KSRM Week In Review 12111215

first_imgDivision Of Elections Keeps Seaton On Republican Primary Ballot, Sterling Intentional Community Answers The Toughest Question For Family Of Disabled, Doctors Warn To Take Flu Seriously This SeasonAudio PlayerDorene-Monday-1.mp3VmDorene-Monday-1.mp300:00RPd Thursday 12/14Soldotna Regional Sports Complex Expansion Plan Expected Early 2018Audio PlayerJennifer-Thursday-1214.mp3VmJennifer-Thursday-1214.mp300:00RPdOfficer Named In Anchor Point Trooper Involved Shooting Incident, SPD Received Grant For New Portable Radios, Sen. Giessel Presents Workers Comp Bill To Joint Chamber Monday 12/11Anchor Point Ospina Shot After Pointing Rifle At Troopers Tuesday 12/12Annexation Public Engagement Report Shows Strong Opposition From ParticipantsAudio PlayerJennifer-on-Tuesday-1212.mp3VmJennifer-on-Tuesday-1212.mp300:00RPdMan Arrested For Breaking Into Girls Locker Room At KCHS, Three Friends Dog Park Receives Donations For Benches, Soldotna To Look At 45 Day Extension To Marijuana Moratorium Wednesday 12/13Trump Inks Huge Increase In Military AppropriationsCommercial Cod Fishery Catch Drops 80% After Blob Attack, Resources Available To Help Mitigate Expected DV Holiday SpikeAudio PlayerDorene-Wednesday-2.mp3VmDorene-Wednesday-2.mp300:00RPd Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The KSRM News Department compiled some of the top stories from this past week. Friday 12/15ANWR Opener Stays In Tax Cuts And Job Acts BillWalker Proposes 1.5% Payroll Tax To Cover State’s Deferred Maintenance, Minimum Wage Set To Increase To $9.84Audio PlayerDorene-friday-2.mp3VmDorene-friday-2.mp300:00RPdlast_img read more

Sandbox VRs new Amber Sky 2088 is great scifi fun

first_img Video Games Comment 1 Do the robot! Sandbox VR Want to save the world as a robot hero alongside your friends? Sandbox VR’s new Amber Sky 2088 is here to make it happen.Working with your buddies in a team of four or six, you’re thrust into a world under attack by aliens as part of a robot squad out to save the planet from destruction. The 30-minute experience is mostly on rails, you’ll still get to roam around and blast aliens attacking from all directions.The game starts in New Hong Kong and has you escorting a package up the “Beanstalk” space elevator. You’re treated to an amazing view as you lift up to a sub-orbital station thanks to the game’s stunning graphics. And as the story progresses, you learn that the Beanstalk you’re on is the only one left.You play as either an attacker or defender. Attackers’ rifles have a special flamethrower secondary ability, while defenders get a shield to deflect attacks — they can toss it like Captain America to kill marauding alien monsters.screenshot-2019-01-22-at-16-43-02Defender robots can toss their shields like Captain America (and it’s super fun to do so). Sandbox VR Like other Sandbox VR games, the haptic vest helps add immersion, and lets you know when you’re being attacked. While you’re mostly standing on a platform in the game, you can move around that small space, helping your team fend off attacks from all directions (including above you). Other environment tricks include using fans to simulate explosion breezes, which helped sell the immersion.There are also epic boss fights that require you to dodge mega lasers or die in one hit. Some monsters attack with plasma orbs that defenders have to block, meanwhile attackers can use flamethrowers to burn eggs that hatch baby aliens. And, similar to the Alien movies, those hatched alien babies like to jump on your chest.img-3284VR games can be a ton of fun with a group of friends.  Aloysius Low/CNET Last time I played a Sandbox VR game, I killed the zombies of Deadwood Mansion alongside experienced gamers. This time around I brought newbies to see if they could do as well. Surprisingly, they did — but not without plenty of deaths. Fortunately you can revive a buddy by touching their shoulder.Still, my team had fun. That was a relief because I wasn’t sure how they’d take to VR, having never tried it before. But the session ended with big smiles and everyone wanted to try more games, so it appears that VR gaming has gained more converts.Sandbox VR’s rep told me that there are plans for more games coming this year, and they should rolling out to official Sandbox VR stores around the world, though franchises may not see the new game any time soon. If you’re keen, you can check out the Sandbox VR stores located around the world in Los Angeles, New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. A 30-minute session costs around S$32 (about $23, £20 or AU$35) per person.VR in 2019: Five years in, is it just a dream gathering dust?VR’s missing link: You likely haven’t bought a VR headset yet and it’s beginning to show. center_img Share your voice Tagslast_img read more

SpiceJet tops other carriers in load factor for September

first_imgBudget passenger carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday reported the highest passenger load factor (PLF) in the Indian civil aviation market during September.The PLF is a key indicator of the company’s performance, as it measures the average percentage of seats filled on an airline’s fleet.According to the company, the latest Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) statistics revealed that the airline’s PLF stood at 93% in September.”We continue to deliver strong performance despite September normally being a weaker quarter,” said Shilpa Bhatia, senior vice president and head of sales and distribution, SpiceJet.September was the sixth month in a row that the airline has topped the charts in terms of PLF.The airline elaborated that September was the fifth consecutive month when it maintained a PLF of over 90%. “Our on-time performance (OTP) has also shown a significant improvement over the past few months. We are confident that our new winter schedule will witness the load factors and customer confidence trending in the right direction,” Bhatia added.The airline’s OTP for September stood at 85.1% as computed for its operations across the four metro airports of Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.The airline had a market share of 12.3% in September.Currently, SpiceJet operates 250 daily flights to 40 destinations, including 34 domestic and six international cities.last_img read more

Essar Steel gets Rs 800 crore interim financing from Edelweiss Group

first_imgEmployees walk past an Essar Group logo outside the company headquarters in Mumbai in this 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash/File PhotoThe Edelweiss Group, a part of the lenders consortium to Essar Steel Ltd., is willing to provide nearly Rs 800 crore by way of interim financing to help the steelmaker stay afloat during insolvency proceedings, according to a BloombergQuint report on Thursday.The report said that Edelweiss intends to fund Essar Steel for six months at an interest rate of 15-20 percent, out of its stressed assets funding business.Interim financing is essential to keep Essar Steel as a going concern till lenders and the IRP finalise a restructuring plan within the stipulated 270 days, the report said.It said that Edelweiss has discussed the proposal with Satish Kumar Gupta, the interim resolution professional in the Essar Steel insolvency case. It’s now awaiting approval from the committee of creditors, as is the norm under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, two of the three sources told BloombergQuint.In a meeting held on Wednesday, the insolvency professional apprised lenders of the Edelweiss offer. Gupta is from turnaround and interim management firm Alvarez & Marsal India, which was appointed by a consortium of lenders led by State Bank of India for the insolvency case.Essar Steel was among the first list of dozen companies that the Reserve Bank of India had identified for insolvency proceedings. The dozen companies drawn up by banks contribute a quarter of bad loans of Indian lenders. The steelmaker has among the largest insolvency cases with a debt of over Rs 40,000 crore, and has challenged the move in the Gujarat High Court but failed to get relief.Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd. is a member of the lending consortium to Essar Steel. The ARC had purchased the steel company’s loans from HDFC Bank Ltd., Federal Bank Ltd., Axis Bank Ltd. and ICICI Bank Ltd. However, the interim funding proposal has come from a different arm of the Edelweiss Group.last_img read more

