Two local Hizbul Mujahideen militants, who escaped at the end of a day-long encounter in Kulgam’s Qazigund area on Tuesday, were arrested from two separate spots on Wednesday.A police official said combing operation in the Kund Nowbug area around the encounter site was resumed in the morning. A soldier and a militant were killed in the gun battle on Tuesday. A police official said a local militant, Aqib Iqbal Malik alias Talha Bhai, a resident of Ringet Noorabad, was arrested from the area. Malik, who joined militancy earlier this year, had been injured.Another militant, who is also believed to have fled from the encounter site in Kulgam, was apprehended as he was trying to board a train in the morning. He has been identified as Shams Waqar, said a police official.Meanwhile, the Army has identified the deceased soldier as sepoy Manjinder Singh. Singh, 22, joined the army in 2015 and was a resident of Punjab’s Mansa area.Mirwaiz, Malik arrestedSeparatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, addressed a small rally in Srinagar on Wednesday. They called for a shutdown on November 27 against the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raids and ongoing “crackdown of civilian population” during counter-insurgency operations in the Valley.The Mirwaiz and Mr. Malik, along with 30 supporters, were arrested when they tried to lead a protest march towards the city centre Lal Chowk.Earlier, Mr. Geelani addressed a rally on the phone. The Mirwaiz and Mr. Malik were present at Abi Guzar to jointly address the media. “This puppet government has crossed all limits of oppression. If they thinks they can break our resolve and unity, they are mistaken. We are not going to surrender under any circumstance,” said Mr. Malik. ‘Fabricated cases’He alleged that NIA raids and the security agencies’ operation against civilian population in south and north Kashmir “is aimed at forcing us to surrender.” The trio said the shutdown on November 27 was also against the “maltreatment of detainees and the fabricated cases being slapped on leaders and supporters.” For many months now, separatists in Kashmir have been barred from holding public rallies.
Cayetano: 4 social media groups behind SEA Games ‘sabotage’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LATEST STORIES Saguisag is imploring both sides to have a “trouble-free” Game 2.“I’m appealing to all parties, and that includes coaches, spectators, athletic directors, and the like for a trouble-free Game 2,” he said.Ateneo shoots for a sweep on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.ADVERTISEMENT For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion View comments Ateneo guard Matt Nieto is down on the floor after taking an inadvertent elbow from La Salle big man Ben Mbala late in the first half of Game 1 of the UAAP Season 80 mens basketball Finals. Nieto sustained a cut above his left eye. Photo by Bong Lozada/INQUIRER.netUAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag will be laying down the law before Ateneo and La Salle take the court again Wednesday with the UAAP Season 80 title duel getting has heated as ever.Saguisag is looking to summon select players from both teams on Wednesday following videos of unsportsmanlike acts surfaced online.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA UAAP finds no referee bias in controversial La Salle-Adamson game “We’re still reviewing the videos,” Saguisag said in a text message.Saguisag did not divulge the names of the players, but videos have circulated online over the past days that saw La Salle players doing unsportsmanlike acts through the course of Game 1.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutOne video shows La Salle’s Abu Tratter seemingly hitting Ateneo’s Raffy Verano with a punch in a rebound play, while another shows young Archer Ricci Rivero giving a cheap shot to Vince Tolentino after the Blue Eagle attempted a free throw.The physicality in the championship series opener also saw Ben Mbala inadvertently elbow Matt Nieto in the face that left the Ateneo bloodied after sustaining a cut over his left eye. MOST READ QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Tottenham star Alli avoids FA punishment for Arsenal gestureby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham star Dele Alli will not be punished for a sign he made to Arsenal supporters during his side’s Carabao Cup win last night.Alli netted the second goal of the game and made a gesture to remind the fans of the score.While his gesture could be seen as inflammatory, it was not abusive, which means he will be cut some slack.Sky Sports suggests that no further action will be taken.And the Gunners will not face any action after a supporter was caught on video throwing something at Alli. But that supporter does face criminal action and a stadium ban.
