WILMINGTON, MA — Below is an announcement from the Wilmington Police Department:On October 1, 1962, Congress, by a joint resolution, authorized and requested President John F. Kennedy to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers Memorial Day,” and the week in which it falls as “National Police Week” to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime.In honor of Police Week, members of the Wilmington Police Department will be wearing special patches throughout the month of May. This is the third and final specialty patch that will be worn by our Officers. Patches will be available for sale to the general public for $10 with all proceeds going to the New England Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). You can learn about their mission to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty at https://newenglandcops.org/.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSELECTMEN NEWS: Board Supports Fire & Police Substation In North Wilmington; Town To Vote On Project In April 2020?In “Government”Wilmington Police Launch ‘Police Explorers’ Program For Young Adults Interested In Law Enforcement CareerIn “Police Log”Wilmington Police Department’s New Explorers Program Now Accepting ApplicationsIn “Police Log”
Comments 70 Photos Long-term 2018 Ford Mustang GT: Wrapping up two wild months 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 first drive: A more approachable track star More From Roadshow 2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Convertible review: A topless thrill ride Ford Enlarge ImageThe Ford Mustang EcoBoost is the best entry-level Mustang in years, but Ford might be about to make it better.For a long time, the words, “entry-level Mustang” gave any driving enthusiast a severe case of the willies. Whether it was a straight-six model in the 1960s or ’70s or the V6 models of the ’90s and 2000s, they were never that interesting to drive. That started to change when Ford introduced the EcoBoost Mustang a few years ago, and all of a sudden you had almost unprecedented ease of tuning, thanks to a turbo and modern electronics, coupled with the best Mustang chassis ever.That’s why when we heard rumors that Ford was prepping some kind of entry-level cost but not entry-level performance Mustang to be shown at the New York Auto Show, we were pretty floored. Could this be the reborn Mustang SVO that we have been dreaming of? Well, based on the invite we received Friday to a mysterious background event that Ford is holding for the Mustang soon, that seems like it could be the case. Fingers crossed.Just for some perspective, the current EcoBoost Mustang makes a respectable 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, but the 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine has been proven time and again to be plenty stout enough for much more power. We’d love to see this new flavor of Mustang make around 340-360 hp, 400 lb-ft of torque and add most of the features from the EcoBoost performance pack as standard, like the upgraded differential for somewhere around $33,000.Ford verified to Roadshow that there would indeed be a new Mustang variant on the stand during the New York Auto Show in a couple of weeks, but haven’t given us any more information than that. Performance Cars Car Industry 2 Tags Share your voice Ford 2016 Ford Explorer review: Go road-tripping in Ford’s updated, EcoBoost-powered SUV
Allison Shelley for The Texas TribuneAndrew Oldham testifies at a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on April 25, 2018.As he sat before a bipartisan panel of U.S. senators on Wednesday, judicial hopeful Andrew Oldham sought to distance himself from the policy positions of the Texas Republican he has served for six years.Now a nominee to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals — the powerful, conservative court that hears cases from Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana — Oldham has worked as a legal adviser to Gov. Greg Abbott since Abbott’s days as Texas’ attorney general. In that role, Oldham has defended Texas’ positions on issues ranging from abortion to immigration, and even advocated alongside Abbott for a convention of states to “restore the rule of law.”But in response to senators — most of whom were Democrats — who during Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing pushed him on his “zealous defense” of Texas’ sometimes controversial positions, Oldham said he had merely been “advocating for a client.”“I would leave behind all of those litigating positions, all of those advocacy positions, and swear an oath to simply apply the law as an impartial jurist,” Oldham pledged Wednesday.Helping him assert that independence were both of Texas’ U.S. Senators, Republicans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, who gave Oldham several opportunities to explain that the positions he defended as a lawyer would not bleed into his rulings as a judge. Cornyn offered Oldham the chance to correct “some of the press coverage and comments” from “some people who are confused” about the distinction between the two roles.Perhaps the most heated confrontation came with U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat who pressed Oldham on a 2016 speech in which the nominee called administrative agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency “fundamentally illegitimate” and “enraging.”“The comments you’re quoting came from a speech I was making on behalf of the governor,” Oldham said. “He was my client, and I was advocating his position.”“Come on. Don’t kid me. You used a word that was highly personal — you said it was ‘enraging,’” Whitehouse shot back. Then he posed his question again, pausing between each word: “Were you enraged?”“I was frustrated — on behalf of my client — for a series of litigation matters,” Oldham acknowledged. A minute later he re-emphasized: “My perspective as an advocate has no bearing on my perspective as a jurist.”Oldham was the Trump administration’s fifth nominee to what many consider the country’s most conservative appeals court, and if confirmed, he’d be the third Texan to join the court under the administration. No other federal appeals court has had as many nominees, and no other state has had more appeals court nominees. