Donald Trump tells freshman congresswomen to go back to the countries they

first_imgBy New York Times |Washington | Updated: July 15, 2019 10:30:19 am Advertising Trump’s comments were a crude addition to his continued rhetoric that the United States is too full to take in people from other countries. “Sorry, can’t let them into our Country,” Trump also tweeted Sunday, referring to the groups of men held in filthy conditions in detention centers at the border. He suggested that those groups were “loaded up with a big percentage of criminals.”His tweets came on the same weekend that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents began rounding up some 2,000 unauthorized immigrants, many of whom had recently crossed the border in groups or families.Trump’s attack on the congresswomen also followed days of Fox News coverage that centered on Omar. During her tenure in Congress, Omar has rattled fellow Democrats and provided ammunition to Republicans for her repeated criticisms of Israel, including a comment that pro-Israel activists were pushing “for allegiance to a foreign country.”Prompted by an emergency border aid package that liberals felt did not place sufficient restrictions on the Trump administration, the back and forth between the freshmen women, Democratic moderates in the House and Pelosi has also been bruising.The speaker spent much of the last week trying to return harmony to her restive caucus, and tensions were still raw heading into the weekend. When Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, singled out Rep. Sharice Davids, a moderate Democrat and Native American from Kansas, for voting in favor of the aid package, House Democrats used their official Twitter account to slap back. “Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color?” they wrote.On Sunday, Trump may have provided the impetus for a reconciliation — however brief — that Democratic leaders and rank-and-file House members quickly embraced.Pelosi condemned Trump’s remarks as “xenophobic” in a pair of tweets of her own, turning them around to criticize Trump’s immigration policies and project Democratic unity. “Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power,” she wrote of Democrats.“Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values,” she wrote in another tweet. “Stop the raids.”A spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, declined to comment on Trump’s remarks. Representatives for Republican House leaders did not respond to emails seeking comment. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment. But Democrats began sharing their own stories, pointing out that Trump’s remarks did not reflect a country whose lawmakers — and citizens — are becoming increasingly more diverse.Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, called Trump a “bigot.” Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the Republican Party this month over differences with Trump and is the child of Syrian and Palestinian immigrants, declared the comments “racist and disgusting.”All four lawmakers in “the squad” eventually weighed in and responded to the president. “You are stoking white nationalism,” Omar said, because “you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”Pressley, sharing a screenshot of the president’s tweet, declared, “THIS is what racism looks like.” Tlaib said Trump’s comments “just make me work harder,” and that she is “fighting corruption in OUR country.” And Ocasio-Cortez sent out a series of tweets addressing the president directly. “Mr. President,” she said in one, “the country I ‘come from’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States.”But by Sunday evening, Trump again criticized Democrats for defending members of the group. “If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior,” Trump said on Twitter, “then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020!”Omar and Tlaib are far from the only congressional lawmakers who immigrated to the United States or were born to immigrant parents. In the House, there are at least 52 voting members who are immigrants or children of immigrants and 16 in the Senate — most of them Democrats — according to a Pew Research Center analysis from this year. Aside from Omar, four other congresswomen were born outside the United States, but they have largely not involved themselves in entanglements with Pelosi.Omar has been vocal about her life as a refugee who fled Somalia and eventually settled in America, only to be disappointed with the country she found. More than any of the others in her freshman group, Omar — one of the first two Muslim women in Congress along with Tlaib — has forcefully used her personal story to make the argument that loving America does not require an acceptance of its shortcomings.“I grew up in an extremely unjust society, and the only thing that made my family excited about coming to the United States was that the United States was supposed to be the country that guaranteed justice to all,” Omar recently said. “So, I feel it necessary for me to speak about that promise that’s not kept.”Comments like these have inflamed Fox News personalities like Tucker Carlson, who used his television program to lash out at Omar.“Our country rescued Ilhan Omar,” Carlson said in a broadcast last week. “We didn’t do it to get rich; in fact, it cost us money. We did it because we are kind people. How did Omar respond to the remarkable gift we gave her? She scolded us, and called us names, she showered us with contempt.”Trump has repeatedly said that he does not hold racist views, despite his public statements. After a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump was widely condemned for saying that people on “both sides” were to blame after one of the nationalists mowed down a group of protesters and killed a woman. And he was one of the most vocal proponents of the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.At other times, he has used vulgar language to describe immigrants and people of color. He has defended himself after calling people crossing into the country illegally “animals” — he said was referring only to MS-13 gang members. He has assailed players with the National Football League, many of whom are black, for taking a knee during the national anthem. And he has used a vulgar term to disparage immigrants from largely black nations.But, to his critics, Trump’s comments Sunday were a low point. Explained: The Hague rules on Kulbhushan Jadhav today Pelosi may have offered the bluntest take on Trump’s comments when she said his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” “has always been about making America white again.”Donald Trump, Donald Trump US, US Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasi­o-Cortez, AOC Trump, Trump AOC, Trump go back, Trump go back Congresswomen, Indian Express, World news FILE — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), left, with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), speaks during a news conference outside the House of Representatives in Washington, June 12, 2019. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times)Broadly, Trump’s attack on lawmakers appeared to be meant for members of the “squad,” a group of liberal Democratic freshmen engaged in an existential and generational war of words with Pelosi: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.But only one of the women, Omar, who is from Somalia, was born outside the United States. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx to parents of Puerto Rican descent. Pressley, who is black, was born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago. And Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants.“These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough,” Trump said. “I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!” “It is sad to see the occupant of the Oval Office transition from empowering and encouraging racist taunts to actually using them himself,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “If Trump shouted the same thing at a Muslim woman wearing hijab in a Walmart, he might be arrested.” President Donald Trump said Sunday that a group of four minority congresswomen feuding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go back” to the countries they came from rather than “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how to run the government.Wrapped inside that insult, which was widely established as a racist trope, was a factually inaccurate claim: Only one of the lawmakers was born outside the country.Even though Trump has repeatedly refused to back down from stoking racial divisions, his willingness to deploy a lowest-rung slur — one commonly and crudely used to single out the perceived foreignness of nonwhite, non-Christian people — was largely regarded as beyond the pale.So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world,” Trump wrote on Twitter, “now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.” Explained: Trump’s immigrant policy; what the ICE planned, and why Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Best Of Express Advertising Donald Trump and Democrats clash over President’s ‘racist’ tweets Related News NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Advertising Donald Trump, Donald Trump US, US Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasi­o-Cortez, AOC Trump, Trump AOC, Trump go back, Trump go back Congresswomen, Indian Express, World news President Donald Trump speaks during an event at a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin in Milwaukee, July 12, 2019. Trump weighed in via Twitter on the friction between a group of four freshman Democratic congresswomen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on July 14 by suggesting that the congresswomen — none of whom are white — should “go back and help fix” the countries they came from. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)(Written by Katie Rogers and Nicholas Fandos) More Explained From left, Reps. Alexandria Ocasi­o-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 12, 2019. President Donald Trump weighed in via Twitter on the friction between a group of four freshman Democratic congresswomen, including Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on July 14 by suggesting that the congresswomen — none of whom are white — should “go back and help fix” the countries they came from. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)Trump added: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”Delivered on the day he had promised widespread immigration raids, Trump’s comments signaled a new low in how far he will go to affect public discourse surrounding the issue. And if his string of tweets was meant to further widen Democratic divisions in an intraparty fight, the strategy appeared quickly to backfire: House Democrats, including Pelosi, rallied around the women, declaring in blunt terms that Trump’s words echoed other xenophobic comments he has made about nonwhite immigrants.As the president’s remarks reverberated around Twitter, a chorus of Americans took to social media to say that they had heard some version of Trump’s words throughout their lives, beginning with childhood taunts on the playground. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a presidential candidate, joined scores of people who said it was jarring to hear the phrase from the president.“We’ve heard this our whole lives,” Booker said. “Now we hear it from the Oval Office.” They’re not afraid 2 Comment(s)last_img read more

READ MORE

People with treatmentresistant depression at higher risk of developing substance use syndrome

