Month: July 2019


New funding of more than £15 million is set to de


first_imgNew funding of more than £1.5 million is set to deliver an international extension to a disability arts commissioning programme that grew out of London 2012, and help influence how disabled people are perceived in other countries.Unlimited has secured more than £750,000 from Arts Council England – which will be matched by the British Council – to extend its work internationally.The new Unlimited International programme will make six research and development awards to disabled artists, and then select three of them to become full commissions, each led by disabled artists from England and one other country.The completed works are set to tour at least three countries, which are likely to include Brazil, Australia and Japan, as well as in Europe.The new scheme – which will be overseen by the disability-led arts organisation Shape Arts and arts producing experts Arts Admin – aims to help disabled artists from other countries improve their skills.But it also aims to shift perceptions of disabled people, and build on Unlimited’s existing work to ensure disabled artists have the same opportunities as non-disabled artists, “embedding” them within the cultural sector.Unlimited was built on a successful programme which saw 29 pieces by disabled artists showcased during the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.In the lead-up to the commissioning process, disabled artists from Brazil, Japan and Australia will tour Britain, probably appearing at Unlimited festivals at London’s Southbank Centre and Glasgow’s Tramway, and other venues across the country.The tour will also be supported by the British Council; the Pallant House art gallery in West Sussex; the disability, music and technology charity Drake Music; and the Watershed arts centre in Bristol.Tony Heaton, chief executive of Shape, told Disability News Service: “It’s a great achievement that Shape and Unlimited are now working globally and as far-reaching as Brazil, Australia and Japan.“We in the UK should be very proud that the home-grown disability arts movement that started a quarter century ago is having such a huge impact in 2016, and the international presence of disabled artists will help further our mission to make art accessible for all.“However, we recognise that rapid growth requires a more complex infrastructure and greater resources, so the ongoing support from funders is vital for us to continue our work.”Joyce Wilson, London area director for Arts Council England, said: “Unlimited continues to respond to the very high demand for ambitious new work by Deaf and disabled artists.“The commissioned works and associated Southbank Unlimited Festival are proving instrumental in shifting the attitudes of not only venues, programmers and producers but also audiences.“Unlimited International offers significant scope to grow this impact worldwide, delivering demonstrable change and extending the international profile of British Deaf and disabled artists.”Picture: A previous Unlimited commission: Liz Carr’s ‘Assisted Suicide: The Musical’last_img read more


The government is refusing to act over claims that


first_imgThe government is refusing to act over claims that a primary school excluded up to 30 pupils – many of them disabled – to smooth its path to becoming a self-governing “academy”. Nonsuch primary in Birmingham moved from local authority control to become an academy in January, but now faces allegations that it excluded pupils in order to improve its performance and so make the move to academy status easier.At the time of its last Ofsted report, in 2012, the school (pictured) had just 193 children between the ages of four and 11, so it may have excluded more than 15 per cent of its students in a bid to become an academy.The council has admitted that 90 per cent of fixed-term – temporary – exclusions from the school in the 2014-15 academic year were children with special educational needs (SEN).The trust that now runs the school, the Barchelai Academy Trust, has launched an independent investigation into the way Nonsuch treats pupils with SEN.Cllr John Lines, a Conservative city councillor whose ward includes the school and who has played a key role in exposing the exclusions, said he believed Nonsuch primary had been engaged in a “dash for cash and academy status”, and branded its actions “an utter disgrace”.He has collected the names and addresses of about 30 pupils who have been excluded either temporarily or permanently from the school over the last 18 months, and said he had seen many of their parents in tears over what had happened.He said: “I have been on the council for 33 years and I have never experienced anything quite like it.“Some of the disabled children are still not receiving an education. It is discrimination of the worst kind.”He has written to the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, and Ofsted, about his concerns.And he said he did not care if raising these concerns made him unpopular within his own party.Morgan said in a white paper published last month that the government wanted every school to be an academy – and therefore outside direct local authority control – by 2022.Cllr Lines said: “All I care about is that my constituents’ children get a good education. If that makes me unpopular with my own party, I don’t give a damn.”But he also criticised Labour-run Birmingham City Council for failing to act on the exclusions when the school was still under local authority control.He said: “The education department in Birmingham abandoned these children, many of them disabled, to their fate.“Now they say they can’t do anything about it because it’s an academy. But it wasn’t an academy when this was going on.”Peter French, Barchelai’s chair, admitted that there had “clearly been issues at that school” around the way it dealt with disabled pupils – before the trust took over in January – and suggested that “some of the paperwork and processes were not done as well as they could have been done”.But he said it was “not true at all” that the school had carried out the exclusions to smooth its path to becoming an academy, although he conceded that the investigation would look at those claims.French said that no children had been excluded since the trust took over in January.And he said the trust had installed a new SEN co-ordinator to “try to make sure all the proper procedures are being done and the appropriate support is put in there”.He said: “My view as chair of the trust is we want to have an inclusive school there.“We want to do our best to ensure we cater for all children as best we can.”A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said there had been less than five permanent exclusions from Nonsuch in each of the last two academic years, 2013-14 and 2014-15.But she revealed that the number of temporary exclusions at the school had risen from fewer than five in 2013-14 to 10 in 2014-15, while nine of those 10 had “some type of SEN”.There are no figures for the school’s final term before it became an academy.The council spokeswoman said: “We take these claims very seriously and are working closely with Nonsuch Primary School, its academy trust and the Regional Schools Commissioner, to review the inclusion processes and procedures for all pupils.”The Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands, Pank Patel, had failed to comment by noon today (7 April).Inclusive education campaigners have been warning since at least 2010 that the rapid spread of “academy” schools was undermining the inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education.A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We are clear that no school should discriminate against pupils – and they have a legal duty not to.“All schools are held to account by Ofsted for their use of exclusion powers.“Barchelai Trust has reviewed the running of the academy and is now taking swift action so the needs of all pupils are met and underachievement is overcome.“We will continue to monitor the situation.”When asked if ministers were taking any action to ensure that such discrimination did not happen to other disabled children as a result of government plans to turn every school into an academy, she declined to comment further.An Ofsted spokesman said his organisation did not discuss individual complaints about schools, but said in a statement: “Inspectors ask for information about pupil exclusions when they go into schools.“Inspectors assess their use of exclusion, including the rates, patterns and reasons, as well as any differences between groups of pupils.“If there is evidence of a school using exclusion powers inappropriately then an inspection may be brought forward.”last_img read more


