Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, March 9, 2018 – Kingston – The allocation to the Ministry of National Security for fiscal year 2018/19 has increased by 23.4 per cent, moving to $78.5 billion up from $63.6 billion in 2017/18.Opening the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 8, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, said the increase will facilitate the provision of machinery and equipment, and implementation of physical infrastructure and social-intervention programmes.Mr. Shaw said projects to be undertaken in the new fiscal year include construction of new facilities for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); expansion of crime-fighting training facilities; building and improvement of several correctional facilities; procurement of motor vehicles and other specialised equipment to respond to both physical threats and cyberattacks; and continuation of social-intervention initiatives.He said the Government has identified national security and the rule of law as among the main strategic priorities for fiscal year 2018/19 and for the medium-term.The theme of the Minister’s presentation was ‘Stability, Growth and Prosperity – Our Goal, Our Responsibility’.Release: JIS Related Items:
San Diego joins lawsuit to clean up Tijuana River Valley FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom, Updated: 3:59 PM “San Diego’s natural environment is what makes our region so special and we’re going to keep fighting to preserve it,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We’ve made this a priority in meetings with federal agencies in both the U.S. and Mexico, and now we must force the government’s hand to ensure it takes action. This gives us a new tool in the battle against sewage and trash that flows across the border and into our waterways. I thank the City Council, Councilmember Moreno and City Attorney Elliott for their work on this issue.” Posted: January 29, 2019 KUSI Newsroom In December, Councilmember Moreno issued a memo requesting for Council to hear the options for joining a lawsuit on the Tijuana River Valley. Her memo was in response to the most recent sewage spill that began last month and continues to release millions of gallons of sewage daily, SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council has voted in closed session to join a lawsuit brought against the International Boundary and Water Commission by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.The suit alleges the commission has violated the Clean Water Act by allowing the continuous flow of sewage, chemical waste and plastic pollution into the Tijuana River. A press release from Mayor Faulconer announcing the lawsuit is pasted below:San Diego Joins Lawsuit to Clean Up Tijuana River ValleyLEGAL MOVE AIMS TO PROMPT FEDERAL ACTION ON LONGSTANDING SEWAGE, SEDIMENT AND TRASH ISSUES IN SOUTH BAYSan Diego – Following calls for legal action from Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and City Councilmember Vivian Moreno, the City Council voted unanimously in closed session Tuesday in favor of joining the State lawsuit against the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) over the contamination occurring in the Tijuana River Valley, Tijuana River Estuary and the Pacific Ocean. For years, the USIBWC has failed to properly manage and operate its wastewater treatment facilities. As a result, sewage, sediment and trash from the Tijuana River Valley have affected local beaches and coastal waters, prompting frustration and public health concerns. Categories: Health, Local San Diego News In October 2017, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott served notice of the City’s intention to sue. Following today’s decision, the City Attorney’s Office will now begin working with the State Attorney General and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to prepare for trial. The court has set the trial date for April 13, 2020. “One of the first actions I took as a Councilmember was to request that the City join the lawsuit,” Councilmember Moreno said. “The discharge of sewage has been a threat to the health and safety of our residents for far too long. We must hold our federal government accountable and also send a strong message that the South Bay will not be a dumping ground.” January 29, 2019 The lawsuit against the USIBWC was filed in September 2018 on behalf of the people of the State of California, by and through the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The State Lands Commission intervened in December 2018 and is now also party to the lawsuit.“The pollution in the Tijuana River Valley is a disgrace, and I’m proud of this Mayor and City Council for fighting back against the federal government’s persistent disregard for our community’s health,” City Attorney Elliott said. “Joining the Regional Water Quality Control Board lawsuit represents San Diego’s best chance at a comprehensive solution to this troubling problem.”