Tottenham open contract talks with Jan Vertonghenby Paul Vegas24 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham have opened talks with Jan Vertonghen over a new contract.The key central defender is out of contact at the end of the season, when he could leave for nothing.But discussions over a new deal are underway, though there is an apprehension from Spurs to offer the 32-year-old anything over a 12 month deal given his age, says the Daily Mail.However, the fact Moussa Sissoko, who turned 30 in August, signed a four-year contract last week is likely to be a key bargaining tool for Vertonghen as he looks for a longer deal.Vertonghen said yesterday: “I feel like I still have a couple of good years left in me. That’s definitely how I’m feeling now. I hope I can help the team for as long as I can.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
WASHINGTON — Government figures show the Environmental Protection Agency has hit a 30-year low in the number of pollution cases referred for criminal prosecution.Justice Department data released Tuesday by the non-profit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and obtained by The Associated Press show the EPA referred 166 cases for federal prosecution in fiscal year 2018 under the Trump administration.That’s down from 228 in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration.The figure under President Donald Trump is the lowest since 1988, when Ronald Reagan was president and 151 cases were referred to prosecutors.The EPA says its resources are concentrated on the “most significant and impactful” cases.PEER executive director Jeff Ruch says EPA enforcement has almost reached a level where it is “lacking a pulse.”Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press
CALGARY, A.B. — TransCanada Corp. announced Monday that it will move forward with a proposed $140-million expansion of its NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. System following the completion of an expansion capacity open season in March.TransCanada said that shippers have executed binding agreements for 280 million cubic feet per day of incremental firm delivery service that will commence in November 2021. The company said that the average term of the contracts that were awarded is 22 years. “The successful open season for incremental export capacity demonstrates the significant continued interest of parties in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to secure access to high-value downstream markets,” said Tracy Robinson, TransCanada’s senior vice-president and general manager, Canadian Gas Pipelines. “TransCanada remains firmly committed to providing our customers timely and reliable access to these markets through appropriate facility expansions and competitive service offerings.”
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday directed ED to clarify the status of purported Red Corner Notice (RCN) issued against arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who has sought the quashing of a money laundering case against him.While ED submitted in an affidavit that Bhandari was a fugitive, proclaimed absconder and evading the process of law, his counsel said the probe agency has concealed information from the court which last July quashed an order declaring his client as a proclaimed offender. Justice Mukta Gupta asked Enforcement Directorate to file an affidavit clarifying the facts, its stand and the status of the RCN. The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 1. See P6
Guwahati: Altogether 60 candidates have filed papers for five Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state, with the BJP and the Congress emerging as the major contenders in at least four of the seats.Tuesday was the last date for the filing of nomination for the second phase of election, scheduled on April 18. Among the five seats, Karimganj (SC) registered maximum number of nominees at 19, followed by Silchar with 14 candidates, an election office spokesperson said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The other three constituencies that will go to polls on April 18 are Autonomous District (ST), Mangaldai and Nowgong. In Karimganj (SC) parliamentary constituency, the major players are sitting MP of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Radheshyam Biswas, BJP’s Kripanath Malla and Congress candidate Swarup Das, poll analysts said. In Silchar, BJP’s Rajdeep Roy is set to pose a tough challenge to sitting Congress MP Sushmita Dev, they said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe candidates of the two national parties are prime contenders for Mangaldoi, Autonomous (ST) District and Nowgong seats too. While Congress MP Bhubaneswar Kalita will lock horns with BJP’s Dilip Saikia at Mangaldoi, the grand old party’s minister, Pradyut Bordoloi, will put up a tough fight against Rupak Sarma of the saffron party, the analysts added. In the Autonomous (ST) District, six candidates have filed their nominations, with the prominent ones being sitting Congress MP Biren Singh Engti and BJP nominee Horen Singh Bey. The scrutiny of papers will be held on March 27 and the last date for withdrawal of nomination is March 29.
