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25 days agoBarcelona president Bartomeu to meet with Pique to clear the air

first_imgBarcelona president Bartomeu to meet with Pique to clear the airby Carlos Volcano25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is set to meet with defender Gerard Pique to clear the air after the latter’s recent comments.Sport says Pique has questioned the board twice in the last week. He said he did not like the team’s pre-season tours of Japan and the US, claiming “we did more travelling and less training and we’re feeling it.”Then he hinted that the board were planting stories in the media against the players.The objective of the meeting will be to smooth things over and stop Pique’s digs which in Madrid they are using to do more damage to Barcelona. About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Public Safety Canada says printing a gun without licence could lead to

first_imgPublic Safety Canada says it’s closely monitoring U.S. moves that would allow designs for 3D-printed guns to be posted online, but there are rules already in place to prevent unauthorized weapons from being made.“Regardless of manufacturing method, a business licence is required to produce a firearm and all firearms are subject to the Firearms Act, the Criminal Code and their associated regulations,” the department said in a statement.It adds it’s illegal to make or possess a firearm without the right licence and registration certificate.“The Firearms Act requires that a business, museum, or organization must have a firearms business licence to manufacture ammunition, firearms, restricted or prohibited weapons, or prohibited devices. A business licence is valid only for the activities specified on the licence.”Anyone who makes weapons or ammunition knowing they aren’t authorized to do so could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the section of the Criminal Code that deals with weapons trafficking.The legal wrangling in the U.S. around 3D-printed firearms dates back to 2013, when Texas-based Defence Distributed started publishing downloadable gun blueprints online. The plastic guns are easy to hide and difficult to trace.The State Department ordered company founder Cody Wilson to cease, but the U.S. government settled with his company in late June, which would have allowed the files to be posted again on Wednesday.But on Tuesday a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of the blueprints, saying they could end up in the wrong hands.“There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made,” said U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik.Eight Democratic attorneys general had filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government’s settlement with Defence Distributed. They also sought the restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.U.S. President Donald Trump has said on Twitter that he is looking into the matter, has spoken to the National Rifle Association and that it “doesn’t seem to make much sense!”Kerry Stevenson, editor and founder of the 3D printing blog Fabbaloo, said the level of alarm over the release of the 3D-printed gun designs is unwarranted.“These files have been informally available for a couple of years now and anybody who really, really wanted them would surely have found them already,” he said.But the combination of two hot-button issues — 3D printing technology and the proliferation of guns — has created a big media buzz, Stevenson added.“People think that 3D printers are these magic machines that can make anything like a Star Trek replicator. But they aren’t. They’re just another machine that can make certain kinds of stuff.”He noted that there have long been computer-driven machines used to manufacture products out of metal, which would make more durable guns than the hard plastic ones 3D printers churn out.He said 3D-printed guns are not strong enough to withstand more than a few uses before they crack. Weighing the poor product quality against the substantial costs of 3D printers, Stevenson said he can’t see many people resorting to that method to get their hands on a firearm.University of Calgary law professor Lisa Silver said authorities need to find a balance between making sure 3D printing technology is allowed to flourish for its many legitimate and beneficial uses, while restricting any potentially dangerous activity.She said it’s likely Canada’s firearms laws and regulations would cover 3D-printed firearms, but the language may have to be tweaked to make it completely clear.“If I were the government, I would want to make sure all my legislation is up to date, that I’ve got the opinion of my policy people that say ‘yes, it would cover that kind of firearm,’” she said.The advent of 3D-printed firearms could also make police investigations more complex, Silver added. For instance, search warrants may need to be extended to computer forensics, when they wouldn’t have in the past.“It’s another one of those new technologies that the police just have to keep apace of and be one step ahead of people who are going to use them for criminal activity.”— With files from APlast_img read more

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Football Ohio State stays at No 4 in latest AP Poll

The Buckeyes line up to sing “Carmen Ohio” after the game against TCU on Sept. 15. Ohio State won 40-28. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State stayed as the No. 4 team in the latest AP Poll after defeating TCU 40-28 on Saturday. The Buckeyes failed to earn a first place vote. Ohio State began the season as the No. 5 team in the nation according to the preseason AP Poll, but had failed to earn a first place vote after defeating both Oregon State and Rutgers in the first two weeks of the season. Ohio State did earn a first place vote in the USA Coaches Poll released Sunday, which had the Buckeyes as the No. 4 team in the nation as well. The Buckeyes defeated the Horned Frogs on Saturday, which fell to No. 17 after the loss. Ohio State is one of five teams from the Big Ten represented in the latest AP Poll along with Penn State (No. 10 along with Washington), Wisconsin (No. 18), Michigan (No. 19) and Michigan State (No. 24). The AP Poll: Week 41. Alabama (58)2. Georgia3. Clemson (3)4. Ohio State5. Oklahoma6. LSU7. Stanford8. Notre Dame9. Auburn10. Washington10. Penn State12. West Virginia13. Virginia Tech14. Mississippi State15. Oklahoma State16. UCF17. TCU18. Wisconsin19. Michigan20. Oregon21. Miami22. Texas A&M23. Boston College24. Michigan State25. BYU read more

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Baseball Ohio State comes up empty in trip to South Carolina

