Is Mobile The Next Big Bump For City and Regional Mags

first_imgT.J. Raphael is the Associate Editor of FOLIO:. Follow her on Twitter: @TJRaphael The mobile Web has been a challenge, to say the least, for even the largest content publishers, and when it comes to city and regional magazines, strategies range from exploratory to non-existent. This month’s issue of FOLIO: has put a spotlight on city and regional magazine publishers and their strategies for reaching audiences, and advertisers, in the digital marketplace—our report shows that some publishers in this market are, in fact, responding aggressively to the changing marketplace despite previously held reservations.  “Most city and regional magazines are struggling to grow digital divisions because we’ve been print publications all along,” Ralph Martinelli, publisher of New York-based 55,000-circ Westchester Magazine, told FOLIO: in our April issue. “We’re expanding our digital division into a separate entity—one of our main goals is to do a tremendous amount of daily digital-only content that does not appear in print, and we’ve brought in digital-only editors. From a sales point of view, our digital-only reps partner with the print ad reps to present complete packages that includes print, digital and events.” The mobile, digital advertising market could be the next big thing for city and regional magazines—at least according to a new forecast from BIA/Kelsey, a local media and advertising research and consultancy firm.The firm predicts that mobile local advertising revenues will grow from $1.2 billion in 2012 to $9.1 billion in 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate of 43.9 percent. For the total U.S. mobile ad spending market, the firm estimates this sector to grow from $3.2 billion in 2012 to $16.8 billion in 2017.“This puts locally targeted mobile ads at 38 percent of overall U.S. mobile ad spending in 2012, growing to 54 percent in 2017,” a statement from the company says. While search and display is top of mind, the firm notes that other areas of mobile are also growing:Display advertising applied to apps and mobile Web inventory is estimated to grow from $379 million in 2012 to $2.7 billion in 2017.Search will grow from $704 million in 2012 to $5.7 billion in 2017.SMS messaging will grow from $101 million to $162 million in 2017.Video distributed within apps and mobile Web inventory will grow from $38 million in 2012 to $515 million 2017.Since local mobile ad revenue is estimated to account for a whopping 54 percent of overall U.S. mobile ad spending, city and regional magazines are well positioned to tap the national advertising market in ways they never dreamed of. Local communities not only trust city and regional mags, but these brands have the audience infrastructure and local knowledge to offer national ad partners exciting new options in their quest for local ad messaging.last_img read more

Instagram is killing off its standalone direct messaging app

first_img 0 Confirmed: Instagram is killing its standalone Direct Messaging app pic.twitter.com/owt2gXtfCE— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 16, 2019 Tags 20 Photos Mobile Direct for Instagram is “going away”. Chesnot/Getty In the coming month, you’ll no longer be able to slide into someone else’s DMs via the Direct for Instagram app.It appears the photo-sharing social media behemoth is cutting off support for the Direct app “in the coming month”. However, all of those important messages you’ve slung to mates via the magic of Instagram aren’t disappearing for good — they’re just moving over to the dedicated Instagram app.Spotted by social media industry commentator Matt Navarra, and a couple of dedicated fans in the Play Store, users are now being greeted with a message when using the Direct for Instagram app that simple says it “is going away”. Post a comment Instagram tips from 7 pros with thousands of followers That seems like a pretty nice way to put it, Instagram.Direct was originally unveiled on Dec. 7, 2017 as a camera-first app, that had more than a passing resemblance to Snapchat. That test rolled out to Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay with details of a worldwide release scant. At the time, a company spokesperson told The Verge “Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own.”Now it appears Direct is gone, before it ever really lived but the reasons for the reversal aren’t immediately clear. Direct for Instagram seemed to be following the same trajectory as Messenger, which parent company Facebook spun out of the Facebook app back in 2014.Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Share your voice Instagramlast_img read more

