Written by Smita Nair | Panaji | Updated: July 13, 2019 8:09:20 am “I have asked Goa Forward ministers and independent Rohan Khaunte to resign. Newly inducted Chandrakant Kavlekar will be the new Deputy Chief Minister,” Sawant told The Indian Express.The portfolios likely to be given to the defecting Congress MLAs include Town and Country Planning — held by Sardesai — along with Revenue, and Information Technology, River Navigation and Water Resources, Housing, and Agriculture.Panaji legislator Atanasio Monserrate, who is said to have brought five other MLAs along with his wife and former MLA Jennifer Monseratte into the BJP fold, is expected to get a plum portfolio. Speaking to the press after his arrival from Delhi, he said, “To be frank, I joined the Congress a couple of times… The last time when they asked me I said it was like the return of the prodigal son, then I guessed as much after month that I really didn’t belong there…All the work in your constituency will be fulfilled. That kind of an assurance I never had in my 17 years (as a politician)… They (the BJP) say sabka saath sabka vikas, I really felt that there.” Meanwhile, a Goa meltdown: 10 of 15 Congress MLAs join BJP Advertising Goa: Missing woman who accused Congress leader of rape found Related News 9 Comment(s) Chandrakant Kavlekar was Leader of Oppn before switching to the BJP.Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday dropped four ministers from his cabinet, potentially opening up seven portfolios for the 10 Congress MLAs who recently defected to the ruling BJP. Former Leader of the Opposition in the House, Chandrakant Kavlekar, will be the new deputy CM, Sawant confirmed, replacing Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, an NDA ally. Goa Congress chief says aware our MLAs in talks with BJP Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said the CM has personally called each of the minister over phone and asked them to resign. “For now I am happy that some old ministers are being taken out. There was a lot of threat they kept imposing that they will withdraw support if their work was not done… The BJP was under constant fear of their dadagiri. That has gone. The newly inducted members come with good understanding,” he said.Meanwhile, Sardesai said he has not received any communication officially. “We haven’t received any official communication from BJP central leaders. Our party is part of NDA, joined the BJP-led state government after talks with the national leadership. The present state BJP leaders were not part of the discussion,” he told The Indian Express. “We have not yet received any official communication from the BJP central leaders. On the contrary, we have received indications that the matter will be sorted out amicably.”Meanwhile, at Congress House, Alex Reginaldo — the MLA who refused to switch over to the BJP — said the party is yet to decide on a Leader of the Opposition. He said it took a long time for the party to agree on who would be the Leader of the Opposition when there were 17 MLAs in the party, “and now we can’t decide this when we are five”.He added, “I got a call from one of the Congress MLAs who joined the BJP, saying if I am interested I could still join (them). I have asked them not to make such calls to me. I will now wait for the Assembly.” Advertising
Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Revathi also claimed that she was being targeted as part of a bigger operation by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) government (Representational image)The CEO of Mojo TV news channel, P Revathi, has been arrested after a Dalit activist filed an SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act case against her. By Express News Service |Hyderabad | Updated: July 14, 2019 2:06:41 am Advertising Top News After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Police officials in Hyderabad went to her residence on Friday and asked her to accompany them to the Banjara Hills Police Station. After taking her statement, she was taken into custody and produced before a magistrate who sent her to judicial remand.In his complaint, H Varaprasad, who appeared in a discussion on the TV channel moderated by Revathi and hosted by anchor K Raghu on January 23, alleged that the two referred to him by his caste during a heated debate.On Friday, when police arrived at Revathi’s house, she alerted the media and said that the police was at her doorstep without a notice or warrant. Her husband, filmmaker D Chaitanya, said that although she had responded to the two notices sent by police to give a statement in the case, police disregarded it and were now taking action under pressure.Banjara Hills Assistant Commissioner of Police Srinivas Rao said that Revathi did not respond to the two notices, and instead went on a hunger strike in protest. “We have been patient with her. The case was filed in January but she did not respond…” 2 Comment(s)
Advertising Related News “The operation is over,” police officer Major Mohamed Abdi told Reuters by telephone from Kismayu.”So far we know 13 people died. Many people have been rescued. The four attackers were shot dead.”Members of the al-Qaeda linked group stormed the hotel after targeting it with a car bomb on Friday while local elders and lawmakers were meeting to discuss approaching regional elections. A second witness put the death toll at 14.“The operation was concluded at 7 a.m. We know at least 14 people died including journalists and (local election)candidates. These are prominent people. The death toll is sure to rise,” local elder Ahmed Abdulle told Reuters. Advertising Post Comment(s) Car bomb and all-night hotel siege kill 26 in Somalia’s Kismayo By Reuters |Mogadishu | Published: July 13, 2019 6:26:31 pm Somali people gather near destroyed buildings after a car bomb detonated in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)Somalia’s security forces on Saturday ended an overnight attack by the al Shabaab Islamist militant group on a hotel in the southern port city of Kismayu that killed at least 13, a police officer said. Somalia extremist attack in port city of Kismayo kills 10 A journalists’ group had confirmed on Friday that two journalists were among the dead; Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Naleyah, the founder of Integration TV, and Mohamed Sahal Omar, reporter of SBC TV in Kismayu.Separately, Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, general secretary of the Federation of Somali Journalists, said in a statement: “We are saddened and outraged by this loss of life, and condemn in the strongest possible terms this appalling massacre.”Al Shabaab was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds. It was driven out of Kismayu in 2012. The city’s port had been a major source of revenue for the group from taxes, charcoal exports, and levies on arms and other illegal imports.Kismayu is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region of southern Somalia still partly controlled by al Shabaab.Al Shabaab remains a major security threat, with fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighboring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the Somali government. Explained: Is Somalia ready for a one-person one-vote election?