Ohio State freshman right fielder Dominic Canzone bats in the bottom of the seventh inning against North Carolina Greensboro. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Lantern reporterThe Ohio State baseball team (7-8) lost all three games in the Greenville Drive First Pitch Invitational. The drive from Greenville, South Carolina to Spartanburg, South Carolina did not prove to be refreshing, as the Buckeyes also dropped their fifth-straight game on Tuesday.  Michigan StateThe Buckeyes fell to a Michigan State squad fueled by early runs and stellar pitching. Michigan State (3-10) defeated Ohio State 7-1 on Saturday. Spartans junior pitcher Mike Mokma went the distance in the 11-strikeout win. Mokma allowed seven hits in his nine innings of work, leaving with a 2.05 ERA on the year. The Spartans added three runs in the first inning to give Mokma early run support. Senior third baseman Ando Royce had two hits and three RBIs. Ohio State freshman pitcher Garrett Burhenn picked up his first loss of the season, falling to 2-1 on the year. Burhenn allowed seven runs in five innings. Freshman pitcher TJ Brock put in three hitless innings of relief for the Buckeyes. He recorded five strikeouts in the process. Western Carolina A big inning plagued the Buckeyes, as they dropped their third straight game. Ohio State fell to Western Carolina (8-5) in a score of 8-5. A five-run seventh inning propelled the Catamounts to a comfortable four-run victory. Junior right fielder Dominic Canzone hit a solo home run for the Buckeyes, his fourth of the year, to put the Buckeyes up 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Ohio State freshman pitcher Mitch Milheim allowed four runs in the bottom of the inning, picking up his first loss of the year. Despite producing 11 hits, Ohio State stranded 12 baserunners in the loss. Western Carolina junior pitcher Jacob Corn received his second win of the season, as he allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief. FurmanDespite producing 10 runs, Ohio State dropped its fourth straight game in dramatic fashion Monday. The Buckeyes were outscored 11-10 in 10 innings against Furman (4-9). A solo home run by senior first baseman John Boswell ended the game, giving the Paladins its second win in three games. The Buckeye offense recorded a season-high 15 hits. Four Buckeyes produced at least three hits in the loss. Ohio State junior first baseman Conner Pohl recorded four hits and one RBI. Senior left fielder Brady Cherry added three RBIs, hitting his fourth home run of the season. The Buckeyes led 10-8 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. After two throwing errors put two runners in scoring position, a ground out reduced the lead to one with two outs and put a runner on third. A single knocked in the tying run to extend the game. Ohio State freshman pitcher Will Pfenning received the loss. Furman freshman pitcher Rob Hughes picked up his second win of the season; he has no earned runs in 15 innings of work. Wofford The Buckeyes could stop the bleeding, dropping their fifth straight in a loss to Wofford. Ohio State lost 8-6 to Wofford (11-6), despite jumping out to a 5-1 lead through three innings. The Terriers’ offense produced seven runs in the next four innings to secure the lead and ultimately the win. Wofford sophomore starting pitcher David Yourke struggled early, allowing five earned runs in four innings. The relief for the Terriers rebounded, however, allowing only one run in the final five innings. The pitching for Ohio State did not excel against a talented Wofford batting order. Freshman third baseman John Dempsey produced three RBIs, including a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior left fielder Brady Cherry had a three-hit performance for the Buckeyes that included two RBIs and two doubles. Cherry is now batting .344 on the season. Ohio State junior pitcher Andrew Magno received the loss, while Wofford junior pitcher Rasesh Pandya earned the win. read more

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Rep Potvin to meet with residents in Barryton Sept 19

first_img14Sep Rep. Potvin to meet with residents in Barryton Sept. 19 State Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, is holding office hours Monday, Sept. 19, to meet with residents of the 102nd House District. He will be available from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Williams Café, 19636 30th Ave. in Barryton.“I regret that I wasn’t able to make it to Barryton last month, and I’m looking forward to meeting with residents there on Sept. 19,” Rep. Potvin said. “I hope people take an opportunity to come to Williams Café and sit down with me. I enjoy hearing feedback from residents in our district, and I’m always happy to answer questions about what is going on in Lansing.”No appointment is necessary for office hours. Anyone unable to attend can contact Rep. Potvin’s Lansing office at (517) 373-1747. The representative also can be reached by email at philpotvin@house.mi.gov; or by mail at S-1386 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.##### Categories: Newslast_img read more

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Connected TV specialist Capablue has completed a r

first_imgConnected TV specialist Capablue has completed a round of funding and recruited a new director.Capablue said it would use the money to scale the company, improve business development in vertical sectors, strengthen its cloud-based technology platform and expand internationally. The company has also appointed advertising entrepreneur Charlie Makin as a director. Makin will help Capablue to increase its profile among brand owners and advertising agencies.“The market for the consumption of content and services has changed with the emergence of internet connected devices,” said Makin. “People now interact with content and brands over a number of devices and this market is continuing to grow. New technologies like Capablue’s are enabling both brands and agencies, regardless of size, to evolve with this changing TV market and reach new audiences worldwide. This is an untapped market for these companies and I’m looking forward to working with Capablue to change that.”last_img read more

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BSkyB has extended its quality assurance agreement

first_imgBSkyB has extended its quality assurance agreement with Agama, using the latter’s monitoring solution to now also cover OTT service playout for Sky’s Now TV and Sky Go offerings.Sky has expanded its existing monitoring solution from Agama, allowing it to  ensure that its adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming services are available with the right quality, improving the end-user experience.“At Sky we are committed to offering our customers high-quality content and the best quality TV experience possible. The Agama solution provides crucial insights to improve and ensure our OTT service delivery platform, which supports us in delivering a high-quality experience and service to our customers,” said Sky’s senior design engineer for emerging technologies, Vlad Korotkov.last_img read more

