Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Major networks team up to air Pacquiao-Matthysse July 15 fight Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours LATEST STORIES In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award View comments Brazil’s Neymar, left, runs with the ball during a practice session of the Brazil national soccer team at the Granja Comary training center, in Teresopolis, Brazil, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)Brazil’s star forward Neymar is returning to training “better than expected,” after more than two months out with a broken foot bone, the Brazilian team physical trainer said Wednesday.The Paris Saint-Germain striker, who was injured in February and underwent surgery in Brazil, is in training with the national team in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro, ahead of the World Cup in Russia.ADVERTISEMENT China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew “He has evolved well. He trains every day. I could even say that his development is better than expected,” the trainer, Fabio Mahseredjian, told journalists.Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar, who led the operation on Neymar in March, said “he’s regaining his usual movements bit by bit. The next step is full group training and then play games. Everything is being done for him to feel at ease.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownNeymar will have a chance to get back to match fitness with a friendly against Croatia on June 3 and Austria on June 10. The team opens their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17.Meanwhile, winger Douglas Costa suffered a “minor muscular injury,” Lasmar said, and could miss the friendlies. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations MOST READ Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial
The Liberia Elections Observation Network (LEON) says it observed positive voting and counting processes overall and continues to observe the tallying and post-election environment, according to a press release yesterday.LEON is a platform of four Liberian Civil Society Organizations: The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP), Federation of Liberia Youth (FLY) and National Union of Organizations for the Disabled (NUOD), with the goal to meaningfully contribute to the democratization process in Liberia by providing an avenue for civil society to participate in monitoring and observing the 2017 elections.LEON noted that there were problems with slow application of procedures, poor queue control and lack of direction for voters on which polling places they were assigned to.“Although this led to long queues in many precincts on election day, Liberians exercised their vote in a generally calm manner.“Tallying is ongoing around the country and it is positive that the NEC has started to issue partial results as they come in,” the release said.LEON continues to monitor the tallying process in all centers around the country and notes that the process is extremely transparent for both party agents and observers.LEON deployed 1,140 observers throughout Liberia before the election day. They were stationed in approximately half of all polling precincts and 20 percent of polling places.“They observed opening, voting and the counting process sending findings on these different processes by text directly to a computer database. Reports are still arriving from remote areas and data verification is ongoing. This statement is based on the checked and verified reports from just over one-third of these observers.”LEON said it issued two reports on election day on opening and voting. “LEON observers are still observing the tallying process in all centers around Liberia and LEON will release further statements based on their reports.“LEON will also issue a final report once all its observers’ reports have been received which will include an analysis of the entire process from voter registration on wards.”By the end of voting LEON observers assessed that the voting process was good or very good in 87 percent of polling stations observed. “This was a slight improvement on their morning assessment and can be linked to the fact that, in many places, the queues had subsided and the polling process was smoother in the afternoon.”Voting procedures were generally observed to be followed correctly, which meant that important safeguards against multiple voting and intimidation such as checking fingers for ink, punching the voting card and voting in secret were in place.Long queues were a problem in many polling stations observed and led to disorder and tensions in around 10 percent of precincts. Some queues were caused by the late opening of the polling places, mostly due to the late arrival of either polling materials or staff.However, the majority of problems were caused by poor queue control, which was noted in 26 percent of polling places observed, and lack of clear identification of which polling place voters should go to. For instance, in Precinct 30097, Montserrado District 3, there were only two queue controllers for seven polling places. LEON Observers noted people leaving polling places without voting, and it is not known if they returned later and were able to exercise their right to vote.Gender VoteFrom the NEC gender control sheets in the polling places observed, approximately 52 percent of voters were women. There is thus the possibility that some men, who would not have had a preference in the queues, did not return to vote.Poor line management also led to tensions in the precincts affected. However, the tensions only spilled over into violence in 13 of the polling precincts where LEON observers were stationed, which indicated the commitment of Liberians to a peaceful process.Observers also reported interference by candidates or partisans in two precincts (33080 Nimba District 1 and 24003 Margibi District 4).LEON Observers noted that on the average two of the polling staff were women. However, the Presiding Officer was a woman in only one-fifth of polling places observed.