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 24 2018Lumos Pharma, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on development and commercialization of therapeutics for rare and neglected diseases, today announced that it has acquired the license for LUM-201, an investigational orally administered small molecule that promotes secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland, from Ammonett Pharma LLC. Lumos plans to initiate a Phase IIb trial in 2019 in patients with Pediatric Growth Hormone Deficiency (PGHD) to compare multiple doses of LUM-201 to daily injections of recombinant human growth hormone, which is the current standard of care. Rick Hawkins, CEO of Lumos Pharma, commented, “The Lumos investors and the entire Lumos team are extremely excited for the opportunity to rapidly advance this oral candidate for PGHD patients. Many patients will potentially appreciate an alternative to injections.” Michael Thorner, MB, BS, DSc, a leading endocrinologist based at the University of Virginia and adviser to Lumos who has long been involved with the program while an executive at Ammonett Pharma, commented, “Lumos is the perfect company to advance this treatment to approval. It has excellent rare disease drug development expertise and resources. I look forward to working with the team on the product’s development and commercialization.” Source:https://lumos-pharma.com/
Wrapping Up Microsoft Teams + AI Applied to Government Microsoft Inspire is taking place this week in Las Vegas, and a huge number of my personal friends and I were prebriefed on what the big announcements would be. Strangely, the embargo on the news lifted last week, so I’m not going to get in trouble for sharing some of the revelations.There are a number of interesting elements, including Microsoft’s suddenly aggressive move to use Azure as an Internet of Things host, which suggests that in the future, many of our homes and businesses (at least their lights, HVAC and security) will be managed remotely in the Microsoft Cloud. Don’t get upset, as this is likely a ton better than what we are doing today. (Yes, there is something called “smart home abuse,” and it is a real threat.)There will be a ton of Azure announcements during the week: new servers, a vastly more powerful Azure Global Network, business intelligence, and SQL. What caught my eye was a product that’s free (at least initially) — a new version of Microsoft Teams. I think Teams could be a foundational way to fix governments in general, with a little extra help from artificial intelligence.I’ll explain and then close with my product of the week: a new 10-inch affordable Microsoft Surface Tablet with a Pentium Gold processor (Pentium was one of the most powerful brands every created). Dysfunctional Government Perhaps the most dysfunctional “teams” you’re ever likely to find are in politics — not just U.S. politics, either. If you watch what goes on in other governments, where things often degrade into open violence, our folks actually don’t look as bad.None of these groups are known for making progress, however, and collaboration — particularly between political parties in the U.S. — has been almost as rare as a unicorn. It is particularly fascinating that even though the overall approval rating for the U.S. Congress is so low as to suggest that every politician would be fired if an election were held today, individually we mostly seem to like the office holders (otherwise, they wouldn’t get reelected).I think this is mostly because we have no real clue what our representatives actually are doing. We have a belief that they are doing a good job, but we don’t really have a good independent way of validating our belief. What’s more troubling is that instead of being in a situation where we influence our representatives, we’re often the targets of their powerful marketing efforts to sway our opinion, even in opposition to our own best interests.What if we had a real-time tool to assess how well our elected officials were taking care of our interests? In a company, what if we had a way to ensure that employees were behaving consistently with company imperatives, strategies and goals? Let’s start with why collaboration products in general often leave me less than excited. My educational background was in business, with a focus on motivation and employee development. One of the things I learned early on is that no tool alone will force people to do something they don’t want to do, and if they really want to do something, the lack of a tool won’t stop them.Over the years, programs like forced ranking pitted employees against each other, effectively discouraging collaboration. Companies like Microsoft have discontinued the programs, but the related behavior generally continues. In general, incentives like raises and bonuses not only are less common but also are tied to individual or corporate behavior rather than team behavior.Few employees have the power to impact corporate results, and if you are competing with others for your bonus, raise or promotion, why would you collaborate with them? A tool like Microsoft Teams, alone, can’t fix that — but it could become a foundational element to an eventual fix. Why I Don’t Like Collaboration Products In the case of government, you’d play the role of employer. You would see how well your chosen representatives were doing their jobs — at least with regard to what they said and how well they collaborated to get results — and they would see how well they were meeting your expectations.These reports also would flow to the various political parties, so they would have more insight into when to support incumbents versus replacing them on the ballet because they weren’t doing their jobs. (Given Congress’ approval ratings, you’d think that just fixing the “do the job” part would have a massive positive impact.)You likely could create this ad hoc, just by feeding C-SPAN into Microsoft Teams and then wrapping it with a report-generating AI that constantly would rank your representatives against your documented interests, actual progress toward those interests, and — using that same metric — against competitors, both inside and outside your party.I’m willing to bet a lot of us would flip on our representatives if we knew whether they agreed with us and could see how well they carried the day. We’d want both, because someone who just agrees but can’t get support is nearly as bad as someone who isn’t aligned with our interests. Privacy Questions What Microsoft Teams does is coordinate interactions. One of its most interesting aspects is that it can take notes at meetings automatically, index those notes back to a video of the meeting, and provide ways to rapidly locate key pieces of information.In this way, it can document commitments, agreements, positions (and the foundational arguments that support them), and create an audit trail. This trail not only can help optimize a collaborative effort, but also can highlight team members who are unwilling to cooperate (there is always that one jerk who enjoys shooting down anything that might look like progress); or are abusive, discriminatory, racist, or two beers short of a six pack (I expect every one of you flashed on someone when I said that).It also can showcase the heroes who drive progress, constantly act consistently with corporate policy and approved behavior; and demonstrate leadership skills along with the proper application of those skills.Microsoft increasingly has been associating AI capability with this tool, but what if that AI could, after a meeting, send management a note with a performance review of everyone in the meeting? Who participated, who did their email, who moved the ball forward, who created obstacles, who behaved inappropriately, etc. What if you could get a report showcasing what you did right and wrong based on that review, so you could modify your own behavior to be a better team player and better employee, objectively not just subjectively?Wouldn’t that motivate you to perform better, since you would know the reports was feeding into your own performance review, ensuring that you would get credit for the work you did as a team member, not just individually, by promoting team playing? It would also pretty much screw the assh*les in the meeting, so that alone would get me to consider it. Microsoft Surface Go In large part, the problems we have either managing effectively or ensuring that our politicians do their jobs have their roots in a lack of objective information on real performance.Increasingly, everything we do is being captured by something. Right now, it is more likely that information would be used to justify an action against us or our employees and not focused on making both better.Tools like Teams are designed to focus on making the collaboration process more effective, but they easily could be modified with AIs to allow both employees and politicians to change behavior and improve performance.We need to get better, and our very survival likely will depend on improving the effectiveness of our governments. Done right, this eventually could result in a huge step: not only toward making our companies better places to work (by preventing the Harvey Weinsteins of the world either from being formed or from making it into management), but also toward eliminating the politicians who have been doing us the most harm.Oh, and one other thought: At least with companies, there is nothing that would prevent a sharp manager from using the transcripts and records from Teams to assess behavior and better coach employees. Just saying…Something to noodle on this week. This is a high-quality product with a decent screen and nine hours of battery life. The Pentium Gold processor should provide decent performance in a tablet. It likely was to keep education happy, because a Millennial buyer probably would prefer the new Qualcomm 1000 processor as part of the Always Connected PC initiative.Until a product like that comes out, though, they initially might prefer the version of this product coming out later in the year with built in 4G support.I think that we are beginning to better understand the new employees who are coming to market with stronger affinity for tablets and smartphones. The Surface Go seems to anticipate this need. While not yet ideal for this audience, it should appeal to education and form a foundation for a future product that could address this emerging employee market more effectively.I like products that explore new opportunities and aren’t just clones of what came before. The Surface Go is one of those products, and it’s a natural for my product of the week. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. One of the complaints I can anticipate to this approach is its potential to intrude on privacy. However, politicians lead a public life, and what they say often is either misreported or taken out of context.More important, when they do screw up, their first alert may come when the screw-up is reported publicly, rather than in real time when they could address it more effectively. With this tool, they or their staff could be alerted. Alerts even could be automated — for example, driven to their smartwatch or, even better, a surgically implanted cattle prod (to get their attention). Just kidding, sort of…In most companies, there’s someone always trying to take notes, and it is hardly unusual for someone in a meeting who objected to their treatment or the outcome to run to management with a complaint.Having a heads-up so you could apologize during the meeting — or have the documentation to defend yourself — could be critical to surviving the result. This tool, tied to an AI, could do both. In short, the privacy was never there, and this just better ensures a positive outcome from your participation in a meeting or presentation event. I’m a long time Surface user, I’ve used the line since it started, and one of my favorite products remains both the Surface Book (for design) and the Surface Notebook (practicality and appearance).However, this latest offering, a 10-inch tablet form Surface Go, may be the most interesting. You see, laptops with under 13-inch screens have rarely sold well, and folks won’t carry tablets over 10 inches.One thing we’ve learned from millennials is that they really aren’t fans of traditional laptops and seem to prefer more of a smartphone-like device. They want to work outside and be more mobile. Many were attracted to the original iPad for work but found it wanting. Their fix wasn’t to make the iPad bigger — it was to make it more useful for work. While the Surface Go appears more focused on education than on millennials, I think it also could be a solid step toward what that audience wants. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.