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Alibabas Singles Day Shopping Event Sales Hit 1 Billion in 85 Seconds

first_img 2 min read Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Add to Queue This story originally appeared on Engadget –shares This comes in spite of tariffs and other challenges to Chinese tech. Next Article Alibaba Chinese internet giant Alibaba is fond of crowing about its online shopping records, and that’s truer than ever this year. The company’s annual Global Shopping Festival, aka Singles Day, broke last year’s record by selling $30.8 billion in goods across 230 countries over the space of 24 hours, a hefty 27 percent increase over the $25.3 billion from 2017. However, the initial burst also stood out. It took just 85 seconds for Alibaba to sell its first $1 billion, and an hour to top $10 billion. That’s well past U.S. holiday sales — for context, Black Friday 2017 “only” generated $5 billion in online sales.The brands that most profited from the event included Apple, Dyson, Gap and Nike, among other big names.While not everyone is necessarily keen to celebrate a shopping frenzy (the event is basically an ode to unfettered consumerism), it’s also no mean feat considering the obstacles Alibaba had to face. U.S. tariffs potentially affected the cost of some products, and the Chinese yuan isn’t worth as much as it was a year earlier. Alibaba also cut its revenue expectations as a result of its less-than-certain future. This suggests that the festival is large enough to be independent of the ups and downs of China — like it or not, it’s a cultural institution for some people. Image credit: Alibaba via engadget November 12, 2018 Jon Fingas Alibaba’s Singles Day Shopping Event Sales Hit $1 Billion in 85 Seconds Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

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Tech Giants Form Group to Pressure US Over Surveillance

first_img Apply Now » Seven of the nation’s largest technology companies have teamed to pressure the U.S. to scale back its government surveillance programs, demanding five changes in the way the U.S. compiles and uses the data of private citizens.“We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens,” the companies wrote in an open letter on the website for their coalition. “But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.”The companies involved are Who’s Who list of the American Internet: AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo. In one way or another, all were involved in the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans and people abroad. The companies have publicly objected to government access to data – in some cases directly through the companies’ own servers. They have also lamented that they were not able to communicate their communications with the government itself, for fear of violating the law. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer went so far as to suggest she could be accused of treason if she made disclosures to the public.Related: Amid Surveillance Concerns, Two Companies Shut DownWhile the companies’ letter focuses on individual rights, there is also a big business implication at stake. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation earlier this year suggested U.S. companies could lose as much as $35 billion over the next three years as businesses and individuals move their data to countries with better data protection.Indeed, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, is quoted on the site saying as much. “People won’t use technology they don’t trust,” he wrote. “Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.”The business coalition wants five key changes:1. Limits on surveillance. In short, the companies are looking for changes in the law that make it harder for the government to force businesses to give up data.2. Better oversight. The coalition is seeking reform to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves subpoenas. The group wants that court to be more open and have an adversarial process, like the rest of the federal court system.3. Transparency to customers. A key problem for companies has been their inability to tell customers – and investors – that requests for data had been made by the NSA. The coalition wants more flexibility in disclosing subpoenas to the public.4. Data flow. The group wants the government to allow transfer of data across borders, without having to worry that the NSA will tap data centers overseas.5. Better government coordination. All of the companies operate internationally, and so are subject to different surveillance laws in different countries. The coalition wants a treaty or agreements to standardize practices.Related: Can This Company Save You From The NSA’s Prying Eyes?  3 min read 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Next Article Ray Hennessey The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Technology Tech Giants Form Group to Pressure U.S. Over Surveillancecenter_img December 9, 2013 –shares Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Editor-at-Large Add to Queue Image credit: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel Guest Writerlast_img read more

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Human brain cell transplant opens new avenues to understand neurological conditions

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 12 2018Scientists have created a ‘window’ into the brain, which enables researchers to watch in incredible detail how human brain cells develop and connect to each other in real time.In the new study, led by Imperial College London in collaboration with a group from the University of Cambridge, researchers transplanted human brain cells into a mouse brain, and for the first time watched how they grew and connected to each other.This allowed the team to study the way human brain cells interact in a more natural environment than previously possible.The team, funded by the Medical Research Council, used the technique to model Down syndrome, using cells donated by two individuals with the condition.The scientists say their approach could be used to study a range of brain conditions in the future, including schizophrenia, dementia or autism.The study, published today in the journal Science, describes how researchers saw differences in the brain cells from the individuals with Down syndrome compared to brain cells from a person without the condition.Although some of the connections formed between the brain cells from the individuals with Down syndrome were more stable and abundant, they communicated in a slightly less coordinated fashion.Dr Vincenzo De Paola, lead author of the research from Imperial’s Institute of Clinical Sciences, said: “It’s been a fantastic team effort and I’m grateful to the many scientists who participated in this study, as well as to the people who donated tissue samples for this research. Our results suggest the reduced coordinated activity and increased stability of connections in Down syndrome may be linked to cognitive function. Figuring this out would be an important piece of the puzzle, and we hope to have an answer soon.”Professor Rick Livesey, joint co-corresponding author from the University of Cambridge’s Wellcome/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, commented: “Working together with the Imperial team has allowed us to extend our previous work on making stem cells and nerve cells from people with Down syndrome, to study how those nerve cells develop and function when put in a living brain. We are very excited by how much we have learned and the new avenues this has opened up for understanding Down syndrome”.Dr Raquel Real, a neurologist from Dr De Paola’s group at Imperial College London and joint first author of this study, added: “The transplantation of human brain cells has allowed us to monitor their maturation over time. Ultimately, we detected that cells from Down syndrome individuals are not as active as normal cells at a crucial stage in their development, and this could have important implications for some of the symptoms of this condition”.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaDr De Paola added: “Scientists have been struggling to develop a way of monitoring live human cells and their connections in the brain. This new imaging approach may have taken us one step closer to this.”Crucially, the technique allows scientists to study how brain cells communicate, explained Dr De Paola: “The connections between brain cells, which enable them to talk to each other, is often the first thing to be damaged in conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s. This happens long before the brain cells themselves start to die. But the connections are so tiny, that no type of scanning tool available, such as MRI or PET scans, can see them. We used a revolutionary microscopy technique – called in vivo 2-photon microscopy – which allowed us to see not only individual live brain cells, but also the connections between them.”In the study, joint first author Dr Manuel Peter and colleagues from the Gurdon Institute created human brain cells by reverse-engineering skin cells. This process involved taking a few skin cells from volunteers with Down syndrome, and then reprogramming them in the lab to form brain cells. They then engineered those neurons so their activity could be monitored.Joint first authors Dr Raquel Real and Dr Antonio Trabalza from the Imperial College London group were then able to implant these human neurons in the brain of live mice and monitored their development and function over time.Dr De Paola explained: “The human brain cells not only formed complex networks, but also started communicating in a way that was very similar to normal brain cells. We were hoping a few of the human brain cells would grow within the mouse brain – but we were stunned to see the human brain cells thrive, and soon talk and work together.”However, he cautioned: “It is still not clear to what extent the transplanted human brain cells resemble the organization and complexity of their counterparts in the human brain. We now need to investigate this with further experiments.”The Imperial team now hope to refine this technique, and potentially use this approach to study other neurological conditions. Source:https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/188553/human-brain-cell-transplant-offers-insights/last_img read more

