, they aren’t anticipating a high-volume lab program, which can generate up to tens of millions of dollars a year.”It’s not uncommon to have one or more of the insurance companies come back and say, ‘this is not what we agreed to’,” Bauer says.And that can be bad news for hospitals.Legal repercussionsIn Georgia, several insurance companies are suing Perez and others, seeking to recoup more than $111 million from a similar lab arrangement at a rural hospital there. That small hospital — which has the only emergency room in Lumpkin County, Georgia — is named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Perez and the hospital have asked the court to dismiss the case.Perez is also named in a $60 million lawsuit filed by insurers in Missouri in April over the billing arrangement in Putnam County. The county’s hospital is not a defendant in that lawsuit.In addition to the lawsuit in Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma said it would no longer include four rural hospitals in its network based on its concerns about their “questionable” lab billing practices. Those hospitals had been taken over by another company tied to Perez.In March, the board of directors at Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, Mo., ousted Perez and his team. That move has triggered a lawsuit by Perez’s company, Hospital Partners Inc., which claims it was illegally driven out and is seeking $2 million in damages from the hospital’s board of trustees and Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who issued the audit of the hospital back in August.The question of whether Putnam County Memorial Hospital will be able to keep its doors open without Perez and his billing program remains unanswered. It’s a reminder of the stakes for small communities like Putnam County, Mo., as well rural communities across America.This story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, Side Effects Public Media, KBIA, KCUR and Kaiser Health News. Copyright 2018 Side Effects Public Media. To see more, visit Side Effects Public Media.last_img read more