01Mar Glenn ‘smart meter’ bill is top 10 priority for AARP Tags: Smart Meters Categories: Glenn News,News National organization says analog option should remainAARP Michigan has adopted among its top 10 legislative priorities for 2018 a bill introduced by state Rep. Gary Glenn allowing customers of Consumers Energy and DTE the freedom to opt out of having a “smart” meter installed on their homes without being forced to pay an up front and monthly fees, as is now the case.The Michigan chapter of AARP, a national organization of more than 38 million members, said House Bill 4220 would allow customers to keep their old analog meter and replace already-installed smart-meter technology with an analog meter. Some customers consider smart meters, which provide utilities with real-time metering, are a violation of private property rights and could compromise data privacy and cyber security.Glenn (R-Williams Township), who is author of the bill and chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, said opposition to smart meters is growing.“I have conducted public hearings on this issue and there is a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state have valid concerns about their health and privacy.“Multiple overflow public hearings on this issue reveal a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters, especially for senior citizens on severely limited budgets,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state, many of them retirees, have strongly-held concerns about the effect of smart meter technology.“AARP’s making this legislation one of their top priorities indicates that the Legislature is not the only place senior citizens are registering their concerns,” Glenn said. “I’m pleased to have AARP’s support for my efforts to give people a choice on how their electricity usage is recorded.”Consumers Energy and DTE Energy now charge residents nearly $70 upfront and nearly $10 a month afterwards to opt out of programs involving advanced electricity meters installed outside residential customers’ homes.Attorney General Bill Schuette took utilities to court to try to protect customers from being forced to accept installment of smart meters without penalty, but the state Court of Appeals ruled that unless state law is changed, homeowners can legally be charged for refusing to accept the technology.Glenn’s bill is under consideration in the House Energy Policy Committee.#####
Cisco’s struggling service provider video business provided the only significant drag on otherwise solid full-year and fourth quarter results, with the video business delivering quarterly revenues of US$994 million (€894 million), down 7% and full-year sales of US$3.555 billion, down 10%. Cisco as a whole turned in full-year revenues of US$49.161 billion, up 4%.The final fiscal quarter to June saw Cisco sell its video devices business to Technicolor for US$600 million in cash and stock.In an analyst call following the results, chief financial officer Kelly Kramer said that the company had achieved Q4 revenue growth “in every product area except service provider video” and reiterated that the company would refocus its video unit around cloud and software-based services following the sale of the set-top and gateway business to Technicolor. She said that Cisco expected the Technicolor deal to close at the end of this calendar year.
Fabio GalloOTT technology provider Simplestream has appointed Fabio Gallo as sales director EMEA.Based in the company’s London office, Gallo will be responsible for devising and implementing Simplestream’s sales strategy to drive business, managing a team across Europe, and leveraging channel and sports rights holder relationships to accelerate continued growth.He will also work closely with the company’s product department to optimize its solutions and marketing initiatives for sports federations and content owners, according to Simplestream.Simplestream customers include A+E Networks, Discovery, EE, News Corp, Sony and Universal Music Group, and sports customers including MP & Silva, Racing UK, At The Races, Box Nation, Gfinity and the National Women’s Soccer League.Gallo comes to Simplestream from Deltatre Group where he served as the business development director, driving strategic partnerships with major B2B sports organisations. He has also previously been responsible for fostering digital strategies and driving global video content distributions for Dorna Sports and FC Barcelona.“Simplestream is distinctively positioned to help lead sports broadcast and content owners into the evolving multiscreen landscape. I see immense opportunities in that space, with the rise of 4K market saturation and exploding growth of e-sports among other emerging developments, and I look forward to helping define our strategy in Europe. I am delighted to be joining this innovative business to provide our sports customers with the future-proofed solutions they need to reach their viewers in a more appealing and personalised way,” said Gallo.“Having Fabio on board at Simplestream is a very positive and exciting step,” said Dan Finch, chief commercial officer at Simplestream.“With rising competition for viewer attention in today’s rapidly growing OTT market, there is increasing pressure on sports rights holders and owners to deliver more immersive experiences for their increasingly hard-to-reach fans. Launching ‘Netflix-style’ services is an impactful way to achieve this, so we are very pleased to have Fabio driving momentum in the sports market. His in-depth industry knowledge and proven track record will greatly contribute to Simplestream’s continued success as a leader in end to end live and on-demand OTT services.”
