Study explores energetics and stride variability during gait transition in mammals

first_img Source:https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 21 2018A dog’s gait, according to the American Kennel Club, is “the pattern of footsteps at various rates of speed, each distinguished by a particular rhythm and footfall.” When dogs trot, for example, the right front leg and the left hind leg move together. This is an intermediate gait, faster than walking but slower than running.In the December 12, 2018 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a multi-institutional team of researchers based at the University of Chicago Medicine take a novel and wide-ranging approach to understanding such speed-related gait transitions. The generally accepted approach has long focused on reducing locomotor costs, essentially finding the least taxing way to ramp up from one gait to a faster one without wasting energy.The researchers, however, uncovered a different explanation. They chose to focus less on energy conservation and more on locomotor instability–in layman’s terms, reducing the risk of stumbling or toppling over. Their findings suggest that gait transitions represent “predictive, anticipatory switching of movements to minimize unstable dynamic states.””We found that gait transitions occur when the stability of a gait decreases so much that switching to a new gait improves stability,” said Michael Granatosky, PhD, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral student in the department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. “The mammals and birds we studied tend to make gait transitions at critical points to provide a more rhythmic, less unstable locomotor state.”These transitions, he added, can minimize “high inter-stride variation and unstable dynamic states, reducing the risk of inter-limb interference, such as tripping or falling.”This wide-ranging study focused on gait transitions in nine animal models–seven mammals and two birds. The researchers started with Virginia opossums, tufted capuchins (“organ grinder” monkeys) and domestic dogs.They subsequently found similar data on gait transitions in six additional species: American minks, Australian water rats, brush-tailed bettongs (small marsupials also known as rat kangaroos), ostriches, North American river otters and the Svalbard rock ptarmigan.Related StoriesStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusScientists discover rare autoimmune disease triggered by testicular cancerChaos in the house and asthma in children – the connectionAll of the initial animals–dogs, monkeys and opossums–were trained to exercise at a range of speeds on a treadmill within a plexiglass metabolic chamber. This familiarized the animals with the treadmills while improving their physical fitness. By the end of the training period, all of the animals could sustain six to ten minutes of vigorous running at “speeds required for metabolic movements.”Once the training was completed, the researchers began testing. They monitored oxygen uptake, carbon-dioxide production, temperature, moisture levels, barometric pressure and air flow. Each animal ran in the chamber two to five times a day. From these metrics it was possible to determine the energetic costs of running at a particular speed.These energetic costs were collected over a range of speeds during walking and running. Variations in stride cycle duration were collected for each speed interval.Based on the data collected from this broad phylogenetic range of species, the authors determined that the assumptions of the energetic minimization hypothesis for gait transitions were rarely met.Instead, most animals choose not to switch gaits when it was most energetically efficient. In this study, dogs, ptarmigans, ostriches and otters, showed no significant change in the energy cost of transport while switching from a walk to a faster mode. In contrast, almost all of the other species demonstrated high variability near gait transitions. They subsequently reduced variability after switching to a new more stable gait.”Energy savings do not predict gait transition patterns,” the authors conclude. Instead, gait transitions “maintain dynamic stability across a range of speeds.””Our data,” the authors conclude, “suggest that gait transitions represent predictive, anticipatory switching of movement types to minimize high variability and avoid unstable dynamic states.” Birds and mammals, they added, appear to have evolved sensorimotor mechanisms for monitoring inter-stride stability during locomotion and for triggering gait transitions at critical levels of variation.last_img read more

Study Thousands of women get unnecessary mammograms before breast reduction surgery

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 30 2019Nearly one-third of younger women without a known cancer risk receive the screening before breast reduction surgery, a test that can do more harm than good.Each year, thousands of younger women with no known risk of breast cancer get mammograms before having breast reduction surgery.Patients receive the exam, often at the suggestion of their doctors, when the best recommendation says to avoid routine mammograms before elective breast surgery unless a specific concern exists.Although the pre-surgical screening has been a longtime practice among physicians, no professional society recommends routine screening until a woman turns 40.Erika D. Sears, M.D., M.S., a Michigan Medicine plastic surgeon who studies appropriateness and efficiency in health care, wondered how often the practice takes place.Her new study published in JAMA Surgery found that nearly one-third of women younger than 40 underwent mammography before breast reduction surgery. Health services researchers culled the records of 52,486 women of all ages being evaluated for breast reduction between 2009 and 2015.Few may realize the unnecessary screenings come at a price — and not just a monetary one that adds to the nation’s health care bill, Sears says.”Altering screening mammography for patients younger than 40 years in the setting of evaluation for breast surgery has a risk for subsequent tests and invasive procedures,” says Sears, also an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Michigan.Testing only when necessaryIn recent years, medical organizations have asked their members to identify tests and procedures commonly used in their field whose necessity should be questioned and discussed.The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is one of those groups. It stated in 2014 that women undergoing elective breast surgery should not have additional screening beyond existing guidelines unless there was a concern based on their medical history or a physical finding.But it can be hard to help doctors stop doing something they have done for years.Related StoriesTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’Gender biases are extremely common among health care professionalsRewiring of nerves gives movement to paralyzed arms and handsThe recent JAMA Surgery study showed 30 percent of women ages 30 to 39 had mammograms before breast reduction surgery, a rate five times higher than that of other women their age.About 4 percent of women ages 29 and younger received mammograms as they considered breast reduction — compared with 0.2 percent of the population of millennial women.The young women in this study probably wouldn’t have had the screenings otherwise.The reason: None of them had a reported breast cancer risk.When performing the analysis, researchers had excluded women whose medical records indicated a personal or family history of breast cancer, genetic predisposition or prior benign breast disease — although there’s a chance the risk existed but wasn’t noted in their records.When screenings become harmfulReduction mammoplasty is done by removing breast tissue and skin to help a woman achieve a breast size that is in proportion to her body.Breast reduction can also alleviate discomfort such as neck and back pain associated with overly large breasts.Having a battery of medical tests before such surgeries may seem like a good idea. But there has been no conclusive study connecting breast size to a woman’s odds of developing breast cancer.Beyond wasting time and money, the screenings can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests and treatments.Among the women in their 30s who had mammograms before breast reduction surgery, 14 percent went on to have an MRI, ultrasonography or a biopsy in which breast tissue or fluid is removed for laboratory testing.Cancer was found in only 0.5 percent of the women, the study showed.That finding could help shift the conversation on both sides.”I think that if there’s more awareness among patients, they may be motivated to have a conversation with their doctor about whether screening mammography is right for them,” Sears says. “It’s also about education on the provider’s part about the downstream impact of future testing that women may experience.”Source: https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/body-work/many-women-get-unnecessary-mammograms-before-breast-reduction-surgerylast_img read more