Source:http://www.frontiersin.org/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 11 2019In a trial of one of the main class of prescription sleeping pills, half the participants slept through a fire alarm as loud as someone vacuuming next to their bed. But a newer alternative preserves the ability to wake in response to danger signals, according to a new research.Published this week in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, the study showed that mice given the experimental hypnotic drug DORA-22 wake as quickly when threatened as drug-free sleepers – and then fall back asleep as quickly as ones given standard sleeping pills, once the threat is gone.Common sleeping pills muffle your sleeping brain’s ‘intruder alert’Even during sleep the brain continuously processes sensory information, waking us if it detects a threat. But the most widely prescribed class of sleeping pills, known as benzodiazepines, makes us less likely to rouse in response to sensory input.”Benzodiazepines stimulate the widespread brain receptor GABA-A, which makes us sleepy but also suppresses off-target brain areas – including the ‘gatekeeper’ that decides which sensory inputs to process,” explains study senior author Professor Tomoyuki Kuwaki of Kagoshima University, Japan.Over the last decade, researchers have been developing a new class of hypnotic drugs called dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs). DORAs more selectively target the brain’s sleep/wake pathways, which gives them safety advantages over benzodiazepines. These include a reduced ‘hangover effect’, with DORAs less likely to affect driving ability the day after use.Kuwaki and colleagues hypothesized that the selectivity of DORAs could make them a safer alternative during sleep as well – by allowing the brain’s sensory gatekeeper to stay vigilant to threats.DORA-22 allows mice to wake to a threat, but still helps them sleepThe group tested their theory in mice.The mice were dosed and tested after dark, when they are normally most active. One group was administered DORA-22, another a benzodiazepine called triazolam – and a third group was given placebo as a control.”DORA-22 and triazolam had similar sleep promoting effects, extending the duration of deep sleep by 30-40% compared to placebo,” reports Kuwaki.Related StoriesSleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsSleep makes synapses ready for new learningSleep quality could be indicator for later Alzheimer’s disease finds studyOne to four hours after dosing, the deep-sleeping mice were presented with a threatening stimulus: the smell of a fox, a high-pitched noise like a dog whistle, or trembling of their cage. The trembling frequency was designed to match that of an earthquake – a serious threat in Kuwaki’s native Japan and many other parts of the word.”As expected, arousal in response to these threatening stimuli was delayed significantly in the triazolam treatment, but not in the DORA-22 treatment, compared to placebo.Even more promising, the sleep-promoting effect of DORA-22 remained after the rude awakening.”Even though the DORA-22-treated mice were quickly woken by a threat, they subsequently fell back asleep as quickly as with triazolam, and significantly faster than with placebo.”To help demonstrate that the delay in waking to a threat during triazolam treatment was due specifically to inhibition of sensory gating in the brain, the researchers also tested the sleeping mice with a non-sensory stimulus.”The three groups woke equally quickly when we suddenly reduced the amount of oxygen in their cage. This suggests that the delay in rousing to threatening stimuli caused by triazolam was not caused by a general inhibition of waking systems in the brain.”Human studies are needed to confirm DORA safety and efficacy”Although it remains to be seen whether DORAs have the same properties when used in humans, our study provides important and promising insight into the safety of these hypnotics.”Since 2014, another DORA called surovexant has gained regulatory approval in Japan, the USA and Australia. So far, the high cost and limited clinical testing of surovexant have limited its use, amid concerns that doses high enough to significantly improve sleep lead to drowsiness the following day. New DORAs currently in development could overcome this hangover effect if they are cleared more quickly from the body than suvorexant, so that their effects are less likely to last beyond bedtime. Keep your eyes peeled.
Further Reading Source:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871519218306085 By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDFeb 12 2019A new study has found that because of the stigma around smoking and drinking during pregnancy, many women are doing these in private.Researchers from the University of Cardiff have noted that pregnant women are “irritated and alienated” by the perceived notions regarding the harmful effects of smoking and drinking during pregnancy. Recent figures have shown that one in five women from Wales smoke during their first pregnancy.This new study published in the journal Women and Birth reveals that women feel they receive health advice in a “judgemental tone” from their antenatal healthcare providers and midwives that make them reluctant to open up for advice and support during pregnancy regarding smoking and drinking. Some of the pregnant also reported feeling judged by their non-smoking partners. A significant number of women who were smokers or non-smokers agreed that smoking during pregnancy is acceptable if in private. They however condoned smoking in public. They felt that pregnant women who smoke in public receive a lot of negative judgement and criticism from those around them. E-cigarette smokers too felt judged, the study found.For this study the team of researchers interviewed 10 low income pregnant women belonging to deprived areas of south Wales. They were provided visual questionnaires and clues like timelines, collages and thought bubbles related activities. Image Credit: Napocska / Shutterstock Dr Aimee Grant, from Cardiff University’s Centre for Trials Research, in a statement said, “Moral judgements are commonly directed towards mothers through reference to health behaviour in pregnancy, and working-class mothers are particularly subject to this criticism, ignoring the challenges of living on a low income. Our study shows that these looks and comments – including by members of the public – irritate and alienate pregnant women, making them less likely to seek help. No one wants to be judged and shamed.” The authors of this study called for more “empathy” than judgement.The health advocates worldwide advice pregnant women to abstain from alcohol and smoking tobacco. There are over 4,000 chemicals present in cigarette smoke that can harm the unborn baby and also reduce the oxygen supply. The Chief Medical Officers for the UK makes similar recommendations for pregnant women. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) also added that there are no safe alcohol consumption limits during pregnancy.Dr Dunla Gallagher, one of the co-authors of the study says that smoking could be a “coping strategy” for some of the low-income, pregnant mothers. She said in a statement, “Rather than stigma, women need empathy and a recognition of the challenges that pregnancy can bring in terms of women’s independent choices.” Smoking and Pregnancy Effects of Passive Smoking on Children’s Health Carcinogens in Cigarette Smoke Everything You Need to Know About Giving Up Cigarettes