Hurricanes are scary, but they’re also infrequent; a lot of the risks that come with them are just not that big a deal if you use a little common sense. We used to live on the beach in Pensacola, Florida. When a hurricane came into the Gulf of Mexico, we’d check the government’s National Hurricane Center website and look at computer models projecting the probability – with some real accuracy – that our home would be a target. On two occasions we piled the pets and a few valuables into the van and headed to Atlanta for 4-5 days, until the threat was over. The last time, we had to park 50 yards from our home when we returned, and wade back to our house. Luckily we built it high enough to keep the rising tide from flooding the first floor. Unfortunately our rural mailbox was full of water and soggy mail. Not too long after that, we decided our “dream home” wasn’t quite what we’d thought it would be, and we moved on.There’s More to the Picture than Actuarial Risk “Risk” isn’t such a simple term to define, and the probability figures some actuary puts in a chart are not the whole picture. Assessing risk is very personal – there’s more to it than the probability of some bad event occurring. You should also consider: how much advance warning you have to prepare; what’s the potential catastrophe; how would the worst-case scenario affect you and your family; and – perhaps more importantly – what would it take to recover physically, financially, and emotionally? As you move along the path of life, the issue of recovery becomes quite different. Being totally wiped out and penniless at age 25 is much different than being in the same situation at age 45, or even age 75. When you move into retirement mode, weather-related risks seem manageable. You actually listen to the tornado warnings, hurricane warnings, and maybe even the less-accurate announcements about seismic activity, and take reasonable precautions to protect yourself. Our government spends your tax dollars playing a modern-day Paul Revere, always shouting about some catastrophe on the horizon.The National Weather Service Doesn’t Track Inflation But what happens when there is no warning? I imagine many folks who lost everything in the 1929 stock-market crash would have described it just like that. What if the catastrophe is of the sort that occurs so rarely that no one can clearly remember the last time it happened or how folks dealt with it? Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago, if you’d asked me to define the word “hyperinflation,” I would likely have said it was really bad inflation – probably more than 10% – and it affects your buying power. I can recall my grandparents discussing the Great Depression, including how my stepfather couldn’t find a job and made his money playing softball until he joined the Army. I don’t recall inflation, much less hyperinflation, ever being part of the conversation. In the fall of 2011, I went to a Casey Research conference in Phoenix. There were three gentlemen – one from Austria, one from Argentina, and another from Zimbabwe – there to speak about hyperinflation. Each had lived through it in his country, and they spoke about inflation rates quantified in the thousands of percent. In all three cases inflation seemed to be going along at a reasonable level, and then it shot straight up in the air. Inflation rates zoomed from 5-10% to 2,000% or more, almost without warning. All three indicated that seniors and savers were virtually wiped out. Their life savings, denominated in the currency of their respective countries, became worthless overnight. Many became penniless, homeless, and hungry… certainly not a pretty picture. The gentleman from Austria put up a chart that read: “On average prices doubled every 1.4 days.” At the time, a friend of mine had a $100,000 CD that had matured, and she was considering renewing it for another five years at a very low interest rate. She and I calculated that if her $100,000 CD was hit with that type of hyperinflation, it would take less than 29 days for its buying power to drop below $1.00. The thought of losing your life savings when you’re retired, or even just close to retirement age, is frightening. I decided to apply my personal checklist for assessing risk to hyperinflation. First, what’s the probability hyperinflation will hit us at home? If you read a few newsletters, you probably already know that our government is printing trillions of dollars at an unprecedented rate. I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that 61% of our Treasury bonds auctioned off were bought by the Federal Reserve in 2011. Our government is spending lots of money it doesn’t have. Recklessly printing money on a printing press is supposed to cause both inflation and hyperinflation, isn’t it? But can anyone assess the true probability of hyperinflation? As an investor who subscribes to many newsletters, I’ve read of experts who insist there’s a 100% probability – not a matter of “if,” just a matter of “when” – and others who think we’ll weather the storm with little damage. Okay, will you receive enough warning about hyperinflation to leave you time to prepare? In Argentina, the government publishes “official” inflation figures. I understand it recently passed a law to penalize anyone who publishes statistical data in conflict with the “official” numbers. Here in the US, our “official” numbers are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and then repeated by almost every news outlet in America and many beyond. John Williams, who runs the website Shadow Government Statistics, sees things differently. He points out the fact that the government has changed its method of calculation many times over the years, so the official inflation rate is likely less factual than you’ve been told to think. Every reader should form his own conclusions, but I urge you to look over his website. The