first_img Source:https://www.ucsd.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 27 2018In the wake of media and public reports about increased mortality linked to a new drug for treating Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PDP) — a symptom of the progressive nervous system disorder in which patients experience hallucinations and delusions — researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine conducted a retrospective study of qualifying patients in the UC San Diego Health system, concluding that the new drug, pimavanserin (marketed as Nuplazid), did not pose a statistically significant greater risk of death.The findings are published in the September 26 online issue of Neurology.”This paper is important because pimavanserin has been in the news, and there is considerable debate and concern about its safety,” said Fatta B. Nahab, MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and the study’s corresponding author. “We wanted to better understand and assess the risks of using pimavanserin within our own patient community, either alone or in combination with other commonly prescribed medications.”Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder. Symptoms generally develop slowly over years, and typically affect movement, balance and walking. However, cognitive dysfunction, such as PDP, often appears in the latter stages of the disease and is a leading contributor to patients being placed in nursing homes.PD itself is not fatal, but it is associated with serious disease complications, making the condition the 14th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Using anonymized medical records of 4,478 UC San Diego Health patients with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Nahab and colleagues singled out 676 cases that met the study criteria of having a PD diagnosis and being prescribed pimavanserin, quetiapine (an antipsychotic drug marketed as Seroquel) or both medications between April 29, 2016 and April 29, 2018. The Food and Drug Administration approved Nuplazid for PDP in April 2016 after designating it a “breakthrough therapy.” The expedited approval followed a single, six-week clinical trial of 199 participants. The drug is marketed by Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in San Diego.Related StoriesActive sexual life linked with better quality of life in men with early Parkinson’s diseaseGut infection can lead to a pathology resembling Parkinson’s diseaseNovel device could enable early diagnosis and treatment development for Parkinson’s diseaseAs the first drug approved to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with PDP, Nuplazid was immediately popular, with sales exceeding $100 million in 2017. But lingering concerns about limited clinical testing were exacerbated by reports of increased adverse effects in patients using pimavanserin, “including deaths, life-threatening incidents, falls, insomnia, nausea and fatigue,” according to an April 9, 2018 story by CNN.In their review of the 676 qualifying patient cases, UC San Diego researchers found a lower mortality percentage for those using pimavanserin compared to those using only quetiapine or those using both drugs. “But the differences were not significant,” said Nahab.The researchers did note a significant increased risk of mortality — 74 percent — in the quetiapine-only group compared with individuals not on these medications and a trend toward increased risk in the combination therapy group. “It’s reasonable to assume, however, that individuals requiring these medications have greater disease severity and are at a higher risk of complications and death,” said Nahab.”Our findings provide the largest comparative report of mortality risk in PDP to date,” said Nahab, “but there were limitations to our study based on its design and nature. We did not find any new or unexpected concerns about the use of pimavanserin in the treatment of PDP, which may provide some reassurance to clinicians, patients and families. But more work is needed to better evaluate factors like disease severity and cause of death to improve our understanding of the potential risks of treating PDP.”last_img read more

first_imgProminent scientists and tech leaders, including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates, have expressed concerns about the ethical and societal implications of AI research.Musk and some partners launched Open.AI in 2015, an effort to guide ethical AI development to benefit society.Microsoft, Google, IBM and Amazon are among the high-tech firms that launched Partnership on AI in 2016, with the same goals.”What if we had done the same thing with automobiles?” Frost’s Jude asked. “Would we actually have built any? Sometimes, “you just have to make tracks and fire out the solutions to problems along the way.” How MIT IQ Will Function Two linked entities within MIT IQ will lead its work.The Core will advance the science and engineering of both human and machine intelligence; a key output will be machine learning algorithms.The Bridge will focus on the application of MIT discoveries in natural and artificial intelligence to all disciplines. It will host state-of-the-art tools from industry and research labs worldwide.The Bridge will provide the MIT community with intelligence technologies, platforms and infrastructure; education about AI tools for students, faculty and staff; rich and unique data sets; technical support; and specialized hardware.MIT IQ will connect and amplify existing excellence across labs and centers already engaged in intelligence research, establish shared spaces for group work, and directly support research.MIT will establish additional entities within MIT IQ in partnership with corporate and philanthropic organizations to fund the project.IBM may play a key role in MIT IQ.The company is “proud to be a cornerstone of this expanded initiative,” said John E. Kelly III, IBM’s SVP for cognitive solutions and research.MIT IQ “is a natural evolution of what MIT and MIT Labs have been doing in the fields of AI, deep learning and work,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of Research at Nucleus Research.”Similar announcements from other higher education and research centers” can be expected, she told TechNewsWorld. Societal and Ethical Issues, Oh My! Deep Insights, Practical Toolscenter_img Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. MIT last week launchedthe MIT Intelligence Quest, an initiative to find out how human intelligence works, in engineering terms, and how a deeper grasp of human intelligence can be applied to building wiser and more useful machines.Life scientists, computer scientists, social scientists and engineers will collaborate in the effort.”Human intelligence is turning out to be very complex, involving emergent properties that arise from complex computational networks,” noted Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.”It is not simply an engineering design problem,” he told TechNewsWorld.Bringing in some of the soft sciences, such as psychology and sociology, as well as areas like medicine “would seem to be a good thing,” Jude observed. Some of the advances may be foundational in nature, involving new insights into human intelligence and new methods to let machines learn effectively, MIT president L. Rafael Reif said in a letter to the university community.Others may be practical tools for use in a variety of research fields, such as disease diagnosis, drug discovery, automated system materials and manufacturing design, synthetic biology, and finance.MIT IQ researchers also will investigate the societal and ethical implications of advanced analytical and predictive tools, Reif said.MIT already has active groups and projects investigating autonomous systems, media and information quality, labor markets and work of the future, innovation and the digital economy, and the role of artificial intelligence in the legal system.”The challenge of better understanding human intelligence is enormous, and … requires a multidisciplinary approach,” said Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Research.”MIT certainly has the stature, breadth and depth to take this on, drawing on credible and well-known experts,” he told TechNewsWorld. last_img read more