Feb 14 2019Introducing physician-assisted suicide would fundamentally change the doctor-patient relationship, finds a major new poll for Care Not Killing.The survey of over 2,000 members of the public found high levels of concern about vulnerable people feeling pressure to end their lives with four in 10 saying changing the law risks normalizing suicide.The ComRes poll asked GB adults about their views on assisted suicide, the model used in Oregon, and how this would affect trust in doctors.Asked “If GPs are given the power to help patients commit suicide it will fundamentally change the relationship between a doctor and patient, since GPs are currently under a duty to protect and preserve lives,” more than twice as many said it would (48 per cent to 23 per cent), while nearly 3 in ten (29 per cent) were not sure.Dr Gordon MacDonald, a spokesman for Care Not Killing commented: The survey asked if legalizing assisted dying risks normalizing suicide and leading to an increase in deaths among the general population. The public were evenly split but almost four in ten (37 per cent) agreed, exactly the same proportion who disagreed – while a quarter were not sure. It concludes by asking if “as a society we ought to try to do everything we reasonably can to reduce the rate of suicides, especially among men who are three times as likely as women to take their own lives”. Eight in 10 agreed (78%), while perhaps surprisingly 6% disagree.Dr MacDonald, concluded: The poll found that most (51 per cent) of those surveyed were concerned that some people might feel pressured into accepting help to take their own life “so as not to be a burden on others”, while half that proportion (25 per cent) disagreed. These figures reflect what is happening in the US states of Oregon and Washington where a majority of those ending their lives in 2017 said that not wanting to be a burden was a motivation for their decision. This compared to just one in five (21 per cent) in those states who were concerned about the possibility of inadequate pain control, or were experiencing discomfort.The survey was commissioned in the wake of the decision by the Royal College of Physicians to survey their members about “assisted dying” and in a highly unusual move require a super-majority of 60 per cent to prevent the doctors group adopting a neutral position. Asked if cases such as Dr Harold Shipman and the Gosport Hospital scandal made people more concerned that changing the law to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of a substance to kill terminally ill patients would fundamentally change the relationship between doctors and patients, more than four in 10 (42 per cent) agreed, 28 per cent disagreed and three in 10 (30 per cent) did not know.Related StoriesHow to get a cheaper prescription before leaving the doctor’s officeEven when HIV prevention drug is covered, other costs block treatmentAre physical examinations by family doctors still needed?The poll found high levels of concern about whether overstretched doctors have the time or clinical ability to accurately assess a patient’s mental capacity if they requested help to end their life. Alarmingly, more than a quarter of adults (27 per cent), equivalent to 13.5 million patients, said that if assisted suicide were legal, “they would not trust their own GP enough for them to make a decision about their mental capacity to decide whether or not to accept help to take their own life.Dr MacDonald, continued: It is clear that ripping up the longstanding agreement between doctors and society that their job is to save life not to end it would have a seriously damaging effect on how the profession is viewed. In places like Oregon and Washington there have been reports of the sick being denied the life-saving and life-extending drugs they need but offered the poison to end their life. While in Belgium one study found more than 1,000 assisted deaths were without the explicit request of the patient.” This poll shows a greater level of understanding of the difficulties with assisted suicide than most so-called experts think possible. Usually the public are only asked a simple rights based question that is heavily framed, but these questions reveal significant unease around the removing universal protections to allow doctors to kill their patients.” This poll puts a sword to the lie that changing the law on assisted suicide enjoys unremitting support. Abandoning universal protections and expecting doctors to dispense lethal drugs with the express purpose of killing their patients causes alarm. It would undermine the doctor-patient relationship and, as large numbers of the public recognize, risks normalizing suicide.” Source: https://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/
Source:https://www.aacr.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 21 2019An analysis of cervical precancers over a period of seven years showed that two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that have been targeted by vaccination since 2006 have declined, accounting for a smaller proportion of cervical disease. The study offers evidence that HPV vaccination reduced the incidence of infections that can lead to cervical cancerJournal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.Author: Nancy McClung, PhD, RN, epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.Background: “Almost all sexually active individuals will get HPV at some point in their lifetime, but most HPV infections go away on their own without any treatment,” McClung explained. “If an HPV infection does not go away, it can cause cell changes that, over time, develop into a lesion on the cervix called a cervical precancer. Cervical precancers allow us to observe the impact of HPV vaccination earlier than cervical cancer, which can take decades to develop.”Previous research has suggested that the incidence of cervical precancer has been decreasing. In this study, researchers sought to determine whether HPV types 16 and 18, which are responsible for approximately 70 percent of cervical cancers worldwide, are also decreasing. These two types have been targeted by the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, which was most typically administered in the United States between 2006 and 2015, and by the 9-valent vaccine that is the only vaccine currently administered in the United States.How the Study Was Conducted: As part of the CDC’s Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Impact Monitoring Project (HPV-IMPACT), McClung and colleagues analyzed more than 10,000 archived specimens collected between 2008 and 2014 from women aged 18-39 who had been diagnosed with grade 2 or 3 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or adenocarcinoma in situ (CIN2+). Both are precancerous conditions that can arise from persistent HPV infection and can lead to cervical cancer. Researchers tested the samples for 37 HPV types, then analyzed the proportion and estimated number of cases by HPV types over time.Results: The researchers found that the number of cases of CIN2+ reported to HPV-IMPACT declined 21 percent, from 2,344 in 2008 to 1,857 in 2014. The estimated number of cases attributed to HPV16/18 declined from 1,235 in 2008 to 819 cases in 2014.Among women who were vaccinated, the proportion of CIN2+ cases that were HPV 16/18-positive declined from 55.2 percent to 33.3 percent. Among unvaccinated women, the proportion of CIN2+ cases that were HPV 16/18-positive declined from 51.0 percent to 47.3 percent, and among those with unknown vaccination status, from 53.7 percent to 45.8 percent.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedAuthor’s Comments: McClung explained that some vaccinated women were most likely HPV 16/18-positive because they were infected with these HPV types before they were vaccinated. The majority of vaccinated women in this study received the vaccine in their early 20s, after the age most women initiate sexual activity.McClung said the decline in unvaccinated women may be due to “herd protection,” which occurs when a significant proportion of a population has developed immunity to an infectious disease, making its spread less likely. Herd protection can be conferred through vaccination or immunity built up from prior infection, she explained.Researchers noted that every age group saw significant declines in the proportion of CIN2+ cases that were HPV 16/18-positive, with the exception of the oldest group, those aged 35-39. McClung said this finding reflects the fact that most of these women were not eligible for vaccination because of their age.Furthermore, while non-Hispanic whites and blacks saw declines in the proportion of HPV 16/18-positive precancers, Hispanic and Asian women did not. McClung said that the Hispanic and Asian women included in this study may have been less likely to be vaccinated. However, as of 2016, HPV vaccine uptake was robust in Hispanic and Asian teens; therefore, racial and ethnic disparities are expected to diminish, McClung said.The CDC’s most recent statistics show that 49.5 of girls and 37.5 percent of boys aged 13-17 are up-to-date on all recommended doses of the HPV vaccine. McClung said clinicians should continue to strongly recommend the HPV vaccine for all preteens at age 11 or 12, and effectively answer parents’ common questions about the vaccine.Overall, McClung said, the study indicated that efforts to encourage families to get the HPV vaccination for their teens are paying off and should be continued.”This is clear evidence that the HPV vaccine is working to prevent cervical disease in young women in the United States,” McClung said. “In the coming years, we should see even greater impact as more women are vaccinated during early adolescence and before exposure to HPV.”