government has a huge financial incentive to underreport inflation. The figures it publishes affects interest rates on many government securities and the amount it pays to government retirees. Plus, a higher inflation rate increases what’s paid to Social Security recipients. The National Weather Service may give as much advance warning as possible about potential weather disasters, but the BLS isn’t so diligent – nor accurate – when it comes to catastrophic economic disasters.Playing Semi-Pro Ball Is No Longer an Option My final questions on my risk checklist all tie together. What’s the worst-case scenario for hyperinflation, and how would it affect you and your family? What would it take to recover physically, financially, and emotionally? If an economic catastrophe had hit when I was in my 20s, much like my stepfather, I probably would have played semi-pro softball and found some other way to earn some money. He survived, and I would have too. On the other hand, as a senior citizen, hyperinflation would paint a much more challenging picture. I don’t want to lose everything and have to start over. I started over financially in my late 40s, and it was tough enough then, even though I had marketable skills and was in my peak earning years. From a risk-analysis standpoint, the real key for retirees and those closing in on retirement is to be as prepared as possible in case hyperinflation becomes a reality here at home. While the probability of hyperinflation may be up for debate, the adverse consequences for baby boomers and retirees if it hits are terrifying. Like many in Argentina, Austria, and Zimbabwe, being totally wiped out is a real possibility. With every investment I make these days, I factor in the potential for hyperinflation. While no one can accurately predict the probability or timing of hyperinflation, the terrible consequences it will have on many seniors and savers are certain.On the Lighter Side A young man sent me a note a few years ago to thank me for a discussion we’d had. He wrote: The difference between school and life: In school you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life you are given a test that teaches you a lesson. —- Hurricane Isaac thumped the Florida Keys pretty hard. That’s one of our favorite places – our SSR group hosts its November rally there. Hopefully business will be back to normal by then. —- And finally, apparently my remarks about the perks of reaching 70 hit home for a few readers. A friend suggested another: “You no longer look at speed limits as a challenge.” Until next week…
New 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’
The 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.”
Source:https://www.pitt.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 14 2019A high proportion of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) cases can be cured in conflict-affected communities with molecular diagnostics, shorter treatment periods and socioeconomic incentives, according to the results of a large, long-term study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, in collaboration with the DRC National Tuberculosis Program.The findings, reported today in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, could guide clinicians and public health workers in other post-conflict or low-income countries battling or at-risk for TB outbreaks.TB is caused by a bacteria that usually attacks the lungs and spreads through the air when a person with an active TB lung infection coughs, sneezes or talks. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a quarter of the world’s population is infected with TB, though not all have active cases, and there are 1.3 million TB-related deaths annually. Some of the bacteria that cause TB have developed resistance to the antibiotics commonly used to treat it.”Conventional treatment regimens for multidrug resistant TB can be as much as 1,000 times more expensive and take four times as long as treatment for regular TB. The cure rate is only about 50 percent, and treatment can have severe side effects, such as permanent hearing loss,” said senior study author Jean B. Nachega, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the departments of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at Pitt Public Health, and director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases at Stellenbosch University. “Without effective therapy, people with multidrug-resistant TB can infect others who have never had TB before.”The Second Congo War, which started in 1997, caused massive disruption of health care services in the eastern DRC, contributing to an increase in TB cases and TB-related deaths. According to the World Health Organization, there were about 262,000 new cases of TB and 56,000 TB-related deaths in the DRC in 2017.Nachega partnered with lead study author André N.H. Bulabula, M.D., M.Sc., a doctoral student in Stellenbosch’s Department of Global Health and member of the Infection Control Africa Network, as well as colleagues from the DRC National TB Program, to evaluate 16,448 patients for TB between 2012 and 2017 in post-conflict DRC. They used a new molecular diagnostic tool called Xpert MTB/RIF to detect multidrug-resistant TB in less than two hours, something that can take several weeks using conventional tests. The scientists found TB in 1,535 patients, and 170 of them, or 11 percent, had a strain of TB resistant to the antibiotic rifampicin.Related StoriesAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyNew research could help design algae that produces fuels and cleanup chemicalsNew methods to recognize antimicrobial resistant bacteria and how they workPatients with rifampicin-resistant TB were assigned to either receive a new nine-month regimen, which involved receiving four different antibiotics throughout, supplemented by three other antibiotics (including one injectable) during