Stem cell recipes go head to head

first_imgWhat’s the best recipe for creating patient-specific stem cells? The question has prompted years of debate and a series of contradictory papers. Ideally, the cells should develop into any cell type just as well as those in a natural embryo do. For now, the 7-year-old method of introducing a small set of genes into adult cells to create so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells dominates the field. But a few researchers have stuck with an older approach—putting a donor nucleus into an unfertilized egg and deriving stem cells from the resulting embryo. This somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique is costly, technically challenging, and ethically fraught on several fronts. But proponents have argued that cells created this way are superior, in part because iPS cells may retain features of mature cells and could acquire a greater number of genetic changes in the reprogramming process. The latest research on the matter, published this week in Cell Stem Cell, examines genetic features of the two cell types and declares a tie.That might surprise some people, because the researcher who led the work, Dieter Egli of the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) in New York City, has long been a proponent of nuclear transfer. He gave a preview of the paper on 22 October at the foundation’s annual conference. “This means that all of you who are working on iPS cells are probably working with cells that are actually very good. So I have good news for you,” he told them, eliciting murmurs and chuckles. “What this exactly means for the SCNT program, I don’t know yet.” Indeed, some longtime champions of the nuclear transfer—Egli included—aren’t ready to abandon the method yet.The 2006 discovery by Shinya Yamanaka and colleagues that inserting just a few genes into mature cells could make them behave like immature ones revolutionized the stem cell field. Labs have since refined the technique to create patient-specific cells for studying disease and have already begun clinical testing of cells derived from iPS cells to restore damaged or diseased tissue.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But some wondered if this genetic approach to reprogramming created undesirable changes—even cancer-causing mutations. “We were very worried,” says Nizar Batada, a cancer biologist at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, Canada. He co-authored a 2011 Nature paper showing that iPS cells had more genetic abnormalities than the skin cells used to derive them. “You have a normal cell sitting around, expecting to be a skin cell, and you’re blasting it with genes, so there’s chaotic change in DNA replication and gene expression.” Other studies of DNA methylation—the addition of chemical tags that control gene expression at certain locations—hinted that iPS cells bore some memory of their past, as adult skin cells, for example, and could be less efficient at differentiating into new cell types.  Some scientists believed that nuclear transfer—the method used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996—creates stem cells that are less susceptible to these issues. But there was a catch: By the time Yamanaka shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with John Gurdon for nuclear transfer, no one had yet used SCNT to create human stem cells, and the field’s attention had largely shifted to iPS cells. Last year, a team led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov at Oregon Health & Science University in Beaverton finally declared success with SCNT in human cells, and the debate was revived.Egli and colleagues wanted to know whether the newly available cells really held advantages over iPS cells. So far, most studies comparing the two methods have had a common shortcoming, Egli says: They start with cells derived from different donors. Possible genetic differences between individuals make it hard to tell how the reprogramming techniques themselves altered the nuclear DNA.Egli and colleagues instead used skin cells from two people—a newborn and an adult—to create both SCNT-derived stem cells (using donor eggs) and iPS cells. Then they compared the two types of cell lines with the original skin cells in terms of genetic mutations, changes in gene expression, and differences in DNA methylation. Both methods resulted in about 10 mutations compared with the average genome of the mature source cells. These changes didn’t necessarily happen during reprogramming, however, Egli says. Many were likely present in the original skin cells, and some could have arisen during the handling of cells before they were reprogrammed.Both types of stem cells also carried a similar amount of methylation changes. Overall, the method didn’t seem to matter, Egli and his team concluded. Because he is a longtime proponent of SCNT, Egli says it would have been “more attractive” to reveal significant differences between the two kinds of stem cells. “This is simply not what we found.”  The study doesn’t say anything about whether the changes documented in both cell types make them less fit for use in research or therapy, Batada notes, or even if the mutations observed affect the genes’ activity. “Whether these aberrations have any function isn’t clear,” he says, but in terms of the two stem cell creation methods, “they’re equally good, or equally bad.”Mitalipov, who also contributed to the Cell Stem Cell paper, maintains that nuclear transfer creates more stable cells that more closely resemble embryonic cells. He published research this summer reporting that the methylation patterns in nuclear transfer cells more closely mimic natural embryonic stem cells, and has work in progress to identify other advantages.Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a developmental biologist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, finds the lack of differences between the two stem cell types surprising. But this study is “probably not enough to settle this issue,” he says. “There are and will always be concerns related to the safety [of stem cells] regardless of the methodology,” he adds, and there’s “no reason so far to discredit one in favor of the other one.”Both Egli and Mitalipov plan to continue their work on nuclear transfer and defend its value. Egli points out that the research led to other important discoveries, including technology that  may allow a woman to avoid passing on mitochondrial diseases to her children using an egg donor. And he suggests that therapies based on donor eggs may have an easier path to regulatory approval. Until either type of stem cells results in an approved therapy, Egli says, “I think it would be a big mistake to put all eggs into just one basket.”last_img read more

