Bhutanese nabbed with leopard skin

first_imgJalpaiguri: A Bhutanese was apprehended in Jalpaiguri district and a leopard skin seized from his possession, a forest official said on Monday. The alleged smuggler was apprehended by a special task force of Baikunthapur forest division in Dooars region. Thirty three-year-old Daw Tshering Doya was nabbed from Old Hashimara area of the district on Sunday evening and an 11-foot leopard skin recovered from him, forest ranger Sanjay Dutta said. He said preliminary investigation has revealed that the leopard skin was being smuggled from Bhutan to some other country via India. The forest department has taken the accused into their custody will produce the accused in Jalpaiguri district court, Dutta said.last_img read more

Ottawa announces 189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

first_imgESCUMINAC, N.B. – Seasonal workers in certain areas of the country will get up to five more weeks of employment insurance benefits under a $189 million pilot project announced Monday by Ottawa.Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister of Families, Children and Social Development, made the announcement at a fisheries plant in Escuminac, N.B., as other Liberals touted the project in Atlantic Canada and in Quebec.An estimated 51,500 workers — in parts of Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Yukon — will benefit from the extra weeks of employment insurance.“We know that some seasonal workers have long struggled to find sufficient hours of work to qualify for enough EI benefits to carry them through the off-season,” said Duclos.“Economic diversification and economic development are key to finding long-term solutions to help seasonal workers, but our government also understands that this is a pressing issue that requires short-term actions.”Duclos said up to five more weeks will be provided to eligible workers in seasonal industries in 13 regions who start a benefit period between Aug. 5, 2018 and May 30 2020.Those economic regions include eastern and western Nova Scotia, Madawaska–Charlotte in New Brunswick, central Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador, excluding St. John’s, N.L.“This means families will have more support to help them go through the winter. Today’s announcement will also help close the income gap and help give individuals and families the support they need when they need it most,” said Duclos.The Liberals currently hold every seat in Atlantic Canada and the lone Yukon seat, and hope to make gains in Quebec in a federal election scheduled for October 2019.The government said it was targeting areas with higher proportions of seasonal claimants to the total labour force and higher than average employment insurance unemployment rates in 2017.The federal government said it would also provide up to $41 million over two years to all provinces and territories through labour market development agreements to provide skills training, wage subsidies and employment supports for workers in seasonal industries.Ottawa said the funding was part of a budget commitment to provide $230 million to help workers in seasonal industries.—A list of economic regions included in Monday’s announcement:1. Bas-Saint-Laurent–Côte-Nord2. Central Québec3. Charlottetown4. Chicoutimi-Jonquiere5. Eastern Nova Scotia6. Gaspesie–Iles-de-la-Madeleine7. Madawaska–Charlotte8. Newfoundland and Labrador (excludes capital city)9. North Western Québec10. Prince Edward Island11. Restigouche–Albert12. Western Nova Scotia13. Yukon (excludes capital city)last_img read more

