Bank raiders tool up for St Valentines Day

first_img Previous Article Next Article This week’s stock market reviewThe battle for NatWest bank has entered a critical new phase. The threeparties involved – NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland – have beentrading accusations relentlessly with each other ahead of the 14 Februarydeadline when NatWest shareholders have to choose between the two hostilebidders. Bank of Scotland’s latest offer is worth just over £24bn or about £14.50 perNatWest share. Royal Bank of Scotland has offered to pay £22bn for NatWest inthe form of £3.05 per share in loan notes and about £1.20 per share specialdividend with guaranteed features. Many analysts think Royal Bank of Scotland needs to raise its offer but inthe meantime, NatWest maintains its strong opposition to a takeover by eitherrival. NatWest last week said it considers the raiders’ proposals risky and theoffer, so far, woefully inadequate.Tobacco firm sends out smoke signals over health concernsBritish American Tobacco, the world’s second largest tobacco manufacturer,is seeking a “partnership for change” dialogue with the Governmentand health pressure groups in order to respond to concern that smoking posesdangers to public health. BAT has suggested raising the legal age for buying tobacco from 16 to 18. Italso proposes sponsoring independent research into the effects of low tarcigarettes and how to combat tobacco smuggling into the country. And itsupports the idea of ID cards so that underage children trying to buy tobaccocan be identified.Captains of industry are ready to ring the changesA survey commissioned by BT Cellnet reveals that more than three-quarters ofBritain’s top company chiefs believe mobile phones will change the way businessesoperate in future. The survey, carried out by Mori, reveals that most of theUK’s senior business executives are well acquainted with technology. Also, most of the 102-sample of directors drawn from the top 500 companiesbelieve voice-activated keyboards could soon render present-day keyboards andmice obsolete. Interestingly, that could mean the end of employers’ nightmareof being sued for Repetitive Strain Injury. But then again, perhaps not,because the voice-activated keyboards could cause the equivalent Vocal StrainInjury problems for employers instead.HSE calls for shutdown of lay-offs plan at nuclear operatorSafety fears have prompted the Health and Safety Executive to call for atemporary halt to the proposed redundancies plan announced by British Energypending full assessment of safety issues at its two nuclear power operations.British Energy plans to combine some of the core areas of its subsidiariesBritish Energy Generation and British Energy Generation (UK) in order todeliver on its cost-cutting programme. Comments are closed. Bank raiders tool up for St Valentines DayOn 1 Feb 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

No. 5 Badgers Claim First Outright Conference Title Since 1986

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailEPHRAIM, Utah-Perhaps it was fitting that things got a little scary for the fifth-ranked Snow College women’s volleyball on Halloween. After taking a 2-0 lead in the match against No. 12 Utah State Eastern, the Badgers found themselves down late in the set.Snow would come back, however, to win the match and claim its first outright, regular-season conference championship since 1986. With the win, the Badgers improved to 29-2 on the season, including a perfect 9-0 record against league opponents.After winning the first two sets, 25-20, 25-11, the Badgers dropped the third set, 21-25. In game four, USUE controlled most of the set, taking a 20-16 lead late in the game. The Eagles would serve for game point at 24-23, but a USUE violation tied things up at 24-24. The Eagles took a 25-24 lead and served once again for set point. A service error tied things up again and that is all the Badgers would need. Sophomore Bridget Triplett put up a solo block to give the Badgers a 26-25 lead, and on the ensuing play, the defense of Korrin Thornock forced a USUE hitting error to give the Badgers the 27-25 victory.The Badger trio of Andreanna McKee, Sarah Morley, and Thornock totaled 12 kills each and hit a combined .242 for the match. Freshman Lyida Montague chipped in eight kills on 14 attempts with just one error, while sophomore Marcie Stapely had four kills in the win. Triplett led the team with seven blocks on the night, including the stuff block that gave the Badgers the lead late in the fourth and final set. Freshman Ellee Anderson was credited with 40 assists. In addition to her 12 kills, Morley also racked up six blocks and a match-high 17 digs.Snow College will wrap up the regular-season on Saturday, Nov. 2 against Colorado Northwestern. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. at the Horne Activity Center in Ephraim. Snow will look to become the first Scenic West team since 2013 to finish the conference season with a perfect, 10-0, record.SUPERLATIVES• Thursday’s win is the 29th victory of the season, marking a school record for most wins in a single-season during the rally scoring era.• The Badgers have won 18 straight, and 22 of their last 23 matches.• Snow has posted a 5-0 record at home this season.• The Badgers have posted a 9-2 record against nationally-ranked opponents this season, including a streak of six straight wins over teams ranked in the top-15.• The Badgers will be the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Region XVIII Tournament on Nov. 8-9. Utah State Eastern will be the No. 2 seed. Both teams will have a first-round bye. While the opponents have yet to be determined, Snow will play at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8. The tournament occurs at the Horne Activity Center in Ephraim. Tags: Snow Volleyball Written by November 1, 2019 /Sports News – Local No. 5 Badgers Claim First Outright Conference Title Since 1986 Brad Jameslast_img read more