Winners and losers under bold Trump plan to slash drug rebate deals

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 1 2019Few consumers have heard of the secret, business-to-business payments that the Trump administration wants to ban in an attempt to control drug costs.But the administration’s plan for drug rebates, announced Thursday, would end the pharmaceutical business as usual, shift billions in revenue and cause far-reaching, unforeseen change, say health policy authorities.In pointed language sure to anger middlemen who benefit from the deals, administration officials proposed banning rebates paid by drug companies to ensure coverage for their products under Medicare and Medicaid plans.”A shadowy system of kickbacks,” was how Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described the current system in a Friday speech.The proposal is a regulatory change applying only to Medicare plans for seniors and managed Medicaid plans for low-income people. But private insurers, who often take cues from government programs, might make a similar shift, administration officials said.Drug rebates are essentially discounts off the list price. Outlawing them would divert $29 billion in rebates now paid to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers into “seniors’ pocketbooks at the pharmacy counter,” Azar said.The measure already faces fierce opposition from some in the industry and is unlikely to be implemented as presented or by the proposed 2020 effective date, health policy analysts said.In any event, it’s hardly a pure win for seniors or patients in general. Consumers are unlikely to collect the full benefit of eliminated rebates.At the same time, the change would produce uncertain ricochets, including higher drug-plan premiums for consumers, that would produce new winners and losers across the economy.”It is the most significant proposal that the administration has introduced so far” to try to control drug prices, said Rachel Sachs, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “But I’m struck by the uncertainty that the administration has in what the effects would be.”Possible Winners: Chronically ill patients who take lots of expensive medicine The list price for many brand-name medicines has doubled or tripled in recent years. But virtually the only ones affected by the full increases are the many patients who pay cash or whose out-of-pocket payments are based on the posted price.By banning rebates, the administration says its intention is to ensure discounts are passed all the way to the patient instead of the middlemen, the so-called pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs. That means consumers using expensive drugs might see their out-of-pocket costs go down.If rebates were eliminated for commercial insurance, where deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are generally much higher, chronically ill patients could benefit much more.Drug companiesEnding rebates would give the administration a drug-policy “win” that doesn’t directly threaten pharmaceutical company profits.”We applaud the administration for taking steps to reform the rebate system” Stephen Ubl, CEO of PhRMA, the main lobby for branded drugs, said after the proposal came out.The change might also slow the soaring list-price increases that have become a publicity nightmare for the industry. When list prices pop by 5 or 10 percent each year, drugmakers pay part of the proceeds to insurers and PBMs in the form of rebates to guarantee health-plan coverage.Related StoriesKHN’s ‘What the Health?’: All about ‘Medicare for All’Adolescents using multiple sources for prescription drugs at high risk for substance use disordersDelaney’s debate claim that ‘Medicare for All’ will shutter hospitals goes overboardNo one is claiming that eliminating rebates would stop escalating list prices, even if all insurers adopted the practice. But some believe it would remove an important factor.Possible Losers:Pharmacy benefit managers PBMs reap billions of dollars in rebate revenue in return for putting particular products on lists of covered drugs. The administration is essentially proposing to make those payments illegal, at least for Medicare and Medicaid plans.PBMs, which claim they control costs by negotiating with drugmakers, might have to go back to their roots — processing pharmacy claims for a fee. After recent industry consolidation into a few enormous companies, on the other hand, they might have the market power to charge very high fees, replacing much of the lost rebate revenue.PBMs “are concerned” that the move “would increase drug costs and force Medicare beneficiaries to pay higher premiums and out-of-pocket expenses,” said JC Scott, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the PBM lobby.Insurance companiesInsurers, who often receive rebates directly, could also be hurt financially.”From the start, the focus on rebates has been a distraction from the real issue — the problem is the price” of the drugs, said Matt Eyles, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. “We are not middlemen — we are your bargaining power, working hard to negotiate lower prices.”Patients without chronic conditions and high drug costsLower out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter would be financed, at least in part, by higher premiums for Medicare and Medicaid plans paid by consumers and the government. Premiums for Medicare Part D plans could rise from $3.20 to $5.64 per month, according to consultants hired by the Department of Health and Human Services.”There is likely to be a wide variation in how much savings people see based on the drugs they take and the point-of-sale discounts that are negotiated,” said Elizabeth Carpenter, policy practice director at Avalere, a consultancy.Consumers who don’t need expensive drugs every month could see insurance costs go up slightly without getting the benefits of lower out-of-pocket expense for purchased drugs.Other policy changes giving health plans more negotiating power against drugmakers would keep a lid on premium increases, administration officials argue. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Association found between rise of European populism and vaccine hesitancy

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 2 2019There is a significant association between the rise of populism across Europe and the level of mistrust around vaccines, according to a study by Queen Mary University of London.Lead author Dr Jonathan Kennedy from Queen Mary University of London said: “It seems likely that scientific populism is driven by similar feelings to political populism, for example, a profound distrust of elites and experts by disenfranchised and marginalised parts of the population.”Even where programmes objectively improve the health of targeted populations, they can be viewed with suspicion by communities that do not trust elites and experts. In the case of vaccine hesitancy, distrust is focused on public health experts and pharmaceutical companies that advocate vaccines.”The study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, looked at national-level data from 14 European countries. This data included the percentage of people in a country who voted for populist parties in the 2014 European Parliament elections, and the percentage of people in a country who believe that vaccines are not important, safe and/or effective, according to data from the 2015 Vaccine Confidence Project.The analysis found a highly significant positive association between the percentage of people in a country who voted for populist parties and the percentage who believe that vaccines are not important and not effective.Professor Sophie Harman, an expert on global health politics from Queen Mary’s School of Politics and International Relations, who was not involved in the research, commented: “Like restrictions on reproductive rights, anti-vaccination rhetoric has long been the canary in the coal mine for populism.”In the research article, Dr Kennedy writes that modern vaccine hesitancy is usually traced to Andrew Wakefield’s now discredited 1998 Lancet article, which claimed a link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.MMR vaccination rates in the UK fell from 92 per cent in 1995 to a low of 79 per cent in 2003, well below the 95 per cent rate needed to achieve herd immunity. Confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales rose from 56 in 1998 to 1370 in 2008.Related StoriesHPV vaccine has led to a dramatic reduction in cervical cancer rates, but Africa is lagging behindSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchComputer-generated flu vaccine enters clinical trials in the USWakefield was struck off the UK medical register and the Lancet study retracted. Nevertheless, his ideas remain influential and are cited as a reason why measles cases have increased in Europe over the past few years.There is additional anecdotal evidence suggesting a connection between the rise of populist politicians and political movements in Western Europe and increasing levels of vaccine hesitancy, Kennedy writes.The most prominent example is Italy. The Five Star Movement (5SM) have raised concerns about vaccine safety and the link between MMR and autism. It is argued that these concerns caused MMR vaccination coverage to fall from 90 per cent in 2013 to 85 per cent in 2016, and resulted in an increase in measles cases from 840 in 2016 to 5000 in 2017.Despite this, the upper house of the Italian Parliament–bolstered by newly elected representatives from 5SM and League–recently passed a law to repeal legislation that makes vaccines compulsory for children enrolling in state schools.In France, the right-wing Front National have also raised concerns about vaccine safety and laws that make childhood vaccinations mandatory.And in Greece, the left-wing SYRIZA government proposed that parents should be able to opt out of vaccinating their children.While UKIP has not expressed similar concerns, a poll conducted by Mori showed UKIP voters were almost five times more likely than the general population to believe that MMR was unsafe.Further afield in the US, Donald Trump has met well-known anti-vaccination campaigners, including Wakefield, and expressed sympathy with their ideas. For example, in 2014 he tweeted: ‘Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes–AUTISM. Many such cases!’Dr Kennedy adds: “Vaccine hesitancy will be difficult to resolve unless its underlying causes of populism–an iniquitous economic system and unrepresentative political system–are addressed.” Source:https://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/2019/smd/research-shows-link-between-rise-of-european-populism-and-vaccine-hesitancy.htmllast_img read more