Hugh Jackman Leads Host Committee For Global Citizen Festival

first_imgThe Global Citizen Festival has announced the official 2014 host committee will be led by Hugh Jackman.The committee will also include Adrian Grenier, Alek Wek 
”H&M Conscious Foundation Ambassador,” Allison Williams, Amani Toomer, Bonnie Wright, Bridget Moynahan, Connie Britton, Deborra-lee Furness, Dianna Agron, Erin Heatherton, 
Erin Richards, Eve Hewson, Gayle King, Jessica Alba “Founder of the Honest Company,” 
Katie Holmes, Kweku Mandela, Maxwell, Ndaba Mandela, Olivia Wilde, Rachel Brosnahan, 
Shantell Martin, Soledad O’Brien, Tamzin Merchant, and Zachary Quinto.The 2014 Global Citizen Festival is also proud to announce its new partnership with H&M, who will serve as the official retail partner of this year’s Festival, which continues the worldwide movement to end extreme poverty by 2030. The free-ticketed concert will feature performances by JAY Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, fun., The Roots, and Tiesto from the Great Lawn of New York’s iconic Central Park on September 27, 2014. NBC News will produce a one-hour primetime special of the event to air on NBC at 9 p.m. on September 27, 2014, and MSNBC will broadcast and stream the full concert on cable and, respectively.These artists and hosts will once again dedicate their time to encourage fans and friends to become ‘Global Citizens’ by taking actions to end extreme poverty by 2030. The Festival coincides with the United Nations General Assembly and will call for tangible commitments from world leaders in the areas of vaccines, education and sanitation, and will focus on ensuring that all the world’s children and young people can survive and thrive.Hugh Jackman stated, “I am thrilled to be a part of this year’s Global Citizen Festival to further the movement to end extreme poverty. This is a cause that has been close to my heart for many years, and I look forward to joining 60,000 Global Citizens in Central Park as we change the world for the better.”Free tickets to the Festival can be earned at where fans can take online “actions” to earn their admission. Fans can register to become a Global Citizen, choose from a variety of actions to earn points, and use their earned points to qualify for free tickets to the Festival. One of the actions fans can take is to sign a petition calling on Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to contribute $200 million to the Global Partnership for Education. Fans can also purchase a limited edition Global Citizen H&M t-shirt with the IMPACK, the Global Citizen Action Pack, at partners of the 2014 Global Citizen Festival, include: Caterpillar Inc., Citi, World Childhood Foundation, The Riot House, Noise4Good, EKOCYCLE, BidKind, Universal Music Group, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, and The Paramount Hotel. The Festival has also partnered with leading non-profit groups, including: UNFPA, the Global Partnership for Education, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, The Malala Fund, WaterAid America, Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council, WASH Advocates, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and more. MSNBC and NBC News are the official media partners for this year’s Festival.People everywhere are invited to sign-up and take actions to be entered in the ticket lottery. For more information about the bands, artists, and event, visit: read more

Cong should learn governance from BJP: Rajnath

first_imgPithoragarh: The Congress should learn from the BJP how a government should be run, Union minster Rajnath Singh said Monday while asserting that India was among the fastest growing economies in the world and there was not a single charge of corruption against any minister in the Narendra Modi dispensation. Canvassing for BJP MP Ajay Tamta, who has been renominated in Almora (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency, Singh accused the Congress of always doing politics over the issue of development. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “India, which ranked 11th in the list of world economies in 2013, has jumped to the sixth position and will stand 5th in the list over the next six months. If the pace of development continues, India will be the third biggest economy in the world by 2028,” Singh said at a poll rally here. “How a government is run is something the Congress should learn from the BJP. There has not been a single charge of corruption against any minister in the Modi cabinet in the last five years,” he said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s proposed minimum income guarantee scheme aiming to lift five crore families out of poverty, Singh said, “The poverty alleviation slogan was first given by Jawaharlal Nehru and carried forward by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. It is being repeated by Rahul Gandhi who is promising to put Rs 72,000 into the account of every poor person. “It is a fake promise like the slogan of poverty alleviation,” he said. Quoting an American think tank, the senior BJP leader said the number of poor people in India that stood at 16.5 crore in the year 2015 has now reduced five crore. “It is all due to steps taken towards poverty alleviation by the Modi Government in the last five years. Not only the American think tank but even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world today,” Singh said. The BJP leader said while the Manmohan Singh government constructed only 25 lakh houses in five years, the Modi dispensation got 1.30 crore houses built for the poor during its tenure. “While only 47 per cent houses were provided toilets in last 55 years, the Modi government constructed toilets for 98 per cent houses in the last five years only,” he claimed. The Union home minister said that Praising Uttarkhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was the only one to envision a universal health scheme much before the Centre launched Ayushman Bharat. “Under the present chief minister the state is growing speedily,” he said, adding the development of hill states is only possible when the centre has the same party in government as the state. In the Almora (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency, BJP’s Ajay Tamta is pitted against arch rival Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Tamta.last_img read more

Pollutionrelated diseases pose deadly threat to children UN agencies warn

Children in the New Millennium: Environmental Impact on Health provides evidence of the threat posed by environmental degradation, which gives rise to a number of diseases, including diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections – two of the leading causes of child mortality. The report also identifies other environmental problems directly affecting children, such as high levels of toxic chemicals and the degradation and depletion of natural resources. Lead in the environment – much of it from leaded gasoline – causes permanent neurological and developmental disorders, while millions of children working in agriculture are at high risk of pesticide poisoning. Children are also disproportionately vulnerable to global environmental problems, such as the impact of climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the loss of the planet’s biological diversity. The 140-page report, jointly produced by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), was released in conjunction with the three-day General Assembly special session on children, which opened in New York on Wednesday.”Far too many children are dying from diseases that can be prevented through access to clean water and sanitation,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. Echoing this concern, WHO Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland stressed that people were most vulnerable in their early years. “This means that children must be at the centre of our response to unhealthy environments,” she said.For his part, Klaus Töpfer, the UNEP Executive Director, called for international action in response to the problem. “We should recognize that realizing children’s rights and managing environmental challenges are mutually reinforcing goals,” he said, voicing hope that the new study would inspire decisive action to improve both the health and environment of children. read more