At sixfootthree Patrick Mulvaney is a commandin

first_imgAt six-foot-three, Patrick Mulvaney is a commanding force in his busy kitchen at B&L in the Midtown neighborhood of Sacramento. As staff prepare for a large dinner crowd, the chef strides through the restaurant’s narrow back hallways, where the scent of roasted chicken wafts over dishwasher steam and clanking cookware. His gravelly speech is peppered with curse words, and he’s quick to make adjustments to a tray of hors d’oeuvres or a specialty cocktail.But even when it’s busy, he says the servers, cooks and bartenders treat each other like family. And as “captain of the pirate ship,” as he calls himself, he says it’s his job to make sure they’re staying afloat in the chaos.The chef has made a name for himself on the local and national culinary scenes, both for his widely praised farm-to-fork menus and for his leadership on causes such as homelessness and domestic violence. Now, he’s channeling some of his energy into suicide prevention.Mulvaney lost a longtime friend, 41-year-old local chef Noah Zonca, in May. Zonca’s son, Evani Zonca, said his father suffered from depression and addiction before his drowning death.A month later, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain took his own life. Mulvaney felt compelled to act.”This is a place for me to help my people,” he says. “We are storytellers at the end of the day. And one of our stories is going to be about mental health.”Mulvaney says hot tempers in fast-paced kitchens and rampant drug use during and after business hours are often seen as the norm in an industry of “stress junkies.””You have to be [messed] up to work in restaurants,” he says. “There’s an acceptance that we’re an industry that takes misfits.”That mentality deters some people from asking for help, even when they have a serious problem.A 2016 survey of more than 2,000 restaurant workers by a national nonprofit called Chefs with Issues found that 73 percent reported suffering from multiple mental health conditions. A 2015 study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that food service employees had the highest rates of illicit drug use compared to 18 other occupations.So, Mulvaney is working with Kaiser Permanente, WellSpace Health, and the Steinberg Institute to roll out resources for struggling bartenders, servers and chefs.Earlier this year, he hosted a series of mental health first aid trainings to help restaurant workers learn the warning signs for suicide. He’s hoping to create an online portal where they can take an assessment and find treatment.There are chefs working on suicide prevention all over the country, and if Mulvaney’s model gains traction, it could spread well beyond Sacramento.Katherine Miller, vice president of impact for the James Beard Foundation, has written about some of the pervasive issues in the restaurant industry — long hours in a busy environment, casual drug use, and the idea that stress is just part of the job.She said what Mulvaney is doing on the mental health front could save lives.”For a long time, it’s just not been something you talked about in this world,” she says of mental health. “Looking at a leader like Patrick, and having him stand up for this issue over all the other issues he could be using his voice for, means a lot. It shows young chefs in his own kitchens that it’s OK to talk about the issue, it shows his peers that it’s OK to talk.”Former restaurant critic Kevin Finch became concerned about the struggle of kitchen workers in Washington state more than a decade ago. He learned that employees with mental health or addiction issues were afraid to talk to their bosses. So he set up Big Table, an informal support network operating in three west coast cities.He says he wants people seeking help to “encounter another relationship rather than encounter a system.””So our first step is a cup of coffee, to sit down with you and figure out what’s going on,” he says. “We see lives changed on a daily basis, and we are working on systems that allow anyone, not just someone who’s a mental health professional or a social services agency, to find ways to engage.”In Sacramento, many restaurant workers are still grieving Zonca, and other chefs and bartenders who’ve taken their own lives over the years.Bartender Laura Bruce lost a close friend to suicide, and still struggles to talk about his death.”He was always like my big brother,” she says. “If something bad happened, he’d show up like, ‘All right, who am I fighting?’ He always took care of me.”She said his death has made kitchen staff think more deeply about their co-workers’ mental well-being.”There is this feeling you have to keep it all together, and if you can’t keep it together, there is something wrong with you,” she says. “People are becoming more comfortable asking for help when they need it. Whereas before they might wash it down, people are realizing now that mental health is important and it’s OK to be more vulnerable.”Mulvaney hopes to see this shift continue. He wants every kitchen in Sacramento to have at least one person trained to look for signs of suicide, and to be able to approach struggling co-workers.”What I want is someone to help us figure out how to have these conversations in a productive manner that increases mental health and reduces the stigma, so we talk about it more,” he says. “I want it to get better, for everybody. And I maybe want it to get better for myself, too.”Find HelpIf you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255Ben’s Friends is a food and beverage industry support group based in Georgia and North Carolina. It offers hope, fellowship and a path forward to professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction.Big Table, an organization in Washington State, and the Giving Kitchen, in Atlanta, help chefs and culinary professionals access community and emergency resources.Visit or call their crisis chat line at 916-368-3111.This resource list comes from the James Beard Foundation and chef Patrick Mulvaney. More chef-specific resources are available at Grunewald contributed to this story. Copyright 2019 Capital Public Radio. To see more, visit Capital Public Radio.last_img read more


first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Monday 24 FebruaryRACING4.30 WolverhamptonOutlaw Torn 11/1 > 13/24.40 PlumptonFree Falling 15/2 > 5/15.10 PlumptonVesuvhill 7/1 > 9/26.00 WolverhamptonReggie Bond 3/1 > 9/4What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img

Google to Stop Scanning Gmail Messages to Serve Up Ads

first_imgGmail Register Now » Google to Stop Scanning Gmail Messages to Serve Up Ads Image credit: qoppi | –shares This story originally appeared on PCMag Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business June 26, 2017 Next Article center_img Add to Queue Google apparently has enough data about your online activity to serve you targeted advertisements without its controversial email scanning program. 2 min read Google already knows so much about you that it has decided it no longer needs to read your emails in order to serve up targeted advertisements.That’s not to say Gmail will now be ad-free: the search giant simply announced on Friday that it is bringing its email service in line with the rest of its free consumer web services, which display ads based on your search history, YouTube viewing history and a wealth of other data Google collects about your online activity. The move will also bring Gmail in line with the paid G Suite email service that Google offers to its corporate customers. G Suite emails are not scanned for targeted advertising, and Google said that it wanted to standardize its practices to appease its more than 3 million G Suite customers, who might be worried about the privacy of their emails.”What we’re going to do is make it unambiguous,” Google’s Senior Vice President of Cloud Diane Greene told Bloomberg.Google’s practice of scanning Gmail messages has long been controversial, with the company defending multiple lawsuits and even facing wiretapping charges in the U.S. Google argued in court in 2013 that its users should have a reasonable expectation that their emails are subject to “automatic processing,” but the judge disagreed, finding that scanning is not considered an “instrumental part of the transmission of email.”Other litigation is still ongoing, including over whether Google is required to prominently disclose its scanning policy. The company added an explanation of the scanning to its terms of service in 2014, but doing so did not satisfy a federal judge in San Francisco, who rejected a legal settlement in March that proposed to pay $2.2 million to lawyers, but nothing to consumers.There are more than 1.2 billion users of the free Gmail service, according to Google. The company said in a blog post that it will “keep privacy and security paramount” as it adds more features to Gmail. News reporter Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Tom Brantlast_img read more