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Exploring potential health risks of microplastic particles for humans

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 1 2018The Austrian Federal Environment Agency and the Medical University of Vienna have presented the first preliminary results of a pilot study on microplastics (microplastic particles) in humans. They have detected microplastic particles in stool of eight volunteers. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) summarises its findings on possible health risks of microplastic particles for humans.Microplastics in foodThe BfR has no reliable data on the chemical composition, particle size and content of microplastic particles in foodstuffs. Due to the lack of reliable data, a health risk assessment for the consumption of food contaminated with microplastic particles is currently only possible to a limited extent. At the request of the BfR, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) prepared a comprehensive scientific opinion on the “Presence of microplastics and nanoplastics in food, with particular focus on seafood”. This opinion was published in May 2016:https://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/efsajournal/pub/4501 (EFSA 2016)The main aspects of the opinion were underlined in an accompanying press release: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/press/news/160623 (EFSA 2016a)According to EFSA, there is a possibility of oral absorption of microplastic particles of a certain size, although the fate and possible degradation in the gastrointestinal tract have not been sufficiently investigated so far due to a lack of analytical methods and valid studies.According to EFSA, available studies show that intestinal absorption appears to be very low (results from rodent studies). According to EFSA, only microparticles smaller than 150 mi-crometers (μm, 1 μm corresponds to 0.001 mm) can cross the intestinal barrier and only mi-croparticles smaller than 1.5 μm can reach organs located deeper. No results from human studies are currently available.First own investigations of the BfR on cultures of human intestinal epithelial cells as well as in animal experiments showed that plastic particles up to a diameter of approx. 4 μm can be absorbed in the cell culture of epithelial cells of the intestinal wall. In animal experiments, however, it was shown that despite the administration of very large amounts of plastic parti-cles in the size of 1 – 10 μm, these could only be found sporadically in the examined intestinal epithelial cells. The studies on the oral uptake of microplastic particles carried out at the BfR to date with various model particles did not reveal any evidence of damage to the intestinal tissue.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerStructure of bacteria responsible for traveler’s diarrhea decipheredRaw meat can act as reservoir for bacteria associated with hospital infectionsThe BfR does not have any findings on the question of whether microplastic particles can deposit in the body.Microplastics in cosmetic products According to the current state of knowledge, a health risk from dermal or unintended oral absorption via peelings or shower gels is unlikely from the point of view of the BfR, since the microplastic particles occurring there are larger than 1 μm. With this particle size, absorption via healthy and intact skin is not to be expected with foreseeable use of the products. Even if cosmetic products are accidentally swallowed,it can be assumed that absorption via the gastrointestinal tract would only be possible to a small extent and only with particles of a few micrometers in size, and that the majority of the particles are excreted via the stool. From the point of view of the BfR, it is unlikely that health-relevant amounts of ethylene from polyethylene are released by microplastic particles during the passage through the gastrointestinal tract.Microplastics as transport vehicles for other undesirable substances It has been described that substances can accumulate on microplastic particles. These substances bind according to their chemical-physical surface properties and can interact with the microplastic particles. Due to the predominantly non-polar, lipophilic (= fat-loving) properties of microplastic particles, substances such aspolychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are discussed here. Whether these substances actually con-tribute to human exposure through uptake by loaded microplastic particles has not yet been researched.An EFSA model calculation (EFSA 2016a) shows that the daily intake of PCBs and PAHs through the consumption of contaminated microplastic particles in mussels can only increase by 0.006 % for PCBs and less than 0.004 % for PAHs compared to other intake pathways.It was assumed in the extreme case that 225 g of mussels containing 7 μg microplastic particles per kg of mussels (equivalent to 900 particles) were consumed daily by humans. These mussels in turn contain high levels of PCBs and PAHs, of which the PCBs and PAHs are completely transferred to humans.It has been described that biofilms can develop from bacteria on particles that float, for example, in water. Whether and to what extent microplastic particles can act as vehicles for bacteria or viruses that have an influence on the safety of food products or the health of hu-mans has not been investigated.Avoidance of the absorption of microplastics by humans Sources of microplastic particle inputs into the environment and the food chain are manifold. Generally valid recommendations for protective measures cannot currently be formulated. There is a great need for research into the question of whether and under what conditions microplastic particles can have a potential hazard. Entrance paths for microplastic particles into the environment and the food chain must be further researched and solutions for the avoidance of inputs must be sought. Source:https://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/349/is-there-a-risk-to-humal-health-from-microplastics-more-research-and-scientific-data-needed.pdflast_img read more

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NIH awards 35 million to continue development of robotic system for treating brain