Hundreds of desperate refugees seek safety at UN compound in Liberia

Staff from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Monrovia said hundreds of refugees and displaced persons stormed into the agency’s premises on Monday after a mortar shell hit the nearby United States residential compound, killing and wounding scores of people. Two more were reported killed in the area today.UNHCR said its compound in Mamba Point is sheltering more than 800 people – some 600 of them Sierra Leonean refugees who earlier fled their camps on the outskirts of the city and are now increasingly desperate for food and pleading for evacuation. At least 160 Liberians and several nationals of other West African nations are also huddled in the compound.Taking advantage of breaks in the fighting, adults dashed out to replenish meagre supplies of food and water from a makeshift market hastily set up in the neighbourhood. On Tuesday, as soon as several people began preparing rice and vegetables on open fires, shelling resumed and they raced back into the relative safety of the UNHCR building. By this morning, the compound had run out of food, and few people had money left to go out and buy provisions. Moses Okello, UNHCR’s representative for Liberia who was evacuated to Côte d’Ivoire, said the situation was desperate.Despite reports of a rebel-ordered ceasefire, sporadic shooting and shelling continued. Government fighters on the streets have been seen firing their weapons indiscriminately, with no apparent opposition in sight. Inside the compound, hallways and stairways were jammed with men, women and children sleeping on the bare floor, wherever they could find space.Meanwhile, yesterday in Dakar, Senegal, the Foreign Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met to discuss ways of expediting the arrival of a vanguard force to Liberia. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a host of top UN officials have repeatedly stressed the need for the quick deployment of such a force. read more

Keep options open for displaced Chechens urges UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Ms. Jolie had travelled to the North Caucasus to learn about all aspects of UNHCR’s operations in the region. In Ingushetia, a republic bordering Chechnya, she visited Bella and Sputnik camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), where UNHCR has recently expressed concern that local authorities were putting pressure on some Chechen refugees to return home.”I frankly cannot see how the situation in Chechnya has changed to the extent that it now is safe for all IDPs to return,” she said last Sunday at a press conference in Moscow. Ms. Jolie’s comments came after meetings with many displaced Chechens who expressed fear that, without continued accommodation in Ingushetia, they would be forced to go back home.”I am grateful for the hospitality that the Republic of Ingushetia has extended to internally displaced persons, and I warmly welcome the assurances by President [Murat] Zyazikov that no displaced persons will be returned to Chechnya against their will,” Ms. Jolie stated.There are some 80,000 IDPs from Chechnya in Ingushetia. About 12,000 of them have been living in tented camps for the last four years.Ms. Jolie also visited a housing project for refugees in North Ossetia, a republic bordering Georgia. In Moscow, she met several families of asylum seekers and visited the Morozov children’s hospital where she donated $20,000. read more

Iconic image spotlighting plight of Palestine refugees illuminates UN headquarters

The huge photograph, originally taken in 1983 and featuring a UN Relief and Works Agency in the Near East (UNRWA) school girl, was visible for six hours and was also displayed on buildings in Bangkok, Beirut, Dubai, Jakarta, Seville, Tokyo, Marrakesh, and Vienna as part of the agency’s Building Solidarity campaign, which seeks to highlight the unresolved political plight of Palestinian refugees.Speaking in front of UN Headquarters, UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General Margot Ellis stressed the importance of showing solidarity with the Palestinian people.“UNRWA has been doing this for 65 years through the delivery of basic services such as education and health, which have successfully led to the human development of the Palestine refugee community,” she said, adding, “we also have extensive emergency programmes in all five areas of our operations, which include Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank.”She noted that five million people, many of whom were very poor, are still waiting for a resolution of their plight after six decades. Calling for “renewed political action in the peace process,” she underlined the importance of the Agency in providing human development, hope and prospects for a dignified future.“Humanitarian action by UNRWA is vital though it is certainly not a substitute for full rights, employment and dignity without which refugees will remain in a state of extreme vulnerability,” she said.Ms. Ellis was in New York for the annual UNRWA donor pledging conference and she underlined the need for sustained international support for UNRWA’s programmes, particularly in the context of the recent conflict in Gaza and the ongoing war in Syria entering its fourth year.Despite such growing needs, as well as larger numbers of refugees and deepening poverty, financial support for UNRWA has not kept pace and the agency’s General Fund, which supports core activities and is 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions and has a current deficit of $56 million.Through the Building Solidarity campaign, UNRWA has digitized more than 300,000 of its nearly half a million images, dating from as far back as 1948 and the original displacement of Palestinians. The archive has been recognized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with “Memory of the World” status and will be available on line to journalists, writers, scholars and anyone interested in the long and still unresolved question of Palestine refugees and the development of UNRWA’s services over six decades. read more