first_imgPricing and Availability Noon Home products are available now from the company’s website. They will be available at selected Best Buy stores starting Nov. 2. They will be available at select B8ta and Home Depot locations starting Nov. 15, Camacho said.The Noon Smart Lighting Starter Kit, which consists of one Room Director Switch, two Extension Switches and three Noon Wall Plates, retails for US$400.The Noon Room Director Switch and Extension switch also are available separately, at $200 and $100 respectively.Professional installation nationwide is offered through Noon partner InstallerNet. The usual price will be $150 for up to three switches and $20 for each additional switch, but Noon is offering discounted professional installation at $49.99 for a limited time. Consumers can schedule professional installation at the Noon Home website.”Rewiring light switches has been a problem … and messing with them is something the average homeowner isn’t well skilled to do,” Enderle pointed out.”I’ve installed a few similar systems and have been shocked so many times I get sweaty just thinking about it,” he quipped.However, demand for the Noon Home system may be limited.”This is a high-end function, and many people won’t want it because they won’t perceive a need,” Frost’s Jude said. “Add a hefty price tag, and this limits it to a niche market — well-heeled technophiles.” Pattern Learning “Having a dedicated controller will be more consumer-friendly,” said Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.”Even though the controller is actually in addition to the light switches, it still has a light-switchy ambience that makes it more comfortable to use,” he told TechNewsWorld. “People like light switches — they’re obvious.”On the other hand, “the hardware controller approach isn’t well received, because you need one for every room,” Enderle told TechNewsWorld.”Amazon Alexa support will alleviate this somewhat,” Enderle noted, “but generally a dedicated controller is a nonstarter for now — though it is easier to set up.”Another issue is that “Bluetooth doesn’t penetrate walls very well, making multiroom solutions problematic,” he said. The system combines information about the bulb type with data about the fixture and room type to create light in three modes: Relax, Everyday and Bright.Customers can use the Noon app to customize lighting. Their choices are updated automatically at the extension switch, Camacho said.Noon’s Room Director has a motion sensor that turns on a night light when a person enters its vicinity.Vacation Mode learns users’ patterns over the first week and refreshes the data every few weeks. This data is sent over end-to-end encrypted communications to Noon’s servers.The learned patterns can be set to play when the residents of the home are away.”We never sell your data without authorization,” Camacho said. “Your data is your data. We only use it to benefit you.” Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. New companyNoon Home officially launched on Thursday and simultaneously unveiled its Noon Smart Lighting System, after two years of raising funds and developing products in stealth mode.The Noon Smart Lighting System blends ambient, task and accent lights to layer lighting, improve the way a room looks, according to the company.It consists of a Room Director switch and companion Extension Switches, which communicate via Bluetooth Low Energy technology.The Room Director, which has a glass touchscreen OLED display, clips into the Noon Base at the light switch. It lets users adjust all a room’s lights once the system is installed, said company spokesperson Katie Camacho.”You can control the Noon Lighting System at the switch, through the Noon app, or via voice with Amazon Alexa,” she told TechNewsWorld.The Noon app runs on iOS and Android smartphones. The Noon Smart Lighting System reads electrical currents and uses advanced algorithms to automatically detect and identify the type of bulb and fixture being used.”The bulb learning capability is unique, and a nice differentiator,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.The system is compatible with virtually any residential bulb, including dimmable and non-dimmable bulbs, incandescents, LED, CFL, fluorescent, ELV (electronic low voltage) and MLV (magnetic low voltage). Pros and Conslast_img read more

first_imgEllison’s Vision My Take When we write the history of the IT era, the big factor that has played an important but not well recognized role will be hardware — specifically, the Oracle Exadata appliance that puts databases into memory for fast access and updates.All of the cloud software starting with the autonomous database on view this week at OpenWorld — like security, self-patching capability and apps — would be vastly different if the database was still running primarily on disk drives. In fact, the database would be running so slowly (relatively) that some of these solutions would remain theoretical.But Exadata lives. It is integral to everything Oracle does and everything it announced at OpenWorld 2018 this week in San Francisco. It is such a differentiator that the rest of the database vendor-scape is in serious danger of becoming irrelevant. After decades of staid, steady progress, the relational database market might be returning to its Wild West roots. The reason is Oracle’s recently deployed autonomous database.To say it’s just another release of a decades-old product would be to miss quite a bit. Oracle’s upturn relies on the convergence of hardware, software, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and a sharp turn to cloud computing. The only thing preventing a reprise of the 1980s database wars is a lack of competition.You could have seen all of this coming a few years ago if you knew what you were looking at and had the vision of someone like Larry Ellison. It began when Oracle introduced the first Exadata machine that could keep most, and eventually all, of a business’ database in memory, which greatly accelerated database performance.In-memory databases operate at nanosecond speeds, while disk drives — the traditional home of databases — run at millisecond speeds. In-memory data operations can run about a million times faster. Although all of that performance doesn’t reach a user just wanting to get some work done, enough does to make in-memory databases revolutionary.The second innovation announced at last year’s OpenWorld, and fully released earlier this year, is Oracle’s autonomous database software. The product uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to do several things, including installation and tuning, as well as maintenance.The autonomous database can patch itself without human help. It also can track down intrusions and attempts at data theft that bedevil modern IT departments. Often a patch to thwart intrusions exists, but human operators historically have needed to schedule downtime to implement patches. That’s all over now. However, the full benefits come only when you combine hardware and software.Third, there’s cloud computing. As you might imagine, buying and installing all of the hardware needed to support the autonomous databases is a big undertaking that is affordable only for big IT shops. That’s why cloud computing is so important. The cloud makes all of this affordable for virtually any business that wants to put its IT in the cloud. That’s good for Oracle too, since it gives the company a very large market to address and little competition. At Monday’s keynote, CTO and founder Larry Ellison announced that the company would make the same cloud data center technology available to very large and well-heeled companies that don’t want to share cloud technology. This effectively makes all of the autonomous and in-memory technology available to anyone who wants it.It’s hard to see how these developments won’t significantly change the database market. Oracle has chosen Amazon Web Services and its databases for transaction processing and data warehousing as its foil, and in demonstrations on stage running one benchmark after another, Oracle’s configuration outperformed the competition by factors of 8 to 1 or more.Even Oracle’s database running on Amazon without in-memory assist runs significantly slower than the Oracle Cloud. To top off the demonstrations, Ellison showed that his company’s products are less expensive to use too.All this calls into question why a business seeking cloud IT services would seek them from another party. It also opens up a gap between Oracle and the rest of the database market. The combination of hardware and software that Oracle has produced, along with the long lead times and high costs needed to duplicate Oracle’s feat, make it hard to see how any competitor could bring a credible alternative to market for possibly years.Taken together, all of this is more than a technology story. It’s a tale of economics — specifically of creative destruction. Advances in technology have begun to commoditize the tech industry, and Oracle is trying to accelerate this curve.Cloud computing, especially, is a form of commoditization in which basic compute services can be delivered for a fraction of the costs usually involved in supporting all of one’s IT needs in-house.center_img Markets trend toward monopoly or possibly oligopoly. Oracle has gotten to a rarified position ahead of its competition, in part because it has pursued a program of creative destruction on itself. For too long the company appeared to be making little progress in cloud computing, but in reality it had a swarm of customer-partners, including Salesforce. Engineers worked on site to harden its conventional database products to support cloud computing.The things the company learned were essential to developing the products it offers today. For instance, Oracle introduced its first Exadata product about one year after it bought Sun Microsystems, and it began selling those units to the cloud industry, at US$1 million per, immediately.What we’re seeing this week at OpenWorld is the distillation of a great deal of experience in the real world. The result is a new IT paradigm that’s hard to compete against. This technology is Oracle’s hole card. Other vendors might have more cloud data centers, but Oracle is demonstrating that it is the end of an old paradigm, not the beginning of something new.The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. Email Denis. A Tale of Creative Destructionlast_img read more