Union Budget 201314 Summary Chidambaram Focuses on Economic Growth

first_imgFinance Minister P. Chidambaram presented Union Budget 2013-14 in Parliament on Thursday amid economic slowdown concerns with India’s economic growth rate falling to 5 percent in the current fiscal year.Here is Union Budget 2013-14 Summary Given Out by Finance Ministry:BUDGET SUMMARY The Union Budget for 2013-14 aims at ‘higher growth leading to inclusive and sustainable development.’ With this as mool mantra, the Finance Minister Shri P Chidambaram has sought to increase allocation to key areas and provide incentives for investments and savings while containing the fiscal deficit to 4.8% of GDP.Presenting the Union Budget in Parliament today, the Finance Minister expressed the hope that the India would achieve high economic growth despite slowdown in the global economic growth.The Minister said that his government has been able to contain the fiscal deficit at 5.2% in 2012-13 by following the path of fiscal consolidation.  But the current account deficit (CAD) is a greater worry, the Minister added. He, therefore, proposes to encourage foreign investment that is consistent with India’s economic objectives.The Finance Minister said that the other areas of concern addressed by his Government are inflation and government expenditure. “Our efforts in the past few months have brought down headline WPI inflation to about 7.0 percent and core inflation to about 4.2 percent. It is food inflation that is worrying, and we shall take all possible steps to augment the supply side to meet the growing demand for food items,” he said.The Minister further said that he had no choice but to rationalize government expenditure in view of huge fiscal deficit in 2012-13. “We also took some policy decisions that had been deferred for too long, corrected some prices, and undertook a review of certain tax policies.”THREE PROMISES: TO WOMEN, YOUTH AND THE POORShri Chidambaram made promises to the women, the youth and the poor –  the three faces that represent the majority of the people of India. Stating that the government pledges to do everything possible to empower the women and to keep them safe and secure, he said that a number of initiatives were underway and many more would be taken by the Government as well as non-government organizations. He announced the setting up of a fund – Nirbhaya Fund – with the Government contributing Rs. 1000 crore.The Minister also announced a Rs. 1,000 crore scheme for training youth to boost their employability and productivity. The National Skill Development Corporation will be asked to set the curriculum and standards for training different skills.  Trained youth who pass a test at the end of training will get a monetary reward of Rs.10000 on an average. This initiative is likely to motivate 10 lakh youth.For the benefit of the poor, the Minister assured that Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) schemes will be rolled out throughout the country during the term of the UPA Government. “We are redoubling out efforts to ensure that the digitized beneficiary lists are available; that a bank account is opened for each beneficiary; and that the bank account is seeded with Aadhaar in due course,” he said.RURAL DEVELOPMENT, AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITYThe allocation for Rural Development Ministry has been raised by 46 percent to Rs 80,194 crore in 2013-14.Pradham Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)-II has been carved out to benefit States that have substantially fulfilled the objectives of PMGSY. This will benefit states such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan.Ministry of Agriculture gets a rise of 22 per cent over the revised estimates (RE) for 2012-13, at Rs 27,049 crore. Rs 500 crore is being allocated to start a programme on crop diversification. It will encourage farmers in the original green revolution states to choose alternative crops. A pilot programme on Nutri-Farms will be started for introducing new crop varieties that are rich in micro nutrients, such as iron-rich bajra. A sum of up to Rs 200 crore is to be provided to start the pilots.The Budget seeks to support Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), including Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) which have emerged as aggregators of farm produce and link farmers directly to markets.The target of agricultural credit for 2012-13 (Rs. 5,75,000 crore) is likely to be exceeded, and a target of Rs 7,00,000 crore farm credit has been fixed for the next year.The interest subvention scheme for short-term crop loans is proposed to be continued for loans by public sector banks, RRBs and Cooperative banks, and expanded to private scheduled commercial banks. Under the scheme, a farmer who repays the loan on time is able to get credit at 4 cent per year.Rs.307 crore have been provided for setting up of the National Livestock Mission. This will attract investment and enhance livestock productivity. A sub-mission of this Mission seeks to increase the availability of feed and fodder.Expressing the hope that the National Food Security Bill will be passed by Parliament as early as possible, the Finance Minister has set apart Rs. 10,000 crore towards the incremental cost that is likely under the Act.OTHER MAJOR ALLOCATIONSEducation has been allocated Rs. 65,867 crore, an increase of 17 per cent over the RE for 2012-13.ICDS gets Rs. 17,700 crore representing an increase of 11.7 per cent. A multi-sectoral programme to tackle maternal and child malnutrition that was announced last year will be implemented in 100 districts during 2013-14. It will be further scaled up to cover 200  districts the year after.Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been allocated Rs. 37,330 crore.  Of this, the new National Health Mission that combines the rural mission and the proposed urban mission will get Rs. 21,239 crore – an increase of 24.3 percent over the RE.The Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) has been allocated Rs. 11,500 crore and will include a State component for Bihar, the Bundelkhand region, West Bengal, the KBK districts of Odisha and the 82 districts under the Integrated Action Plan.Science and Technology related Departments have been allocated funds with substantial enhancements.A National Institute of Sports Coaching is proposed to be set up at Patiala at a cost of Rs. 250 crore over a period of three years. Drinking water and sanitation will receive Rs. 15,260 crore. Rs. 1,400 crore is being provided for setting up water purification plants to cover arsenic and fluoride effected rural habitations.The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) will receive Rs. 14,873 crore as against RE of Rs. 7,383 crore in the current year. Out of this, a significant portion will be used to support the purchase of upto 10,000 buses, especially by hill States.Defence gets an allocation of Rs. 2,03,672 crore and the assurance that constraints will not come in the way of providing any additional requirement for the security of the nation.Stating that adequate funds must be provided for programmes that benefit women, children and minorities, as also the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, the Finance Minister proposed to allocate Rs 41,561 crore to the scheduled caste sub-plan and Rs 24,598 crore to the tribal sub-plan. The programmes relating to women get Rs. 97,134 crore and child budget, Rs.77,236 crore.The Ministry of Women and Child and Development has been asked to design a scheme that will address women’s concerns, and an additional sum of Rs. 2,000 crore has been provided to the Ministry to began work in this regard. Ministry of Minority affairs has been allocated Rs. 3,511 crore and the Department of Disability Affairs, Rs. 110 crore.INVESTMENT AND INFRASTRUCTUREThe Finance Minister stated that the key to restart the growth engine was to attract more investment, and that the government will improve communication of its policies to remove any apprehension or distrust in the minds of investors. A number of steps to mobilize investment have been announced in the Budget keeping in view that as per 12th Plan the private sector will share 47 percent of Rs 55,00,000 crore investment in infrastructure. Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDF) will be encouraged. India Infrastructure Finance Corporation (IIFCL) will offer credit enhancement to infrastructure companies that wish to access the bond market to tap long term funds. Some institutions will be allowed to issue tax – free bonds up a total sum of Rs 50,000 crore (as against Rs 25,000 crore in 2012-13).Assistance of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank will be sought to build roads in the North Eastern States and connect them to Myanmar. The corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Funds (RIDF) is proposed to be raised to Rs. 20,000 crore. A sum of Rs 5,000 crore will be made available to NABARD to finance construction of warehouses, godowns, silos and cold storage units designed to store agricultural produce.Shri Chidambaram informed that the newly set-up Cabinet Committee on Investment has held two meetings and taken decisions in respect of a number of oil and gas, power and coal projects. CCI will take up some more projects shortly, he said. The Minister also informed that a regulatory authority is being constituted for the road sector. Bottlenecks stalling road projects have been addressed and 3,000 km of road projects in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh will be awarded in the first six months of 2013-14.The Budget introduces an investment allowance for new high value investment. A company investing Rs. 100 crore or more in plant and machinery during the period 1.4.2013 to 31.3.2015 will be entitled to deduct an investment allowance of 15 percent of the investment (in addition to depreciation).INDUSTRIAL SECTORPlans for seven new cities have been finalized for industrial corridors and work on two new smart industrial cities at Dholera (Gujarat) and Shendra Bidkin (Maharashtra) will start during 2013-14. A comprehensive plan is being prepared for the Chennai Bengaluru industrial corridor. Preparatory work has started for the next corridor – Bengaluru Mumbai industrial corridor.Two new ports will be established in Sagar (West Bengal) and in Andhra Pradesh. In addition, a new outer harbour will be developed in the VOC port at Thoothukkudi (Tamil Nadu) through PPP at an estimated cost of Rs 7,500 crore.A power transmission system will be constructed from Srinagar to Leh and for this Rs. 226 crore have been provided in 2013-14.The oil and gas exploration policy will be reviewed to move from profit sharing to revenue sharing contracts. A policy to encourage exploration and production of shale gas will be announced. The natural gas pricing policy will be reviewed and uncertainties regarding pricing will be removed.To provide greater support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the refinancing capability of SIDBI is proposed to be enhanced from Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 10,000 crore per year. SIDBI will also be provided a corpus of Rs 500 crore to set up a Credit Guarantee Fund for factoring.Apparel Parks are proposed to be set up within the Integrated Textile Parks, to house apparel manufacturing units. A new scheme, Integrated Processing Developing Scheme, is being started to address to environmental concerns of the textile industry. Working capital and term loans to the handloom sector will be available at a concessional interest of 6 per cent. This will benefit 1.5 lakh weavers and 1,800 primary co-operative societies.SAVINGSThe Budget proposes three measures to promote household savings. One, the income limit for Rajiv Gandhi Equity Saving Scheme for first time investors is being raised from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 12 lakh. Two, persons taking loan for first home up to Rs 25 lakh will be entitled to an additional deduction of interest of up to Rs 1 lakh. Three, instruments such as Inflation Indexed Bonds will be introduced to protect savings from inflation.FINANCIAL SECTORShri Chidambaram proposed to constitute a Standing Council of Experts in the Ministry of Finance to analyse the international competitiveness of the Indian financial sector.The Finance Minister announced that Rs. 14,000 crore worth of capital infusion will be made into public sector banks. It will be ensured that these banks meet the Basel III regulations.India’s first women’s bank is proposed to be set up with Rs. 1,000 crore as initial capital.The government has finalized a number of proposals relating to the insurance sector in consultation with IRDA. These include empowering insurance companies to open branches in Tier II cities and below without prior approval of IRDA, having an office of LIC and a public general-insurance company in all towns with the population of 10,000, and  permitting banks to act as insurance broker.The Rashtriya Swasthiya Bima Yojana, which cover 34 million families below the poverty line, will now be extended to other categories such as rickshaw, auto-rickshaw and taxi-drivers, sanitation workers, rag pickers and mine workers.The Finance Minister proposes to evolve a comprehensive social security package by converging various schemes for life-cum-disability cover, health cover, maternity assistance and pension benefits.A number of proposals relating to capital market have been finalized in consultation with SEBI. These include simplification of procedure and uniforms norms for foreign portfolio investors, clarity relating to FDI investment, allowing FIIs to participate in new areas, etc.BUDGET ESTIMATESThe total expenditure in the Union Budget 2013-14 is pegged at Rs. 16,65,297 crore. Out of it Rs.5,55,322 crore (33%) is Plan expenditure.  The non-Plan expenditure is estimated at Rs 11,09,975 crore.The Plan expenditure in 2013-14 will be 29.4 per cent more than the revised estimates of the current year. All flagship programmes have been fully and adequately funded.Juxtaposing economic welfare with the economic policy, the Minister said that the link between policy and welfare can be expressed in a few words: opportunities, education, skills, jobs and incomes. The Budget has before it one overarching goal – to create opportunities for the youth to acquire education and skills that will get them decent jobs or self-employment that will bring them adequate incomes that will enable them to live with their families in a safe and secure environment. The Budget sets a target of skilling 90 lakh people in 2013-14, for which funds will be released by the National Rural Livelihood Mission and National Urban Livelihood Mission.TAXESThe General Budget reiterates that clarity in tax laws, a stable tax regime, a non-adversarial tax administration, a fair mechanism for dispute resolution and independent judiciary for greater assurance is underlying theme of tax proposals. It is proposed to set up the Tax Administration Reforms Commission.As regards Direct Taxes, a relief of Rs. 2000 for the Tax Payers in the first bracket of Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakhs have been proposed. A surcharge of 10 percent on persons (other than companies) whose taxable income exceeds Rs.1 crore have been levied. Surcharge has been increased from 5 to 10 percent on domestic companies whose taxable income exceed Rs. 10 crore. In case of foreign companies, surcharge will increase from 2 to 5 percent, if the taxable income exceeds Rs. 10 crore. Additional surcharges to be in force for only one year. Mr. Chidambaram said, education cess to continue at 3 percent.The Finance Minister announced the grant of investment allowance at the rate of 15 percent to manufacturing companies that invest more than Rs. 100 crore in plant and machinery during the period 1.4.2013 to 31.3.2015. Concessional rate of tax of 15 per cent on dividend received by the Indian companies from its foreign subsidiary proposed to continue for one more year. It is proposed that TDS at the rate of one percent on the value of the transfer of immovable property where the consideration exceeds Rs. 50 lakhs to be levied.Agricultural land to be exempted from TDS. Modified provisions of GAAR will come into effect from 1.4.2016. It is also proposed to increase the rate of tax on payments by way of royalty and fees for technical services to non-residents from 10 percent to 25 percent. The Budget also proposes to introduce Commodities Transaction Tax (CTT) in a limited way. However, agricultural commodities will be exempted. A number of administrative measures such as extension of refund banker system to refund more than Rs. 50,000, technology based processing, extension of e-payment through more banks and expansion of in the scope of annual information returns by Income-tax Department.With regards to Indirect Taxes, the Finance Minister proposed no change in the normal rates of 12 percent for excise duty and service tax. Similarly, no change has been made in the peak rate of custom duty of 10 percent for non-agricultural products. Custom duty on free gold limit increased to Rs. 50,000 in case of male passenger and Rs. 1,00,000 in case of a female passenger subject to conditions.Duty on imported luxury goods such as high end motor vehicles, motor cycles, yachts and similar vessels increased. Custom duty on Set Top Boxes increased from 5 to 10 percent while on raw silk increased from 5 to 15 percent to boost domestic production. Custom duty on specified machinery for manufacture of leather and leather goods including footwear reduced from 7.5 to 5 percent. The Budget also proposes that period of concession available for specified part of electric and hybrid vehicles extended upto 31 March 2015.Excise duty on SUVs increased from 27 to 30 percent. However, this will not apply to SUVs registered as taxies. Cigarettes will cost more as specific excise duty increased by about 18 percent. Similar increases are proposed on cigars, cheroots and cigarillos. Duty on mobile phones priced above Rs. 2000 has been raised to 6 percent from the current one percent.The Budget proposes ‘Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme’ where a defaulter may avail of the scheme on condition that he files a truthful declaration of Service Tax dues since 1.10.2007. It is a one-time scheme in which interest, penalty and other consequences will be waived.The Budget proposes to mobilize Rs. 18,000 crore in which new proposals in indirect taxes will yield Rs. 4,700 crore and direct taxes of Rs. 13,300 crore.In a major step to rationalize taxation on goods and services, the Budget has earmarked Rs. 9,000 crore towards the first installment of the balance of CST compensation. The Minister said that overwhelming majority States have agreed that there is a need for Constitutional amendment to pass GST law. It will be drafted by the State Finance Ministers and the GST Council, the Minister added.last_img read more