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 29 2019Mesothelioma patients are twice as likely to survive for two years or longer, if they are treated with a high dose of radiation to the affected side of the trunk, according to research presented at the ESTRO 38 conference.Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive form of cancer that grows in the layers of tissues surrounding the lungs. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Patients typically only live for a year or two following diagnosis and treatment options are very limited.The study looked at patients whose cancers could not be completely removed with surgery and the researchers say their findings have the potential to change treatment and outcomes for this group of patients.The study was led by Dr Marco Trovo MD, chief of the Radiation Oncology Department at University Hospital of Udine, Italy. He said: “There is an urgent need for more effective treatments for mesothelioma. Surgery can be given to these patients, but it is often impossible to remove all of the tumors.”Patients with mesothelioma are sometimes given radiotherapy to help control their symptoms. However, radiotherapy has evolved dramatically in the last few years so we wanted to see if it could now be used to prevent the cancer from spreading to nearby tissue, hopefully bringing improvements in survival.The study involved 108 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who were treated at the National Cancer Institute of Aviano, Italy, between 2014 and 2018. All were given surgery to remove some tumor tissue, followed by chemotherapy.Half were randomly assigned to receive radical hemi-thoracic radiotherapy, meaning the radiation was delivered to either the left or right side of their trunk, depending on where the tumor was located. This involved 25 treatments delivering a total dose of 50 Gy to the left or right side of the trunk, as well as an extra 60 Gy dose to the precise location of the tumor. The other patients received a more typical palliative form of radiotherapy. This involved five to ten treatments delivering a total dose of 20-30 Gy to the precise location of the tumor.Related StoriesAdult survivors of pediatric brain tumors may experience cognitive, socioeconomic burdensNew research uncovers mechanism behind the newest generation of cancer drugsRemoving asbestos from schools likely to increase cases of mesotheliomaOf the patients who received the aggressive radiotherapy treatment, 58% were still alive two years later. In the patients who received the palliative radiotherapy, 28% were still alive two years later.Around 20% of patients receiving radical hemi-thoracic radiotherapy suffered radiation pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung). Other sides effects included weakness, nausea and mild inflammation of the oesophagus.Dr Trovo said: “This research shows a clear survival benefit in using this type of radiotherapy for mesothelioma patients whose tumors can only partially be removed by surgery. We believe that this should be considered the new standard of care for these patients.”He hopes that even greater gains in survival could be made by treating patients with radiotherapy followed by targeted immunotherapy (where the body’s own immune system is encouraged to fight cancer cells).Professor Umberto Ricardi, President of ESTRO and head of the Department of Oncology at the University of Turin, Italy, who was not involved in the research, said: “This is an extremely positive result that brings good news to patients with this rare and difficult-to-treat cancer. To ensure these patients benefit from this type of treatment, it’s important that they are referred to a specialist cancer center with the right expertise and equipment to carefully plan and deliver the most effective radiotherapy treatment, and manage any side effects that occur.” Source:https://www.estro.org/
We intended to associate practices of peritoneal dialysis use of hypertonic exchanges, use of automated peritoneal dialysis vs. continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, use of icodextrin, and use of diuretics with technique failure. Our main finding is that the association between technique failure and fluid overload is dependent upon center size and thus presumably experience within the treating center.”Wim Van Biesen, MD, PhD, University Hospital Ghent, Belgium Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 24 2019A new study published in CJASN found substantial volume overload, or too much fluid in the body, in patients with kidney failure who initiated peritoneal dialysis. Volume overload tended to improve over time after starting dialysis, but was at all times was higher in males vs. females and in patients with diabetes vs. those without. The study also revealed variations in practice of care across different geographic regions. This variation was associated with differences in degree of volume overload.Individuals with kidney failure who are undergoing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis often experience fluid overload. To examine the implications of this condition, Wim Van Biesen, MD, PhD (University Hospital Ghent, in Belgium) and his colleagues designed a study to assess patients’ health and fluid volume over time after initiating peritoneal dialysis. It’s thought that actively managing volume overload may reduce the risk of technique failure (transfer from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis) and prolong patient survival.In the study of 1,054 patients from 28 countries who were examined every 3 months, volume overload before the start of dialysis amounted to an average of 1.9 L and decreased to 1.2 L during the first year. After 3 years of follow-up, the average relative volume overload in patients was lower than at the start in participants from all regions except those of Latin American, where it increased. The investigators concluded that volume overload is already present before the start of dialysis, and it tends to improve over the first 6 months and stabilize afterwards.At all time points, males and participants with diabetes were at a higher risk of experiencing volume overload. Also, volume overload was associated with a higher risk of premature death. The study revealed different treatment practices to address volume overload across dialysis centers and regions. Related StoriesResearchers identify trends in use of transcatheter dialysis conduit procedures over 15 yearsRapid fluid removal from patients with failing kidneys linked to increased risk of deathOne-fifth of U.S. surgeons still ‘overusing’ riskier method to create kidney dialysis access, study findsIn an accompanying Patient Voice editorial, Shari Gilford shared her experience of peritoneal dialysis, both ambulatory and automated, for 7 years. She also questioned why patients in Latin America had a different outcome than those from other regions.”If there are factors other than dialysate type, dialysate concentrate, or diet which make it more difficult for patients to control their volume overload, patients need to be made aware of this,” she wrote. “Based on my own experience [in hot vs. cold seasons], I wonder if the year-round hotter climate of Latin America, as opposed to most other regions in the study which have cold seasons, could have been a factor for fluid overload leading to increased mortality. Continued study of this variable might improve outcomes for peritoneal dialysis patients who live in warmer climes.”Source:American Society of NephrologyJournal reference:Biesen, W.V. et al. (2019) Evolution Over Time of Volume Status and PD-Related Practice Patterns in an Incident Peritoneal Dialysis Cohort. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. doi.org/10.2215/CJN.11590918.