Study shows how lowintensity ultrasonic waves can modulate decisionmaking process in the

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 16 2019Imagine working in your office while the sun is shining outside. Thinking about what you could be doing instead of working is an example of “counterfactual thinking”.New research in primates has shown for the first time that counterfactual thinking is causally related to a frontal part of the brain, called the anterior cingulate cortex. And scientists have proven that the process can be changed by targeting neurons (nerve cells) in this region using low-intensity ultrasound.The study was led by Dr Elsa Fouragnan at the University of Plymouth and published Monday 15 April in Nature Neuroscience.Counterfactual thinking is an important cognitive process by which humans and animals make decisions – not only based on what they are currently experiencing, but by comparing their present experience with potential alternatives. In typical circumstances, should these alternatives become available in the near future, one would adaptively switch to them. For example, if the sun was shining while working, one would go out and enjoy the sun as soon as work is done.If neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex are not working properly, then it would not be possible to switch to alternative options, even when these alternatives are the best available. Scientists believe that this is what happens in some psychiatric conditions where people are stuck in dysfunctional habits.The study showed for the first time how low-intensity ultrasonic waves can be used to non-invasively, and with pinpoint accuracy, modulate normal brain function – affecting counterfactual thinking and the ability to switch to better alternative.The research, conducted in macaques monkeys, follows previous work highlighting the safeness of the non-invasive ultrasound technique and its effect on the brain.In the study, the macaques were tasked with finding a treat from a variety of options. They quickly learned which one was best, but the ‘best’ option was not always available to choose. Thus, they had to keep it in mind for when it became available again.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingRush University Medical Center offers new FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysmsNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpAfter showing that the cingulate cortex was linked with remembering which option was best, researchers used low intensity ultrasound to modulate the activity in this brain region and see its effect on behaviors. When the neurons were stimulated, their counterfactual thinking was impaired.Dr Fouragnan explained why the findings were so significant and what it could mean for future treatment: “This is a really exciting study for two main reasons – firstly because we discovered that the cingulate cortex is crucial to help switch to better alternatives, and secondly because low-intensity ultrasound can be used to reversibly change brain activity in very precise part of the brain,” she said.Ultrasound is well known as an imaging tool – in pregnancy, for example – but it can also be used as a therapeutic method, particularly for safely modulating brain activity. This is possible because the mechanical vibrations caused by ultrasonic waves can cause the generation or suppression of electrical signals in the brain, which in turn can be used to restore normal brain function.Dr Fouragnan continued: “Ultrasound neurostimulation is an early-stage, non-invasive therapeutic technology that has the potential to improve the lives of millions of patients with mental health conditions by stimulating brain tissues with millimeter accuracy. Presently, neuromodulation techniques do exist for humans, to help people with conditions such as major depression or Parkinson’s. But there are no techniques that have this level of accuracy while remaining non-invasive.”It’s still early stages and the next stage is for further trials to be conducted in humans, but the potential is very exciting.” Source:https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/last_img read more

Study Sharing medical selfies with a doctor empowers reassures healthcare consumers

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 29 2019Taking medical ‘selfies’ and sharing them with a doctor empowers and reassures healthcare consumers, and can improve doctor-patient relationships, a two-part study led by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia has found.The findings have been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Former medical photographer Dr Kara Burns conducted the research as part of her PhD through the QUT Business School. To gauge experiences with and attitudes to consumer-generated health photographs, Dr Burns first interviewed 30 patients, clinicians, and carers. The second study was a pilot trial with parents taking photos of their children’s surgical wounds after they had undergone laparoscopic appendectomy at the Queensland Children’s Hospital. 26 parents completed the study, receiving training and then taking photos every two days and emailing the photos to the hospital so that surgeons could review healing. Parents said it improved their confidence in and satisfaction with the medical service, and taking the photos was a useful reminder for them to check how the surgical sites were healing. Dr Burns said the findings from the photographic trial supported conclusions drawn from the interview study.”The first study asked a range of people what they think about the role of this kind of consumer-generated data, and the second study was to see how people engage with it, as there can be a difference between what people say they will do and what they will do,” she said.”But these two studies largely confirmed each other. Consumers feel this data is valuable, it helps them have a sense of autonomy in their care, improves their view of the service they are being provided, and it enhances the relationship between doctor and patient because there is a sense of mutual respect and communication.Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymoma”The parents who took part in the trial said they felt reassured and that the service was going above and beyond. They said normally the door feels shut when you leave a hospital, and providing the photos was a way to stay connected and contact the surgeon afterwards.”Dr Burns said while for clinicians it may be difficult to integrate patient-generated data, such as photographs, video, or information from apps or body monitoring devices, into clinical records, medical professionals should consider it.”This study adds to a body of research that shows there are benefits for clinicians and also for patients in engaging with this kind of patient or carer-generated information,” she said.”If doctors ignore it and don’t engage, this research shows that it impacts the service experience and that some patients will switch doctors.”In one case, a mum had a six-week-old baby who was constantly vomiting, and she felt no one was listening to her concerns. She was so unimpressed by the doctor’s responses to her that she changed providers. When she took a video to the next doctor, they assessed that something was wrong and that her daughter needed surgery.”My Health Record should also consider ways to integrate patient-generated health data. People have expressed concerns about privacy and accessibility but giving them an option to upload their own information may give them a reason to use the portal, to be less fearful of it.” Source:Queensland University of TechnologyJournal reference:Burns, K. et al. (2019) Creating Consumer-Generated Health Data: Interviews and a Pilot Trial Exploring How and Why Patients Engage, Journal of Medical Internet Research. doi.org/10.2196/12367.last_img read more

