LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Neptune Theatre director Jeremy Webb is calling for actors to stop putting their height, weight and other measurements on their resumes. (CBC) “I need to know that they are engaged, talented, motivated, that they have the skills, the singing range, the dancing ability, the acting ability, to do the job.”Start of broader discussionWebb said the stories of sexual harassment emerging from the industry against director Harvey Weinstein and others are starting a more serious conversation about what’s acceptable.Jeremy Webb looks at his Facebook post from Nov. 16. (CBC)“To get into that unnecessary private information about a person’s body type should not have a bearing on whether or not you get a role,” Webb said.“In the same way that accepting a Hollywood movie executive’s invitation to go to a hotel room late at night should not have a bearing on whether you get a role … that kind of stuff just cannot happen.”READ MORE Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Neptune Theatre’s new artistic director is pushing for an end to the “archaic” practice of listing an actor’s height, weight and other measurements on resumes.Jeremy Webb posted to Facebook on Thursday about the issue, asking actors and agents to remove the numbers.“It’s 2017 and I do not need to know an actor’s chest size when casting them for a role. I don’t need to know their waist size,” Webb told the CBC’s Maritime Noon on Friday. Advertisement Twitter
I leave the answer to the audience. We can learn from the masters, but can we become one?DIRECTOR’S BIO: Neal Thibedeau is a Southern California Native, educated at Chapman University and the American Film Institute, where he fostered his love of storytelling. He now lives in the South Bay with his wife/muse and his two rowdy dogs, while writing, directing, editing, and sometimes shooting projects. This past year he had INTERSECTION (edited by) at over a hundred film festivals, a number of produced projects for El Rey Network, and he just directed his first TV pilot ‘Homeroom’, about an alcoholic Special Ed Teacher.BECOMING ICONIC represents his first foray into directing documentary.FILM: BECOMING ICONICWHAT WERE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES YOU FACED DURING THE FILM?The crew didn’t want us to feature them in the documentary. So every shot had to be done from the shadows (figuratively and sometimes literally).WHAT APPEAL DO YOU THINK YOUR FILM WILL HAVE FOR AUDIENCESIt asks the universal question:Can you manifest your own heightened destiny?andWhat role does fate have in Becoming Iconic?WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CREATOR?I don’t have a choice. Either I get these things out of me in a creative way or they will tear me apart from the inside. It’s my therapy and my connection to the people around me.WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NEXT?I just finished a Pilot for my Television show ‘Homeroom’ about an alcoholic Special Education teacher. It’s a comedy. (http://nthibedeau.wixsite.com/homeroom)WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING FILMMAKERS?You better love it. There are a lot easier ways to make money, so if this is the ONLY thing you can picture yourself doing, then keep at it. It can feel like a Sisyphean occupation, but the rewards are worth what it takes to achieve something. I had one teacher in film school who was honest about how hard it is. I think you have to go into it with eyes open.WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 FAVOURITE FILMS OF ALL TIME?Trainspotting. Requiem for a Dream. Cool Hand Luke.IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR FILM IN THREE WORDS … WHAT WOULD THEY BE?You Become IconicIF YOU COULD RESHOOT ANY FILM MADE IN THE PAST 20 YEARS, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE IT?Never never. I can’t insult any of the films i love by remaking them.WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS? (AND WHY)Several Film School teachers changed the way I viewed storytelling, and made me serious about my craft. Both were teachers at Chapman University, Everett Lewis, and Joel Moffett.WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL SHOWTIMES:DECEMBER 1, 2017, 5:30 PM – SLCCDECEMBER 2, 2017, 12:30 PM – SLCCGET YOUR TICKETS AT: https://whistlerfilmfestival.com/film/becoming-iconic/SYNOPSIS: This feature length documentary that contains interviews with some of Hollywood’s most iconic directors talk about and with Jonathan Baker . The film explores the process of filmmaking from the ground up through the eyes of top directors as they tell their story of their first time making a feature film in the director’s chair. Then Jonathan takes the chair after listening to their advice and gives his advice though making his film INCONCEIVABLE. Nicolas Cage Jodie Foster Faye Dunaway Warren Beatty Taylor Hackford Adrian Lyne John Badham Jonathan Baker Becoming Iconic GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL TODAY NEAL THIBEDEAU, DIRECTORDIRECTOR’S STATEMENT: Just over a year ago, I set off to Cincinnati on an adventure; to follow a director making his first feature, with A-list talent – INCONCEIVABLE.I found so much more than a movie in Ohio. I found an existential question: what does it mean to be an icon, and what would it take for someone to manifest their own iconic destiny? Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitter
APTN National News“Celebrating our Peoples.”This is the name of APTN’s tour event.APTN has been touring Canada with that message to celebrate 11 years of being on air.British Columbia’s lieutenant-governor hosted a reception for APTN in Victoria.APTN National News reporter Wayne Roberts was there to get in on the celebration.