17th JS session to continue till 14 Sept

first_imgThe 17th session of the 10th parliament will continue until 14 September next.The sitting of the house began at 5:25pm with speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. Earlier, the business advisory committee of the house sat at a meeting at 4pm with the speaker in the chair to fix the duration and businesses of the session. A five-member panel of chairmen was nominated by the speaker for the 17th session of the 10th parliament. Members of the panel are Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan (Gopalganj-1), Motahar Hossain (Lalmonirhat-1), Suhrab Uddin (Kishoreganj-2), Fakhrul Imam (Mymensingh-8) and Mahjabeen Khaled (Women Seat-18). The speaker announced their names at the beginning of the day’s business. They will conduct the proceedings of parliament in chronological order in the absence of the Speaker and the deputy speaker.President Abdul Hamid on 22 August last called the 17th session of the 10th parliament exercising the power bestowed upon him as per Article 72 (1) of the Constitution. On 13 July last, the 16th session (4th budget session of 10th parliament) of the Jatiya Sangsad was prorogued after 24 sittings that passed the national budget for fiscal 2017-18 .last_img read more

BCL activists attack IHT female students

first_imgA female student injured in the BCL attack being taken to hospital. Photo: Shahidul Islam/Prothom AloThe authorities have closed Rajshahi Institute of Health Technology (IHT) for an indefinite period to avoid untoward incident following an attack of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists on female students.BCL is the student wing of ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL).The authorities asked the institue’s male students to vacate its dormitories by 1:00pm and female students by 3:00pm.Female students alleged that a group of BCL activists entered the female dormitory and hurled abusive words at female students on 3 December as some of them could not turn up at a programme of the Medical Technologists held on the campus on the day.The female students of the institute on Wednesday morning went to the principal office to lodge a complaint against the BCL activists. The principle then assured them of taking actions after investigation.When the female students were about to come out of the principal office, BCL activists brought out a procession chanting slogans against them, frightening female students to return to their dormitories.At one stage, the principal of the institute himself escorted students to the dormitories.Students alleged BCL activists attacked some of them who fell behind while the principal was escorting them to the dormitory, leaving five female students injured.A police man trying to pacifying a BCL activist who was attempting to attack female students on Wednesday. Photo: Shahidul Islam/Prothom Alo The BCL activists launched the attack even in presence of the principal and the police. And police took no action, alleged the students.BCL, however, denied the allegation and the principal echoed it.BCL’s IHT unit president Zahidul Islam claimed that female students got frightened when BCL activists chased certain Mizan, who he claimed is a mentally retarded ex-student of the institute, after Mizan chanted slogans against BCL.“And some of the female students fell sick. Attacks were not launched on them and it will be proved in medical certificates,” he claimed.Later, the academic council of the institute sat for an emergency meeting and decided to close the institution for an indefinite period to fend off any unwanted situation.When approached, institute principal Sirazul Islam said, “BCL did not launch attacks on female students. Some of female students sustained injuries while hastily entering the dormitory.”last_img read more

British police arrest 18yearold in train attack probe

first_imgAn armed police officer (2L) and three military personel stand guard outside the Horse Guards Parade in central London on 16 September. Photo: AFPBritish police said they arrested an 18-year-old man on Saturday at a Channel port in their investigation into the bombing of a London Underground train.“The 18-year-old man was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover this morning, Saturday, 16 September, under section 41 of the Terrorism Act,” police said in a statement that described the arrest as “significant”.“Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical,” police said.The man is in custody at a local police station and will be be transferred to a south London police station in “due course”.Thirty people were treated in hospital after a bomb detonated in a packed London Underground train on Friday morning, in what was Britain’s fifth terror attack in six months.The toll was revised upwards by one early Saturday.“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers,” police said.“For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage.“This investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical,” the statement added.The Islamic State group said an IS “detachment” had been behind the bombing.Prime Minister Theresa May announced late Friday that the threat level had been raised to “critical—meaning another attack could be imminent—and said troops would take over guarding key sites to free police officers for deployment elsewhere.Four previous attacks in London and Manchester this year claimed the lives of 35 people.Three of those attacks involved a vehicle ploughing into pedestrians. The other was a bombing in May at a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester which killed 22 people, including several children.last_img read more

Wave of arrests in Egypt ahead of Sisis 2nd term

first_imgEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a military ceremony in the courtyard of the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, France on 26 November 2014As Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi prepares to be sworn in for a second four-year term on Saturday, a wave of arrests signals his government’s fear of social dissent, analysts say.Personalities involved in the January 2011 popular uprising that brought down president Hosni Mubarak are among those to have been detained, amid a crackdown that began after March elections gave Sisi an official 97 per cent of the vote.Two of those arrested are blogger and journalist Wael Abbas and Shadi Ghazali Harb, one of the youth leaders during the 2011 revolution.They also include Hazim Abdelazim, who has described his decision to head the youth committee of Sisi’s successful 2014 presidential bid as his “biggest mistake”.“The arrests are in line with the repressive policies of recent years, which aim to subdue” all potential checks on power, said Karim Bitar, a researcher at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.A month ahead of the elections, the public prosecutor’s office warned the media it would act against the dissemination of “false information” deemed detrimental to the country’s “safety and security”.The latest arrests show “nothing has changed in the security-focused policies of the regime” in Egypt, said Mostafa Kamel el-Sayed, a political science professor at Cairo University.“There is still worry of a repeat of what happened in January 2011, which the president has expressed more than once,” said Sayed.Economic hardship may also be making the authorities jittery, analysts say.The government has brought in a value-added tax, cut fuel subsidies and hiked electricity prices, as it seeks to keep to the terms of a $12-billion (10.3-billion-euro) loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.The authorities may also fear activists will “use these circumstances to mobilise citizens against Sisi’s regime”, with figures who made their names in 2011 a particular source of potential concern, Sayed told AFP.A collapse in the value of the currency in late 2016 and resultant inflation, which peaked at 33 percent last July, has also left consumers feeling the pinch.Another electricity price hike and cut to fuel subsidies are planned for the summer.To prepare the public for this unpopular medicine, state-run media has cited the government’s massive 104-billion-pound ($5.8 billion, five-billion-euro) petroleum subsidy bill and the squeeze caused by oil prices rising back above $75 per barrel.‘State of oppression’Advocacy groups have condemned the arrests, calling on authorities to release the activists, with Human Rights Watch on Thursday denouncing a “state of oppression”.The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has also condemned the wave of arrests.“Sustainable stability and security can only go hand in hand with the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” her spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.“The increasing number of arrests of human rights defenders, political activists and bloggers in the latest weeks in Egypt is therefore a worrying development,” said Kocijancic.Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid rejected the criticisms, saying the EU’s track record in human rights can also be condemned.Abu Zeid pointed to “the immense difficulty and degrading treatment suffered by many of the immigrants and refugees, as well as the violations committed by law enforcement authorities” in the EU.“That is in addition to the growing effect of the rise of extremist, right-wing parties and movements, with the ensuing manifestations of racism, discrimination, violence and hate speech,” Abu Zeid said in a statement.Also last month an Egyptian military court sentenced Ismail Alexandrani, a prominent journalist and expert on jihadist movements in the Sinai Peninsula, to 10 years in prison.The court has yet to issue its reasoning, but Alexandrani’s lawyer said he had been accused of publishing military secrets and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.For Paris-based researcher Bitar, Egypt’s policy direction is at least in part the consequence of the West’s own policies.“The Western preference for Arab authoritarianism provides rulers in the Middle East blank cheques that make them feel they have no limits in regards to oppression,” said Bitar.last_img read more