Trump threatens to shoot migrants who throw stones

first_imgPresident Donald Trump speaks at a rally in support of US Senate candidate Josh Hawley on 1 November in Columbia, Missouri. Hawley is in a tight race with incumbent Democrat senator Claire McCaskill. Photo: AFPUS president Donald Trump on Thursday warned that soldiers deployed to the Mexican border could shoot Central American migrants who throw stones at them while attempting to cross illegally.Trump told journalists at the White House that a group of several thousand migrants walking through Mexico towards the US border had thrown rocks “viciously and violently” at Mexican police.“We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” he said.“I told them (troops) consider it (a rock) a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexican military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”Trump spoke during a presentation of his controversial policy on cracking down against what he says is uncontrolled illegal immigration.Contacted for comment, Pentagon spokesman Army Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis said the military would not discuss hypothetical situations on the use of force “but our forces are trained professionals who always have the inherent right of self-defence.”“I would also emphasize that our forces are in support of DHS/CBP, who are performing law enforcement activities,” he added, referring to the frontline Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection.Trump has ramped up the rhetoric daily ahead of next Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections, accusing the opposition Democrats of wanting to throw open the borders to floods of “tough people,” “rapists” and other types of threats.The current focus of the president’s repeated claim to be acting against “an invasion” is the dwindling group of a few thousand impoverished migrants trying to get north, but still far from the US border.Trump said that from now on, the United States will stop its policy of allowing people to claim political asylum at the border unless they have first gone through an official border post.Those caught at the border will be held in tent camps or other facilities until they can be deported or have their requests approved, he said.Critics say that such a radical rethink to asylum policies could violate current laws.But Trump rejected this.“This is totally legal. No, we’re stopping people at the border. This is an invasion, and nobody is even questioning that,” he said.“We’ll be doing an executive order sometime next week,” he said, giving little further detail.Despite Trump’s increasingly severe warnings of immigration chaos, the government on Wednesday issued figures saying that only about 400,000 people have been apprehended at the border in 2018, down from around 1.6 million in 2000.Trump said he was not anti-immigrant but wanted immigration to be completely brought under control.“Mass uncontrolled immigration is especially unfair to the many wonderful law-abiding immigrants already living here who followed the rules and waited their turn,” he said.“Some have been waiting for many years. Some have been waiting a long time. They have done everything perfectly, and they are going to come in.”last_img read more

Webster Donation Puts JSC Mission Control Restoration Into Hyperdrive

first_img 00:00 /01:13 Space Center HoustonSpace Center Houston hopes to restore Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center to exactly as it looked during the Apollo years.The $3.5 million donation will be funded by the hotel occupancy tax. Hotels expect the control room restoration will attract more overnight stays from visitors to the area. William Harris is president and CEO of the non-profit Space Center Houston.“Currently it’s one of our most popular stops on the behind-the-scenes tram tour of Johnson Space Center, and you can go into the visitation area and we do an orientation so people can see the actual room through the glass, exactly.” The control room on the floor below continues to be used for the International Space Station. Space Center Houston is raising $5 million for the renovation to the second floor control center, which was declared a National Historic Landmark and taken out of operation in 1995.“Our goal is to restore it to the Apollo era. So, restore the consoles, illuminate them, add other artifacts, so it looks like a working space as it did, you know, forty, fifty years ago.” Curators can look at old pictures and film to see how the control room once looked, and retired control center employees are helping to convey what the environment was like. The Space Center hopes to complete restoration by 2019, in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X Listenlast_img read more

Santa Fe Church Community Reflects On Texas Shooting

first_img Share Travis Bubenik/Houston Public MediaCalvary Crossroad Church, seen two days after Friday’s deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School.Sunday morning, people in Santa Fe, Texas, flocked to local churches, seeking comfort after this week’s high school shooting that killed 10 people and injured 13 others.The residents of this deeply-religious community are just starting to process their emotions, as they also look for answers as to how such a thing could happen.“Lord I need you, oh I need you,” sang the choir at Arcadia First Baptist Church. It was the refrain of many who are turning to faith to deal with the grim reality that this familiar, and tragic, American routine has now come to their town.Pamela Pannell’s grandson would have been in the art class where witnesses said the shooting started, but he was in another room that day for Advanced Placement testing.“That’s the hard part,” she said. “To come that close to losing him.”Pannell held back tears, saying her heart goes out to the people who have lost a loved one in the shooting.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attended the Sunday service. Later, he talked about what he called “obvious” ideas to prevent future shootings, including tightening school security and keeping a closer watch on who leaves and enters school grounds. Abbott has also pointed to a mental health program that intervenes when kids show warning signs that they might become violent.For Pannell and other churchgoers here, the answer is simpler.“We need God back in our schools,” she said.Almost two decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court told the Santa Fe Independent School District that it had to stop allowing student-led prayers at school events. It’s a case that still reverberates in the community today.Just down the road from Pannell’s church, at Calvary Crossroads Church, Pastor Del Toler told his congregation to think about that court case the next time they get a chance to vote. He said there might be a number of ways to prevent a shooting, but religion should be at the center.“I think the church is a focal point,” he said, “and I think we’ve gotten the cart before the horse, and we want the other things, but we don’t want God.”His thoughts about changing gun laws reflect familiar attitudes in Texas.“Guns helped shape America,” he said. “Guns have insured our freedom. It’s the heart in a man that steers him to do wrong.” Travis Bubenik/Houston Public MediaPastor Del Toler of Calvary Crossroad Church says there might be a number of ways to prevent a shooting, but religion should be at the center.Eighteen-year-old Santa Fe High School student Megan Dunford is one of Toler’s church members. She was friends with Sabika Sheikh, the Pakistani exchange student killed in the shooting.“It’s been really different, knowing that she’s gone,” Dunford said. She described Sheikh as instantly friendly, someone who one day just decided to sit with Dunford at lunch and start talking.“I liked everything [about her],” Dunford said. “She made me laugh and stuff, she was very helpful.”As the national debate swirls about how to prevent another school shooting, Dunford is just trying to deal with the loss of a friend, talking it out with her family, like so many others in this grieving community.last_img read more

Go to people with proof of development Mamata to MLAs

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seems definitely in mood to revamp the party organisation in the run up to the Assembly elections in 2016. At a recent meeting with party leaders, Banerjee not only reshuffled the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) district leadership, but asked her party leaders to highlight the achievements of the government “with proof”– in the run-up to the  Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIAssembly polls. “There should be a list of schools, colleges, ITIs, hospitals with the party workers when they campaign. The people must know what we have done for them”, Sobhondeb Chattopadhyay, chief whip of the TMC in the Bidhan Sabha told Millennium Post.The Chief Minister reiterated how the public must be made aware of the various schemes that the government is offering and how to avail them.“Most of the people don’t know about schemes”, Chattopadhyay pointed out. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindThe Labour Department, for example, has schemes for the unorganised sector such as bidi workers, construction workers and so on. There are schemes for those living Below the Poverty Line (BPL) – like Amaar Bari Amaar Thikana, Geetanjali, etc. “The government provides housing for the homeless and also 3 kathas of land for building a small house and a kitchen garden, where vegetables can be grown. A small pond can also be used to develop pisciculture on this land”, he added.The district administration will also work hand-in-hand with the committees on development schemes.last_img read more

I dont respect convention in music religion

first_imgTalking about the unifying power of music, Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan recently said that he doesn’t respect convention in music or in religion and lamented the state of the 21st century world, driven by religious strife. “I don’t respect convention. It is a very unhealthy word. Even regarding religion, my father often told me all of us have a common God. In this 21st century, we are still fighting and killing each other on account of religion,” Khan said here at a literary meet. The master of strings regretted that education has failed to instil compassion and kindness in human beings. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”How can a (person holding a degree like) PhD be radical or communal? This is the problem of the whole world, not only in India,” he pointed out. Expressing gratitude to the Almighty for the unifying power of music, Khan said, “I think the 21st century is the worst time for the world, which should have been the best time. People are afraid to travel internationally, there is a problem of security. Thank God that music has connected the world whereas language creates barriers.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAccording to the Padma Vibhushan awardee, this message of common God and race should have been given by every priest but they don’t talk as ‘they are paid servants’. “At this age, I want to give my opinion and share my thoughts with the people,” he said. About presentation and breaking convention, the legend said, “Presentation is a different art. Grammar and literature are important for everybody to learn but very few musicians realise the level of poetry. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was an amazing combination of a poet and musician. He took liberty in every Raga and I think only a genius can do that and the rest follow the convention”. As a young boy, he said, he did not like Rabindra Sangeet but later liked it due to Suchitra Mitra, one of the finest exponents of Rabindra Sangeet.last_img read more