Spain Taxi drivers block streets over ridehailing services

first_img © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: Spain: Taxi drivers block streets over ride-hailing services (2018, July 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-spain-taxi-drivers-block-streets.html A man takes a photograph of parked taxis blocking the main Castellana avenue in Madrid, Monday, July 30, 2018. Representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain’s government are meeting to find a way out of an indefinite strike protesting the proliferation of private ride-hailing services. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) People stand next parked taxis blocking the main Castellana avenue in Madrid, Monday, July 30, 2018. Representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain’s government are meeting to find a way out of an indefinite strike protesting the proliferation of private ride-hailing services. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) Uber, Cabify halt Barcelona services after striking drivers assaulted People play with a soccer ball next to parked taxis blocking main Castellana avenue in Madrid, Monday, July 30, 2018. Representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain’s government are meeting to find a way out of an indefinite strike protesting the proliferation of private ride-hailing services. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) Striking taxi drivers brought traffic in parts of major Spanish cities to a standstill Monday by stopping their vehicles in major thoroughfares to protest ride-hailing services.center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. People stand next parked taxis blocking the main Castellana avenue in Madrid, Monday, July 30, 2018. Representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain’s government are meeting to find a way out of an indefinite strike protesting the proliferation of private ride-hailing services. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) Hundreds of stationary white taxis blocked the Paseo de la Castellana, one of Madrid’s longest and broadest avenues, while protesters played soccer and relaxed on sun loungers. The disruption on the usually busy main road spilled over to affect traffic across the capital city.Elsewhere, traffic around Barcelona’s busy El Prat airport was chaotic, and the city’s Gran Via was a logjam of vehicles. Valencia, on the east coast, also felt the strike.The taxi drivers are angry over a court’s decision to temporarily suspend a move by Barcelona officials to curb private car ride companies. They also demand a ratio of 1 to 30 private versus public taxi licenses.The open-ended strike started Wednesday and was set to continue Tuesday after representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain’s government failed to reach an agreement.Taxi associations Fedetaxi, Antaxi and Elitetaxi said after three hours of negotiations at the Ministry of Development that the government’s proposals were “insufficient,” Spanish news agency Europa Press reported.The Ministry of Development said it would also hold talks with representatives of drivers who work for app-based services such as Uber and Cabify. People play with a soccer ball next to parked taxis blocking main Castellana avenue in Madrid, Monday, July 30, 2018. Representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain’s government are meeting to find a way out of an indefinite strike protesting the proliferation of private ride-hailing services. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) Explore furtherlast_img read more

Apple to lawmakers Siri doesnt listen until prompted

first_imgApple does not eavesdrop on iPhone users, the company said Tuesday in response to an inquiry by a congressional committee about the company’s privacy practices. Credit: CC0 Public Domain Specifically, the company said it does not listen to iPhone users until they say, “Hey Siri.” Apple’s response to that question and others came in a letter by Timothy Powderly, its director of federal government affairs, to Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.Walden and the committee sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a letter on July 9, asking him to answer 16 questions related to how the company handles iPhone users’ privacy. Among those questions was whether Apple collects audio recordings of users without consent, to which the company said no.”Recent reports have indicated that consumer data gathered through cell phones, including location information and recordings of users, may be used in ways that consumers do not expect,” wrote Walden and others in July.”The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers,” Powderly wrote in the letter dated Aug. 7. The letter reiterated what the company has been doing a lot of lately—trying to differentiate Apple from other tech companies whose privacy practices are under closer scrutiny, especially after the reports in March that political data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica accessed the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission.Apple also detailed its practices related to third-party app developers. In response to one of the committee’s questions, the company said it does not allow developers to collect microphone data unless customers give them explicit permission.However, Apple points out that iPhone users enter into their own agreements with developers when they choose to use an app. But the company said its “sandboxing” of applications protects users because each app is isolated from the information and permissions of other apps. It also notes that Apple devices running iOS 10 or later offer the Limit Ad Tracking setting, which can prevent the serving of targeted ads.As for whether iPhone users can truly turn off location tracking, the company said the phone’s location can only be shared in that instance if a user places an emergency call.In answer to another question by the committee, Apple said it has removed apps for privacy violations. But it did not provide examples, as requested.The committee also sent Alphabet CEO Larry Page similar questions about Android smartphones and user privacy. Google has not responded to this news organization’s request for comment about its response to that letter.But a spokeswoman for the committee seemed to indicate Google has already responded.”Both companies have been cooperative thus far,” she said Tuesday. “The Committee looks forward to reviewing and analyzing the responses as we consider next steps.” ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Citation: Apple to lawmakers: Siri doesn’t listen until prompted (2018, August 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-apple-lawmakers-siri-doesnt-prompted.htmlcenter_img Do iPhones and Androids eavesdrop on us? Lawmakers want to know Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

SoftBank unveils massive 21 bn IPO of Japan mobile unit

first_imgTelecoms giant SoftBank will list shares in its Japanese mobile unit next month in a sale that could raise over $21 billion and be one of the biggest tech IPOs in years. Softbank’s IPO will help raise funds for the company as it transforms from a telecoms giant into an investment firm The IPO will help raise funds for the company as it increasingly transforms into an investment firm, ploughing money into a broad range of companies and projects around the world.The IPO will take place in Tokyo on December 19 and will offer 1.6 billion shares in the SoftBank Corp mobile unit at 1,500 yen ($13) each.That values the mobile unit at 7.18 trillion yen, and the IPO could be Japan’s biggest-ever, local media said.The company had announced in February that it was going ahead with the IPO after media speculation about the plan.It said then that the listing would give the mobile unit “greater managerial autonomy.”In its announcement Monday, SoftBank said the listing would also help clarify the roles of the parent company (SBG) and its Japanese mobile unit.”SBG is accelerating investments on a global scale, while SB is a core company to the Group’s telecommunications business,” the statement said.”It is hoped that each of the two companies will be able to provide information regarding their businesses to the market with greater clarity and thereby better respond to the various needs of investors,” it added.After the listing, SoftBank will hold 63.14 percent of the mobile unit.Analysts at S&P Ratings said the IPO “would further underline SoftBank’s transition to an investment holding company.”Under its CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank has transformed from its beginnings in software and is increasingly seen as an investment firm.Using the SoftBank Vision Fund, worth an estimated $100 billion, Son has taken stakes in some of the hottest firms in the tech sector, including Uber, Slack, WeWork and Nvidia.Nearly half the money in the fund comes from Saudi Arabia and SoftBank’s close ties with the kingdom have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.Earlier this month, Son condemned the killing but said he would continue to do business with Saudi Arabia.”As horrible as this event was, we cannot turn our backs on the Saudi people as we work to help them in their continued efforts to reform and modernise their society,” he said.He made the comments shortly after the company announced its latest earnings, showing an eight-fold jump in net profit in the six months to September—mainly due to strong returns from its investment funds. Explore further Citation: SoftBank unveils massive $21 bn IPO of Japan mobile unit (2018, November 12) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-softbank-unveils-massive-bn-ipo.htmlcenter_img SoftBank posts eight-fold jump in first-half net profit © 2018 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Potential privacy lapse found in Americans 2010 census data