Speeding to the future The myriad benefits of high-speed rail go far beyond the strict monetary alternative to cars and planes. For one thing, most high-speed trains are electric, and as energy generation moves away from fossil fuels, this means rail becomes significantly greener than airplanes or cars — which is why Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez included it as part of the Green New Deal. Then there are the benefits to the communities along the route, and the jobs created during construction and during use. These benefits are something many other countries have seen, not least China, which in 10 years has gone from essentially no high-speed rail, to more high-speed rail than the rest of the world combined. No doubt these are expensive projects, and historically, only public money and support has made them possible. It will be interesting to see, as the projects above progress, if that’s still the case or if private investment is indeed possible. Best case, they all come to fruition and there will be multiple options for cities and states to add high-speed rail. Worst case? They don’t, or the government has to nationalize them (again). As a big fan of trains, I’m obviously hoping for the former. Count me in for a ride on opening day on each and every one. Share your voice Aug 6 • Trump says he’s watching Google ‘very closely,’ slams CEO Sundar Pichai California Both alphabetically and monetarily, this is the first project we should discuss. Running, in theory, from Northern California to Southern, linking Sacramento and San Francisco to Los Angeles and a few points in between, the California High Speed Rail is already well over budget and behind schedule. Despite my love for high-speed rail, and being a California resident, I was never impressed or optimistic about this project. Having now researched it significantly more for this article I’m… well, more neutral I guess. The pros probably outweigh the cons, mostly.The issue is there are lots of easily identifiable negatives. High-speed rail detractors love to point this project as a glowing example of why the whole idea of high-speed rail is bad. I suppose that’s true of any new rail project, and more so with this one given how expensive it’s become. On the negative side, even at the very high speeds the project is hoping for, it will still take 2 hours, 40 minutes to get from Union Station in LA to downtown San Francisco. It’s only 1.5 hours to fly, so even considering travel to and from airports, that’s nearly a wash. It’s hard to believe they’ll be able to keep ticket prices low enough to compete with airfare, which is often around $60 (roughly £45 or AU$85) each way. California HSR Authority says they’re aiming for an average price of $93 to get from San Francisco to LA, in today’s dollars. This is about 50 percent higher than a flight, but still in the “ballpark.” Personally I’d pay an extra $30 not to fly, and hopefully others will find the premium acceptable too. Now playing: Watch this: Tags 29 Photos Aug 6 • President Trump wants social media to catch shooters before they strike. It’s going to be hard For more about why it’s so challenging to have higher speeds on this route, and really why high-speed trains are difficult throughout the US, check out this previous explainer about why US trains are so complicated. Texas The Texas Central Railway is another private venture, this time aiming to connect Dallas and Houston in under 90 minutes. Driving would take at least 3.5 hours. The most interesting aspect of this project is the rolling stock: Japanese Shinkansen trains. Specifically, a variant of the N700 Series already in use throughout Japan. Most recently, the TCR has selected Spain’s Renfe to be the train operator (PDF). Initially it’ll offer technical advice on design and construction of the system, then once it’s up and running, it’ll “run the trains; maintain system components, such as the engines, signals and other equipment; oversee ticketing, passenger loyalty programs and other services.”It’s hoping for departures every 30 minutes, a top speed of 200 mph, ticket prices lower than airfare, and to open in the mid-2020s. Since, barring unforeseen delays, that will beat California’s high-speed rail by years, this will likely be the first “true” high-speed rail system in the US by any definition. Railroads need land, however, and so far Texas Central is having problems procuring it. The project is involved in a legal battle that could prevent it from being able to conduct surveys and acquire property. Referring to the problems, a Texas Central representative told CNET “Texas Central disputes that, saying it is having increasing success in securing land options.” See All Are US trains really that bad? It’s complicated Charger into the future: Inside Amtrak’s new 4,400 hp locomotive I crossed 3 countries in 14 hours on 4 trains and a bus. And I’m not dead. Here’s what it’s like to travel 8 hours across Japan by train From steam to Shinkansen: The massive machines of the Kyoto Railway Museum 28:48 Politics Sci-Tech Roadshow Jul 28 • Apple’s Q3 earnings are all about the iPhone 11 hints 47 Comments Read more about trains Japan has the Shinkansen. France has the TGV. Spain has AVE. China has more high-speed rail than the rest of the world combined. America has… the Acela Express. All 16 stops of it in one section of the country. It reaches its top speed of 150 miles per hour (241 kph) just for a few minutes in one short section, and even that speed is pokey compared to other countries. The Shanghai Maglev reaches 268 mph.But things are changing. Despite significant uphill battles, high-speed rail is coming to other parts of the country. Even the Acela is undergoing improvements that should make the service faster and more convenient. And high-speed rail is one of the principal pillars of the Green New Deal drafted by liberal House Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It proposes to overhaul the “transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible,” with high-speed rail as one of the main investments. This article doesn’t speculate on lofty goals like that. It’s not about proposed dream projects, like maglevs and hyperloops, nor is it a list of feasibility studies or “hey, we should check out high-speed rail” legislative initiatives. Instead, I’m going to tackle actual projects either in progress or seemingly about to begin. How high is high-speed? The answer to this question isn’t as obvious as it seems. Title 49, subsection V, Part D, Chapter 261(c) of the US code says “sustained speeds of 125 mph or greater.” Other countries would call that “adorable” and “200 kph.” Even other portions of the US government say 150 mph or greater. For our purposes, we’ll go with anything above 125. This is faster than traditional trains, and given the limitations of the tracks throughout the US, a pretty reasonable increase in speed. Also, an article just about US trains capable of over 150 mph would be super short. Other parts of the country are working on improving their “regular” rail so that it’s a bit faster, like Chicago and elsewhere, but that’s for another article. Nevada (and California) A rail link between Los Angeles and Las Vegas has been in the works, on and off, for years. A company called XpressWest got the farthest in the process, and in September it was purchased by Brightline (yep, same one). This is another hard sell, since the current plans only get them from Las Vegas to Victorville. Victorville is Los Angeles as much as Philadelphia is Manhattan. So your average LA resident would need to get to Victorville, nearly two hours by car, then board a train for Brightline’s estimate of two hours to Las Vegas. A flight takes just over an hour, or alternately, it’s a fantastic drive in the same amount of time. There are other desert cities near Victorville, of course, so the trains probably won’t be empty. But as you can probably guess, the idea is to link up to the California regular and eventual high-speed rail network and go all the way to LA’s Union Station. It expects to begin construction this year, with initial service in 2022. Seems optimistic, but I wish it luck.Though no rolling stock has been decided yet, it wouldn’t be surprising if XpressWest plans to