Oxford’s black applications rise by a fifth in one year

first_imgThere has been a significant increase in the number of applications and acceptances from ethnic minority students, according to recently published figures by the University. In the most competitive year in the University’s history, applications from black ethnic minorities for undergraduate entry in 2007 rose by 19% with acceptances increasing by 21%. Both educational charities and parliamentary figures welcomed the news. A spokesman for the Sutton Trust, which campaigns to get brighter students from non-traditional backgrounds into top universities, said, “We are delighted that the latest figures show an increase in students going to Oxford University from ethnic minority backgrounds. We would like to congratulate the University.” A motion tabled for Parliament by Dr. Evan Harris, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, also acknowledged the work the University had done to raise the achievement and aspirations among black boys. The motion stated, “This House welcomes the University of Oxford Black Boys Can Programme which is run in conjunction with the National Black Boys Can Association, wishes the 26 students in this year’s programme every success, and encourages more higher education institutions in the UK to participate in such schemes.” The joint venture involves residential programmes in Oxford as well as follow up training days and talks for parents on how best to support their boy’s aspirations. Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, said, “Competition for a place to study at Oxford University has been fiercer than ever last year. It is good to see that specifically targeted outreach activities, such as our work with black ethnic minorities, is beginning to bear fruit. We are grateful for Evan Harris MP’s interest and support for our work with the National Black Boys Can Association.” However, there have been reservations concerning the relevance of the latest statistics. A spokesman for the NBBCA said, “We need to look behind the figures.” He argued that a closer look at the data revealed an increase in students from “dualheritage backgrounds” and not necessarily those from African and Afr can- Caribbean backgrounds. He went on to say that more still needed to be done to widen participation at the Red Brick universities. “One of the things they could try is to go into inner city black communities and conduct some sessions in schools so that brighter students from those areas do not feel intimidated, but think ‘I can be there as well’.” The call for more action coincides with increased efforts by the university to widen access. In November a visit by the US Civil Rights Leader, Rev Jesse Jackson, launched the ASPIRE initiative aimed at encouraging more black students to apply to the University through mentoring schemes. At the event hosted by Regent’s Park College, Rev Jackson called for the University to reflect the diversity of society. Meanwhile a University spokesperson explained how the University would increase its work on widening access through a “new Student Funding and Access Office which brings together functions which were previously distributed across the administration.” James Lamming, Vice-President of OUSU, added, “OUSU, the Oxford Access Scheme and the University have all been investing in encouraging applications from all backgrounds, through open days, school visits, residentials and guides such as the OUSU Alternative Prospectus. OUSU hopes to see the University continue investing in the schemes, like the Summer Schools, that have proven to be most successful, and targeting support to help talented students from all backgrounds who have so far not enjoyed the greatest educational opportunities.” Yet Oxford continues to attract criticism after the latest admission statistics revealed that the number of state school pupils who were admitted had not risen. Of those who gained a place to study for 2007 entry, 46.8% were from the Maintained sector, a slight decrease on the percentage for the previous year. This follows a Sutton Trust report which claimed that a small number of top independent schools provided one third of all admissions to Oxbridge. A spokesman for the Sutton Trust said that they “hope the number of youngsters going to Oxford from state schools and poorer homes will also increase, as students from these backgrounds remain under-represented.” Last year there were 13,639 applications in total, an increase of 8.1%, which is the largest number ever recorded. From these there were 3,160 acceptances. This equates to an overall success rate of 23.2%, nearly 2% down on the previous year’s figure of 25.4%. by Katherine Halllast_img read more