Developments in Development Slice of the Pie


first_imgIn less far-reaching news, the long-anticipated park at 17th and Folsom is moving forward after years of planning. You can see a layout and specific features at Socketsite, as well as a few details about the affordable housing development slated for the other half of that parking lot. What’s not totally clear is how this will affect the flooding and sewage backflow that plague the area every time heavy rains fall – plans have been suggested and pulled multiple times to install a big basin underneath that site to absorb some of the stormwater that flows down to this natural bowl in the city’s topography. At a recent meeting, the Public Utilities Commission said that idea was still on the table.Capp Street between 21st and 22nd streets could get 20 units of housing, according to plans filed for the site. In a little twist of modern zeitgeist, the project as it’s currently drafted would include zero parking – instead, it could get a row of bike lockers. SocketSite reports this and other details, and notes that the project may be getting a redesign anyway since those lockers aren’t a code-required active use. Finally, ending on a lighter note, if you need a little music and beer in your life, check out Amnesia – after a two-week closure for renovations, the bar has reopened with an updated look. Capp Street Crap has the most important details, including that the bathroom doors now lock. 0% A short time in the future in a galaxy very similar to our own, where housing is the hottest commodity on the market, everyone is scrambling to hold on to or get in on the good stuff. Exhibit A: Corporate landlords want a slice of the Airbnb pie, reports the Wall Street Journal. Some of the nation’s biggest property management firms, with hundreds of thousands of units to their name, have started meeting with Airbnb reps to work out how landlords might charge their tenants a portion of what they earn with the practice. In the search for what Airbnb calls a “win-win-win for everyone involved,” a landlord might officially allow renters to use their home for short-term rentals, in exchange for a fee. On the opposite end of that spectrum, Supervisors Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin are pushing hard to expand affordable housing and rent control (to many those are two sides of the same coin). Kim introduced a charter amendment for the 2016 ballot this week that would require developers to increase the number of affordable units in on site affordable housing to 25 percent of the units from 12 percent. Meanwhile, Peskin is trying to see whether extending rent control to newer properties (it currently only applies to buildings constructed before 1979) is feasible. He has called on the City Attorney to see how that could work and said there might be a proposal on the table next year. More on both of these items at the Examiner.  center_img Tags: Affordable Housing • Airbnb • Developments in Development • housing • parking • parks Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more


SF residents train to monitor homeless sweeps


first_imgIn most of these cases, campers return to swept sites or resettle close by.  “We call this the sidewalk shuffle,” said Kelley Cutler, a human rights organizer with the Coalition.  Kelly Cutler, human rights organizer with the Coalition on Homelessness, coaches civilians on supporting the homeless during city sweeps. Photo by Laura Waxmann“Introduce yourself and identify as being part of Sweeps Watch,” Cutler told participants. “Ask them if this is a sweep or a routine cleanup.  They may look similar but are different.”Police barricades set up along sites where encampments were removed are a sure sign of a sweep. Otherwise, city services at a camp site is likely a routine sanitation effort in which campers are asked to downsize their belongings or sometimes relocate temporarily. One woman who participated in the training inquired about the protocol city agencies must follow during a sweep.“What is illegal for them to do during a sweep and what is legal?” She wanted to know.Cutler explained that it is illegal for city cleaning crews to trash or destroy camper’s personal belongings without permission and asked residents to note, time, place and details of any sweep. Last December, a number of civil rights groups filed a lawsuit for confiscating and illegally trashing the personal belongings of campers during sweeps.Another participant wanted to know what items she could bring to assist campers during sweeps.“Would bringing plastic bags help people pack up their stuff?” she asked. “Is that a good one thing to have on you at any given time?”Cutler said that while “bags are good,” but that the city’s Department of Public Works, which facilitates sweeps in San Francisco along with police, usually provides bags to campers. “It’s more about being there,” she said. Another man present at the meeting suggested bringing a notepad and pen to document the campers’ testimonies and details of the sweeps.Most importantly, the 40 or so people who attended the training were told to ask the homeless how they could help.The training on Wednesday stood in contrast with other forums held in the neighborhood by police and neighbors venting their frustrations.  The Mission District in particular has been left bearing much of the brunt of the city’s homeless crisis.  Following a major sweep on Division Street last year that permanently removed some 100 people from underneath the freeway underpass but offered few an alternative, many campers resettled in the Mission’s residential neighborhoods.Andrews told participants that while they have the right to document and record interactions between city officials and the homeless, they are not legally permitted to interfere.“Our main goal is to observe document and offer support,” said Andrews. “We are not here to escalate.  We try to change the way the city goes about these things.”The organizers stressed that the work of cleaning crews who are removing trash from encampments is also not to be interfered.“[Public Works crews] are not our enemies,” said Andrews, explaining that cleanups of encampment sites are necessary to help the campers rid their campsites of unwanted trash. Members of the city’s Homeless Outreach Team often accompany sweeps, but ultimately work to support the homeless, he said. “They are social workers. They want to help these people and get them into housing,” he said. “But they are in between a rock and a hard place because they is literally no place to go and they are given a task that’s impossible.”Sweeps Watch participants are asked to either send documentation and any information they have to humanrights@cohsf.org or to call the Coalition on Homelessness at 415-346-3740, preferably as the sweep is happening. In response to a surge of complaint-driven sweeps of homeless encampments by city officials in recent months, advocates for the homeless are now organizing and training civilians to monitor and document the rampant encampment removals.  On Wednesday, organizers with the Coalition on Homelessness conducted the city’s first ever “Sweeps Watch” training to coach some 40 residents in identifying and monitoring a sweep. The trainers also encouraged community members to step in and document incidents of harassment or wrongdoing by police and city officials. “In this period of crisis, you will find people there who are losing everything they have to their name,” said Dayton Andrews, also a human rights organizer with the coalition. The trainers urged participants to check in with the homeless before addressing police or city officials during a sweep, which trainers defined as a city-sanctioned process in which “people who are forced to live on the street are mandated to move along and there’s nowhere else to go.” Tags: advocacy • department of public works • DPW • homeless • police Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemaillast_img read more