first_img Explore further © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The age, gender, location, race and ethnicity for 138 million people were potentially vulnerable. So far, however, only internal hacking teams have discovered such details at possible risk, and no outside groups are known to have grabbed data intended to remain private for 72 years, chief scientist John Abowd told a scientific conference.The Census Bureau is now scrapping its old data shielding technique for a state-of-the-art method that Abowd claimed is far better than Google’s or Apple’s.Some former agency chiefs fear the potential privacy problem will add to the worries that people will avoid answering or lie on the once-every-10-year survey because of the Trump administration’s attempt to add a much-debated citizenship question.The Supreme Court on Friday announced that it would rule on that proposed question, which has been criticized for being political and not properly tested in the field. The census count is hugely important, helping with the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives and distribution of billions of dollars in federal money.The 8 billion pieces of statistics in census data are supposed to jumbled in a way so what is released publicly for research cannot identify individuals for more than seven decades. In 2010, the Census Bureau did this by swapping similar household information from one city to another, according to Duke University statistics professor Jerome Reiter.In the internal tests, Abowd said, officials were able to match of 45 percent of the people who answered the 2010 census with information from public and commercial data sets such as Facebook. But errors in this technique meant that only data for 52 million people would be completely correct—little more than 1-in-6 of the U.S. population.He said the 2010 census used the best possible privacy protection available, but hackers since then have become more skilled in reconstructing data. To counter their growing abilities, the agency has completely changed the system for 2020 and will offer the “gold standard” of privacy regardless of the fate of the citizenship question, Abowd said. People “want to know that statistical tables aren’t going to come back and haunt them,” Abowd said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting. “I promise the American people they will have the privacy that they deserve.”Georgetown University provost Robert Groves, who headed the 2010 census, said the count had the proper privacy and that every census improves. He lauded the new steps.Former agency chief Kenneth Prewitt, a professor of policy at Columbia University, said the basic information such as age and ethnicity, even if publicly revealed, isn’t as big a deal as other data breaches.”There is a widespread privacy anxiety out there that is very much related to Facebook and Google and so forth,” Prewitt said. “I’m much more worried about the fact that my iPhone follows me around every day.”In a statement, Apple’s Fred Sainz took issue with such privacy concerns: “The iPhone doesn’t follow you around all day long—Apple has no idea where you are nor do we care. And Apple does not sell information to companies.” He noted, however, that consumers can choose apps that know their location.Abowd said “the 2020 census will be the safest and best protected ever. And this is not as easy as it sounds.”The new system involves complex mathematical algorithms that inject “noise” into the data, making it harder to get accurate information and providing “a very strong guarantee” of privacy, said Duke University computer sciences professor Ashwin Machanavajjhala.This increases privacy while lowering the accuracy for researchers who use the statistics. Think of it as one set of knobs being dialed up while a second is dialed down at the same time.The decision on the official privacy/accuracy setting for 2020 hasn’t been set. Abowd said policy officials, not engineers or scientists, will make that call.The Census Bureau tried this system in a 2018 survey using an ultra-strict privacy setting that, while not directly comparable to Google or Apple, is hundreds if not thousands of times more secure for privacy than what’s now being used on data from searches using Google Chrome or Apple’s iPhone, Duke’s Reiter said.Prewitt suggested the public might not understand the extra efforts underway for the 2020 count but would be spooked by the disclosure about the privacy vulnerability, making people more reluctant to comply with the next census.If the administration succeeds in adding the citizenship question, “there will be a huge evasion of it (the census) and some selective misuse of it,” Prewitt said.Whether some avoid the survey because of it or lie, neither is a good outcome, making the data less usable, Prewitt said.Groves said technical experts have serious problems with the citizenship question because it hasn’t been tested in the field, as all census questions usually are. He compared it to putting a new drug on the market before the necessary testing.”Very subtle wording and positional changes in a thing like the Census can have enormous impact way beyond what we as humans can predict,” Groves said This March 23, 2018, file photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident as part of the nation’s only test run of the 2020 Census. The Supreme Court will decide whether the 2020 census can include a question about citizenship that could affect the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal money.(AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File) New tools safeguard Census data about where you live and work Citation: Potential privacy lapse found in Americans’ 2010 census data (2019, February 17) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-potential-privacy-lapse-americans-census.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. An internal team at the Census Bureau found that basic personal information collected from more than 100 million Americans during the 2010 head count could be reconstructed from obscured data, but with lots of mistakes, a top agency official disclosed Saturday.last_img read more

US moves to tackle scourge of robocalls

first_imgYouMail said the number has reached 25 billion so far this year with 4.7 billion alone in May. The calls can be used to extract fraudulent payments, obtain personal information for identity theft or other scams.”Robocalls are so common because they are easy to make, very cheap, and they work,” said Alex Quilici, chief executive of YouMail, who noted that the phenomenon is growing in many countries around the world.The epidemic of robocalls could have economic impacts beyond those of the spam victims, by dissuading people from responding to legitimate or important calls.According to a survey by Consumer Reports, nearly 70 percent of Americans won’t answer calls from unknown numbers.United against robocallsThe trend that began with landlines has spread to mobile phones, used by most Americans now. Billions of spam “robocalls” have prompted many Americans to refuse calls from unfamiliar numbers Explore further The scourge of “robocalls” by the billions has prompted US regulators to adopt new rules allowing carriers to implement tools to block calls with suspicious origins.The automated calls may tell respondents that they owe back taxes or other bills that need to be settled immediately, or direct them to call numbers where they are charged for the connection.Advances in telecom technology have made it easy to create programs using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) which can autodial thousands of people with spam messages, with numbers disguised to make it seem as if the calls are from local residences or legitimate businesses.According to mobile app maker Truecaller, fraud from robocalls cost Americans some $10.5 billion between April 2018 and April 2019.Nearly one in six Americans reported losing money to scams over the 12 months, with an average loss of $244 per victim, according to the report.YouMail, a firm which makes software designed to block unwanted calls, said Americans received a total of 48 billion robocalls in 2018. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: US moves to tackle scourge of ‘robocalls’ (2019, June 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-tackle-scourge-robocalls.html Help coming on blocking scam calls for robocall-plagued US After months of studying complaints, the Federal Communications Commission this week adopted rules allowing carriers to block certain numbers by default if analysis shows them to be suspected robocalls.”If there is one thing in our country right now that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, vegetarians and carnivores, Ohio State and Michigan fans, it is that they are sick and tired of being bombarded by unwanted robocalls,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a statement after the vote.FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the new rules are “good news” for consumers but had hoped for a provision to prevent new fees from being imposed by carriers.”That’s not right. We should stop robocalls and do it for FREE,” Rosenworcel said on Twitter.With internet technology allowing calls from virtually anywhere in the world, the fraud may originate abroad, including in parts of Africa.The FCC in 2017 imposed a $120 million fine on Florida resident Adrian Abramovich, who was accused of engineering some 100 million spoofed robocalls to trick unsuspecting consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages, many described as “exclusive” vacation deals.But news rules are unlikely to stop all robocalls, and some categories of automated calls are legal if they do not deceive consumers.Rules against robocalls are not applied to political messages, and Americans can expect lots of those ahead of the 2020 US elections. © 2019 AFP FCC chairman Ajit Pai says the battle against unwanted “robocalls” has united Americans on the right and left Billions of automated spam calls or “robocalls” have prompted US regulators to adopt rules giving carriers more authority to block the messages Telcom provider First Orion predicts that nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be fraudulent in 2019. “Hello? Who’s calling?” For many Americans these days, the call is coming from a “bot” or automated program that seeks to trick them into giving up money or important personal data.last_img read more

Heavy rains hit DelhiNCR brings respite after a warm morning

first_imgOther Videos from India 03:34 Wed, 17 Jul, 2019 Death toll in Mumbai building collapse touches 10 03:21 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 After Jai Shri Ram row, now war over Hanuman Chalisa in Howrah 03:44 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 BJP, TMC workers clash in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district 01:45 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Mumbai building collapse: PM Modi offers condolences to victims’ kin 05:29 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Ground report from Mumbai building collapse site 05:17 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Four-storey building collapses in Mumbai, over 40 trapped 01:50 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Pakistan reopens its airspace for civilian traffic 03:04 Tue, 16 Jul, 2019 Find solution for water crisis, look beyond politics, Modi directs MPs in BJP parliamentary meet Load More Other Video CategoriesIndiaSportsWorldMoviesSo SorryTelevisionlast_img read more

