Unpaid Berbice security guards protest for salary

first_imgSecurity guards of the Integrated Security Service company, providers of services at Government institutions in New Amsterdam, have reportedly not received their December 2017 salaries.In a bid to express their frustration, the guards on Thursday picketed theSome of the unpaid security guardscompany’s office for their payments. According to the guards, many of them are single parents with school-age children.They met outside of the company’s office at Trinity Street in New Amsterdam Berbice, and expressed their frustration at not having yet been paid.They complained that they have worked inflexible hours and earned nothing.Some say they have to beg for money to get to and from work. Their telephone and rent bills are due to be paid, but they are still in a bad financial position and are unable to honour those obligations.Integrated Security Service provides service for the Region 6 Administration. In an invited comment, Region Six Chairman David Armogan said the administration has completely discharged its financial obligation to Integrated Security for the month of December.Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the company, Ghalee Khan, told this publication that the guards will be paid soon. According to him, the company does not have the names of all the guards working with the company, and the company is still working out some administrative issues.last_img read more

Researchers develop model of intestinal infection that could advance vaccine development

first_imgWe now have a fantastic mouse model that mirrors the human disease. It’s a powerful lab model, where we can introduce changes at will and test the importance of different components of the immune response to infection, which is just what we need to develop an effective vaccine.”Boris Striepen, Biologist, Penn Vet and Study Senior Author Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 21 2019The intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, which causes a diarrheal disease, is very good at infecting humans. It’s the leading cause of waterborne disease from recreational waters in the United States. Globally, it’s a serious illness that can stunt the growth of, or even kill, infants and young children. And people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are also highly susceptible. There is no vaccine and no effective treatment.Surprisingly, the parasite strains that infect humans don’t do such a good job at infecting mice. To study the disease, researchers have had to rely on mice with defective immune systems, a model that made it difficult to understand how to elicit an immune response that could protect children.But that is set to change. Using a naturally occurring species of mouse Cryptosporidium, a team led by researchers from Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has developed a model of infection that affects immunologically normal mice. They show that mice develop immunity to the parasite after infection, and that a live attenuated vaccine offers the animals protection against it. Their findings appear in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. Mice that received the experimental vaccine, which used a weakened version of the parasite, were as protected from infection as those that had already weathered an initial infection, the researchers found. “We were able to show that the mice were protected –not by sterile immunity–but by very robust protection from disease, which is exactly what is observed in children,” says Adam Sateriale, first author on the report and a postdoctoral researcher in Striepen’s lab.Striepen has focused on advancing science on Cryptosporidium for the last several years. One major advance came in 2015, when his lab found success in using the CRISPR-Cas9 technology to genetically modify the organism.In the new work, Striepen, Sateriale, and colleagues aimed to develop a method to more easily study the parasite in mice, which are resistant to the two species responsible for most human infections. Taking a different tack, they searched for Cryptosporidium DNA in mice feces from farms and found one species, C. tyzzeri, in 30 percent of the samples.”One of the first things we did was sequence and annotate the genome,” says Sateriale, finding it to be an extremely close relative of the species that affect humans. “Once we know the genome, we can not only see how it varies compared to those species, but we can also begin to use our genetic tools to manipulate it.”Related StoriesGeorgia State researcher wins $3.26 million federal grant to develop universal flu vaccineUM scientists receive $3.3 million NIH contract to develop opioid addiction vaccineScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachAmong the manipulations the researchers made using CRISPR were introducing genes that make the parasite glow using a gene borrowed from the firefly, allowing them to precisely, but non-invasively, track the infection.Unlike the more artificial models of infection that used immunocompromised mice, the Penn-led team showed that C. tyzzeri could infect healthy mice, causing an infection that replicated many features of human disease.”Some of the main immunological components that have been shown to be important in people were also true of this mouse model,” Striepen notes.Specifically, they found that T cells and the protein interferon-gamma, a key player in fighting off a variety of infections, were both critical in the body’s response to the parasite. Mice lacking the gene for interferon-gamma and those that lacked T cells had more severe, longer-lasting infections than normal mice.”Understanding these correlates of immunity–how the parasite triggers an immune response, and by what mechanism the immune system then attacks the parasite–are important aspects of vaccine development,” Striepen says.Knowing that children who become infected with Cryptosporidium can develop resistance to subsequent infections, the researchers wanted to see if the same held true in the mice. After confirming that this was the case, their final effort was to attempt to vaccinate the mice. They exposed C. tyzzeri spores to radiation to weaken them. Mice that received the vaccination with the live attenuated C. tyzzeri were protected from infection, though mice lacking either interferon-gamma or T cells were not protected, again underscoring the importance of these factors in developing anti-Cryptosporidium immunity.Encouraged by their findings, the researchers are continuing to probe the pathways involved in conferring immune protection against Cryptosporidium infection, and are sharing their model with colleagues to aggressively pursue a vaccine or other treatments for the disease.”We feel fortunate to be at the vet school and at Penn in general as we work on these questions,” says Striepen. “Here we can build larger teams of parasite biologists, and experts in the study of immune responses like our colleague Christopher Hunter, so we’re building up an interdisciplinary effort that can overcome the challenges of working on these complex investigations. And hopefully this will lead to advances that protect children.” Source:University of PennsylvaniaJournal reference:Sateriale, A. et al. (2019) A Genetically Tractable, Natural Mouse Model of Cryptosporidiosis Offers Insights into Host Protective Immunity. Cell Host & Microbe. doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2019.05.006last_img read more