ENGLAND Academy coach Dave Elliott has named his 1


first_imgENGLAND Academy coach Dave Elliott has named his 17-man squad to take on the Australian Schoolboys in the first of a two-test series at Canberra’s Bruce Stadium on Sunday August 5.Elliott’s charges have recorded back-to-back victories over New South Wales and Parramatta Juniors in their warm-up games on tour so far and they go into Sunday’s clash hoping to take the first step towards successive series victories over the Schoolboys.“We’ve got a very strong squad available to us all the way through and that has made selection very difficult this week,” said Elliott. “We’ve had some standout performances in our games on tour so far and every player in the squad has staked a claim to play against Australia.“We have some disappointed players in the squad today but I’m confident that we have selected a squad that can come away with the win on Sunday.”England Academy side to play Australian Schoolboys (professional and community clubs):1, Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)2, James Saltonstall (Warrington Wolves, Siddal)3, Luke Briscoe (Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions)4, John Ford (Salford City Reds, Blackbrook Royals)5, Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)6, Ryan Hampshire (Wigan Warriors, Normanton Knights)7, George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)8, Liam McAvoy (Bradford Bulls, Broughton Red Rose)9, Dominic Speakman (St Helens, Halton Hornets)10, Gavin Bennion (Warrington Wolves, Ryland Sharks)11, John Bateman (Bradford Bulls, Dudley Hill)12, Connor Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)13, Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves, Parkside Golbourn)14, Luke Thompson (St Helens, Pilkington Recs)15, Ryan Sutton (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)16, Jordan Baldwinson (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)17, Josh Johnson (Huddersfield Giants, Saddleworth)Live updates from England Academy’s game against Australian Schoolboys can be seen by following the official England twitter account @england_rllast_img read more


THE Heritage Alcove situated in the Saints Supers


first_imgTHE Heritage Alcove, situated in the Saints Superstore at Langtree Stadium, features a display that commemorates the links between the Club and those who have represented their country in the armed forces.Pride of place is the Lancashire County jersey belonging to Jimmy Flanagan who was killed in action in France in May 1918.Amongst the other memorabilia are several soldiers’ helmets from the First World War, lent by Peter Butterworth, whose painting, the Fallen Five, is also on show.This marvellous artwork is a lasting memorial to those Saints’ players who fell in the First World War – Jim Flanagan, James Ford, Jimmy Greenwood, George Sephton and Hubert Sidney ‘Jum’ Turtill from New Zealand.Paul Clough’s signed match-worn jersey from the Hull KR match, auctioned in aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is also displayed.The display was opened by Chairman Eamonn McManus, whose father was a prisoner of war in the Far East during World War Two.Also in attendance were artist Peter Butterworth, Jimmy Flanagan, grandson of the great Saints’ and Lancashire winger, Dave Dooley, who wrote a poem in his book Saints Verses about the Fallen Five and Saints’ Community Development Director Gordon Pennington, who is a former RAF officer with more than 20 years service.”last_img read more


SAINTS continued their unbeaten run in this years


first_imgSAINTS continued their unbeaten run in this year’s competition easily beating a workmanlike but ultimately poor Red Devils side 46-16. But this was a stuttering performance where nobody was totally on their game, writes Graham Henthorne.The story of the night was played out in the first ten minutes when the Saints bombed three tries. Firstly Levy Nzoungou knocked on attempting to take Aaron Smith’s crash ball at the sticks.From a scrum ten out from the line Ricky Bailey peeled left but inexplicably passed to my Dad in the stand instead of his winger Regan Grace and moments later Jordan Olmez knocked on ten metres out from a pass he would take nine times out of ten with his eyes closed!Despite all this the visitors were worse and continued to invite the Saints in and eventually the dam broke. Again from a scrum deep in enemy territory Bailey was stopped inches short. From the play the ball Smith found Jake Spedding who had the easiest of scores.From the kick off the Saints got the ball out to Grace who beat his opposite number down the touchline and just as your correspondent was sharpening his pencil to notch down the try he ran straight at the full back almost tackling himself.Thankfully a great grubber from Elliott Jenkins, something he repeated numerous times during the game, earned the Saints a repeat set and two tackles in Nzoungou turned on the magic stepping his way past three statuesque tacklers to score.Belying a completion rate of only 50 % the Saints continued to score points this time in the form of Ben Morris who followed a great dummy half break from Smith to take the offload to plunge over at the posts.The visitors opened their account after the kick off was allowed to bounce and two tackles later the Red Devils best player, sub prop Fowden, barged over from close range.Smith continued to torment the visitors being held up over the line. From the restart a lovely miss pass from Callum Hazard found Grace who twisted over in the corner.Brad Billsborough made if four from four to give the Saints a comfortable cushion at oranges.Just when you thought they couldn’t get any worse the Saints started the second period with four penalties on the run, the last resulting in a sin-binning for Spedding for ball stealing.However, the Saints managed to score whilst down a man as Morris picked up his second after Jordan Olmez had been held up.A rare attack from the visitors ended with them passing to Bailey who immediately turned defence into attack clearing his lines. Grace took it on another 30 metres before quick hands put his fellow winger Dave Eccleston in at the corner.Billsborough missed his only conversion of the night and then compounded a display to forget by giving the perfect pass which was intercepted and returned 80 metres for the try.From the kick off a fine 40/20 from the visiting hooker Moore resulted in him barging over from close in and looked like making the score respectable.Normal service was resumed though as first Chris Follin just about controlled Billsborough’s pass on his thigh before crashing over.Then the final act was a deserved try to Olmez taking Jenkins’ delightful inside ball to go over.It’s a measure of the expectation for this team and the individuals in it that despite scoring 46 points no-one was happy with the performance. But it’s also a measure of the stature of the individuals within the team when you consider how young the team is and yet it’s still managing to find a way to beat any and every one placed before them.Olmez and Smith were the best on a day when most struggled for consistency. Now it’s on to Odsal on Thursday for the next chapter in the season.Match Summary:Saints U19s:Tries: Jake Spedding (14), Levy Nzoungou (15), Ben Morris (23 & 50), Regan Grace (33), Chris Follin (71), Jordan Olmez (78).Goals: Brad Billsborough (6 from 7).Salford U19s:Tries: Luke Fowden (26), Elliot Caine (65), Aaron Moore (68).Goals: Lewis Fairhurst (1 from 1), Aaron Moore (1 from 2).Half Time: 24-6Full Time: 46-16Teams:Saints:1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Dave Eccleston, 4. Lewis Furlong, 3. Jake Spedding, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Brad Billsborough, 7. Elliott Jenkins; 8. Levy Nzoungou, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Jordan Olmez, 11. Liam Cooper, 12. Ben Morris, 13. Mike Weldon. Subs: 14. Brad Pinder, 15. Chris Follin, 16. Callum Hazzard, 18. Evan Bullen.Salford:1. Connor Williams; 2. Elliot Caine, 3. Harry Madders, 4. Alex Gaskell, 5. Jake Knox; 6. John Whittaker, 7. Lewis Fairhurst; 8. Jack Cottington, 9. Aaron Moore, 10. Chris Worrall, 11. Declan Hidden, 12. Lewis Hatton, 13. Liam Bent. Subs: 14. Brad Storey, 15. Lewis Gregory, 17. Jack Thompson, 18. Luke Fowden.last_img read more