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 2 2019People suffering from treatment resistant depression are at a higher risk of developing substance use disorders than other patients with depression, reports a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal Addiction. The risk is highest for sedatives or opiates, which includes the analgesic morphine and heroin.Major depressive disorder – clinical depression – is a common and frequently recurrent form of depression that has major consequences for both the individual patient and society as a whole. Antidepressants help many but far from all patients with clinical depression. According to a Swedish study from 2018, 13 per cent of specialist psychiatry patients had treatment resistant depression that did not respond to different antidepressant drug regimens.Researchers at Karolinska Institutet now show that people with treatment resistant depression are at a higher risk of developing substance use syndrome (formerly known as substance abuse or addiction) than other patients with clinical depression. The study was conducted in collaboration with pharmaceutical company Janssen Pharmaceuticals.Increase risk of substance use syndrome”We observed a generally higher risk of substance use syndrome both in people who have no history of substance use syndrome and in those who have had such problems,” says corresponding author Philip Brenner, doctor and researcher at the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet (Solna).Amongst patients with no history of substance use syndrome, the risk of substance abuse – regardless of kind – was 51 per cent higher in treatment resistant patients in the year following the onset of antidepressive treatment, than it was for other patients with clinical depression. The risk was highest for opiates (analgesic opioids or heroin) and sedatives – almost two and three times as high respectively. In patients with a history of substance abuse, the increase in risk was 23 per cent, with an elevated risk in the sub-categories of sedatives and multiple substance use.Related StoriesSome children are at greater risk of ongoing depression long after being bulliedTeens who can describe negative emotions are better protected against depressionExploring how schizophrenia and depression are related to drug consumptionThe study was based on data from over 121,000 Swedish patients between the ages of 18 and 69 with a diagnosis of clinical depression, who were prescribed antidepressants at least once between 2006 and 2014. The data was gathered from national health and healthcare registries. Patients who had begun at least three treatments during one and the same disease episode were counted as treatment resistant. Patients with treatment resistant depression were then compared with the group as a whole as regards the risk of being diagnosed with substance use syndrome or prescribed drugs to counter it.Importance to quickly identify”Our results shed light on the consequences that people with insufficiently treated depression may be at higher risk for, and the importance of quickly identifying those who do not respond to antidepressants in order to provide the most intense therapy needed to avoid these consequences,” says Dr Brenner.Dr Brenner notes that as the study was observational it cannot provide answers as to the causes of the correlations found. Source:https://ki.se/en/news/increased-risk-of-substance-abuse-in-people-with-treatment-resistant-depressionlast_img read more

READ MORE

Improving ACAs Insurance Coverage Provisions will lead to better care for patients

first_img Source:https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/improving-the-acas-insurance-coverage-provisions-will-improve-patient-care-internists-say Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 16 2019The American College of Physicians (ACP) published a paper today in the Annals of Internal Medicine that examines ways to improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Improving the Affordable Care Act’s Insurance Coverage Provisions provides a set of recommendations to strengthen the ACA and lay the foundation for health care reforms that will lead to universal coverage for all Americans.ACP is committed to supporting policies that work to achieve universal health care coverage, and supported the passage of the ACA in 2010. However, while the ACA has made health care more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans, especially patients with pre-existing conditions, many still remain uninsured or face significant gaps in coverage. ACP’s policy paper explores common-sense approaches to improve the ACA as internists continue to advocate for universal health care for all patients and consumers.”Exploring ways to improve the ACA can help us better understand and address the unique needs of patients,” said Robert McLean, MD, FACP, president, ACP. “It’s important that physicians and other medical professionals account for how the ACA has made major progress in reducing the number of people who are uninsured, but also recognize that major challenges remain in providing access to care. I believe there’s a lot more that can be done to reduce coverage gaps and ensure that every American has affordable health insurance coverage for vital care.”Promoting policies to achieve universal health care for all Americans is a longstanding goal of ACP. To protect patients and consumers and ensure they have access to quality care, ACP’s paper calls for efforts to bolster the ACA, including stabilizing the health insurance market, expanding Medicaid, increasing competition in the marketplace, and amplifying awareness about how the ACA works to help patients and how to enroll in coverage plans. Additionally, ACP recommends that Congress enact legislation to develop a public insurance plan to ensure consumers have access to a variety of coverage options in their areas. The College also supports federal and state-led auto-enrollment programs to help make sure all individuals can successfully enroll in health care plans.Related StoriesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyLiving with advanced breast cancerGender biases are extremely common among health care professionals”We encourage congressional leaders and the administration, as well as governments at the state level, to embrace patient-centered health care reform and take concrete action to ensure that the ACA continues to protect patients and make the necessary changes that would improve coverage for all Americans,” said Dr. McLean.ACP’s evidence-based public policy positions are based on reviewed literature and input from the ACP’s Board of Governors, Board of Regents, Council of Early Career Physicians, Council of Resident/Fellow Members, Council of Student Members, and Council of Subspecialty Societies and nonmember experts in the relevant field. This paper was developed by ACP’s Health and Public Policy Committee, which is charged with addressing issues that affect the health care of the American public and the practice of internal medicine and its subspecialties.last_img read more

READ MORE

Testicular tissue cryopreservation offers hope for young men at risk of infertility

first_imgIt’s not surprising that the University of Pittsburgh would record the highest number of samples over the eight-year period (51 patients), given its role as the central processing facility for our recruiting network of academic medical centers. Children’s National recruited the third-highest number of patients, which really speaks to the level of collaboration I have with Jeff Dome’s team and their commitment to thinking about the whole patient and longer-term issues like fertility.”Michael Hsieh, Ph.D., director of transitional urology at Children’s National Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 24 2019Testicular tissue samples obtained from 189 males who were facing procedures that could imperil fertility were cryopreserved at one university, proving the feasibility of centralized processing and freezing of testicular tissue obtained from academic medical centers, including Children’s National, scattered around the world. An estimated 2,000 U.S. boys and young men each year receive treatments or have cancers or blood disorders that place them at risk for infertility. While older youths who have undergone puberty can bank their sperm prior to undergoing sterilizing doses of chemotherapy or radiation, there have been scant fertility preservation options for younger boys. However, some older adolescents and young men are too sick or stressed to bank sperm. For patients with no sperm to bank or who are too sick or stressed to bank sperm, the experimental procedure of freezing testicular tissue in anticipation that future cell- or tissue-based therapies can generate sperm is the only option.Recent research in experimental models indicates that such testicular tissue biopsies contain stem cells, blank slate cells, hinting at the potential of generating sperm from biopsied tissue.”This study demonstrates that undifferentiated stem and progenitor spermatogonia may be recovered from the testicular tissues of patients who are in the early stages of their treatment and have not yet received an ablative dose of therapy. The function of these spermatogonia was not tested,” writes lead author Hanna Valli-Pulaski, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues in a study published online May 21, 2019, in Human Reproduction.Right now, hematologists and oncologists discuss future treatment options with patients and families, as well as possible long-term side effects, including infertility. At Children’s National, they also mention the ongoing fertility preservation study and encourage families to speak with Dr. Hsieh. He meets with families, explains the study goals – which include determining better ways to freeze and thaw tissue and separating malignant cells from normal cells – what’s known about experimental fertility preservation and what remains unknown. Roughly half of patients decide to enroll.Related StoriesDiabetes drug can halve the risk of late miscarriage, preterm births for women with PCOSSperm quality among Swiss men in ‘critical state’, say expertsData collected by ESHRE show rise in use of IVF in infertility treatment”This study is unique in that there is definitely a potential direct patient benefit,” Dr. Hsieh adds. “One of the reasons the study is compelling is that it presents a message of hope to the families. It’s a message of survivorship: We’re optimistic we can help your child get through this and think about long-term issues, like having their own families.”In this phase of the study, testicular tissue was collected from centers in the U.S. and Israel from January 2011 to November 2018 and cryopreserved. Patients designated 25% of the tissue sample to be used for the research study; 75 percent remains stored in liquid nitrogen at temperatures close to absolute zero for the patient’s future use. The fertility preservation patients ranged from 5 months old to 34 years old, with an average age of 7.9 years.Thirty-nine percent of patients had started medical treatment prior requesting fertility preservation. Sixteen percent received non-alkylating chemotherapy while 23% received alkylating chemotherapy, which directly damages the DNA of cancer cells.The research team found that the number of undifferentiated spermatogonia per seminiferous tubule increase steadily with age until about age 11, then rise sharply.”We recommend that all patients be counseled and referred for fertility preservation before beginning medical treatments known to cause infertility. Because the decision to participate may be delayed, it is encouraging that we were able to recover undifferentiated spermatogonia from the testes of patients already in the early stages of chemotherapy treatments,” Dr. Hsieh says.Source:Children’s National Health SystemJournal reference:Valli-Pulaski, H. et al. (2019) Testicular tissue cryopreservation: 8 years of experience from a coordinated network of academic centers. Human Reproduction. doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dez043.last_img read more