a four-month intensive phase, or the conventional 20- or 24-month treatment regimens, which involved five different antibiotics taken throughout, supplemented by one injectable antibiotic during a six-month intensive phase. All of the patients were assigned to “directly observed therapy,” where a nurse at the local clinic, or a community health worker or trained family member at home observed the patient take their medication.Of the patients who received the nine-month schedule, 83 percent were cured, compared to 74 percent of those receiving conventional therapy. The biggest predictors of success were the consistent use of directly observed therapy, the lack of serious drug side effects that can cause a patient to stop therapy, and the patient receiving cash incentives for adherence to treatment.”In this challenging treatment setting, it is compelling that our findings are in line with those previously reported by observational studies in Bangladesh and other sub-Saharan African countries, as well as the interim results of an ongoing multinational randomized trial,” said study co-author Zacharie M. Kashongwe, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pulmonology at the University of Kinshasa in the DRC.Nachega added that the data should inform new multidrug-resistant TB care guidelines in low- and middle-income countries, including expanding use of the Xpert testing; prompt initiation of shorter, less-toxic drug regimens that are ideally entirely taken orally; involving trained community health workers in delivering TB services; and developing, as well as initiating, community-based drug-resistant TB prevention strategies.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 24 2019Researchers at Tampere University have shown for the first time that the cerebral emboli of stroke patients contain DNA from oral pathogens. The research article has been published in the Journal of American Heart Association.The researchers analysed thrombus aspirates, which neurointerventional radiologists removed from 75 stroke patients as part of emergency treatment. The samples were studied by duplicating bacterial DNA, showing that 79 % of the aspirates contained DNA from bacteria that came from the teeth.The study is part of a research project at Tampere University, which for ten years has been investigating the effects of bacterial infection in the development of cardiovascular diseases. The research group has previously shown that the same odontogenic bacteria are present in the coronary artery stenoses of patients who have suddenly died, the thrombus aspirates and arterial blood of myocardial infarction patients, ruptured cerebral aneurysms and the thrombus aspirates of patients with lower limb arterial and venous thrombosis.Related StoriesCurved shape of bacteria can make it easier to find foodHigh prevalence of multiresistant intestinal bacteria in Vietnamese hospitalsStructure of bacteria responsible for traveler’s diarrhea decipheredCerebral artery thrombosis causes 87 % of strokes. Most thrombi originate in carotid artery stenoses from where they travel to block cerebral circulation.The results showed that a large amount of DNA from streptococcus viridans – normal bacteria in the mouth – was found in cerebral thrombi compared with normal blood samples from the same patients. In the oral cavity, streptococci are harmless, but when entering circulation, they might cause, among other things, infections of the cardiac valves. The streptococcus bacteria can directly bind to various platelet receptors, making the patient more prone to blood clots.The research shows that oral health and good dental hygiene are of much greater importance to health than previously known, and that untreated dental infections can cause serious health damage or even death.Source:University of TampereJournal reference:PatrakkaOlli, et al. (2019) Oral Bacterial Signatures in Cerebral Thrombi of Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke Treated With Thrombectomy. Journal of the American Heart Association. doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.012330.
The failure to curb the increase in STI incidence is attributed to the lack of consistent and correct condom use during sex with a casual or new partner, as well as better detection rates following higher rates of testing.The PHE’s Head of STI Surveillance, Gwenda Hughes, noted: “The rise in sexually transmitted infections is concerning. STIs can pose serious consequences to health – both your own and that of current and future sexual partners. No matter what age you are, or what type of relationship you are in, it’s important to look after your sexual health.”Common STIsGonorrhea showed the largest jump of 26% because of new cases among homosexual, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), with 50% of over 56,000 cases occurring in this group. Compared to the 16,000 cases in 2009, this reflects an almost 250% increase in the disease, making this the highest count in 40 years. This is an alarming trend, as shown by the three cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea reported in 2018.Syphilis has also more than doubled over just ten years, from about 2,900 cases in 2009 to over 7,500 in 2018. Again, MSMs figure prominently in this condition, accounting for 75% of cases in 2018. PHE’s Syphilis Action Plan is meant to counter this increase, and is based on higher testing rates among high-risk MSM, and among patients who have been treated for syphilis; BASHH standard partner notification; and excellent antenatal testing coverage.Chlamydia was the most common diagnosis, with over 205,000 cases, comprising about half of new STIs (6% up from 2017). 