Man in serious condition after being rescued in Brunswick Co


first_img Robert Brown, 63, of Oak Island, was found wearing his personal flotation device by nearby boaters, who pulled him from the water and called 911.The boaters took Brown to the Wildlife Ramp on Holden Beach, where emergency crews were waiting.Brown was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and is in serious condition.Related Article: Match play kicks off Women’s Southern Golf Assocation Amateur ChampionshipHe had a 14 foot green kayak that has not been found.The incident is still under investigation. USCG medevacs woman from Carnival cruise ship 200 miles east of Wilmington; July 6, 2015 BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One person is in the hospital after he was rescued from the water near Lockwood Folly Inlet Tuesday night.According to a release from Holden Beach Police, Brunswick County Emergency Personnel were dispatched to a water rescue near the Lockwood Folly Inlet just before 5:30 p.m.- Advertisement – last_img read more


Small fire sparks Walmart evacuation in Leland


first_img A fire extinguisher was used to put out the fire. Investigators say there was no danger to employees or customers. LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A fire this afternoon at the Leland Walmart cause employees and shoppers to evacuate.The call came in just before 3:30 p.m. Leland Fire and Rescue chief, John Grimes, says a fire broke out in the fire pump for sprinkler system.- Advertisement – last_img


Alcohol plastic bags and excise stamps seized by customs officials


first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint Customs officials have seized a considerable number of alcoholic bottles, plastic bags and unused excise stamps during routine inspections yesterday.Enforcement officers seized the items and stamps following an inspection at an outlet in Gzira which later led them to a warehouse in Qormi.The following contraband items were seized:1,473 plastic bags;162 bottles of alcoholic beverages, including rum, brandy and several liqueurs;110 bottles of wine which did not have their excise tax paid; anda total of 510 unused excise stamps.WhatsApplast_img read more


Samsung vs Apple 10 things you need to know about this historic


first_imgAdvertisement At the end of the proceedings, the 10-member jury, under the guidance of U.S. District Court judge Lucy Koh, will render a verdict that could cost one of the parties billions of dollars and change the competitive landscape in the consumer electronics industry.In preparation for the Monday trial, we bring you 10 facts that you need to know about this brawl between the two technology giants.  – Advertisement – 1. When did this all begin?Apple filed its initial lawsuit on April 15, 2011. Samsung fired back with a countersuit a few days later and the two cases were subsequently combined into one.2. What are they fighting about?Apple claims that Samsung “deliberately” copied the design of the iPhone and iPad, and their packaging, when coming up with its Galaxy smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablet PCs. Apple has a list of patents that it says Samsung infringed upon and a graphic that shows a transformation in Samsung phone design before and after the iPhone. This transformation is, according to Apple, “the basic story of our case.”Samsung maintains that Apple’s claims are all false and that the consumer electronics industry routinely looks to past products for inspiration. It has its own graphic designed to contradict Apple’s assertion and show that Samsung had at least mock-ups of full-screen touch phones before the iPhone went on sale. Samsung will also be on the offensive, arguing that Apple infringed a number of its own patents covering technology in a cellphone.3. What do they want?Money and a ban on sales of any products found to be infringing their patents. Apple is asking the jury to award it US$2.525 billion in damages. It then hopes the court will triple that figure using a U.S. legal statute that allows judges to multiply damages to punish willful misconduct. Samsung wants a royalty payment of 2.4 percent of the sale price of each product found to be misusing its patents, so it could potentially collect that on iPhone and iPad sales.4. Is there anything more at stake?Perhaps more broadly, the case could help determine where the U.S. legal system draws the line between what counts as copying and what is innovation. It could also influence the debate on the U.S. patent system, which critics say has been too liberal in issuing broad patents that in turn stifle innovation and lead to unnecessary lawsuits.5. Who’s going to be in the witness box?It appears there won’t be a star-studded cast like the one we saw in the recent Oracle-Google trial, where CEOs Larry Ellison and Larry Page both took the stand. Perhaps the biggest name on the witness lists submitted is Apple’s Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing who is often on stage at Apple product launches. Samsung will call Richard Howarth, one of the senior designers who worked on the original iPhone project.6. What are we likely to learn?Corporate insight, gossip and tidbits that provide a glimpse into how powerful companies are run. We’ve already discovered, for example, that Apple looked to Sony for inspiration in coming up with the original iPhone design and that Samsung, in the words of U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, “kept the shredder on” when it should have been keeping emails in anticipation of the case. Some internal memos could prove embarrassing, such as Samsung emails that talk about the iPhone’s “beautiful design” and Apple marketing emails that discuss how many iPhone features weren’t firsts.7. What won’t we learn?Lawyers for both companies have been pretty liberal with the big, black redaction marker, hiding large pieces of text from public versions of documents. News agency Reuters filed a complaint to the court and Judge Koh chastised both sides for asking to seal so many documents. She warned them to assume that most of their submissions will be open to the public. A final pre-trial conference on July 27th will decide just what matters will be discussed only in closed court. Both sides have also been told they can’t submit certain evidence including, in the case of Samsung, disparaging statements by Steve Jobs about Google’s Android operating system, on which Samsung’s products run.8. Where’s this taking place?The U.S. District Court in San Jose California, a non-descript, concrete U.S government building in the heart of the city, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. An overflow courtroom with a closed-circuit TV feed is being provided in anticipation of high demand for seats, though the TV feed isn’t going to be available online and no cameras will be allowed in the courtroom. The case is open to the public.9. How long is this going to take?It begins on Monday, July 30, with jury selection. Both sides expect to jump right into their opening arguments once 10 jurors have been selected from a pool of 75 people. Judge Koh is giving each side 25 hours to argue their case and has scheduled the case on 18 days running through August and into early September. It’s not clear if all the time will be needed.10. How much is this costing?Each side has an army of attorneys. Previous filings have shown that partners at Morrison Foerster, which is representing Apple, are charging an average rate of $582 per hour and those at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, for Samsung, are charging $821 per hour. The entire case is sure to cost millions of dollars in legal fees, and it will also cost the taxpayer for the court’s time. Source: computerworld.comlast_img read more