Boxing: Ryota Murata vs Rob Brant ordered by WBA

first_imgAdvertisementThe WBA has ordered the Ryota Murata defend his “regular” middleweight title against Rob Brant. Murata will be looking to make his second successful defense of the title.Brant made an unsuccessful jump to super middleweight, joining the World Boxing Super Series Tournament. He lost handily to Juergen Braehmer in a bout that was not competitive at all. Shortly after suffering the first lost of his career he decided to comeback down to the middleweight division.Brant made a successful return to the ring when he defeated Colby Courter by first round knockout. He is simply better suited for the middleweight division, as at the moment he lacks the size to campaign at super middleweight.Murata has become sort of a rockstar like figure in his native country of Japan. His last bout not only sold out but drew a whopping 17 million viewers, to put it in perspective 15 percent of the population watched his bout.He faced Emanuel Felice Blandamura, scoring a eighth round technical knockout. He dominated the contest from the opening bell, methodically taking his opponent apart. He showed great poise, and stalked his opponent all night, applying smart aggression.Whether or not the bout will happen remains to be seen as both sides must now try to negotiate a deal. If it does happen the bout will more than likely be in Japan perhaps sometime this summer.Advertisementlast_img read more

JB’s Proof Answers Our Prayers with Alcoholic Ice Cream

first_imgI am lucky enough to live right across the street from an awesome deli. Jamal, who runs Charlie’s Deli on Spring in Charleston, South Carolina. He stocks his store with a huge wine and beer selection and well, that’s the main draw for us. Plus Jamal is just awesome to hang out with. So the day he told me he was getting in some alcoholic ice cream I almost dropped my six pack. I couldn’t believe my ears. How can ice cream be alcoholic? We all know you can’t freeze alcohol. I could barely contain my wonder.Days later I walked in for a white wine to go with the fish we were grilling when before my eyes was a little ice cream freezer emblazoned with the name JB’s Proof, Alcoholic Ice Cream. I lost all train of thought and opened the treasure chest of wonder and picked out Vanilla Bourbon and Mocha Chocolate Moonshine. Sprinting home with my booty I ripped the lids off of both to explore this fantasy food concept. I was not disappointed. First of all, my biggest pet peeve with ice cream is, well it is usually frozen solid. I end up bending a spoon or having to let it sit for minutes on end (gasp) before I can scoop out a pea sized bite. Or you push so hard to make a dent and a giant flake of ice cream goes flying across the room onto the wall. Not with JB’s. Since there is alcohol in them there tubs, a full 7% alcohol by volume for each serving, the ice cream is more like a gelato, smooth and creamy.Ours never made it to a bowl. What’s the point? We just scooped out bite after bite until we realized we were buzzed and put it away. I haven’t slept that well in ages. Oh, and who needs dinner?Overjoyed to have discovered this frozen treat, Jamal put me in touch with the owner of the company. I gave Jennifer Randall Collins a ring to hear how it began and where it’s going.Tell us a little bit about yourself.I grew up in a small town called Mount Sterling in Kentucky that you have probably never heard of. We grew up pretty poor but I managed to parlay my athletic ability into a basketball scholarship and signed with the University of South Carolina. Later I started a small political consulting firm before I jumped on the alcoholic ice cream party train.How did you find JB Proof?When I was back in Kentucky I met the inventor of our product and got appointed CEO. We moved headquarters to Columbia, SC for licensing reasons. He loved his grandmother’s custard pie and thought it would taste even better as an ice cream flavor.  Of course, there should be some bourbon in it because, well, it’s Kentucky. He used to give out samples out of the back of his old Jeep and people would give him their honest opinion and by 2014 he had perfected freezing alcohol in ice cream. Now we are looking at expansion across the South, Vegas and even internationally.  We are a certified South Carolina product and we partnered with the department of agriculture.  I like to say JB’s was ‘Conceived in Kentucky and born in South Carolina!’ We sold our first tub on Thanksgiving week of 2015.Where is JB?He is retired but we look to him for input when exploring other flavors.When I met him he had been messing with the family recipe for years but hadn’t been able to get it to market.  So with his blessing, I re-launched the product and got it to the retail market.Have y’all thought about partnering with brands like Four Roses, Sailor Jerry, and others?We would love to one day! Currently, we use full strength rum, bourbon, moonshine, tequila and whiskey in every batch. It is not limited to one type of alcohol.We have the process down and they all freeze equally.Can you buy online?Not yet. We are only sold in South Carolina now. We are exploring e-commerce and hope to be live soon. Check out our site for where you can find us! 7 of the Best Drink References in Music If You Haven’t Visited the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, What Are You Waiting For? How to Make a Rum Old Fashioned Zach Klein Is the Reason We’re All Obsessed with Cabin Porn Editors’ Recommendations A Guide to Slivovitz, Eastern Europe’s Favorite Brandylast_img read more