APTN National NewsOTTAWA–The federal Conservative government has a weak grasp of the tar sands’ environmental impact, according to the federal environmental watchdog.Scott Vaughan, the commissioner on the environment and sustainable development, says the government’s management of the Alberta tar sands ranges from poor to non-existent.“They don’t know the effects on water quality, they don’t know the impact on ground water, they don’t know the impacts of contaminants downwind or downstream,” said Vaughan, during a press conference Tuesday. “There (are) questions about the impact on wild species such as caribou, the impact of forest fragmentation, so the list of what they don’t know goes on and on.”Vaughan says the existing tar sands monitoring system is not credible, but his report issued no recommendations because the government already has a plan in place to fix these problems.Nova Scotia NDP MP Megan Leslie said further tar sands development should be put on hold until the government puts an adequate management regime in place.“We can look at how to develop tar sands sustainably,” said Leslie. “It is possible, but we need to take a step back, think about it, figure out where we’re going with it, because right now failure to manage the oil sands in a sustainable way has given us an international black eye.”Vaughan’s 80 page report is also critical of Canada’s climate change goals.The environmental audit found Canada is failing to meet greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol.Canada’s emissions in 2008 were 31 per cent higher than the Kyoto target, according to the report.Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who is also a B.C. MP, says it’s hypocritical for the Conservative government to claim to be tough on crime to flaunt Kyoto’s targets.“This is where I would like someone to demand they get tough on crime,” said May. “It’s time for Canadians to say to their government, ‘if you want to see where we want to get tough on crime, it’s when you break your own laws to protect our children’s futures.”
APTN National NewsA man on the White Dog First Nation in Ontario is on what he is calling a “dialysis strike” until his band changes the way it operates.Ricky MacDonald hasn’t eaten in more than a week either.MacDonald alleges his band is corrupt and is mismanaging the community.And he won’t go back on the life saving treatment until something changes.APTN’s Shaneen Robinson now with more.
(RCMP officers intervened at a hockey game in Thompson, Man., Sunday.)APTN National News THOMPSON, Man.–A player with the Thompson King Miners is disputing claims a fracas that forced the premature end to a hockey game and intervention by local Thompson, Man., RCMP on Sunday was triggered by racism.Lucas Hanlon, 17, plays right wing for the Midget AA Thompson, Man., hockey team which played back to back games against a team from Norway House, Man., this past weekend. The RCMP was called to the second game on Sunday after a melee broke out in the stands.A player for the Norway House Northstars team and two parents told APTN National News Tuesday morning that some Thompson fans hurled racial epithets at the Norway House team. They also said one player was confronted by three Thompson fans, two men and a woman, who used racial slurs. They also claimed one Norway House player had his helmet cracked by a slash to the head.Hanlon, however, is disputing those claims. He said things came to boil in the arena after some confusion surfaced following a penalty shot when parents and fans from Norway House began yelling at the referee which drew in the Thompson side who started yelling back.“They had been yelling at the refs from what I could see,” said Hanlon. “Then the Thompson parents began yelling at them for yelling at the ref.”Hanlon said things began to escalate following a couple of scrums at the Norway House net as the Thompson team began to pull ahead 3-2 in the second period. They were trailing 2-1 after the first period. Hanlon said he was cross-checked in the facemask by a Norway House player who was ejected and given a five minute major.With a Norway House player in the penalty box in place of the ejected player, the referees called a penalty shot after a Thompson player was hacked down during a rush, said Hanlon. The Thompson player scored on the penalty shot, but the Norway House side expected the player in the box to be let out.