“Polling staff followed procedures accurately and in full view of observers and party agents. However, they were often very meticulous, particularly during counting, which made the process very slow in some places.”A small number of voters were missing from the Final Registration Roll in half of polling places observed. These were allowed to vote if their voter ID card numbers fell within the range assigned to the polling place, in accordance with procedures and added to the supplementary voters’ list. A few polling places had much larger numbers added to the list, sometimes as many as a third of all people voting. Special categories of people, such as security services and people working with the NEC or observer groups were allowed to vote at a different polling precinct to where they had registered and would account for some of these additions to the supplementary register. However, there were strong indications that not all inaccuracies in the voters’ list were resolved by the NEC prior to the election.LEON conducted a person to list audit of the voter register during the week the Preliminary Registration Roll was exhibited and found that around 4 percent of the 3,033 voters checked were missing from the PRR.“We will continue to follow issues with the FRR through tallying and will give further analysis in the final report.”LEON noted that people still waited to vote in 78 polling places at 6.00 p.m., with the average being 37 people waiting.In Bong County, Precinct 06017, 370 people were still waiting to vote, but LEON can confirm that the polling place stayed open until 12:30 a.m. until they had all voted.Counting started immediately thereafter, in accordance with procedures, and finished at 7:30 a.m. on 11th.Observers reported that 99 percent of the counts observed were conducted correctly, with 99 percent offering a clear view of the process to party agents and observers. LEON commends the NEC for having extremely transparent counting procedures.About 92 percent of observers reported no irregularities or problems, and 91 percent rated the process as good or very good as a result. However, 5 percent of counts did not conduct the reconciliation of how many ballots were used prior to the opening of the ballot box and counting of ballots. Similarly, a record of count forms and the Presiding Officer’s worksheet were correctly completed in all but 4 percent of counts observed.It said there were problems in 31 counting places of party agents interfering in the process and 5 incidences of minor violence.Party agents were present during voting and/or counting in 97 percent polling places that LEON observed. Most commonly found were Unity Party (in 87 percent of polling places), ANC (84 percent), ALP (78 percent), LP (59 percent), CDC (55 percent), MOVEE (51 percent). Male party agents outnumbered women by 2 to 1 on the average. Unfortunately, party agents were reported to have tried to interfere in the process in 10 percent of polling places and 7 percent of counts observed.SecurityA security personnel was present at 96 percent of all polling stations and only on four occasions did security personnel enter a polling place when there was no disturbance.LEON also noted that security forces played a positive role during the campaign period with most of the 382 rallies observed being conducted peacefully.Physically Challenged, Elderly VotersPersons with disabilities were 84 percent of polling places and were assessed as accessible to elderly or disabled voters. However, in the large cities, many polling places were on the first floor and voters with disabilities were not always assigned to these and had to be carried up.The NEC is to be commended for printing tactile ballot guides for blind and partially sighted voters. These were present in polling stations for both presidential and representative ballots. LEON observers reported that blind voters were using the tactile ballot guides in half of all polling places. Most of the other polling places had no blind people come to vote indicating that blind voters frequently took up the option of voting for themselves. Voters can ask for assistance to vote from a person of their choice.LEON observers noted that in 7 percent of polling stations a member of the polling staff assisted the voter, which is contrary to procedures.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 22 2018Researchers have discovered a way to grow human stem cells destined to become mature sperm in an effort to provide fertility options later in life to males who are diagnosed with cancer and undergo chemotherapy and radiation as children. The findings are published today in Nature Communications from a team led by Sandra Ryeom, PhD, an associate professor of Cancer Biology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and co-leader of the Tumor Biology Program at the Abramson Cancer Center.”For years researchers have been trying to find ways to grow and expand these cells from testicular biopsies donated by young patients prior to their cancer treatment, but until now, there has not been a consistently successful approach,” said Ryeom.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedAccording to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 530 young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 years is a survivor of childhood cancer. Cancer treatments leave a majority of boys infertile, as chemotherapy and radiation often kill sperm-producing stem cells (SSCs). While there are ways to preserve fertility for boys diagnosed with cancer after puberty, no such options exist for prepubescent boys.”We have never had any fertility preservation options for prepubescent boys,” said study co-author Jill Ginsberg, MD, a pediatric oncologist and director of the Cancer Survivorship Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The findings in this work are a great first step forward for our youngest patients.”Researchers have known that the production of sperm could be restored in mice that were sterilized after treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent busulfan by injecting immature sperm cells from a donor into their seminiferous tubules–located in the testes. From this, oncologists suggested that SSCs might be harvested from boys before the start of chemotherapy and reintroduced into their testes when treatment was complete. However, the testes of prepubescent boys contain such a small number of SSCs that, in order for this approach to be successful, the cells would need to be grown and multiplied in the lab prior to subsequent reinjection.Given these challenges, the team identified testicular endothelial cells as a critical niche population for the maintenance and expansion of human SSCs in the lab. More importantly, they also identified five growth factors produced by testicular endothelial cells that are necessary for keeping human and mouse SSC cultures alive over the long term. Eventually patient samples could be expanded then frozen until needed.Mouse cells in long-term culture restored the ability of mice after chemotherapy-induced infertility to produce sperm. Ultimately the SSCs were functional as demonstrated by the birth of live pups after being fathered by mice with the transplanted SSCs and growth factors.”Our next step is to determine whether we can re-inject or engraft the expanded SSCs into patients after they are cancer free,” Ryeom said. Source:https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2018/october/future-fertility-giving-hope-to-men-who-received-childhood-cancer-treatment