READ MORE

Air ambulance costs fly around fixes for surprise medical bills

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 14 2019In April 2018, 9-year-old Christian Bolling was hiking with his parents and sister in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, near their home in Roanoke. While climbing some boulders, he lost his footing and fell down a rocky 20-foot drop, fracturing both bones in his lower left leg, his wrist, both sides of his nose and his skull.A rescue squad carried him out of the woods, and a helicopter flew him to a pediatric hospital trauma unit in Roanoke.Most of Christian’s care was covered by his parents’ insurance. But one bill stood out. Med-Trans, the air ambulance company, was not part of the family’s health plan network and billed $36,000 for the 34-mile trip from the mountain to the hospital. It was greater than the cost of his two-day hospitalization, scans and cast combined.”When you’re in that moment, you’re only thinking about the life of your child,” said Christian’s mother, Cynthia Bolling, an occupational therapist. “I know that I am being taken advantage of. It’s just wrong.”The rising number of complaints about surprise medical bills is spurring efforts on Capitol Hill and at the White House to help consumers. Over and over again, the high cost associated with air ambulance service gives patients the biggest sticker shock — the subject has come up at nearly every Capitol Hill hearing and press conference on surprise medical bills.Yet air ambulance costs are not addressed in any of the proposals introduced or circulating in Congress. Even a congressional decision last year to set up a panel that would study air ambulance billing hasn’t gotten off the ground.”We’re doing a disservice to patients if we protect them from hospital bills but bankrupt them on the way there,” said James Gelfand, senior vice president for health policy for the ERISA Industry Committee, known as ERIC, a trade association for large employers.The issue came up again Wednesday at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing where Rick Sherlock, president and CEO of the Association of Air Medical Services, the industry group for air ambulances, was among eight witnesses.Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) sharply questioned Sherlock why costs for air ambulance services have risen by 300 percent in his state since 2006.”I’m trying to get my hands around why this is costing so much and why so many of my constituents are being hit by surprise bills,” Luján said.Sherlock said that reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid do not cover the cost of providing services, so charges to private patients must make up that difference.Air ambulances serve more than 550,000 patients a year, according to industry data, and in many rural areas air ambulances are the only speedy way to get patients to trauma centers and burn units. As more than 100 rural hospitals have closed around the country since 2010, the need has increased for air services.More than 80 million people can get to a Level 1 or 2 trauma center within an hour only if they’re flown by helicopter, according to Sherlock.The service, though, comes at a cost. According to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, two-thirds of the more than 34,000 air ambulance transports examined were not in the patients’ insurance networks. That can leave patients on the hook for the charges their insurers don’t cover, a practice known as “balance billing.”In 2017, GAO found that the median price charged nationally by air ambulance providers was around $36,400 for helicopter rides and even higher for other aircraft. The total generally includes the costs for both the transportation and the medical care aboard the aircraft.Additionally, the ongoing “Bill of the Month” investigative series by Kaiser Health News and NPR has received more than a dozen such bills, ranging from $28,000 to $97,000.Cynthia Bolling said her insurance company paid about a third of Christian’s air ambulance bill and the family settled this week with Med Trans by agreeing to pay $4,400 out-of-pocket.Reid Vogel, director of marketing and communications for Med Trans, said the company cannot talk about a private patient because of privacy rules. But he added that the company works with patients to find “equitable solutions” when their bills are not covered by insurance.Since nearly three-quarters of flights are for patients insured by low-paying Medicare, Tricare and Medicaid, he said, “providers must shift costs to insured patients.”Private insurers usually will pay only an amount close to what Medicare reimburses, which is around $6,500. That gives air ambulance companies an incentive to remain out-of-network, according to a 2017 GAO report.“A representative from a large independent provider noted that being out of network with insurance is advantageous to the provider because a patient receiving a balance bill will ask for a higher payment from the insurance company, which often results in higher payment to the air ambulance provider than having a pre-negotiated payment rate with the insurer,” the GAO said.Related StoriesFeeling safe and good sleep at night matter most to sick kids in hospitalIt 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 infectionsIn an interview, Sherlock, of the trade association, disputed the report’s findings, saying his members are actively trying to be in-network in more places, although he couldn’t provide any specific numbers.”I think that everywhere they can, they’re incentivized to be in-network,” he said.States are hampered in their efforts to ease the strain for residents.The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which was intended to encourage more competition, forbids states to regulate prices for any air carrier, which applies to air ambulances. What’s more, many large employers’ health insurance is not governed by states but regulated by the federal labor law, known as ERISA.So a remedy likely has to come from Congress. And it’s proven to be a heavy lift.For example, the committees that deal with regulation of the air industry — the Commerce Committee in the Senate and the Transportation Committee in the House — don’t make health policy or regulate health insurance.Last year, some lawmakers sought to let states regulate air ambulances with a provision in the bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration.But that measure was ultimately eliminated. Instead, the bill called for the creation of an advisory committee to study air ambulance prices and surprise bills.”The air ambulance lobby did a very good job playing defense during FAA authorization,” said ERIC’s Gelfand.The panel, which was supposed to be formed within 60 days of the law’s enactment date — Oct. 5 — still has not been created.Representatives from the air ambulance industry don’t think congressional action is necessary, although they are calling for higher reimbursements from Medicare.Chris Eastlee, vice president for government relations for the Association of Air Medical Services, said his group does not favor more congressional regulation of prices but would support mandatory disclosure of costs to the secretary of Health and Human Services. The organization argues that greater transparency will help companies negotiate more in-network contracts.A fix for surprise bills supported by some researchers and advocates would require every provider within a medical facility to accept any insurance plan that contracts with that hospital. It might also help bring down air ambulance bills, said Loren Adler, associate director of USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy.It would avoid the situation where someone picks an in-network hospital only to find out that a surgeon or anesthesiologist at that hospital doesn’t take their insurance. Air transport should also be included in the rule, he said.”It’s the exact same situation as with the out-of-network emergency facility rates,” Adler said. “The same solutions should apply.”Gelfand suggested also that the House Ways and Means Committee mandate that air ambulance companies seeking to participate in Medicare must charge in-network rates.That would require only a small tweak of the legislative language, as he sees it. “Every proposal that includes something to address surprise bills for emergency care, all you have to do is add in the words ‘air ambulances,'” Gelfand said.Right now, the closest any surprise billing proposal has come to addressing air ambulances is a draft legislative plan on medical costs from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). They would require bills for air ambulance trips to be itemized to show both medical charges and the transportation charges so patients and health plans can understand them better.last_img read more