In Damascus UN aid chief outlines measures to improve response to Syrian

“I have this week seen first hand the colossal toll that the brutal and sustained hostilities have taken,” said Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, in a statement to the media on the third day of his visit to Syria.Describing the dire situation, he said estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, countless more are missing or detained, and five million have fled to other countries. Gross domestic product (GDP) is less than half what it was before the war, and replacing destroyed infrastructure and housing will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. “Almost 70 per cent of people now live in extreme poverty,” said Mr. Lowcock.Against this background, he paid tribute to the thousands of aid workers that have worked to implement assistance programmes, explaining: “Most of them are Syrians and many are volunteers, working for the organizations of the UN, the Red Cross, [non-gorvnermental organizations] and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.” While in Syria, Mr. Lowcock, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said he has had open discussions with the Government about the crisis and what more needs to be done to reduce humanitarian suffering, and has also met local authorities, the diplomatic community and humanitarian organizations.The UN relief wing has more on the Syria crisis hereHe said he is hoping soon to see “a number of positive developments” that enable the UN to sustain and improve the aid effort this year.Such developments would include finalization of the UN’s humanitarian response plan for 2018, which seeks $3.5 billion from donors to meet the needs of more than 13 million people in all parts of Syria, as well as agreement to medical evacuation for hundreds of critically ill people trapped in besieged Eastern Ghouta.The UN’s humanitarian response plan for Syria, which targets some 13 million people and is one of the world’s largest sustained emergency aid efforts, totalled $1.7 billion in 2017.Also, agreement to three or four UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoys each week across front lines would provide assistance to up to 2.5 million people in besieged and hard to reach areas. Further, the aid effort could be improved through agreement on UN-supported convoys from Damascus to Rukban in south-eastern Syria, and more effective arrangements to enable the UN to support the work of Syrian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and to enable international NGOs to play a stronger role in relieving the suffering.Mr. Lowcock said he also discussed with the Government and others a number of other issues, including the review of the cross-border aid programmes from neighbouring countries into Syria which was commissioned last month by the Security Council.“My mandate is to ensure humanitarian assistance and protection for everyone who needs it, in accordance with the long-established principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality which have been endorsed by all the Member States of the UN,” he said. read more

Ballet star Tamara Rojo reveals tragic midlife crisis as she nears the

“I think it is a tragedy. There… Tamara Rojo, the 44-year-old Artistic Director and lead Principal dancer of the English National ballet has won a Laurence Olivier award, a CBE and plaudits across the world, but knows that her body will not let her continue at the top for much longer. One of the leading lights of British ballet has spoken of her “tragic” midlife crisis as she heads towards her final dance. “The final dance is is something every dancer thinks about every day. Literally every day. –– ADVERTISEMENT –– Speaking at the Royal Academy’s festival of ideas, Rojo, who was born in Canada, grew up in Spain and calls herself a ‘Londoner’ said: “I am aware that I am of a certain age and it is coming to an end.” read more