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 9 2019Caring for someone with dementia is one of the most challenging caring roles in today’s society. A new Health and Social Care in the Community study has explored the support and social networks of family carers of people with dementia towards the end of life and the role of the internet in supporting them.In interviews with 20 current and former family carers aged 65 and over in England, carers described a separation of two worlds: their internal caring world and the outside world of society, with varying networks of support. Carers discussed experiencing a spectrum of losses but also a process of reconstruction of life as a carer. The internet helped to provide support, including options to develop new relationships and networks. The internet alone was not enough, however, and human interaction was still needed.”The findings from our work suggest that family carers can feel separated from society, and have to develop new social and support networks,” said lead author Dr. Nathan Davies, of University College London. “As our population ages and internet savvy groups age and become carers themselves, I think we will increasingly see the internet being used by carers as a source of support for them in this difficult caring role. With this we need to emphasize the use and benefits of the internet for social networking for carers whilst also remembering it cannot replace face to face human contact.”​ Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/health-and-social-care-community/study-examines-support-those-caring-loved-one-dementilast_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 20 2019A new tool to help physiotherapy students master complex fine motor skills needed to assess and treat patients suffering physical conditions, such as back pain and spinal cord injuries, is being used at the University of Melbourne.Developed by researchers in the University’s School of Computing and Information Systems and the Department of Physiotherapy, the device – SpinalLog – looks and feels like a human spine.Using smart foam sensors, SpinalLog measures the pressure being applied to the spine by the student’s hand or fingers during a simulated assessment.Related StoriesWoman who does not feel painSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiencyCompounded pain relief creams not effective finds studyThis information is then displayed on a 3D spinal model depicted on-screen, providing real-time visual feedback on the pressure pattern and technique used to mobilize the spine.University of Melbourne Human-Computer Interaction lecturer Eduardo Velloso, who helped design the device, said SpinalLog offers students a safe way of practicing their skills.”Traditionally, to teach these skills, the instructor demonstrates a force pattern on a volunteer and asks students to practice on each other by replicating the moment,” Dr Velloso said.”However, because these movements are very subtle, it is difficult for students to obverse them fully. Similarly, when students perform the movements themselves, it is difficult for instructors to provide feedback based on what they can see.”Preliminary tests show the visual feedback has a huge impact on students’ ability to replicate the force pattern demonstrated by the instructor.University of Melbourne physiotherapy senior lecturer David Kelly said SpinalLog represents the real-life conditions of a human spine suffering different levels of stiffness, bringing the clinic, to the classroom.”Students get clear and immediate feedback on an authentic feeling spine,” Dr Kelly said.”This means they get a better experience; they learn faster and are able to mimic what the instructor is teaching them, making them better prepared for the sorts of techniques that they’ll need as practitioners.”​ Source:https://www.unimelb.edu.au/last_img read more

first_img Source: https://www.idsociety.org/news–publications-new/articles/2019/BACTERIA-IN-URINE-DOESNT-ALWAYS-INDICATE-INFECTION/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 22 2019Doctors should think carefully before testing patients for a urinary tract infection (UTI) to avoid over-diagnosis and unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to updated asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.ASB – the presence of bacteria in the urine without the symptoms of an infection – is quite common and has been identified as a contributor to antibiotic misuse, which promotes resistance. While the updated guidelines follow previous recommendations to avoid testing certain groups of patients who don’t have symptoms (called screening) – including healthy non-pregnant women, the elderly, people with diabetes and those with spinal cord injuries – they also include groups that weren’t previously addressed, such as infants and children, people who have had joint replacement or other non-urologic surgery and those who have had organ transplants.Related StoriesRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infections’Scissors’ component of CRISPR/Cas9 sometimes gets stuckNew methods to recognize antimicrobial resistant bacteria and how they work”Screening these patients is far too common and leads to the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics, which some studies suggest may actually increase the risk of a UTI, as well as contribute to other serious infections such as Clostridioides difficile,” said Lindsay E. Nicolle, MD, FIDSA, chair of the committee that developed the guidelines and professor emeritus at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. “Generally, physicians should not obtain urine cultures unless patients have symptoms consistent with an infection, such as burning during urination, frequent urination or abdominal pain or tenderness on the back near the lower ribs.”Some symptoms that people assume indicate a UTI – such as urine odor and confusion in the elderly – are usually caused by other conditions that should be ruled out before testing, Dr. Nicolle said.About 3 to 7 percent of healthy women have ASB at any given time, especially those who are sexually active, she said. About 50 percent of people with spinal injuries and 30 to 50 percent of people in nursing homes have ASB.The updated guidelines follow previous guideline recommendations to screen and treat only patients who are at risk of developing complications of ASB, including pregnant women and those undergoing endoscopic urologic procedures.last_img read more