AP agrees to hike diesel subsidy for fishing boatsAP agrees to hike

first_imgSHARE SHARE EMAIL June 19, 2018 Fishing activity is set to resume from June 27 in Andhra Pradesh, as the State Government has accepted to hike the diesel subsidy for fishing boats.In the normal course of events, fishing should have resumed from June 15 in the State after the expiry of the annual conservation period, but fishing boat operators refused to undertake the fishing activity, demanding a hike in diesel subsidy by the State Government in view of the steeply increased diesel prices. After the meeting of leaders from various associations across the State at Vijayawada, State Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu and Fisheries Minister Ch. Adinarayana Reddy agreed on Monday to effect increase in diesel subsidy in proportion to revised diesel prices.Diesel subsidy was last revised over a decade ago when price per litre was Rs 38. Till now fishermen are being given a subsidy of Rs 6.03 a litre.Following a directive by the Ministers, Principal Secretary Gopal Krishna Dwivedy and Fisheries Commissioner Rama Shankar Naik pointed out that the budgetary allocation of Rs 57 crore should be enhanced to Rs 82 crore for proportionate increase in diesel subsidy.“Both the Ministers immediately agreed and told us that the issue will be taken up at the next Cabinet meeting,” AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Association president P.Ch. Appa Rao and Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association president Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy said. Andhra Pradesh Published on aquaculture COMMENT COMMENTS SHARElast_img read more

Rahul Gandhi misleading country on HALs order book Nirmala Sitharaman

first_imgSHARE RELATED COMMENT COMMENTS Published on Rafale deal: Rahul accuses Defence Minister of lying, Sitharaman hits back SHARE SHARE EMAIL  Another contract, whose tentative size is Rs 20,000 crore, for supply of a batch of Kamov Ka 226 T helicopters was also in the similar stage.Rahul’s allegationEarlier, Gandhi alleged that she “lied” in Parliament that government orders worth Rs 1 lakh crore were provided to HAL, while demanding that she should either place the documents in support of her statement in the House or resign.Gandhi’s attack came after a media report claimed that “not a single rupee of the said Rs 1 lakh crore has come to HAL, since not a single order, as claimed, has been signed till now“.The media report cited senior HAL management officials in order to back its claim.There was another report that said HAL was forced to borrow money to pay salaries to its employees.“Dear Shri @RahulGandhi, looks like you really need to start from ABCs. Someone like you who is hellbent on misleading the public will quote an article even before reading it,” Sitharaman’s office tweeted.Lok Sabha recordsSitharaman also pointed out that the media report said that “LS (Lok Sabha) record shows” that she did not claim the orders were signed and it mentioned that they were in the works. Sitharaman was talking about HAL during her reply to a debate on Rafale deal in Lok Sabha on Friday.The Congress has been targeting the government, alleging that it denied the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) an offset contract under the Rafale fighter jets deal with France, a charge the government has denied.The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has accused the Congress of not supporting HAL during its rule and asserted that the government is now strengthening the defence public sector undertaking.“When you tell one lie, you need to keep spinning out more lies, to cover up the first one. In her eagerness to defend the PM’s Rafale lie, the RM lied to Parliament,” Gandhi tweeted.“Tomorrow, RM must place before Parliament documents showing 1 Lakh crore of Govt orders to HAL. Or resign,” he said.Gandhi had on Saturday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “weakening” HAL to help his “suit-boot” friend.His criticism followed a media report which claimed that HAL, grappling with low finances, was forced to borrow Rs 1,000 crore to pay salaries to its employees for the first time in years.Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted on Sunday: “The Lying Defence Minister’s Lies Get Exposed! Defence Minister claimed that procurement orders worth Rs 1 Lakh Crore provided to HAL! HAL says Not a SINGLE PAISA has come, as Not a SINGLE ORDER has been signed!”“For the first time, HAL forced to take a loan of Rs 1000 Cr to pay salaries!” he added.center_img January 06, 2019 defence She also tweets details of contracts awarded to HAL since 2014 Hours after Rahul Gandhi accused her of “lying” about procurement orders worth Rs 1 lakh crore for aerospace major HAL, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday called it a matter of “shame” that the Congress chief was “misleading” the country without fully understanding the issue.Suggesting that Gandhi jumped the gun while making the charges following a media report, Sitharaman’s office tweeted that Gandhi should “start from ABCs” and read the complete report before commenting on it.“It’s a shame that the president of @INCIndia is misleading the nation. HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26570.8 Cr (Between 2014 and 2018) and contracts worth Rs 73000 Cr are in the pipeline. Will @RahulGandhi apologise to the country from the floor of the house?” Sitharaman tweeted from the defence minister’s official handle. It’s a shame that the president of @INCIndia is misleading the nation.HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26570.8 Cr (Between 2014 and 2018) and contracts worth Rs 73000 Cr are in the pipeline.Will @RahulGandhi apologise to the country from the floor of the house? pic.twitter.com/KIQsWikByG— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) January 6, 2019 Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman  She also tweeted details of contracts awarded to HAL since 2014 when the BJP came to power.According to her, the Rs 49,797-crore contract to HAL for supply of 83 light combat aircraft Tejas to Indian Air Force was at the technical evaluation stage. It’s a shame that the president of @INCIndia is spreading lies ndmisleading the country.HAL has signed contracts worth 26570.8Cr (Between 2014 & 2018) nd contracts worth 73000Cr are in the pipeline.Will @RahulGandhi apologise to the country from the floor of the house nd resign? pic.twitter.com/PRWEMFUjml— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) January 6, 2019 national politicslast_img read more