Changes to Motor Vehicle Inspections Mean Safer Roads

first_imgOn Feb. 1, changes to motor vehicle inspection regulations take effect to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians. One of the most significant changes is the new out of service designation for vehicles that are not roadworthy and could jeopardize the health and safety of the driver or others. Under the new regulations, those vehicles are not allowed back on the road until the problem is repaired. Vehicles that require minor repairs but do not pose an immediate safety hazard will still receive a rejected sticker, and the owner will have 10 days to make the repairs and get the vehicle re-inspected. Additional changes include the need to keep the inspection certificate in the vehicle. Wheel removal will be required in order to thoroughly inspect brakes. There are exceptions for new vehicles that dealerships purchase from manufacturers. Industry is also subject to new inspection rules and penalties for non-compliance. “These improvements will make the roads safer for Nova Scotians. Our inspectors have seen accidents where regulations like these may have saved lives,” said Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “The brake inspection also brings us in line with New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, with whom we have a reciprocal agreement to honour inspections.” The changes will ensure vehicles with a sticker are safe at the time of inspection. They will make it more difficult to avoid a valid inspection with stolen stickers or a poor-quality inspection. Changes also include enhanced qualifications for testers and increase the accountability of station operators to ensure the quality of safety inspections. Training for motor vehicle inspection testers across the province will be completed by Feb. 1. The sessions focus on changes to the motor vehicle inspection regulations, the new motor vehicle inspection manual, and information on the new standards for vehicle testers. These are the first substantial changes to the motor vehicle inspection process since its inception in 1967. Because of the improved vehicle inspections, fees have been increased to $25 for most passenger vehicles. For more information, see the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations website at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/popular/mvi.asp .last_img read more

Budget responds to longstanding calls for federal strategy to address dementia

first_imgOTTAWA — Health advocacy groups are cheering the Liberal government’s proposal to spend $50 million over five years to support a national dementia strategy that would be released later this spring.Tuesday’s pre-election budget from Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the aim of the measure is to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their caregivers through better public awareness of the challenges posed by the condition.Groups like the Alzheimer Society, which have long urged Ottawa to take action, welcomed the decision.Alzheimer Society CEO Pauline Tardif says the money will be a “significant step” towards a funded and comprehensive national dementia strategy that will ultimately help affected families live better lives.Figures cited in the budget say more than 400,000 Canadian seniors were living with dementia in 2013-14, two-thirds of them women.In 2011, former NDP MP Claude Gravelle introduced legislation calling for a national dementia strategy to support Canadians ravaged by Alzheimer’s and other related dementia diseases.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

New UN estimates predict 25 billion increase in world population by 2050

“One of the surprises is that population growth is most concentrated in the 60 plus age group,” Hania Zlotnik, the Director of the UN Population Division, told a press briefing in New York held to launch the report.“The place where the action is is the older population,” she said. “The biggest change will occur in the developing world, and developing countries will have to cope with the situation” by investing in both education and care of the elderly.According to the 2006 Revision, the world population will likely increase by 2.5 billion over the next 43 years, passing from the current 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion in 2050. This increase is equivalent to the total size of the world population in 1950, and it will be absorbed mostly by the less developed regions, whose population is projected to rise from 5.4 billion in 2007 to 7.9 billion in 2050.In contrast, the population of the more developed regions is expected to remain largely unchanged at 1.2 billion, and would have declined were it not for the projected net migration from developing to developed countries, which is expected to average 2.3 million persons annually.As a result of declining fertility and increasing longevity, the populations of more and more countries are ageing rapidly. Between 2005 and 2050, half of the increase in the world population will be accounted for by a rise in the population aged 60 years or over, whereas the number of children (persons under age 15) will decline slightly. Furthermore, in the more developed regions, the population aged 60 or over is expected nearly to double (from 245 million in 2005 to 406 million in 2050), whereas that of persons under age 60 will likely decline (from 971 million in 2005 to 839 million in 2050).“The world population is ageing because of the great success in reducing population growth, the success of humanity in controlling its numbers,” Ms. Zlotnik observed.The projected population trends also depend on achieving a major increase in the proportion of AIDS patients who get anti-retroviral therapy to treat the disease and on the success of efforts to control the further spread of HIV.“We are expecting a relatively good coverage of anti-retroviral drugs in 31 of the most affected countries by 2015,” Ms. Zlotnik said. “According to our estimates, 70 per cent of the affected people are going to get treatment. Given that, we’re postponing the deaths by several years.” On average, those receiving treatment are expected to live 7.5 years longer than those who are not.According to the 2006 Revision, fertility in the less developed countries as a whole is expected to drop from 2.75 children per woman in 2005-2010 to 2.05 in 2045-2050. To achieve such reductions, it is essential that access to family planning expands in the poorest countries, the Population Division said, pointing out that without this, the world population could increase by twice as many people as those alive in 1950.Reacting to the findings, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said they serve as a wake-up call to the urgency of giving couples the means to exercise their human right to freely determine the sizes of their families.“Currently, about 200 million women in these countries lack access to safe and effective contraceptive services,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid in a news release. “Funding for family planning must be increased to meet the needs of these women, not only to determine the world’s future, but also to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce maternal and infant death.” 13 March 2007The world’s population is on track to surpass 9 billion persons by 2050, according to the newly released 2006 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections, which also predict that the number of elderly persons will hit 1 billion. read more