Major bus timetable shakeup starts TODAY and heres the affected routes

first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailBus passengers face yet more timetable changes from today as two of the region’s main operators amend a number of journeys. Bosses at First Potteries say traffic congestion in Stoke-on-Trent has been a factor behind the move. D&G has also announced revised timetables for some services. Areas affected include Hanley, Endon, Newcastle, Trentham, Blurton and Clayton. It marks another set of changes for passengers to digest, with First making what bosses called ‘minor adjustments’ at the end of October. Read MoreStoke-on-Trent bus journeys fall by FIVE MILLION in seven years (and the new bus station is being blamed) Now the firm has listed 13 services that will be affected, with some involving frequency changes and others new timetables. Meanwhile, D&G will be altering three. Police search for missing woman “With all the constant changes to the timetables, it makes it really difficult for me to keep up to date. I’ve noticed that lots of older people who live close to me are having to catch taxis together to get about. “They have a bus pass, but because the buses are so unreliable, there’s no point in using them.” Last month, StokeonTrentLive reported that the city had seen the second biggest decline in bus use in the country – going from 15.6 million in 2009/10 to 10.3 million in 2016/17. Bus user Megan O’Donnell, aged 17, from Tunstall, added: “I don’t like that the 99 service has gone on a Sunday. This will affect my future weekend plans.” Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive . Punter found hiding in bushes Driver named following fatal collisioncenter_img First Potteries has announced changes The changes will also see D&G taking over the 8A service from Hanley to Endon. Previous operator First withdrew the service, meaning none of its buses would go from the Norton Arms pub to Endon. D&G says it will run hourly from the city centre to Endon, taking in Smallthorne, Norton and Brown Edge. First’s changes explainedServices 3/3A Hanley – Tunstall – Kidsgrove – Talke/Crewe Minor changes to bus times on Mondays to Saturdays Services 4/4A Hanley – Newcastle – Chesterton – Audley/Kidsgrove Frequency changes on Saturday mornings and late afternoon timetable Service 5 Hanley – Abbey Hulton Late Saturday afternoon buses are retimed and will not serve Stafford Street in Hanley Services 6/6A Hanley – Victoria Road – Longton – Meir – Coalville/Blythe Bridge Frequency changes on Saturday morning and late afternoon timetable. Minor changes on Mondays to Fridays. Services 7/7A Hanley – Smallthorne – Chell – Kidsgrove/Biddulph New timetable, 7 days a week. Services 8/8A Hanley – Norton – Ball Green/Endon Service 8A is withdrawn so the section of route between Norton Arms and Endon will no longer be served by First buses. D&G is providing a replacement. A new timetable is introduced between Hanley and Ball Green Services 11/12/12A Hanley – Bentilee – Longton – Newcastle New timetable seven-days-a-week. Services 21/21A Hanley – Stoke – Hanford – Trentham Service 21A will no longer operate. There will be a new 21 timetable, with all trips serving Pacific Road and Constance Avenue Services 23/23A Hanley – Stoke – Blurton – Newstead Service 23A will no longer operate. There will be a new 23 timetable, with all trips serving Christchurch Street and Station Bridge Road. Service 37 Meir – Hanley – Newcastle – Lymedale Business Park Trips towards Lymedale will depart from Meir slightly earlier Services 72/72A Newcastle – Clayton – Westbury Park Amended arrival times in Newcastle Service 98 Newcastle – Porthill – Burslem – Smallthorne – Ball Green New timetable on Mondays to Saturdays Service 99 Newcastle – Porthill – Tunstall – Chell – Bradeley New timetable on Mondays to Saturdays. First says it is making the alterations in light of ‘increasing traffic congestion’ in the Potteries. A spokesman said: “We are making a small number of changes to our services, which will see changes to journey times on some routes to combat increasing traffic congestion and changes in customer demand.” Kevin Crawford is D&G’s operations manager. He said: “These changes will help provide a better service to passengers. At the moment, the 2 and 9 routes end up running together at the same time between Hanley and Stoke. “These changes will mean that the services will be spaced out to provide a more regular and usable service to passengers.” D&G’s changes explainedService 23: Hanley – Stoke – Fenton – Blurton* This hourly service will run five minutes earlier. Blue 2: Hanley – Stoke – Royal Stoke University Hospital – Newcastle – Westbury Park* The service will no longer serve Clayton and Westbury Park and will instead terminate in Newcastle. Yellow 9: Biddulph – Bradeley – Hanley – Stoke – Penkhull – Royal Stoke University Hospital – Newcastle* This will be extended to replace the Blue 2 on the Clayton and Westbury Park section of the route. The routes will then be as currently served. Timings The timings of the buses will also be changed to provide a service every 15 minutes alternating between the Blue 2 and Yellow 9 between Newcastle and Hanley via Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke, Stoke Railway Station and College Road. Yellow 9 will run between Westbury, Newcastle, Hospital, Penkhull, Stoke, College Road, Hanley, Smallthorne, Bradley and Biddulph up to every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday. Blue 2 will run between Birches Head, Hanley, College Road, Stoke, Hospital and Newcastle up to every 30 minutes Monday to Friday and between Birches Head and Hanley on Saturdays every 30 minutes. *Route details prior to changes Commenting on taking over the 8A, Kevin added: “We are delighted to be taking over the 8A from First Potteries, who currently operate this service. As soon as we heard that this service was being withdrawn, we put wheels in motion to ensure that the people along the route continued to receive a bus service. “We hope that people will continue to use the service and hope people will be pleasantly surprised.” Hanley bus station and, inset, a D&G bus But passengers say it is proving tricky keeping up with the regular changes to routes in North Staffordshire. Josephine Baddeley, from Etruria, said: “There aren’t enough buses from Etruria that go directly to Biddulph where I work. “There’s one around 9am, but it’s too late for me to catch. I then need to catch a bus to Hanley to then get the 7A service to work. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital windowlast_img read more

Effective Product Development needs developers and product managers collaborating on success metrics