Up to 200 police could face charges over Hillsborough tragedy

first_imgI must stress the scope of our work is not yet clear – and we do not underestimate the size of our task.Speaking to Sky News, she said:I think I can confidently say this will be the largest independent inquiry that has been launched into the actions of the police in the United Kingdom.In a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service, Keir Starmer QC said:Having read and considered the report published by the Hillsborough Independent Panel on 12 September 2012 and liaised with the Home Office and Independent Police Complaints Commission, I have concluded that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should consider all the material now available in relation to the tragic events on 15 April 1989, including the material made available by the Independent Panel. UP TO 200 police officers in the UK are to be investigated over the events surrounding the Hillsborough disaster.The news comes following the publication by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) of their response to last month’s report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.It is believed that 164 police statements had been altered following the tragedy, in order to alter negative comments that had been made in relation to how the match had been policed.A statement from the Deputy Chair of the IPCC, Deborah Glass, said that last month’s report had revealed “extremely serious and troubling issues for the police” and that it was now time for the IPCC and others to complete the investigation.Further investigation was deemed to be required relating to the amendment of statements that had been made by police following the incident, including “who ordered it, who knew about it, who was involved in the process, and was pressure put on individual officers?”Attempts to smear those who died in the disaster by suggesting excessive alcohol had been consumed is also to be investigated.The way in which subsequent investigations into the tragedy were managed by the West Midlands Police are also due to be delved into further.Misleading information that was passed to media, politicians, and subsequent inquiries are also to be investigated by a “dedicated Hillsborough team,” with Glass saying: The purpose of this exercise is to identify what the focus of any further criminal investigation should be in order for the CPS to determine whether there is now sufficient evidence to charge any individual or corporate body with any criminal offence. All potential offences that may have been committed and all potential defendants will be considered.Read: The Hillsborough documents: What we’ve learned so far >Column: The full story of the Hillsborough disaster is still to come >last_img read more

Party delegations meet the Troika today

first_imgDELEGATIONS FROM SINN Féin and Fianna Fáil are meeting with the Troika today.The meetings are taking place in the Department of Finance this morning, with Sinn Féin due to meet them at 9am and a Fianna Fáil spokesperson saying their meeting is currently ongoingFianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath and members of the party’s finance team are the delegation meeting the Troika.The Sinn Féin delegation will be led by the party’s Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald and will include Peadar Tóibín TD, Brian Stanley TD and Senator Kathryn Reilly.Both parties said they will comment after the meeting at the Department of Finance.Read: Troika have no issue with reported Croke Park savings – government>last_img read more

Google Reader alternatives that will keep RSS alive after July 1st

first_imgUpset that Google is shutting down Google Reader this summer? You’re not alone. The death of RSS, on numerous occasions, has been greatly exaggerated. The truth is that millions of people still use feed readers on a daily basis. They’re a convenient way to sift through the mountain of near-real-time content that gets published every day on the web.So where do you turn now that Google Reader is being put out to pasture? You could use a desktop RSS reader, but chances are that if you were using Google Reader you’d probably prefer to stick with a web app instead.Some better-known alternatives are Bloglines and Netvibes. Both are solid options, but Bloglines is a better choice if you’re after something that works a lot like Google Reader does. Netvibes is more of a personal start page, while Bloglines more closely resembles a traditional feed reader. It’s also got loads of personalization options and it’s totally free — Netvibes charges for some functionality.There’s also The Old Reader which claims to be just like the old Google Reader, only better. It’s getting hammered right now, so you’ll have to take their word for it, but TOR has been a popular alternative for quite some time.If you don’t mind switching up to something that places more emphasis on aesthetics than Google Reader, have a look at NewsBlur, Taptu, or Pulse. Newsblur is laid out a lot like Google Reader, but “feels” more like a desktop app. The others are all presented in more of a thumbnailed, curated digital magazine format — not a bad thing, just not the workmanlike experience Reader provides.You may find that all of these services are struggling to keep up with the demand for new accounts, and that’s no surprise. Google might think that Reader was underused, but there are still millions of avid news readers on the web that are out there looking for a new services that works well and isn’t going to be shut down any time soon.Next on the chopping block?If you’re a gambler and you like eye candy, you could always give Google Currents a shot — but who knows how long that’ll be around. If Google decides it’s not doing any better than Reader was, it’ll wind up on a future spring cleaning list, too.last_img read more

The 5 at 5 Thursday

first_img By Órla Ryan Mar 2nd 2017, 4:54 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article The 5 at 5: Thursday 5 minutes, 5 stories, 5 o’clock… No Comments 7,889 Views Image: Shutterstock/Sheila Fitzgerald Image: Shutterstock/Sheila Fitzgerald Thursday 2 Mar 2017, 4:54 PM Share Tweet Email EVERY WEEKDAY EVENING, brings you the five stories you need to know as you head home for the day.1. #ALAN SHATTER: The former justice minister has said the contents of the Guerin report should be eradicated from public record, after a Court of Appeal ruled the report’s “seriously damaging” conclusions were reached “in breach of fair procedures”.2. #MEDICAL CANNABIS: Vera Twomey, a mother who has been campaigning to get her daughter access to medicinal cannabis has made it to Tipperary as she continues her 260km walk from Cork to the Dáil to highlight the case.3. #FRANCE: The European Parliament has lifted French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s immunity from prosecution over her tweeting of images of Islamic State atrocities.4. #SOCIAL HOUSING: The Simon Communities have said there are 27 empty houses for every one person in emergency accommodation in Ireland.5. #GALWAY: The Charities Regulator has launched an investigation into the Solas-Galway Picture Palace Teoranta, a long-mooted cinema project in the centre of Galway city. Short URLlast_img read more