first_imgWe are pleased to be the exclusive distributor for EIKEN’s newly developed test for detecting P. vivax infections and to provide access to a reliable diagnosis through our worldwide network.”Dr. Petra Rehberger, Vice President Marketing & Strategic Purchase at HUMAN Apr 23 2019Human Diagnostics Worldwide (HUMAN), EIKEN CHEMICAL CO., LTD. (EIKEN) and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) announced today the launch of the first commercially available molecular diagnostic test for the detection of malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax parasites. Malaria-LAMP is a molecular test that works using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), developed by EIKEN with exclusive distribution by HUMAN. FIND evaluated the prototype test in collaboration with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London, UK, and coordinated in-country clinical performance studies in Colombia and Peru. The test was unveiled at the sixty-seventh annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in November 2018. Eliminating malaria is a global health priority, but without effective diagnostics it just cannot happen. P. vivax is challenging to diagnose, and this test represents an important new tool that can support elimination efforts.”Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND Related StoriesHuman liver cell protein aids development of malaria parasite, study findsMosquito surveillance in Madagascar reveals new insight into malaria transmissionProteasome inhibitors show potential for combating multidrug-resistant malariaMalaria is an urgent public health threat, with 2.5 billion people at risk globally. Of the five malaria species, P. vivax is geographically the most widespread form of disease. It accounts for more than half of all malaria cases outside sub-Saharan Africa, but control strategies to date have focused on Plasmodium falciparum. P. vivax malaria is not easy to detect, largely due to much lower densities of parasites in the blood compared with P. falciparum and, unlike P. falciparum, P. vivax parasites can lie dormant in the liver and cause relapses. However, the proportion of malaria due to P. vivax is increasing in many regions; in 2017, a total of about 7.5 million cases of P. vivax occurred worldwide.To control malaria caused by P. vivax, sensitive and reliable tools are needed, especially in areas close to elimination. Different species require different treatment strategies, but while current diagnostic tests can identify P. falciparum, they are generally not able to differentiate between the various malaria species. There is currently no diagnostic that can effectively detect inactive parasites in the liver – which is why effective and highly sensitive blood-stage diagnosis is key.Malaria-LAMP is a comprehensive molecular solution introduced for the diagnosis of malaria. The test can differentiate between Plasmodium pan species, P. falciparum and P. vivax, and has a sensitivity of 84–94%, a specificity of >92% and a limit of detection of 1–2 parasites/µL. Source:https://www.finddx.org/publication/pr-23apr19-3/last_img read more

The recent allegations that researchers funded by the German car industry tested the effects of diesel fumes on humans and monkeys has raised serious questions about research ethics in the corporate world. Citation: Diesel monkey tests: can harmful corporate research ever be justified? (2018, February 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-diesel-monkey-corporate.html But in purely corporate research, these therapeutic aims are often absent. Instead, they often are replaced with a central aim of advancing profits. This does not necessarily mean there are not secondary social benefits in some cases. With diesel fume emissions, developing and testing technologies to reduce harmful emissions might be considered to have these secondary benefits in terms of improving public health and the environment. Humans can volunteer. Animals can’t. Credit: Shutterstock This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. 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. Explore further Credit: Shutterstock Dutch have done human, animal diesel tests ‘for years’ (Update) The amount of risk and the severity of the potential harm are also important factors. Even a significant future benefit might not offset serious harm. And in the case of the diesel tests, there are very real and severe risks associated with exposure to fumes. Whether the tests exposed subjects to greater levels of fumes than they might otherwise experience (such as walking down the street in daily life) would be important to know in order to assess these levels of potential harm. A greater than normal exposure requires proportionally greater potential benefits. But given what we know about the harm from diesel fumes, it is unlikely that such extra risk could be justified by a modest potential improvement in public health.Another way of justifying the exposure to risks and harms in research is to appeal to the consent given by the research subject. If you volunteer and you are properly informed about the risks then why shouldn’t you take part, despite the potential harm? You might see any payment you receive for volunteering as more valuable than being free from the risk. Or you might simply want to altruistically contribute to a greener world.Yet in cases where potential harm is particularly severe, we might still want to limit people’s freedom to consent. There may be limits that we think we should not cross in society and that to ask someone to expose themselves to significant risks for the sake of research is a step too far. In corporate research, where participants motivated by how much reward they are offered rather than potential therapy or social benefit, allowing people to undergo harm may even be seen as devaluing them as human beings.Corporate research is very demanding upon our system of ethical decision-making because of the lack of focus on benefit to individuals or society. When the research involves substances that are known to be severely dangerous, it is extremely difficult to justify exposing people to them, even with all of the ethical arguments about benefiting the greater good and the right to consent. And because animal subjects can’t give consent, the research would have to have even more worthwhile aims to justify exposing them to risk and harm. These tests were carried out by scientists on behalf of the now-disbanded European Research Group of Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), which was funded by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW. The aim was to observe and record the pollutant effect of emissions from diesel cars using modern exhaust-cleaning technology.Yet, even if the aim of the research was to show that diesel fumes are less harmful than previously considered, there still exists substantial evidence that diesel fumes are harmful to health. No one, not even car manufacturers, is claiming that diesel exhaust fumes are entirely harmless.Ethically sound research brings huge benefits to society, saves lives and advances knowledge. But research always comes at a cost, ranging from resources and time used through to the direct risk of harm for subjects. So, the central ethical question is always: are these costs justified by the potential benefits of the research? When these costs become skewed too far, particularly where people have been exposed to unjustifiable harm, we end up with research scandal.In the case of the diesel fume tests, the most pressing question is whether exposing monkeys and humans to harm can be justified against the benefits of the research. When administering substances known to be dangerous, the potential benefits would have to be significant in order justify such exposure. This can happen, for example, in cases where the research is therapeutic. Exposing volunteers to newly developed drugs that might end up hurting them can be justified on the basis that they might also benefit, or that society more generally will. Provided by The Conversation read more