“That’s not the case because the penalty shot is a penalty in and of itself,” said Hanlon, who also referees minor hockey. “That is when things flew out of hand.”Hanlon claims that the ejected Norway House player then went into the Thompson side of the stands, a crowd gathered and a punch may have been thrown. By this time officials called the RCMP and the game ended.Hanlon said the RCMP escorted both teams separately out of the arena. The police also seized video of the game from a Shaw TV producer.“19 years of broadcasting hockey games, I have never had my footage become ‘exhibit c’ in the court of law,” tweeted producer Paul Andersen. “#norwayhousevsthompson.”Hanlon said overheated play on the ice spread to the stands causing the situation to get out of control.“It was messy. I just disagree with the comments of prejudice. I am a Metis player myself. We have a lot of Aboriginal players on our team,” said Hanlon. “We have just as many people with Aboriginal roots in our community as anywhere else.”Hanlon said he didn’t hear any racial taunts hurled at the Norway House players. He said the Norway House fans called him “white trash.” He said racial slurs are hurled by both sides during games.“You get kind of used it from playing against those teams for so long. It happens both ways. I personally don’t because I come from both backgrounds,” he said.Hanlon said he didn’t see anyone get slashed in the head with enough force to crack a helmet.Hanlon said many in the Thompson hockey community are now worried the planned Rogers Hometown Hockey tour stop scheduled for the community on March 7 and 8 may be scuttled because of the bad press stemming from the weekend’s incident.“There is a lot of talk that they may pull out now because of what was going on with comments made by APTN,” he said. “It doesn’t seem fair to lose something like that over a conflict that happened between us with another team that went both ways. Both teams were giving it to each other…I know most of our players couldn’t say anything about Aboriginals because they are Aboriginal.”APTN could not on Tuesday evening reach Norway House’s coach, the parents or the player who initially made the allegations.APTN could not reach the head coach of the Thompson King Miners Tuesday evening. The head coach was out of town during the weekend game which was handled by two assistants.NorMan hockey league officials did not return a request for email@example.com@APTNNews
(50-year-old Marlon “Roland” Jerry McKay died in a Thunder Bay police cell Wednesday. Photo courtesy of the family)APTN National NewsOntario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating the death Marlon “Roland” Jerry McKay, 50, who was being held in a Thunder Bay jail cell Wednesday night.The family has confirmed that McKay, from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, was in the city for medical reasons.According to the SIU statement, Thunder Bay police officers responded to a call at an address on Fort William Road around 7:45 pm on Wednesday.It’s not clear why McKay became involved with Thunder Bay police but the SIU statement said it was “to deal with an individual.”Emergency medical personnel were also present and medically cleared McKay.McKay was taken to the Thunder Bay police station where he was lodged in a cell.Shortly after midnight, police found him in the cell not breathing.McKay was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:30 am.McKay’s mother was notified of her son’s death by a doctor from the hospital a family member told APTN.According to the family, the autopsy will be completed Thursday. They also said the coroner told them a heart attack has been ruled out as a cause of death.Read the release here: SIUMcKay’s sister Celia Echum, traveled to Thunder Bay after she received the news from their mother.“I feel like there’s a void,” said Echum. “No answers from anyone right now,” Echum said through a private Facebook message on Thursday afternoon.McKay’s mother and other family members are expected to arrive in Thunder Bay on Friday from KI.Four investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the incident.The SIU investigates any interaction between the public and police when there is a death, serious injury, or sexual assault allegations against officers.The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about the investigation to contact the agency.Contact APTN National News here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent DriscollAPTN NewsIt was a full house for a meet-the-author event in Iqaluit over the weekend.Inhabit Media is the only independent publisher in the Arctic.Almost all of its titles are published in English and Inuktitut, and the company has more than 130 titles in its catalogue.APTN reporter Kent Driscoll has more from the Nunavut capital.
HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia pulp mill has been fined nearly $700 by the province after flunking a stack test in June, but the amount has the premier questioning whether it’s enough of a deterrent.Environment Minister Iain Rankin said Tuesday that Northern Pulp received the $697.50 summary offence ticket for failing to comply with the terms of its industrial approval.Rankin said the fine is part of a ministerial order requiring the mill to address the issues with its power boiler.“They have been in and out of compliance. There were three tests out of the last 10 were they were not in compliance, and I believe the time is now to step it up to the next level,” said Rankin.Rankin said the fine was appropriate, but he wouldn’t say whether he thought it was minuscule given the province is dealing with a large multi-national company. He said under current regulations, ministerial summary offence fines could run as high as $1,200.Premier Stephen McNeil wasn’t as reluctant to question the amount.“I think the first question, regardless of who it is, is $750 enough of a fine?” he said.McNeil said he has asked the department to review its summary fines as a result.“I think it’s an important time to look at those because there needs to be a deterrent. There needs to be a financial deterrent and I fully expect to hear from the minister and the department… Let them do their work and we’ll go from there.”The mill’s industrial approval requires it to operate within a measure of 150 milligrams per referenced cubic metre of particulate matter when stacks are tested, and the June test showed the power boiler tested at 224 milligrams.Under the minister’s order, the company will also be required to post stack test results on its web site.The Northern Pulp mill, located in Abercrombie Point near Pictou, is to undergo a scheduled shutdown this month and the order also requires it to provide detailed reports about planned maintenance and how it plans to bring the power boiler into compliance.Rankin said the order gives him the power to revoke the mill’s industrial permit. He was asked whether that was a possibility.“If they don’t come into compliance with the order of course that’s a possibility,” he said.The Environment Department issued directives and warnings for emissions from the mill’s power boiler that were over the limit in 2015 and 2016.The mill was also fined $697.50 in June of last year, but that was withdrawn after it was revealed there were technical errors with the tests, according to the department.Northern Pulp spent $35 million in 2015 on a new electrostatic precipitator to help deal with particulate in its stack.
CALGARY – Enbridge Inc. says it earned $765 million in its latest quarter compared with a loss a year ago.The pipeline company says the profit amounted to 47 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss of $103 million or 11 cents per share in the same quarter last year.On an adjusted basis, Enbridge says it earned $632 million or 39 cents per share for the quarter compared with an adjusted profit of $437 million or 47 cents per share a year ago.Revenue in the quarter amounted to $9.23 billion, up from $8.49 billion.Enbridge (TSX:ENB) says the largest driver of growth for the quarter were the natural gas, liquids and utility assets acquired in its takeover of Spectra Energy earlier this year.The company says it was also helped by stronger crude oil throughput on its Mainline system, new projects coming into service and stronger realized foreign exchange hedge rates.
ATHENS, Greece – Greece’s central bank chief says that the eight-year bailout program may be ending in August, but the crisis will only be over when the country can borrow from bond markets at sustainable rates.Yannis Stournaras also notes that bailout creditors’ decision in June to further ease Greece’s debt and bind future governments to fiscal sobriety will serve that purpose by boosting investor confidence.The yield on Greece’s benchmark 10-year bonds was just below 4 per cent Monday, from above 30 per cent at the height of the crisis.But Stournaras warned in a central bank report that Greece’s obligation to maintain high budget surpluses through 2060 will prove a major challenge.That, he added, was the price two future generations of Greeks must pay for past fiscal policy mistakes.