HSE conference to discuss pregnant womens use of epilepsy drug that is

first_img Mar 22nd 2019, 6:05 AM ISSUES SURROUNDING A medicine used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder by pregnant women will be heard at a conference in Dublin today.The National Conference on the Consequences of Epilim will address a number of issues facing families, healthcare professionals and policy makers in relation to use of the drug sodium valporoate, also known as Epilim.The drug first came into medical use in 1962, but its use by pregnant women has been restricted by the European Medicines Agency in recent years.The agency became concerned after evidence emerged that there is an increased risk of disabilities to children exposed to the drug in the womb, a condition known as Foetal Valproate Syndrome. Friday 22 Mar 2019, 6:05 AM Image: Shutterstock/Have a nice day Photo Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Children who have the condition may develop physical problems, such as spina bifida, as well as developmental issues such as autism, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder.Although there is no reliable data for how many people in Ireland have the condition, the Health Service Executive has suggested that up to 1,200 people have been affected by it over the past 40 years.“It’s a serious issue,” Peter Murphy, head of Epilepsy Ireland, tells“It has been compared to thalidomide back in the 1960s, and it’s currently part of review that’s ongoing in the UK regarding Valproate and three other products.“They’re taking it very seriously there, and we’re looking for something similar here.”Among the issues set to be discussed at today’s conference are the pharmaceutical makeup of the drug, how to reduce the risks associated with it, how to diagnose and manage foetal valproate syndrome, and how those with it live with the syndrome.The conference will also look at who knew about the side effects of the drug on children exposed to it in the womb, and whether the problems with it were communicated to pregnant women effectively.Murphy explains that in some cases, women were taking the drug before becoming pregnant and continued to take it during their pregnancy.Murphy also says that individuals with Foetal Valproate Syndrome, many of whom are adults, often require a wide range of support systems, and that groups such as OACS Ireland have called for more services to become available.Groups have also called upon Minister for Health Simon Harris to establish an inquiry to find out what happened that led to pregnant women being prescribed sodium valporoate and if there were risks involved in doing so.However, today’s conference will just look to build on initiatives to do with risk reduction and the establishment of support services for those affected.“It’s really about a conversation, about acknowledging the problem, and informing and educating people,” Murphy adds.“Hopefully it’s something that leads to the next step, which is a need to look at this.“There’s a lot of families involved, and they’re just looking for an explanation for what happened.” Short URL By Stephen McDermottcenter_img HSE conference to discuss pregnant women’s use of epilepsy drug that is being compared to thalidomide Epilim’s use by pregnant women has been restricted in recent years. Image: Shutterstock/Have a nice day Photo 12,895 Views Share151 Tweet Email1 4 Comments last_img read more

Synaspismos rejects Tsipras call

first_imgGreece’s fourth largest parliamentary party appears to be plunging further into crisis after Synaspismos, the main party in the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), narrowly rejected a call by its leader Alexis Tsipras to hold an emergency conference to sort out leadership and policy issues.Tsipras made the proposal ahead of a meeting of Synaspismos’s central political committeetwo weekends ago, when his idea was debated and voted on.However, the young politician failed to secure the majority necessary: 49 members of the committee voted in favor of holding the conference, 48 against but, crucially, six leftists cast blank ballot papers.It was the latest in a series of blows to Tsipras’s leadership of Synaspismos. Since the head of SYRIZA’s parliamentary group, Alekos Alavanos, gave 34-year-old Tsipras his break, allowing him to run as the party’s candidate for Athens mayor in 2006 and then backing him to take over at the helm of Synaspismos, the pair’s relationship has broken down.Tsipras’s radical leftist agenda that included a decision to appoint an anti-European candidate to head his party’s list in the June 7 Euro elections was a major factor in this.Since last year, the party’s opinion poll ratings have plummeted, particularly as a result of its equivocal stance during the December riots. In defending his suggestion that Synaspismos needed to hold a “clear the air” conference, Tsipras said that he had not heard a convincing alternative to his proposals. He said that if the meeting was not held, Synaspismos would instead be “holding a wake” after the next general election.Following his defeat in Saturday’s vote, Tsipras acknowledged his “deep political differences” with Alavanos and hinted for the first time at a possible split between Synaspismos and SYRIZA in the future. “I am not afraid of SYRIZA breaking up, I am afraid of dead ends,” he said. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