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 13 2018Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Albany Medical College, along with corporate partners GE Global Research and Acoustic MedSystems Inc., have received a five-year, $3.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the National Cancer Institutes’ (NCI) Academic-Industrial Partnership program, to continue development of an innovative robotic system that, operating within an MRI scanner, can deliver a minimally invasive probe into the brain to destroy metastatic brain tumors with high-intensity therapeutic ultrasound under real-time guidance.The grant, the second major NIH award for the system’s development, will enable the research team to model the behavior of the ultrasound ablation system, implement thermal monitoring to provide real-time feedback on dose delivery, optimize and verify the effectiveness of the system, and certify its readiness for human clinical trials. The research team is led by principal investigators Gregory S. Fischer, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering and robotics engineering at WPI and director of the Automation and Interventional Medicine Laboratory, and Julie G. Pilitsis, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics and professor of neurosurgery at Albany Medical College.Fischer and Pilitsis will work closely with the two corporate partners. Acoustic MedSystems in Savoy, Ill., will design, build, and validate the needle-based therapeutic ultrasound (NBTU) probe and provide the software to visualize and control it. GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y., will implement thermal imaging capabilities to monitor, in real time, the ablation of tumor tissue, and will collaborate on integrating the robotic system with its clinical MRI scanner.Brain metastases, which are among the most common type of brain tumors, occur when primary cancers in other organs spread to the brain. About 170,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in North America. Currently, the only treatment options are chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, all of which have limited success and can harm unaffected brain tissue; in addition, surgery is possible only when tumors are in accessible locations.The system being developed with the NIH award takes a different approach to treatment. It uses a thin (2 mm in diameter) probe that can be inserted into the brain through a small hole drilled in the skull and placed within the tumor. By adjusting the probe’s orientation and power output, doctors will be able to deliver doses of high-intensity ultrasound energy that are lethal to tumors, while minimizing damage to surrounding brain tissue. High-intensity ultrasound energy kills tissue by heating it (called thermal ablation), making it possible to use an MRI scanner’s ability to detect thermal emissions to monitor the dose delivered to the tumor.”Thermal ablation has shown potential as an effective treatment,” Pilitsis said, “but the available devices for using this therapy have severe limitations and can’t treat all shapes, sizes, and locations of tumors. Our hope is that this integrated robotic system will one day be able to provide all brain tumor patients with a safer, more accurate treatment.”The probe will be inserted into the brain with a robotic system developed by a WPI research team led by Fischer. The core of the system is a robot capable of operating inside an MRI scanner. It will position and align the probe before it is inserted into the brain and then adjust its depth and rotate it during the procedure to conform to the shape of the tumor. To ensure that the probe is precisely targeted at the tumor, the robot’s alignment must be based on real-time MRI scans, rather than pre-operative images, since the brain can shift as the patent is being prepared for the surgery. Real-time scans are also needed to verify the position of the probe in the brain, while live MRI-based thermal imaging will be used to monitor and provide feedback on the effects of the ultrasound ablation.”Our system is designed to provide very precise, closed-loop control,” Fischer said. “We will use live MRI images and thermal imaging to control the pattern of the ablation and monitor and adjust it in real-time to confine the thermal effects to the area within the tumor boundaries and to ensure that we are maximizing the odds that we are removing the entire tumor, while minimizing the chances of damaging non-malignant tissue.”Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injurySince this control depends on live images, the WPI robot has been carefully designed to work within the tight confines of the MRI scanner and to operate effectively despite the presence of other technology, including anesthesia equipment, imaging coils, and patient monitoring apparatus.In addition, because MRI scanners use a powerful magnet, the robot must be made without ferrous metals. It will be constructed mainly from plastics and ceramics and will use innovative piezoelectric motors and custom motion-control electronics that generate very low levels of electrical noise to avoid interfering with the MRI imaging system. In addition, the robot must be designed so that any parts that come in contact with the patient can be sterilized and so that the system can operate reliably and safely within a surgical environment.In addition to the robot, the WPI team, which includes PhD candidates Paulo Carvalho and Katie Gandomi and research scientist Christopher Nycz, PhD, is also developing a modular controller to operate the robot and will work to integrate the robotic system with multiple other systems, including the MRI scanner, the software that controls the Acoustic MedSystems probe, and 3D navigation software. Fischer said the goal is to deliver a system that can be easily integrated into the work flow inside a surgical suite. “When we get to clinical trials we won’t be able to have an army of engineers on site,” he said. “So we need to get to the point where everything runs very, very smoothly.”Some of this work will be conducted at WPI’s PracticePoint R&D facility for medical cyberphysical systems, a membership-based research, development, and commercialization alliance founded to advance healthcare technologies. Now under construction at WPI’s Gateway Park campus, PracticePoint, which in 2017 received a $5 million matching grant from the Massachusetts Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, will have point-of-practice clinical case scenarios–a hybrid operating room, a medical imaging suite, a reconfigurable patient care suite, a rehabilitation lab, and a residential setting–where smart medical devices and systems can be researched, developed, and tested. The surgical imaging suite will include a 3-Tesla MRI scanner made by GE Healthcare, a core industry partner in PracticePoint.”We will be leveraging the facilities at PracticePoint to do a lot of our system testing, MRI compatibility validation, and system integration,” Fischer said. “Having the ability to conduct this work here in Worcester, using a scanner comparable to the technology in which our pre-clinical studies will be conducted, will be a huge advantage.”The robotic system being developed with the current NIH award is an evolution of a system designed and tested by the WPI-Albany Medical College team with an earlier five-year, $3 million award from the agency. “In the first phase of the project, we developed a proof-of-concept system and demonstrated that it worked as expected,” Fischer said. “With the new award, we can optimize and fully characterize the system, verify it with pre-clinical studies, and get it ready for clinical use.”While their current focus is delivering a system for treating brain tumors with ultrasound ablation, Fischer said the research team is also considering other applications for their technology. “We are creating a versatile stereotactic neurosurgery delivery device,” he said, “one with much broader potential applications. For example, we could use it to deliver other ablation technologies, to do biopsies, to do electrode placement for deep-brain stimulation, and even to deliver therapeutics such as gene therapy. This research has opened up a world of exciting possibilities.”Source: https://www.wpi.edu/news/wpi-and-albany-medical-college-developing-robotic-system-treat-brain-tumorslast_img read more