FIND launches new schistosomiasis program within neglected tropical diseases portfolio

first_imgThe program to develop the CAA RDTs is expected to be complete within 4 years, with the first milestone of feasibility testing for the disease control test anticipated in 2019. Source: Seven out of the 10 diseases identified in the London Declaration for eradication, elimination or control by 2020 lack critical diagnostic solutions – including schistosomiasis. With this addition to our neglected tropical diseases program, we are pleased to extend our long-standing commitment of bringing diagnostic excellence to the fight against these diseases, contributing to WHO goals for control and, ultimately, elimination.”Catharina Boehme, CEO, FIND Mar 14 2019The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) announced today the launch of a new schistosomiasis program within its neglected tropical diseases (NTD) portfolio. The program focuses on developing rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for detection of circulating anodic antigen (CAA) in blood and/or urine, to support national control and/or elimination programs in countries where schistosomiasis is regularly found.Schistosomiasis is caused by parasitic worms carried by freshwater snails and affects over 206 million people across 78 tropical and sub-tropical countries, with most of the burden found in sub-Saharan Africa. People can become infected when they come into contact with fresh water that is infested with worm larvae, while carrying out routine activities. The infection triggers immune reactions resulting in progressive organ damage, which can lead to chronic ill-health and ultimately death, if left untreated. Current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for schistosomiasis diagnosis recommend examination of stool and/or urine samples by microscopy to detect worm eggs, but this can be challenging especially when the intensity of the infection is low. Analysis of multiple samples over several days by highly trained microscopists is both time-consuming and challenging to deploy; inaccurate diagnosis can lead to treatment being stopped too soon and, as a result, infections quickly returning to their original levels.CAA is secreted continuously by living schistosomes. A laboratory-based test for the antigen, with high sensitivity for all species of schistosomes that are of public health importance, is available. However, in order to achieve optimal sensitivity, the test requires complex sample processing steps and a reader for detection.FIND is leading a consortium, together with WHO, that includes Mologic, UK, and Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Netherlands, to develop novel RDTs for schistosomiasis infection. Two RDTs for CAA are being developed: one to support ongoing schistosomiasis control programs by providing data to estimate prevalence and intensity of infection, supporting the update of guidelines on routine use of RDTs for schistosomiasis; the other one with a higher sensitivity to support elimination efforts by identifying low infection intensities.Related StoriesHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorIntermittent fasting shown to improve blood glucose levelsInitial work streams are being supported by catalytic funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with additional funding from Merck, through the Merck Global Health Institute, which is amongst the scientific partners of this program. The science and technology company Merck launched its Global Health Institute in April 2017 with the mission to develop transformative health solutions to support control and elimination programs related to infectious diseases such as schistosomiasis, and to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).center_img Contributing to the schistosomiasis control and elimination agenda is a priority for Merck. This program clearly addresses the need for new sensitive diagnostics in the fight against schistosomiasis.”Beatrice Greco, Head of R&D and Access at the Merck Global Health Institute Schistosomiasis is contracted from contaminated water, putting whole communities at risk. The new diagnostic technologies will be a huge step forward, but to achieve real impact their use cannot be confined to labs. The RDT format will allow testing in community settings and enable essential surveillance and disease tracking.”Joseph Ndung’u, Head of Neglected Tropical Diseases at FINDlast_img read more