use Siemens Chargers since that’s what Brightline is using in Florida, and Siemens is already building a bunch in its California plant for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner route. Northeast Corridor (New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and DC) The Acela Express was America’s first, and arguably only, high-speed rail. I say “arguably” because in most parts of the world a top speed of 150 mph, and average speed less than half that, hardly qualifies as “high-speed.” It connects Boston to DC with 14 stops along the way, including New York and Philadelphia. The speeds are almost entirely due to limitations on the tracks and other infrastructure, which is why Amtrak has extensive plans for upgrading the tracks it owns, as well as working with states along the route to improve the non-Amtrak sections. The Acela trains were always far more capable than the tracks they were on, so even seemingly small improvements like raising speeds on a 30 mph section to 50 mph will reap big benefits overall. Many of the improvements will also benefit standard rail service in the area as well. Amtrak is also getting new trains, due in service in 2021. These high-tech models from Alstom are capable not just of higher speeds, but have better tilt capabilities, so they’ll be faster on the slower sections compared to the current trains. If the infrastructure improvements go as planned, new top speeds of 186 mph will be possible on some segments of the route. US Tech Policy US Tech Policy See trains from all over the world • As well as covering TV and other display tech, Geoff does these tours of cool museums and locations around the world including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, airplane graveyards and more. You can follow his exploits on Twitter, Instagram and on his travel blog BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel. Aug 7 • Trump’s emissions and fuel economy rollbacks will cost Americans money, study says Going beyond the normal benefits for high-speed rail, California HSR Authority intends for the entire system to run on 100 percent renewable energy to power the trains. Since traveling on these trains would mean fewer cars on the road and fewer passengers on airplanes, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions should be sizable. With work progressing in the, admittedly easier, Central Valley sections, I’ll be curious to see how this plays out over the next decade(s). Especially since our new governor is far less enthusiastic for the project than our previous governor. Regardless of what happens with the overall project, numerous improvements to the rail infrastructure throughout the state are already underway and will be highly beneficial. Florida Florida has the only private passenger train company in the US: Brightline. In November 2018 it announced it was rebranding as Virgin Trains USA, after Virgin took a minority stake. Hopefully that will turn out better for everyone than what happened on England’s East Cost Main Line. Florida had initially received federal grants to create more high-speed rail, but then governor Rick Scott rejected them in 2011. Some of this route was developed into Brightline. Brightline/Virgin Trains USA currently connects Miami to West Palm Beach, but is too slow to qualify as high speed. However, it’s working on expanding its system north, connecting to Orlando airport via Cocoa. Part of this route will have new tracks on a new right-of-way, allowing speeds up to 125 mph. It uses Siemens Chargers, which we checked out extensively when they were unveiled for the Pacific Surfliner route in Los Angeles. Along with other funding, it’s going public to help get the money it needs. The company has plans to connect to Tampa eventually as well. reading • Is high-speed rail in the US ever going to happen? Travelling 2,600 miles across Europe in a VW camper 14 Photos High-speed trains in the US
Share your voice Amazon,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. 4:00 Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. $210 at Best Buy Angela Lang/CNET Sarah Tew/CNET Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Now playing: Watch this: HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. See It The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Read Google Home Hub review See It Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) $155 at Google Express Read DJI Osmo Action preview Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) $6 at Tidal $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express Tags $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express $59 at eBay Rylo 7 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. $520 at HP Share your voice Chris Monroe/CNET Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. $999 Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) $60 at Best Buy Sarah Tew/CNET Apple iPhone XS Read the AirPods review DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) $999 Sarah Tew/CNET See at Amazon Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) 1 What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. $299 at Amazon Read the Rylo camera preview Amazon Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Amazon is expanding its Denver tech hub. Amazon Amazon is opening a new office in downtown Denver and adding 400 new high-tech jobs, the company said Tuesday. This expansion of its Denver hub will more than double Amazon’s tech workforce in the area. The e-commerce giant opened an office in Boulder last fall. The new jobs will be in fields such as software and hardware engineering, cloud computing and advertising.”We’re excited to continue to grow and invest in the Denver area,” said Dave Wood, site lead for Amazon’s Denver tech hub, in a statement. “Our new office will offer our teams the convenience of a downtown location with an array of outdoor adventures just up the road.”The Denver office will be part of a network of 17 development centers across North America, in addition to the company’s main headquarters in Seattle, Washington, and its future second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. These hubs employ more than 20,000 in total, according to Amazon. In November, Amazon said it’d build two 25,000-employee campuses: one in Long Island City in New York’s Queens borough and another in Arlington. In February, Amazon canceled its plans to build the New York City campus, but said it’d continue with the Virginia location. Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. See It $999 Turo See at Turo Best Buy Comment Sarah Tew/CNET Tags Sprint $999 Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Amazon kills plans for NYC headquarters DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. The Cheapskate Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) See it Comments Tech Industry Boost Mobile
Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) on Saturday said it will recall its second generation City sedan from the market for replacement of a certain part.The company’s City cars which were manufactured in 2007 and 2008 will be recalled for a repair in power window switch. Around 42,672 vehicle units will be taken back and the replacement will be done free of cost.”HCIL would carry out preventive part replacement of power window switch of 42,672 units of previous (2nd) generation Honda City, manufactured in the year 2007 and 2008,” the company said in a statement.HCIL also added that the third generation City cars which are currently in the market do not require any part replacement, and the company maintained that the present exercise has been carried out voluntarily. Owners of the vehicles will be contacted directly by dealerships across India about the recall.”Honda Cars India is carrying out the part replacement as part of a global exercise by Honda Motor Company to ensure stringent quality standards for its products,” the company added.Meanwhile, Honda’s US subsidiary will also recall around 143,000 units of its compact Fit hatchback cars for the correction of window switches that pose fire threats. The company will recall Honda Fits from the 2007 and 2008 model. This is the second fix for these particular Honda Fit models since January 2010.