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Study highlights the detrimental effect of prescription opioids on labor markets

first_img Source:https://news.utk.edu/2019/01/28/high-rates-of-opioid-prescriptions-may-be-linked-to-poor-labor-force-participation/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 29 2019Prescription opioids may be negatively affecting labor force participation and unemployment nationwide, according to findings in a new study co-authored by economists at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and published in The Journal of Human Resources.The study, which looked at county-level data from across the US, found that a 10 percent increase in opioid prescriptions per capita led to a 0.6 percentage point drop in labor force participation rates and a 0.1 percentage point increase in county unemployment rates.The study, measuring causal effects of opioids on the labor force, is the first of its kind to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, said Matt Harris, assistant professor in UT’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic research and co-author of the study.Related StoriesResearchers use AI to develop early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis systemRaman Spectroscopy as a Universal Analytical Technique for Bodily FluidsAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapy”The effects are really large,” said Harris. “Prescription opioids may explain up to half of the decline in labor force participation since 2000.”Harris co-authored the paper, “Prescription Opioids and Labor Market Pains,” with UT’s Larry Kessler, Matt Murray, and Beth Glenn, now a postdoctoral scholar at Tulane University. The researchers were prompted to investigate a link between labor markets and opioid usage after employers began asking why no one was applying for job openings.”We found that opioids have this strong adverse effect on labor force participation but only a marginally significant effect on the unemployment rate, which leads us to believe that opioids are leading individuals to exit the labor force entirely,” said Kessler.Tennessee is among the states with the highest number of heavy opioid-prescribing practitioners. On average, providers in Tennessee write 1.4 opioid prescriptions per person per year. At the average dosage per prescription, this rate is equivalent to prescribing 80 opioid doses to every man, woman, and child in Tennessee each year.The researchers emphasize that addressing the opioid epidemic is going to require considerable funding and an increased focus on treatment therapy. In addition to quelling the adverse health effects of the epidemic, they said, there are considerable economic gains to be attained from addressing the core issue of addiction.”The results suggest that in Tennessee, you could effectively boost income among residents by $800 million per year if you reduce opioid usage 10 percent,” said Harris.Other key findings include:* The detrimental effect of prescription opioids on labor markets holds true for both rural and nonrural counties.* Prescription opioids have the strongest adverse effects in counties with higher labor force participation rates and lower unemployment rates, perhaps suggesting that opioid-related damage has already been done in areas with low labor force participation.last_img read more

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Drugs designed with advanced computing technologies could help tackle hospital superbugs

first_imgSuperbugs are becoming steadily more resistant to antibiotics, causing an ‘antibiotics crisis’ and a serious threat to public health.  In Europe alone 25,000 deaths were linked to antibiotic resistance in 2014. The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2050 this figure will rise to 392,000 and that, worldwide, 10 million people will die from untreatable superbugs.Speaking at the World Economic Forum earlier this year Matt Hancock, the UK Secretary of State for Health, said: Now computational scientists from STFC’s Scientific Computing Department (SCD), STFC Hartree Centre and IBM Research are working together to understand how antibiotic agents operate at the molecular level, and enable the first steps in the efficient design of next generation drugs and treatments. Their findings are published in Physical Review Letters.Using ultra-largescale computer simulations, which were run on the Scafell Pike and IBM Power 8 supercomputers at the Hartree Centre, the team has shown that mechanical stresses on cells can affect the apparent potency of simple antibiotics.   Some antibacterial agents kill microorganisms by attacking their cell membranes, leading to leakage and death of the cell.  But the amount of tension in the cell membrane can make a difference.SCD’s Dr Martyn Winn explains: Jun 6 2019Hospital superbugs such as MRSA or E.coli could soon be under attack from a new generation of drugs designed with the help of advanced computing technologies from STFC and IBM Research. Related StoriesStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesHave cancer, must travel: Patients left in lurch after hospital closesChildren’s Colorado granted IAC’s Cardiovascular Catheterization accreditationThis penetration of the membrane also allows for drugs to infiltrate the cell. Lead author Dr Valeria Losasso from SCD said:  “How antibiotic molecules penetrate and disrupt bacterial membranes is closely related to the permeation of membranes, required to deliver drugs to targets inside the cell. Both require the membrane barrier to be overcome. Our results may therefore have a wider impact on drug delivery, for example how molecules cross cellular barriers before they reach the circulatory system.”The design of drugs which target microbial membranes is seen as a promising strategy, which scientists will continue to investigate.Source:STFCJournal reference:Crain, J. et al. (2019) Modulation of Antimicrobial Peptide Potency in Stressed Lipid Bilayers. Physical Review Letters. doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.208103. Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare.” Imagine the cell as a balloon, where the balloon ‘skin’ is the membrane protecting the bacterium inside. As the bacterium grows the membrane stretches and, like a balloon, it’s easier to poke holes into it. Agents such as antimicrobial peptides, naturally occurring molecules that our bodies produce as a first line of defence against bacteria and viruses, are then more able to launch a successful attack, tearing holes in the membrane and causing the bacterium to leak and effectively bleed to death.” The left-hand figure shows a side view of a normal bacterial membrane at the atomic scale. The right-hand figure shows two changes: 1) the membrane is stretched, making it thinner; 2) the antimicrobial peptide (in green) has punctured the membrane letting in water (blue). The paper investigates how 1) and 2) combine together, to kill the bacterium more effectively. (Credit: SCD/STFC)last_img read more