Modi govt to scale up Digital Village 20Modi govt to scale up

first_imgUnder the Digital Village scheme, villages are provided Wi-Fi connectivity, while healthcare and education are provided digitally   –  istock/pixelfusion3d digital banking COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL May 28, 2019 After reaping rich dividends from its ‘Digital Village’ initiative in the Lok Sabha polls, the Narendra Modi government, in its second term, is set to scale up the project. The focus is expected to be on expanding the reach of social schemes such as Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) besides ensuring financial services, basic healthcare and skill development in rural India. The PM-SYM is a scheme to provide old age pension and social security for unorganised sector workers. Common Service Centres, formed under the IT Ministry, which deliver various welfare schemes in 700 villages are likely to be opened in more villages. Of the 303 Lok Sabha seats which BJP won, 274 constituencies are those where the Centre pushed its Digital Village scheme providing access to information, knowledge and skill to the citizens using various components of Digital India initiative. From making government services available to villagers at their doorstep to creating young rural entrepreneurs, Digital Villages have become agents of change in rural India, believe IT Ministry sources.“Apart from States such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar, BJP’s performance in states like West Bengal, Odisha, Telengana, Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states has been remarkable,” said an IT Ministry source. In all these States Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been actively monitoring the Digital Village scheme which is implemented by its arm — Common Service Centre (CSC) Special Purpose Vehicle. Outgoing IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had monitored implementation of Digital Village scheme. “On several occasions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had acknowledged role of CSC in making Digital Village a reality and ensuring benefits of government schemes reach rural hinterland,” said a senior MeitY official.MeitY sources say officials have been sounded to prepare a detailed roadmap to take the scheme to the next level. The Modi-led government is keen to replicate the success of Digital Village in remaining villages across India. Today the scheme is being implemented in 700 villages, one in every district across India. “Successful implementation of Digital Village scheme through CSCs has led to the Modi government winning hearts in rural India. And now with Modi pushing for ending poverty with renewed vigour, we can even see Digital Village in all new avatar with new social and financial schemes being implemented in rural areas through CSCs,” said the MeitY official. Dinesh Tyagi, Chief Executive Officer, CSC SPV, said, “The initial impact of Digital Village initiative has been huge. We are providing banking, education, healthcare, skill training digitally at CSCs. We believe that CSC can contribute …to the Digital India programme by helping extend its reach into rural and remote corners of the country. ”“We can get one lakh villages transformed into Digital Villages within one year which would require support from all Ministries of the government. This will not only help villages realise their true potential, but will likely transform the Indian hinterland into a powerhouse in coming years,” Tyagi added.Under the scheme, villages are provided Wi-Fi connectivity, with healthcare and education provided digitally. Similarly, CSCs in Digital Villages have also become hub of financial inclusion. CSC’s tie up with HDFC Bank is only going to make financial inclusion faster and better in rural India. center_img Delivering services at beneficiaries’ doorstep earned the PM goodwill in rural areas Published on SHARE COMMENTSlast_img read more

Quick take CIMB shares down on proposed exchangeable bonds

first_img Markets 10 Jul 2019 China shares fall as June producer prices fuel growth, deflation fears Tags / Keywords: The exchangeable bond, which matures in 2024, can be converted into ordinary shares, the term sheet shows. Khazanah currently holds a 27% stake in CIMB. Proceeds from the sale will be used to refinance borrowings and meet working capital needs.The research house said the amount that Khazanah is seeking to raise could give rise to a 4% stake dilution (assuming a one for one conversion ratio). The bonds will only mature in 2024 which does ease concerns of any potential share price overhang arising from the conversion by bond holders. “We also note that by 2024, CIMB would be at the tail end of its current 5-year transformation and should start to reap the benefits of higher productivity and ROE from its on-going digital spend which is expected to be front loaded within the first five years of its transformation programme. “As such, impact of the overhang is likely to be well absorbed by the market as ROE trajectory starts to gain greater traction by 2024,” it said.“Potential earnings recovery from stronger loan growth from CIMB Niaga coupled with attractive valuations could help drive share price recovery in 2019. Share price has declined 13% over the past one year despite ROE remaining relatively stable at 9.6%. “As such, valuations have declined to a rather attractive 0.89x 2019F price-to-book and 9.7 times 2019F PE (-1SD below 10-year mean) while supported by a attractive dividend yield of 4.5%,” it said. Related News Analyst Reports 08 Jul 2019 Minimal impact on Tenaga from retail market reforms Related News KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Group ‘s share price fell to a low of RM5.18 and weighed on the FBM KLCI on Friday after the proposed issuance of exchangeable bonds by Khazanah Nasional.At 11.45am, it was down 12 sen to RM5.22 with 26.25 million shares done.The FBM KLCI was down 5.64 points or 0.34% to 1,673.62. Turnover was 1.51 billion shares valued at RM965mil. There were 356 gainers, 329 losers and 379 counters unchanged.UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research said  Khazanah plans to raise US$500mil by issuing exchangeable bonds in the country’s second largest bank by assets. Corporate News 08 Jul 2019 Quick take: Tenaga rebounds, minimal impact from retail reforms Potential overhang well mitigated by adequate bond conversion maturity period. Corporate News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Wushu exponents disarmed – no thanks to SEA Games organisers

first_img {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Other Sport 02 Jun 2019 Other Sports: Mao’s the one as wushu wants the best to prepare for SEA Games Related News Community Sports 21 May 2019 Former wushu champ to train national squad Other Sport 09 May 2019 Other Sports: More events at Philippines Games but less glitter for Malaysia What a waste: World champion Wong Weng Son’s main events – the jiangshu and qiangshi are left out of the SEA Games. KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian wushu team can’t help but feel like they have been sucker punched heading into the Philippines SEA Games in December. The Philippines organisers have shockingly done away with seven out of the nine events in the women’s taolu (barehands and weapons) discipline contested at the last SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.Only the taijijian and taijiquan events have been retained, which is not surprising as the hosts have a gold medal prospect in Agatha Wong – a bronze medallist in the combined taiji events at the Indonesia Asian Games last year. There are not many changes in the men’s taolu discipline with seven events contested compared to eight in KL. Related News It is for this reason the Malaysian Wushu Federation (MWF) will only send four men – Wong Weng Son, Yeap Wai Kin (chang­quan); Loh Choon How (taijiquan, taijijian) and Calvin Lee (nanquan) and one woman – Sydney Chin (taijiquan and taijijian).The team of five were finalised after the selection trial in Bukit Jalil yesterday and MWF president Datuk Chong Kim Fatt said they would be happy with one gold. Malaysia were the overall champions with six golds, five silvers and three bronzes when they hosted the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur two years ago. “We’ve a few world championships medallists but they are not going as their events are not in the SEA Games. “We have world champion Weng Son but his main events – jiangshu and qiangshu – are also left out.“This is the smallest squad that we are sending for the SEA Games,” he said, adding that Malaysia did send an appeal through the Olympic Council of Malaysia to the SEA Games organisers but nothing came out of it. “I’m worried over the impact on the growth of the sport in this region. It’s just not good for the long-term development when the basic disciplines are left out,” he added. At the last SEA Games, Wai Kin and Weng Son chalked a 1-2 finish respectively in the men’s jianshu and qiangshu events.Ho Mun Hua and Diana Bong contributed the remaining gold medals from the men’s and women’s nanquan events respectively but both have since quit the national team. Malaysia are certainly hoping history will not repeat itself when they returned home from the Philippines Games in 2005 without even one gold medal. Then, Philippines emerged as overall champions, winning 12 out of the 22 events at stake while Malaysia settled for two silvers and three bronze medals.last_img read more

TMJ hints Khairy may play in new JDT stadiums curtainraiser

first_img Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} JOHOR BARU: Football fans can expect football superstars to feature in another all-star match soon, which could even feature former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin.In a Facebook post on Friday (July 12), Johor Crown Prince Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim said the match would be organised to commemorate the opening the new Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) stadium.He also said that he could not wait to play together with Khairy at the during official opening of the new stadium.”You have contributed tremendously in sports and serving the country,” he said. AdChoices广告Tunku Ismail also posted a picture of him with his arm around Khairy, who was holding up six fingers to signify the number of consecutive Malaysian Super League titles the Southern Tigers had won.JDT last held a charity all-stars match at the Larkin Stadium on June 30, which featured football legends such as Rivaldo, Bebeto, Florence Malouda, Robert Pires, Louis Saha, David Trezeguet and Marco Materazzi, among others.The match successfully raised RM680,000 for various charities, including the Tunku Laksamana Johor Cancer Foundation.JDT will be moving to the new 40,000-seater Sultan Ibrahim Larkin Stadium in Iskandar Puteri early next year.It will replace JDT’s current 30,000-seater Tan Sri Datuk Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium, which is popularly known as the Larkin Stadium. Football 10 Jul 2019 Durakovic keeps defenders awake as Giants loom Related News Football 10 Jul 2019 Flu floors JDT players, game postponed Nation 15 Jun 2019 Ronaldo among football legends to play for charity in Larkin Stadium on June 30last_img read more