About 15.8 million people are now on life-saving drugs to treat HIV infections which cause AIDS, a new UNAIDS report suggests. The report has been released ahead of World AIDS Day that falls on 1 December.The report reveals that countries have been complying with the UNs fast-track strategy to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and the progress in responding to HIV over the past 15 years has been extraordinary. In the last five years, the number of people on life-saving treatment has doubled while incidents of new cases have declined since 2000.By June 2015, UNAIDS estimates that 15.8 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005, the report said. At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that new HIV infections had fallen by 35% since the peak in 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% since the 2004 peak.Every five years we have more than doubled the number of people on life-saving treatment, Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director, said in a statement. We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding. He added that countries were gearing up to double the number of people accessing HIV treatment by 2020.The antiretroviral therapy has ensured a longer and healthier life for people with HIV infections, The life-changing benefits these drugs provide has led to the global number of people living with HIV to increase to 36.9m, as estimated by UNAIDS at the end of 2014. Once diagnosed, people need immediate access to antiretroviral therapy, the report said.In countries such as Kenya, Botswana, Iran and El Salvador, high-impact HIV prevention and treatment programmes, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, voluntary medical male circumcision and sexual and reproductive health services have shown remarkable results in reaching the HIV-infected people who had been left behind in treatment.Today, we have more HIV prevention options than ever before. And with better data, we can become better matchmakers, finding the right prevention options for the right people, Sidibe added. Everyone has the right to a long and healthy life. We must take HIV services to the people who are most affected and ensure that these services are delivered in a safe, respectful environment with dignity and free from discrimination.UNAIDS fast-track strategy aims at averting 21 million AIDS-related deaths, 28 million new HIV infections and 5.9 million new infections among children by 2030. Close
Police found the Honda City car in a damaged condition and the pole and railing uprooted from the road divider.IANSA young man and a woman were killed and two others were injured early on Sunday when their car hit an electric pole and railing at high speed in east Delhi’s Vivek Vihar area, police said.The accident occurred at 5.40 a.m. at Surya Nagar. The driver, identified as Lakhshye, 22, was detained.Police found the Honda City car in a damaged condition and the pole and railing uprooted from the road divider, Deputy Commissioner of Police Meghna Yadav said.The car’s four other occupants were identified as Keshav, 21, a resident of Kamla Nagar, Prabhjot Singh, 18, from Malkaganj, Arshpreet, 19, from Haryana’s Sirsa, and Rubal, 20.They were taken to GTB Hospital where Prabhjot and Rubal were declared dead, the officer added.”Prabhjot Singh was pursuing graduation from correspondence in DU. He worked in a call centre co-owned by Lakhshye in Kamala Nagar. Rubal was a student of Daulat Ram College. She was a native of Sirsa and best friend of Arshpreet,” she added.Keshav also works in the same call centre, she said.”Arshpreet is a student of Vivekanand College in DU and stays in a flat at Dilshad Garden. It was Arshpreet’s birthday celebration on Saturday night. All the friends first assembled at his flat and had a party where they consumed liquor heavily the entire night,” she said.”Later they all went for a joyride in Lakhshye’s car at 5 a.m. They also consumed liquor inside the car before it hit the divider, electric pole and signboards and turned turtle. Lakhshye who was at the wheel escaped major injury due to the airbag. He fled from the spot but later in the evening appeared before the investigators,” she added.”Lakhshye also received minor injuries. Some liquor bottles and cigarette packets were recovered from inside the car,” the officer added.”It appears that the driver was speeding and lost control of the car,” said a senior police officer.