HONOLULU — A Hawaii-based burger chain has closed a Honolulu restaurant for cleaning after a video posted to social media appeared to show a rat being cooked on the grill.Teddy’s Bigger Burgers has closed the Mapunapuna location and fired two employees who appeared in the Snapchat video.Company president Richard Stula says in a statement they are investigating the authenticity of the video and are “horrified” by the employees’ conduct.Stula says equipment and utensils are being replaced at the restaurant that’s undergoing “a complete sanitization.”He says a corporate team will inspect and audit the restaurant before it can reopen.The state Department of Health is scheduled to inspect the fast-food restaurant on Mapunapuna Street on Friday.The Associated Press
GALVESTON, Texas — Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and the Port of Galveston plan to develop an $85 million terminal — the third for the cruise-popular city on the Gulf of Mexico.The Galveston County Daily News reports the partnership was announced Tuesday. The two groups are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding. The Wharves Board of Trustees, which governs the Port of Galveston, could approve a final agreement early next year.Port Director Rodger Rees said Tuesday that the third terminal could open by 2021 with an initial 20-year lease with Royal Caribbean. The cruise line would pay for the new terminal, planned at Pier 10 and also providing additional parking.Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line ships also serve Galveston, which has terminals at Pier 25 and Pier 27.___Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.comThe Associated Press
People on Social Security need a tax break. The rest of us need to make sure they get it — for everyone’s sake.When Congress made Social Security benefits taxable in 1983, lawmakers didn’t index the tax thresholds to inflation. They “forgot” inflation again when adding a second layer of taxation in 1993.That means the proportion of recipients who have to pay federal income taxes on their benefits keeps increasing. Initially, only 1 in 10 Social Security recipients had to pay any federal tax. Now, it’s over half.Not indexing to inflation is a sneaky way of boosting taxes . Lawmakers can count on growing federal revenue without the politically uncomfortable act of repeatedly voting for those increases.The taxes are based on combined income, which is a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income, plus any tax-exempt interest (such as interest on mutual bonds) and half of her Social Security benefit. Based on that:– Single people with combined income over $25,000 a year, or couples with over $32,000 a year, face taxes on up to 50 per cent of Social Security benefits.– Single retirees earning over $34,000 and couples earning over $44,000 may pay taxes on up to 85 per cent of benefits.Because of the way Social Security benefits are taxed, many middle-income retirees face a “tax torpedo,” where their marginal tax rate can more than double. (If you’ll have retirement savings of roughly $200,000 or more, consider talking to a tax professional or financial planner about how and when to claim Social Security benefits to minimize the tax effects.)In many cases, we’re punishing people who saved for retirement. That isn’t fair, and it isn’t smart.So we should demand Congress index Social Security taxation to inflation, right? Based on the 1983 threshold numbers, that would ensure that only singles making over about $64,000 year, and couples making over $82,000 a year, would have to pay taxes on their Social Security income.If only it were that simple.The money collected from these taxes goes to two specific places: the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Perhaps you’re starting to see the problem.Both trust funds are running short of cash and could be depleted in a few years. That doesn’t mean they’ll be bankrupt. It does mean they won’t be able to pay 100 per cent of promised benefits.Social Security’s retirement trust fund is expected to run dry in 2034, after which it would be able to pay only 75 per cent of the benefits that have been promised. Yanking away what amounts to 4 per cent of its revenue, which is what’s generated by taxing up to 50 per cent of benefits, would just hasten that day.Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund is in worse shape. The fund, which pays for inpatient hospital visits, skilled nursing, home health care and hospice, is forecast to be depleted in 2026, just a few years from now. The money raised from taxing Social Security benefits makes up 8 per cent of the revenue going into the fund.So fixing the stealth tax will require fixing Social Security and Medicare as well.Proposals to privatize or scrap these systems face strong political opposition. Plus, the proponents can’t guarantee that future generations would be better off. Shoring up the current systems, by contrast, would ensure that today’s workers get the benefits they’ve been promised.That almost certainly means those of us who are still working will pay in one way or another. We could fix the problem virtually overnight by raising the Social Security tax rate by 1.415 per cent to 7.615 per cent and increasing the Medicare tax rate by 0.32 per cent to 1.77 per cent . (Employers would pay an equal amount, since payroll taxes are split between workers and employers.)More likely, tax increases would be phased in over time and combined with other changes, such as raising the full retirement age and lifting or eliminating the current cap on how much of our earnings are taxed. (The current 6.2 per cent Social Security tax applies only to the first $128,700 of annual earnings in 2018, while the 1.45 per cent Medicare tax applies to all earnings.) You can experiment with possible solutions using the American Academy of Actuaries’ Social Security Game .Few of us are excited about paying more taxes, but shoving the burden onto retired people who’ve already paid their dues simply isn’t right. Making the system more fair could benefit all of us, now and in the future._______________________________________This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet . Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and the author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com . Twitter: @lizweston.Related links:Taxes: NerdWallet https://nerd.me/2Cj0KL2The Social Security game http://socialsecuritygame.actuary.org/Liz Weston, The Associated Press