Follow five easy tips for a healthier you:1. See your doctor.It happens to everyone. Some health challenges come on with age. Family history plays a big part in what a physician will focus on, but there are key issues and screenings that are age-related. “Seeing your doctor regularly means that you have a baseline for important screenings,” says Heckman. “This includes everything from cholesterol to cancer screenings and osteoporosis.”Related StoriesMore than 936 million people have sleep apnea, ResMed-led analysis revealsDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleep2. Eat a healthy diet.You’ve heard this before. A diet that’s low in fat and full of fruits and vegetables can help lower the risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer. “For good prostate health, eat your fruits and veggies,” says Aria Olumi, MD, Chief of Urologic Surgery at BIDMC.3. Quit smoking.Smoking and bladder cancer? Yes. We know that smoking is harmful to your heart and lungs-;but it’s also linked to about half of all bladder cancer cases. “Bladder cancer risk factors like age, gender, race and family history can’t be controlled,” Olumi says. “But quitting smoking can definitely lower your risk.”4. Get enough sleep.A good night’s rest can do wonders. Overstimulation of the brain, stress and a lack of sleep can cause overall fatigue and libido issues. “Lower testosterone levels may contribute to these issues, but more often than not, it’s because the patient isn’t getting enough sleep,” Olumi says. “At least seven hours of sleep a night will help your mind and body reset.”5. Take care of your mental health.Did you know mental and physical health are connected? Mental illness affects both men and women, but men may be less likely to talk about their feelings and seek help. “Mental health symptoms often appear to be physical issues-;like a racing heart, tightening chest, ongoing headaches or digestive issues,” Heckman says. “Talking to a professional or a loved one about stress or other challenges can be very helpful.” Source:Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 18 2019According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, men are far more likely to skip routine health screens than women. It’s common for men to avoid going to the doctor until there’s a serious health concern. Staying healthy may just be a matter of changing habits.”Primary care physician James Heckman, MD, Assistant Medical Director of Healthcare Associates at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
We don’t yet know why some people who struggle with their weight internalize society’s stigma and others do not. These findings represent a first step toward helping us identify, among people trying to manage their weight, who may be most likely to self-stigmatize. People who are trying to lose weight may be among the most vulnerable to weight self-stigma, but this issue is rarely discussed in treatment settings.”Study’s lead author Rebecca Pearl, PhD, an assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 15 2019Weight bias is a common form of prejudice against people who are viewed as having excess weight. Some individuals who struggle with weight may internalize the stigma directed toward them, blaming and devaluing themselves because of their weight. While it’s known that weight “self-stigma” is associated with poor mental and physical health, it isn’t clear who is most prone to this internalization.In a new study published today in Obesity Science and Practice, researchers at Penn Medicine and the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity surveyed more than 18,000 adults enrolled in the commercial weight management program WW International (formerly Weight Watchers Inc.), and found that participants who internalized weight bias the most tended to be younger, female, have a higher body mass index (BMI), and have an earlier onset of their weight struggle. Participants who were black or had a romantic partner had lower levels of internalization. Research has found that, beyond the effects of BMI and depression, self-directed weight stigma is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disease. In this study–the largest investigation of weight self-stigma in the world–researchers surveyed adults to identify key characteristics and experiences of people who internalize weight bias.Participants recalled when in their life they experienced weight stigma from other people, how frequent and how upsetting the experiences were, and who it was that called them names, rejected them, or denied them an opportunity simply because of their weight. Results showed that almost two-thirds of the participants reported experiencing weight stigma at least once in their life, and almost half reported experiencing these events when they were children or teens. The researchers examined the relationships between these experiences and levels of self-directed stigma.Related StoriesResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver disease’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesParticipants who reported experiencing weight stigma from others had higher levels of internalized weight bias than those who reported no experiences of weight stigma. Researchers say this was particularly true for participants who had weight-stigmatizing experiences early in life and continued to have these upsetting experiences as adults. People who experienced weight stigma from family members or friends, or from those in their workplace, community, or health care setting, also had greater evidence of weight self-stigma compared to participants who did not encounter weight stigma from those sources.”Our findings can inform ways to support people who are experiencing or internalizing weight stigma, including opportunities to address weight stigma as part of weight management and healthy lifestyle programs,” said the study’s principal investigator Rebecca Puhl, PhD, a professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut.The study sample, although the largest to date, represented only a small percentage of WW members, so the findings may not generalize to all members or to adults trying to lose weight in other ways. Some prior research has suggested that people who internalize weight bias may have worse long-term weight loss outcomes, but more research on this topic is needed.In addition, Pearl’s team is developing a psychological intervention for weight self-stigma that can be incorporated into weight management. Source:University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
UK seeking warrant to access Cambridge Analytica servers (Update) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: UK parliament asks Zuckerberg to testify in data misuse case (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uk-parliament-zuckerberg-testify-misuse.html A British parliamentary committee on Tuesday summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer questions on fake news as authorities step up efforts to determine whether data has been improperly used to influence elections. Explore further The request comes amid reports that a U.K.-based company allegedly used Facebook data to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. The company, Cambridge Analytica, has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts. It denies wrongdoing.The chairman of the U.K. parliamentary media committee, Damian Collins, said Tuesday that his group has repeatedly asked Facebook how it uses data and that Facebook officials “have been misleading to the committee.””It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process,” Collins wrote in a note addressed directly to Zuckerberg. “Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you.”The request to appear comes as Britain’s information commissioner said she was using all her legal powers to investigate the social media giant and Cambridge Analytica over the alleged misuse of data.Commissioner Elizabeth Denham is pursuing a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s servers. She has also asked Facebook to cease in its efforts to pursue its own audit of Cambridge Analytica’s data use.”Our advice to Facebook is to back away and let us go in and do our work,” she said.Cambridge Analytica said it is committed to helping the U.K. investigation. However, Denham gave the firm a deadline to produce the information she requested—and it failed to meet it, her office said.Denham said the prime allegation against Cambridge Analytica is that it acquired personal data in an unauthorized way, adding that the data provisions act requires platforms like Facebook to have strong safeguards against misuse of data.Chris Wylie, who once worked for Cambridge Analytica, was quoted as saying the company used the data to build psychological profiles so voters could be targeted with ads and stories.The firm found itself in further allegations of wrongdoing. Britain’s Channel 4 used an undercover investigation to record Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, saying that the company could use unorthodox methods to wage successful political campaigns for clients.He said the company could “send some girls” around to a rival candidate’s house, suggesting that girls from Ukraine are beautiful and effective in this role.He also said the company could “offer a large amount of money” to a rival candidate and have the whole exchange recorded so it could be posted on the internet to show that the candidate was corrupt.Nix says in a statement on the company’s website that he deeply regrets his role in the meeting and has apologized to staff.”I am aware how this looks, but it is simply not the case,” he said. “I must emphatically state that Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called ‘honeytraps’, and nor does it use untrue material for any purposes.”Nix told the BBC the Channel 4 sting was “intended to embarrass us”.”We see this as a co-ordinated attack by the media that’s been going on for very, very many months in order to damage the company that had some involvement with the election of Donald Trump,” he said.The data harvesting used by Cambridge Analytica has also triggered calls for further investigation from the European Union, as well as federal and state officials in the United States. 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.
Citation: Novel process for surface hardening of stainless steel (2018, April 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-surface-hardening-stainless-steel.html Most heat treatment methods cannot be easily applied to stainless steels to improve its properties. In particular, surface hardening of stainless steel by nitriding and nitrocarburising in the conventional temperature range of 500 to 1000 °C is highly detrimental to its corrosion properties. A possible solution is implementing processes that enable lower-temperature surface hardening of stainless steel. The EU-funded project PLASSTEEL has developed an advanced process for low-temperature surface hardening of stainless steel that allows accurate tailoring of the material properties. The new heat treatment process can be applied to all ferritic, martensitic, austenitic and duplex grades, imparting the material with unparalleled levels of wear, fatigue and corrosion resistance. Increasing hardness at lower temperaturesBased on more than 40 years of experience, IONITECH LTD has developed a plasma nitriding/nitrocarburising furnace achieving excellent temperature uniformity on the whole working area. “The novel plasma nitriding furnace also eliminates the possibility for the ‘hollow-cathode’ effect. This local overheating might lead to temperatures above those needed for the PLASSTEEL process that will in turn lead to chromium carbide and chromium nitride precipitations on the grain boundaries of the steel. These areas will have higher surface hardness but will also be susceptible to intergranular corrosion,” says leading research and development specialist Alexander Varhoshkov. The PLASSTEEL process is based on plasma technology and composed of a solution nitriding and nitrocarburisation process at temperatures below 500°C that enriches the surface layer of a workpiece with nitrogen and carbon. The carbon-containing gas added in nitrocarburisation can be methane, propane or natural gas. Its content varies from 2 to 10 % in the gas mixture. The treatment step can last from several minutes up to 20 hours, depending on the workpiece material and the requirements regarding the layer depth. Throughout the project, several types of stainless steels were processed and tested. Depending on the percentage of the alloying elements in these steels as well as other properties, results slightly varied. “Some of the alloying elements made diffusion of the carbon atoms harder and slower, thus leading to small differences in the diffusion layer and surface hardness. Nevertheless, in any case, the goal was to improve the wear properties of all types of stainless steel, while also retaining their corrosion properties,” says Dr. Varhoshkov.A process as true as steelMost surface-hardening techniques diminish the original corrosion resistance of stainless steels. IONITECH’s advanced new process and plasma nitriding furnace show that this is no longer the norm. “This shortcoming is successfully circumvented by this excellent plasma nitriding furnace that provides precise control over the material properties,” continues Dr. Varhoshkov. Working at low temperatures provided a remedy for dissolving nitrogen or carbon into stainless steel without the formation of chromium nitrides or carbides. Project partners succeeded not only in increasing the surface hardness of the parts by 4 times, but also in improving adhesive and abrasive wear, and the tribological properties of the metal as well. Explore further Antibacterial stainless steel created Stainless steel is the material of choice in various industries where corrosion resistance is of utmost importance, take for instance parts that are exposed to harsh environments. However, this highly favourable property does not always go hand in hand with high surface hardness, wear resistance and fatigue strength. Provided by CORDIS Credit: Alexander Varhoshkov 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.