Why Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping Children

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jul 11 2019Researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology have found that children’s mattresses may represent a health hazard as they emit some dangerous pollutants at concerning levels overnight. Journal reference:Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Polyurethane Mattresses under Variable Environmental Conditions. Sabach, Sara, Merav, Bareket, and Oz, Kira. ACS Publications, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b01557 On measuring the emission rates of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the team found that under sleeping conditions, certain polyurethane mattresses emit the gaseous compounds at levels that may be worrisome for children and infants.However, the study did not provide any evidence of adverse health effects and the researchers say more studies are needed. Avoiding exposure to VOCs is impossible since they are found in hundreds of household items, including furniture, candles, paint, carpets, electronics, vinyl flooring, cosmetics and hairsprays. During sleep, poor bedroom ventilation and the proximity of the nose and mouth to the mattress means people probably inhale more of the compounds during this time than during other times of the day.Exposure at high levels can be toxic and has been associated with health risks such as headaches, nausea, nerve problems, kidney damage and even cancer.Measuring the VOCs Emitted by MattressesNow, Yael Dubowski and team have used eight types of children’s polyurethane mattresses to test the levels of VOCs they release and compare them to known risk levels for the compounds. They also measured how temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide concentration – all of which increase under sleeping conditions – may influence the level of several VOCs emitted. The researchers point out that children spend up to half their time in a sleeping environment.  The researchers placed pieces of the mattresses into continuous-flow chambers and took samples of exiting air to analyse levels of 18 VOCs using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. They found that the mattresses released similar amounts of the compounds, with the exception of a flame-retardant compound that only one infant mattress emitted.As reported in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology, the mattresses emitted higher levels of VOCs once they were heated to body temperature. A temperature that matched body heat was a major contributor to elevated VOC emission, compared with humidity and carbon dioxide.The Risk Associated with these Exposure LevelsSince the researchers suspected that people may breathe in worrying levels of the compounds when their faces are next to the mattresses, they estimated the doses inhaled by adults, infants and children. They found that in most cases, exposure levels were well below risk levels for cancer and non-cancer related health problems. However, among infants and young children, the inhalation of some compounds such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and benzene reached what could be worrisome levels.Another compound that represented a potential health risk was butylated hydroxytoluene, levels of which varied greatly between the different mattresses. In recent years, some studies have raised concern over whether butylated hydroxytoluene may have the potential to be carcinogenic, although this study found that levels were well below reference levels for cancer and non-cancer risk.What are the Possible Adverse Health Outcomes?Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaDaily intake for phosphates in infants, children can exceed health guidance valuesThe study did not investigate the possible adverse health outcomes for exposure to the VOCs, but multiple previous studies have implicated them in the onset of childhood asthma and the worsening of asthma in adults. The inhalation of VOCs is also known to be a potential eye, nose and throat irritant. It can also cause breathing problems.However, Alastair Lewis, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of York, who was not involved in the research, says that the majority of VOCs are not damaging to health, although some research suggests that levels are increasing in air tight homes due to being trapped through a lack of ventilation: “If air gets trapped in a home, then there is some potential for even safe VOCs to be oxidised to more harmful products. Furnishings, such as sofas, carpets, beds and so on, can take longer to outgas, since VOCs are buried deeper in the product.”Lewis says the thick polyurethane mattress used in the study is probably a worst-case example for testing VOCs due to its sponge-like composition and slow release of the compounds, but that even these mattresses lose their VOCs eventually. He also suggests that if a parent is concerned, they could opt for a cotton-, wool- or spring-based mattress, which would contain less VCOs.Further StudiesDubowski and team conclude by saying: “Exposure levels estimated for sleeping child/infant indicate that SME [sleeping microenvironment] can be a significant contributor to VOC exposure, yielding concerning exposure levels for few compounds.” They say further studies are needed to assess the potential health impact of long-term, low-level exposure to VOCs.More about VOCscenter_img VOCs are gaseous compounds that are released by certain solid and liquid materials They include a range of chemicals, some of which have been associated with both short- and long-term adverse health effects The levels of many VOCs are often higher inside the home than outdoors – sometimes up to ten times higher The chemicals are widely used ingredients in household items and are released by thousands of products Fuels are made up of VOCs All of these products and substances release VOCs while they are being used and, to a certain, extent whilst they are stored The risk of adverse health effects varies significantly from VOCs that are highly toxic to those that are harmless The severity and nature of the adverse health effects depend on multiple factors including time and level of exposure Examples of harmful effects include headaches, poor coordination, liver and kidney damage, central nervous system damage, and eye, nose and throat irritation. Some VOCs are known to cause cancer in animals and humanslast_img read more