In-memory de-duplication technology to accelerate response for large-scale storage Citation: Data processing architecture can reconfigure content within IoT data processing stream (2018, March 8) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-architecture-reconfigure-content-iot-stream.html Stream processing technology, which is effective in the high-speed processing of these sorts of huge volumes of data, has issues in that, because processing must be temporarily stopped when changing or adding processing content according to additions or improvements to services, the provision of services can be delayed. Now, Fujitsu has developed a new stream processing architecture that automatically switches to a newly provided data processing program when a parallelized data processing job has been completed, by separating stream processing into data reception processing and actual data processing so that data reception processing and current data processing are not stopped (patent pending). As a result, in a simulation of the reception of a few dozen bytes of data per second from one million vehicles, Fujitsu has confirmed that this architecture is able to continue processing streaming data while adding or changing processing programs, with an average delay increase volumes of five milliseconds or less. Fujitsu Laboratories is looking to commercialize this technology during fiscal 2018 on the Mobility IoT Platform, offered by Fujitsu Limited, and extend it to other industry areas. Details of this technology were presented at DEIM2018 (the Forum on Data Engineering and Information Management), a conference being held in Awara, Fukui Prefecture, Japan, from March 4.Development BackgroundWith the recent development of IoT technologies, data has begun to be gathered from all sorts of objects and collected in datacenters, and it is expected that by analyzing and utilizing this, a variety of new services will be created. In the case of connected cars, for example, it is thought that by collecting, analyzing, and utilizing data from automobiles in real time, it will be possible to relieve congestion, assist drivers, and improve the safety of autonomous driving (figure 1). Details of the Newly Developed TechnologyNow, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed Dracena, an architecture that can modify the processing programs of a system while it is operating, without halting operations. With this technology, when changing or adding data processing contents, this architecture distributes the new data processing program as a message, in the same way data is distributed, to each individual processing unit, called an object, such as the processing unit for each car. This eliminates the impact on overall processing speed due to the concentration of queries on the repository. Moreover, by separating intra-object message reception processing and data processing in this architecture, the system is able to add in the new data processing program without stopping the message reception processing or the existing data processing, and then have all objects change over to the new data processing program with the same timing. This has enabled Fujitsu Laboratories to create a stream processing architecture in which the data processing program can be added to or changed without stopping, in order to continue parallelized processing without holding back the flow of huge volumes of data for copying (figure 2).The results of a simulated evaluation confirmed that, in a use case in which a few dozen bytes of data are transmitted once each second from one million vehicles, this architecture was capable of continuously providing services when adding a sudden-braking detection service in a situation where the system was already providing a service to detect excessive driving times, with an average delay increase volume of five milliseconds or less. This architecture will enable the rapid provision of real-time services that require uninterrupted operation and that can respond to problems occurring in society, including providing driving assistance for connected cars, supporting energy-saving usage of appliances, providing in-home health and safety monitoring, and providing travel guidance for tourists using smartphones. Moreover, this architecture enables users to adopt a build method in which they first build a base system aimed at simple analysis and utilization, and then gradually add new services. Using this technology in the case of automobiles, for example, it would be possible to begin with a system that reads signs of drunk driving based on steering wheel operation data, and then add new services layer by layer, such as combining this with map data to detect crosswinds at tunnel exits, or combining it with image data to detect the presence of illegally parked cars, which can be expected to improve the efficiency of service development.Fujitsu aims to commercialize this technology during fiscal 2018 as a constituent element of the Mobility IoT Platform offered by Fujitsu Limited. In addition, Fujitsu is looking to extend this technology beyond the mobility field to business areas that require real-time services based on data that is continually generated at a high frequency, such as providing directions to people during events or in disaster situations. In order to rapidly process data, such as speed and location, that are generated on a second-to-second basis by huge numbers of cars in motion, the most effective method is to construct a system that uses stream processing to process data in parallel, such as on a car-by-car basis. In order to add to or change the processing program according to service additions and improvements, the current method involves preparing two systems of the same scale in advance, using one for operations, making changes to the other one, and then quickly swapping them out. This method required both systems to be temporarily stopped, however, while the data, such as the speed or position of a car, held in the memory of the system in use, was copied over to the revised system. This made it difficult to produce services that required truly continuous operations, such as the real-time transmission of warnings to connected cars. In addition, because new processing programs were obtained from the database, known as a repository, congestion resulted with the numerous queries from large volumes of processing units, delaying overall processing. Figure 2: Differences between the existing technology and Dracena’s non-disruptive update technology. Credit: Fujitsu Figure 1: Real-time services via the collection, analysis, and utilization of data from connected cars. Credit: Fujitsu Explore further Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced the development of the Dynamically Reconfigurable Asynchronous Consistent EveNt-processing Architecture (Dracena), a stream processing architecture that can add or change content while processing large volumes of IoT data, without stopping. With recent advances in IoT technologies, it is expected that many real-time services will be created to utilize the large volumes of data flowing into the cloud from various devices across factories, homes, and social infrastructure. In the progression towards autonomous driving with connected cars, researchers are considering the analysis of the vast amounts of information, such as speed and location, generated from vehicles, which can then be presented to drivers, in the form of warnings, for example. 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. Provided by Fujitsu read more