Poll: For many online Americans, Facebook is a habit Explore further This June 19, 2017, file photo shows fingers on laptop keyboard in North Andover, Mass. Americans appear to be heeding expert advice for keeping their passwords and accounts safe. A new poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 41 percent of Americans use unique passwords for most or all online services. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) Start with the now-familiar advice to avoid reusing the same password across important accounts such as email, banking and social media. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 41 percent of Americans say they use unique passwords for most or all online services. Just a third of adults under age 45 do so, however, compared to about half their elders.Anyone who reuses a password increases their chances of falling victim to data theft—a serious risk given such major breaches as the hacks that compromised three billion Yahoo accounts in 2013. Hackers often test big batches of passwords stolen in one breach against other potentially sensitive accounts, a practice called “credential stuffing.”Older Americans are also more likely to commit their passwords to paper, the poll found. Fifty-six percent of people aged 60 and older do so, compared to 20 percent of the under-30 crowd. If kept away from prying eyes, written passwords are generally considered a good idea.”I don’t use the same password for any two sites,” said Stephanie Harris, a 61-year-old retired warehouse manager in Sacramento, California. She shops and banks on the internet and chooses her passwords from “things I like to do, things I like to eat. Never anybody’s name because I’m not into that. If I see something really cool, then I’ll make it a password.”Harris said she changes her passwords often and uses from eight to 12 characters, sometimes including numbers and symbols.The AP-NORC poll found 32 percent of 1,047 respondents use a single password most of the time. That was a bit less than the 39 percent who told the Pew Research Center last year that most of their passwords were the same or similar.Inadequate attention to password security has helped fuel an epidemic of cybercrime. A Verizon report published last year on hacking-related data breaches said 81 percent involved weak, reused or stolen credentials—up from 63 percent the previous year.It doesn’t help that the experts themselves haven’t been consistent with their advice.The National Institute of Standards and Technology revised its best password practices last year. The new guidelines run counter to the information-security gospel that persists in much of the corporate world—namely, that that passwords should change frequently and must contain both uppercase and lowercase letters with required symbols and numbers.NIST said such requirements often yield less secure passwords. The author of the original recommendations now regrets them.Password managers—programs that can store your passwords securely, generate new random passwords and often even fill them in on login pages—are also gradually becoming more popular. Thirteen percent of respondents to the AP-NORC poll said they use them.Mike Rodriguez of Port St. Lucie, Florida, is not one of them.”I don’t trust them,” said the 50-year-old maintenance engineer, who says he only has four online accounts he uses regularly, including Facebook and banking. Rodriguez said he never saves credit card or other financial information to any online business.Rodriguez was one of 18 percent of respondents who said they use unique passwords for all their online accounts. He uses a simple method for creating them, which he didn’t appear to mind sharing with a reporter.Suffice to say it involves demographic details of various people he’s known.—-The AP-NORC poll was conducted April 11-16 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points The number of online accounts compromised by hackers is now in the trillions—enough, perhaps, to make even technophobes think hard about the security of their passwords. Indeed, many are—especially older Americans, a new survey shows. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 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. Citation: Poll: Younger Americans less apt to use unique passwords (2018, April 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-poll-younger-americans-apt-unique.html More information: AP-NORC Center: www.apnorc.org/
Explore further (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. Tesla fixes security in Model S after Chinese hack In March, a Tesla Model 3 was hacked. Citation: Here’s how hackers are making your Tesla, GM and Chrysler less vulnerable to attack (2019, July 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-hackers-tesla-gm-chrysler-vulnerable.html Bug bounty programsTesla’s approach toward plugging access holes began with its bug bounty program in 2014, however, it’s not the only automaker that invites hackers to test systems.Fiat Chrysler has had a bug bounty program in place since 2016 and it pays hackers up to $1,500 each time they discover a previously unknown vulnerability. GM officially rolled out its bug bounty program in 2018 after establishing what it calls the Security Vulnerability Disclosure Program in 2016.More than 500 researchers have participated in GM’s program to identify and resolve more than 700 vulnerabilities.Ford announced in January that it’s selecting top researchers to participate in future special hacking projects.In order to thwart hackers, automakers and their suppliers are taking multiple approaches to protect cars from all sides, according to Asaf Ashkenazi, chief strategy officer at Verimatrix, a security and analytics software firm.He said that cars today are in the beginning stages of what he called a three-prong approach to smart car security.”They are filtering away the obvious attacks from the outside by trying to create firewalls between subsystems,” he said. “If one is compromised, the hacker can’t move to other systems.”This approach was shown during the Tesla hack as the Palo Alto-based company managed to contain the damage to just the browser while protecting all other vehicle functions.Remote updatesThe next level of protection from automakers is the ability to upgrade and fix issues via the airwaves, Ashkenazi said.Legacy car companies have lagged behind Tesla’s ability to send these smartphone-style refreshes to its customers. The Palo Alto-based company uses the feature to update everything from semi-autonomous driving modes to cheeky Easter eggs or hidden gems.When responding to bugs, the company has fixed issues through software updates within a few days of discovering vulnerabilities.Alongside Tesla, some of Ford and General Motor’s 2020 models will allow over-the-air updates that can upgrade a vehicle with new features and remotely fix problematic software. GM’s 2020 Cadillac CT5 will come with a new “digital nerve system” that makes the updates possible.In May, GM announced that most of its global models will be capable of over-the-air software upgrades by 2023.Constant monitoringThe third level of consumer vehicle protection involves having AI detect that a car is behaving differently. That gives automakers a better chance to identify attacks early on, Ashkenazi said.Third-party software companies like Argus Cyber Security are stepping in help car companies develop and bake-in these types of remote diagnostics capabilities during the production process.”Even if you have real-time protection inside the vehicle, you still need to know that one of your cars is being targeted,” said Monique Lance, director of marketing at Argus Cyber Security.That’s where monitoring technology steps in, allowing auto companies to perform cross data analysis and identify suspicious behavior that could otherwise be missed.”You need the ability to have visibility of your entire fleet because there may be other affected vehicles,” Lance said. “It’s paramount that you know what’s happening within the network. It’s much cheaper for automakers to be able to prevent attacks than to respond to them once they’ve happened so that service is vital.”Worst case scenarioLance said without a layered approach to security, catastrophes await.One example of what this could look like happened in 2015 when data security researchers successfully took remote control of a Jeep Cherokee. Fiat Chrysler responded by recalling 1.4 million cars and trucks and sending UBS sticks with software patches to owners.That same year, another hacker revealed that he placed a small electronic box on a car to steal information from GM’s OnStar system so he could open doors and start the vehicle. GM said the hack was isolated to one car and it has since closed the loopholes.A fleet-wide vehicle hacking that results in death and destruction has yet to happen but as Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in 