Government denies approving industries around Sundarbans

first_imgSundarbans. Prothom Alo file photoThe Bangladesh government has denied that it issued approval for any heavy industry close to the Sundarbans, country’s only, and the world’s largest, mangrove forest. However, the records show that so far 320 new industrial projects have been approved by the government around the forest.The government issued a letter to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) denying their approval of the industries and also saying that they conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) accurately before implementing the Rampal power plant project.Sundarbans’ biodiversity is widely important for the world’s ecosystem. The Bangladesh government submitted a progress report to the World Heritage Committee on 3 December last year as to maintain the status of Sundarbans as world heritage. The report said that the government has taken some additional initiatives to protect the Sundarbans as well as to meet UNESCO’s conditions.However, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO will make the decision in July this year, whether or not the status as the Sundarbans will retain its world heritage status as its natural resources are at stake.However, the National Committee to Protect Sundarbans sent a letter to the UNESCO citing the government has approved 320 factories within 10 kilometre surrounding the forest despite UNESCO’s time and again objections.The letter also said, among the projects, 24 are highly prone to release deadly environmental pollutants which will push the Sundarbans gradually towards destruction.Apart from this, UNESCO was told that the EIA of Rampal power plant was not done accurately, it would have to be done afresh. But the government has not conducted any EIA anew.Deputy minister of environment, forest and climate change Habibun Nahar said, “The people of Rampal and Mongla used to starve. Only industrialisation can eradicate poverty in the area and this will not be possible without electricity.”“That is why we proposed the Rampal power plant. We are doing it with proper measures to protect the environment,” she claimed.In the meeting of World Heritage Committee held in Krakow, Poland in July 2017, Bangladesh was given several conditions to protect Sundarbans. There were eight conditions, including stopping the operation of the Rampal power plant and not allowing industrialisation around the Sundarbans.It is said an evaluation report will be discussed in the 2019 meeting on what Bangladesh did to fulfil these conditions so far.Earlier, in December 2018, UNESCO asked Bangladesh government to submit a report in this regard.Following that the government said in report in December last year, the task of assigning an organisation to carry out a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) on the south-western region of the country including the Sundarbans has been finalised. Also, the government is said to have taken initiatives to avoid any kind of pollution at Rampal coal-based power plants project.The report also stated that a special action plan including the Tiger Recovery Programme was taken up with special supervision to protect the Royal Bengal Tigers in Sundarbans. It was mentioned that the filling of Gorai river is one of the main obstacles to fresh water flow through the Ganges from India. Initiative has been taken to dredge the river. Also, EIA was carried out before the river dredging.However, the National Committee to Protect Sundarbans convenor Sultana Kamal said, “Whatever the government’s official statements say, we have seen that the EIA of Rampal power plant was faulty. It has to be done afresh.”“The Sundarbans cannot be preserved unless the projects the construction of industries there is halted for once and for all,” she added.*This report originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakatlast_img read more

Will carbon nanotubes replace indium tin oxide

first_img Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (PhysOrg.com) — Up until now, George Grüner tells PhysOrg.com, most of the studies regarding the properties – and uses – of carbon nanotubes have been restricted to the visible spectral range. “We, however, were interested in the properties in infrared range, in the window of the electromagnetic spectrum that is gaining increased prominence.” Carbon nanotubes made into conductive, flexible ‘stained glass’center_img Citation: Will carbon nanotubes replace indium tin oxide? (2009, March 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-03-carbon-nanotubes-indium-tin-oxide.html Grüner, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, worked with Liangbing Hu and David S. Hecht to explore the infrared properties of thin films made with carbon nanotubes. Their work demonstrated that carbon nanotubes are highly transparent in the infrared range. “This attribute would make such films ideal replacement for indium tin oxide,” Grüner says. Their work can be found in Applied Physics Letters: “Infrared transparent carbon nanotube thin films.”“Finding transparent metals, which are ideal materials for use in such technologies as touch screens and solar cells, is not easy thing to do. Indium tin oxide, ITO, is predominantly used,” Grüner explains. However, ITO is rather brittle and the indium used in the alloy is becoming scarce. Scientists have discovered that films of carbon nanontubes are conductive and sufficiently transparent in the visible range, offering the potential to replace indium tin oxide.While finding a replacement for indium tin oxide for applications that make use of visible light is significant, Grüner and his colleagues were more interested in whether or not carbon nanotube thin films could be useful in the infrared range as well. “ITO is not much transparent in the infrared range,” Grüner says, “so there are some applications that wouldn’t be suited for.” “A range of applications are making use of the infrared range,” Grüner continues. “Military applications would benefit greatly, especially in terms of infrared sensors, cameras and projectors.” Additionally, making effective use of the infrared range could also lead to more efficient solar cells. “A significant fraction of the radiation from the sun is in the infrared range. As mentioned, ITO, used as electrodes in solar cells is not transparent at infrared, this leads to decreased efficiency. Carbon nanotube thin films are transparent in the infrared range, this could help developing more efficient solar energy.”In order to test the abilities of the carbon nanotubes, Grüner and his students set up an experiment to direct infrared light through the thin film they had prepared. By measuring the intensity on the other side of the film, they were able to gauge its transparency. “It’s really pretty straightforward,” Grüner says. “The art is really making a well conducting film.”Grüner points out that such films are more transparent than other materials showing good optical transparency is the visible spectral range. “That came as a bit of a surprise,” he acknowledges. “This opens up a number of interesting opportunities for a variety of applications,” Grüner says. “We are looking forward to seeing if what we have found will finds it’s way into useful applications.”More information: Hu, Hecht and Grüner. “Infrared transparent carbon nanotube thin films,” Applied Physics Letters (2009). Available online: link.aip.org/link/?APPLAB/94/081103/1. Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.last_img read more