Are Chronic Pain Relief Drugs for Children Effective

first_imgShutterstock | narikanThe research, which forms part of a collection of reviews in the Cochrane Library and has recently been summarised in the journal PAIN, concludes that much more research in this area is needed to improve the standard of the evidence available so far.The study, which is a summary of all available reviews of research into this area, was conducted in collaboration with an international team of 23 leading researchers from around the world. It was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Versus Arthritis and Bath’s Center for Pain Services.In adults, chronic pain that lasts for at least three months is known to have serious adverse effects, but a lesser known fact is that one-fifth of children also suffer with chronic pain, which can cause significant distress for both children and parents.The main forms of chronic pain among children are abdominal pain, headaches, migraines and musculoskeletal pain. Suffering with the pain can mean children start to miss school, feel isolated and develop depression and anxiety. Usually, the first approach to treatment is to prescribe medication.“Living with chronic pain can have a profound physical, emotional and psychological impact, particularly in children,” says Director of Involvement and Services at Versus Arthritis, Stewart Long.“It can stop them joining in things other young people do and affect development of friendships. This can lead to isolation, making children more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression and affect their ability to fulfil their potential and maintain their future aspirations.”The new study has revealed a significant contrast between the evidence available about drugs for adults in chronic pain, compared with what is available for children. Among adults, 300,000 patients have been studied in hundreds of randomised trials, whereas among children, the figure is only 393 and the number of trials is six.The authors describe this disparity between adults and children, which is a ratio of around 1000:1 as “unacceptable” and say that the evidence emerging from trials of adults cannot “simply be applied to children,” who have bodily systems that work differently.Study author Emma Fisher, from the Center for Pain Research at the University of Bath, points out: “Children are not just small adults so we cannot simply extrapolate evidence acquired from adults and use it in children.”Fisher and team emphasise that the lack of evidence does not necessarily mean evidence of no effect. However, they argue that very little investment has been made into researching which treatments are best for children and that this need addressing urgently. Overall, there is no high-quality evidence to help us understand the efficacy or safety of the common drugs used to help children with chronic pain. The lack of data means that we are uncertain about how to optimally manage pain. Doctors, children and their families all deserve better,”Study leader Christopher Eccleston, Director of the Centre for Pain Research at the University of Bath. By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jun 27 2019A study led by researchers at the University of Bath has revealed that research into the drugs used to treat chronic pain in children is lacking and insufficient to base treatment decisions on.center_img Related StoriesWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenThe researchers acknowledge that practical and ethical barriers exist to conducting randomised control trials on children, but they point out that these are no different to those existing in other areas of paediatric pharmacological research.Eccleston is now calling for healthcare policymakers to tackle the problem and break down these barriers.Fisher estimates that at the current rate of clinical trial reporting, which is only one every 3.5 years, it would take more than 1,000 years to produce an evidence base that could reliably inform treatment decisions: “This lack of knowledge requires new funding and urgent attention.”Similarly, Long says “we urgently need chronic pain to be prioritised in policy, funding and research so that the millions of people living in pain today, regardless of their age, are better supported.”Lead medical consultant at the national Bath Centre for Pain Services, Jacqui Clinch, says she sees and treats children and adolescents from across the UK who have often suffered with pain for years. As well as experiencing overwhelming pain, these young people often develop sleep problems, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, muscle weakness, nausea, numbness and many other associated difficulties: “They transform from physically and socially active individuals to missing school, physically inactive and housebound. In short, their lives, and those of their loved ones, fall apart.”“As part of the international pain community, we strive to optimise research into both further understanding pain pathways in young people and exploring new interventions to alleviate suffering in this vulnerable population and their families.”Alternative approaches to drug therapies are available for children with chronic pain including psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, but again the evidence base for these needs improving.The team suggests funding and incentives are now made available that will help to drive evidence-based research into this area that doctors can rely on to inform their treatment decisions. Source: read more