first_imgModern product development is witnessing a drastic shift. Disruptive ideas and ambiguous business conditions have changed the way products are developed. Product development is no longer guided by existing processes or predefined frameworks. Delivering on time is a baseline metric, as is software quality. Today, businesses are competing to innovate. They are willing to invest in groundbreaking products with cutting-edge technology. Cost is no longer the constraint—execution is. Can product managers then continue to rely upon processes and practices aimed at traditional ways of product building? How do we ensure that software product builders look at the bigger picture and do not tie themselves to engineering practices and technology viability alone? Understanding the business and customer context is essential for creating valuable products. In this article, we are going to identify what success means to us in terms of product development. This article is an excerpt from the book Lean Product Management written by Mangalam Nandakumar. For the kind of impact that we predict our feature idea to have on the Key Business Outcomes, how do we ensure that every aspect of our business is aligned to enable that success? We may also need to make technical trade-offs to ensure that all effort on building the product is geared toward creating a satisfying end-to-end product experience. When individual business functions take trade-off decisions in silo, we could end up creating a broken product experience or improvising the product experience where no improvement is required. For a business to be able to align on trade-offs that may need to be made on technology, it is important to communicate what is possible within business constraints and also what is not achievable. It is not necessary for the business to know or understand the specific best practices, coding practices, design patterns, and so on, that product engineering may apply. However, the business needs to know the value or the lack of value realization, of any investment that is made in terms of costs, effort, resources, and so on. The section addresses the following topics: The need to have a shared view of what success means for a feature idea Defining the right kind of success criteria Creating a shared understanding of technical success criteria “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We have to go far — quickly.” Al Gore Planning for success doesn’t come naturally to many of us. Come to think of it, our heroes are always the people who averted failure or pulled us out of a crisis. We perceive success as ‘not failing,’ but when we set clear goals, failures don’t seem that important. We can learn a thing or two about planning for success by observing how babies learn to walk. The trigger for walking starts with babies getting attracted to, say, some object or person that catches their fancy. They decide to act on the trigger, focusing their full attention on the goal of reaching what caught their fancy. They stumble, fall, and hurt themselves, but they will keep going after the goal. Their goal is not about walking. Walking is a means to reaching the shiny object or the person calling to them. So, they don’t really see walking without falling      as a measure of success. Of course, the really smart babies know to wail their way to getting the said shiny thing without lifting a toe. Somewhere along the way, software development seems to have forgotten about shiny objects, and instead focused on how to walk without falling. In a way, this has led to an obsession with following processes without applying them to the context and writing perfect code, while disdaining and undervaluing supporting business practices. Although technology is a great enabler, it is not the end in itself. When applied in the context of running a business or creating social impact, technology cannot afford to operate as an isolated function. This is not to say that technologists don’t care about impact. Of course, we do. Technologists show a real passion for solving customer problems. They want their code to change lives, create impact, and add value. However, many technologists underestimate the importance of supporting business functions in delivering value. I have come across many developers who don’t appreciate the value of marketing, sales, or support. In many cases, like the developer who spent a year perfecting his code without acquiring a single customer, they believe that beautiful code that solves the right problem is enough to make a business succeed. Nothing can be further from the truth Most of this type of thinking is the result of treating technology as an isolated function. There is a significant gap that exists between nontechnical folks and software engineers. On the one hand, nontechnical folks don’t understand the possibilities, costs, and limitations of software technology. On the other hand, technologists don’t value the need for supporting functions and communicate very little about the possibilities and limitations of technology. This expectation mismatch often leads to unrealistic goals and a widening gap between technology teams and the supporting functions. The result of this widening gap is often cracks opening in the end-to-end product experience for the customer, thereby resulting in a loss of business. Bridging this gap of expectation mismatch requires that technical teams and business functions communicate in the same language, but first they must communicate. Setting SMART goals for team In order to set the right expectations for outcomes, we need the collective wisdom of the entire team. We need to define and agree upon what success means for each feature and to each business function. This will enable teams to set up the entire product experience for success. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) metrics can resolve this. We cannot decouple our success criteria from the impact scores we arrived at earlier. So, let’s refer to the following table for the ArtGalore digital art gallery: The estimated impact rating was an indication of how much impact  the business expected a feature idea to have on the Key Business Outcomes. If you recall, we rated this on a scale of 0 to 10. When the estimated impact of a Key Business Outcomes is less than five, then the success criteria for that feature is likely to be less ambitious. For example, the estimated impact of “existing buyers can enter a lucky draw to meet an artist of the month” toward generating revenue is zero. What this means is that we don’t expect this feature idea to bring in any revenue for us or put in another way, revenue is not the measure of success for this feature idea. If any success criteria for generating revenue does come up for this feature idea, then there is a clear mismatch in terms of how we have prioritized the feature itself. For any feature idea with an estimated impact of five or above, we need to get very specific about how to define and measure success. For instance, the feature idea “existing buyers can enter a lucky draw to meet an artist of the month” has an estimated impact rating of six towards engagement. This means that we expect an increase in engagement as a measure of success for this feature idea. Then, we need to define what “increase in engagement” means. My idea of “increase in engagement” can be very different from your idea of “increase in engagement.” This is where being S.M.A.R.T. about our definition of success can be useful. Success metrics are akin to user story acceptance criteria. Acceptance criteria define what conditions must be fulfilled by the software in order for us to sign off on the success of the user story. Acceptance criteria usually revolve around use cases and acceptable functional flows. Similarly, success criteria for feature ideas must define what indicators can tell us that the feature is delivering the expected impact on the KBO. Acceptance criteria also sometimes deal with NFRs (nonfunctional requirements). NFRs include performance, security, and reliability. In many instances, nonfunctional requirements are treated as independent user stories. I also have seen many teams struggle with expressing the need for nonfunctional requirements from a customer’s perspective. In the early days of writing user stories, the tendency for myself and most of my colleagues was to write NFRs from a system/application point of view. We would say, “this report must load in 20 seconds,” or “in the event of a network failure, partial data must not be saved.”  These functional specifications didn’t tell us how/why they were important for an end user. Writing user stories forces us to think about the user’s perspective. For example, in my team we used to have interesting conversations about why a report needed to load within 20 seconds. This compelled us to think about how the user interacted with our software. It is not uncommon for visionary founders to throw out very ambitious goals for success. Having ambitious goals can have a positive impact in motivating teams to outperform. However, throwing lofty targets around, without having a plan for success, can be counter-productive. For instance, it’s rather ambitious to say, “Our newsletter must be the first to publish artworks by all the popular artists in the country,” or that “Our newsletter must become the benchmark for art curation.” These are really inspiring words, but can mean nothing if we don’t have a plan to get there. The general rule of thumb for this part of product experience planning is that when we aim for an ambitious goal, we also sign up to making it happen. Defining success must be a collaborative exercise carried out by all stakeholders. This is the playing field for deciding where we can stretch our goals, and for everyone to agree on what we’re signing up to, in order to set the product experience up for success. Defining key success metrics For every feature idea we came up with, we can create feature cards that look like the following sample. This card indicates three aspects about what success means for this feature. We are asking these questions: what are we validating? When do we validate this? What Key Business Outcomes does it help us to validate? The criteria for success demonstrates what the business anticipates as being a tangible outcome from a feature. It also demonstrates which business functions will support, own, and drive the execution of the feature. That’s it! We’ve nailed it, right? Wrong. Success metrics must be SMART, but how specific is the specific? The preceding success metric indicates that 80% of those who sign up for the monthly art catalog will enquire about at least one artwork. Now, 80% could mean 80 people, 800 people, or 8000 people, depending on whether we get 100 sign-ups, 1000, or 10,000, respectively! We have defined what external (customer/market) metrics to look for, but we have not defined whether we can realistically achieve this goal, given our resources and capabilities. The question we need to ask is: are we (as a business) equipped to handle 8000 enquiries? Do we have the expertise, resources, and people to manage this? If we don’t plan in advance and assign ownership, our goals can lead to a gap in the product experience. When we clarify this explicitly, each business function could make assumptions. When we say 80% of folks will enquire about one artwork, the sales team is thinking that around 50 people will enquire. This is what the sales team  at ArtGalore is probably equipped to handle. However, marketing is aiming for 750 people and the developers are planning for 1000 people. So, even if we can attract 1000 enquiries, sales can handle only 50 enquiries a month! If this is what we’re equipped for today, then building anything more could be wasteful. We need to think about how we can ramp up the sales team to handle more requests. The idea of drilling into success metrics is to gauge whether we’re equipped to handle our success. So, maybe our success metric should be that we expect to get about 100 sign-ups in the first three months and between 40-70 folks enquiring about artworks after they sign up. Alternatively, we can find a smart way to enable sales to handle higher sales volumes. Before we write up success metrics, we should be asking a whole truckload of questions that determine the before-and-after of the feature. We need to ask the following questions: What will the monthly catalog showcase? How many curated art items will be showcased each month? What is the nature of the content that we should showcase? Just good high-quality images and text, or is there something more? Who will put together the catalog? How long must this person/team(s) spend to create this catalog? Where will we source the art for curation? Is there a specific date each month when the newsletter needs     to go out? Why do we think 80% of those who sign up will enquire? Is it because of the exclusive nature of art? Is it because of the quality of presentation? Is it because of the timing? What’s so special about our catalog? Who handles the incoming enquiries? Is there a number to call    or is it via email? How long would we take to respond to enquiries? If we get 10,000 sign-ups and receive 8000 enquiries, are we equipped to handle these? Are these numbers too high? Can we still meet our response time if we hit those numbers? Would we still be happy if we got only 50% of folks who sign up enquiring? What if it’s 30%? When would we throw away the idea of the catalog? This is where the meat of feature success starts taking shape. We  need a plan to uncover underlying assumptions and set ourselves up for success. It’s very easy for folks to put out ambitious metrics without understanding the before-and-after of the work involved in meeting that metric. The intent of a strategy should be to set teams up for success, not for failure. Often, ambitious goals are set without considering whether they are realistic and achievable or not. This is so detrimental that teams eventually resort to manipulating the metrics or misrepresenting them, playing the blame game, or hiding information. Sometimes teams try to meet these metrics by deprioritizing other stuff. Eventually, team morale, productivity, and delivery take a hit. Ambitious goals, without the required capacity, capability, and resources to deliver, are useless. Technology to be in line with business outcomes Every business function needs to align toward the Key Business Outcomes and conform to the constraints under which the business operates. In our example here, the deadline is for the business to launch this feature idea before the Big Art show. So, meeting timelines is already a necessary measure of success. The other indicators of product technology measures could be quality, usability, response times, latency, reliability, data privacy, security, and so on. These are traditionally clubbed under NFRs (nonfunctional requirements). They are indicators of how the system has been designed or how the system operates, and are not really about user behavior. There is no aspect of a product that is nonfunctional or without a bearing on business outcomes. In that sense, nonfunctional requirements are a misnomer. NFRs are really technical success criteria. They are also a business stakeholder’s decision, based on what outcomes the business wants to pursue. In many time and budget-bound software projects, technical success criteria trade-offs happen without understanding the business context or thinking about the end-to-end product experience. Let’s take an example: our app’s performance may be okay when handling 100 users, but it could take a hit when we get to 10,000 users. By then, the business has moved on to other priorities and the product isn’t ready to make the leap. This depends on how each team can communicate the impact of doing or not doing something today in terms of a cost tomorrow. What that means is that engineering may be able to create software that can scale to 5000 users with minimal effort, but in order to scale to 500,000 users, there’s a different level of magnitude required. There is a different approach needed when building solutions for meeting short-term benefits, compared to how we might build systems for long-term benefits. It is not possible to generalize and make a case that just because we build an application quickly, that it is likely to be full of defects or that it won’t be secure. By contrast, just because we build a lot of robustness into an application, this does not mean that it will make the product sell better. There is a cost to building something, and there is also a cost to not building something and a cost to a rework. The cost will be justified based on the benefits we can reap, but it is important for product technology and business stakeholders to align on the loss or gain in terms of the end-to-end product experience because of the technical approach we are taking today. In order to arrive at these decisions, the business does not really need to understand design patterns, coding practices, or the nuanced technology details. They need to know the viability to meet business outcomes. This viability is based on technology possibilities, constraints, effort, skills needed, resources (hardware and software), time, and other prerequisites. What we can expect and what we cannot expect must both be agreed upon. In every scope-related discussion, I have seen that there are better insights and conversations when we highlight what the business/customer does not get from this product release. When we only highlight what value they will get, the discussions tend to go toward improvising on that value. When the business realizes what it doesn’t get, the discussions lean toward improvising the end-to-end product experience. Should a business care that we wrote unit tests? Does the business care what design patterns we used or what language or software we used? We can have general guidelines for healthy and effective ways to follow best practices within our lines of work, but best practices don’t define us, outcomes do. To summarize we learned before commencing on the development of any feature idea, there must be a consensus on what outcomes we are seeking to achieve. The success metrics should be our guideline for finding the smartest way to implement a feature. Read Next: Developer’s guide to Software architecture patterns Hey hey, I wanna be a Rockstar (Developer) The developer-tester face-off needs to end. It’s putting our projects at risklast_img read more

Multimedia Polska is beginning the integration of

first_imgMultimedia Polska is beginning the integration of Stream, the service it provider it agreed to acquire last year, and says it has identified additional synergies from the merger.The addition of Stream’s 99,000 subscribers to Multimedia Polska’s 728,000 as a result of the PLN153 million (€35 million) deal will give the operator a base of 827,000 or 1.668 million revenue-generating units, and 1.4 million homes passed, making it the country’s second largest operator.Mulimedia Polska said it planned to offer its full range of services to Stream’s customers, including broadband speeds of up to 120Mbps and its full range of digital TV services.Multimedia Polska president Andrzej Rogowski said the company had calculated it would not incur significant additional expenditure to upgrade Stream’s networks to offer its services.last_img read more

YouTube has opened up live streaming options to al

first_imgYouTube has opened up live streaming options to all verified YouTube channels that are “in good standing” – adhering to the site’s community guidelines and have not infringed on others’ copyright.YouTube said it is rolling out the feature in the newt few weeks, with users able to access the live streaming options from their account feature page.The move comes after YouTube opened up live streaming options for the first time to any channel that had more than 1,000 subscribers back in May.Prior to that, live streaming options had only been available to selected partners in order to air tentpole events such as the Coachella music festival coverage, and Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking, Red Bull-sponsored skydive.last_img