Transport contractors and officials of the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation misappropriated hundreds of tonnes of fertiliser valued around Tk 2 billion from the 2015-16 to the 2016-17 fiscal.The contractors claimed they had taken the fertiliser to the buffer warehouse of the state-run BCIC in Santahar, Naogaon, but in reality there was no such fertiliser in the warehouse nor was it taken to the farmers.BCIC looks after the production, import and distribution of fertiliser through traders across the country.In its own probe report, BCIC charged Nabir Uddin Khan, a former BCIC official who was in-charge of the buffer stock warehouse, its former accountant Masudur Rahman, and six fertiliser transportation companies, for the misappropriation of Tk 2 billion worth of fertiliser.The companies are Bulk Trade International, Nabab and Company, Poton Traders, South Delta Shipping and Trading, Rex Motors, and Gramsico Limited.A seven-member team led by BCIC director Lutfar Rahman submitted the probe report to the BCIC chairman on 31 August last.According to the report, a total of 57,936.75 metric tonnes of fertiliser existed on paper with proof of import, transportation and stock, but no fertiliser could be found in the warehouse.BCIC chairman Shah Md Aminul Haq told Prothom Alo that BCIC officials with complicity of contractors filched the fertiliser worth Tk billions.The BCIC investigation report said that Nabir Uddin Khan was the in-charge of the warehouse in March, 2016 while receiving a consignment of fertiliser from the South Delta Shipping.Masudur Rahman took the charge of the warehouse after Nabir’s retirement.When the BCIC started the investigation, Masudur said Nabir embezzled the fertiliser carried by the South Delta Shipping and Trading. However, the BCIC headquarters then paid bills of truck transportation without verifying papers.BCIC deputy director Rezaul Karim, who granted the bills, said he did not notice any flaws in the papers.The Anti-Corruption Commission is also investigating BCIC’s fertiliser misappropriation.Meanwhile, BCIC director (commercial) Abdul Hye told Prothom Alo that Nabir and Masudur had complicity with transport contractors.The contractors carried no fertiliser to the warehouse but collected most of their transport bills.Executive officer of the South Delta Shipping and Trading Moshiur Rahman told Prothom Alo, ”The complaint that has been raised against us is baseless. We handed over the fertiliser to the (BCIC) officials and collected our bills accordingly.”Owner of a contractor company, Kamrul Ashraf Khan, also MP of Narsingdi-2 constituency said, ”We have proof that we carried the fertiliser to the warehouse. The fertiliser inside the warehouse isn’t our responsibility.”BCIC director Lutfar Rahman told Prothom Alo, ”We found in our investigation that a total of 57,936.75 metric tonnes of fertiliser didn’t enter the warehouse.”Masudur’s wife told Prothom Alo that her husband did not want to talk while Nabir could not be contacted after several attempts, but he is apparently a fugitive.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain
Easter is associated with currant-studded hot-cross buns and chocolatey eggs – foods that symbolize rebirth and renewal. But what about Judas cake? Or Judas beer? Or Judas bread?Judas Iscariot, the archvillain of Christianity who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, has an intriguing range of food and drink named after him – some traditionally consumed in the days leading up to Easter.Some of Judas’ namesake foodstuffs, like the Judas fig, were so christened thanks to dark medieval depictions, while others, like the fiery Judas ketchup and the ultrastrong Judas ale, have more playful contemporary roots. What binds them, though, is their association with blood and death and treachery.“Judas is mentioned 22 times across the four Gospels, but the only parts where he plays a key role are the Last Supper and at the Garden of Gethsemane, where he betrays Christ,” says Peter Stanford, author of Judas: The Most Hated Name in History. “Judas’ name has become easy shorthand for treachery. Take, for instance, the Judas Blond, a popular Belgian beer which my publishers gave me when the book was published. It looks very pale and weak, but it’s actually quite strong, so it’s treacherously hiding its strength.”In his book, Stanford, who is British, points to the popular English Easter confection called simnel cake (from the Latin for “fine flour”), which is sometimes referred to as Judas cake.“It’s a delicious fruit cake with layers of marzipan, and it dates back to the 13th century,” he says. “In the Victorian era, it was decorated with a circle of 11 marzipan balls to represent the apostles, sans Judas, of course. There was a double space left blank where the Judas ball is meant to be.”In recent years, bakers who feel that Judas has been punished enough have begun to boldly place a 12th ball on their simnel cakes. This act has opened them to charges of moral equivalence.But Stanford, who feels Judas has gotten a raw deal, is all approval.“If you read Matthew’s Gospel – and Matthew is the only one who gives us the detail of the 30 pieces of silver – he shows Judas feeling remorseful and going back to the temple to give the money back to the high priests,” Stanford says. “He wants to make atonement, and he is so guilt-ridden that he hangs himself. So he has paid his dues. On a theological level, too, if you believe God is all-powerful and that he sent his son to earth to be killed as part of a divine plan, the fact that Judas betrayed Jesus, unpleasant as it might be, is simply Judas doing God’s work. So, yes, he deserves his marzipan ball.”Others would agree. A few years ago, Peter’s Europa House, an upscale restaurant in Shohola, Pa., introduced an Easter-themed menu with dishes named after the 12 apostles. Along with Matthew’s Mozzarella, Bartholomew’s Surf & Turf and Philip’s Shrimp Cocktail, it has offered patrons a Judas Casserole and Judas’ Chicken.