© 2018 AFP Citation: On chaotic SE Asian roads, local hero Grab zips past Uber (2018, March 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-chaotic-se-asian-roads-local.html Uber selling Southeast Asia operations to Grab: report Spanning 10 countries, from wealthy, ultra-organised Singapore to places like Indonesia and the Philippines that are home to traffic-choked cities, coming up with a ride-hailing service for the whole of Southeast Asia was never going to be easy.But Grab’s Malaysian chief executive, Anthony Tan, combined his local knowledge with sharp business sense from his time at Harvard Business School to come up with a service well adapted to the region and quickly raced past Uber.After a years-long fight that cost both companies huge sums as they aggressively slashed fares and rolled out special offers, the California-based company threw in the towel Monday and sold its ride-sharing and food delivery services to Grab for an undisclosed sum.”Grab is more familiar with its home territory, Southeast Asia,” said Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB Private Bank.”They saw the Uber model and tweaked it to adapt to local conditions, giving Southeast Asians what they want.”In 2015 they added motorbike taxis to their ride-hailing app in Indonesia, where many commuters get around on two wheels due to heavy traffic, helping them to rival local titan Go-Jek, which had pioneered the service.Uber followed slowly up the rear, only adding motorbike taxis to their service in the Indonesian capital a year later, by which time the market was saturated.Uber’s disadvantage was that they lacked local knowledge and relied heavily on the model which had allowed them to lead in developed markets, according to Song.Dramatic expansionWith smartphone ownership exploding across a region that was rapidly growing more affluent, Grab moved fast and expanded aggressively to ensure they were Southeast Asia’s best-known ride-hailing app—they now operate in 195 cities across eight Southeast Asian countries. As they became more successful, they attracted more funding, including $2.5 billion last year from investors including Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank.By contrast, when they sold off their operations, Uber was operating in just 64 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries.Grab has expanded dramatically from its early days. In 2012 Tan quit his job at the family business—Tan Chong Motor, which distributes Nissan cars in Malaysia and Singapore—and founded taxi-booking app MyTeksi with a friend from Harvard. The name was later changed to GrabTaxi and then just Grab. It now has a huge range of services, from offering private cars and motorbike taxis to renting out coaches, push bikes and electric scooters, to a payment system called GrabPay.Tan himself sounds amazed that his company has done so well. “We are humbled that a company born in Southeast Asia has built one of the largest platforms that millions of consumers use daily,” he said, in a statement announcing Monday’s deal.His next big challenge is Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest market—where he will be taking on former Harvard classmate Nadiem Makarim, the CEO of ride-hailing market leader Go-Jek. Uber may be the world’s biggest ride-hailing company but it was left in the dust in Southeast Asia by homegrown upstart Grab, which knew better how to navigate the chaotic highways and byways of an eclectic region. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Grab’s Malaysian chief executive, Anthony Tan, used his local knowledge to come up with a service well adapted to the Southeast Asia region and quickly raced past Uber read more

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Overwatch video games will be broadcast live on US television under an agreement by the game maker and Walt Disney Co. to bring eSports to viewers Disney and its ESPN channels will be exclusive partners for broadcasting “Overwatch” matches on television in the US, in the “most significant commitment” they have made to video games as spectator sport, Activision Blizzard eSports league chief Pete Vlastelica told AFP.The alliance is part of an effort to establish “Overwatch” eSports audiences and business models akin to those in traditional sports such as basketball or football.Financial terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.Playoff games beginning this week along with finals taking place in Brooklyn the last weekend of July will be on Disney XD or ESPN channels, according to the programming schedule.”The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far our most comprehensive television distribution for an eSports event over a single weekend,” Disney and ESPN media networks executive vice president Justin Connolly said in a release.A recap of the championship will be broadcast on Disney-owned ABC on July 29.Coverage will include Disney airing matches during “prime time” television viewing for the first time, according to Vlastelica.”It is a chance to increase the reach of our league content,” Vlastelica said.In a relatively short space of time, the Overwatch League has developed its own stars and legions of fans who follow the tournament either virtually or in person at live events.Launched in January, the 12-team competition comprises franchises representing cities on three continents, with nine teams from the United States and one each from Britain, China and South Korea.The league’s models are the major US professional sports leagues such as the National Football League or the National Basketball Association, with a postseason culminating in a July 26-28 grand final where a $1 million prize will be up for grabs.Overwatch itself is a first-person shooter video game which sees teams of six players battle rival teams in a fast-paced, futuristic setting. The game was developed by Blizzard, the California-based company best known for creating the “World of Warcraft” online phenomenon.The vision is for Overwatch League to become a true global competition, expanding to 28 teams, and featuring regular matches between teams on opposite sides of the world, such as Paris taking on Beijing.”We are building this league for the very long term,” Vlastelica said. Explore further Fans of the “Overwatch” video game will soon be able to watch competitions on television under a deal announced Wednesday by Activision Blizzard and Walt Disney Co.center_img © 2018 AFP Citation: Disney to put live ‘Overwatch’ eSports matches on TV (2018, July 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-disney-overwatch-esports-tv.html ESPN, to broadcast Madden eSport matcheslast_img read more

first_img Provided by University at Buffalo A new study suggests the power industry is underestimating how climate change could affect the long-term demand for electricity in the United States. Journal information: Risk Analysis Explore further Credit: CC0 Public Domain More information: Sayanti Mukherjee et al, A Data-Driven Approach to Assessing Supply Inadequacy Risks Due to Climate-Induced Shifts in Electricity Demand, Risk Analysis (2018). DOI: 10.1111/risa.13192 Citation: How will climate change stress the power grid? Hint: Look at dew point temperatures (2018, September 24) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-climate-stress-power-grid-hint.html The research, published today in the journal Risk Analysis, was led by the University at Buffalo and Purdue University.It describes the limitations of prediction models used by electricity providers and regulators for medium- and long-term energy forecasting. And it outlines a new model that includes key climate predictors—mean dew point temperature and extreme maximum temperature—that researchers say present a more accurate view of how climate change will alter future electricity demands.”Existing energy demand models haven’t kept pace with our increasing knowledge of how the climate is changing,” says the study’s lead author Sayanti Mukherjee, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “This is troublesome because it could lead to supply inadequacy risks that cause more power outages, which can affect everything from national security and the digital economy to public health and the environment.””The availability of public data in the energy sector, combined with advances in algorithmic modeling, has enabled us to go beyond existing approaches that often exhibit poor predictive performance. As a result, we’re able to better characterize the nexus between energy demand and climate change, and assess future supply inadequacy risks,” says co-author Roshanak Nateghi, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial engineering and environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue.The limitations of existing models The overwhelming majority of climate scientists predict global temperatures will rise throughout 21st century. This is expected to increase the demand for electricity as more people turn to air conditioners to keep cool.One of the most common energy modeling platforms used to predict future electricity demand—MARKAL, named after MARKet and ALlocation—does not consider climate variability.Another common energy-economic model, the National Energy Modeling System, or NEMS, does consider the climate. However, it’s limited to heating and cooling degree days. A heating degree day is defined as a day when the average temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). A cooling degree day is when the average temperature is below 65 degrees. Study’s projections show climate change to increase commercial Indiana energy consumption, reduce residential use While there are different ways to measure heating and cooling degree days, they are most often calculated by adding the day’s high temperature to the day’s low temperature, and then dividing the sum by two. For example, a high of 76 degrees and a low of 60 degrees results in an average temperature of 68 degrees.The trouble with this approach, Mukherjee says, is that it doesn’t consider time. For example, it could be 76 degrees for 23 hours and 60 degrees for one hour—yet the average temperature that day would still be recorded as 68 degrees.”Moreover, choice of the accurate balance point temperature is highly contentious, and there is no consensus from the research community of how to best select it,” says Mukherjee.Dew point temperature is the keyTo address these limitations, she and Nateghi studied more than a dozen weather measurements. They found that the mean dew point temperature—the temperature at which air is saturated with water vapor—is the best predictor of increased energy demand. The next best predictor is the extreme maximum temperature for a month, they say.The researchers combined these climate predictors with three other categories—the sector (residential, commercial and industrial) consuming the energy, weather data and socioeconomic data—to create their model.They applied the model to the state of Ohio and found that the residential sector is most sensitive to climate variabilities. With a moderate rise in dew point temperature, electricity demand could increase up to 20 percent. The prediction jumps to 40 percent with a severe rise.By comparison, the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO), which does not consider climate change in its models, predicts residential demand increases of less than 4 percent up to 2033.It’s similar in the commercial sector, where the researchers say demand could increase to 14 percent. Again, PUCO’s projections are lower, 3.2 percent. The industrial sector is less sensitive to temperature variability, however, researchers say the demand could still exceed projections.During the winter months, variations between the models is less significant. That is due, in part, to the relatively low percentage (22.6 percent) of Ohio residents who heat their homes via electricity.While the study is limited to Ohio, researchers say the model can be applied to other states. To communicate results, the researchers used heat maps, which provide an immediate visual summary of the data represented by colors. The idea, they say, is to better inform decision makers with accurate and easy to understand information. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