UK clears way for 21st Century Fox to buy Sky

first_imgBritain on Thursday cleared the way for Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to take full control of pan-European TV giant Sky after Fox agreed to address media plurality concerns. Explore further © 2018 AFP Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox ups Sky bid to beat rival Comcast Despite the clearance, satellite pay-TV group Sky could still end up being bought by Comcast or Disney amid a US media industry tug-of-war.”It is now a matter for the Sky shareholders to decide whether to accept 21CF’s bid,” Britain’s Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said in a statement.Fox’s long-running pursuit for all of Sky had been plagued by UK government fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards—and the influence of Australian-born US citizen Murdoch.Critics say that allowing Murdoch—who owns major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun—full control of Sky News would give him too much influence in the UK news business.To remedy this, Fox has proposed to sell the rolling TV news channel to Disney should it win full control of Sky.The UK government’s statement meanwhile comes one day after both Comcast and 21st Century Fox raised their bids for Sky, escalating a takeover battle as media giants reposition themselves for the streaming era.Comcast lifted its offer to £26 billion ($34.3 billion, 29.5 billion euros) only hours after Fox boosted its offer for the 61 percent of Sky it does not own. Fox’s latest bid values Sky at £24.5 billion.Beefing up creative contentThe battle for Sky comes as Comcast is also embroiled in a takeover battle with Disney for Fox entertainment assets that are being split off from Murdoch’s empire. Some analysts have said Comcast could drop its bid for the Fox assets should it win Sky.Media giants such as Disney and Comcast have been looking to beef up their creative offerings to compete with Netflix and other streaming services that are eroding the value of conventional cable television assets.Sky’s jewel in the crown is its live coverage of English Premier League football, while the group also provides broadband internet and telephone services.Shares in Sky were up 2.7 percent at £15.35 in London deals on Thursday, above both Comcast’s latest offer of £14.75 per share and Fox’s improved bid at £14.”The stock market continues to believe that the winner of the Sky takeover battle will pay more than has currently been offered,” noted Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.”Takeover battles don’t go on forever and at some point one of the competing parties will have to admit defeat,” he added.Sky changed its name from BSkyB after agreeing in 2014 to buy Sky Italia and a majority holding in Sky Deutschland.In 2011, Murdoch was forced to abandon a takeover bid for BSkyB—as controversy raged over the hacking of celebrities and crime victims by his tabloid the News of the World, which was subsequently shut down.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. Citation: UK clears way for 21st Century Fox to buy Sky (2018, July 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-uk-21st-century-fox-sky.html Sky’s jewel in the crown is its live coverage of English Premier League soccerlast_img read more