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Kyle Duncan — who worked in the Texas Solicitor General’s Office — to a Louisiana seat on the 5th Circuit. Oldham, long rumored to be on a shortlist for the court, was passed over last year when Trump nominated Texans Don Willett and James Ho, both of whom have since been confirmed. Trump named Oldham in February after opening a spot on the bench by appointing Edward Prado to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina.Oldham — whose qualifications include clerkships on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as time in the U.S. Department of Justice — has drawn the expected opposition of liberal groups like the Alliance for Justice and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which take issue with his work on issues like abortion, immigration and environmental regulation. Oldham’s detractors say he has, through both his advocacy for Texas and his personal writings and statements, evinced a hostility toward the so-called “administrative state” — the body of regulations put in place by federal agencies, which many conservatives view as overreach.U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, ticked down a list of controversial measures raised in Texas in recent years, asking Oldham what role he had played in formulating legislation.Oldham said he recalled working on two particularly high-profile issues: a measure that would have restricted transgender Texans’ access to certain public facilities and an anti-“sanctuary cities” law winding its way through the courts.Oldham deflected some of the committee’s toughest questions, citing judicial ethics rules that he said prevent him from weighing in on pending legal matters or established U.S. Supreme Court decisions. That justification helped him skirt questions about voting rights discrimination and the issue of implicit racial bias.After questioning Oldham, the committee weighed the appointments of Michael Truncale and Alan Albright, who have been nominated to become district judges in the Eastern and Western districts of Texas, respectively. Albright is an Austin lawyer and former U.S. magistrate judge. Truncale, an attorney based in Beaumont, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2012.The committee is expected to vote on the nominees in the coming weeks. All three require confirmation from the full U.S. Senate. Share
Story Links Did you know…?A student-athlete may be compensated for providing lessons to individuals on an instructional basis as long as a few requirements are met. The student-athlete must not conduct the lessons using their institution’s facilities, the compensation must be paid by the individual receiving the lesson or their family, and the student-athlete must not advertise the lessons using their name or image. See bylaw 188.8.131.52 for more information. 184.108.40.206 Fee-for-Lesson Instruction. A student-athlete may receive compensation for teaching or coaching sport skills or techniques in his or her sport on a fee-for-lesson basis, provided: [R](Revised: 1/9/96 effective 8/1/96, 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02, 4/2/03 effective 8/1/03, 1/23/19)(a) Institutional facilities are not used;(b) Playing lessons shall not be permitted;(c) The compensation is paid by the lesson recipient (or the recipient’s family member) and not another individual or entity;(d) Instruction to each individual is comparable to the instruction that would be provided during a private lesson when the instruction involves more than one individual at a time; and(e) The student-athlete does not use his or her name, picture or appearance to promote or advertise the availability of fee-for-lesson sessions.Print Friendly Version
Citation: Freelance site using software to recruit and pay workers (2010, May 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-05-freelance-site-software-workers.html Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Freelancer.com, a freelance site based in Sydney, Australia, has come up with the idea of using software to recruit and pay professionals to carry out work. The site enables software developers to write programs to post job adverts, select from those bidding on the jobs, and even pay them, without any human input. API Flow Overview © 2010 PhysOrg.com 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. Microsoft vows openness for mobile app store Matt Barrie, Chief Executive of Freelancer.com, said that after 60 years of people controlling software we are now “getting to the stage where software can control humans.” One possible application of the system could be a company having a large online inventory of virtual goods for sale. The software could stock the store with content created by writers recruited automatically, and those who produced the best-selling product would be selected to create more content. The process could continue as long as the company had money in the bank to continue paying its workers. Barrie said the company was looking forward to “where this might take us.”Barrie said the site has enough programmers on file to make it possible for software to be developed that could even improve itself by hiring programmers to improve its own code, perhaps perpetually. The new software algorithms enabling automatic recruitment, training and paying of workers have just been released for a number of different industries using the site.Barrie said the software algorithms would in many ways ensure performance assessments were more objective, since they are not influenced by subjective factors, such as whether or not the boss likes the worker. Barrie also said in a press release that the system could be used to automatically hire “one, three, or 500 humans,” and that it could “literally assemble an army overnight to solve complex problems.”Automating the hiring process is not an entirely new idea, since many companies now use programs such as TalentFilter to sort through large numbers of applicants to select a short list for interview. In these systems it is quite possible an application or CV is never viewed by a human.There are many outsourcing sites on the Internet, and like the others Freelancer.com has a large membership of people with a wide range of skills such as programmers, Web designers, writers, architects, graphic designers, and so on. Freelancer.com claims to be the largest of these sites, with over 1,500,000 workers registered in 234 countries.The application programming interface (API) is accessible from Freelancer.com.