60% of new cases occurred in young people between 15 and 24 years. Despite the pro-active testing being offered under the National Chlamydia Screening program to young people, testing fell by 22% since 2014 but with more tests returning positive (10%), the disease is still rising.Related StoriesMosquito surveillance in Madagascar reveals new insight into malaria transmissionMediterranean diet may improve memory in type 2 diabeticsHighlights and key takeaways from the 2019 Boston Bacterial Meeting (BBM)First-time genital warts accounted for 13% of new STIs. The HPV vaccination program, which offers the quadrivalent HPV vaccine to most girls between 12 and 13 years of age, has achieved good herd protection, as suggested by the 92% decrease in genital warts in girls 15 to 17 years old compared to 2014, and an 82% decrease in heterosexual boys.STIs continue to hit young people (15 to 24 years), MSM, and black minorities. While STIs increased by 2% and 1% among heterosexual women and men, respectively, the rise was 16% and 17% among women who had sex with women (WSW) and MSM respectively.These groups likely have higher rates of sex with new partners without condoms. The practice of combining recreational drug use with sexual activity, called chemsex, is suspected to be responsible for high-risk behavior in some MSM.Among people over 24 years, STI incidence is far lower but rising. The largest proportional increase in gonorrhea (42%) and chlamydia (24%) was in those over 65 years, though absolute numbers are low.Curbing STI increasesMany STIs don’t cause symptoms, and are easily passed on to others unknowingly. PHE recommends regular annual screening for STI, including HIV, with or without signs of infection, for all sexually active people who change partners or have casual sex without condom protection. If under 25 years, chlamydia testing is advised annually and when they change partners.For MSM, testing should be done every three months if they have unprotected sex with new or casual partners.About 2 million screening tests for STIs were carried out in 2018. Sexual health clinics offer access to anyone at risk of an STI. More and more, people are using eSexual Health Services (eSHSs). This makes personal visits to the clinic unnecessary, with the tests being ordered online, taken at home, and posted to the testing laboratory. The results will be received through a phone call, text or post. 14% of chlamydia diagnoses among 15-24 year olds were made this way.Relationship and sex education (RSE) in secondary schools is important to prevent new STIs among young people.Other PHE initiatives for sexual health include: Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/806118/hpr1919_stis-ncsp_ann18.pdf By Dr. Liji Thomas, MDJun 6 2019The incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in England continues to go up, according to a new report released by Public Health England (PHE). The currently reported increase of 5% from 2017 brings the figure to almost 450,000 cases. Consultations at sexual health services went up by 7%, to over 3,500,000. Safe sex message. Image Credit: keko64 / Shutterstock A Protect Against STIs campaign promoting condom use to 16-24 year olds Providing data on the activity of local sexual health services to local authorities Containing outbreaks and incidents successfully Advisory help to develop national guidelines in this area
Jun 20 2019Researchers at Boston Medical Center initiated a statewide quality improvement imitative to increase mothers’ ability to produce and provide milk for very low birth weight infants at their discharge, as well reduce the racial/ethnic disparities in milk production and provision to these infants. A new study, published in Pediatrics, indicates that the initiative yielded positive results on improving rates of prenatal human milk education, early milk expression and skin to skin care among mothers of very low birth weight infants during initial hospitalization, but did not lead to sustained improvement in mother’s milk provision at hospital discharge.Related StoriesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infectionsOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchMother’s milk has many benefits for very low-birth-rate infants, including a reduction of necrotizing enterocolitis (infection of the intestine), sepsis, and chronic lung disease, and improvement in later childhood development. However, mothers of very low birth rate infants that are born prematurely often have challenges making milk. In addition, previous research has shown racial/ethnic disparities in mother’s milk provision at discharge or transfer, with white mothers having a higher rate of mother’s milk provision.The researchers examined three years of data from 1,670 mother-very low birth weight infant pairs from 10 level 3 neonatal intensive care units in Massachusetts. They found that the quality improvement program significantly improved hospital-based breastfeeding support practices, as well as first milk expression within six hours of birth, and any skin-to-skin care in the first month in all racial/ethnic groups. Although the researchers found no racial/ethnic disparities in provision of mother’s milk for the first three weeks of hospitalization, disparities emerged after three weeks. Although we were able to show improvement in our process measures and any mother’s milk for the first three weeks of hospitalization, these did not lead to sustained improvement in mother’s milk provision at discharge. While we did not find improvements in our main outcome, we did find several successful initiatives that can inform other hospitals looking to address this issue.”Corresponding author Margaret G. Parker, MD, MPH, a neonatologist at Boston Medical Center and assistant professor of pediatrics at BU School of Medicine The authors note that, given these results, further research is needed on the effect of factors later in hospitalization on provision of mother’s milk at discharge. This work was supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Source:Boston Medical Center