State Won’t Appeal Order Blocking Abortion Law

first_imgState Won’t Appeal Order Blocking Abortion LawDave Stafford for www.theindianalawyer.comA federal judge’s order blocking a divisive and restrictive abortion law signed this year by Gov. Mike Pence will not be appealed, Indiana Lawyer has learned. The decision not to appeal at this time effectively punts a decision on a possible future appeal to new state office-holders to be elected in November.District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Indianapolis on June 30 granted a preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, blocking House Enrolled Act 1337 from taking effect July 1. The deadline for a notice of appeal of Pratt’s injunction order passed without a notice of appeal filed by the state. Pratt’s ruling, while appealable, was not a final judgment in the case, but she wrote that her ruling was based on the legal conclusion that Planned Parenthood was likely to succeed on the merits of its argument that the law was unconstitutional.The law Pratt blocked would have prohibited abortions because of genetic abnormality, race, sex or ancestry; mandated disposal of an aborted fetus only through burial or cremation; and required abortion providers to inform patients of the law’s anti-discrimination provisions and what they prohibited. Proponents of the law characterized it as an anti-discrimination measure providing dignity for the unborn; opponents termed it an unprecedented assault on a woman’s right to abortion recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade.“After reviewing the case with our clients and discussing the case procedurally with the plaintiffs, the State has no need to pursue an interlocutory appeal at this point since all the State’s legal rights are preserved,” said Bryan Corbin, spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “Instead, the case will proceed on the merits to the final judgment stage, with additional briefing before the same U.S. District Court. The parties will work on proposing a joint case management plan setting forth deadlines for future actions in the case. If there were a final judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, then the State would likely appeal that.”Pence spokeswoman Kara Brooks referred a message seeking comment to the AG’s office.American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said Planned Parenthood would now move for summary judgment in the case. Briefing alone on that motion will extend beyond the Nov. 8 general election, he said. That means the decision on whether to appeal Pratt’s ruling is likely to be made by whomever voters elect in November as governor and attorney general.Pence is running for vice president with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, while Zoeller opted not to seek another term as AG after losing a Republican primary for a congressional race. Democrat John Gregg and Republican Eric Holcomb are running for governor; Democrat Lorenzo Arredondo and Republican Curtis Hill are the candidates for attorney general.Pratt’s ruling came the same week the Supreme Court of the United States in a 5-3 decision rolled back a restrictive Texas abortion law. Justices found the Texas law’s increased regulations on abortion clinics were medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limited a woman’s right to an abortion.Since that decision and the striking of HEA 1337, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky also sued the state seeking an injunction against a 2016 Indiana abortion law requiring women to have an ultrasound at least 18 hours before an abortion.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

St. Vincent de Paul Society needs support to meet donation demand

first_img (Photo supplied/St Vincent de Paul Society) The St. Vincent de Paul Society will continue emergency food assistance to neighbors in need during the COVID-19 outbreak and urgently needs community support to meet increased demand on services.“Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, people are still struggling in poverty,” says Executive Director Anne Watson. “We are continuing to provide food and have implemented precautions to prevent transmission of the virus in order to protect our staff, volunteers, and those we are serving. Today, we packed 200 boxes to distribute with help from volunteers and board members, but we know we will need to provide more. We ask that the community join us and help by making a monetary donation.”This past year, SVDP served more than 46,000 people with food—through its Client Choice Food Pantry and through home deliveries of food. SVDP also provided more than $72,000 in rent and utility assistance and distributed 112 beds to children through its Sweet Dreams Ministry.Watson says, “We strive to move people from being in a crisis to being in control. Our work would not be possible without the support of our community.”Donations can be made by sending cash or check to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at 520 Crescent Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617 or by visiting their website and clicking “donate.” Facebook St. Vincent de Paul Society needs support to meet donation demand By Jon Zimney – March 17, 2020 0 281 Pinterest Facebook Google+ Pinterest Google+ CoronavirusIndianaLocalNews Twitter WhatsApp Twitter WhatsApp Previous articleChanges at Humane Society of St. Joseph County due to COVID-19Next articleMan shot on Western Avenue on Monday dies, suspect arrested Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney.last_img read more