Kerala Police exam topper held for stabbing college student

first_imgKerala Police exam topper held for stabbing college studentOn Friday, a third year BA student, Akhil, was allegedly stabbed by SFI unit officer bearers. Sivaranjith allegedly stabbed Akhil, while Naseem held him from behind.advertisement Next P S Gopikrishnan Unnithan ThiruvananthapuramJuly 15, 2019UPDATED: July 15, 2019 21:38 IST On Friday, a third year BA student, Akhil, was allegedly stabbed by SFI unit officer bearers. (Representative Image)HIGHLIGHTSKerala Police exam topper was arrested for stabbing a college studentThe incident of stabbing happened on FridayA third year BA student, Akhil, was allegedly stabbed by SFI unit officer bearerThe cantonment police in Thiruvananthapuram have arrested two students of the Thiruvananthapuram College, who are rank holders in Kerala Public Service Commission, for allegedly stabbing a college student. One of the two has also topped the police exam.The two accused are also office-bearers of the Student Federation of India (SFI). A total of six students have been arrested in connection with the matter, and all of them are SFI office-bearers.The incident of stabbing happened on Friday.Sivaranjith topped the police selection test, while Naseem ranks 27th. Both were taken in custody on Monday. The arrests took place after clashes erupted in the campus.According to the police, Sivaranjith and Naseem are the first and second accused, respectively in the case.On Friday, a third year BA student, Akhil, was allegedly stabbed by SFI unit officer bearers. Sivaranjith allegedly stabbed Akhil, while Naseem held him from behind. The police had earlier issued lookout notice against eight students in connection with the incident.The police team has recovered empty and written bundles of Kerala University answer sheets from Sivaranjith’s house in Thiruvananthapuram. The police team has also recovered a seal of Physical Education Director, Kerala University, along with the answer sheets. This has raised suspicion about Sivaranjith’s academic track record as well.Sivaranjith came first in the police selection test conducted by the Kerala Public Service Commission. His sports performance gave him an edge. The university administration, after a preliminary inquiry, has confirmed that they have not lost any seals from the physical education department. This has raised questions on whether Sivaranjith has made fake seals and certificate to procure extra marks.Kerala University Vice-Chancellor VP Mahadevan Pillai has ordered an internal inquiry about the answer sheets and seals recovered from Sivaranjith’s home. The inquiry will be conducted by Pro Vice-Chancellor and Controller of Examinations. The inquiry team will also probe into the role of college administration and staff who might have helped the accused procure the materials.ALSO READ | Govt official stabbed to death in DelhiALSO WATCH | UP BJP leader thrashes police officer in MeerutFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byPrakriti Sharmalast_img read more

Bye big fat Delhi weddings New policy to check food wastage guest

first_img Next Say bye to big, fat Delhi weddings: New policy will keep tabs on food wastage, guest list, venue sizeThe policy which was framed under the directions of the Supreme Court has to be notified this month.advertisement India Today Web Desk New DelhiJuly 14, 2019UPDATED: July 14, 2019 11:53 IST (Photo courtesy: Excel Entertainment)HIGHLIGHTSPolicy says surplus food must be distributed to the underprivileged via NGOsVenue operators will have to pay hefty penalties for violationsLimit on number of guests as per the size of venue, parking spaceThe policy drafted by the Delhi government to keep a check on the wastage of food at social functions in the national capital will likely be notified this month.Sources told The Times of India that the policy which was framed under the directions of the Supreme Court has to be notified this month.The Delhi government drafted the policy for holding social functions in March, which puts a cap on the number of guests, after the Supreme Court expressed its anguish over wastage of food at the events in the capital.The Chief Secretary constituted a committee of four officers, including Principal Secretaries of Urban Development and Health, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Jal Board and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, to draft the policy.The draft policy has already been approved by the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee, the report said.Surplus food must be distributed to the underprivileged via NGOsAccording to the draft policy, all organisers and caterers will have to register themselves with NGOs to manage the surplus and leftover food for distribution among the underprivileged.”The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs,” said the Draft ‘Policy for Holding Social Functions in Hotels, Motels and Low-Density Residential Area (LDRA) in National Capital Territory of Delhi’.The owner, organiser, and the caterer must have the necessary permissions including FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to run their kitchens or to sell or serve prepared food for the guest and the consumer.”They should be registered with some NGO to manage surplus/leftover food by distributing the same among underprivileged. The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs.The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site,” it said.”If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function,” it says.The Commissioner Food Safety shall ensure that the above conditions are strictly followed; any violation thereof would invite action from the deployed officers by the Commissioner Food Safety, the draft policy reads.The rules will be enforced by periodical inspections, which shall be conducted by officers of various state stakeholder agencies.Venue operators to pay hefty penalties for violationsThe maximum number of guests will be the number obtained by dividing the area of the venue by 1.5 sqm or by multiplying total number of cars that can be parked by four, the TOI report said.”Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders.”Hefty penalties have been laid for operators of the venues, not the host, for violations. Operators will have to pay Rs 5 lakh for first offence, Rs 10 lakh for second and Rs 15 lakh for the third or any subsequent offence.Restrictions on venue space”The capacity of the space should be determined by multiplying the total number of car parking available by four or by means the number of persons obtained by dividing the gross floor area of the premises by occupant load factor at 1.5 sqm, whichever is less,” says the document.It said adding that the total number of days on which a social function can be organised are restricted to 120 days in authorized/approved spaces.The draft also said that motels and LDRA should be constructed as per sanctioned building plan.”Minimum area of LDRA must be equals or more than 2.5 acres. Only such Motel and LDRA houses should be permitted to hold social functions which have proper access to the road from a main road (60 ft wide or more) and the LDRA should not be located at a road which ends in a dead end,” it said.”Further, in view of Motel Policy of Ministry of Tourism 1995, policy for holding social functions in Farmhouses of Government of NCT of Delhi, Master Plan 2021(MPD 2021), amendments in MPD-2021 notified in 2013, a comprehensive policy was required to be drafted,” an official said.Functions must meet pollution norms”Accordingly, the committee after consultation with all stakeholders drafted the policy keeping in mind concerns of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and Supreme Court such as stop the use of perennially installed semi-permanent pandals, nuisance of parking on outside road of the venue, safety of guests and general public, stop the misuse of scarce resources like water and stop any kind of pollution or degradation of Environment,” the official said.(With IANS inputs)READ | AAP holds meeting to discuss assembly election road mapALSO READ | Air fouler as Delhi awaits elusive rainALSO WATCH | DMRC chief slams AAP govt’s free rides for women proposal, calls it election gimmickFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. 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