MovieBob Reviews I TONYA

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Is I, Tonya good?Yes.What’s it about?The Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Olympics scandal of 1994 – and if you don’t know or remember what that was, don’t tell me. I felt old enough watching Millennials discover that Kato Kaelin was an actual person last year.Who?…Nevermind.Sorry. So, this movie is about…?Right. Okay. Basically, it’s a biopic of Tonya Harding. She was a figure skater who was considered by many to the best in the world at one point in her career but whose time in the sport was forcibly ended when, during the run-up to the 1994 Winter Olympics, an attacker who broke the leg of rival American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan during training was discovered to have been hired by Harding’s ex-husband. The question of what Harding knew about the hit and when touched off a media frenzy, and while both women did end up competing in the games that year Harding subsequently found herself transformed into a media pariah and banned from skating for life. Margot Robbie has the title role.Wow. The trailers make it look kind of funny – is it?Kind of, but only certain scenes would truly qualify as “dark comedy.” For the most part, it’s a drama that’s very sympathetic to Harding’s side of the story.  Accepting her contention that she didn’t really know what her ex-husband (who had a history of abusing her) was actually up to and harshly critical of the way the media opted to portray her as a cartoonish villain and go-to late night comedy punchline for several years.So why sell it like that?Probably because that’s what people are expecting, given that most folks’ cultural memory of the event WAS overwhelmingly shaped by the media’s “absurdist comedy” approach to covering the story. The film is largely an indictment of the media in this regard, tracking back to Harding’s childhood (browbeaten and bullied into pushing herself at skating by an abusive mother) and paying serious focus how the skating world was (allegedly) hostile and prejudiced toward her even before the incident despite her well-regarded athletic skill.What was the deal there?Figure skating gauges performance on subjective judgments of “presentation” as well as technical skill, and the film contends that Harding’s rural working-class background and lack of “classical” skating refinement. Her costumes, hairstyle, choice of skating music and aggressive style had seen her caricatured as “white trash” was held against her by a sport that preferred to center upscale “princess types” of which Kerrigan was the archetype. She was also seen as “too old” in 1994, only able to compete in the first place because The Olympics changed its scheduling to add more games.So it’s not a happy movie, is what I’m hearing here.It’s a bit of a downer, yeah, despite the occasional amusement to be had once the idiot-absurdity of “the plan” goes into motion. It’s eventually more ANGRY than sad, though – basically framing Harding’s life as an ongoing cycle of abuse and explicitly naming the media of the time and the audience that laughed along with it as complicit in that abuse.How is Margot Robbie?Excellent. Walking away unscathed from the wreck of Suicide Squad already handily proved she’s a natural-born movie star, but she’s doing next-level work here. She’s carrying the whole film for the most part, and has to make quick turns from comedy to dark-drama whenever the film wants to hit the audience with a gut-punch tonal shift. The only times she’s not the most electrifying thing onscreen is when Allison Janney is sharing it with her as Tonya’s hellishly rotten mother; who the film all but outright names as the real villain of the piece – the monster who started all the dominoes falling. It’s very possible she’s Bad Mom’d her way to an Oscar nomination here.Any other standout performances?Like I said, it’s overwhelmingly Robbie’s show. But Sebastian Stan turns in solid work as Jeff Gillooly (the abusive-ex) that walks a fine line between extremes of “so stupid you almost can’t hate him” and “abusive creep you want to see bad things happen to.” Character actor and producer Paul Walter Hauser also turns out to be a scene-stealer as Shawn Eckhart, the “best friend” who becomes Gilooly’s middle-man for setting up the hit. He’s doing a scary-accurate take on a very specific breed of Middle American self-delusion (a dimwit manchild who’s convinced himself he’s some kind of dangerous spy/agent/operative for no apparent reason) that’s eerily true to life.Any issues?It doesn’t go quite as deep in the surrounding world and characters as it does on Harding, which is a bit disappointing given what a chaotic narrative this all eventually turned out to have been. Director Craig Gillespie doesn’t quite manage the intentionally jarring shifts between comedy and drama or reality versus fantasy-sequence in all cases. But these are minor details, and as a star-vehicle, for Robbie, it’s a total winner. Recommended.center_img Stay on targetlast_img read more