Explore further Astronomers have conducted a study of unusually bright single pulses (BSPs) from the millisecond pulsar PSR B1744−24A. The new research, which determined properties of these pulses, could contribute to understanding the nature of BSPs. The study is presented in a paper published November 5 on arXiv.org. Mode changing and giant pulses found in a millisecond pulsar An example of a bright single pulse, integrated between 1,100–1,900 MHz, together with the average profile obtained by summing 5,000 spin periods around the bright pulse. The intensity of the average profile has been multiplied by a factor of 10. Credit: Bilous et al., 2018. Citation: Astronomers investigate unusually bright single pulses from a millisecond pulsar (2018, November 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-astronomers-unusually-bright-pulses-millisecond.html 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. Located some 19,200 light years away in globular cluster Terzan 5, PSR B1744−24A, or B1744−24A for short (also known as Ter5A), is an eclipsing millisecond pulsar in an ablating binary system. The pulsar has a spin period of 11.56 milliseconds and has a relatively low-mass companion around 10 times less massive than our sun.Observations of PSR B1744−24A have shown that it has highly variable radio eclipses and unusually bright pulses, with intensities up to 40 times the average pulse intensity, and pulse widths similar to that of the average pulse profile. The BSPs from PSR B1744−24A were detected in 2009 by 100-m Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). These pulses were observed in the vicinity of the eclipses – in time near eclipse ingress and egress.Unusually bright single pulses are an unexplained phenomenon. Researchers debate whether BSPs are a new, distinct population of pulses, or the result of a propagation effect. The properties of such pulses, like these detected in PSR B1744−24A, make them difficult to classify as a separate emission mode or a giant pulse.In order to learn more about unusually bright single pulses, a trio of researchers led by Anna Bilous of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has re-investigated observational data of PSR B1744−24A collected by GBT. They have analyzed eight multi-orbit observations of this pulsar to better determine the properties of its pulses.”We present a study of unusually bright single pulses (BSPs) from a millisecond pulsar in an ablating binary system, B1744−24A, based on several multi-orbit observations with the Green Bank Telescope,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.In general, the scientists found that the properties of BSPs in PSR B1744−24A are difficult to explain by scintillation in the interstellar medium, by a separate emission mode, or by conventional giant pulses. These unusual properties are: clustering close to eclipses, unchanging average pulsed intensity or profile shape during BSP outbursts, widths similar to the width of the average profile, intensities up to 40 times the average pulse intensity, and correlated structures in dynamic spectra spanning several pulses.According to the study, BSPs from PSR B1744−24A are similar to strong pulses observed from the so-called Black Widow binary pulsar (or PSR B1957+20). Given that the pulses from the Black Widow pulsar were found to be strong lensing by the intrabinary material, the authors of the paper suggest the same explanation in the case of PSR B1744−24A.”We argue that the strong lensing likely occurs in B1744−24A as well,” the researchers noted.Assuming that strong lensing can explain, at least qualitatively the unusual properties of BSPs from PSR B1744−24A, the researchers calculated that the proposed lens could be even as small as five to 280 kilometers, and residing as close as 0.06 to 160 orbital separations from the pulsar.The astronomers added that further observations of BSPs from pulsars could be helpful in examining the physical conditions in the intra-binary plasma and providing insights into the emission region within the pulsar magnetosphere. © 2018 Science X Network More information: Anna Bilous et al. Unusually bright single pulses from B1744-24A binary: a case of strong lensing? arXiv:1811.05766 [astro-ph.HE]. arxiv.org/abs/1811.05766
6 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Enroll Now for Free December 19, 2014 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Productivity is the name of the game for entrepreneurs. The good news is that there are thousands of amazing software applications out there, designed to make your life easier. The bad news is that you don’t have time to try thousands of software applications. Which ones are worth your time?In this post, we’ll take a look at 16 software applications that I use almost every day — and discuss why you should too.Project management.1. Asana.You’re a busy person. At times, it all can feel overwhelming. Asana is a cloud-based project management software that helps you keep it together. (Trust me, I’ve tried them all.) Flexibility is built into Asana’s architecture. Each “task”, or “subtask”, can be associated with a larger “project” and “department.” In addition, you can even assign recurring tasks to yourself or team, which makes life so much easier. Stop trying to remember all the things you’re supposed to do and let Asana structure your life.2. Google DocsMany entrepreneurs already have a Gmail address, but not every ‘trep knows about the power of Google Docs. By utilizing Google Docs, you can instantly create shareable documents, spreadsheets and presentations that can be updated by any team member with an Internet connection. Take that “track changes”!Related: 13 Business Productivity Apps for the Real-World EntrepreneurStaffing3. oDesk & ElanceoDesk and Elance (now in the process of merging) are freelance marketplaces, which allow you to quickly identify, engage and hire freelancers from all over the globe. Need a website developer or content writer? Don’t hire an employee; instead, work with a freelancer. At last count, there were more than 1 million freelance contractors available via these marketplaces.4. Outsourcing placement services.If you do much hiring of freelancers, you’ve probably considered outsourcing the outsourcing. There are several great services that can help, each with varying business models. For example, Bolton Remote will build your team with vetted, offshore contractors. Another provider, Hubstaff, starts with your project in mind and then matches you with project specialists. Using an outsourcing placement service will save time instead of trying to do the recruiting yourself. These firms typically offer free recruiting and placement services but take a cut of the hourly rate.Sales & Marketing5. Google Webmaster Tools.Everyone knows about Google Analytics, but are you using Google Webmaster Tools? As a marketer, I view Webmaster Tools as one of the most important free tools at my disposal. You want to get found on Google, right? Why not listen to what Google is telling you via Webmaster Tools?6. Google Adwords Keyword PlannerHow are your competitors getting found online? Google Adwords Keyword Planner helps you answer this question. The word “Adwords” may give some ‘treps pause, as it sounds like you will have to purchase advertising. Not true. Google has made its Keyword Planner tool available to anyone with a Google account (you must first click through the Adwords entry portal). Use the Adwords Keyword Planner to see what keywords are generating the most search volume in your niche and identify opportunities to capture traffic.7. WordPress CMSSure, all of the hosting companies offer a basic CMS (content management system). But do they offer the flexibility that you