Orange Group responds to exit rumours


first_imgAdvertisement Rumours across the web and in some of the national dailies today claimed that Orange is looking to exit the Ugandan – and African – market. Today, Orange Group, the regulatory body of Orange worldwide has released a statement to clarify.See full statement below“The Orange Group will revise its position in the ownership structure of Orange Uganda during 2014.Following a capital increase that took place over the course of 2013, the Orange Group currently holds over 95% of the company.In order to enable Orange Uganda to continue to finance its operations and to make the necessary investments to ensure its continued development, Orange has engaged a process with a view to finding a new partner.In a highly-competitive market, Orange Uganda is recognized by its customers for the performance of its network, the quality of its mobile data services and its innovative offers.At a time when a consolidation phase has already begun in Uganda and the first benefits can already be felt across the market, Orange Uganda has all the necessary attributes to succeed.To ensure our success at this crucial moment, the full commitment and mobilisation of all employees is necessary. Our customers must continue to benefit from the high-quality service that they expect and we must maintain our efforts to bring innovative new offers to the market. This is particularly important as it will underline the intrinsic value of Orange Uganda, its performance and its assets in the eyes of potential partners.The process involved in seeking out and setting-up a new partnership will take place in the coming months during 2014”— Orange GroupImage Credit: TechJajalast_img read more


Cyber Law Initiative File Petition Against Constitutional Court Over Social Media Tax


first_imgPhoto by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels Advertisement Technology law company; Cyber Law Initiative (U) Ltd, alongside its four directors; Daniel Opio Bill, Moses Baguma, Emmanuel Okiror, and Silver Kayondo have on Monday filed a petition over the social media tax that imposes a daily tax payment of UGX200 in order to use any of the social media platforms.For those unaware, the proposition of the tax was proposed by H.E the President of Uganda; Yoweri K. Museveni in a letter he wrote to the Finance Minister Hon. Kasaija Matia insisting that the revenue collected would help the country cope with consequences of gossiping. It was then, late of May that the Parliament of Uganda passed the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2018 with amendments approving the President’s proposition.While many industry experts and concerned parties came out to express their concerns that the new fee could impact usage of social media and mobile money in the country, Cyber Law Initiative (U) Ltd filed a petition with their core contention of challenging social media tax; economically complicates, circumscribes and strangulates the online enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms that are not hindered offline – Advertisement – The petitioners further aver that imposing excise duty of UGX200 per user per day of access to Over-The-Top (OTT) services on telecommunications service operators; hamper internet based or enabled business startups, budding entrepreneurs, job searches, talent promotion, and creativity.They want court to issue an order, permanently stopping the government and all her agencies, authorities and officials from imposing any tax on internet or social media usage. In addition, they also want an order, directing the government and government regulatory body of the communications sector; Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) to only regulate OTT services in a manner that guarantees free access, net neutrality, and open internet.With an estimate, over 17 million Ugandans are using social media. If say 17 million was to pay UGX200, it would be UGX3.4 billion collected every single day. As proposed by the President, he stated that the taxes collected from social media would be used to develop the nation. But it is worth knowing that this tax is paid via mobile money which has also taxed at 1% whether depositing, withdrawing, or receiving payments. This means that if you were to pay the social media tax (UGX. 200), you will have to pay more than the UGX200 so that the 1% is deducted and doesn’t affect the UGX200. This means that you have to pay an extra UGX2 as a tax – this totaling everything to UGX. 202.Over 50 social media platforms have been affected including; WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Allo, Google Hangouts, TrueCaller, Viber, SnapChat, LINE, Telegram, Facetime, LinkedIn, Skype, Hike, BBM-Free, to mention a few.last_img read more


STARTERS ORDERS Tuesday


first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Tuesday 11 NovemberRACING12.40 HuntingdonAlberto’s Dream 20/1 > 7/11.10 HuningdonDixie Bull 20/1 > 9/12.20 SedgefieldDarna 15/2 > 100/302.30 LingfieldTealissio 3/1 > 2/1What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img