Ban hails Latin American nuclear weaponfree zone on 45th anniversary

“The Treaty of Tlatelolco has earned international recognition as one of the most historic achievements in the history of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts,” said Mr. Ban in a message delivered on his behalf in Mexico City by Sergio Duarte, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region in the world to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone with the Treaty of Tlatelolco – named for an area within Mexico City – in 1967.Mr. Ban said the treaty also broke new ground by establishing the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) as a regional nuclear verification agency with the unique mandate to verify compliance with the obligations of the pact.“Even more remarkably, it achieved all of this at the height of the Cold War, thereby challenging the notion that nuclear weapons were indispensable in maintaining security,” he said. “These great achievements were the result of unprecedented cooperation among States at the regional level, reinforced by support they received from the world community, in particular the United Nations.”Building on the success of Treaty of Tlatelolco, the UN has actively promoted the establishment of other such regional nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world, the Secretary-General noted.“It is my hope that today’s commemoration will inspire new efforts from both within and outside this region to achieve the greatest disarmament and non-proliferation goal of all, a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he added. 14 February 2012On the 45th anniversary of the treaty that created a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today hailed the pact as an example of how regional initiatives can advance global norms on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of atomic energy. read more

Ebola death toll in southern Sudan reaches seven – UN health agency

Local authorities in Yambio County, which is in the Western Equatoria region of southern Sudan, confirmed that as of yesterday there have been seven deaths. They are also continuing measures to try to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Isolation wards have been set up, while a public awareness campaign about the disease, how it is transmitted and how to prevent it has been taking place in southern Sudan. Additional equipment to collect and safely transport samples has also been sent to the affected area. WHO has so far not recommended imposing any special restrictions on travel or trade within Western Equatoria. The Ebola virus was first identified in Sudan and what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1976. It is a contagious disease and causes death in many cases.

HIV and hunger spell death spiral for southern Africa UN relief official

“The number of trained health practitioners, teachers and other professionals that are succumbing to HIV/AIDS is causing a truly extraordinary human resources vacuum in societies across the region,” James T. Morris, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, said at a press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.”It’s a tragedy of unrivalled proportions that is destroying the ability of countries to effectively deal with the pandemic and food insecurity,” he added.During his seven-day mission to the region, Mr. Morris visited Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia to review how the UN and the international community could strengthen their assistance to the region’s most vulnerable people in battling the combined effects of food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and the drain on human resources which the pandemic causes.In all countries, factors such as already weakened infrastructure and services have also been exacerbated by increasing poverty, growing wealth disparity and women’s lack of access to seeds, land, fertilizer and other productive resources.Southern Africa has the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. There are already 11 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa and the number is expected to reach more than 20 million by the end of the decade, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which Mr. Morris heads.”There are many factors at play here but the end result is that people are dying on a horrific scale and its victims are not getting the help they need,” he warned.Drawing an analogy, he pointed out that the loss of life was equivalent to dozens of airline accidents daily. “If a 747 aircraft crashed every hour, there’d be an international outcry,” he said. “That’s the death toll we’re facing but there is inadequate collective outrage.”The UN Consolidated Appeal for southern Africa remains seriously underfunded, with only $327 million, or 53 per cent, in confirmed donations received out of a requested $615 million. Funds for non-food items, such as medicines, healthcare, education, water and sanitation supplies, are desperately needed, with only 16 per cent of resources for these items having been raised. read more

Enbridge cutting 1000 jobs after completing takeover of Spectra Energy

CALGARY – Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) says it is cutting about 1,000 jobs or six per cent of its workforce following the takeover of Houston-based Spectra Energy.Calgary-based Enbridge says it is laying off people to address overlaps in the combined company’s organizational structure after completing its acquisition of Spectra in late last month.Company spokesman Todd Nogier did not provide details about where the cuts are happening, but says they’re being done across the merged company.He says the workforce reductions are one part of the synergies the company expects to achieve in the coming months. by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 22, 2017 9:54 am MDT Enbridge cutting 1,000 jobs after completing takeover of Spectra Energy AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email

Falcons Rise Up to 60 Start Only Unbeaten Team

Falcons owner Arthur Blank high-fives cornerback Asante Samuel on the way to franchise best 6-0 start.The Atlanta Falcons have risen up to a franchise best 6-0 start after Sunday’s 23-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders, leaving them as the only undefeated team in the NFL.Quarterback Matt Ryan has been the key to this power surge by the Falcons.  Over the first six weeks Ryan has thrown for 1,756 yards, 14 touchdowns with six interceptions.Not only has the offense been stellar, which was expected with so many weapons, but the defense has made big plays to keep the team undefeated. Cornerback Asante Samuel came up with a huge interception late in the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown. And defensive lineman John Abraham forced a fumble on a sack of Carson Palmer and provided pressure much of the day.Even though the Falcons’ record is flawless, head coach Mike Smith knows this is no time to get complacent.“They’ll watch the tape and they’ll realize that we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Smith said. “I can assure you that. They don’t need to have myself or any of the coaches in there watching it. They’re off during the bye week, but they will be in there watching tape. That’s the way we do things. That’s a great locker room and they realize that we haven’t played the best football that we’re capable of playing.”Indeed, they have needed late fourth quarter drives to beat the Panthers, Redskins and Raiders. But the fact is, Ryan accomplished the goal.“We need to strive to play our best,” Ryan said. “I don’t think we’ve done that the last couple weeks. It’s going to be critical for us to use this week to find ways to improve.”“I think we can improve so much,” cornerback Dunta Robinson said. “We’re not where we want to be as a defense. We want to be perfect.”The bye week allows linebacker Stephen Nicholas to get healthy after aggravating an ankle injury. The Falcons may also get back defensive tackle Corey Peters, who has been on the physically unable to perform list.  That will help a defense that allowed 149 rushing yards on Sunday.With the Falcons being the only undefeated team left in the NFL they know the challenges will be significant.“The thing now is we know we’re going to get everyone’s best shot,” Robinson said. “We’ve got to take our game to another level.”After the off week, the Falcons go to Philadelphia to take on old friend Michael Vick and the Eagles. read more