need to get found online? Probably not. WordPress is an open-source CMS that you can install, customize and continuously optimize. You will likely need someone with development experience to help with set up, but once the template is installed, you’re probably smart enough to publish content without any assistance.8. Amazon’s Self-Publishing Tools (Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace, ACX)Always wanted to be an author but not sure where to start? Have you considered self-publishing? Thanks to Amazon, you can. Kindle Direct Publishing allows you to get the word out via e-books, CreateSpace helps you develop a print edition and ACX is the audio publishing division. I’ve used all three to develop my book.9. HitTailDeciding what to blog about can become time consuming. HitTail analyzes the data in your Google Webmaster Tools account and makes recommendations for long-tail words to write about. In addition, HitTail has a network of skilled writers who can create the content for you.Related: 5 Habits of Productivity App Super Users10. CopyscapeIf you outsource any or all of your content writing, you need to make sure your content is original. Paste content into Copyscape’s analyzer tool, and you’ll instantly know whether the content is original.11. MailChimpEffective email marketing involves more than occasionally blasting out a newsletter. To build an effective email marketing strategy, you need a tool packed with functionality. MailChimp seems to be the best system out there, offering elegant, intuitive newsletter templates, advanced list segmentation features and marketing automation capabilities.12. Zoho CRMIf you’re looking for a free CRM system, Zoho is probably the one for you. Why? It comes down to the integration possibilities. For example, Zoho integrates with JotForm and Unbounce simply by adding your API key. This means that within seconds, web leads will automatically be sent to your CRM. Pretty powerful for being free.Time Management13. iPhone RemindersI formerly had an Android device (even though I have had a MacBook since 2009 – weird, I know). After switching this summer, I quickly realized the power of iPhone “Reminders.” Each time a reminder is due, your iPhone buzzes and displays a pop-up. You can snooze it or mark as completed. In addition, you can set up recurring reminders, which are perfect for remembering to mail estimated quarterly tax payments, renewing subscriptions, running payroll and other things you tend to forget.14. Google CalendarYou may already use Google Calendar, but are you using it wisely? Here’s a secret: only put stuff on your Google Calendar that will actually happen at that date and time. Use iPhone Reminders to remember things that are not time-sensitive (down to the hour or minute). Following this strategy will help you stay more sane.Everything Else15. WeTransferNeed to send gigantic files (up to 2gb) quickly? Try WeTransfer.com. You don’t even have to create an account. I use it almost every day.16. ZapierThe average entrepreneur uses dozens of cloud-based software and apps. Zapier connects your online life and helps you build new functionality. The best part about Zapier is that you don’t have to be an API wizard to use it.With the right tools in place, you’ll find yourself more productive and efficient.Related: The 15 Best Productivity Apps for Getting Things Done
NTT Docomo has developed what it claims to be the world’s first 8K 3D virtual reality (VR) system for live video streaming and viewing at 60 frames per second (fps) over 5G.The Japanese mobile operator said that viewers will be able to use head-mounted displays to experience music and sporting events in realistic 3D VR.Docomo first announced its 360-degree 8K VR system for live video streaming and viewing last June, but said it has further refined it to make it more immersive and realistic.The refined system includes a new 8K encoder that supports frame rates of up to 60 fps, a 3D camera for live video streaming, and an FPGA stitching device for fast processing.It also introduces ViRealTM 3D audio technology developed by Yamaha Corporation that enables omnidirectional sound through standard headphones.Earlier this month, Docomo successfully streamed video of the rehearsal of this year’s Sapporo Snow Festival using 5G equipment, in partnership with Hokkaido Television Broadcasting and NEC Corporation.
It was one of Donald Trump’s first acts as President: a Jan. 23, 2017 executive order that cuts off U.S. support to foreign groups unless they promise not to “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” This includes providing patients with referrals or information about the procedure, even if those activities are funded by non-U.S. government sources.Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has adopted a variant of the “Mexico City policy” — so called after the city where it was first announced. And every Democratic successor has reversed it.But Trump’s version is far more sweeping. Rather than limiting the ban to U.S. aid for family planning services, Trump has for the first time applied it to aid for virtually all global health services, including HIV treatment and prevention. Meaning if any health service also provides information on abortion, it can’t get U.S. funding. As NPR has previously reported, some of the world’s largest charities providing health care for people in poor countries have deemed the terms ethically or logistically unacceptable — critics often refer to the policy as “the global gag rule.” As a result, these groups have already given up millions of dollars in U.S. funding and begun cutting back on services.Less well-known is that the administration has actually included several exceptions to the policy — essentially a list of conditions under which a group that accepts U.S. aid money can still refer clients to an abortion provider. Now several advocacy groups that oppose the policy are trying to spread the word. Among them is the Washington, D.C.-based group Center for Health and Gender Equity, or CHANGE, which released this month a report that includes an analysis of these exceptions.”This is so important and yet people don’t know about it — even my colleagues in the U.S.,” says Serra Sippel, executive director of CHANGE. “Across the board in terms of groups in [the affected] countries as well as those of us advocating in Washington, D.C., we don’t have all this information.”Activists and political leaders who oppose abortion argue that the Mexico City policy is needed to ensure compliance with the spirit — and not just the letter — of a long-standing Congressional ban on using taxpayer money to fund abortions overseas. That ban — which has been regularly passed as part of foreign aid spending bills since 1973 — only prohibits direct U.S. funding of foreign groups that perform abortions or “motivate” people to get abortions. The ban does not prevent groups that receive U.S. support from using monies from other, non-U.S. sources to do abortion-related work. That’s where the Mexico City policy comes in.Contacted by NPR for comment, the U.S. State Department declined to provide an official to speak on the record but issued a statement reiterating that rationale. “Supporting the abortion industry and abortion lobby in other countries is incompatible with U.S. law, and undermines our public diplomacy interests,” the statement read. “When the United States provides taxpayer-funded aid to help the poorest of the poor … it is critical that the message associated with our country is our warm recognition of the dignity, worth and potential of each life we touch.”The statement added that “the policy does not change funding levels by one dollar” and that U.S. aid agencies will be re-allocating monies