In This Issue Happy Birthday Chuck… Bernank

first_imgIn This Issue. * Happy Birthday Chuck… * Bernanke worried about growth in US… * Japan posts a trade surplus… * Indian rupee falls… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Happy Birthday Big Guy… Good day… And Happy Birthday to Chuck! Yes it is Chuck Butlers birthday today, and I know all of you Pfennig Pfanatics will join me in wishing our fearless leader a very happy birthday today!! He is spending his birthday surrounded by his family in what he considers one of the greatest places on earth, the spring training home of the Cardinals. More thoughts on Chuck at the end of today’s Pfennig, but I just wanted to make sure I started today’s Pfennig off on a positive note. The dollar is starting of the day with a positive move vs. most of the currencies, after spending most of yesterday bouncing around in a fairly narrow range. I couldn’t find anything which caused the move higher this morning, with most analysts crediting a return of ‘safe haven’ buying for the increase. Both Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner were in front of Congress yesterday, and Bernanke was sounding a cautious tone regarding the US economic recovery. There was also a private report released which caused further concern on China’s growth prospects and the existing home sales in the US were disappointing, so the combination of these two items along with the caution tone of Bernanke are probably what is making investors return to the dollar. The 10 year treasury would certainly support the ‘safe haven’ theory. Yields on the 10 yr US bond have are down 4.3 basis points today, and now yields 2.25%. The yield on the 10 year had moved from below 2% at the beginning of the month to a high of 2.38% at the beginning of this week, a fairly dramatic move for bonds. With bonds, yields and the price of the bond are inversely related with bond prices moving lower as the yields move up. So bonds investors were selling bonds in a big way over the first 3 weeks of March, investing the proceeds into the equity markets and currencies other than the US$. But these same investors now seem to be moving back into the bonds, causing prices to rise and yields to fall back to 2.25%. Chuck has long warned Pfennig readers that the US treasury market is a bubble waiting to be popped, and the dramatic move in bond prices earlier this month should serve as a warning for investors. Bond yields just can’t remain as low as they have been, as inflation starts to put pressure on bond prices. Existing home sales in the US dropped .9% during the month of February, compared to an impressive 5.7% increase during the month of January. Economists had estimated a increase for sales of .9%, but the revision to January’s number helped offset the unexpected loss of sales. Today we will get the usual weekly jobs numbers, which are expected to show 350k newly unemployed with continuing claims of 3,380k. We will also see an index of House prices which are expected to have risen .3% MOM in January, and the Leading Indicators which are predicted to have increased .6% during the month of February. As I mentioned earlier, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform yesterday and sounded a more cautious tone on the prospects for the US economy. He warned the committee members that “Higher energy prices would probably slow growth, at least in the short run”. He went on to explain that rising gas prices “create at least short-term inflation pressures, and moreover, they act as a tax on household purchasing power and reduce consumption spending, and that also is a drag on the economy.” His cautionary tone matches the warnings we heard from NY Fed Head Dudley earlier this week. It seems the FOMC members are trying to make sure investors know the economic recovery is not a ‘sure thing’ and we will certainly hit some bumps on our road to recovery. Higher oil prices are creating a strong head wind which the US economic recovery is going to have to struggle against, and Bernanke and his partners on the FOMC are hoping the rising prices are just a quick gust which we can pedal through. Leaders of the European Union also continue to battle headwinds in their economic recovery. A report out this morning showed Euro-area services and manufacturing output shrank more than expected during March. The euro-area purchasing manager’s composite index fell to 48.7 from 49.3, with any reading below 50 indicating a contraction. But this data was offset a bit by an earlier report that showed German investor sentiment surged to a 21 month high. The euro also caught some love from the US financial leaders. Both Treasury Secretary Geithner and Fed Chairman Bernanke told the US congressmen that the risk from Europe’s debt crisis is fading. “In the past few months, financial stresses in Europe have lessened, which has contributed to an improved tone of financial markets around the world, including in the United States,” Bernanke said. Treasury Secretary Geithner went on to say “The European economies at the center of the crisis have made very significant progress.” But Secretary Geithner also warned that slower growth which is being predicted for the EU will have a negative impact on future growth here in the US. I haven’t written about the Japanese yen all week, but a report on Japan’s trade has finally given me a reason to visit the yen. Japan reported their first trade surplus in five months on higher than forecast exports. The news adds to growing evidence that the world’s third largest economy is finally growing again. Japan reported a trade surplus of 32.9 billion yen, a sharp reversal of a record deficit posted in January. The surplus was even more surprising to analysts who had predicted another trade deficit. Exports to the US were mostly responsible for the surplus, increasing 11.9% in February from a year earlier. Auto exports were the main driver of the increase in shipments to the US. The yen increased slightly vs. the US$ after the surprise news, but pared its gains in early US trading. The yen had been one of the best performing currencies over the past few years, but has reversed course this year dropping nearly 7.5% vs. the US$. At least some of this sell-off in the yen has been due to the re-emergence of the carry trade, where investors borrow and sell low yielding currencies to purchase higher yielding currencies to book the interest rate differential. Carry trades have a fairly close correlation to global growth, with more investors willing to invest in them when they are confident. This is part of the reason the yen has underperformed this year, as investors have sold it while investing into the higher yielding currencies of Australia and New Zealand. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the yen if the Japanese economy recovers. Perhaps these carry trade investors will need to find a different currency to borrow and sell; the euro certainly looks like a plausible alternative. A top official in India’s finance ministry predicted rates may be cut in April. Economic Affairs Secretary R. Gopalan said “If inflation remains at this level after factoring in various things, then interest rate reversals may start in April.” He went on to stress that growth is important, and current interest rate levels are hampering it. Finance officials have been hinting that they are prepared to start cutting rates ever since they left them unchanged at the last meeting on March 15th. India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has taken steps to cut India’s trade deficit, hoping to support the Indian rupee. The main item in his plan is a doubling of the tax on imports of gold. Gold accounts for 14 percent of India’s imports, so the higher tax rate will definitely help the budget. These moves are seen as positive steps for the Indian economy, in spite of the protests from jewelers who closed their shops for five days. Investors should be encouraged by the Finance Minister’s plans to reduce the current account and budget deficits, and the currency should benefit from the rising economic fundamentals. Indian interest rates are among the highest offered, second only to those in Brazil. Higher rates have helped propel the Indian rupee to a 3.61% increase this year. The commodity currencies of Australia and New Zealand were off slightly after a report signaled Chinese manufacturing will contract for a fifth month. The report, authored by HSBC, showed a Purchasing Managers Index fell to 48.1 in March, the lowest level in four months. This indicates Chinese manufacturing is continuing to contract. The New Zealand dollar was also sold off after a report showed GDP rose .3% during the last quarter of 2011, slightly below economist’s estimates of a .6% growth. The slower growth figure dampened expectations that Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Alan Bollard would increase rates by September of this year. The kiwi has had a 4% increase in value vs. the US$ this year on the back of these interest rate expectations, so we could see a further pull back by the kiwi. To recap… It is Chuck’s Birthday. The dollar moved higher on ‘safe haven’ buying after Bernanke and Geithner warned that higher gas prices would have a negative impact on US growth. Existing home sales were disappointing and reports out of Europe showed manufacturing is shrinking. Japan reported a trade surplus for the first time in a while, helping to push the yen higher. India’s top finance minister is predicting rates will be cut in April, and a tax on Gold imports is set to double in April. Finally, New Zealand GDP increased less than predicted in the 4th quarter of 2011, causing some to predict rates will be stay put through 2012. Currencies today 3/22/2012. American Style: A$ $1.0378, kiwi .8086, C$ $1.0045, euro 1.3163, sterling 1.5807, Swiss $1.0919. European Style: rand 7.7197, krone 5.7892, SEK 6.7673, forint 223.21, zloty 3.1682, koruna 18.8187, RUB 29.421, yen 82.89, sing 1.2671, HKD 7.7652, INR 51.165, China 6.2994, pesos 12.8224, BRL 1.8180, Dollar Index 79.827, Oil $106.05, 10-year 2.26%, Silver $31.8775, and Gold $1,635.99. That’s it for today… Happy Birthday to Chuck! I’m sure he is probably enjoying his coffee sitting on his patio or on the beach looking out at the ocean. His family is down in Florida to celebrate with him, so I’m sure they will have a great time. We will be celebrating here with Chinese for lunch! The Blues lost a tough one, but are still leading all other NHL teams going into the end of the season. I hope everyone has a Tub Thumping Thursday, and thanks for reading the Pfennig!! Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

A coalition of state attorneys general is suing th

first_imgA coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.”Over a million children in New York — especially those in low-income communities and communities of color — depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Joining James in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont. As we’ve reported, last year the Trump administration gave school lunch administrators more flexibility in serving up refined grains, including white breads, biscuits and white pastas. The move weakened standards set during the Obama administration aimed at serving more nutritious and fiber-dense whole grains, which are a key part of a healthy diet. In addition, the Trump administration put the brakes on targets to reduce the amount of salt allowed in school meals. At the time, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wrote: “If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted.”But public health advocates have cried foul. “The ‘flexibilities’ the administration is offering [schools] are both unnecessary and undermining,” Laura MacCleery, policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said. Her group has also filed a lawsuit in federal court in Maryland. The suit argues that the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the National School Lunch Act. The group argues that the weakened standards put millions of children at greater risk of health problems associated with a diet that’s high in sodium and low in whole grains. “When I think about what policies are available to move the needle on the health of kids, this is the big one,” MacCleery says. “The Trump administration is blowing it.”Letitia James echoes this: “The Trump Administration has undermined key health benefits for our children — standards for salt and whole grains in school meals — with deliberate disregard for science, expert opinion, and the law,” she wrote in a statement announcing the lawsuit.The School Nutrition Association, which represents 58,000 school nutrition professionals, has pushed for and supports the changes made by the Trump administration’s final rule on school meal “flexibilities.” “SNA appreciates USDA’s efforts to preserve strong standards to benefit students while addressing long-standing challenges to ensure they choose and consume healthy school meals,” SNA President Gay Anderson said in a statement. School nutrition directors have argued that it’s tough to implement changes that may turn kids off, so they need more time to figure out how to lower sodium levels and boost whole grains. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