“I included Judas because he was one of the apostles,” says owner Peter Jajcay. “My personal belief is that he was one of the strongest apostles, which is why I didn’t want to leave him out. To be able to betray Jesus you have to be very strong. And, no, I’ve never had any negative feedback from my customers.”The story of Judas’ hanging spawned a pretty Czech Easter bun called the Judas rope. These plaited buns – called Jidáše in the plural – are made with flour, butter, milk and egg yolks, and are traditionally served along with honey for breakfast on Maundy Thursday to commemorate the Last Supper.Even legends about the tree that Judas hanged himself from have become a rich source of Judas namesakes, especially since accounts vary wildly about what kind of tree it was.“According to one popular European invention, it was the fig tree,” says Stanford. “Renaissance paintings of the Last Supper have a standard array of symbolic fruit, such as pomegranates, whose seeds recall the Resurrection; cherries, whose redness mark the blood of Christ that will soon be spilt; and the Judas fig, a foretaste of the traitor’s death.”But another legend has it that Judas hanged himself from an elder tree. Which is why a rubbery, brownish-pinkish, ear-shaped fungus that grows profusely on the live and dead branches of the elder is known as Judas’ Ear.“It’s supposed to be a manifestation of Judas’ unquiet spirit,” says Stanford. Cold and soft, it even has the texture of a human ear. And though it sounds unappealing, it tastes delicious in stir-fry, noodle soup and pad thai.For wine lovers, there’s the Judas Malbec, a rich, ripe and potent red from Mendoza, Argentina, and the mildly fizzy Sangue di Giuda, which translates as “Blood of Judas,” from Italy’s Lombardy region.From a rubbery fungus to an ale that “may tempt you to evil deeds,” foods named after Judas resonate with the dark characteristics of their namesake.“Christianity tends to paint the world in black and white terms, so we shuffle all the bad things onto Judas,” says Stanford. “And though we live in a time where conventional religious belief is fading – many people, for instance, might not be able to tell you the whole Easter story – when it comes to Judas, there’s no confusion. In football, when a player changes teams for a higher fee and appears on the field, there are chants of ‘Judas, Judas.’ When Bob Dylan was called Judas by a fan for abandoning his acoustic guitar for an electric one and thereby betraying folk music, he was absolutely furious. Forty years on, he was still furious about it. He may have overreacted, but it shows that Judas still has the power to wound.”Just ask Paul Hollywood, a judge on The Great British Bake Off (also known as The Great British Baking Show in the U.S.). Last year, when the BBC lost the beloved baking program to its rival, Channel 4, judge Mary Berry and the two pun-loving, blazer-wearing hosts, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, quit out of loyalty to the BBC.But Hollywood chose to stay on. Irate fans labeled him a Judas and accused him of chasing the dough rather than sticking with his mates.It should be noted that despite these angry charges, Hollywood’s recipe for simnel cake still calls for only 11 marzipan balls. Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
Illustrator Marcus Williams.The annual event known as Baltimore Comic-Con is an opportunity where a cult of artists, creators and writers come together to not be judged. Marcus Williams, an Atlanta, Georgia based illustrator is one of those unique individuals. His work is a representation of a diverse outlook on life.At Baltimore Comic-Con, you get a chance to dress like your favorite fictional character, or even as your alter-ego, in a no-judgment zone.Williams, 34, is a single Black father of two from San Diego, California, who currently resides in Atlanta. He once attended The Art Institute of Atlanta, but soon put his college life on hold to follow his dream as an illustrator. For the past 16 years he has been a professional freelance illustrator for comics and children’s books. In addition, he creates his own original characters. “My life has become drawing…that’s all i do,” said Williams in an interview with The AFRO. “I’m pretty much drawing all the time. When I’m eating, when I’m sleep and when I’m spending time with my kids”Williams added: “I illustrate things that I am passionate about. It’s just me drawing what I feel is cool, or what I wish I could see.”Williams maintains a blog at marcusthevisual.tumblr.com. One of Williams’ works on his blog is a comic he created called “Black Panther & Storm Heritage.” While not officially sanctioned by Marvel, the owner the Black Panther intellectual property, Williams’ creates his own story where the two main characters, who have a child and get divorced in the licensed comic book, stay together.“Those writers made them get a divorce, so I wanted to create a fan fiction that portrayed them still together,” said Williams. “It’s just the imagery. The imagery of showing a super hero black family that is powerful.”Williams is currently working on a comic called “Super Natural,” and “Super-Natural Boy.” No date is set for Super-Natural Boy yet, but his newest comic book called, “Super Natural Book 1,” will be published on September 28.“She’s going to deal with the police, she’s going to deal with the government, she’s going to deal with the media,” said Williams. “She’s new to our culture here in America, but since she’s powerful she’s going to be able to handle those entities much differently. I want to speak to that frustration.”This will not be Williams first time at the Baltimore Comic-Con convention. He will be drawing cats for guests and fans as he’ll turn their cat into a “hero cat” based off his illustrations he does for creator and writer, Kyle Puttkamer, called “Hero Cats of Stellar City.” The book allows an extensive group of cats with abilities to save their city as each cat gives off a distinct personality. “There’s not a lot of cat comic books out there…but there is a huge, huge, huge eagerish market for them, said Williams.”Williams also said: “We really don’t have to sell cats. People walk by our stand and say “Omg, hero cats!” Fanatics love cats already…we really don’t have to work too hard.”For more on “Hero Cats Of Stellar City” go to herocatscomic.com. Williams’ official website is marcusthevisual.com Baltimore Comic-Con will take place September 25-27.