READ MORE

Mosquito surveillance in Madagascar reveals new insight into malaria transmission

first_imgAnopheles mosquito. Image Credit: Kletr / Shutterstock By Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSNJul 12 2019The Ministry of Public Health in Madagascar has reported thousands of malaria cases over the past months. In March, more than 600 cases of malaria were reported weekly and at least 2,000 cases have been reported in less than a month. As a result, efforts to curb the outbreak were initiated.Now, a team of researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has found new findings on the transmission of malaria in Madagascar. They described the real-world application of a cost-effective mosquito surveillance strategy utilizing low-cost traps and a new tool that can test each mosquito for its species, the presence of malaria parasites, and what it fed on.The Madagascar National Strategic Plan for Malaria Control 2018 (NSP) shows malaria control pre-elimination strategies that involve detailed goals for mosquito control. The researchers aim to strengthen malaria prevention through mosquito surveillance. Hence, they conducted the study, which was published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, in remote villages in Madagascar.Mosquito surveillance resultsThey found that female mosquitoes of the Anopheles species have more varied diets than previously known. The results can pave the way to better understand how the disease is transmitted to help formulate new malaria-prevention strategies. The researchers used a modified barrier screen trap, dubbed as the Quadrant Enabled Screen Trap (QUEST), with a newly developed multiplex BLOOdmeal Detection Assay for Regional Transmission (BLOODART). During the study, the researchers captured 1,252 female Anopheles mosquitoes. All the mosquitoes underwent the BLOODART analysis.The feeding pattern of the mosquitoes was analyzed and revealed multiple blood meal hosts. The most common mosquito host was a cow, then a pig, and humans. Subsequently, the researchers found that the tendency for mosquitoes to feed on humans increased between December 2017 and April 2018, from 27 percent to 44 percent. The finding suggests that host preferences of these mosquitoes vary from one season to another, hinting the need for surveillance and eradication efforts. The infection is a life-threatening disease and the parasites are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Though it can be life-threatening, it’s curable and preventable.In 2017 alone, there were about 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries. About 445,000 people have died of malaria, most are children in Africa. In the United States, about 1,700 cases of malaria are diagnosed every year. Most of these cases are travelers or immigrants coming back from countries with malaria cases, such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.The signs and symptoms of malaria include a flu-like illness, with muscle pain, headache, chills, and fatigue. Other symptoms may emerge such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Some complications may manifest, such as jaundice and anemia, due to red blood cells loss. In severe cases and if the disease is not treated promptly, it may lead to seizures, kidney failure, mental confusion, coma, and even death. Source:https://case.edu/medicine/about/newsroom/our-latest-news/mosquito-surveillance-uncovers-new-information-about-malaria-transmission-madagascarJournal reference:Anopheles mosquito surveillance in Madagascar reveals multiple blood feeding behavior and Plasmodium infection, Riley E. Tedrow, Tovonahary Rakotomanga, Thiery Nepomichene, Rosalind E. Howes, Jocelyn Ratovonjato, Arséne C. Ratsimbasoa, Gavin J. Svenson, Peter A. ZimmermanPublished: July 5, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007176, https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0007176 “The QUEST was an efficient tool for sampling exophilic Anopheline mosquitoes. Vectors considered to be of secondary importance were commonly found with Plasmodium DNA in their abdomens, indicating a need to account for these species in routine surveillance efforts,” the researchers concluded in the study.“Mosquitoes exhibited multiple blood feeding behavior within a gonotrophic cycle, with predominantly non-human hosts in the bloodmeal. Taken together, this complex feeding behavior could enhance the role of multiple Anopheline species in malaria transmission, possibly tempered by zoophilic feeding tendencies,” they added. Related StoriesStudy shows how the mosquito immune system combats malaria parasitesScientists identify malaria’s Achilles’ heelHuman liver cell protein aids development of malaria parasite, study findsThe use of QUEST, the modified and outdoor-based net trap can be used in addition to already present mosquito control techniques.”Outdoor trapping can pick up species that other sampling methods might miss out on,” Dr. Riley Tedrow, a medical entomologist at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, said.Tedrow also reiterated the importance of BLOODART, that combines an existing malaria test and mosquito species determination technique. This technique enables scientists to evaluate hundreds of mosquitoes, their food sources, presence of parasites of malaria, and species.What is Malaria?Malaria is a tropical disease that is caused by a parasite. Malaria parasites that commonly infect humans include Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae. However, Plasmodium falciparum is the malaria type that may result in severe infection and if it’s left untreated, may lead to death. Plasmodium falciparum 3d illustration – Credit: Sciencepics / Shutterstocklast_img read more

READ MORE

Winds of change What will power the Northwests future

©2018 The Seattle Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. This might seem a madman’s folly if not for the roller-coaster nature of wind and solar power production, which can soar when few need electricity, then fade in the evenings when people come home to turn on the lights.When demand is low, Borquist would store energy in the form of water pumped from a low-lying pond to another pool carved out of the rim top. When demand is high, this flow would be reversed and run through turbines to produce hydropower for Montana, Oregon and Washington.Borgquist is betting this technology—called pumped storage—will claim a role in a cleaner grid as the region’s utilities move off coal. On a wintry day, he walks through the sagebrush and grass, where the wind has sculpted a rippled crust of snow, and he imagines what could be.”We are ready to build,” declares Borgquist, whose Bozeman-based company has spent six years planning and gaining permits for the Gordon Butte project. “The world is moving in our direction.”This might appear a big leap of faith as President Donald Trump pledges to revive coal and rejects the 2015 Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions. But Borgquist is making his pitch, here, in the Pacific Northwest, where carbon-free electricity is forecast to play a pivotal role in the transition to cleaner energy, providing power for light, heat and vehicles as the internal combustion engine—Washington’s largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions—loses favor.In Montana, where the export of coal-fired electricity offers high-wage jobs and important tax revenues, this future would mean plenty of economic pain. Yet this pathway also could offer opportunity in the development of pumped storage and power wrested from fierce winds that blow hardest in the winter, when Washington and Oregon most need electricity.But it remains unclear how much—and how fast—the regional grid will go green, and whether Montana will grab a piece of the action.Federal support for renewable energy has withered under Trump, who has repeatedly disparaged the science linking the combustion of oil, natural gas and coal to rising temperatures and sea levels. Explore further Does energy storage make the electric grid cleaner? Carl Borgquist wants to spend more than $1 billion to transform a remote butte fringed by pine trees into a giant water battery. Citation: Winds of change: What will power the Northwest’s future? (2018, March 7) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-power-northwest-future.html In Washington and Oregon, the governors have committed to trying to comply with the Paris Agreement and have set an ambitious 2050 goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels. They also have backed legislation that would put a price on carbon, and help drive motorists away from fossil fuels.But the political challenges of that task have been starkly evident during the current legislative session in Olympia. Even with Democrats in control, lawmakers could not muster enough votes to pass a carbon tax, and a carbon-pricing bill also failed to move in the 2018 Oregon Legislature.There are also big questions about how fast some utilities will move off coal, and how big a role natural gas, which also contributes to climate change, will play as a substitute.Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington’s largest energy utility with more than 1 million customers, still gets nearly 60 percent of its electricity from these two fossil fuels.Company officials are now charting a course that includes stepped-up conservation, Washington solar power and moving off coal-fired power generated in Colstrip, Montana, by the early 2030s, maybe sooner.But the current planning document that looks ahead 20 years also favors building more natural-gas plants—and does not find Montana pumped storage or wind power as the best bargain for renewables.”By law, we have to look at the least-cost view,” said John Mannetti, the utility’s director of operations planning.Fresh interestWind and solar—bolstered by declining costs and favorable government policies—already form the hottest growth sector in the global power industry.But the output from these renewable-energy farms may vary hour by hour and minute by minute. This creates big challenges for utility managers, who must ensure that demand and supply are constantly in balance. Otherwise, they risk blackouts.So more energy storage could make power generation more consistent. Investment has poured into developing technologies such as large lithium-ion batteries or the solar heating of sand that can release its energy at night.Then there is pumped storage, an old technology that in Europe and China already has made a comeback with a new generation of plants.In the United States, some pumped-storage projects were built decades ago, often in conjunction with nuclear and coal-fired power plants that might crank out more power than needed.Today, the big dollars required for construction are a formidable obstacle, and power markets have not fully valued the storage they provide. But there is fresh interest in the West, where the rugged terrain makes for good sites, and surging power production from California solar farms and regional wind projects offer opportunities.London-based National Grid hopes to develop two pumped-storage sites—one in southern Oregon and another near Goldendale in southern Washington. Those projects collectively could yield enough power to provide electricity to more than 1 million homes.A prime place for windGordon Butte, in central Montana, would be smaller. But it is further along. Last year, it cleared a significant hurdle and obtained a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Yet so far, no utility or major power user has committed to the project.The project would be built near Martinsdale, an aging ranch community with fewer than 60 people that still has a bar but years ago lost its grocery store, bank and last gas station.Borgquist was drawn here by an ample source of water, which is now used to irrigate an alfalfa field and could be diverted to fill the 60-acre bottom reservoir and 80-acre top reservoir more than 1,000 feet above. The site—most important—is less than 6 miles from the Colstrip transmission lines that now carry coal power west, but could one day send Gordon Butte hydropower.”I knew the property, and I said, oh my God—this is my site, right here,” said Borgquist, an attorney-turned-renewable-energy-developer.The butte also is a prime place for wind. Six turbines have operated atop the plateau since 2012, and have turned in a strong performance that ranks among the best in the nation.Bryan Rogan, a partner in a local Montana group that developed this wind project, would like to expand to provide electricity for Washington or Oregon. But it would cost tens of millions of dollars to build a substation to hook up to the lines that could carry the power out of state. That would probably only happen if the much-larger pumped-storage project helped to foot the bill, Rogan said.Montana’s formidable wind has drawn other developers.In the southeastern part of the state, California-based Orion Renewables has proposed putting in as many as 350 turbines some 80 miles north of Colstrip.The project would represent a roughly $1 billion investment, employ from 20 to 40 people and over the years pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes and lease fees to landowners, according to Michael Cressner, Orion’s business development manager.But plenty of people in the Colstrip area aren’t impressed. They see wind as a poor substitute for coal that employs more than 700 through the mine and power plant people that sustain their town.”There’s not a lot of jobs. There’s no parking lots set up in front of those windmills,” said John Williams, Colstrip’s mayor.”There is no doubt that a wind farm is a different animal—it is not a silver bullet in terms of an economic impact,” Cressner said. “But what I think is unfortunate is to make wind the enemy when it can provide benefits to this community.”Does PSE owe Montana?For Puget Sound Energy, Montana is familiar territory.Utility officials shuttle back and forth to the state to visit Colstrip or testify at the state Capitol in Helena as they have wrestled with the difficult decision of when the coal plant shuts down.To help make peace with Colstrip, the utility has offered $10 million to assist the town’s adjustment to the closure of the first two generating units by 2022. And a PSE official now serves on a task force convened by Montana’s governor to help overcome barriers—such as transmission tariffs—to developing renewable energy.But a PSE official says there is no special responsibility to develop new sources of electricity in Montana.”It sounds good to say ‘We owe Montana,'” but let’s not forget we paid to build that (Colstrip) plant and paid to operate it,” said Ron Roberts, the utility’s director of thermal resources. “I do understand, you know, the sense of wanting to do renewables in Montana … You have got to remember, the other obligation is to get a good cost for our customers.”So far, PSE sees a significant role for natural gas, which is in abundant supply as fracking technology has unleashed vast new reserves. It is mainly composed of methane, a greenhouse gas about 28 times more potent than carbon emissions over the course of a century. And the methane often leaks into the atmosphere during production, transport and use of this fuel.A 2017 PSE planning document predicts—after 2025—adding new gas turbine plants able to produce enough electricity for more than 1 million homes. But PSE officials say the plants would only be occasionally used during peak demand.The document sketches out an alternative that involves no new gas plants, but plenty of conservation and renewables. That scenario was estimated to cost 20 percent more, and thus is not the preferred option.Environmental groups accuse the utility of an institutional bias that favors natural gas.”Their long-term planning consistently favors replacing that coal with new fracked gas plants,” said Caleb Heeringa, a Seattle-based spokesman for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.PSE does have deep ties to the gas industry.The utility’s largest owner, Australia-based Macquarie Group, is heavily involved in international gas trading. The utility’s chief executive Kimberly Harris now serves as chair of the American Gas Association, an industry trade group.But for PSE, the continued reliance on natural gas also poses risks in a region with strong support for cleaner fuels.Big regional power customers—such as Microsoft—want carbon-free power, and so do a lot of customers.PSE officials say they are prepared to rethink their long-term strategy, and that the new gas plants may never be built if, in the years ahead, technology and carbon policy combine to create better options.This year, PSE executives even backed a legislative bill to place a substantial price – $40 per ton—on carbon when estimating the costs of new power production from gas plants. That price would escalate over time, and make renewables a lot more attractive.Borgquist hopes that means the utility will take a fresh look at Montana, and the butte that holds his dreams for the region’s energy future. 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. read more