Taxidermists and tanners may still work on legally possessed grizzly bear parts that were harvested or collected before hunting of grizzly bear was closed or grizzly bear parts that were harvested or collected outside of British Columbia.The requirement for a hunter to collect edible portions will include taking neck and rib meat, in addition to the four quarters and loins.Also, the requirement to remove the edible portions will apply to the cougar, in addition to mule (black-tailed) deer, white-tailed deer, fallow deer, moose, elk, mountain sheep, mountain goat, caribou, bison and black bear.While hunting, hunters will be required to carry the species’ licences obtained or held for the current licence year, including cancelled and uncancelled licences, and produce these licences upon request of a conservation officer. VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province is amending Wildlife Act regulations to enforce the closure on the grizzly bear hunt, increase the amount of meat a hunter retrieves from big game species and require hunters to carry all their species licences during a hunting trip.The changes come into effect April 1, 2018.To help enforce the ban on all grizzly bear hunting, taxidermists and tanners will be required to report information about any grizzly bears or grizzly bear parts brought to them. Mandatory components of the report include evidence establishing legal possession, such as a licence or permit. Failure of a taxidermist or tanner to submit a report within 10 days of acquiring any grizzly bear parts will result in a violation ticket of $230.
On the hood of the vehicle is large “50” written in white on a black background.The Fort St John RCMP is asking anyone with information about this incident or location of any of the vehicles to call Cst Nicole CAMPBELL of the Fort St John RCMP at 250-787-8100 or attend the detachment during office hours at 10648 100th St, Fort St John, BC.If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1(800)222-8477.A second photo of the truck stolen from Archer CRM Partnership – RCMP a 2018 GMC Sierra pickup with BC licence plate MM3839,a 2018 black trailer with BC licence plate 85805U,a 2015 red Honda Side by Side with BC licence plate 10584X (4 seater) and,a 2017 red Honda Side by Side with an unknown BC licence plate (2 seater).The truck is very unique with “Archer” written in black on the side of the front door panel and a red and black checkered pattern on the rear door panel and onto the box of the truck. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John RCMP are investigating a break into the yard at Archer CRM Partnership on 109 street.At approximately 2 a.m. on June 27, thieves broke into the Archer yard and stole a truck, trailer and a pair of side by sides. The vehicles taken are described as:
Last year, in August 2018, the unemployment rate was 6.0 percent.Overall for B.C., the unemployment rate jumped from 4.4 percent in July to 5.0 percent in August, the second-lowest in Canada, after having the lowest unemployment rate for two years straight.According to Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the reason for the increase in the unemployment rate is because some sectors in B.C. are not feeling the benefits of the strong labour market and growing economy.Ralston says the Province remains dedicated to assisting workers in these industries. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Provincial unemployment data for the month of August has been released.The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw a slight increase last month of 0.6 percent, up to 5.5 percent when compared to July’s rate of 4.9 percent.The estimated number of people working in Northeast B.C. for August is at 39,600.
Washington DC: Space travel caused herpes viruses to reactivate in more than half of crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS), according to a NASA study, a finding that could jeopardise mankind’s future missions to Mars and beyond. While only a small proportion develop symptoms, virus reactivation rates increase with spaceflight duration and could present a significant health risk on future missions. “NASA astronauts endure weeks or even months exposed to microgravity and cosmic radiation — not to mention the extreme G forces of take-off and re-entry,” said Satish K Mehta at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “This physical challenge is compounded by more familiar stressors like social separation, confinement and an altered sleep-wake cycle,” said Mehta. To study the physiological impact of spaceflight, researchers analyse saliva, blood and urine samples collected from astronauts before, during and after spaceflight. “During spaceflight there is a rise in secretion of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which are known to suppress the immune system,” said Mehta. “In keeping with this, we find that astronaut’s immune cells –particularly those that normally suppress and eliminate viruses — become less effective during spaceflight and sometimes for up to 60 days after,” he said. In the midst of this stress-induced amnesty on viral killing, dormant viruses reactivate and resurface, according to the research published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. “To date, 47 out of 89 (53 per cent) astronauts on short space shuttle flights, and 14 out of 23 (61 per cent) on longer ISS missions shed herpes viruses in their saliva or urine samples,” said Mehta. “These frequencies — as well as the quantity — of viral shedding are markedly higher than in samples from before or after flight, or from matched healthy controls,” he said. Overall, four of the eight known human herpes viruses were detected. These include the varieties responsible for oral and genital herpes (HSV), chickenpox and shingles (VZV) — which remain lifelong in our nerve cells — as well as CMV and EBV, which take permanent but uneventful residence in our immune cells during childhood. CMV and EBV, are two viruses associated with causing different strains of mononucleosis or the “kissing disease”. So far, this viral shedding is typically asymptomatic, researchers said. “Only six astronauts developed any symptoms due to viral reactivation. All were minor,” said Mehta. However, continued virus shedding post flight could endanger immunocompromised or uninfected contacts on Earth, like newborns.