Brazil warms up for Denmark

brazilbrazil handballWCh 2015 Denmark ← Previous Story DAS IST UWE: Gensheimer amazing shot in SloMO… Next Story → VELUX EHF CL Round 2: Veszprem to host Flensburg – Balkan Clasico in Celje Morten Soubak has designated 19 athletes for a training phase that will take place in Spain between the 4th and 12th of October. Captain Fabiana Diniz and IHF World Player of the Year Eduarda Amorim will be back in the squad after recovering from their respective injuries. The defending World champions, Brazil, will take part in a training phase together with the Euro 2014 bronze medalists in the Spanish island of Fuerteventura in the archipelago of the Canary Islands. “We have made an agreement with Sweden and we’ll share training sessions, just like we did with Norway earlier this year in Brazil. This will be a very good way to train and evaluate our players, as the Scandinavians are one of the best teams in the World”, explained Soubak in the Brazilian Confederation website.The captain and pivot Fabiana ‘Dara’ Diniz will be back in the National team after having missed the last Pan American Games in Toronto due to a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) on her left leg. Hers will not be the only comeback as left­back Eduarda ‘Duda’ Amorim will also join the team after a long recovery from a torn ACL on her left knee.Two ‘new’ faces will join the squad this time: Bruna Almeida de Paula and Tainara Luna Gonçalves. “Both of them were first called in August to participate on the training phase where only athletes who play in Brazil took part. They did really good and we’ve been following their performances in their clubs as well, so we’ll give them a new chance”, stressed Soubak. According to the Danish coach, this will be the last evaluation before the definitive list for the World Championship in December; the players on that list will take part of a Four Nations tournament in Brazil in late November, which will be the final test before they head off to Denmark.This is the list for the training phase in Spain: Goalkeepers: Bárbara Arenhart (Nykobing F. Handboldklub ­ DEN), Mayssa Pessoa (CSM Bucureşti ­ ROU), Jéssica Oliveira (UNC/Concórdia ­ BRA). Wings: Alexandra Nascimento (Baia Mare ­ ROU), Célia Coppi (Metodista/São Bernardo ­ BRA), Fernanda França (CSM Bucureşti ­ ROU), Jéssica Quintino (MKS Selgros Lublin ­ POL), Larissa Araújo (UNC/Concórdia ­ BRA), Samira Rocha (OGC Nice ­ FRA). Backs: Amanda Andrade (UNC/Concórdia ­ BRA), Bruna Almeida de Paula (São José ­ BRA), Deonise Fachinello (CSM Bucureşti ­ ROU), Eduarda Amorim (Györ Audi ETO ­ HUN), Tainara Luna Gonçalves (Metodista/São Bernardo ­ BRA), Ana Paula Rodrigues (CSM Bucureşti ­ ROU), Francielle Gomes da Rocha (Fumguaru/Guarulhos ­ BRA). Line players: Daniela Piedade (Siófok KC ­ HUN), Fabiana Diniz (BBM Bietigheim ­ GER), Tamires Morena (Mosonmagyaróvári ­ HUN). Source: CBHb website.TEXT: LAURA AGENA read more

Kindle Fire will launch with Hulu Plus support

first_imgWe have known that the Kindle Fire would launch with a better app selection than the Nook Tablet. What we didn’t know was that all of the Nook’s advantages on the software front would be matched by Amazon’s tablet. The last piece of that puzzle comes with today’s confirmation that the Fire will support Hulu Plus.Amazon hadn’t mentioned anything about either Netflix or Hulu Plus before this week, so it was speculated that they might not support the third-party streaming services. They both rival Amazon Prime streaming, which Amazon is counting on selling to help subsidize the tablet.However, after the Nook Tablet was announced this week with integrated Netflix and Hulu support, Amazon apparently decided that the capabilities were worth touting. The company said earlier this week that Netflix would play on the Kindle Fire, and now we have today’s Hulu news.In addition to the streaming services, Amazon also said that their tablet will be supporting Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, Facebook, and the Weather Channel. They also said that the Fire will play nicely with games from Zynga, Popcap, E.A., and console-cloner Gameloft.As the above titles are all Amazon AppStore standards, none are particularly surprising to see on the Kindle Fire. The tablet will use their app marketplace–which has been available on Android phones and tablets since March–in place of the Android Market.As with Netflix, we could see a delicate balancing act with Amazon’s attitude towards Hulu Plus. It benefits the company to tout their support for the apps when customers are deciding between the Fire and the Nook Tablet. But then it starts to hurt them if customers who have already purchased the Fire are passing on Amazon Prime subscriptions in favor of Netflix and Hulu. Amazon is banking on Prime’s prominent position in the tablet’s UI to help with this.The Kindle Fire is available for pre-order on Amazon, and will also be available in a variety of brick and mortar stores, such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Staples. Its official release date is next Tuesday, November 15.via Paid Content, AllThingsDlast_img read more