READ MORE

Tesla stockholders approve Elon Musk compensation

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In this Feb. 6, 2018, file photo, Elon Musk, founder, CEO of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Inc., speaks at a news conference after the Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket launched successfully from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Shareholders of electric car and solar panel maker Tesla Inc. are voting on a pay package for Musk that could net him more than $50 billion if he meets lofty milestones over the next decade that include raising the company’s market value tenfold. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) The person, who did not want to be identified because officials vote results have not been released yet, says the approval was by a large margin. Final totals are expected later Wednesday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Tesla says the all-or-nothing package is worth $2.6 billion at current stock values, but that would rise dramatically if Musk meets 12 incremental goals including raising the company’s market capitalization tenfold to $650 billion. Also included are targets to increase adjusted pretax income and revenue.If the goals are reached, Tesla would be fourth-most-valuable U.S. company and Musk would be among the richest people in the world.Two firms that evaluate proxies for investors recommend that shareholders vote against the pay plan, which they say is unprecedented in size for a U.S. public company. The firms, Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis, both peg the current value of Musk’s package at $3.7 billion. Tesla has yet to turn a full-year net profit even though it’s been in business for 15 years.At least two large shareholders and Tesla’s board supported the plan, saying it’s necessary to keep Musk in the fold and reach the goal of switching the world from burning oil for transportation to sustainable electric vehicles.”We believe as a board and executive team that we can actually achieve these milestones,” said board member Antonio Gracias, who points out that under a 2012 incentive package, Musk raised Tesla’s market capitalization by 17 times to more than $50 billion last year. “It’s very important to think about the specifics of Tesla and what we have already achieved.”For each of 12 milestones Tesla achieves, Musk, who already owns over 20 percent of the company, will get stock worth 1 percent of Tesla. “The shareholders get 99 percent, Elon gets 1 percent,” Gracias said.To get there, Musk will have to expand Tesla’s product lineup to include previously announced semis, a new SUV and a pickup truck. Plus the company’s solar roofs will have to be successfully integrated into its energy storage business.There’s also the issue of production delays, which have occurred on all of Tesla’s current vehicles. The company currently is trying to raise production to meet demand of its Model 3, a mass-market electric car that starts at $35,000.Gracias says shareholders realize that Tesla is often optimistic about hitting production milestones and is working hard to achieve them. “We always hit our goals eventually. We are sometimes late,” he said. “Sometimes the application of engineering takes longer than we think.”The package is an incentive for Musk to focus on Tesla, which has been a concern for investors. Musk also is the founder and CEO of rocket company SpaceX and co-founder of OpenAI, a nonprofit that researches artificial intelligence. He also recently started The Boring Co., a tunnel-building firm.ISS, in recommending against the plan, wrote that Musk could get a substantial portion of the award even if Tesla doesn’t reach sustained profitability. The plan would be suspended but not automatically forfeited if Musk takes a leave of absence, the firm wrote in a note to investors. “These issues both potentially undermine the board’s given objectives of retaining Musk and further aligning his interests with those of shareholders,” ISS wrote.The special meeting of shareholders took place in California, where Tesla is based. Citation: Tesla stockholders approve Elon Musk compensation (2018, March 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-tesla-shareholders-vote-elon-musk.html Tesla aims to calm fears over Model 3 production Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Shareholders of electric car and solar panel maker Tesla Inc. have approved an ambitious pay package for iconic CEO Elon Musk that could net him more than $50 billion if he meets lofty milestones over the next decade, according to a person briefed on the vote. read more