Dhubri (Assam): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched the TMC’s poll campaign in Assam on Friday and attacked Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s “key person” in the northeast, claiming her government has proof that “he had received Rs 3 crore” from the owner of Sarada, a firm embroiled in ponzi scam. The Trinamool Congress chief also claimed that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill are “two lollipops” being doled out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “fool” the people of Assam. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja Addressing the election rally in Dhubri, Banerjee said the TMC has decided to contest in Assam after “40 lakh people were excluded” from the NRC. “We will contest in nine Lok Sabha seats in Assam. We have made a start. Do not consider us weak,” she said. Hitting out at Narendra Modi, the TMC chief said the prime minister talks about chit funds in West Bengal, but it is the state government which has exposed and arrested those involved in the ponzi scam. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway “Sarada’s owner has said he had given Rs 3 crore in cash to Assam Minister Sarma and I have documentary evidence which I have brought with me,” Banerjee said, waving a document at the rally. “Has Modi taken action against him? Have you arrested him?” she asked. The TMC chief handed over the paper to the party’s Dhubri nominee Nurul Islam Choudhury, saying, “Our candidate will show it to you so that you can move court armed with this document.” Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is a key person for the BJP in the northeast, the party’s national general secretary Ram Madhav had said last month. Sarma is also the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the regional platform of the NDA. Banerjee claimed that the NRC had left out the names of 40 lakh people and it was only the Trinamool Congress that stood beside these people irrespective of their religion. “Within two days after the NRC list was announced, I sent a team of my party to Assam. We were not allowed to go out of the airport and harassed,” she said, adding no political party supported the people who were left out, but “we were always with them”. “Not only Muslims, names of 22 lakh Hindus and also Gorkhas, Biharis, Tamils and people from Kerala and Rajasthan have been left out from the NRC. We are fighting to get their names included,” Banerjee said. She accused the BJP of plays politics of religion to polarise voters. “Do you know why Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims are kept divided in Assam? It is because if you unite, the BJP will become a minority,” the TMC chief claimed. “Our people are being threatened. Five Bengalis were gunned down after the NRC while many people committed suicide as names of some members of their families have been excluded,” she said. Greeting the people of Assam for the forthcoming Rongali Bihu festival, she said people of Assam and Bengal enjoy a close relationship since time immemorial with “people from Assam being always welcomed in our state”. Banerjee asserted that her party does not play politics of religion, caste or class and “we cannot be bought by money, fear or threat. We are not scared of the expiry Prime Minister Modi babu”. “All those who have come to the country before March 25, 1971, are citizens of the country and have voting rights. What is the BJP saying now? They will bring the Act and make you a foreigner… you will be deprived of basic rights, including education, health, visiting your places of worship and even voting rights,” she added. Accusing Modi of “always fooling the people”, she said, “Five years ago he called himself a ‘chaiwala’, but now he has forgotten how to make tea and become a ‘chowkidar’ to siphon off poor peoples’ money and give it to the rich.” Striking a chord with the people of Assam, she said the West Bengal government is considering to take over singer Bhupen Hazarika’s house in Kolkata and rename a road after the music maestro to keep his legacy alive. “I and the people in West Bengal remember all his songs and we have offered to procure his home which is a private property,” Banerjee added.