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
Explore further Citation: Rights group: China using personal data as repression tool (2018, February 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-rights-group-china-personal-repression.html The rights group used publicly available government procurement documents, media reports and interviews to assemble details of the policing program, called the “Integrated Joint Operations Platform,” in Xinjiang, a sprawling area in northwest China that security officials say harbors separatist and religious extremist elements.Unidentified sources inside Xinjiang described to Human Rights Watch the computer and mobile app interfaces of the IJOP software that tracks almost all citizens of the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur ethnic minority and stores detailed information, including their travel history, prayer habits, the number of books in their possession, and banking and health records.Procurement notices show that the IJOP also deploys license plate tracking and facial-recognition cameras to follow people in real time and provide “predictive warnings” about impending crime, Human Rights Watch said.Although surveillance is pervasive in many countries, including the United States, and has the potential for abuse, the technology is being deployed far more broadly in Xinjiang, said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch and the report’s author. Such pressure was ratcheted up following a series of deadly attacks blamed on Uighur extremists seeking independence from Chinese rule.A 2017 investigation by The Associated Press showed that thousands of Uighurs in Xinjiang, and possibly many more, have been sent to an extrajudicial network of political indoctrination centers for months at a time for reasons including studying abroad and communicating with relatives abroad. 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. In this Nov. 3, 2017, file photo, residents walk through a security checkpoint into the Hotan Bazaar where a screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hotan in western China’s Xinjiang region. Human Rights Watch says it has found new evidence that authorities in one of China’s most repressive regions are sweeping up citizens’ personal information in a stark example of how modern big-data technology can be applied to policing, and potentially abused. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) “In China the programs are very explicitly focused on people who are politically threatening or an entire Uighur ethnic group,” Wang said.An official in the press office of Xinjiang police headquarters on Monday confirmed AP’s questions had been received but said leaders were out and he had no idea when or if there would be a reply. The official, like many Chinese bureaucrats, declined to give his name because he wasn’t authorized to speak to reporters.China’s 10 million Uighurs already face a raft of restrictions not imposed on people of the Han ethnicity, who are the overwhelming majority in China. Uighurs face multiple hurdles in procuring passports and those who have them are required to leave them with the police. Hotels are required to register their presence with the local authorities and frequently turn them away to avoid the hassle. Frequent road blocks and checkpoints across the vast Xinjiang region enable authorities to stop people and check their mobile phones for content that might be deemed suspicious. Human Rights Watch says it has found new evidence that authorities in one of China’s most repressive regions are sweeping up citizens’ personal information in a stark example of how big-data technology can be used to police a population. In this Nov. 5, 2017, file photo, residents watch a convoy of security personnel and armored vehicles in a show of force through central Kashgar in western China’s Xinjiang region. Human Rights Watch says it has found new evidence that authorities in one of China’s most repressive regions are sweeping up citizens’ personal information in a stark example of how modern big-data technology can be applied to policing, and potentially abused. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) In this Nov. 2, 2017, file photo, a police personnel holding shield and baton guards a security post leading into a center believed to be used for re-education in Korla in western China’s Xinjiang region. Human Rights Watch says it has found new evidence that authorities in one of China’s most repressive regions are sweeping up citizens’ personal information in a stark example of how modern big-data technology can be applied to policing, and potentially abused. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Prefecture in China’s Xinjiang to track cars by satellite The AP also found evidence in government documents and procurement contracts of the Xinjiang government compiling biometric and personal data and systematically rating its Uighur citizens’ political reliability.The Human Rights Watch report reveals for the first time that the disparate data collection efforts appear to be unified under one central digital database that calculates citizens’ political risk.Use of the integrated computer system has led to people being detained and sent to political indoctrination centers, Wang said, citing interviewees who were kept anonymous out of concern for their safety.Wang said she has found evidence that Chinese police are building similar big-data tracking capabilities in other parts of the country under a program called the “police cloud,” but do not deploy them to as such an extent as in Xinjiang.