STAR PREVIEW Cheltenham DAY ONE


first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hey say a picture speaks a 1,000 words, well I’m not sure there is anything more intimidating than the sight of three Willie Mullins horse wagons pulling into Cheltenham.Lined up together, in resplendent green, like army tanks ahead of the Battle Of Prestbury Park which gets under way at 1.30pm on Tuesday.Be sure to find Ben Keith and the Star Sports gang in the Tattersalls enclosure this week if you are lucky enough to be on course this week.If not, settle back and watch the action unfold on C4 or Racing UK – whichever takes your fancy – and there’s still time to check out our Cheltenham preview videos on the right !A couple of months ago it looked rather Willie Mullins one-sided, it still might well be but suddenly there’s a degree of vulnerability.Sporting brilliance can be politely applauded, but it’s vulnerability that really gets the punting juices going. However brilliant a performance in any sport, performances that are one-sided don’t do it for me. I suffered too many Steve ‘interesting’ Davis snooker wins in the 1980’s Faugheen’s unfortunate absence from Tuesday’s featured Champion Hurdle has robbed us of the chance of seeing a defending champion strut his stuff but the race has a whole new complexion and questions are now being asked. Will the relatively late decision to switch Annie Power to the Champion Hurdle pay off ?? She saved the bookies millions by falling in the mares’ hurdle last year and is now a warm favourite for the biggest hurdle race of them all.The race looks wide open for my money and the perfect opportunity for some each-way thievery. Nicholls Canyon’s form is rock solid and he appeals each way far more than a straight win on Annie Power does. At bigger odds, I can easily see Top Notch grabbing a share of it. He is closely matched with Identity Thief on Newcastle form but more than twice the odds. He races over the minimum distance here which I think is spot on for him.We’ll get an early barometer on Willie Mullins with the performance of Min in the opener and the market will react one way or the other to his latest runners based on how Min runs such is the Mullins Festival factor and running on liabilities.I can’t really have Min. He’s done absolutely nothing wrong in winning two races at Punchestown but will need to improve further to win this and whilst that is entirely likely I don’t really want to be guessing at 2/1. I’m not sure he’s in the same league as the last three Mullins winners of the race Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan. Altior is a little more battle hardened and can start the meeting well for Nicky Henderson.I’m not going to try and get Douvan beaten in the Arkle. He looks set to follow up Un De Sceaux’s win in the race last year.Vroum Vroum Mag is the other short priced Mullins runner on the card in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. She bids to give the trainer an eighth successive win in the race after the extraordinary exploits of Quevega (six wins) and Glens Melody last year who was the lucky benefactor of Annie Power’s fall.I really can’t see any holes in her form and whilst wholly unoriginal she is my day one nap.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK ALTIOR (1.30 Cheltenham) for 5 points at SP with Star SportsBACK NICHOLLS CANYON (3.30 Cheltenham) for 5 points each way at SP with Star SportsBACK TOP NOTCH (3.30 Cheltenham) for 3 points each way at SP with Star SportsBACK VROUM VROUM MAG (4.10 Cheltenham) for 15 points at SP with Star SportsSunday: -10.00 points (no bet Monday)What’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more


STARTERS ORDERS Monday 25 March


first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Star Sports update with our key market movers for the day and sign up specials.Monday 25 March2.30 LingfieldWaqt 11/1 > 11/23.45 WincantonLizzie Langton 3/1 > 7/44.15 WincantonMiranda 7/4 > 11/10LIVE FOOTBALLUEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier19:45 ITV9/1 Montenegro1/3 England4/1 DRAWSTAR PROMOTIONSlast_img


Poll Texans Continue to Back Environmental Protections


first_imgAddThis Share Contact: Michael Cinelli Phone: (713) 831-4794 Poll: Texans Continue to Back Environmental Protections What do Texans really think about the environment? On Tuesday, March 7, 1995, noted Rice University pollster Stephen Klineberg will release the results of his third biennialTexas Environmental poll, sponsored this year by Southwestern Bell. The poll will reveal Texans’ attitudes and opinions about: * the extent of our air and water pollution problems; * the debate over property rights and “takings”; * the threat of global warming; * trade-offs between jobs and the environment; * what Texans are willing to pay to help clean up the environment; * whether government environmental regulations have gone to far; and* the need to protect endangered species. The poll was conducted for Rice University by Telesurveys of Texas during the first two weeks of December 1994. A representativesample of 1,000 Texans participated in extensive interviews. What: New Texas Environmental Poll Speaker: Stephen Klineberg, Rice University pollster and sociology professor When: 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 7, 1995Where: Texas State Capitol, Room E1.010 ###last_img read more


Another tiny miracle Graphene oxide soaks up radioactive waste


first_imghttp://news.rice.edu/files/2013/01/Nuclear-2-web.jpgA new method for removing radioactive material from solutions is the result of collaboration between Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University. The vial at left holds microscopic particles of graphene oxide in a solution. At right, graphene oxide is added to simulated nuclear waste, which quickly clumps for easy removal. (Credit Anna Yu. Romanchuk/Lomonosov Moscow State University) Share8SUMMARY: Graphene oxide far surpasses other materials commonly used to remove radioactive toxins from water, according to new research at Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduAnother tiny miracle: Graphene oxide soaks up radioactive wasteRice, Moscow State universities collaborate on solution to toxic groundwater woesHOUSTON – (Jan. 8, 2013) – Graphene oxide has a remarkable ability to quickly remove radioactive material from contaminated water, researchers at Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University have found.A collaborative effort by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour and the Moscow lab of chemist Stepan Kalmykov determined that microscopic, atom-thick flakes of graphene oxide bind quickly to natural and human-made radionuclides and condense them into solids. The flakes are soluble in liquids and easily produced in bulk.The experimental results were reported in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.The discovery, Tour said, could be a boon in the cleanup of contaminated sites like the Fukushima nuclear plants damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It could also cut the cost of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas recovery and help reboot American mining of rare earth metals, he said.Graphene oxide’s large surface area defines its capacity to adsorb toxins, Kalmykov said. “So the high retention properties are not surprising to us,” he said. “What is astonishing is the very fast kinetics of sorption, which is key.”“In the probabilistic world of chemical reactions where scarce stuff (low concentrations) infrequently bumps into something with which it can react, there is a greater likelihood that the ‘magic’ will happen with graphene oxide than with a big old hunk of bentonite,” said Steven Winston, a former vice president of Lockheed Martin and Parsons Engineering and an expert in nuclear power and remediation who is working with the researchers. “In short, fast is good.”Determining how fast was the object of experiments by the Kalmykov group. The lab tested graphene oxide synthesized at Rice with simulated nuclear wastes containing uranium, plutonium and substances like sodium and calcium that could negatively affect their adsorption. Even so, graphene oxide proved far better than the bentonite clays and granulated activated carbon commonly used in nuclear cleanup.Graphene oxide introduced to simulated wastes coagulated within minutes, quickly clumping the worst toxins, Kalmykov said. The process worked across a range of pH values.“To see Stepan’s amazement at how well this worked was a good confirmation,” Tour said. He noted that the collaboration took root when Alexander Slesarev, a graduate student in his group, and Anna Yu. Romanchuk, a graduate student in Kalmykov’s group, met at a conference several years ago.The researchers focused on removing radioactive isotopes of the actinides and lanthanides – the 30 rare earth elements in the periodic table – from liquids, rather than solids or gases. “Though they don’t really like water all that much, they can and do hide out there,” Winston said. “From a human health and environment point of view, that’s where they’re least welcome.”Naturally occurring radionuclides are also unwelcome in fracking fluids that bring them to the surface in drilling operations, Tour said. “When groundwater comes out of a well and it’s radioactive above a certain level, they can’t put it back into the ground,” he said. “It’s too hot. Companies have to ship contaminated water to repository sites around the country at very large expense.” The ability to quickly filter out contaminants on-site would save a great deal of money, he said.He sees even greater potential benefits for the mining industry. Environmental requirements have “essentially shut down U.S. mining of rare earth metals, which are needed for cell phones,” Tour said. “China owns the market because they’re not subject to the same environmental standards. So if this technology offers the chance to revive mining here, it could be huge.”Tour said that capturing radionuclides does not make them less radioactive, just easier to handle. “Where you have huge pools of radioactive material, like at Fukushima, you add graphene oxide and get back a solid material from what were just ions in a solution,” he said. “Then you can skim it off and burn it. Graphene oxide burns very rapidly and leaves a cake of radioactive material you can then reuse.”The low cost and biodegradable qualities of graphene oxide should make it appropriate for use in permeable reactive barriers, a fairly new technology for in situ groundwater remediation, he said.Romanchuk, Slesarev, Kalmykov and Tour are co-authors of the paper with Dmitry Kosynkin, a former postdoctoral researcher at Rice, now with Saudi Aramco. Kalmykov is radiochemistry division head and a professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science at Rice.The Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, M-I SWACO and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded work at Rice. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, a Russian Federation President stipend to Romanchuk and the Russian Basic Research Foundation funded research at Moscow State.-30-Read the abstract at http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2013/CP/C2CP44593JFollow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Tour Group: http://www.jmtour.comImage for download: AddThislast_img read more