SoftBank fund invests big in selfdriving deliveries

first_img © 2019 AFP Citation: SoftBank fund invests big in self-driving deliveries (2019, February 11) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-softbank-fund-invests-big-self-driving.html A Silicon Valley startup working on self-driving delivery vehicles on Monday announced nearly a billion dollars in fresh funding from the SoftBank Vision Fund. Robotic startup Nuro, which launched its autonomous delivery service last year with supermarket chain Kroger, is set to expand after getting some $1 billion in financing The $940 million in financing from SoftBank brought the total amount of funding raised by Nuro to more than $1 billion, with investors including Greylock Partners and Gaorong Capital, according to the company.The move comes amid surging interest in robotic delivery from a range of companies from small startups to retail giant Amazon.”We’ve spent the last two and a half years building an amazing team, launching our first unmanned service, working with incredible partners and creating technology to fundamentally improve our daily lives,” Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson said in a release.”This partnership gives us the opportunity to take the next step in realizing our vision for local commerce and the broad application of our technology.”Last year, Nuro—which includes team members who came from Google, Waymo, Apple, Uber, Tesla, and General Motors— began testing its boxy, driverless delivery vehicles in Arizona in a partnership with the large grocery store chain Kroger.The service lets people place online orders and have them delivered by the robotic vehicles, which operate independently by are followed to make sure all goes to plan.”Nuro’s world-class team has successfully scaled their self-driving technology out of the lab and into the streets,” SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner Michael Ronen said in the release.Nuro planned to use the funding to expand its delivery service to new locations, increase its fleet of vehicles, and make new alliances.The SoftBank fund, led by Japanese entrepreneur Masayoshi Son, has set a goal of investing at least $100 billion promising new technologies.center_img Explore further Kroger to test grocery deliveries with driverless cars 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

Help us help Tamil Nadu

first_imgCOMMENTS November 26, 2018 SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE Dear Reader,It has taken some time for the full extent of the damage wrought by Cyclone Gaja, which hit parts of central Tamil Nadu in mid-November, to become clear. The enormous scale of the destruction has moved us to seek your help in alleviating the suffering.The Hindu Group reaches out to you to join hands in the task of raising funds in aid of the victims of this calamity. Please donate to ‘The Hindu Relief Fund’; the money we collect will be made over to the ‘Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund’. Contributions may be made in INR by crossed cheque or demand draft (payable in Chennai) drawn in favour of ‘The Hindu Relief Fund’. The covering letter should mention the name, PAN (if any) and postal address of the donor.Please send your contributions to: ‘The Hindu Relief Fund’, Kasturi Buildings, 859-860 Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002.Bank transfers may be made in favour of ‘The Hindu Relief Fund’, to Central Bank of India, Mount Road branch, Chennai (826 Tarapore Towers, Anna Salai). IFSC: CBIN0280879. Current Account No. 3453685237. Those doing so should send an email (or a written intimation by post) with the donor’s name and postal address with PAN (if any), along with the UTR number as reflected in the bank passbook, by email to helptamilnadu@thehindu.co.in , or by post to the above address. Unless these details are provided, it will be very difficult for us to issue a receipt.It is important that those sending money by cheque, demand draft, or bank transfer provide personal details in the following format.Name:PAN (if any):Contribution amount:Postal address with pincode:Bank transfer/cheque/DD no:Donations are eligible for exemption under Section 80-G of The IT Act vide order DIT (E) No: 2 (398)/ 2000-01, dated December 7, 2015.Editor COMMENT cyclones Tamil Nadu Published onlast_img read more