In Risky Move Microsoft to Open NYC Flagship Right Near Apples

first_img September 29, 2014 Add to Queue Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Guest Writer Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. –shares Next Article Locationcenter_img 2 min read Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Laura Entis A Microsoft store is coming to Fifth Avenue.While the company currently has more than 100 retail stores in North America, its Fifth Avenue location will be its first in Manhattan, the company confirmed to The Wall Street Journal.”As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience,” David Porter, corporate vice president for Microsoft retail stores, wrote in a blog post. “This is a goal we’ve had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.”The location is expensive, prestigious and certainly makes a statement. It’s also just a few blocks away from Apple’s flagship New York store, where lines for new Apple product launches often run blocks deep.Related: This Tool Promises to Find the Best Location for Your BusinessFor a company often accused of being perpetually late to the game, Microsoft’s decision to open its Manhattan flagship store a few blocks away from Apple’s flagship, which opened over eight years ago, is an interesting choice.Since Microsoft opened its first retail location in 2009, the software company has been steadily ramping up the number of physical stores it operates. While a large percentage of what Microsoft sells are services, not physical items, customers can purchase products such as Surface Pro, Windows Phones, Xbox One at its retail stores, as well as visit a “help desk” (pretty much the equivalent of Apple’s “genius bar”).Still, in this respect, Microsoft is chasing Apple, which opened its first retail store in 2001 and currently has more than 250 stores in the U.S. alone.No word yet on when we can expect the Fifth Avenue location to open, but the company will launch new retail stores in Toronto, Tulsa, OK Bethesda, MD and Cerritos, CA before the year’s end.Related: Wait, What? Microsoft CEO Says Company Needs to Rediscover Its Soul. In Risky Move, Microsoft to Open NYC Flagship Right Near Apple’s Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

This Company Wants City Dwellers to Travel in Flying Pods First It

first_img Add to Queue Entrepreneur Staff Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Next Article Innovation Nina Zipkin Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business For many people, their commute to work is a daily exercise in unpredictability and stress. Americans spend a nerve-fraying 42 hours out of the year stuck in traffic, and that congestion also harms the environment.But Gerald Sanders, CEO of seven-year-old transportation startup skyTran, has a mission to change how people commute around the world.Based at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., skyTran developed a high-speed elevated Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie — futuristic and streamlined aluminum pods that are attached to steel poles and powered by patented magnetic levitation technology. Able to hit speeds of up to 150 mph, the silent vehicles are designed to be an environmentally sound alternative to that soul-crushing traffic.Related: Elon Musk’s Dream of People Traveling in Tubes Is Alive!It may sound like a futuristic dream, but working with infrastructure, especially in cities, is rife with roadblocks. How do you generate that all important governmental and community buy-in? Sanders says that is the multimillion-dollar question at hand.“We believe that when people understand the promise of skyTran, when they understand that all we’re talking about is a system that costs about one tenth to one hundredth of any competing system, that will not require massive government subsidies, that will never be stuck in traffic, that is silent and fast, people are going to want this system in their homes and neighborhoods,” he says. “We’ve learned that persistence is everything.”Related: Nissan Thinks This Tiny Car May Be the Future of Urban TransportationAlex Washburn, an Industry Professor of Design at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ and the former chief urban designer of the City of New York under Michael Bloomberg, says that startups such as skyTran have a tough road ahead of them. “Nothing happens in the city without an alignment of politics, finance and design,” he says. “And if something is not profitable, it’s not replicable — and cities grow by repetition.”That replicability could be part of skyTran’s future appeal. When describing the construction of the systems, Sanders likened the process to using Lego bricks. “You can build the entire system in a factory off-site,” he says, “and then when you’re ready to deploy it, you simply come to the city, and you roll it out without having to close off roads, highways, freeways, digging tunnels or anything.” The systems don’t generate any electromagnetic radiation and utilize one third of the energy of a hybrid car, according to Sanders.Related: Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs Is Building a Platform to Make Traffic Less HorribleSanders also plays up the system’s cost-effectiveness. Traditional mass transit systems rely on a great deal of manpower. Paying the people who make the trains run on time, from ticket takers to engineers, can take up 85 percent of revenue, according to Sanders. But software-supported skyTran’s operating costs would come to about 15 to 20 percent of revenue.For the construction of New York City’s Second Avenue Subway, $4.45 billion was set aside to build only the first phase, which will stretch from 96th Street to 63rd Street. It’s anticipated to be ready by the end of the year, but the construction has been going on since 2009. Invoking New York’s never-ending story, Sanders claims that this is the kind of political and budgetary gridlock that skyTran is aiming to avoid, costing around $9 million per mile and built in under a few weeks.Related: Uber and Lyft Will Collaborate With Public Transportation So You Don’t Have to Own a CarHowever, for skyTran and other companies operating in this space, the challenge is not only convincing officials that a system such as skyTran belongs in their cities, but having a comprehensive understanding of the regulations that currently exist that will either help or hinder them.”There is a really important function that entrepreneurs are going to have to do and hopefully maybe government officials can help them, which is to scour back laws that are preventing us from accomplishing today what we need to do tomorrow,” explains Washburn. “There is a school of regulation that imagines the world as a static place. The world is not static, it’s a dynamic place and it’s only getting more dynamic. So there is a challenge for regulation to be based on performance and equity, not a table of standards that have been empirically derived. I think successful infrastructures will be able to introduce into regulation that notion of a dynamic city. “Related: Meet the Design Startup That Aims to Speed Up Urban CommutesSkyTran will soon have some real life examples of their proof of concept for regulators to look to. A pilot program system has been built on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries in Lod, Israel, and the company recently announced that it would be constructing a 50-kilometer system in Lagos, Nigeria, to be incorporated into the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA). The company also has a partnership with French civil engineering firm Systra to develop a system in that country and would like to set up its first U.S. assembly plant in Baltimore.In April, skyTran announced that it had raised $30 million in series B funding to build up the company’s team of engineers and make an even bigger push to get the word out, which is a challenge Sanders says his team is ready for. “Anywhere you put your finger on the globe,” he says, “is a place where we could make people’s lives better.”center_img 5 min read May 18, 2016 This Company Wants City Dwellers to Travel in Flying Pods. First, It Must Face the Huge Hurdle of Regulations. –shares Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »last_img read more

Researchers uncover potential clue to halt destruction of nerve cells in people

first_img Source:https://med.umich.edu/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 24 2019A special focus on rogue proteins may hold future promise in stopping the progression of nerve cell destruction in people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or frontotemporal dementia.ALS, a rare but devastating disorder that’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, attacks the body’s nerve cells, resulting in progressive muscle weakness as the neurons degenerate over time. There is no cure. People with ALS eventually lose their strength and the ability to move their arms, legs and body.About a third of those with ALS also develop frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a destruction of neurons in the brain that causes profound personality changes and disability. The two diseases are similar in both pathology and genetics. FTD tends to affect people earlier than Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.Researchers have long known that for most people with ALS and FTD, deposits of a protein called TDP-43 accumulate in nerve cells. The buildup of TDP-43 may be responsible for the death of nerve cells in ALS and FTD. Understanding exactly how and why this happens is the focus of Michigan Medicine’s Sami Barmada, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurology, and his research team.Their most recent preclinical findings, published in Cell Reports, pinpoint a structure within the TDP-43 protein that is critical for the function of this protein and its ability to cause nerve cell death. In the process, they uncovered a potential clue to halt the destruction of nerve cells.”By manipulating the structure of the protein,” Barmada says, “we determined that RNA binding is pivotal for maintaining the stability, function and toxicity of TDP-43 in disease models.”Lost in translationRNA’s main function is to translate the molecular instructions from DNA to build proteins. For RNA to be translated into protein, it has to be correctly processed, and it has to last long enough to undergo translation. Normally, TDP-43 helps regulate both the processing and stability of RNA.Barmada’s team demonstrated that when there is too much TDP-43, RNA is destabilized. The RNAs that were most affected were involved in energy and protein production, two pathways that nerve cells need to survive. They found an identical pattern in cells from ALS patients, suggesting that TDP-43 may be responsible.So, how does the buildup of TDP-43 cause nerve cells to die? Suspecting it involves TDP-43’s ability to bind RNA, Barmada and colleagues focused on manipulating this function of the protein.Because protein structure is crucial for function, they wondered if they could alter TDP-43’s function by changing its structure. By introducing specific mutations, they interrupted an interaction between two parts of the protein needed for RNA binding, creating versions of TDP-43 unable to bind RNA. Unexpectedly, they found that when TDP-43 cannot bind RNA it is quickly degraded, leading them to believe that these versions of TDP-43 would not be so lethal for nerve cells.Related StoriesInterdisciplinary workgroup outlines what is known and unknown about paradoxical lucidityUse of statins linked to reduction of mortality risk in dementia patientsDementia patients hospitalized and involved in transitional care at higher ratesWatching neurons degenerateTo determine whether these engineered versions of TDP-43 are toxic to nerve cells, Barmada’s team used a method called automated microscopy. Here, thousands of nerve cells in culture are imaged over time using a microscope that is entirely controlled by programs. Additional programs analyze the data, determine when each cell dies, and compare different conditions using methods from human clinical trials.”This is like a clinical trial in a dish, measuring the fate of each nerve cell as if it were a person,” Barmada says. “We saw when we interrupted the structure, it dramatically destabilized the protein. Cells just chewed it up.”We know in disease that if there is too much TDP-43, cells die,” he says. “If the excess TDP-43 is degraded, as here, the cells are rescued.”To further support their conclusions, the investigators teamed with Asim Beg, Ph.D., from U-M’s Department of Pharmacology, to create a worm model of TDP-43 with the same structural change using CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering. Worms expressing these versions of TDP-43 were identical to worms with no TDP-43 at all, suggesting that the structure targeted by the mutations is essential for TDP-43 function and toxicity.Targeting the structureTaken together, the findings show that modifying TDP-43 structure eliminates its ability to bind RNA and cause nerve cell death in models of ALS and FTD.Targeting this structure opens the potential to explore new therapies for ALS and FTD.”If you have an approach that can interrupt this structure, you might be able to mop up the extra TDP-43 that’s there and prevent nerve cell death,” Barmada says.Such an approach would likely take the form of a drug that would interact with TDP-43, interfere with its structure and cause TDP-43 to be degraded. Even so, completely knocking TDP-43 out is not feasible, as the protein is essential for life. “But in theory, the dose can be adjustable, something that gives you a dial on TDP-43,” Barmada says. That leads him to the next question: “What’s the magic level?”last_img read more