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Volkswagen workers secure big pay bump

VW’s 120,000 workers in Germany will see their pay increase by 4.3 percent in May Citation: Volkswagen workers secure big pay bump (2018, February 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-volkswagen-workers-big.html “After a long night of talks we’ve achieved a result employees at Volkswagen can be very happy with,” chief negotiator for union IG Metall Thorsten Groeger said in a statement.VW’s 120,000 employees in Germany will see a 4.3-percent pay boost from May this year and tripled contributions to their company pension fund.But the car-making giant did not match other employers’ offer of the option to temporarily switch to a 28-hour week.Instead, some groups of employees, such as those with young children or caring for relatives, can choose to take up to six additional paid days off per year instead of an annual bonus.”This decision is effectively in line with the contract renegotiation across the metalworking industry. That was an important goal for us to secure Volkswagen’s competitiveness” in the labour market, VW human resources chief Karlheinz Blessing said in a separate statement.During the wider pay talks between IG Metall and other employers’ groups earlier this year, thousands of workers down tools in 24-hour “warning strikes” across Germany.Fearing labour shortages in an already tight job market, business leaders held out long and fiercely against the demand for a working week of 28 hours.The employee representatives—negotiating on behalf of some 3.9 million metalworkers nationwide—eventually secured most of their demands including higher pay and the temporary shorter week. 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. Workers at the world’s largest carmaker Volkswagen said Wednesday they had secured a big pay bump, in line with the rest of Germany’s powerful metalworking sector. © 2018 AFP Explore further Carmaker PSA picks new head of British unit Vauxhall read more

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Regulation and apathy hit bitcoin market

The Cboe Global Markets exchange became the first to trade bitcoin futures in the United States at the peak of a market frenzy that saw the value of the cryptocurrency rise to nearly $20,000 Wild fluctuations within the bitcoin market have once again sparked debate between investors who believe it is merely undergoing a “correction” and those who see it as a costly fad. 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. Bitcoin is called a virtual currency, but there are ways for investors to buy and sell the tokens including ATMs like this on in Italy Explore further Those policing the largest bitcoin markets, the FSA in Japan and the SEC in the United States, have increased warnings and action against suspect trading platforms.In addition, social networks Facebook and Twitter as well as the search engine Google have all announced a ban on advertising for ICOs—fundraising campaigns carried out in cryptocurrency.”In the short term, it’s bad news,” acknowledged David Drake, who manages the LDJ Capital investment fund. “But we need regulations,” he told AFP.Others put the volatility down to sell-offs by historical players in the bitcoin market who carved out huge positions when it was in its infancy.A Tokyo attorney and bankruptcy trustee for the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox revealed that he had liquidated $400 million of bitcoin tokens on behalf of creditors, depressing the market.The lawyer, nicknamed “Tokyo Whale”, said he had sold the tokens between December and February, and did not rule out resuming the sell-off, with $1.9 billion still to be offloaded.”With this kind of volume yet to surface, in my view, prices on bitcoin will remain depressed until this situation has been resolved,” warned Hiscott. Citation: Regulation and apathy hit bitcoin market (2018, March 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-apathy-bitcoin.html Bitcoin now trades at around $8,000, compared with $19,511 at the end of December, according to Bloomberg figures.Morgan Stanley analysts stressed in a note published in early March that bitcoin was behaving much like the stock market did in the dot-com crash of the 2000s, only at “15 times the speed”.However, the cryptocurrency has already lost about 90 percent of its value on two occasions since its 2009 launch—in 2011 and 2015—before recovering.”I wouldn’t be surprised to see prices fall to $5,000 from here or go back above $10,000,” said Craig Erlam, an analyst online currency trading platform Oanda.But he believes that the levels reached in December will not be seen again any time soon.”The incentives for holding bitcoin is simply the belief that it will become more adopted and widespread,” he said, explaining why many were still holding onto their bitcoin wallets. Welcome regulations?The market’s volatility has tended to defy expert analysis, but some link the recent fall to stricter regulations. After a buying fever at the end of 2017 that sent the price of a token to nearly $20,000 and a spectacular fall at the beginning of the year, bitcoin’s price made a modest recovery before falling sharply again this month.”This is a healthy correction after an exuberant 2017,” said Kyle Salmani, founder of crypto-currency fund Multicoin Capital, which manages $50 million (41 million euros) of private cash.Despite his optimism for the sector, Salmani’s fund is not betting on a rise in bitcoin prices, instead focussing on competitors with more a impressive recent track record and more innovative technologies.”Certainly the halcyon days of performance gains from 2017 seem long gone,” added Jordan Hiscott, investment manager at the Ayondo Markets online platform. The bubble burstsBitcoin now makes up only 40 percent of the volume of crypto-currency transactions, having accounted for 80 percent of the market just a few months ago, according to coinmarketcap.com data.The weekly number of Google searches containing the term bitcoin is five times lower than at its peak, in the week of December 17 to 23. © 2018 AFP Investors can also follow their cryptocurrency holdings using smartphone apps Cryptocurrencies fall after Japan’s Coincheck halts withdrawals read more