from groups that refuse the terms of the policy to those that do.But opponents of the policy, such as CHANGE’s Sippel, argue that there aren’t enough health-care groups that would be willing or able to step in for those that decline the funding. So she’s hoping one way to ensure that the policy does not disrupt health services to the world’s neediest will be to educate more groups on how to get around it. In particular Sippel points to two exceptions that, on their face, may seem esoteric but which could ultimately have enormous scope.The first of these is called the “affirmative duty defense.” It exempts providers in countries where the national law specifically requires them to provide counseling and referral for abortion as a method of family planning. In other words, in these countries, if the provider, say a nurse at a health clinic, were to comply with the U.S. ban on discussing abortion, then that provider would be in violation of their own country’s laws.In legal parlance, these providers are considered to have an “affirmative duty” to offer abortion counseling and referrals. So the Trump Administration’s regulations entitle them to invoke this “affirmative duty” defense to continue discussing abortion without triggering a violation of the terms of their U.S. funding.CHANGE was one of several groups that successfully lobbied the Trump administration to include the exemption for affirmative duty in the regulations. The activists were particularly concerned about how the policy could impact South Africa.”South Africa has probably one of the most progressive abortion laws in the world,” says Sippel. “In South Africa, the right to an abortion is enshrined in the constitution.” That means health providers — including providers that don’t directly work on family planning but who might confront abortion questions in the course of say, community outreach on sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, “have an obligation to provide information for women so they can access safe abortion.”At the same time South Africa is one the largest single recipients of U.S. aid dollars to combat HIV/AIDS. And moving forward, disbursement of much of that money will be covered by Trump’s more expansive version of the policy.”We were horrified,” says Sippel. “Our reaction was, how are groups in South Africa going to be able to accept this funding?” Agreeing to the terms, “would put them in direct violation of South African law. And what a disaster this would be if no organization in South Africa could accept U.S. HIV/AIDS funding.”Getting the exemption language into the regulations was a major victory for the activists — but also only the first step. The ultimate test will be whether aid groups in South Africa choose to invoke the affirmative duty defense.So far it’s hard to know how many will do so. “It’s way too early to have quantitative data,” says Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking the impact worldwide. One reason is that so many groups are only now facing the expiration of grandfathered U.S. assistance grants and making the decision about whether to reapply for new funding that would be covered by the policy.Still, Sippel of CHANGE says anecdotal evidence suggests many aid groups in South Africa are unaware of the exemption. And because the “affirmative duty” clause does not specify by name which nations it covers, they may be reluctant to assume the exemption applies in their case without explicit advance confirmation from the Administration.Administration officials did not directly address NPR’s request for comment regarding the Administration’s reasons for including the “affirmative duty” exemption. But in the statement they gave NPR they said that “the U.S. government will respond to those organizations that have asked for further clarification of the policy.”Sippel says she’s hopeful that if a group can get U.S. officials to issue a statement explicitly naming South Africa as a nation where the affirmative duty defense can be invoked, the impact could be enormous.”South Africa is the clearest example of where there’s really no ambiguity in the law,” she says, “but there are other countries we are looking at where this could also apply.”Chief among them are Kenya and Mozambique. Getting a clear pronouncement from the administration on South Africa “will really help us with other countries to get this information out there,” she says.Another exemption with potentially sweeping implications is one that has been in every version of the policy since Reagan. Known as the “passive referral” exception, it spells out that in countries where abortion is legal, a health-care worker with a group receiving U.S. aid dollars can tell a woman where she can obtain an abortion if the following four conditions are met:The woman is already pregnant.She states that she has already decided to have an abortion.She then asks where she can obtain the abortion safely and legally.And finally, the provider believes that the ethics of the medical profession in their country require them to respond with information.This is less of a loophole than it might appear, cautions Sippel, because the set-up requires the woman to know that abortion is a legal option in her case and proactively request a referral.There may also be linguistic challenges. For instance, in Zimbabwe, says Sippel, a representative of one aid organization told her that the Shona language spoken there does not actually have a word for “abortion.” Instead, says Sippel, women may use a term that roughly translates as “aggressively pulling or removing.” If a provider is relying on an interpreter who translates that word ambiguously, they may be nervous about jeopardizing their U.S. funding over a technicality.It’s also likely that many groups are simply unaware that passive referral is permitted. Kates notes that U.S. aid is often funneled through larger charities, which then pass it on to much smaller local groups operating on the ground. At each stage, the rules of the policy must be communicated down. “So it’s a game of telephone,” she says, and conveying highly legalistic exceptions is particularly challenging.Sippel says for all its narrowness, the passive referral exception could be useful to supporters of abortion-rights. “This is obviously not ideal, but any kind of exception we can find is a good thing,” she says. “If there are these small slivers of reprieve that we can offer groups it’s important for us to get the information out there.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Much of the focus by the Veterans Health Administration has been on the growing number of younger veterans who commit suicide. However, statistics show that the suicide rate for elderly veterans is higher than that of non-veterans of the same age.Robert Neilson was drafted in 1961. He spent two years in the Army just before the Vietnam War. Three years ago, the 76-year-old came into the VA Hospital in San Diego after contemplating suicide. “That’s what really brought me into the emergency room. That wasn’t really the first time,” Neilson said. “Two months after I got out of the service, I attempted suicide.”After he got out of the Army, Neilson remembers going back home to New Jersey. He was standing on a subway platform watching a speeding train.””And I figured if I just hold my hands in the air, I could just let [the train] suck me in,” Neilson said. “Somebody shouted, ‘What are you doing?’ And that was enough to snap me out of the trance. But I still didn’t seek any help. I just figured, OK, I’ll just struggle through life.”And he did. It would take another 50 years for Neilson to get help dealing with the trauma of a sexual assault he experienced in the military.”And the guilt was, I wasn’t strong enough to overpower that person. Plus, it was a high-ranking person,” he said.That was all he wanted to say about the incident that has haunted him most of his life.All sorts of service-related issues can lie dormant only to crop up later in life, said Ron Stark. Stark founded Moving to Zero, a nonprofit group in San Diego aimed at preventing veteran suicide. He counsels fellow veterans there who have contemplated suicide and more than a few are elderly.Stark retired from the Navy in 1994. He served aboard a submarine in the Arctic in the 1970s and again during Desert Storm. He understands that, for some older veterans, no accomplishment is ever enough.”We have things about stolen valor. Nobody wants to misrepresent themselves,” he said. “So I’m a Vietnam-era veteran. I’m not a Vietnam veteran. I was in Desert Storm, but I wasn’t in combat. We’re always talking about what we’re not quite.”Veterans struggling with suicide aren’t always wrestling with memories of combat. Stark suffered from depression most of his life and he never saw combat. He remembers sitting by the roadside with a pistol and contemplated pulling the trigger.”The military didn’t make me who I was,” he said.But the military establishes life-long habits, both good and bad. A soldier strives to be someone people can rely on, especially in critical situations.”You have a bad day at work and you go home. You have a bad day on a submerged submarine, then people die,” he said.So if you’re not feeling 100 percent, maybe it’s better to keep it to yourself, he notes. Stark describes suicidal feelings as a brief moment of blackness when other options fade from view.The VA National Suicide Data Report for 2005 to 2016, which came out in September 2018, highlights an alarming rise in suicides among veterans age 18 to 34 — 45 per 100,000 veterans. Younger veterans have the highest rate of suicide among veterans, but those 55 and older still represent the largest number of suicides. Moreover, the suicide rate for older veterans is higher than that of non-veterans. For veterans age 55 to 74 years old, the rate of suicide is 26 per 100,000, while nationally, the suicide rate in the same age group is 17.4 per 100,000. The rate ticks up even higher for veterans over 85 years old.The Veterans Health Administration has focused on finding risk factors that could lead someone to kill themselves, such as isolation, previous suicidal thoughts and access to firearms. Another big risk factor is that older men are also more likely to reject treatment for mental health issues.Among the people who have those risk factors, the VA still doesn’t know who will attempt suicide, said Colin Depp, a psychologist at the San Diego VA who has researched suicide among older veterans.”We’re not very far ahead in understanding who’s out there, who’s really likely to take their lives in the next hours, days, months,” he said.The VA emphasizes getting potentially suicidal veterans in the door, where health-care workers deploy a range of treatments, he said.That’s what has helped 76-year-old Robert Nielson. He was 73 years old before he sought help. As part of his own treatment, Neilson is now writing letters of encouragement to fellow veterans who are just beginning treatment as part of a VA program.Neilson pulled out one of the letters he wrote and explained how he can help a veteran he will never meet in person. “I don’t know you but I have faith in you. You’re going to make it,” he read.The letters are just one more nudge to keep veterans away from that dark moment when suicide feels like the only option.This story is part of the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration on in-depth military coverage with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Patriots Connection. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
A note from the editor:For nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring, and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has repeatedly breached freedom of information laws in an apparent attempt to prevent the release of secret reports written by disabled people recruited to work within its jobcentres.Two years ago, DWP published a work, health and disability green paper, Improving Lives, in which it revealed plans to recruit about 200 new “community partners”.Ministers said these community partners would have “personal and professional experience of disability” and would support work coaches in jobcentres.The aim was for them to “provide valuable first-hand insight” into the issues faced by disabled people in “securing and sustaining employment”, with work coaches able to draw on their local knowledge.The community partners, many of whom were to be seconded from disability organisations, would also help map local provision of peer support and service-user groups.But Disability News Service (DNS) has since learned that these community partners submit regular reports on their work, often based on their experiences of visiting jobcentres.For years, DNS has been reporting on the alleged failure of DWP jobcentres to safeguard disabled people left in vulnerable situations because of flaws in the benefits system.Many of these failings have led to the deaths of benefit claimants and have subsequently been reported on in secret DWP peer reviews (now renamed internal process reviews).The deaths of disabled people such as Lawrence Bond, David Clapson and Alan McArdle – and many others – have been linked to alleged failings of policy or practice within jobcentres.DNS therefore submitted a freedom of information request to DWP in May, asking to see any of the reports written by community partners working in London Jobcentre Plus districts in 2017 and 2018, in case any of them included concerns raised by Community Partners about such failings.Such requests are supposed to be answered within 20 working days, but there has so far been no written response from the department’s freedom of information department.On 5 July, DNS emailed DWP’s freedom of information team to ask why it had failed to respond to the request, and followed that up with another email on 19 July, warning that the failure to respond was a clear breach of the Freedom of Information Act.DNS has since spoken to a civil servant in DWP’s freedom of information team, who promised to try to find out why no response had been sent.She told DNS this week that she had repeatedly attempted to secure a response from the jobcentre operations team and had warned them that they had breached their legal duties under the act.She said she did not know why they had failed to respond to the request.She told DNS: “I chased it again this morning and I don’t know why it has taken so long. I have reminded them of their duty to reply in time and that is where I am with it.“You have every right to go to the Information Commissioner’s Office [to lodge a complaint].“I have tried. I don’t know why they are digging their heels. I am sorry.”A DWP spokeswoman refused to explain the reason for the repeated breach of the Freedom of Information Act.But she said in a statement: “Any issues relating to FOI requests can be dealt with by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.“If you are unhappy with the handling of an FOI request please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.“The latest statistics show that DWP answered 95 per cent of FOI requests within 20 working days, exceeding the information commissioner’s compliance threshold of 90 per cent. “As you know, DWP spokesperson statements must come from the DWP press office, and we regularly provide you with statements, as we are doing so in this instance.“Please can you therefore use the above wording in your story instead of quoting from phone calls with DWP employees.”