NASCAR unveils unique multimedia mission control

first_img“It’s very, very different from anything else out there.”— Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Race tracks better gauging the effectiveness of a ticket promotion. New sponsors seeing how they’re resonating within the sport. Broadcast partners determining which camera angles click with fans, and which don’t. NASCAR more quickly responding to a controversy or an erroneous media report. All data, all the time in NASCAR Fan & Media Engagement Centercenter_img Those are some of the goals of the NASCAR Fan & Media Engagement Center, a kind of multimedia mission control unveiled Monday at NASCAR Plaza. Built by NASCAR in concert with HP, the 13-screen glass room was the idea of chairman Brian France, and designed so the sanctioning body could better monitor digital and social media on behalf of the sport and its constituencies. VIDEO: NASCAR, HP launch Fan & Media Engagement Center“It’s going to allow us to handle digital and social media on behalf of our entire industry,” France said at a ribbon cutting. “… The capabilities being created today are going to allow our industry to interact with our fans in ways we could have never dreamed of before — in real time in almost every medium, all over the country.”Eighteen months in the making, the FMEC is designed to help teams, tracks, sponsors, broadcast partners and NASCAR itself receive more data on fan and media reaction. Monitored by a staff of five people, the center on race weekends will be capable of determining things like hashtag efficiency, positive versus negative impressions, even how much one driver is being mentioned in ongoing social media conversations.“It’s very, very different from anything else out there,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief marketing officer. “It will enable us on behalf of the industry to see what’s out there, to see how we’re being covered, and more importantly be able to respond to that in an efficient, effective manner. It’s one thing to get the data — it’s another thing to respond quickly to it.”The FMEC will also allow NASCAR to monitor media coverage, and perhaps clear up a misinterpretation of a rule, or correct potentially inaccurate reports from outlets that do not cover the sport on a regular basis.“This is not by any stretch, and I want to be clear, us trying to control anything,” said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR’s chief communications officer.“It’s going to allow us to respond faster,” he added, “because we’re going to know more quickly and with more depth and breadth what the conversation is.”France said NASCAR chose to partner with HP after speaking with different technology companies about the idea. The result unveiled Monday is being hailed by NASCAR as a potential game-changer, and by HP as a product that other industries may want to duplicate.“This is an absolutely unique, first-of-its-kind solution,” said Charles Salameh, HP’s vice president of enterprise services for the Americas.“This approach by NASCAR, I’ve never seen it, in all the customers I deal with across the Americas. It’s a very unique way. And mark my words, after this launch … the sporting world will look at what’s been done here. Not just the sporting world, but the automotive industry, the parts supply industry, the communications industry — any industry looking to have a more interactive dialogue with their customers … is going to look at what was launched here today.”last_img read more