Cambridge Analyticas secret psychographic tool is a ghost from the past

While the method was asserted to be capable of producing “terrifyingly accurate personality analysis”, using Facebook likes as psychometric indicators presents significant methodological limits. For instance, liking a Facebook page is not an individual action performed in isolation, like the systematic compiling of a questionnaire. Instead, it is an inherently social and symbolic act – and needs to be interpreted in the context of the platform and its use.Considering the accuracy of CA’s predictions, two other points need to be critically considered. First, if psychographic analysis is relevant at all for deriving marketing insights. Second, micro-targeted advertising content via psychographic techniques has the capacity to effectively manipulate people’s minds. Provided by The Conversation This articles stems from our experience and exchanges with scholars in consumer and marketing research, who are perhaps most familiar with the development of market research and segmentation methods and practice over time.The secret weapon: psychographic segmentationThe psychographic-segmentation tool employed by CA extends the traditional marketing audience or voter analysis beyond simple “demographics” – for example, age, gender, education – toward profiling based on personality traits and value-based scores. Combined with “big data” from Facebook profiles and algorithmically enhanced statistical analysis and stealth marketing tactics, this method has arguably become an enviable digital marketing secret, not least among advertising and marketing professionals.While much of the public discussion on the CA case has been about how massive amounts of Facebook data have been unethically obtained and used for the purpose of influencing voter behaviour in the US elections and the Brexit, relatively little has been said on the exact analytical method used by the firm and the extent of its contribution to the voting results. According to a detailed account by Michael Wade of IMD Business School, CA was able to identify the profiles of more than 50 million Facebook users by matching two different approaches and data sources. First, the results of 270,000 personality tests obtained through a quiz-like Facebook app developed by Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan. Second, the results were statistically related to “digital footprints of human behaviour” of these respondents and their (unaware) Facebook friends’ profiles (for example, “likes”), thanks to a model developed by another Cambridge academic, Michal Kosinski.As a result, psychographic information about millions of people were automatically derived from Facebook data, without the usually burdensome process of personality questionnaires that take hundreds of questions to answer by each analysed participant. This sort of “reverse engineering” (as Wade calls it) based on social media users’ activity means that only about 100 Facebook “likes” are enough to estimate a person’s psychological traits. Information such as liking, say, Salvador Dalì or Lady Gaga would serve as an indicator of a personality type – for example, openness. The machine-learning implementation and more detailed analytical procedure is summarized in video featuring Jack Hansom from SCL elections, company affiliated to Cambridge Analytica. Citation: Cambridge Analytica’s secret psychographic tool is a ghost from the past (2018, April 3) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Explore further The novel ways in which marketers and also political institutions can now harvest our social-media data and divide us into homogenous groups suited for mass-customised and targeted messages has been one of the hot issues unfolding from the aftermath of recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica big-data scandal. Many articles have already sought to summarise the events, actions, participants, and the points of view – not least the unethical ones. However, our attention was drawn to the fact that there is currently little empirical evidence of the actual effectiveness or impact of the psychographic analytical tools used by Cambridge Analytica (CA). This is surprising, considering that the method has so far been featured as something that could be termed “the ultimate marketing weapon”. Summary of the machine-learning implementation and analytical procedure, featuring Jack Hansom from the SCL elections, company affiliated to Cambridge Analytica. A weapon from the past?In marketing and consumer research, techniques for market segmentation has evolved from the fact that it is simply not effective, nor otherwise feasible for a marketer to try to influence everyone at once, with the same message. Therefore, the targeting of a specific subgroup – one that would be more likely to react in a desired manner to the intended marketing message – become the practice and theory of marketing communication. However, the logic for choosing the effective segmentation and targeting criteria has changed importantly over the years, not least due to technological changes and possibilities.Despite the work of theorists in the early 20th century – for example, Thorsten Veblen and Max Weber, who recognised that consumption behaviour is closely tied with social structures (and vice versa) – the marketing scholars and practitioners in the post–World War II mass-media era have relied heavily on individualist and behavioural psychological paradigm. It is fair to say this has been the golden age of psychographic market segmentation in which target group has been profiled and expressed in terms of their personality traits or value system scores (for example, the VALS system). However, the personality/value-based measurement has consistently been challenged for its ability to predict actual behaviours, such as specific product, brand or environmental choice (Wedel and Kamakura 2000 and Rokka and Uusitalo 2008). Second, these approaches precisely assume that behavioural patterns are shaped by differences in “global” psychological states or values (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) that are thus “necessarily devoid of any influence of sociohistorical context” (Holt 1997, 327). Put differently, an abstracted and universalized personality type cannot capture the complexity and cultural sensitivity of consumer lifestyle choices, symbolic expression and tastes.This shift in thinking put an end to wider application of psychographic methods long ago, at least in the field of marketing and consumer research. Instead, four decades of work have testified the importance of sociocultural perspectives that are much more sensitive to the social and symbolic systems that shape our lifestyle-relevant choices and tastes (Arnould and Thompson 2005 and Holt 1997). This perspective is also shared by researchers in the Lifestyle Research Centre of EM Lyon. An analysis of Facebook likes from this standpoint would be understood more as the analysis of individuals’ lifestyle associations and networks governed by socially established expressions of taste. Main difference of the psychographic segmentation to this form of socio-cultural lifestyle analysis would be its lack of connection to society and its cultural currents.A ‘magic bullet’?A second issue evoked in the CA debate is the manipulative power of big data–based psychographic approaches that bear rather naïve assumptions about how communication and advertising work.In the 1930s – the heyday of totalitarian propaganda – the dominant theory for interpreting the effects of mass media on population described political messages as “magic bullets” that, once they reached the targeted audience, would have immediate persuasive power. This arguably simplistic view was rejected a decade later by Paul Lazarsfeld and colleagues at Columbia University. Their empirical work relativized the power of political propaganda, demonstrating that message effects are largely mediated by interpersonal relations and collective interpretations – for instance, political views are also discussed and formed during family dinners and not simply absorbed from the media (Neuman and Guggheneim 2011). Similar considerations also resonate widely in advertising and marketing research. For example, there exists a body of academic literature that indicates that, based on empirical evidence, advertising does not increase or reduce alcohol consumption (Tikkanen and Aspara 2017).However, with the rise of big data–based psychographic segmentation, the old “magic bullet” thesis has apparently gained new popularity. Cambridge Analytica’s bragging of ‘psychological warfare” stands as a case in point. We still have little or no evidence of the extent to which such campaigns can persuade people to change their mind about even simple product or brand choices – much less to vote differently.We cannot argue there is no value in, nor evidence of, the ability of psychometric segmentation to achieve marketing goals. For example, a recent study found a 40% increase in advertising click-through-rate. However, its actual effects on consumption or voting behaviour have yet to be demonstrated. Psychographics—the behavioural analysis that helped Cambridge Analytica know voters’ minds This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Unmanned aerial vehicles