SpiceJet GoAir IndiGo Slash Fares by 75 Percent Will Other Carriers Follow

first_imgSpiceJet on Monday triggered a fare war by slashing its fares by a massive 75 percent, a move which soon forced its rivals GoAir and IndiGo to bring down their prices as well.The cut-to-the-bone fares for the 1 April to 30 June period has left passengers excited, as the spiced up fare war in Indian skies will only make their summer vacations cheaper and more thrilling.This is the third time in last one month that the Kalanithi Maran-run carrier cut prices, forcing a deep plunge in the prices of air tickets of all the carriers. However, unlike the earlier offers, the current slash is for tickets for travel in April- June period, which is a peak season often marked by school and college breaks.Even as Air India and Jet Airways are pondering over the pressing need to ape the move, it is only a question of when they would respond to SpiceJet’s Summer ace.Booking under the so called super summer sale offer will remain open until Wednesday midnight, Spice Jet said in a release.”Super summer sale offers up to 75 percent off base fare plus fuel surcharge relative to last minute fares, for travel between 1 April and 30 June, 2014,” the airline said.This offer comes after the overwhelming success of the earlier two similar schemes and aims at making those seats available to passengers at highly discounted advance purchase rates which would otherwise go empty, it said.In mid-January, SpiceJet had triggered similar fare war after offering up to 50 percent discounts and subsequently 30 percent discounts on tickets, which was soon followed by other carriers.”We received overwhelming positive feedback from customers who booked the earlier ‘Super Sales’ for taking the lead in making air travel more affordable not only for frequent travelers, but also for those who intend to take journey from other modes,’ SpiceJet’s COO Sanjiv Kapoor said.last_img read more

400 Tax Officials Raid Chettinad Group Premises in Three States

first_imgIncome tax officials on Wednesday raided the offices of the ₹10,000-crore Chettinad Group of Companies in three states, after its chairman Emeritus MAM Ramaswamy accused that one of the companies had evaded tax to a significant extent.The IT officials conducted raids in 33 locations of the group in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Mumbai.On Tuesday, Ramaswamy said that Chettinad Cements had evaded tax to the state government for the past several years. Chettinad Cements is currently run by MAMR Muthiah (original name was Ayyappan), whom Ramaswamy had adopted in 1996 but disowned on 9 June, 2015.”He has not paid sales tax. This is public money. The amount is more than ₹252 crore,” said Ramaswamy, according to The Hindu.The income tax department has deputed 400 officials to conduct raids on offices and houses of Ramaswamy and the group’s managing director Muthiah.”We got information that they have been evading tax for the last six years. We have been watching this for last six months now,” said an Income Tax Official, requesting anonymity.The 84-year-old industrialist and former Rajya Sabha MP’s announcement about disowning adopted son Muthiah gave another twist to the family drama that began after Ramaswamy failed to get elected as the Director of Chettinad Cements last year.”I have disowned him and do not wish to call him my son,” Ramaswamy told The Times of India.Ramaswamy also said that after he passes away, his assets would go to two-newly established charitable trusts.”As a substantial part of my properties is now with Ayyappan, I decided that every bit of what is left with me should go to charity,” he told Livemint.While Ramaswamy has 22 percent stake in the business conglomerate, Muthiah and his wife Geetha hold 70 percent in the group, which has diverse presence across various sectors such as cement, education, construction, power, trading, transportation, steel fabrication and coal terminal.The group also operates in other countries such as Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.”He is a frustrated man because he has lost of control of companies. That is the reason for him to disown me,” said Muthiah.last_img read more

Exclusive How a Punebased startup is reimagining eBikes to challenge conventional bikes