Lesson from Harvey: The importance of stress testing your loan portfolio

first_imgIn the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we can all agree that the most important objectives are aiding the victims and rebuilding what was lost by those affected. However, from a credit union perspective, it also reminds us how an unforeseen event can affect the strategy and viability of their institution. Events like Harvey are precisely the reason why it is important for credit unions to understand the significance of stress testing their portfolio.If a month ago, you polled Houston area credit union leaders about potential risks to their loan portfolio, and subsequently their capital, it would be interesting to see how many of them would have cited a catastrophic weather event. Although we almost instinctively associate a portfolio shock with economic events – events similar to the lead-up to the 2008 housing bubble, for example – it is hard to imagine any one event having a bigger impact on a credit union’s membership and collateral values than what Harvey will likely have on Houston and the surrounding communities. The underlying lesson is that credit quality and collateral markets can change quickly, and not always in the exact way we envision, or plan for.Harvey has undoubtedly been an impetus for economic shock in the Houston area, checking each of the following boxes that affect the stability of lending portfolios:  Home Values – widespread flooding has rendered 70% of Harris County under at least 1.5 feet of water, many of which were not covered by flood insurance. This means thousands of flooded homes, and a grim short term effect on the Houston housing market. Automobile Values – there are reports that likely 500,000 vehicles have been destroyed by Harvey. Even if the individual, or the lender, can find and retrieve the collateral, it is likely going to be worth nothing.Small Businesses – despite optimistic tones from municipal leaders, small businesses, the engine of most local economies, have an uphill climb to navigate rebuilding, finding employees, and continuing operations.Member Livelihoods – it is difficult to think about getting back to work when there is 18 inches of water in your living room, or your car has been flooded, or your place of employment is shut-down. Even with the expected influx of insurance money, it is likely that Harvey has interrupted the income source for many credit union members. For a credit union in southeast Texas that didn’t deliberately plan for and proactively shape their strategy to withstand a stress scenario, the recovery might be the hardest thing their institution has ever faced. The question facing the rest of us is stark: what is going to be your “Harvey”? There will inevitably be an event that stresses your credit union, and it will be important that you are positioned to weather the storm. Here are some tips on how you can create an infrastructure that will facilitate a useful stress testing model:Understand your collateral – most credit unions record an original LTV on their auto and mortgage loans, but do you re-measure LTV periodically? By obtaining fresh collateral values, and comparing them to current balances, you can better understand your current position of exposure, and get a real-time view of your risk of loss.Understand your credit quality – when underwriting, credit unions typically look at the member’s FICO score to determine eligibility and interest rate. The tricky thing about FICO scores is that they change. Rescoring your loan portfolio after origination provides you a fresh data point on your member and allows you to calculate score migration.Understand your market – to better understand the environment you are operating in consider pulling data germane to your geographic market related to housing and unemployment trends.After establishing sound baselines in these areas, you are ready to apply stress assumptions of how much collateral values and credit quality could change based on the conditions confronting your individual credit union. At the very least, credit unions should stress their portfolio considering the risk of a general economic decline. However, an effective stress testing program should also include a deeper dive into risks relevant to your portfolio mix, and lending environment. For instance, you may have loan pools that carry heavy regulatory risk, such as student loans. Or you may have member business loans at risk for a total industry collapse – see the taxi medallion industry. And, of course, you may be geographically positioned on the coast, watching the tropics, and are at risk of a near-total loss related to a weather event. By thinking outside-the-box about your risk gamut, you can execute stress tests tailored to specific scenarios that will better inform you on the following:Risk Adjusted Capital Position –starting with recorded net worth, you can simulate a collateral scenario that estimates value at risk and interest rate risk to determine if the credit union’s current capital position can withstand that particular shock scenario.Allowance for Loan Losses – when you simulate a drop in collateral quality, you can project how that will affect your losses, and determine if the credit union is properly reserved. If you find that your ALLL account isn’t adequately funded, you can analyze if you have the capital available to increase the reserve.Concentration Limits – if you observe that stressing a particular loan pool significantly increases losses to the credit union, you can determine if your current concentration limits should be revised. It’s true, getting serious about stress testing your portfolio will not stop your “Harvey” event from happening, but it will allow the credit union to:Gain a better understanding of its static situation, Think critically about the risks confronting it,Forecast projections of how a stress event would affect the institution,Shape strategy to confronting those risks and mitigate the impact,Not have to wait until a stress event occurs to reactPlanning for the next “worst case scenario” is more than just thinking about the next change in the economic cycle. Rather, it’s taking a proactive approach to understanding catastrophic risk, and arming your credit union with the right amount of data to inform a well thought out stress testing program, and support a lending strategy that will sustain you when you are faced with your own “Harvey”. 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Alan Veitengruber Alan is a Senior Analyst with Twenty Twenty Analytics. He works with clients on Loan Portfolio Risk engagements focusing on concentration analysis, collateral valuation and ALLL validation. Alan also has … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Peddling election conspiracy theories, GOP lays groundwork for far-right terrorism