READ MORE

Jilted Fujifilm sues Xerox for 1bn after aborted merger

first_img Fujifilm slammed what it said was a “unilateral decision to terminate without legitimate cause” the planned merger announced in January.The merger was shelved after a lawsuit by powerful shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, who together own more than 15 percent of Xerox and had vigorously opposed the tie-up.The pair secured an injunction in April to halt the deal after a New York judge agreed the merger prioritised the interests of the Xerox CEO over the firm’s shareholders.Fujifilm also announced a challenge to that ruling, saying it was “inconsistent with shareholder democracy to allow Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason… to dictate the fate of Xerox.”When scrapping the merger, Xerox cited “material deviations” in the audited accounts of an existing joint venture known as Fuji Xerox controlled by Fujifilm.And the Japanese firm said it continued to believe that the tie-up between Xerox and Fuji Xerox was “the only correct solution to provide shareholders of both companies with exceptional short and long-term value”.Xerox issued a robust statement in response, saying it would “vigorously defend its decision and pursue any and all remedies available to Xerox arising from Fujifilm’s mismanagement and misconduct”.Calling off the merger was seen as a victory for Icahn, a battle-tested billionaire who has aggressively challenged companies since the 1980s.It came after activist fund Elliott won a weeks-long power struggle with Vivendi over Telecom Italia by wresting control of the company’s board in early May. Citation: Jilted Fujifilm sues Xerox for $1bn after aborted merger (2018, June 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-jilted-fujifilm-sues-xerox-1bn.html Explore further Fujifilm is seeking more than $1bn in damages Xerox ends merger with Fujifilm in victory for shareholderscenter_img 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. © 2018 AFP Japanese technology giant Fujifilm said Tuesday it was suing US firm Xerox, seeking more than $1 billion in damages after a merger between the two firms was scrapped last month.last_img read more

READ MORE

French lawmakers ban smartphones in schools

first_img © 2018 AFP Citation: French lawmakers ban smartphones in schools (2018, July 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-french-lawmakers-smartphones-schools.html French schoolchildren will have to leave their smartphones switched off or at home as the new academic year begins in September, after lawmakers voted for a ban on Monday. France closes in on phone ban in schools starting in September Explore further The ban on smartphones, tablets and other connected devices, which will apply to pupils up to the age of 14-15, fulfils a campaign promise by centrist President Emmanuel Macron, while being derided as “cosmetic” by the opposition. MPs of Macron’s centrist LREM party and its allies gave final approval to the bill, while lawmakers on the left and right abstained from the vote, calling the law a “publicity stunt” that would change nothing.Under the new law, schools may make exceptions for “pedagogical use”, extra-curricular activities, or for disabled pupils. Secondary schools for their part can decide individually whether to impose a partial or total ban on connected devices.A previous law, passed in 2010, already prohibited smartphone use during class. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said the earlier law did not apply across the board and lacked teeth, while the new law moves France “into the 21st century”.”It sends a message to French society” as well as countries around the world, he said.Nearly nine in 10 French teens aged 12 to 17 own a smartphone. 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.last_img read more

READ MORE

Trump calls on Apple to move production from China to US

first_img Citation: Trump calls on Apple to move production from China to US (2018, September 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-trump-apple-production-china.html US President Donald Trump called Saturday for Apple to make its products in the US instead of China to avoid suffering the consequences of his trade war with Beijing. GM seeks to exempt Buick SUV from looming Trump tariffs US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for companies to move production to, or keep it in the United States, while pushing aggressive trade actions to narrow the US trade deficit, which he equates with theft from Americans Explore furthercenter_img © 2018 AFP Trump has repeatedly called for companies to move production to the United States, or to keep it there, while pushing aggressive trade actions aimed at narrowing the US trade deficit, which he equates with theft from Americans.”Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive,” Trump tweeted.”Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting!”But the higher cost of wages in the United States could offset the benefits Apple might gain by avoiding tariffs affecting its products manufactured in China.The Trump administration has placed punitive tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods and threatened to tax all Chinese imports to the United States.US businesses have become increasingly concerned about the tariffs, which are raising prices for manufacturers and could hurt the economy.But Trump has been unapologetic, insisting that his tough tactics will work. 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.last_img read more

READ MORE

Improving crop yields while conserving resources

first_img Citation: Improving crop yields while conserving resources (2018, December 20) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-crop-yields-resources.html This story is republished courtesy of MIT News (web.mit.edu/newsoffice/), a popular site that covers news about MIT research, innovation and teaching. Graduate student Julia Sokol is working on making drip irrigation cheaper and more efficient at MIT’s Global Engineering and Research (GEAR) Lab. Credit: Tony Pulsone When it comes to the health of the planet, agriculture and food production play an enormous role. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, roughly 37 percent of land worldwide is used for agriculture and food production, and 11 percent of the Earth’s land surface is used specifically for crop production. Finding ways to make agriculture more sustainable and efficient is crucial not only for the environment, but also for global food supply. The research team first focused on the geometrical features of these emitters. They developed a mathematical model describing how the geometrical features interact with the membranes inside them. Based on this model, they optimized the emitters to get the lowest possible pressure required to ensure the water flows to crops at the right rate. Explore further Commercial emitters require minimum activation pressure of 1 bar to provide a constant flow rate for the crops. Thanks to the changes the team made inside the emitter, they lowered the activation pressure to just 0.15 bar. This reduction in the pressure needed to activate the drippers cut the power needed to operate the central pump in half. “Reducing the pressure lowers the cost of the system overall, which is beneficial to the farmer, and of course it also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Sokol.For off-grid drip irrigation systems that operate via solar power, the use of the new emitters could reduce costs to the farmer by 40 percent. “For farmers in developing countries, this cost savings reduces the barrier to a water conserving and yield increasing technology,” adds Amrose.The team has conducted a number of field trials in Morocco and Jordan, where they work with NGO partners and private farmers to test the newly designed emitters and optimized irrigation system.”The biggest takeaway from these field trials was how much our system reduced energy and cost while providing high uniformity of flow rate to crops,” explains Sokol.According to Amrose, Sokol has been instrumental in the development and testing of these emitters. “She brings the whole package—she is an excellent designer, she can be in the field fixing hardware, and she is also incredibly good theoretically, working with models,” Amrose says.Sokol and the GEAR Lab team will continue to make improvements to the design of the emitters that both reduce costs, conserve resources, and improve crop yield.”The global population keeps growing, so we need greater agricultural productivity,” Sokol adds. “That’s our focus—to make that happen, especially in developing areas.”center_img Provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology New design cuts costs, energy needs for drip irrigation, bringing the systems within reach for more farmers 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. Julia Sokol grew up far away from any farm. Born in Russia, Sokol and her family moved when she was 10 years old to New York City, where her father worked for the United Nations. These days, however, Sokol, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, spends a lot of her time thinking about agriculture. For the past two years, Sokol has been working on a drip irrigation project at MIT’s Global Engineering and Research (GEAR) Lab. After receiving her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at Harvard University, Sokol spent some time in industry, first as a research assistant at Schlumberger, then working at a small sustainability consulting firm. Wanting a stronger technical foundation, she applied to MIT for graduate school.During her master’s program, Sokol took course 2.76 (Global Engineering), which was taught by associate professor and principal investigator of the GEAR Lab, Amos Winter. Having developed an interest in water-related issues, Sokol jumped at the opportunity to work with Winter on the GEAR Lab’s energy efficient drip irrigation project.”I was really excited to join the project,” says Sokol. “It perfectly combines my passion for sustainability with my interest in fundamental research in fluid mechanics and system design.”Rather than flood irrigation—in which water is pumped from a source to flood a field— drip irrigation has a central pump that moves water through a network of pipes. Emitters attached to the pipes release water uniformly throughout the field, resulting in higher crop yield and less water consumption when compared to flood irrigation.”The goal of drip irrigation is to provide water at a low enough flow rate for the roots to actually start absorbing it immediately, instead of it evaporating or percolating back down to an aquifer,” explains Sokol.The emitters used in drip irrigation disperse water evenly, as opposed to flood irrigation, which often causes crops to get water-logged. “These drip emitters need to provide a uniform flow rate throughout the field so all crops get the same amount of water,” adds Susan Amrose, a research scientist at the GEAR Lab. At a treated wastewater irrigation site in Jordan, Julia Sokol installs a data logger and sensors to record pressure and flow data in irrigation pipes. Credit: Susan Amroselast_img read more