first_imgIf you’ve been watching the auto trends lately, electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining traction. While the environmental benefits of owning an electric vehicle trump all major reasons, a Pune-based startup has taken the initiative to push eBikes into the mainstream.Polarity Smart Bikes is working towards faster adoption of EVs in India and its steadfast approach is commendable. The startup’s first electric-powered two-wheeled vehicle is set to hit the roads end of this year following a brand launch in July. Although it seems like an uphill battle for this self-funded start-up, it is determined to make eBikes popular, favourable and practical in India.We sat down with Polarity’s co-founder Anand Mohan for a quick chat about his startup, which currently employs a core group of four qualified professionals and a team of 30 members on contract. Before we get down to the Q&As, here are some key highlights of Polarity’s Smart Bikes:Lower carbon footprintRunning costs less than Rs 15 per 100kmNo emissionsRefuel anywhereBackup pedaling function1.3KW hub motors45-55 kg weightIBT: What is going to be the key factor in Polarity eBikes that will convince conventional scooter/bike owners to make the switch?Anand Mohan: Desirability and owning a Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV). We are targeting a new segment of customers who usually only ride solo, without a pillion rider. Ours is the first such vehicle made in India to be road legal and come with a single seat. The idea was to keep the weight off the bike as low as possible so that it is more efficient than other vehicles in the market. Our bikes weigh less than 60kg and will cost less than Rs 15 per 100km. Polarity Smart Bikes to hit the roads end of this yearPolarityWhile running costs are definitely a USP, the design also is. It’s unique in its shape and concept and will definitely stand out among the sea of scooters and motorcycles. Another convincing factor is pedal assistance. While the performance of our bikes is at par with other electric scooters and motorcycles, the advantage we have is pedal assistance. We used the form of a bicycle to rid riders from range anxiety. Range anxiety is one of the main reasons that is hindering faster adoption of electric vehicles. We want to solve that by providing versatile products.IBT: The EVs are not as popular as conventional bikes, one of many reasons is the design and performance. How will Polarity address that?Mohan: Sachin Jadhav, the Managing Director of the company, has done his masters in automotive design from Coventry University. It’s one of the top automotive design universities in the world. Following his studies, he has worked at several design firms in the UK providing design solutions for companies like JLR and Rolls Royce. The Smart Bikes designed by Polarity feature mature design language and international sensibilities. The unique design was an effort to create a new segment of Personal Mobility Vehicles (PMV) while the bicycle form gives a sense of connection to one’s childhood. In terms of performance, the top spec bikes have a top speed of 100kmph, the adjustable suspension offers comfortable on-road and off-road riding and light weight makes the batteries and motors more efficient. Anand Mohan (L), co-founder of Polarity alongside Sachin Jadhav, Managing Director of PolarityPolarityIBT: What makes Polarity different from other EV manufacturers and who is the biggest competitor in this field?Mohan: Polarity’s Smart Bikes have the back up of pedal assistance. If the battery is completely discharged, one can pedal back home instead of getting stranded in the middle of the road. It also saves valuable time that would otherwise be spent at the charging station. It’s also a first such road legal vehicle that you will be able to park inside your house. It is light and compact enough to fit into a service elevator. You can park the bikes inside the house and use them as exercise tools. There is no direct competitor based on the style and convenience our bikes provide. However, all two-wheelers priced from Rs 35,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh will compete indirectly with our bikes.IBT: How far are we from witnessing real performance ebikes in India? Mohan: Performance E-Bikes are a market demand. India saw a surge in luxury motorcycling with the sale of adventure motorcycles. Before that, premium motorcycles commanded a very small market. Indians are aware that our terrain is harsh and even the roads aren’t predictably smooth. An adventure bike offers that safety net and confidence to go where you want to. Keeping that as one of our key considerations, we gave our bikes adjustable suspension to allow the versatility of riding on-road and off-road. While they can go up to speeds of 100kmph, they can also go anywhere. We plan to launch our brand in July along with commencing pre-order bookings on our website. Product deliveries will commence from the end of the year. Polarity Smart Bikes to hit the roads end of this yearPolarityIBT: How do you plan to bring the vehicle cost of e-bikes down?Mohan: One of the advantages of our bikes is the minimalist design approach. The form of a bicycle and the performance of a motorcycle has its benefits. Keeping the weight of the bike to less than 60kg meant the lesser quantity of material being used in each bike. The lighter weight of the bike also ensures a relatively smaller battery and motor offering similar levels of performance. E-Bikes also get subsidy under the FAME II scheme, have 20 percent lower insurance premium and the government is also planning to introduce a lower GST slab for electric vehicles (5% from the present 12%). The issue of electric vehicles not being competitively priced are going to be addressed in the very near future. Electric vehicles become new trend in AP to fight pollution Closelast_img read more

Beautiful girls needed male only Sexist job ads common at China tech

first_imgA job seeker looks at a job advertisement board at a Beijing talent service centre.ReutersDespite the unprecedented growth in China, the world’s second-largest economy is still facing the heat for its widespread gender discrimination practices.The report published by Human Rights Watch and titled “Only Men Need Apply” says that discrimination in hiring by Chinese government authorities and private companies is contributing to a widening gender gap in the country.”Nearly one in five job ads for China’s 2018 national civil service called for ‘men only’ or ‘men preferred,’ while major companies like Alibaba have published recruitment ads promising applicants ‘beautiful girls’ as co-workers,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.The 99-page report analyzed over 36,000 job advertisements posted between 2013 and 2018 on Chinese recruitment and company websites and on social media platforms.Some job posts require women to have certain physical attributes – with respect to height, weight, voice, or facial appearance – that are irrelevant to job duties. Others use the physical attributes of companies’ current female employees to attract male applicants.Private Chinese companies, including some technology giants, have used gender-specific ads.For instance, search engine giant Baidu advertised a job in March 2017 for content reviewers stipulating that applicants must be “men,” and have “strong ability to work under pressure, able to work on weekends, holidays and night shifts.”E-commerce conglomerate Alibaba in a January 2018 job ad stated “men preferred” for two “restaurant operations support specialist” positions.Some job ads use the physical attributes of women – often the company’s current employees – to attract male applicants. In recent years, Alibaba has repeatedly published recruitment ads boasting that there are “beautiful girls” or “goddesses” working for the company.Although Chinese laws ban gender discrimination in hiring and gender discriminatory content in advertising, the laws lack a clear definition of what constitutes gender discrimination, and provide few effective enforcement mechanisms.As a result, the level of enforcement is low and Chinese authorities rarely proactively investigate companies that repeatedly violate relevant laws.last_img read more