first_img– Advertisement – And it will lead to domestic terrorism, yet again. As it has before. As it has repeatedly. This will not be Rush Limbaugh’s first time being singled out as a figure whose conspiracy theories have sown the seeds of far-right violence, or the first time the “Breitbart” den of white nationalism parroted the same insanities of the nation’s most violent militia movements, and Fox News hosts between them have notched both millions of dollars and a body count, as they endlessly choose new Americans to demonize.When it comes to the Hannitys, the Carlsons, the Levins, and the Limbaughs, it has long been apparent that they do not care. They are fully aware that their singled-out targets are often immediately barraged with death threats. It is part of the game, when speculating on the murder of Seth Rich or warning their audiences of the threats posed by the latest non-white non-conservative political leader.There are only two possibilities. They know their words fan the flames of violence, but are indifferent to those risks so long as their audiences stay engaged and profitable. Or they believe the violence itself may be useful, or redemptive.- Advertisement – The base isn’t in on the joke. And that means the arch-conservatives pumping up conspiracy hoaxes are doing so knowing full well that their words will, with near-certainty, lead to a wave of domestic terrorism.What Media Matters correctly described as a “feedback loop” is already spiraling out of control. Far-right hosts like Mark Levin are hosting prominent Republicans to shout outrageous conspiracy nonsense, which Donald Trump then promotes via Twitter to his army of gullibles, steadily building a base of Americans who see from television, the internet, and their public leaders claims of election fraud that they cannot be dissuaded from, no matter how many times they are discredited or how humiliated Trump’s legal architects become in the eyes of the rest of the country. The conservative base has been carefully cultivated by Fox News and a host of far-right charlatans for decades, honing into a movement of ever-terrified money-spending rubes; there is no way they would not fall for such pleasing claims as “it was the Black cities that sabotaged Trump, because reasons, because otherwise Dear Leader would obviously have won.”- Advertisement – So they will sit back, say nothing, and watch it happen.As with the punditry, it is an open question as to whether individual Republican lawmakers intend to stoke “useful” terrorism or merely calculate they can distance themselves enough from it to avoid responsibility. And as with the far-right pundits they are following, their histories do not exactly suggest a devotion to nonviolent, democratic rule. America has through most of its history prevented the “wrong” kind of people from voting by making laws against them, through targeted harassment, and by simply killing them outright. All of these were conservative efforts. All of them were embraced by political leaders and public opinion-setters both.Anyone thinking the same could not happen again has not been paying attention to the words these conservatives are using, and the legacy they are attempting to uphold. Whether or not Dear Leader is saved from oblivion may not even be the most important issue, in their minds; the real question is whether the non-conservative majority of America will be allowed to defy conservatism without consequences. And when those “consequences” begin to happen, the same Republican lawmakers will declare that it was the fault of the liberals and city-dwellers to begin with—for being uppity. For being so very uppity, with their votes, that domestic terrorists felt violence was the only remaining way to contain them. The longer it has gone on, the more each host’s rhetoric tends to lean from the first to the second. You cannot possibly keep an audience transfixed with tales of secret terror unless you elevate the stakes, from each year to the next. And you cannot elevate the stakes without eventually coming to the obvious crescendo: Democracy itself is a conspiracy against conservatism, and it is time to finally do something about that.And, again, it’s a feedback loop. Any conservative unwilling to adopt the most conspiratorial stance is finding themselves replaced by new shouters willing to go that far and farther. OAN is now replacing Fox News because Fox News has insulted its conspiracy-peddling audience with too many facts, while OAN freely revels in even the most ridiculous asininities. It’s working.Republican leaders may claim they are merely giving Trump space to express his malignant grief, but they most obviously are not. They are legitimizing false claims that run the incontestable risk of stoking terrorism by their own supporters. They may think they can pull back on the reins just before things get truly out of hand; they cannot. Once legitimized, those hoaxes will be acted upon by would-be patriots, just as they have time and time again. Republican lawmakers will not, once violence erupts, suddenly eat their words and admit they were spreading politically useful hoaxes, because to do so would end their careers.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Surprising diversity found in H5N1 in Asian chickens