Smoke beneath Dum Dumbound non AC rake causes chaos at Metro stations

first_imgKolkata: Metro services were disrupted for sometime in the peak hours of Monday evening after smoke was detected beneath a Dum Dum-bound non AC rake at MG Road Metro Station.The incident triggered panic among the passengers who were standing on the platform to catch a train. After the train entered the platform, the motor man spotted smoke billowing out from beneath the rake. The matter was immediately informed to the railway officials. The power connection in the third rail was immediately disconnected. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe Metro personnel and the RPF rushed to the spot and evacuated all the passengers.The train was taken to the car shed. According to the Metro railway officials, train services between Maidan and Girish Park remained suspended for sometime due to the incident.Truncated services were being operated between Dum Dum and Girish Park in the Up line and between Maidan and Kavi Subhash stations in the Down.Some of the passengers were who were stranded at Esplanade Metro Station alleged that there was utter chaos at the station as services were suspended for more than half an hour during peak hours. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHundreds of commuters, who entered the stations, that are situated between Maidan and Girish Park faced inconvenience due to the disruption. Many passengers took buses to reach home.The passengers alleged that things were not properly communicated to them about when would train services resume between Maidan and Girish Park.Metro authorities are yet to ascertain the cause of the smoke which might have triggered due to some technical glitches, officials suspect.A senior official of the Metro railways said the situation was brought under control within a few minutes. The train services soon resumed between Girish Park and Maidan stations. A probe has been initiated in this regard.last_img read more

Rep Cole advises residents to be cautious of Avian Flu how to

first_img##### Tags: #SB, Avian Flu, birds, chicken virus, Cole, HPAI, livestock, MDARD, MDNR Michigan residents that have noticed 3 OR MORE WILD BIRD DEATHS, please report this immediately to Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). 04Jun Rep. Cole advises residents to be cautious of Avian Flu, how to protect Michigan birds Lawmaker explains HPAI & how to defend against spread of virus to livestockThe Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD),with the advice of MDARD State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill, along with the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (MAFE), Michigan 4-H, and Michigan Allied Poultry Industry announced this week the cancellation of all statewide events featuring Michigan poultry and waterfowl slated for 2015, citing Avian Influenza as the culprit.Out-of-state regions surrounding Michigan have recently reported cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) that has resulted in the premature death of many birds across the nation. HPAI is a virus infecting domestic poultry such as chickens, turkey, quail, and geese and the heightened pathogenicity of this virus is deadly to poultry.“To avoid the spread of HPAI to Michigan fowl, both backyard and commercial, the MDARD has decided against hosting all Michigan poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in the state in order to prevent the comingling of birds from different locations,” said House Agriculture Committee vice-chair, State Rep. Triston Cole. “It is important to note here, how HPAI is spread to poultry and livestock and how we can protect our Michigan fowl from contracting this deadly virus.”“As far as researchers can tell, HPAI is a zoological virus. Meaning strands of this virus are currently only detrimental to animals and not human beings. At this time, Avian Flu is not a food safety concern; you can still eat poultry and eggs. The primary concern here is the safety and well-being of our healthy bird populations across the state. HPAI may not be harmful to humans but we can still be carriers of the HPAI virus.”“That being said there are some precautionary steps to take in order to avoid the unnecessary contamination of Avian Flu from infected bird populations to healthy bird populations. Infected birds spread HPAI through droppings or nasal discharge found in soil and dirt making it extremely susceptible and easy for humans to spread. People pick up the virus and carry it on their shoes, clothes, equipment and vehicles. Migrating waterfowl, like ducks, are also carriers of HPAI making it very easy for them to spread the virus as well.”“Michigan bird owners should restrict their biosecurity practices,” Rep. Cole, R-Mancelona, said. “This includes limiting exposure to wild birds and restricting outdoor access to your flock in order to protect your birds.”There have been no reported cases in Michigan. Report a sick or dead bird and mammal to Michigan DNR using this OBSERVATION FORM. Categories: Cole News,Featured news,News If you have experienced a high volume of livestock deaths in a short period OR have noticed an unusual or unexplainable pattern of recent deaths in flock, please immediately report it to Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). If you have a sick bird or a bird is acting sick or in an unusual manner, please contact the following state agencies to receive immediate help. State of Michigan Agency Contact InformationMichigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)800-292-3939517-373-0440 (after-hours EMERGENCY)Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)517-336-5030Additional Resources and Information Status of Avian Influenza in MichiganHow to report a sick or dead wild birdMDARD Fact Sheet: Get more information on Avian FluAvian Influenza Information from MSU Extension ServiceMSU Extension Poultry Website: General Information on How to Care for PoultrySick or dead bird and mammal observation report What can Michigan residents do to help?last_img read more

Russian service provider ERTelecom had 1747 mill

first_imgRussian service provider ER-Telecom had 1.747 million TV subscribers at the end of last year, up 43% compared with 2010.Broadband internet customers numbered 1.899 million, up 39%, while fixed-line phone subscribers numbered 265,000, up 98%. ER-Telecom made a number of significant acquisitions in the course of the year.Revenue from TV services amounted to RUB2.868 billion (€72 million), while broadband revenues amounted to RUB6.166 billion.Overall revenues were RUB9.688 billion, up 43%. The company has set a target of winning a 20% share of the country’s internet and pay TV business by 2014. ER-Telecom envisages further investments to the amount of US$500 million (€381 million) to help it reach this target.ER-Telecom’s customers base at the end of the year was 3.9 million.last_img read more