first_imgPersonal data and documents on hundreds of German politicians and others have been posted online, and German cyber-defense experts were trying to figure out Friday how the information was obtained. Citation: German politicians’ data posted online, govt probes source (2019, January 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-german-politicians-reportedly-hacked-online.html Explore further © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The data breach hit politicians at all levels, including the European, German and state parliaments as well as municipal officials, said Martina Fietz, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel.”The German government takes this incident very seriously,” she said Friday, adding that the country’s cyber-defense center was investigating the breach.Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said an initial analysis suggests that the material was obtained from cloud services, email accounts or social networks. He said there was no indication that federal government or parliament computer systems were compromised.Fietz told reporters that “it appears, at first sight, that no sensitive information and data are included in what was published, including regarding the chancellor.”Public broadcaster RBB, which first reported on the issue Friday morning, said there appeared to be no method to what was posted via a Twitter account.Although the data reportedly include information such as cellphone numbers, addresses, internal party communications and in some cases personal bills and credit card details—some of the data years old—RBB said there appeared to be no politically sensitive documents.The German news agency dpa reported that the information included a fax number and email address belonging to Merkel and several letters to and from the chancellor.The Twitter account in question, which was still online early Friday with about 17,000 followers but was later suspended, had been active since mid-2017.The links it posted suggested that information on politicians from all parties in parliament except the far-right Alternative for Germany had been shared in daily batches before Christmas along with data on YouTubers and some other public figures. The last post was on Dec. 28.The head of Germany’s IT security agency, Arne Schoenbohm, said authorities had been aware of individual cases in December but material was posted online on a large scale Thursday evening. He said the agency believes data on about 1,000 people were involved, and confirmed that one party in parliament wasn’t affected—though he wouldn’t name it.Schoenbohm said there had been “a high two-digit number of attacks which were very successful” in which accounts were infiltrated and data and documents, such as copies of ID cards, extracted.”Via this infection, it seems that other data could be tapped, such as first and last names but also cellphone numbers,” he added.In many cases, he said, the information was limited or already publicly available. Schoenbohm’s agency was still working to figure out how the attack started and who was behind it.Schoenbohm said checks on some of the information shared in this case showed it was genuine, but authorities couldn’t rule out fake data having been mixed in.Germany has seen cyberattacks on government and parliament computer systems in recent years in which Russian-backed hackers were suspected. Berlin has been a leading backer of sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.German officials didn’t comment Friday on whether there were any indications foreign intelligence services were involved, citing the ongoing investigation.Tom Kellermann, the chief cybersecurity officer of Carbon Black, said the latest hack had all the hallmarks of Russian state-backed hackers.He said it made perfect sense that none of the targets in this hacking campaign was from Germany’s far right, and that it appeared aimed at “undermining the German political process and essentially stoking fires of the mob.””It’s in Russia’s best interests for the far-right politicians to be successful,” Kellermann added.center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In this picture taken Nov.21, 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) speaks in the Bundestag. (Ralf Hirschberger/dpa via AP) German Parliament chief to OK probe of WikiLeaks documentslast_img read more

first_img MIT unveils new $1 bn college for artificial intelligence Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. An American billionaire has given Oxford University 150 million pounds ($188.6 million) for a new institute that will study the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and its vast potential to change society as we know it. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.center_img Citation: US CEO hands Oxford University $189 million for AI studies (2019, June 19) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-ceo-oxford-university-million-ai.html In this Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019 file photo, Stephen Schwarzman CEO of Blackstone attends the session ‘Shaping a New Market Architecture’ at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. An American billionaire has given Oxford University 150 million pounds ($188.6 million) for a new institute that will study the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and computing technologies. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File) The donation from Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the private equity firm Blackstone, will also fund a center to house all of the university’s humanities subjects in a single space to encourage collaborative study. The idea is to bring together those working on projects that make life worth living with those trying to make sure that the technology of the future works for the interest of society.”AI can be an enormous force for good,” Schwarzman told The Associated Press. “But on the downside it can lead to high unemployment. It could destabilize society if it happens too fast.”Schwarzman compared the rise of AI to the rise of the internet, which was launched by computer scientists who thought it was fun and interesting. But the scientists didn’t adequately consider the downsides of the internet, such as the inability to control cyberbullying or fake news—and the implications of that on democracy.”No one wants to go through that again,” he said of the struggles that government has had in trying to keep the negatives in check. He said ethics and AI are “one of the major issues of our age,” and that governments globally are currently unprepared to deal with the implications. The vision is for the new center at Oxford to address that gap.”The reason do it is to protect society,” he said.Schwarzman co-founded Blackstone, which has some $512 billion assets under management.In recent years, he has made other sizeable donations to educational institutions. Last October, he gave $350 million to establish the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, which will also address the challenges of AI.”I’m focused on this like a laser,” he said.last_img read more