first_imgApr 14, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – H5N1 influenza viruses found in chickens seized at Vietnam’s border with China in 2008 show a surprising level of genetic diversity, suggesting that the viruses are evolving rapidly and raising questions about disease surveillance and the effectiveness of prepandemic H5N1 vaccines, according to a team of Vietnamese and US scientists.The findings suggest that the subgroup of viruses identified in the study has been circulating in the region either undetected or unreported for a “considerable amount of time,” the report says. The viruses are in clade 7, a group that has not been found in an outbreak since one in China’s Shanxi province in 2006.Also, given the degree of difference between these clade 7 viruses and those used to make human H5N1 vaccines, “it is unclear whether or not humoral antibodies elicited by current vaccine candidates will have cross-neutralization activity against the new viruses,” says the report, published recently in Virology.The study was conducted by scientists from Vietnam’s National Center for Veterinary Diagnostics in Hanoi and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the CDC’s Ruben O. Donis as the senior author.Vietnam bans the importation of poultry from H5N1-infected countries. The viruses analyzed in the study came from imported illegal chickens seized at border control stations in Vietnam’s Lang Son province, on the Chinese border. Authorities confiscated 495 chickens at the border stations in the first 5 months of 2008 and tested them for avian flu. Fifteen birds were found infected with H5N1 virus, and two others had an H9N2 virus.The authors extracted RNA from the 15 H5N1 isolates, amplified it, and analyzed the sequence of the hemagglutinin (HA) genes. They found that all 15 HA genes fit within a subgroup of previously identified clade 7 viruses. They determined that 13 of the 15 HA genes fell into two further subgroups, which they labeled A and B.The isolates within groups A and B were very closely related, but the groups differed considerably from each other, with an average divergence of 4.05% in HA nucleotide sequences and 5.69% in amino acid sequences, the report says. The authors also determined that the isolates differed by an average of 3.67% and 5.81% from the most closely related previous clade 7 isolate, which came from a chicken in China’s Shanxi province in 2006.In comparing the viruses with representatives of other H5N1 clades, the investigators found they were most closely related a clade 4 virus (a 2006 isolate from Guiyang province of China) and most distantly related to a clade 1 virus, a 2004 isolate from Vietnam. The respective differences in amino acid sequences were 8.20% and 9.07%.The genetic distance between the HAs of these clade 7 viruses and the isolates used to make prepandemic vaccines raises doubt as to whether antibodies generated by the vaccines would react with the clade 7 viruses, the authors write. They say the viruses used in the vaccines represent clade 1 (from Vietnam, 2004), clade 2.1.3 (Indonesia, 2005), clade 2.2 (Qinghai province, China, 2005), and clade 2.3.4 (Anhui province, China, 2005).The authors used ferret serum samples to test whether antibodies generated against five of the clade 7 viruses would cross-react with viruses from other clades and vice versa. Using hemagglutination inhibition assays, they found that samples (antisera) with antibodies against clades 1 and 2.3.4 did not cross-react with a clade 7 virus, and antisera against that same clade 7 virus did not react with clade 1 and clade 2.3.4 viruses. Also, antisera to the clade 7 virus showed limited cross-reactivity with each of four other clade 7 isolates, suggesting “some, albeit minimal” antigenic similarity among the viruses.The authors write that the identification of two distinct subgroups (groups A and B) of clade 7 viruses “may suggest that these viruses originated from two distinct regions or host populations isolated from each other.”They say the isolates they analyzed were remarkably diverse, given that other studies of H5N1 viruses in a single clade have shown a nucleotide divergence of no more than 1.5%. They also observe, “The high degree of genetic divergence from previously identified clade 7 viruses also indicates that this subgroup of viruses has likely been circulating undetected or unreported for a considerable amount of time as poultry outbreaks caused by clade 7 H5N1 viruses were last reported in Shanxi province, China in 2006.”The findings point up the need for border controls and strong virologic surveillance to detect and prevent the spread of “exotic” H5N1 viruses from country to country, the authors conclude.Dr. Les Sims of Australia’s Asia-Pacific Veterinary Information Services called the study “an important piece of work” that offers another sign of gaps in avian flu surveillance systems in Asia.”Unexplained gaps in the evolution of H5N1 virus HA genes suggest that surveillance systems have not been able to detect all cases of infection,” Sims, who is a consultant to the United National Food and Agriculture Organization, told CIDRAP News by e-mail.Other signs of holes in surveillance efforts include the detection of H5N1 virus in humans before finding it in nearby poultry, finding the virus in intermittent testing in poultry markets, and infected dead poultry washing up on Hong Kong’s beaches, Sims said.Clade 7 viruses have been found in various places in China, including Shanxi, Yunnan, and Hebei provinces, he reported, adding, “One of the recent human cases in Jiangsu was apparently due to a clade 7 virus, based on newspaper reports.””The antigenic variation is not surprising given that clade 7 viruses have been shown to be antigenic variants previously,” Sims said. But the findings from the ferret sera should be tested further with challenge trials in poultry vaccinated with existing vaccines, he added.The difference between a 2006 clade 7 virus found in China—cited in the study as the closest previously identified relative of the viruses the authors analyzed—and existing vaccine antigens “led to the incorporation of a new antigen into some Chinese poultry vaccines,” he said. “These vaccines containing a clade 7 antigen have been used extensively in China.” He added that there have been no reports of vaccine failures in Vietnam resulting from antigenic variants.Sims said the antigenic changes in the clade 7 virus might potentially have been spurred by poultry vaccination efforts. “We need to balance measures to reduce the amount of circulating virus, which vaccination of poultry can do, against the potential ‘harm’ that might occur if antigenic variants emerge,” he stated. “We should expect antigenic variants to emerge and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to detect these at an early stage.”Nguyen T, Davis CT, Stembridge W, et al. Characterization of a highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus sublineage in poultry seized at ports of entry into Vietnam. Virology 2009 (early online publication) [Abstract]last_img read more