In This Issue   Antipodeans see profit taking

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Antipodeans see profit taking. *  Pound sterling is star performer overnight! *  China prints strong data! *  Silver to get boost from India? And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Retail Sales Disappoints! Good Day! .  And a Happy Friday to one and all! This will be short-n-sweet today, I feel like dookie, and really just want to go back to sleep! But, even this out of whack feeling won’t stop me from getting the Pfennig out! Rain, sleet, snow, feeling like dookie, or anything else, will keep the Pfennig from going out!  Just typing that last sentence, makes me feel better, let’s hope that trend continues! The trend that has continued in the currencies is the lack of volume in trades. This has gone on way too long, and really has me concerned. The Currencies trading is usually around a $5 Trillion per day size business.. I doubt we’ve come close to that $5 Trillion in a month of Sundays. And when you have this lack of volume, you get wild swings. The wild swing that happened last night came from the Antipodean currencies of Australia and New Zealand.  These two had just spent the previous night and day in the spotlight, but just like that, the euphoria was thrown to the side of the road, and profit taking set in. Before you could say, “what, the what?” these two had lost a chunk.  and a wild swing from day to day occurred. One thing that you can’t rule out here is Central Bank intervention. Remember, these Central Banks, have mentioned over and over again that the currencies are at historical highs, against the backdrop of weak commodity prices. In other words, they think the currencies should be weaker, and after a day of Huge gains in these two, what better day to intervene and sell the currencies by the Central Banks?  I have no idea if this happened, and we wouldn’t know for a few weeks, I’m just saying. Remember a couple of days ago, when the euro had gotten whacked , I said, that the euro just needed a couple of days to allow the markets forget the pain. Well, that appears to be the scenario for the euro, as yesterday the euro began to creep higher, and overnight it has added to the gains, the moves are small, in that the single unit is still below 1.36, but rising nonetheless!  There’s really been no data to speak of here, so the euro is trading on its own, and doing much better than earlier in the week! The star performer overnight and through this morning’s session is the British pound sterling. I had read yesterday that Bank of England (BOE) Gov. Carney was going to be a key speaker at the annual Mansion House jamboree, and Carney decided to use this venue to tell everyone that the BOE may raise interest rates from a record low earlier than investors expected.  Now, this is where I want to get on my soapbox and yell at the top of my voice to the markets, that we’ve seen this all before! Remember? Carney kept promising a rate hike in Canada, and after a couple of years, where were Canadian rates? That’s right, unchanged. Carney had a bag full of promises then, and I would have to think that this horse hasn’t changed colors.  Of course if he does deliver a rate hike much earlier, then I will admit that he is a horse of a different color! But, I think the pound sterling will suffer much like the Canadian dollar/ loonie did after a run up in price, only to see the selling when the markets grew tired of waiting for Carney’s rate hike. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a rising sterling as it’s taking place. It just means you need to be nimble when you begin to see the pieces of sterling’s armor begin to fall to the ground. Well, the World Cup kicked off (pun intended) yesterday with the host country Brazil beating Croatia.  And the tourists and soccer fans are pouring into Brazil, and exchanging their base currencies for Brazilian reals. The real has really responded favorably lately, and its strong move has me worried. I know that some of you weren’t around the last time we saw the real go on a tear ( a few years ago it was the best performing currency with a 34% gain one year!) the Brazilian Gov’t and Central Bank teamed up to bring the real to its knees, and beg forgiveness for being so strong.  This time, the gang of two, as I like to call them, are singing a different tune, and besides real isn’t nearly as strong as it was before.  But in the past year, real has moved from 2.4550 to 2.2315, where it trades today..  (remember, real is a European priced currency, so the lower the price, the more value it returns in dollars)  Just remember, that reals can be very volatile, which is why I always say that it should only be bought in the speculative portion of your investment portfolio.  Good investors know that by doing that, they’ll not worry about the volatile moves. The South African Credit Rating was downgraded by Fitch overnight from stable to negative. YIKES!  Maybe Fitch didn’t get the memo that the strike in S. Africa mining had ended! Needless to say that this downgrade news was not taken kindly by the S. African rand.. The rand has really taken it on the chin for the last year, and hasn’t been able to find a bid anywhere. I think the S. African Central Bank will have to hike rates to get the bleeding to stop here in the rand. But I doubt that will happen any time soon, so batten down the hatches rand holders. China printed some good data overnight. Chinese Industrial Output rose at a 8.8% clip in May from a year earlier, up from the 8.7% clip in April. And Retail Sales for May increased 12.5%!!!!! Now that’s a Retail Sales figure a country can be proud of! (we’ll talk about the U.S. Retail Sales report in a minute) Recall that a week or so ago, I told you that I thought the Chinese Gov’t was going to step up the stimulus for the economy. Well, these reports are either telling us that the Chinese Gov’t did step up the stimulus and it’s already working, or that the economy didn’t need any more stimulus other than the “mini-stimulus” that was already in the works! I prefer to think that it was the latter of the two! In India overnight, the rupee lost some more ground, as it still attempts to remove the knife from its back, but there were a couple of new items that should help the rupee going forward. First, India’s state-run solar company announced plans to auction contracts to build 100 megawatts of solar-thermal capacity. And the second new item was that India imported Gold at the highest capacity in 10 months!  Now, while these news items will actually help Silver and Gold more than they will help the rupee, I think the good overall feeling in India will continue to grow, and that will play well in the sandbox with the rupee. Speaking of the solar story being good for Silver. I just put the finishing touches on the July issue of the Review & Focus, and in it I go through the math of how Silver plays out in the production of megawatts solar panels. so, be sure to look for the R&F at a newsstand near you! No. wait Chuck! The R&F is only available to clients of EverBank World Markets! Oh well, you have a couple of weeks to sign up so you can receive this excellent letter each month! HA! And speaking of Gold. It added another $9 to its price yesterday. but the two darlings of the precious metals, Platinum and Palladium got whacked yesterday when the news of an apparent end to the mining strikes in S. Africa hit the streets. I think this was good for these two, given that they had really rallied recently and left a lot of investors behind. But now these investors can step into these metals at much cheaper prices and feel good about it! The fundamentals for all the metals haven’t changed, folks. The U.S. Data Cupboard will print the May PPI (wholesale inflation) reports this morning, but don’t expect PPI to pop out and surprise us. Year on year will probably print at a +2.4% clip, which doesn’t mean a hill of beans to me.  But what did mean a hill of beans to me was yesterday’s Retail Sales print from the Data Cupboard.  May Retail Sales disappointed everyone by only gaining .3%  instead of .6% that was expected.  Car Sales, which I had already told you would be strong, were the bulk of this report, which means consumer spending on other stuff, just wasn’t there. The markets didn’t look at it like that, instead they chose to look at how April’s anemic .1% gain was revised upward to .5%…  That’s quite a large “revision” don’t you think?  I find this revision to be suspect!  In my mind, how can grownups print that revision with a clear conscience? For What It’s Worth. My good friend, Dennis Miller, who writes an excellent letter for retirees or people getting close to retiring, like me!, sent me a note yesterday, and said that some data he saw showed  in the last 12 months Student Loans had increased $124 Billion, and the total for Student Loans was now greater than the total of Credit Card loans.  Hmmm, I thought, for a minute, and my mind immediately thought about how Student Loans last a very long time, while Credit Card loans might get paid off at any time.   So, that tells me that Student Loans are a bigger deal..  You may recall me venting earlier in the week about the President announcing some sort of bail out on Student Loans.  So, now I’m fuming. Then Alex Daley, the economist from the Casey Research group chimed in, and said that he had been screaming about this for a while. Let’s listen to what Alex had to say, “There is a bailout coming, as Student Loans are up 400% in 5 years, and non-payment rates have climbed 50% already, even with defaulting being nearly impossible legally.”   Now, I’m on fire! Smoke is coming out of my ears! I need to get some cold water thrown on me! Houston, we have a problem here. and it’s not a failure to communicate! It’s a problem surrounding not making people be responsible or accountable for what they sign up for!  It’s the storyline in this country that keeps getting more and more blown out of proportion, and will continue on that path, until it doesn’t. And then, people will wonder.. I wonder how this ever started in the first place.. Chuck again. Well, I never left actually! The FWIW section today was brought to you by ME! OK, stop acting silly, Chuck, this stuff is important! That’s right, I’m sorry. But I just can’t fight this any longer. I can rant and pound my fist till I turn blue, but it won’t do any good. There’s just no “accountability” any longer. It’s always someone else’s fault, and if you get in over your head, the Gov’t will bail you out. It’s all about the Gov’t’s need to make you more dependent on them, folks. when will people wake up and smell the coffee! To recap. The currencies and metals are mixed today. With pound sterling coming out on top as the best performer overnight, on some Carney promises. The Antipodean currencies saw profit taking or Central Bank intervention overnight. And China, and India both printed some good data or had good stories that should be good for the currencies going forward, and good for Silver and Gold.  U.S. Retail Sales for May were disappointing, but April was “revised” upward, very curiously I must say. Currencies today 6/13/14. American Style: A$ .9380, kiwi .8650, C$ .9210, euro 1.3575, sterling 1.6960, Swiss $1.1120, . European Style: rand 10.7740, krone 6.0080, SEK 6.6715, forint 226.85, zloty 3.0495, koruna 20.2640, RUB 34.47, yen 102.05, sing 1.2510, HKD 7.7515, INR 59.75, China 6.1503, pesos 13.02, BRL 2.2315, Dollar Index 80.63, Oil $107.05 (look at this soar, on the Iraq problems) , 10-year 2.60%, Silver $19.51, Platinum $1,443.75, Palladium $818.85, and Gold.. $1,272.90 That’s it for today. Well, my calendar popped up to tell me to not to forget that tomorrow is the 15 year anniversary for Jen Mclean at EverBank!  I could go on about how long Jen and I have worked together, but then that would be revealing her age!  Let’s just say, it’s been a few years, eh? Thanks for staying with me all these years, Jen. Well, the sun is coming up! Yes, the sun! We are supposed to have two days of sunshine here in St. Louis, with rain returning on Sunday. Sunday is Father’s Day. I miss my dad. But doesn’t everyone that has lost their dad? My dad was a tough guy, the Union steward for Teamsters 500, fought in WWII, but knew when someone needed love instead of a kick in the butt. He taught me so much, and I know I never told him I loved him near enough. So.. if your dad is still around, make sure to give him a hug, yes, guys even you.. and tell him you love him.  And just like on Mother’s Day weekend, I have a short poem for Dad. So, let’s go make this a Fantastico Friday, even though I’m going back to bed! Over the years As we grow old, We remember our father So brave and bold. In the garden, Leaning on the plow, He would listen to me; I see him now. He would give advice And understand; He was always there To lend a hand. God made fathers Strong and firm, For he knew our lives Would have great concerns. So he gave us fathers To teach us to pray, And guide our lives, And show us the way. So on his day Let’s take the time To say “Thanks, dad. I’m glad you’re mine.” Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