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 8 2019A multi-center phase II clinical trial investigating pembrolizumab as a first-line and programmed cell death-1 therapy in patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma reports lasting tumor control, generally manageable side effects and improved overall survival. The results are published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, available at http://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.18.01896.LSU Health New Orleans’ Adam Riker, MD, FACS, Professor and Chief of Surgical Oncology, led the study at its School of Medicine and Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center.”This study shows the amazing ability of our immune system to fight off and destroy an aggressive form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma,” says Dr. Riker. “The study drug, pembrolizumab, which is a new form of immunotherapy, blocks a specific receptor in our bodies, resulting in a super charging of our immune system to both recognize and destroy cancer cells. The overall impressive results show that this form of immunotherapy is quite effective, giving us an important treatment option for patients with Merkel Cell Carcinoma that has spread within the body.”Fifty patients, aged 46 – 91 years, were enrolled in the open-label, nonrandomized study. Patients were given pembrolizumab intravenously every three weeks for up to two years. Fifty-six percent of participants responded to the drug – 24% had a complete response, and 32%, a partial response. The average length of progression-free survival was 26.8 months, with a 24-month rate of 48.3%. The overall survival rate at 24 months was 68.7%.Nearly all of the participants (96%) experienced some type of treatment-related side effect, and seven patients discontinued the trial because of them. The authors note that one death occurred in a 73-year-old patient with widely metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma and pre-existing atrial fibrillation who withdrew from the trial and died 10 days after a single infusion of pembrolizumab.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellStudy: Megakaryocytes play an important role in cell migrationComprehensive cell atlas of the human liverAccording to the National Cancer Institute, Merkel cell carcinoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the skin. Sun exposure and a weak immune system can affect the risk of Merkel cell carcinoma. Though rare, the incidence of Merkel cell carcinoma increased by 95% between 2000 and 2013. The five-year overall survival rate ranges between 14 and 27% for advanced disease.The first drug approved to treat metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, avelumab, did not gain FDA approval until 2017. The authors add, in 2016, guidelines listed chemotherapy as the sole treatment option for advanced Merkel cell carcinoma. In 2017, pembrolizumab was recommended after chemotherapy; and in 2018, avelumab, nivolumab, and pembrolizumab were all recommended as preferred first-line therapies, ahead of chemotherapy.The fact that the incidence is highest in people who are immunosuppressed provides some support for the idea that Merkel cell carcinoma is an immunogenic cancer, one that is related to immune function, and a good candidate for immunotherapy. The National Cancer Institute defines immunotherapy as “a type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection, and other diseases. Some types of immunotherapy only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), and some monoclonal antibodies.” Pembrolizumab is a monoclonal antibody.Source: https://www.lsuhsc.edu/newsroom/Immunotherapy%20Drug%20Used%20As%201st-Line%20Therapy%20for%20Merkel%20Cell%20Carcinoma%20Improved%20Survival.html
Cozmo: Kids get programming boost with drag-and-drop interface In this Jan. 9, 2018, image made from a video, the Root robot traces a line down a wall using its magnetic treads at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas. Root draws, moves, sees and reacts to touch and various other commands. Kids can use Root to start drawing lines and progress to creating snowflake-like mathematical patterns called fractals. (AP Photo/Ryan Nakashima) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, the Ozobot Evo, which has sensors to interact with its environment, is demonstrated at CES International in Las Vegas. Evo comes equipped to follow around any finger placed before its frontal camera. “We want kids to immediately engage with a robot,” says Nader Hamda, founder and CEO of the Evo’s maker, Redondo Beach, California-based Ozobot. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) Explore further You’ve seen apps and toys that promise to teach your child to code. Now enter the robots. This dome-shaped, wheeled dynamo about the height of a few fingers looks for direction right out of the box—and comes equipped to follow around any finger placed before its frontal camera.”We want kids to immediately engage with a robot,” says Nader Hamda, founder and CEO of Evo’s maker, Redondo Beach, California-based Ozobot.The robot makes sounds, flashes lights, moves and can sense and react to its environment.An app helps kids—aged 8 and up—program Evo to do what they want. The bot’s downward facing scanners also let it follow lines drawn on regular paper, some of which embody coding instructions. For instance, blue-black-blue gets it to speed up; green-red-green-red tells it to spin.Pros: It’s cheaper than other coding botsCons: It doesn’t do quite as much as other botsPrice: $89Shipping: NowOnline: ozobot.com Shipping: NowOnline: www.primotoys.com___ROOTRoot Robotics’ flattish, hexagonal droid has downward-facing scanners, magnetic wheels, touch-reactive panels, lights, motion sensors, and a pen-grabbing hole in the center of its body.Controlling it does require a screen. 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. At the CES electronics show in January, coding robots came out in force. One convention hall area was packed with everything from chip-embedded, alphabet-like coding blocks to turtle-like tanks that draw on command.Of course, no one can really say how well these coding bots teach kids, or even whether learning to code is the essential life skill that so many in the tech industry claim. After all, by the time today’s elementary-school kids are entering the workforce, computers may well be programming themselves.But experts like Jeff Gray, a computer science professor at the University of Alabama and an adviser to the nonprofit coding education group Code.org, say kids can derive other benefits from coding robots and similar toys. They can, for instance, learn “persistence and grit” when the toys inevitably do something unintended, he says.So if you’re in the market for a coding robot that teaches and maybe even entertains, here’s a look at four that were on display at CES. But beware: None of them are cheap.