Martin Keown tells Arsenal boss Unai Emery the two players he must start against Tottenham

first_imgMesut Ozil should start the north London derby, according to Martin Keown (Picture: Getty)Asked how important Ozil is to the Gunners, Keown added: ‘So important.‘Ozil has started just three away league games since the end of September but Arsenal’s results have not improved in his absence.‘Since his last start – the 1-1 draw at Brighton on Boxing Day – Arsenal have lost three of their four away games.‘Arsenal’s top-four hopes hinge on their next two matches against Spurs and Manchester United. Comment Unai Emery prepares for derby against TottenhamTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 15:28FullscreenUnai Emery prepares for derby against Tottenham is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.‘Tottenham are wounded after losing twice in five days. Emery needs to pick Ozil, pick Mkhitaryan and go in for the kill.’Emery, meanwhile, wants his Arsenal team to take the ‘opportunity’ to put pressure on north London rivals Tottenham.He said at his pre-match press conference: ‘There were 10 points difference between us and Spurs two weeks ago. Now it’s four points. It is a big motivation.‘This is a big opportunity for us to play with confidence in our moment, respecting them because they lost two matches but they are still having a very good season.’More: FootballBruno Fernandes responds to Man Utd bust-up rumours with Ole Gunnar SolskjaerNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira moves Metro Sport ReporterFriday 1 Mar 2019 4:43 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link230Shares Arsenal manager Unai Emery (Picture: Getty)Martin Keown has urged Unai Emery to ‘go in for the kill’ and start Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the north London derby against Tottenham.The Gunners travel to Wembley on Saturday knowing a victory will see them move to within one point of Spurs in the Premier League table.Arsenal have won three matches on the bounce and smashed Bournemouth 5-1 at the Emirates on Wednesday evening.Tottenham, meanwhile, have seen their slim Premier League title chances evaporate after losing successive games to Burnley and Chelsea.ADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityArsenal hero Keown says Spurs are ‘wounded’ and believes Emery should unleash Ozil and Mkhitaryan on Mauricio Pochettino’s side.AdvertisementAdvertisementHe told the Daily Mail: ‘Arsenal this season are like watching two teams: one that is dominant at home and another that cannot seem to perform on the road.‘If they are going to do the double over their north London rivals tomorrow, they need to pretend that Wembley is the Emirates.‘The return of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has restored some much-needed creativity. Rather than tinker with his tactics, Emery should field both against Tottenham.’center_img Advertisement Martin Keown tells Arsenal boss Unai Emery the two players he must start against Tottenham Advertisementlast_img read more