The good news in resourcerelated political risk c

first_imgThe good news in resource-related political risk continues: no new disasters, such as nationalization of a major mine. The Middle East remains in conflict, and Africa remains a dangerous place to do business, as has been the case for decades. The most alarming news for us was that Mexico’s Green Party just won a larger portion of the nation’s Congress. It remains a small minority with about 10% of the seats, but that’s more than the German green party… and look what it’s done. Worse, the green party is in alliance with the ruling PRI, which needs it to form a majority coalition. That means the ruling party has to give the greens a lot of what they want. Some of what the greens want is just crazy. However, Mexico is a place where poverty still abounds and the harsh facts of life still matter in politics. Nothing has actually changed yet, and the country does have a stable and workable mining code. It’s too soon to write the place off, but we’ll be watching it closely. Stupidity Watch There’s more bad news than good, as usual. Here’s the latest: June 2015: Top Five Countries This month’s top-scoring countries are: Sweden, Finland, Ireland, the US, and Canada. They are all considered very low risk. Ireland (Casey Country Score 0.06). Thanks to the combined effects of the Minerals Development Act in 1940 and a number of significant tax measures announced in 1956, Ireland has become one of the most pro-mining places in Europe and in the world. Zambia: News is out that Zambia is considering cutting the mineral royalties for underground mines. The cut would push the tax below the recently revised 9%. The original (now abandoned) tax hike saw the government charging as much as 20%. We hope common sense will eventually triumph over political stupidity. This Month’s Country Scores This month’s report examines 66 countries with significant mining activity. We plan to expand this to cover oil- and gas-producing countries and other resource industries. This month the focus remains on mining. Below are the individual country scores, followed by regional groupings and other notes. Europe looks the most investor friendly. The region includes both EU members and emerging European and Balkan countries, such as Russia and Serbia. This group is diverse, but on average its constituent countries tend to have stable and attractive investment climates, which makes them good mining jurisdictions. About the Casey Country Score Before we recommend a company, we always analyze the country (or countries) in which it operates. We examine the government’s level of support for mining, foreign investment, and private enterprise, and try to avoid countries with policies detrimental to investors. To this end, we tap multiple sources with knowledge of the country in question, including government officials, miners, geologists actually working on the ground, independent journalists, and NGOs. Whenever possible, we visit the country to see how the data measure up against the observable reality. It’s impossible, of course, to get our boots on the ground in all the countries we’re interested in as often as we’d like. So to fill the gap, we’ve developed the Casey Country Score (CCS) as a quick way to assess a country’s investment climate. The CCS measures multiple aspects of a country’s investment appeal, including the ease of registering property, investor protection, transparency of government institutions, and logistical infrastructure, among others. Lower scores are better. While the vast majority of countries receive a score between 0.0 and 1.0, some may slightly exceed 1.0 if, for example, they have high inflation in addition to other poor scores. Notes: 1] We designed the Casey Country Score to aggregate multiple ratings from such international organizations as the Fraser Institute, the World Bank, Transparency International, and others, and we augment that data with current indicators, such as inflation. The score gives more weight to mining-specific data than to indicators pegged to the economy as a whole, but of course, it reflects the overall investment climate in a country too. Our proprietary formula assigns a single score to each country. The results give us a rough but interesting insight into how countries stack up against each other as investment jurisdictions, for mining and in general. 2] As we’re focused on resource investments in the Casey International Speculator, the letter for which we created the CCS, we selected countries for this report where mining (excluding the oil and gas industry, but including nonmetals) is a significant industry. We used the size of the country’s mining industry in relation to its GDP as a benchmark and considered mainly those where the figure was 1% or more. 3] For Finland, Sweden, Serbia, and the United Kingdom, mining (excluding oil and gas) fell below our 1% benchmark according to the most recently available data. Yet these countries are interesting mining jurisdictions with a lot of investment opportunities. We made a judgment call and left them in. United States (Casey Country Score 0.08). The US ranking in the current Fraser survey dropped a tick, but with excellent infrastructure, low inflation, and high investor protection, it’s still a great mining jurisdiction overall. Some states are obviously not as mine friendly as the ones that rely heavily on mining in the West: Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah. This is well understood by both resource investors and the Canada-listed mining companies that operate there. The Big Picture: Regions Sweden (Casey Country Score 0.04). Sweden is a jurisdiction with excellent infrastructure and famously low corruption and inflation. The country features high-quality geological databases and readily available exploration services. Australia scored very well in the Fraser Survey, the World Bank’s report, and the Corruption Perceptions Index. We tend to agree with this result: the country is a good mining jurisdiction, much better than the Asia & Oceania average. There are other outliers in each group that can render a regional average less useful, and we always look at individual countries to determine if they’re worth our investing consideration.center_img Important points to note: Canada (Casey Country Score 0.08). Canada is another country with a long-established mining industry and an extremely favorable investment climate in the majority of its provinces. We don’t have any particular concerns about Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, among other Canadian provinces, when it comes to mining friendliness. There can be variances within a country between its administrative divisions, such as provinces in Argentina or states in Brazil and the US, and each can have significantly different investment appeal. Mongolia: Khan Resources petitioned a US court to weigh in on its protracted dispute with Mongolia. The move comes after the country decided to invalidate a $100 million arbitration claim by the Canadian company. Our view remains that Mongolia’s intention to revoke Khan’s claims was monumentally stupid. It will make it that much harder to attract investment, which the country badly needs. Finland (Casey Country Score 0.05). Finland is a top Fraser Survey jurisdiction and was an undisputed leader in most of the other reports we drew input from. We note, however, that while stable, government processes in Finland can be very slow. Peru: Violent protests against the Tia Maria copper mine rocked Peru again last month. Five deaths and many more injured reported so far. The government declared a state of emergency in the region. The conflict is suspended, but the truce looks fragile. Louis James has provided his take on the situation. Short version: the government is pro-mining, but don’t invest in companies in Peru unless they can convince you they have strong local support. Romania: The country has hiked taxes for mining activities by just under 7%. The government says it wants to align tax rates with inflation. Romania last touched mining taxes in 2013, when it upped them by a whopping 28%. Not a good trend. And stupid: it makes no sense to raise taxes on a business that has almost ground to a halt in your country but which could attract foreign investment, if the politicians would just let it be. Chile: Country’s environmental regulator has filed charges against Canadian miner Lundin Mining Corporation. The reason: alleged environmental violations in its Candelaria copper deposit located in Chile’s Atacama region. It may be that the company is at fault and the authorities are just doing their jobs. We haven’t been down there to check. But the move is part of an ongoing pushback against mining, so view this as another turn toward economic stupidity in Chile. European Union: Last month European Parliament voted in favor of a mandatory certification system for importers of so-called conflict minerals. The bill is largely aimed at Africa, where minerals play a role in several violent conflicts. As a result, 800,000 European companies will have to ensure that revenues from the minerals they use are not funding conflicts. The move doesn’t really affect our investments but is an interesting example of stupid regulation in the EU that will tax business and make not one bit of difference to the people it’s intended to help.last_img read more

The Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian L

first_imgThe Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference kicked Martin Luther King Jr. Day off with a Unity Day breakfast.It was held at Beulah Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa. Cassius Lanier and State Representative Chris England were also honored for the work they do in the community.“We still have to confront racism,” Rev. Tyshawn Gardner, president of the Tuscaloosa chapter of the SCLC, said. “Because there is still access, a lack of access, to quality healthcare, quality education, quality housing, small business loans. So, as Angela Davis said, freedom is a constant struggle.”This is the 23rd year for the Unity Day celebration.last_img

If youve ever seen someone with testicles get kic

first_imgIf you’ve ever seen someone with testicles get kicked in the groin, then you probably know that male genitals — often portrayed as a symbol of male strength and virility — aren’t actually that tough.But can testicles — or rather, the sperm they produce — be harmed by something as seemingly innocent as a pair of briefs?A study published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction finds lower sperm counts in people who wear tight-fitting underwear. But some experts question whether undergarment choice could make a meaningful difference for fertility.If it does matter, it all comes to down to temperature. As it turns out, a man’s love spuds just can’t take the heat.”Any exposure [to heat] that significantly increases temperature is likely to affect spermatogenesis [or sperm production],” says Dr. Jorge Chavarro, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an author on the study. “That’s the main reason we have scrotums and testes that are external to the abdomen.”By hanging below the torso, testicles stay cooler — by about 4 to 6 degrees, typically — than the rest of the body. That helps them make happy, functional sperm cells. But when you slap on a pair of briefs, that natural cooling system is disrupted. Your dangly bits are held close to your abdomen and they heat up, harming sperm production.At least, that’s one hypothesis. Several studies have examined this issue, but Chavarro says many of them weren’t large enough, or yielded inconclusive results. Chavarro wanted to know whether the type of underwear worn really influenced sperm count.To do that, he’d have to look at some sperm. Lots of it.In their study, Chavarro and his team examined semen samples from 656 men. These men were selected from couples seeking infertility treatments at Massachusetts General Hospital between 2000 and 2017.Each man had filled out a survey for the clinic that included a question about what underwear he typically wore. This allowed Chavarro to compare men who wore boxers to men who wore tighter-fitting underwear like briefs or bikinis.After correcting for a number of factors, such as age and weight, the researchers saw a trend. “We found that men who wear looser underwear had significantly higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear,” Chavarro says.But Chavarro notes that even though the average sperm count was lower in men who wore tight-fitting underwear instead of boxers, this value was still well within healthy levels. That suggests the difference between underwear types shouldn’t be overblown, Chavarro says.”For most men, it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference,” he says. “The men who are most likely to benefit are the men who are on the border – who have relatively low sperm count.”Even with Chavarro’s caveats, some experts aren’t convinced. Germaine Louis, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University, published a similar study in 2016 examining semen from 473 men, and failed to detect differences in sperm count or fertility outcomes.”There’s absolutely no difference in how long it took people to get pregnant whether [the men] were wearing briefs or boxers,” Louis says.She worries that underwear guidance would only add stress to the equation.”Couples are already stressed out enough when they’re trying for a pregnancy,” Lewis says. “We just don’t need to introduce any other stressors.”Still, Chavarro says that switching to boxers is relatively cheap compared to most fertility treatments. For couples trying to improve their chance at a pregnancy, changing the man’s underwear habits could be low-hanging fruit.”This is something that’s a relatively easy change to do,” Chavarro says. “It involves them going to buy new underwear, but that’s a relatively low-cost intervention.”Dr. Bruce Gilbert, professor of urology at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, says Chavarro and his colleagues ignored several factors that may have influenced sperm count, such as the type of pants typically worn by each patient. Wearing tight jeans, for instance, could outweigh any benefits derived from wearing loose boxers.”If people were just running around this world in underwear that would be one thing,” he says. “But you and I and most people are going to be wearing something over our underwear.”Plus, the questionnaire was vaguely worded, Gilbert says, and should have included more specific questions about each patient’s behavior. “I would like a bit more information from their set of patients before I change what I tell my patients,” Gilbert says. “I can’t say this is going to change my clinical practice.” Paul Chisholm is an intern on NPR’s Science desk. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Fourteenyearold Caydden Zimmermans school days