Rice chemist wins rare NSF Special Creativity Award


first_imgShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJade Boyd713-348-6778jadeboyd@rice.eduRice chemist wins rare NSF Special Creativity AwardGrant extension will bolster Zubarev’s effort to produce gold nanorodsHOUSTON — (Sept. 8, 2014) — Ounce for ounce, gold nanorods that are commercially available cost about 7,000 times more than bulk gold, but that may change, thanks to an award-winning research program in the laboratory of Rice University chemist Eugene Zubarev.Rice chemist Eugene Zubarev (right) with graduate student Paul Derry. Zubarev won a rare two-year grant funding extension for “special creativity” from the National Science Foundation for his research on the synthesis and self-assembly of gold nanorods.Zubarev won a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2011 to develop new methods for large-scale synthesis and self-assembly of gold nanorods; based on his early progress, the NSF awarded Zubarev one of its most rare honors — a two-year funding extension for “special creativity.”Just how rare are “special creativity” grant award extensions? Out of more than 43,000 active NSF grants in 2013, only 30 were chosen for the extensions, and NSF has awarded fewer than 700 creativity extensions since the program began in 1995.“We published 25 papers with the original funding, and some of our results were reported in Chemical & Engineering News,” Zubarev said. “Program managers pay attention to that, as well as to the impact factor of the journals where results are published.”Zubarev’s team is refining new methods for tightly packing millions of gold nanorods into 3-D “supercrystals.”Zubarev becomes the fourth member of Rice’s faculty to receive an NSF creativity extension for work done at Rice. Other winners are physicist Bruce Johnson, chemist Gustavo Scuseria and biochemist Michael Stern. Engineering Dean Ned Thomas won three creativity extensions prior to joining Rice.Zubarev said the additional two years of funding will allow his group to continue their efforts to develop methods for large-scale production and processing of gold nanorods. The nanoparticles, which are typically about 75 nanometers long and 25 nanometers wide, have been studied for possible use in medical diagnostics and photothermal therapy of cancer, solar cells, sensors, metamaterials and optical devices.Prior work in Zubarev’s lab led to a 2008 patent that was licensed by a company that now manufactures most of the commercially available gold nanorods (sold through Sigma-Aldrich). But Zubarev said further advances are needed if gold nanorods are to find widespread commercial success.Chemist Eugene Zubarev’s research group includes (clockwise from left) postdoctoral fellow Min Wang, Zubarev, graduate student Paul Derry, postdoctoral fellow Anton Liopo and graduate student Stella Keck.“If you look at existing synthetic methods, the yield of the reaction is extremely low, and the quantity you can make in one batch is also very small, usually a fraction of a milligram,” Zubarev said. “If we want to talk about real-life applications, we have to discover new methods that can generate much more than that.”To address the problem, Zubarev’s team began by examining current batch processes to see whether they could produce more nanorods simply by changing the speed of chemical reduction and the nature of reducing agent.“The reaction takes place in water and at room temperature,” Zubarev said. “Essentially, we take gold chloride and reduce it with ascorbic acid. In order to produce nanorods from the reaction, one must first introduce ‘seed particles’ of pure gold. Once that is done, a characteristic dark brown color will appear in solution, indicating that small seed particles are getting bigger and bigger and becoming rod-shaped nanocrystals.”Because gold nanorods are longer than they are wide, 3-D nanorod supercrystals have “anisotropic” properties, which means they have a different response to external fields in one direction than another.One problem in scaling up the reaction is the incomplete understanding of how it occurs. For example, the seeds are tiny gold spheres, and it is unclear why the reaction forms elongated gold nanorods rather than a uniform batch of large gold spheres.“It’s been almost 20 years since this method was discovered, and people are still debating the actual mechanism of the reaction,” he said. “One interesting thing people have found is that adding a small amount of silver ions will allow you to produce more rods and fewer spheres. But once again, why that happens in the presence of silver and not any other metal is still unknown.”Zubarev said his team has taken a systematic approach to tackling the scale-up problem, and they hope to publish significant new findings in the coming months.In addition to the issue of high-yield synthesis of nanorods the NSF grant is also supporting research into new processing methods to incorporate nanorods into metamaterials, man-made materials with unique properties that blur the line between material and machine. For example, Zubarev’s team is refining new methods for creating gold nanorod 3-D “supercrystals” that contain many millions of nanorods that are tightly packed in uniform arrangements. Because the rods are longer than they are wide, the supercrystals have “anisotropic” plasmonic and electronic properties, which means they have a different response to external fields in one direction than another.-30-High-resolution IMAGES are available for download at:http://news.rice.edu/files/2014/09/0908_CREATIVITY-Zubarev-lg.jpgCAPTION: Rice chemist Eugene Zubarev (right) with graduate student Paul Derry. Zubarev won a rare two-year grant funding extension for “special creativity” from the National Science Foundation for his research on the synthesis and self-assembly of gold nanorods.CREDIT: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Universityhttp://news.rice.edu/files/2014/09/0908_CREATIVITY-group-lg.jpgCAPTION: Chemist Eugene Zubarev’s research group includes (clockwise from left) postdoctoral fellow Min Wang, Zubarev, graduate student Paul Derry, postdoctoral fellow Anton Liopo and graduate student Stella Keck.CREDIT: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Universityhttp://news.rice.edu/files/2014/09/0908_CREATIVITY-stack-lg.jpgCAPTION: Zubarev’s team is refining new methods for tightly packing millions of gold nanorods into 3-D “supercrystals.”CREDIT: E. Zubarev/Rice Universityhttp://news.rice.edu/files/2014/09/0908_CREATIVITY-view-lg.jpgCAPTION: Because gold nanorods are longer than they are wide, 3-D nanorod supercrystals have “anisotropic” properties, which means they have a different response to external fields in one direction than another.CREDIT: E. Zubarev/Rice UniversityA copy of the NSF grant abstract is available at:http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1105878Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here. FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more