5 Ways Extra Arts Education Benefits Houston Students

first_img 00:00 /00:57 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X Fewer disciplinary infractions: Researchers found that by giving students more experiences with the arts, the proportion of students who received disciplinary infractions dropped by 3.6 percentage points. They found the reduction was “more pronounced” with students who were in middle school, male, African-American and from homes with higher poverty.Better writing scores: Students in the arts program posted slightly better scores on writing tests and essays.More compassion: Researchers surveyed students, asking them if they agree with statements like, “I want to help people who get treated badly” or “I am not really interested in how other people feel.” They found students with extra arts education showed more compassion.More school engagement: Elementary students, who made up 86 percent of those in the study, indicated they were more interested and engaged in school. They agreed with statements like: “School work makes me think about things in new ways” and “School work is very enjoyable.”More college aspirations: Elementary school students in the arts program were more likely to say they planned to go to college.“Anecdotally, educators — and especially arts advocates and arts educators — they’re not surprised at all. In fact, a common reaction from them to the study’s results are, ‘Duh! We know this, but it’s nice to have some evidence,’” said Kisida.He added that he believes the message to policymakers is that they don’t have to make trade-offs in areas like math and reading when supporting arts education.“It appears you can have these types of interventions, you can reap some of those rewards, without some of the cuts in other areas that you might be concerned about,” Kisida said.center_img Laura Isensee/Houston Public MediaIn 2016, teaching artist Brandy Reichenberger with Main Street Theater led third grade students at Atherton Elementary in theater skits and games to reinforce science lessons about light movement.In 2015, thousands more Houston students started to experience music, dance, theater and other fine arts at school, thanks to a partnership between the Houston Independent School District and the nonprofit Arts Access Initiative.Arts advocates and educators wanted to fill a gap. The year before, a survey of Houston middle and elementary schools revealed that about a third didn’t have a full-time art teacher. Many districts around the country have seen arts programs cut because of budget restraints and a greater focus on standardized testing. Douglas Torres-Edwards, who was then with the Houston school district, also wanted to integrate the arts into core academic subjects, like science and math. Fast forward to now and new research indicates that extra arts education can boost students’ academics — and help them in other ways.Daniel Bowen, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, and Brian Kisida, assistant professor at the University of Missouri, examined data and survey results from schools that participated in the Arts Access Initiative and from schools on an arts waiting list. They collected data through the Houston Education Research Consortium at Rice University.Their main takeaway: “Arts learning experiences benefit students in terms of social, emotional and academic outcomes.”Below are five specific ways they found extra arts education helps Houston students. Listen Sharelast_img read more

Turners Bleacher Report Sets BR Kicks SneakerFest Event in NYC

first_imgRecent financial struggles among digital-media companies — including the abrupt shutdown of Defy Media and the collapse and sale of Mic — have highlighted a key lesson for the sector: the need to find reliable, diversified revenue streams.To that point, Turner’s Bleacher Report says it’s raking in some big dough with a new event for its B/R Kicks sneaker-culture content brand: The Drop Up, set for Friday, Dec. 7, in New York City. It’s billed as a day-long festival and evening party for sneakerheads.Bleacher Report created B/R Kicks about two years ago, featuring exclusive sneaker news, drops and athlete-brand collaborations. On Instagram, B/R Kicks now has 950,000 followers, including influencers like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Justin Timberlake, Devin Booker and Dwyane Wade. According to Bleacher Report, the B/R Kicks brand will make more money from the Drop Up event than it has in its entire existence (but declined to provide dollar figures). “We’ve built the brand for this very moment,” said Bleacher Report chief marketing officer Howard Mittman.The Drop Up main event will run from 1-9:30 p.m., with free tickets to fans available on a first-come-first-serve basis to those who have downloaded the B/R app, followed by an invite-only after party from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. featuring rapper-model Sheck Wes. The event will be held at a gallery in Chelsea (at 525 West 24th St.).Bleacher Report’s sponsors for the event include Levi’s and Adidas, which will showcase its new N3XT L3V3L sneaker. The Drop Up will feature special sneaker customization lab featuring designer Mache and one-on-one master classes by sneaker designer UBIQLAB. It also will also include art exhibits featuring the top 10 basketball shoes of all time as selected by the B/R Kicks editorial team; GOAT sneaker selfie photo opportunities; and exclusive B/R Kicks customizable products for sale.And Twitter is teaming with Bleacher Report to build wall display for the hashtag #NBATwitter showing the most-discussed sneakers on the platform throughout the year.BR expects some 1,000 visitors over the course of the day, with another 300 for the after-party.In addition, B/R Kicks is launching two new original series in conjunction with the Drop Up: “The Pre Heat” and “Sneaker Shock.” It also will program social stories to share Drop Up moments with fans outside of New York.Turner, which is part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, bought Bleacher Report in 2012 for around $175 million. Popular on Variety center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more