READ MORE

iPhone 11 What to expect and why waiting may be your best

first_imgYou might want to remain patient before buying your next iPhone. Explore further Credit: CC0 Public Domain Battery life: So, this will likely get at least a little bit better, or so the hope goes, and that’s never something to scoff at. (There may be room internally for bigger batteries.)Cameras: Via a triple camera system on the rear, at least on the most expensive of the new models, if not all three, the optics should also improve. That would give a shooter more flexible wide-angle and zoom options, perhaps. The new iPhone may also let you better capture photos in dim light, something Google’s Pixel phones and the aforementioned OnePlus do very well.Wireless charging: Another expected feature will let you wirelessly charge AirPods or other smartphones by placing them on the back of the new iPhones. Apple is playing catch-up to Samsung and others there as well.Design: Otherwise, any design changes to the new phones probably won’t feel dramatic, with screen sizes likely to match the current iPhone lineup: a 6.5-inch model (as with the iPhone XS Max), a 6.1-inch (like the XR) and a 5.8-inch offering (the XS).Notch: It remains to be seen whether the notch covering sensors on the front of those current iPhones will be reduced or disappear altogether on the new models.Cost: A reasonable guess is that prices for the new phones will be similar if not identical to the current iPhone lineup: $749 on up for the XR, $999 for the XS, $1099 for the XS Max.iOS software: One thing we already know for sure is that the latest iPhones will run iOS 13, the software now available as a public beta. Among the fresh features it brings are a Dark Mode interface, better privacy safeguards and a redesigned Photos app.Keep in mind, though, that alone is not a reason to upgrade, since iOS 13 is also compatible with iPhones dating as far back as 2015.It is entirely possible that Apple will pull some surprises and that the summer speculation is just that and proves to be way off base. But if the reading of the tea leaves proves right, iPhone buyers may be smart to learn the meaning of patience. Sure, the expected unveiling of Apple’s iPhone 11 (if that’s what it’s called) is still roughly two months away, and all we are going on at this stage are leaks and rumors.But there are already hints that the 2019 iPhone upgrade cycle will be comparatively modest, if not actually a bit of a bore, with far more significant changes coming in 2020. Most notably, if you’re looking for an iPhone compatible with the blazing-fast 5G networks that carriers have started to roll out, you’ll almost certainly have to wait until next year.Granted these are the early days of 5G, and Apple has a long history of adopting technologies on its own timetable rather than rushing to be first. But you can’t help but notice all the Android rivals that have already or will be shortly going all in with 5G handsets.What this all suggests for the iPhone faithful is that waiting may be your best option.That is unless you are tempted by an Android field that continues to get stronger. I’ve been very impressed with the OnePlus 7 Pro I took on a recent vacation. It’s not a 5G phone either—that comes later—but many people who saw it were intrigued by its lovely screen and design, and the camera is terrific.Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Aug. 7 when Samsung unveils the Galaxy Note 10, the next versions of its priciest phones, of which there may be one or two 5G variants.Biggest iPhone changes come in 2020As for Apple, in a note to clients seen by CNBC, J.P. Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee speculated that three September 2020 iPhones—no telling what they’ll be called by then either—will have screen sizes of 5.4, 6.1, and 6.7 inches and will include OLED displays and yes, 5G modems. Chatterjee added that at least two of the trio will have “Time of Flight” 3-D sensors that promise to step up the quality of augmented and virtual reality games and other custom applications.Where then does that leave the 2019 phones expected to launch in September? Look for three handsets that will include chip improvements and a bump up in specs, but the writing on the wall suggests these upgrades will be incremental. Citation: iPhone 11: What to expect and why waiting may be your best option (2019, July 12) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-iphone-option.html A three-camera iPhone? It may be one of three new models for 2019, report says (c)2019 U.S. TodayDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 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.last_img read more

READ MORE

India needs to make smooth viable transition from coal IPCC report

first_imgRELATED SHARE SHARE EMAIL A recent report by the UN’s IPCC gives India a “huge” opportunity to develop differently and also stresses on the need to make smooth and viable transition from coal, two professors, who were part of the technical support unit of the IPCC, have said.According to the report released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), India could witness deadly heat waves if the planet’s temperature goes up by two degrees Celsius. At +2 degrees Celsius warming, Karachi (Pakistan) and Kolkata (India) could expect annual conditions equivalent to their deadly 2015 heat waves (medium confidence), the report stated.‘Huge opportunity’ Priyadarshi Shukla, Co-Chair, IPCC Working Group III (Mitigation) said the global 1.5C ambition is set to shrink available global carbon budget. “Historically, compared to most nations, India’s per capita emissions have been very low. India’s socio-economic transition requires reasonable share of carbon budget so as to improve the quality of life and enhance the performance vis-୶is several important SDGs,” he said. India needs to make smooth and viable transition from coal and simultaneously safeguard related jobs in the short term, Shukla said, adding the successful transformation of coal sector would need re-skilling the workforce along-side application of emerging technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage.Minal Pathak, senior scientist, Technical Support Unit of Working Group III (Mitigation) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the report sends out clear messages on actions that need to be taken. “India has several successful initiatives underway, however, these are not enough for a global 1.5 C transition. A lot more needs to be done and in time, emissions have to reach net-zero in 2030. “For India, this is a huge opportunity to develop differently, a transformation of our cities, infrastructure, industries and the economy,” Pathak said.She said in the context of urban population expansion, the role of cities in addressing climate change is especially important. “Can we build our cities differently? How do we re-think land use allocation, make our buildings more energy efficient, transform transportation systems by increasing the share of electric vehicles, how do we build more and better public transport systems? Can we manage urban waste differently?,” she asked. Preparing for extremes“How do we enhance green and blue infrastructure in cities to manage urban heat islands, improve human well-being and protect biodiversity? Several cities have taken the lead in these areas. The key is to replicate and upscale these. Research-driven Universities are key stakeholders in their communities to addressing sustainability challenges,” Pathak said.“Even for a 1.5C world, settlements need to step up efforts to prepare for climate extremes,” she said. “Are we prepared for managing heat waves, droughts, flooding impacts and their impacts on human health, ecosystems and the economy. The role of behaviour and lifestyle cannot be overstated—in the choices we make in how we live, travel and consume can make a big difference in steering India to a 1.5 compatible and sustainable pathway,” Pathak said. Both the professors are from Ahmedabad University, which a privately-run institute. climate change India lost USD 79.5 billion from climate-related disasters in 20 years: UN report IPCC report: World must race to limit warming to 1.5° by 2100 File Photo of cooling towers billowing out steam at a thermal power station.   –  The Hindu COMMENTScenter_img COMMENT October 14, 2018 United Nations (climate change) Published on Climate and calamity are linked to culture: Modi SHARElast_img read more

READ MORE

Kartarpur corridor will make it easy visit to shrine

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that Mann Ki Baat carries his voice but represents the emotions and spirit of the countrymen and aims to address the aspirational India. He also said that the government has taken an important decision to build the Kartarpur corridor to enable the countrymen to easily travel to the holy site. Addressing the nation in the golden jubilee episode of the radio programme, he said that Mann Ki Baat is not about the government but about the society. “When ‘Mann Ki Baat’ was started , I had firmly decided that it would not carry anything political, or any praise of the Government, and it wouldn’t be about Modi. Honestly speaking, Mann Ki Baat carries my voice but the examples, emotions and spirit represent my countrymen.”Modi said that one of the findings of a lexical analysis done of all the episodes of Mann Ki Baat, was that the radio programme has remained apolitical. “Mann Ki Baat addresses an aspirational India, an ambitious India. Politics or Political Power is not intrinsic to the Indian ethos; on the contrary social values and society are. In fact, Politics is one of the numerous other aspects of social life. Making politics an all pervasive, powerful factor is not an effective way for a healthy society,” he added. The Prime Minister, also marked the 50th episode of Mann ki Baat, by remembering the achievements of the “luminaries” of the Constituent Assembly who gave India a comprehensive Constitution in less than 3 years. “The extraordinary pace at which they drafted the Constitution is an example of time management and productivity to emulate even today.,” he said. He also remembered the “pivotal role” played by Baba Sahab Ambedkar, whose death anniversary falls on December 6, in the Constituent Assembly. Referring to the recent celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti on November 23, Modi said that the government has taken a significant decision of building Kartarpur corridor to enable Indian pilgrims to easily visit the sacred site in Pakistan. Published on politics SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE government COMMENT November 25, 2018 COMMENTSlast_img read more