first_imgLONDON (Reuters) – British police said they had arrested the brother of a suicide bomber following his extradition to London from Libya, on suspicion of helping him plan the deadly 2017 arena attack in the northern city of Manchester. Hashem Abedi, 22, was detained after he landed at a London airport on Wednesday and will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court, though police did not specify when. Salman Abedi blew himself up at the end of a show by U.S. singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and injuring more than 500. Police said Hashem Abedi had been charged with murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life. “He has today been successfully extradited, for offences relating to the Manchester Arena attack,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said in a statement. “He was handed over by Libyan authorities to British police officers this morning. They escorted him on the flight back and he landed in the UK a short while ago.” Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen AddisonOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more

first_imgCOMMENTS FILE PHOTO – Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami COMMENT Cyclone Gaja: TN govt seeks about Rs 15,000 cr aid from Centre RELATED railway Published on SHARE Tamil Nadu 0 The Tamil Nadu government on Friday urged the Railway Ministry to waive freight charges for relief material meant for cyclone Gaja affected districts in the state. Chief Minister K Palaniswami wrote to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, saying this “has been done in the case of recent Kerala floods.” “I request the Railways to waive the freight charges collected from donors for the relief materials sent to the stations in disaster affected areas addressed to the District Collectors, as has been done in the case of recent Kerala floods,” Palaniswami said in his letter to Goyal. He told the Union Minister that seeing the plight of the ‘hapless victims,’ relief material were being mobilised from all over the country. He said the cyclone, which crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on November 16, has ‘devastated’ the affected districts, with people having lost their homes, livestock, plantation and livelihood.The cyclone has claimed 63 lives, with Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai being the worst affected districts. November 23, 2018 SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more

first_imgRELATED safety of citizens President Ram Nath Kovind addresses a joint session of Parliament, in New Delhi.   –  PTI SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on immigrants The central government has decided to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC), currently being updated in Assam, on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday.In his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, Kovind also said efforts will be made to amend the Citizenship Act while protecting linguistic, cultural and social identities. “My government has decided to implement the process of National Register of Citizens on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration,” he said in his customary address after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha.The President, however, did not specify in which areas the NRC will be implemented. Apart from Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and some other parts of the Northeast are reportedly affected by the problem of illegal immigration. Kovind said security along the border will be further strengthened to prevent infiltration.The President said while on the one hand, the government is working to identify infiltrators, on the other, it is also fully committed to protecting those who are victims of persecution due to their faith in neighbouring countries. “In this regard, efforts will be made to amend the Citizenship Act while protecting the linguistic, cultural and social identities,” he said.The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh, was carried out only in Assam, which faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century.When the draft NRC was published on July 30, 2018, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40.7 lakh people from it. The draft NRC included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applications. The final list of the NRC will be published on July 31, 2019.When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens. According to the 2011 census, Assam’s total population is over 3.11 crore. The process of identification of illegal immigrants in the state has been widely debated and is a contentious issue in state politics.There were huge protests in the Northeast, particularly in Assam, early this year over the move to amend the Citizenship Act as it intends to give citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.The main objection of the people of the Northeast was to the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act will negate a provision of the 1985 Assam Accord, which provides for declaration anyone, irrespective of religion, who had entered India after 1971 as foreigner. The BJP has maintained that the Citizenship Amendment Bill is aimed to give Indian nationality to those people who have been facing persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan for their religion.center_img June 20, 2019 President Kovind stresses on water conservation and management Lok Sabha COMMENTS COMMENT Social evils Triple Talaq and Nikah-Halala must be eradicated: President Kovind last_img read more

first_imgMOGADISHU (Reuters) – A car bomb went off on Friday at a hotel in Somalia’s port city of Kismayu where local elders and lawmakers had been discussing an upcoming regional election and was followed by gunfire, police said, adding that the death toll could be high.A journalists’ group said it had confirmed two reporters among the dead.The militant Islamist group al Shabaab, which is trying to topple Somalia’s central government, claimed responsibility for the attack. It said its fighters had battled their way into the hotel after a suicide car bomb attack.One police officer said the gunfire had died down about an hour and a half after the explosion. Residents said the attackers were still in the hotel at 2000 GMT. Related News Related News World 23 Jun 2019 Three al Shabaab fighters killed in Kenya after attack on police “… but we believe the militants are still in the building. We have not confirmed the death toll, but there were many people inside, and there may be a high death toll,” police captain Abdullahi Isak told Reuters by phone.Major Mohamed Abdi, another police officer, told Reuters earlier that local elders and lawmakers were meeting at the Hotel Asasey when the attack happened.Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, said the militant group had been behind the attack.”First we targeted (the hotel) with a suicide car bomb and then armed mujahideen (guerrilla fighters) stormed the hotel. We are still fighting inside the hotel,” he said.”There are many dead bodies inside the hotel, including a dead white man. We control the hotel now.”Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper in Kismayu, told Reuters: “There were many people including officials and elders, mostly from one clan, who were discussing the coming Kismayu election.” Nur was referring to elections in the city due sometime in August.Somali Journalists Syndicate said in a statement that two journalists based in Kismayu had been confirmed dead in the attack.”Mohamed Omar Sahal, SBC TV correspondent based in Kismayu and Hodan Naleyeh, female TV journalist and founder of Integration TV (are) both among (those) killed,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the syndicate’s secretary general, said.It said Naleyeh had recently returned from Canada.”The deaths of Hodan, 43 and Sahal, 35, become the first journalists killed in the country this year,” the statement said.State-run Somali National News Agency said in a statement Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire had condemned the attack.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.It remains a major security threat, with fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the Somali government. (Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Gareth Jones and David Gregorio)center_img {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} World 29 Apr 2019 Air strike kills four people in Somalia -relatives World 10 May 2019 U.S. air strike kills 13 Islamic State fighters in Somalia – U.S. militarylast_img read more