Reading and the importance of libraries

first_imgThe Z. J. Loussac Public Library in Anchorage. (Staff photo)Vacations and books are wonderful companions. PBS is sponsoring the Great American Read this summer and people across the nation are voting on their favorite novels. But with the ease and portability of online reading, how important are books and the libraries that house them? What does the future look like for the places that care for literature, documents and other archives?LISTEN HEREHOST: Lori TownsendGUESTS:Mary Jo Torgerson – Anchorage Public Library DirectorChris Hieb – State Libraries, archives and museums.ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:Facebook Book Club for Great American ReadGreat American Read checklist Call 550-8422 (Anchorage) or 1-800-478-8255 (statewide) during the live broadcastPost your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).Send email to (comments may be read on air)LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.SUBSCRIBE: Get Talk of Alaska updates automatically by email, RSS or podcast.last_img read more

Valve solidifies platform preference joins The Linux Foundation

first_imgWhen Gabe Newell panned Windows 8 for being bad for gaming, most people figured he would just get over it and go back to making Steam awesome. Well it turns out he did, only his definition of this sentiment included joining The Linux Foundation.There are no bigger names in PC gaming right now than Valve, specifically their Steam service for gamers. Steam is a colossal giant that many PC gamers simply can’t live without anymore. It’s a retail service, social network, cloud management service, and so much more for a truly significant number of users in the world today.Valve is now big enough that they can do so much more than adapt to the world around them. They can shape the world around them, and by joining The Linux Foundation it is clear that’s exactly what they intend to do.Over the past year, Valve has released Steam for Linux and is now supporting almost 200 games for the platform. This is the single largest push into Linux gaming that has ever happened, and it’s been a really big deal to those using Linux who had been running Windows in a virtual machine just to play games on Steam.Don’t even get me started on WINE for gaming on Linux. Now Valve has proven that gaming on Linux is not only viable but enjoyable, they announced their own Linux distribution specifically for playing games in the living room. SteamOS and the Steam Machines that follow will only further the mission to make gaming on Linux a more appealing solution for users.Joining The Linux Foundation makes sense at this point. Valve is clearly only going to become more and more Linux focused as Microsoft heads down the Modern UI path and console platforms continue to make sure their gaming experiences are as controlled and limited as possible. This isn’t a small gesture from Valve, it’s a continuation of the push that was started last year and has only gained momentum ever since.last_img read more

Flexible Color Epaper As Thin As Real Paper Created

first_img I think we’re all used to reading from an e-paper display now, even if we do prefer paper in certain situations. But it’s high time the technology moved on. Sure, we now have high resolution displays that sip power and can go months between charges, but they don’t offer color and they can’t be flexed or bent like a sheet of paper.Well, a research team at Chalmers University of Technology has managed to achieve both: a full color e-paper display that is bendable.This new e-paper is the work of Assistant Professor Andreas Dahlin and PhD student Kunli Xiong. A year of work has produced a combination of nanostructures and conductive polymers to produce a sheet less than a micrometre thick that can display as many colors as a standard screen you’d find in today’s tablets.The good news doesn’t stop at full color and flexibility, though. According to Dahlin the e-paper requires very little power, around a tenth of that used by a tablet display. That’s because there is no backlight required. The e-paper gets all the light it needs from reflecting external light which illuminates the screen. So, just like a Kindle, you’ll be able to view the screen quite happily in daylight conditions.Now for the bad news… it’s not ready for commercial use yet and it currently costs a lot of money. The cost comes down to the use of gold and silver in the prototype display. There’s around 20nm of gold used, which either needs to be reduced or replaced to make the e-paper viable. However, Dahlin is confident they can make a commercially viable display and is calling on engineers to come and help them finalize the design.If they manage to get the costs down and scale the screen sizes up, you can guarantee Amazon will be one of the first to take an interest in the hope of getting a color Kindle on to the market. After that, flexible full color displays shouldn’t be far off. We could even see a resurgence of newspapers in e-paper form!H/T Kurzweil Start Saving for Samsung’s Foldable SmartphoneBendable aluminum battery recharges in a minute, won’t burst into … Stay on targetlast_img read more