D.C. Council member Vincent OrangeD.C. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At-Large) held a hearing recently on a bill he introduced that would help returning citizens learn skills to start and operate businesses.The hearing for the bill, which would create a $10 million operating fund, was held on Jan. 28. Called “The District of Columbia Incarceration to Incorporation Entreprenuership Program Act of 2015,” Orange’s bill calls for the Department of Employment Services and the Department of Small and Local Business Development to set up the program.The legislation calls for the University of the District of Columbia and its community college to offer courses to returning citizens on business subjects and GED attainment, and provide scholarships and grants to help pay for the classes. Orange said keeping returning citizens positively engaged is the way to avoid criminal activity.“Statistics have shown that within three years of coming home from prison, returning citizens will be re-arrested,” Orange said. “Stable employment is the key to keeping people out of prison and owning a business can be a part of that.”There are an estimated 60,000 District residents with criminal records. Studies and testimonies from returning citizens reveal that even though the city has tolerant laws and public policy towards them, it is difficult for returning citizens to find employment. Skeptical employers have cited possible criminal activity and not wanting to deal with stigmatized employees as reasons for not hiring returning citizens.Orange said returning citizens with stable jobs have a recidivism rate of only 7 percent as opposed to 51.8 percent according to U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics. The council member said that Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have programs similar to one he is proposing and they are considered national models of success.Orange’s legislation has the support of D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7). D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) likes the idea but is worried about program implementation. “The incarcerated population is the hardest to reach,” Allen said. “I don’t think DOES serves returning citizens well and I want to make sure that DOES works for everyone. There is no shortage of really good intentions in this city and I hope that it reaches individuals who can be set up for success.”A number of witnesses testified on Orange’s bill. No one voiced opposition to Orange’s concept but some had concerns about implementation and focus. “The bill could be improved by emphasizing cooperative businesses and should provide co-op specific business training,” said Eugene Puryear, director of field operations for the advocacy organization Justice First. Puryear wants Orange’s bill to include provisions to appoint a returning citizen on a panel that would oversee the program, to require a review by the council after its fifth year, and provide “a hard cap [on funding the program] on the initial appropriation [to] encourage program effectiveness and community input.”Debra Rowe, the executive director of Returning Citizens United, testified in support of Orange’s bill, but said more support is needed for those participating in the program. “To start a business in the District of Columbia, you have to pay a lot of fees,” Rowe said. “The people that the legislation is designed to help generally cannot pay the fees to the city agencies that are needed to get their businesses going.”Rowe doesn’t want the program Orange proposes to become “another certification for returning citizens.”“We have every certification that you can think of but we can’t get the jobs,” she said. “I also think that businesses that are run by returning citizens that are successful certified business enterprises should mentor those who want to go into business.”
Back in 2006, researchers in Japan were able to effectively generate stem cells from skin cells without the need for oocytes (eggs) or other embryonic cells. By expressing the four transcription factors, Oct4, Sox2, KLF4 and c-Myc, they could generate cells that, at least in theory, could turn into any other kind of cell. Unfortunately, not only the overall yield of viable stem cells was low, the “rejuvenated” cells that were able to be extracted were generally unsuitable for subsequent patient treatment. The problem is that even when transplanting stem cells obtained from a person’s own skin, immune rejection or tumor formation still occurred. This disharmony results from the fact that the immune system, while trained over a lifetime, can be confused by the “dissonance” in expression of youthful protein isoforms, particularly when encountered astride those of more adult cells. By inducing the expression of all four transformation factors at different times, the Chinese researchers eventually hit upon the optimal sequence. In a nutshell, introducing a combination of Oct4 and Klf4 first, followed later by c-Myc, and then finally Sox2, the maximal yield could be obtained. They were surprised to find that this sequential protocol activated an epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) transition, which was then followed by a delayed reverse (MET) transition. It had been known for some time that in mouse fibroblasts, reprogramming to the pluripotent stem cell state begins by going through a MET conversion. Therefore finding upregulation of the proteins SLUG and N-cadherin, factors generally associated with an EMT, was not anticipated.In embryogenesis, cells interconvert between epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes as they lay out the basic body plan. In the epithelial state, cells possess inherent polarity and show preferential adhesion, while in the mesenchymal state, these properties are lost as cells becomes migratory and invasive. This game of run-the bases is recapitulated as more option-constrained cells later rough out the critical form of each organ. Each time cells alights in either camp, they express part of an overlapping subset of various state indicators, but their genetic arrangements are never quite the same. The authors looked at a few additional factors that might help explain the appearance of a brief mesenchymal state in the sequential procedure. By applying TGF-beta to the simultaneous factor expression protocol early on, they were able to mimic the appearance of the mesenchymal state. This was found to be accompanied by an enhancement in the reprogramming yield, but the effect disappeared when the TGF-beta was applied using a 12-day treatment protocol.TGF-beta is a whole new can of worms since it is expressed by many cells and does many things, even opposite things in different cells. It is traditionally termed a cytokine, although the distinction between that and a hormone is becoming increasingly blurred. Generally hormones are active at nanomolar concentrations in the blood