New app helps improve the lives of children with asthma

first_imgHe and his team created the app and carried out the research along with collaborators at Intermountain Healthcare and Parent Partners in Salt Lake City.Despite effective treatments, keeping asthma in check can be particularly tricky. An attack can come seemingly without warning and up to 40 percent of children hospitalized with asthma wind up back in the hospital within a year. A major contributing factor is that signs that precede an attack often go unnoticed.Scientists and physicians at U of U Health designed eAsthma Tracker as a way to continually monitor a child’s disease. Asthma care is typically reactive, focusing on treating recurrent attacks, says the study’s senior author and U of U Health hospitalist Bryan Stone, MD, MS. While most children with asthma show signs days to weeks before an attack, parents can easily miss these changes. eAsthma Tracker allows for monitoring at home, opening an opportunity to observe worsening signs and intervene in time to prevent a flare-up.A unique feature of the app is that it sends parents and doctors data in real-time, and triggers an automated alert when a child’s asthma is acting up. When that happens, the app prompts parents to make an appointment with the child’s doctor. A doctor receiving an alert may decide to proactively call parents to determine how to address the issue.”Parents love the idea that they can see how their child is doing and that their doctor is on the other end of the app and working with them,” says Stone.Families who use eAsthma Tracker fill out a brief weekly online survey based on a standard assessment called the Asthma Control Test. The app assigns a score reflecting whether asthma is impeding the child’s daily activities and how often they’re using medication to control symptoms. It then issues recommendations dependent on being categorized as severe (red zone), under control (green zone) or approaching severe (yellow zone).Related StoriesPuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDCStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryMore than 300 children and parents at 11 clinics throughout Utah enrolled in the study designed to determine whether the app improved patient outcomes. Researchers found that children who used the app: improved their asthma control made significantly fewer visits to the emergency department and hospital significantly reduced oral steroid use (a surrogate measure for asthma attacks), missed 60% fewer days of school, and had an improved quality of life. In addition, their parents missed 70% fewer days of work.Children and parents showed improvements in all measurements 3 months after starting to use the app, and the benefits persisted 12 months later.The investigators also compared outcomes from children who used eAsthma Tracker with outcomes from children who did not use the app. Results from this part of the study showed that children who used the app: made 60% fewer visits to the emergency department and hospital, and * had a 35% reduced use of oral steroids.The main limitation of the study was the lack of a control group pulled from the same clinics that study participants were recruited from. Although design of this part of the research was not optimal, the reasoning behind the omission was intentional. Based on promising results from a pilot investigation, the parent and community stakeholders that helped design the research recommended against withholding the app from willing participants.Nkoy and Stone are now working with the university’s Center for Technology & Venture Commercialization to conduct market validation and develop a commercialization strategy to expand to other hospital systems. Source:University of Utah HealthJournal reference:Nkoy, F. et al. (2019) Ambulatory Management of Childhood Asthma Using a Novel Self-management Application. Pediatrics. doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-1711 We are optimistic that spread of eAsthma Tracker can significantly improve asthma care and reduce asthma related healthcare costs.”Flory Nkoy It’s exciting to see that using an effective app can not only help improve the lives of children with asthma and their parents, but also allow their providers to give optimal care.”Flory Nkoy, MD, MS, MPH., study’s lead author and University of Utah Health professor of pediatrics Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 17 2019An app that allows parents and doctors to monitor a child’s asthma has a big impact on managing the disease. When families monitored symptoms with eAsthma Tracker and adjusted care accordingly, children had better asthma control and made fewer visits to the emergency department. Using the app also meant that children missed fewer days of school and parents took fewer days off work, improving quality of life. Results of the study were published online in the journal Pediatrics.last_img read more

Sabah MPs expected to back Bill to increase state seats

first_img Nation 08 Jul 2019 Bill to increase number of state seats in Sabah expected to be tabled next week He, however, said his only concern was how the seats would be distributed between Muslim bumiputra areas and non-Muslim bumiputra areas for interior seats.Kurup said he would support the Bill but was concerned it would be incomplete without increasing the parliamentary seats.“The next look at the parliamentary seats can only be done in about eight years since the last one in 2017. It is a long wait,” he added.Anifah said he would definitely support the Bill as the increase was approved by the state assembly in August 2016.The increase of seats was gazetted in late 2016 but the former Barisan Nasional government never tabled it for approval in Parlia­ment. This led to a political uproar and a suit filed by former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee to compel then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to table the amendment. The suit was dismissed.Yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said he was confident that Sabah MPs would support the Bill.He, however, was not taking any chances and would be lobbying for it with the MPs. Nation 09 Jul 2019 Shafie urges Chinese community leaders not to sell prime land granted by Sabah govt Nation 11 Jul 2019 Sabah CM to lobby MPs to support Bill to increase state seats Related Newscenter_img Related News KOTA KINABALU: All 25 Sabah MPs, including the six Opposition lawmakers, are expected to support the long-delayed Bill to increase the state assembly seats from 60 to 73.The Opposition MPs have indicated that they would support the Bill when it is tabled in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, which needs a simple majority to pass.The MPs are Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili (Kota Marudu), Parti Solidariti Tanah AirKu president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (Keningau), Sabah Umno chief Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (Kinaba­tangan), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah deputy president Arthur Kurup (Pensiangan) and Independents Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (Ki­­manis) and Yamani Hafez Musa (Sipitang).“Yes, Sabah needs to catch up with Sarawak and Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) in terms of representation,” said Kitingan.“After all, I already supported it at the state assembly level two years ago.” {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Rosberg happy to see Hamilton break all records

first_imgSILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Nico Rosberg can see Lewis Hamilton smashing Michael Schumacher’s records to become Formula One’s most successful driver, and the Briton’s former Mercedes team mate says he feels pretty good about it.The German is the only man to beat Hamilton over a season in the V6 turbo hybrid era that started in 2014 and the more success Hamilton has, the more lustre it adds to his own achievement.”It is definitely not a bad thing when I see him (Hamilton) going on to become the best of all-time and beating Schumacher’s records,” the 2016 champion told Reuters at the British Grand Prix on Saturday.”It makes me think “OK, Nico, you have done quite a good job.” Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}center_img If Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s current team mate and battered title rival, wants any tips — not that Rosberg feels the Finn needs any help from him — then he can expect plenty of sacrifice and suffering.Rosberg revealed that he spent up to eight hours a week with a sports psychologist during that 2016 season, undergoing the mental equivalent of boot camp to beat the one man with the same machinery.”Two hours every second day of mental training. It was a huge process and just gave me so much and that’s one of the big reasons why I ended up being world champion,” said the German, who retired days after winning his title.Son of 1982 world champion Keke, Rosberg started working with the psychologist in 2007, after a debut season with Williams, but ramped it up significantly for that final campaign.”I just dedicated my whole every single breathing second of my life to winning that next race and becoming world champion,” he said.”Lewis drove me to go searching for ways to be better than I ever thought I could be because he’s the best of all time, or going towards the best of all time.”So of course to beat him you need to rise above everything you have. It’s the only way to win.”And at the end of the weekend, there is no switching off and forgetting either.”That is the tough thing about F1. It affects your wife, your mum and dad. It is not like you go home and it is all done,” said Rosberg, happy to have closed that chapter in his life.”It affects everybody. That is why it is so intense. The suffering and the joy goes all the way to your home. That never stops.”MOTIVATIONHamilton is heading for a sixth championship, one short of Schumacher’s career tally, and has 79 career wins compared to the Ferrari great’s 91.The Briton already holds the record for pole positions and has won more than half the races since the V6s were introduced in 2014.Compatriot Jenson Button, the 2009 champion, told reporters he could see Hamilton winning 10 titles before he was done but Rosberg said that would depend on the 34-year-old’s other interests.”Equalling Schumacher’s record has to be a motivation. He has this historic chance and he realistically knows he can do it. He has the car, he has the team and the regulations are not changing before 2021,” said the German.”He can equal him next year, in terms of championships, and beat him on race wins and become the best of all time. That has to be hugely motivating. It has to be. It is such an opportunity.”Rosberg, at Silverstone to promote a behavioural science programme with beer brand Heineken’s ‘When You Drive, Never Drink’ campaign, said Bottas had come back strongly from a poor 2018 season but could not afford to let the momentum slip.”He’s been struggling as of late, a little bit back to the Valtteri of last year lately, so he always needs to be careful,” he said.”If there’s too many of these last year Valtteris, then you’re going to be out.”And Lewis just gets more and more confidence and then he’s off and away again. He needs to try to keep fighting and not allow Lewis to get that self confidence.”Rosberg said the real Hamilton rarely turned up in practice — “Lewis just can’t really be bothered on Fridays” — but Saturday and Sunday was another story.”I always used to work so hard on Friday, and do the setup of the car, and then this guy comes and finally commits himself and with his natural talent, very often also taking all the setup work that I’ve done, and just out-qualifying me. “It’s horrible.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)last_img read more