READ MORE

Rajasthan polls Religion big factor in Pokhran

first_imgCOMMENTS A file photo SHARE SHARE EMAIL Rajasthan Polls Published on November 25, 2018center_img elections SHARE COMMENT Western Rajasthan’s Pokhran assembly constituency is set for a close fight on December 7 between a Hindu religious leader fielded by the BJP and son of Muslim ‘peer’ pitted against him by the Congress.The BJP candidate, Pratap Puri, is the head of the Taratara ‘math’ The Congress’ Shale Mohammad is the son of Muslim religious leader Gazi Fakir, who has a large number of followers both within India and across the border in Pakistan.Both Puri and Fakir hold considerable sway among their communities, making the Pokhran constituency in Jaisalmer district one of the state’s most hotly contested seats.Uttar Pradesh chief minister and senior BJP leader Yogi Adityanath and Congress President Rahul Gandhi will address rallies in support of Puri and Mohammad, respectively, on Monday, setting the tone for the rest of the campaign in the region better known for the nuclear tests in 1998. Puri expressed confidence that the BJP will win the Pokhran seat and blamed the Congress for making the contest “communal” by fielding a Muslim candidate against him. Protection of Hindus and cows has always been an important issue, he said. “The party is going to win the election which has been made communal by the Congress by fielding a Muslim candidate against me,” the BJP candidate told PTI. Religious leaders should be in politics for its purification, Puri (51), who hails from the influential Rajput community, said. “The people are with the BJP because they have faith in the party’s policies and in leaders like Narendra Modi,” he said. His Barmer-based ‘math’, which holds considerable influence in the entire Jodhpur division, is pulling out all stops to win over the electorate, conducting social and religious activities. “We hold drug de-addiction camps, provide education to poor children and work for cow conservation, besides conducting several other social activities,” Puri said. The Congress candidate, Mohammad, said his focus was core issues like drinking water and other basic amenities for people in Pokhran, which has a total electorate of 1.94 lakh. “People here face difficulties in getting drinking water and fodder for cattle. The constituency lacks healthcare facilities and I am focusing on that,” he said. Mohammad (41) had lost the 2013 assembly elections from the same seat to BJP’s Shaitan Singh with a margin of 34,444 votes. Mohammad’s father, an octogenarian, boasts of a strong following in the Sindhi Muslim community and has several criminal cases against him. There are an estimated 55,000 Muslim voters, 45,000-48,000 and Rajput voters in Pokhran. It also has around 35,000 Dalit voters, according to the candidates. Pokhran is one of the two assembly constituencies of the desert district of Jaisalmer. The second constituency, Jaisalmer, will also see a direct contest between BJP candidate Sang Singh Bhati and Congress’ Roopa Ram. The BJP chose Sang Singh Bhati over its sitting MLA Chotu Singh Bhati, while the Congress has fielded Ram for the second time after 2013. A total of 11 and 18 candidates are in the fray in Pokhran and Jaisalmer respectively.last_img read more

READ MORE

Ram Janmabhoomi SC bench to fix hearing date on January 10

first_imgSHARE What Ayodhya has lost in temple politics Published on January 04, 2019 COMMENT The hearing did not even last 30 seconds The Supreme Court on Friday said that an appropriate bench, constituted by it, will pass an order on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute title case at Ayodhya.“Further orders will be passed by an appropriate bench on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing the matter,” a bench comprising Chief Justice (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said.The CJI said it is the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case and went ahead with passing the order.Senior advocates Harish Salve and Rajeev DhaVan, appearing for different parties, did not even get the opportunity to make any submission.The hearing did not even last 30 seconds. Now, a three-member bench will be set up for taking the Ayodhya land dispute case forward. As many as 14 appeals were filed against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.The apex court on October 29 had fixed the matter in the first week of January before the “appropriate bench”.Later, an application was moved for according an urgent hearing by advancing the date, but the top court had refused the plea, saying it had already passed an order on October 29 relating to the hearing of the matter.The plea for early hearing was moved by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) which is one of the respondents in the appeal filed by legal heirs of M Siddiq, one of the original litigants in the case.A three-judge bench of the top court had on September 27, 2018, by 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.Various Hindutva organisations have been demanding an ordinance on early construction of Ram temple at the disputed site.The hearing on Friday assumed importance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday had suggested any decision on an ordinance on Ram temple in Ayodhya can happen only after the completion of the judicial process.Modi’s comments had come amidst heightened demands by Hindutava organisations, including the RSS, for an ordinance for an early construction of the temple.“Let the judicial process take its own course. Don’t weigh it in political terms. Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts,” the Prime Minister told the media. File photo   –  The Hindu Ayodhya SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTS RELATED last_img read more

READ MORE

New AP CM reviews reverses and renames schemes launched by TDP govt

first_img COMMENT COMMENTS Projects in Amaravati to be halted, may take recourse to reverse tendering to bring down costs The new Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and YSR Congress leader, Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy, has during the past five days, been busy reviewing, reversing and renaming many of the schemes and projects launched by the previous Telugu Desam Government led by N. Chandrababu Naidu.Ever since he assumed charge in Vijayawada as the new Chief Minister last Thursday, he has been busy holding these review meetings with officials.Projects haltedHe has given officials instructions to halt projects in different stages in Amaravati, the new capital, and elsewhere in the state. Only after a thorough review and scrutiny of all the projects, would a decision be taken on them. He has alleged in the past large-scale corruption in many of these projects, including the mega Polavaram irrigation project on the Godavari. After a thorough review, he wants to take recourse to a process of reverse tendering to bring down the costs of these projects and also to expose the alleged corruption by the TDP.After assuming charge as the new CM, at the time of the swearing-in, he had hiked the old age pension to Rs 2,250 per month from Rs 2,000, and announced that it would gradually be hiked to Rs 3,000 a month over the next few years. The scheme was named after his late father and former chief minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.Anna canteens now Rajanna canteensAnna canteens were launched in the state by the TDP Government a few months before the Assembly and General Elections, to provide meals to people at Rs 5, in fulfilment of a promise made by the party in the 2014 election manifesto. These canteens were called Anna canteens after the late N.T Rama Rao, the former chief minister and founder of the Telugu Desam Party. Henceforth, they will be known as Rajanna canteens, after the late Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy.YSR Arogya SriA medical insurance scheme launched by the late Dr. Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy to provide treatment for the poor in corporate hospitals was named NTR Vaidya Seva by the previous TDP government. The new Government has taken a decision to reverse the decision and name the scheme after the late Dr. Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy. The new CM has also given instructions to officials to plug loopholes in the scheme and make it more effective and useful to the public.The salaries of Aasha workers in the state have been hiked from the present Rs 3,000 a month to Rs 10,000 in fulfilment of a promise made by the YSR Congress in its election manifesto.Belt shops The new CM has also left instructions with the state excise officials to take immediate steps for the phase-wise imposition of prohibition in the state. In the first phase, an awareness campaign should be taken up to educate the public and also to remove belt shops in the state immediately. (The unauthorised liquor outlets attached to an authorised, licensed liquor shop are known as belt shops in Andhra Pradesh.)The new CM has also left instructions with irrigation officials to complete the Polavaram project within two years, and also to initiate steps to recover from the Centre Rs 4,000-4,5000 crores already spent by the previous TDP Government on the project from state coffers. The project is a national project, the cost of which should be borne entirely by the Centre, barring the power component.It is said that the new CM will announce the new Cabinet on June 8. On Tuesday he visited his Guru, Sri Sri Sri Swaroopanandendra Saraswathi of Sarada Peetham at Chinamushidiwada in Visakhapatnam district, and sought his blessings. Special pujas were performed to the presiding deity, Raja Syamala Devi, on the occasion of his visit to the ashram and the Swamiji blessed the new CM.The new CM also reversed a decision taken by the previous Chandrababu Naidu government withdrawing the general consent by the state government for the CBI to conduct investigations and raids in the state. The Chandrababu government took the decision in 2018, alleging that the Modi government was using the CBI to wreak political vendetta on its opponents.The new Government has issued orders restoring the general consent, allowing the CBI to conduct investigations and raids in the state without the prior permission of the state government.It is generally perceived and believed that the new Government has taken the step to facilitate a CBI probe into the alleged misdeeds of the previous TDP government. Published on SHAREcenter_img Andhra Pradesh June 04, 2019 SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more

READ MORE