and vary by less than an order of magnitude. Cytokines by contrast often circulate at less than picomolar concentration and ramp up 1000-fold when called upon during injury or infection.Capturing the essential behavior of the thousands of downstream regulators or even just four transcription factors, is just not realistic with a flowchart or state diagram. Beyond a certain level of complexity, if the transition probabilities are too low, or the branch points and exceptions too numerous, new constraints are needed before any sensible algorithmic description might be attempted. In the absence of any such obvious constraints, the authors hypothesized that while multiple pathways exist for conversion between epithelial-mesenchymal states, some are shorter or easier to access than others. They believe that their sequential recipe tips the balance towards a brief mesenchymal state which ultimately leads to a better stem cell yield. Citation: Optimal stem cell reprogramming through sequential protocols (2013, May 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-05-optimal-stem-cell-reprogramming-sequential.html (Phys.org) —Gaining control of the ability of mature tissues to generate stem cells is the central medical challenge of our day. From taming cancer, to providing compatible cell banks for replacement organs, knowledge of how cells interconvert between stable points on the complex cellulo-genetic landscape will deliver to the doctor the same mastery the programmer now holds over bits. While researchers often speak of “reprogramming” cells, most recipes today consist only of a crude and partial ingredient list, with little consideration of sequence, quantity or prior state. We recently took stock of the latest in stem cell technology and reviewed the four major factors used to revert adult cells back into omnipotent progenitors. We also just reported on further attempts to rigorously define appropriate level of factors to supply. Researchers from China have now reported that stem cell generation can be regulated by the precise temporal expression of these factors. Publishing in the journal Nature Cell Biology, they show that the efficiency and yield of stem cells can be optimized by controlling the sequencing of the transforming factors, and furthermore provide a theoretical exploration of the possible mechanisms going on behind the scenes. Stem Cell Induction. Credit: stemcellschool.org More information: Sequential introduction of reprogramming factors reveals a time-sensitive requirement for individual factors and a sequential EMT–MET mechanism for optimal reprogramming, Nature Cell Biology (2013) doi:10.1038/ncb2765AbstractPresent practices for reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells involve simultaneous introduction of reprogramming factors. Here we report that a sequential introduction protocol (Oct4–Klf4 first, then c-Myc and finally Sox2) outperforms the simultaneous one. Surprisingly, the sequential protocol activates an early epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as indicated by the upregulation of Slug and N-cadherin followed by a delayed mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET). An early EMT induced by 1.5-day TGF-β treatment enhances reprogramming with the simultaneous protocol, whereas 12-day treatment blocks reprogramming. Consistent results were obtained when the TGF-β antagonist Repsox was applied in the sequential protocol. These results reveal a time-sensitive role of individual factors for optimal reprogramming and a sequential EMT–MET mechanism at the start of reprogramming. Our studies provide a rationale for further optimizing reprogramming, and introduce the concept of a sequential EMT–MET mechanism for cell fate decision that should be investigated further in other systems, both in vitro and in vivo. 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. Protein central to cancer stem cell formation provides new potential target © 2013 Phys.org Journal information: Nature Cell Biology Explore further
© 2018 Phys.org The skeleton (right) excavated at the St. Nikolay Church in Oslo, which carried sequences for the pathogen of louse-borne relapsing fever. Credit: PNAS Citation: Genetic study of 15th century samples shows adaptive changes in bacteria that cause relapsing fever (2018, September 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-genetic-15th-century-samples-bacteria.html More information: Meriam Guellil et al. Genomic blueprint of a relapsing fever pathogen in 15th century Scandinavia, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1807266115 Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Explore further Gene study pinpoints superbug link between people and animals Relapsing fever, as its name implies, is an ailment whereby an infected person experiences a fever several times following a single infection. If untreated, it is fatal in 10 out of 40 cases. It is transmitted by fleas and lice. Back in the 15th century, it was responsible for killing millions of people in Europe—today, it is mostly confined to several countries in Africa. In this new effort, the researchers conducted a genetic analysis of the bacteria that caused the disease 600 years ago and compared it to bacteria causing the same disease today. Samples of Borrelia recurrentis were retrieved from skeletons excavated from St. Nikolai Cemetery in Old Oslo—they have been dated to between 1430 and 1465.After generating a genetic assembly, the researchers compared it with genetic assemblies created by prior researchers studying the genome of the modern form of the bacteria. This allowed them to see how the bacteria has evolved over time.The researchers report that they were able to sequence approximately 17 percent of the bacterial genome from skeletal bones which they bolstered by sequencing samples taken from teeth. Using data from both, they were able to sequence approximately 98.2 percent of the main chromosome. Comparing the findings with modern strains, they found that the earlier strains lacked three variable short protein genes and one plasmid found on modern strains. Prior research has shown that the proteins act as proinflammatory agents for the bacteria, which, the researchers note, are key elements of the relapsing nature of the disease. They note further that such changes likely account for the differences in relapse rates—the disease tended to relapse just once or twice back in the 1400s, but is known to relapse up to five times in people afflicted today. A team of researchers with members from the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research has conducted a genetic analysis of the bacteria that causes relapsing fever obtained from 15th century skeletons in Norway. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study and what they found when they compared their results with the genome of modern bacteria. 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.