first_imgFourteen-year-old Caydden Zimmerman’s school days start early and end late.He has a 90-minute bus ride to get from the homeless shelter where he is staying in Boise, Idaho, to his middle school. He wakes up at 5:45 a.m., quickly brushes his teeth and smooths some gel in his hair, and then he dashes downstairs to catch his school bus.About 2.5 million children in the U.S. currently are homeless, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. That number is rising as house prices and rental costs continue to grow in cities large and small, and the trend is clearly visible in Boise — the fastest-growing city in the nation.Caydden has been living at City Light Home For Women and Children for a couple of months now with his 11-year-old brother, Keston, and his grandma, Pam Cantrell. Cantrell says they moved there after getting an eviction notice at their former duplex.”The landlord decided to sell the property, and we just could not find a place we could afford,” Cantrell says. “The more I looked, the more depressed I got. I just, I didn’t know what to do.”Like Cantrell and her grandsons, many low-income families in Boise struggle to find housing they can afford. Cantrell gets a small disability stipend from the government, but that’s nowhere near enough to cover rent and other expenses.The boys’ mother is addicted to drugs and struggles with mental illness, Cantrell says, which is why grandma is the boys’ full-time caretaker now.”I grew up being alone, raised by my older brother and my grandma,” Caydden says. “She means everything. Without her I wouldn’t be here. I’d probably be dead somewhere.”After three months of searching, the shelter became their only option. Cantrell is grateful to have a place to stay but says not having a permanent home is really hard on her grandsons.”My youngest one, he can be a little terror, because he’s upset by it,” Cantrell says. “He gets angry, and he’ll sit in the corner and say, ‘I hate this place, I hate this place.’ “”It’s just an effort to try not to break down”It’s difficult for Caydden too, but you wouldn’t know it. Caydden is a social 14-year-old with a big smile. One of his favorite things about school is seeing his friends.”My friends know about it — me being homeless — they don’t tease me on it,” Caydden says. “They just know that I’m doing it, I’m trying to work hard. And it’s just an effort to try not to break down.”Homeless kids tend to score lower on standardized tests and have lower graduation rates. It’s harder to concentrate when you’re anxious and worried. And sometimes Caydden does break down with his friends.”They always bring me up when I’m feeling down,” he says. “They make me smile when I’m sad.”Caydden’s grades have improved since he started at this alternative middle school for students who struggle in traditional academic settings. The school district received a grant to pay for a bus to transport homeless students who are scattered across the Boise area.Homeless students often bounce around to different schools as their living situations change. That can make it nearly impossible to keep up, so Pathways Middle School Principal Eric Eschen wants to do everything he can to keep tabs on students like Caydden.”He’s a very positive student, very giving, a very good friend,” Eschen says. He points to a recent time when Caydden approached him to alert him that another student was making a mess with mustard in the bathroom. He took it as a sign that Caydden cares about the community and the school. For homeless kids, sometimes school can be a place of refuge and consistency in an otherwise hectic and messy world.Eschen keeps an eye on Caydden because, like a lot of students in his situation, he struggled with absences last year.”That really affected him and affected his progress, so we’ve got some catch-up to do this year,” Eschen says.At the end of the school day, it’s another 90-minute bus ride before Caydden meets his grandma on the steps of the homeless shelter. They wait outside for Caydden’s brother to arrive on another bus. Meanwhile, Caydden checks in with Cantrell about the week’s schedule.”Grandma, on Friday are you just going to go in and wait for me and Keston?” he says. “Cause you’ve got laundry.””Yeah, I probably will,” Cantrell says. She has to keep Caydden apprised of her comings and goings at the shelter so that he won’t worry.Growing up fastCaydden has had to grow up faster than your typical 14-year-old. With his dad out of the picture and his mom’s drug addiction, he often had to be responsible for his little brother.”Help get him ready for school, I had to make sure Mom wasn’t … gone,” Caydden says. “I had to feed Keston when Mom was passed out for days. There was one time when we only had cereal for, like, two weeks.”Caydden has been trying to convince his grandma that she should let him get a job so he can help with rent. He’d like to earn money at a fast-food restaurant or, at the least, raking leaves and shoveling snow.”It’s like something I want to do,” Caydden says. “I just want to help out.”But Cantrell, aware that her grandson has already been through more than most teenagers, won’t have it.”You are not getting a job. You need to be a child as long as possible, Caydden,” she says, patting his knee. “You don’t want to be in a big hurry to grow up, honey.””This is home!”A few weeks later, there’s good news in Caydden’s world — they found a house. It’s about 700 square feet that they share with another woman from the shelter. Caydden sleeps in the basement, in a tiny room with concrete walls and a small window. Cantrell and Keston sleep on inflatable mattresses in the living room.”It’s not the greatest, but it’s not the worst,” Cantrell says. She’s been working on sprucing up the place. She plans to brighten up the living room with fresh paint.But for Caydden, it’s a huge improvement.”I feel much more comfortable and safe,” he says. He loves that the house is near Boise State University and has a weed-filled backyard that backs up to an alley. On football game days, he figured out that he can sell parking spots in the yard to game-goers.”Last weekend we made 90 bucks!” Caydden says. He’s scheming about trying to sell sodas on game day, too.But probably most importantly, he can claim something he hasn’t been able to for quite some time:”This is home!” he says, smiling.This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau. Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio.last_img read more

Disabled campaigners and their allies have called

first_imgDisabled campaigners and their allies have called on the transport secretary to restore “vital” government funding for projects to improve access to rail stations across England, Wales and Scotland.In a letter signed by more than 50 organisations, Transport for All (TfA) – which campaigns for an accessible transport system – calls on Chris Grayling to restore tens of millions of pounds of funding for the Access for All scheme that has been deferred by the government.The letter says that deferring half of all planned Access for All projects means that the “already slow progress on rail access has all but ground to a halt”.The decision by the chair of Network Rail – later rubber-stamped by Grayling – to cut Access for All funding for 2014-19 from £102 million to £55 million, with the rest carried over to 2019-24, was first revealed by Disability News Service last year.The letter has been sent as Grayling is due today (Thursday) to announce future levels of Network Rail funding, which TfA says provides an “opportunity to get things back on track”.But the department’s Accessibility Action Plan, published in August, pledges only that the government will deliver funding already announced – including the deferred funding – in full, and that it will “continue to seek to extend the Access for All programme further in the future”.The letter calls on Grayling to instead “invest in the potential of Deaf and disabled people” and reverse the decision to defer the Access for All funding, as well as commit to further Access for All funding after 2020 through “an ambitious long-term plan for making our railways fully accessible”.It tells Grayling that it is an “injustice” for Deaf, disabled and older people to be “locked out of our rail network”, and that accessible stations also benefit parents with buggies, dog-owners and people with luggage.The letter says government figures show that any money spent improving rail accessibility pays back nearly three times that amount in economic benefits, while an accessible station can mean “the difference between work and unemployment, a lifeline to friends and family or isolation”.The Transport for All letter has been signed by disabled people’s organisations including Inclusion London, Disability Sheffield, Ealing Centre for Independent Living, Kingston Centre for Independent Living, People First (Self Advocacy), Regard, Shaping Our Lives, Asian People’s Disability Alliance and Real.They say that nearly 80 per cent of rail stations across the UK do not have full step-free access, while many others do not have the other necessary access features such as tactile paving, audio-visual information and induction loops that enable Deaf and disabled people to use them.A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We take the issue of accessibility across all modes of transport very seriously and are continuing to improve station access through the Access for All programme and other major projects.“By 2019 at least 75 per cent of all journeys will be from stations with step-free access.“The Accessibility Action Plan is the next step in a much-needed dialogue with disabled people, carers, transport providers and local authorities to identify new ways to improve travel. “We also secured commitments from the rail industry earlier this year to help make journeys better for disabled people.”last_img read more