Study Higher costs for complex cancer surgery indicator for worse care


first_imgAddThis ShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduStudy: Higher costs for complex cancer surgery indicator for worse care  HOUSTON – (April 25, 2017) – Higher costs for complex cancer surgery may be an indicator for worse — rather than better — quality of care, according to new research by experts at Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Their findings are published in the journal Surgery and provide multiple implications for care delivery.Credit: Shutterstock.com/Rice University.In the study, the authors analyzed Medicare hospital and physician claims from 2005 to 2009 for patients who were age 65 or older from all 50 states. The researchers looked at six different cancer operations: colectomy, rectal resection, pulmonary lobectomy, pneumonectomy, esophagectomy and pancreatic resection.In their initial review of the data, they found that surgeons who performed just two operations of a specific type in a given year versus one could achieve patient cost savings for four of the six cancer operations, ranging from 0.6 percent for colectomy to 2.8 percent for pancreatic resection. Savings for the highest-volume surgeons (at the 95th percentile of the volume distribution) were even greater. A surgeon performing 14 pancreatic resections had patient costs that were 8.5 percent lower ($3,286) than a surgeon who performed only one operation; and a surgeon performing 22 colectomies per year had costs that were 5.4 percent lower ($1,089).However, when the researchers accounted for the processes of care listed in each patient’s treatment, the cost savings associated with high-volume surgeons decreased by 50 percent for pancreatic resection and completely disappeared for colectomy. Apparent cost savings for pulmonary lobectomy also disappeared, and cost savings for rectal resection also fell substantially, said co-author Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and director of the institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences.Processes of care are actions that health care providers take to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes, such as placing of arterial lines or providing epidural anesthesia. Many of these are actions taken to avoid or treat complications that can occur during surgery.“Basically, our analyses indicate that the lower patient costs achieved by high-volume surgeons can be explained by their lower occurrence of processes of care that are associated with surgical complications, as well as their higher use of processes of care associated with better outcomes,” said co-author Dr. Thomas Aloia, associate professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery, at MD Anderson.“People mistakenly think that higher spending in health care implies higher quality care,” Ho said. “In this case, higher spending is a marker of worse patient care. The results imply that patients who need cancer surgery can expect lower costs and better outcomes with high-volume surgeons.”“Can Postoperative Process-of-Care Utilization or Complication Rates Explain the Volume-Cost Relationship for Cancer Surgery?” was also co-authored by Marah Short, associate director of the Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences.The study references a 2008 paper by the authors that found that patients treated by surgeons performing a higher number of particular cancer operations (such as pneumonectomy for lung cancer or esophagectomy for esophageal cancer) had lower costs for their hospital stays compared with patients operated on by low-volume surgeons. However, the authors didn’t know why this inverse volume-cost relationship existed.Their new research set out to find the reasons underlying the volume-cost relationship.“Our volume-cost comparison suggests that patients treated by low-volume surgeons were less likely to receive two processes of care (epidural anesthesia and daily epidural management) that have been associated with better patient outcomes,” said Ho, who is also a professor of economics at Rice and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “However, patients treated by low-volume surgeons almost always were significantly more likely to experience transfusions, consultations and complication-related processes of care (for example, TPN, critical care and inpatient consultations).” TPN stands for total parenteral nutrition, in which patients who are unable to eat are administered nutrients intravenously.The results provide multiple implications for care delivery, the authors said. First, it may be beneficial to refer patients to high-volume surgeons because of the surgeons’ enhanced value (higher quality with lower costs). Second, government and private insurers should compare measures of processes of care and complications across surgeons and notify hospitals about surgeons with high complication rates and processes of care associated with poor patient outcomes. Hospitals could work with surgeons to improve surgical care, which should improve patient care and lessen costs.More broadly, the results suggest that action under the Affordable Care Act to shift hospital reimbursement toward bundled payment for hospitals and doctors for complex surgery should be encouraged, the authors said. “The current fee-for-service system often leads to higher payments for physicians and hospitals when patients suffer surgical complications and require higher levels of care,” Ho said. “Specifying a fixed, bundled payment that doesn’t vary with treatment intensity will discourage low-volume surgeons from performing operations that could generate costly complications for which they will not be compensated.”-30-For more information, to receive a copy of the study or to schedule an interview with Ho, Aloia or Short, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.Related materials:Study: www.surgjournal.com/article/S0039-6060(17)30157-5/fulltext.Aloia bio: http://faculty.mdanderson.org/Thomas_Aloia/Default.asp.Ho bio: www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/vivian-ho.Short bio: www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/marah-short.Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.Follow the Center for Health and Biosciences via Twitter @BakerCHB.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.last_img read more