first_img Explore further Yan Wan, associate professor of electrical engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, is working to solve this challenge by designing control and communication systems cohesively. Her research, recently published in IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, is part of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program, or CAREER, grant she received in 2015.Wan investigated networking solutions that work best for multiple UAVs trying to accomplish a single goal with limited physical resource constraints. While current control algorithms assume that communication between vehicles is present, that is not always the case because communication demands aren’t taken into consideration when designing the controls, she said.”An important factor in successfully designing remote networked control systems is the amount of throughput being routed through the communications side,” Wan said. “A design that requires high throughput, if not met in an imperfect communication environment, can lead to the loss of control signals and failure of control tasks.”We found that layered structures, in which multiple groups of UAVS communicate with one another through group leaders, are very promising to control networked UAVs,” she continued. “We proved that such structures can significantly reduce communication throughput while still allowing efficient completion of distributed control tasks.”Wan’s research, while still in the theoretical stages, could have an impact on the design of future unmanned vehicle networks—even, potentially, truly autonomous UAVs that work without human controllers. Understanding how to build networks that consider both control and communication needs would increase efficiency, reduce throughput requirements and improve network management capabilities.Wan also is the team lead on a $998,803 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a networked airborne computing platform for multiple unmanned aerial systems. When completed, the platform will be available for researchers and enable the use of networked UAVs for civilian applications such as intelligent transportation, emergency response, infrastructure monitoring and agriculture.The research is an example of UTA’s work in data-driven discovery, one of the themes of the University’s Strategic Plan 2020, said Jonathan Bredow, chair of the Electrical Engineering Department.”Unmanned aerial vehicles have many potential applications,” he said. “The more we can increase efficiency and safety through better control, the more flexibility we will have in their use. Dr. Wan’s research will help make this possible in the very near future.” More information: Yan Wan et al. On the Structural Perspective of Computational Effectiveness for Quantized Consensus in Layered UAV Networks, IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems (2018). DOI: 10.1109/TCNS.2018.2813926 Provided by University of Texas at Arlington Yan Wan, UTA associate professor of electrical engineering. Credit: University of Texas at Arlington New energy-efficient algorithm keeps UAV swarms helping longer Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are increasingly used for tasks that are too difficult or dangerous for people to complete. But better control and communication among groups of similarly tasked UAVs is still needed, experts say. Citation: Unmanned aerial vehicles (2019, July 2) retrieved 17 July 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Man Goes Blind After Wearing Contact Lenses in the Shower