___CUBETTOLondon-based Primo Toys, the makers of this mobile wooden block, believes kids can learn coding concepts at age 3 before they can even read. And they don’t even need a screen.The “Cubetto” block on wheels responds to where chip-embedded pieces are put on a wooden board. Different colors represent different commands—for example, to “go straight” or “turn left.”Kids can bunch together a number of commands into what’s called a function and can also make Cubetto repeat actions in a loop.Pros: Good for parents who want to avoid more screensCons: Doesn’t offer an immediate path to real codingPrice: $226 Online: www.codewithroot.com___COZMOThis bundle of personality on wheels debuted in 2016. It now comes with an app called Code Lab, which allows kids to drag and drop blocks of code that control its movements and animations. They can even access facial and object recognition functions enabled by Cozmo’s front-facing camera.Cozmo, recommended for kids aged 8 and up, looks like a little tractor and can pick up interactive cubes, which are included.Part of its appeal are the twitches and tweets that make it seem like an energetic pet, according to Boris Sofman, the CEO and co-founder of Cozmo maker Anki, based in San Francisco.Pros: Its expressive eyes and movements make it seem like a little R2-D2Cons: Because it’s so full of personality, there might be a disconnect between programming it to do things and just letting it be itselfPrice: $180Shipping: NowOnline: www.anki.com/en-us/cozmo___EVO In this Jan. 9, 2018, image made from a video, the Cubetto robot moves across a table following commands input into a board using blocks at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas. The “Cubetto” block on wheels responds to where chip-embedded pieces are put on a wooden board. Different colors represent different commands, for example, to “go straight” or “turn left.” (AP Photo/Ryan Nakashima) In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, Anki Cozmo coding robot is on display at CES International in Las Vegas. Cozmo, which debuted in 2016, now comes with an app called Code Lab that allows kids to drag and drop blocks of code that control its movements and animations. They can even access facial and object recognition functions enabled by Cozmo’s front-facing camera. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company also claims kids don’t need to be able to read and can start playing with Root at age 4.Root draws, moves, sees and reacts to touch and various other commands. Kids can use Root to start drawing lines and progress to creating snowflake-like mathematical patterns called fractals.Co-founder Zee Dubrovsky says his daughter began coding with Root at age 4, and progressed up to the point where her robot drew her name on a whiteboard in school.Pros: Sturdy frame; kids can progress from graphical block-based codes to text codingCons: Requires lots of clean, flat surface area, preferably whiteboards. Root has three difficulty levels, some of which wade into deeper math, so parental time commitment could be considerable. The Kickstarter-launched company has taken a while to ship items, so delivery could be delayedPrice: $199Shipping: June 2018 (although the company has been working to fulfill Kickstarter orders since May 2017) Citation: Four robots that aim to teach your kids to code (2018, February 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-robots-aim-kids-code.html
© 2018 AFP What’s that extra in my online cart? Soon, maybe a sales tax The German government, which estimates that it loses up to 500 million euros a year in unapdi sales taxes on goods purchased from e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon, has drafted a new law that will tighten the rules for foreign online companies Explore further 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. The German government on Wednesday approved a draft law to crack down on VAT fraud in online sales by tightening the rules for e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay. Citation: Germany moves to tackle sales tax fraud in e-commerce (2018, August 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-germany-tackle-sales-tax-fraud.html The government estimates that it loses up to 500 million euros ($580 million) a year in unpaid sales taxes on goods purchased online from companies outside Germany. “We are ending the illegal practice of some vendors on online marketplaces who evade the sales tax and unfairly give themselves competitive advantages,” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in a statement.The government says that although the price German customers pay for their online purchases includes VAT, many foreign-based vendors never pass the taxes on to the German state.The proposed legislation, which still needs to go through parliament, would oblige online shopping platforms to track sales by third-party companies on their website, and pass the relevant information on to the finance ministry so those firms can be taxed.If that fails, the online platforms themselves could be liable to pay the necessary sales taxes.The proposed German legislation would take effect in 2019, two years before a similar scheme for the entire European Union comes into force.A spokesman for eBay told DPA news agency that the company has “no tolerance for vendors who fail to comply with their legal obligations on the eBay marketplace”.But he also criticised Germany for rushing in measures ahead of the EU-wide legislation.”Any unilateral actions that lead to legal fragmentation pose a huge burden for global companies,” he said.
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But cancer vaccines have a poor record of success. CBN, and people have been caught and money confiscated. Credit: Richard Brandon CoxThis type of stuff has been worthy of a Darwin Award or two in the past, Russia is believed to support the left-wing and increasingly pro-Russian Podemos party.