2017, it’s “one of the biggest risks for autonomous vehicles.” He added that a fleetwide hack of Tesla is “basically impossible.”PartnershipsAutomakers are collaborating to prevent these types of scenarios from happening.Established in 2015, the industry’s information-sharing and analysis group called Auto ISAC is dedicated to research and creating best practices for cybersecurity. Mitsubishi Electric, PACCAR, Volvo Group North America and American Trucking Associations joined the pact in 2018.The non-profit says that 98% of vehicles on the road in the United States are represented by member companies. A collaborative approach is a step in the right direction, Ashkenazi, the cybersecurity expert, said.”But forming groups and creating guidelines may not necessarily work in all situations, to all cars. Getting to that point is very difficult and will take a long time.” The duo responsible for uncovering the vulnerability accessed the car’s web browser, executed code on its firmware and displayed a message on the infotainment system before making off with the Model 3 and $375,000.The hackers didn’t remotely take total control of the car or wreak havoc on its door locks or brakes while an innocent driver sat inside. In fact, they weren’t able to break into any other systems in the electric vehicle, and the cash they collected came in the form of a check from Tesla.It was all part of a three-day cybersecurity contest called Pwn2Own, an event where Tesla pays top dollar to anyone masterful enough to find previously unknown bugs. Correcting any weakness helps the electric car company protect the people who drive its vehicles, it hopes.As an increasing number of cars become hi-tech computers on wheels, experts say that vehicles—like everything else that connects to the internet—are inherently hackable. That means every smart car could theoretically be broken into and controlled on some level by savvy hackers, criminals or worse.While unrealized threats exist, automakers’ efforts to protect motorists are extending beyond hiring experienced internal security teams.For companies like Tesla, that means entering cars in rigorous third-party testing competitions or implementing other so-called “bug bounty programs” to encourage security researchers to actively locate and report any hot spots on the company’s hardware.At face value, encouraging outsiders to search for flaws may appear counter-intuitive. However, not only does the move give skilled hackers a chance to flex their muscle, but it also helps companies like Tesla, GM and others strengthen car security.”We believe that in order to design and build inherently secure systems, manufacturers must work closely with the security research community to benefit from their collective expertise,” Tesla said in a statement to U.S. TODAY.Tesla used a software update to fix the vulnerability found by the “white hat,” or ethical, hackers, which is a benefit as drivers don’t have to visit a repair shop or pay fees to get an car’s software updated.
The citizenship bill does not require any changes if Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is implemented properly, says Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal about the proposed legislation which the top BJP leadership has vowed to bring back if voted back to power.In an interview to PTI, the student leader-turned politician said that the bill will be brought after arriving at a consensus with all stakeholders.“It (amending the Act) is not a new thing as amendments were taken up nine times before this also. This is a continuous process since 1950,” he said, adding the BJP will ensure constitutional safeguards to Northeast’s political, cultural, social and linguistic identity.Implementing the Assam AccordWhen asked if the Assam government will request the Centre to make necessary changes in the existing bill to allay apprehensions of the people here, Sonowal said that is not needed if the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is implemented properly.The Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which was signed in 1985 after the Assam Agitation of 1979-85, envisages that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam.“If Clause 6 is implemented in letter and spirit, then the indigenous people of Assam are well guarded and protected. That was the agenda ought to be taken up on priority by earlier governments, but it was never seriously considered, Sonowal said.“Now the Prime Minister has taken up the matter with sincerity, commitment and dedication. So, I believe once it is implemented, we have nothing to worry. If Clause 6 is implemented, we have no issue with the citizenship bill, even if it comes in the current form,” he added.Several groups and parties have opposed the bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 but was not tabled in Rajya Sabha and seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document.Interestingly, though the BJP top brass has been talking about the citizenship bill in poll rallies, the state leaders have not raised the issue in their meetings and speeches. State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had earlier said that the citizenship bill was a non-issue in the state and the people are more concerned about national issues.Addressing issuesSonowal was once president of the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which has been at the forefront of the protests against the citizenship bill across the Northeast in the past several months.When told out that the concerns raised by people of Assam and the Northeast were not taken into account while drafting the bill, he disagreed and said the Clause 6 has been taken at the highest level for the first time in the history.“It is Modi-ji who has taken it up and ultimately constituted a high-level committee by the Union Cabinet comprising only Assamese people from different fields. It was given very clear terms of references. The committee has been asked to prepare a report on how Constitutional safeguards can be ensured in best possible manner,” he added.Also read: Protests against Citizenship Bill rock Assam The existence of the nine-member committee is in a lurch with its fifth member and chairman MP Bezbaruah withdrawing from it in January. The other four members refused to be a part of it in protest of the Citizenship Bill, are a representative of the AASU, eminent littérateurs Nagen Saikia and Rong Bong Terang along with educationalist Mukunda Rajbongshi.On resignation of the eminent personalities from the high-level committee, the Chief Minister said, “It is because of chaos and unnecessary false propaganda by Congress, Leftists and some section intellectuals and media.” On the mahagathbandhanSonowal also took a dig at the proposed mahagathbandhan of opposition parties saying the ambitious grouping is dreaming of dethroning Prime Minister Narendra Modi but will “collapse soon” as it does not have any policy on patriotism, integration and service to the nation. He claimed the constituents of this ‘grand alliance’ are together during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections only for their vested interests.“They do not have any policy of integration, service to nation and patriotism. The mahagathbandhan is mainly just to get power. They are all with vested interest,” he said. The members usually stay different, but sometimes they come on the same platform but with different self interests, he added. “So, there is no national interest in it. I have not seen any national interest within themselves. That is why, I firmly believe that it will collapse soon,” he asserted.Also read: Amit Shah focusses on NRC, Citizenship Bill at WB rallyAsked about the BJP’s prospects in Assam in this Lok Sabha elections, Sonowal claimed the saffron party along with its allies AGP and BPF will bag at least 12 seats out of 14 in the state. In 2014, the BJP won seven out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, the Congress and the AIUDF had three MPs each and one member was an Independent. The two BJP allies, BPF and AGP, had no representation in the Lower House of Parliament. Sonowal strongly refuted allegation of Modi failing to fulfil the promises made in 2014 elections, especially on deporting the illegal infiltrators from Assam, and claimed that update work of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and steps to implement the Assam Accord are being done to accomplish the task. COMMENTS Amid protests, Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Bill SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAIL Opposition parties protest as Govt moves Constitution amendment bill RELATED NE ‘bandh’ begins against Citizenship Amendment Bill Published on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill COMMENT Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam (File photo) April 21, 2019