first_img 27 Devastating Infectious Diseases 27 Oddest Medical Case Reports 8 Awful Parasite Infections That Will Make Your Skin Crawl Acanthamoeba is a single-celled amoeba that’s commonly found in water, soil and air, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Contact lens wearers face a risk of contracting this infection if they engage in certain practices, such as disinfecting lenses with tap water or swimming or showering while wearing lenses, the CDC said. This amoeba has a particular affinity for the surfaces of contact lenses, meaning the lenses can be “a vehicle for the harboring, transmission and delivery of microorganisms to the eye,” according to a 2010 review paper on the topic published in the Journal of Optometry. But when Humphreys started wearing contact lenses in 2013 so he could play sports without glasses, he wasn’t aware of this showering risk. He would often hop in the shower with his contact lenses in after a morning workout. “I thought nothing of it at the time. I was never told not to wear contact lenses in the shower. There’s no warning on the packaging, and my opticians never mentioned a risk,” Humphreys said. After he was diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis in early 2018, he was given eyedrops for his infection, but a few months later, he suddenly went blind in his right eye, according to PA Media. Humphreys was then prescribed a stronger medication, which needed to be applied to his eyes every hour, even at night. Humphreys became housebound and experienced severe pain in his right eye. “The pain in my eye was too much, and the only time I would leave was to visit the hospital,” Humphreys told PA Media. He would later undergo two operations in his right eye, the first to strengthen the tissue in his cornea and the second to protect the cornea with a graft of tissue from a fetal placenta. That procedure is known as an amniotic membrane transplant. Although his infection cleared up, Humphreys remains blind in his right eye. He is scheduled to undergo a corneal transplant in August. This operation replaces damaged corneal tissue with healthy corneal tissue from a deceased donor. Humphreys now works with the charity Fight for Sight to raise awareness about the risks of showering or swimming with contact lenses. “It’s crucial that people out there know this is a reality and it can happen because of something as simple as getting in the shower,” Humphreys said.center_img Our fantastic Fight for Sight supporter, Nick Humphreys, is raising awareness of the need for correct contact lens care and clearer information on contact lens packaging, after losing his sight in one eye to Acanthamoeba keratitis: #ContactLenses #AK — Fight for Sight (@fightforsightUK) July 9, 2019 Your daily shower isn’t usually a health risk, but for one man in England, it may have led to a serious eye infection that left him blind in one eye, according to news reports. The man, 29-year-old Nick Humphreys of Shropshire, England, typically left his contact lenses in while showering, without knowing that this practice can increase the risk of eye infections, according to PA Media, a U.K.-based media agency. In 2018, he contracted Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare parasitic infection of the cornea, or the eye’s transparent outer covering. “If I’d have known how dangerous it was to wear contacts in the shower, I would never have got them in the first place,” Humphreys told PA Media. [‘Eye’ Can’t Look: 9 Eyeball Injuries That Will Make You Squirm] Advertisement Originally published on Live Science.last_img read more