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How to improve communication between people and smart buildings

first_img In a new study, researchers found that subtle changes in design of virtual assistants results in behavioral changes that can help the environment. The researchers found people connect better with a computer-generated avatar that represents building management. They found that social banter between machine and people gets better results.The findings underscore how personal connections and social interactions key to human relations also foster cooperation between people and machines.The study, “Establishing Social Dialog between Buildings and Their Users,” appears in the Dec. 27 International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. It’s the latest study by USC scientists focused on the human-machine dynamic and is a product of convergent disciplines at USC, including engineering, communications and behavioral sciences. The study authors are from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.Virtual assistants key to communication between people and smart buildingsVirtual assistants are as new as Alexa or Siri and as old as HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The proliferation of smart buildings laden with automated systems for heating, cooling and lighting is important to improve worker health and productivity, conserve energy and protect the environment.”You can think of things like the computer interface on the Star Trek ship Enterprise as closer to reality than science fiction,” said Gale Lucas, research assistant professor at USC Viterbi and corresponding author of the study. “We’re beginning to explore where the line is between people and buildings that perform as machines. We are trying to get people to feel more comfortable and make smart buildings perform better.”Americans spend 90 percent of their time inside buildings, either working or sleeping or shopping or studying. Comfort, quality of life, worker productivity and safety directly affect the operation of buildings.According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for 39 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. In California, the state Air Resources Board ranks the building sector as the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and has targeted the sector for an 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050. The board has identified behavior practices as an important influence for energy consumption in buildings. When it comes to buildings and their occupants, USC researchers see a failure to communicate, yet improved dialogue between the two can help smart buildings work better for a sustainable society. More information: Saba Khashe et al. Establishing Social Dialog between Buildings and Their Users, International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction (2018). DOI: 10.1080/10447318.2018.1555346 Citation: How to improve communication between people and smart buildings (2019, January 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-people-smart.html Explore further Improving indoor air quality to increase health and well-beingcenter_img Provided by University of Southern California USC research shows people help smart buildings conserve energy when they dialogue with a computer persona nicknamed Ellie, who represents the building management. Credit: Diana Molleda; iStock Communication between people and smart buildings improves performanceYet the promise of smart buildings often doesn’t match their performance. Despite automation, human actions inside four walls or office floors can compromise a building’s energy efficiency capabilities. Buildings work more efficiently when people inside cooperate.”If a building spoke to you, it could ask for things that might help the environment, like ‘turn off lights’ or ‘open windows’ or ‘save energy,'” Lucas said. “If the building were to ask people, ‘Why don’t you do something environmentally-friendly?,’ we might get people to engage in healthy behaviors for themselves and the environment.”To accomplish that goal, people and buildings need better cooperation, and people need to trust the technology while computers need to use proven behavioral change interventions to nudge people to act. The USC research explored how best to accomplish this.The scientists selected 200 participants, mostly college students, of mixed race and ethnicities. First, subjects were exposed to an office setting using virtual reality, followed by a real office setting for a smaller group of participants. The researchers crafted pro-environmental messages for a virtual assistant, an agent nicknamed Ellie, to ask questions, such as “If I open the blinds for you to have natural light, would you please dim or turn off the artificial lights?” They then observed if participants cooperated with these pro-environmental requests.Who is involved in communication between people and smart buildings?Replicating similar previous research by the USC team, the results showed that people responded better when Ellie, the virtual human, acted on behalf of the building manager, rather than when she performed as a personification of the building.People were also more cooperative when the messages were part of a social dialogue rather than monologue. This element proved critical, the study indicates. For example, subjects responded better to small talk, such as, “Hi, how are you? …. What’s your name?… I’m glad to see you.” Social dialogue helped overcome bias against the avatar. The researchers found people responded well to Ellie when she used social dialog, regardless if she functioned as the face of the building or an agent of the building manager.According to the study, “Including a social dialog may have helped to overcome the difference between personas by making the building persona more relatable. Indeed, people associate monologue with strangers and dialog with closer relationships.”The scientists noted similar results whether study participants operated in an actual office or virtual reality simulation. They also found that when they repeated the experiment one week later, the subjects responded more positively, suggesting familiarity due to repeated interactions helped.”We are trying to build a relationship between buildings and their users, akin to a friendship, so users are empowered to improve individual performance as well as building performance,” said Burcin Becerik-Gerber, associate professor of engineering in the USC Viterbi School.The findings demonstrate that design decisions that account for the human-machine dynamic will be important to achieving the potential for smart buildings.”Our research contributes to the fundamental understanding of human-machine teamwork,” said Becerik-Gerber: “The impact is beyond just smart buildings. The work changes the way we perceive and experience today’s built environments and artifacts, environments and artifacts that are attentive and have an identity that can have two-way interactions with people.” 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

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Your complete QA guide to Karnataka crisis How it started who stands

first_img India Today Web Desk New DelhiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 16:21 IST Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy (right) and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah (left). (Photo: PTI)It has been nearly a week since a political pandemonium struck Karnataka and threatened the survival of the HD Kumaraswamy-led Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government. The battle for Karnataka is being fought on three fronts — in Bengaluru, Mumbai and in the national capital New Delhi.On one hand Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy claims his house is in order and that his government faces no threat, while on the other, 16 MLAs from his own party and the Congress remain unmoved on their stand – no ghar wapasi (homecoming) to camp Congress-JD(S). To add to Kumaraswamy’s worries, the lone KJKP MLA and one Independent who were supporting his government too have withdrawn their support.WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN KARNATAKA?Simply put, the chaos in Karnataka is about power. Will the ones currently in power retain it or will someone else attain it, is the question that everyone is wondering aloud.The latest news from Karnataka is that 16 MLAs of the ruling parties (13 of Congress and three of JD (S)) have tendered their resignations as MLAs. If their resignations are accepted, the HD Kumaraswamy government’s majority in the state assembly will become questionable and the government will have to win a trust vote – a task which will not be easy in the prevailing circumstances.To make matters worse for the Congress-JD (S) government, KJKP MLA R Shankar, who was a minister, along with an Independent candidate have withdrawn support to the government. Thus the government’s tally in the state assembly will be reduced by 18 if the Speaker accepts all resignations.Hectic parlays are on within the Congress and JD (S) as its leaders try to survive this challenge. Meanwhile, the BJP too has upped the ante as it senses a chance of ousting the present government and form its own.The BJP has been claiming it has nothing to with the mass resignation in Congress and JD (S). It has however been mounting pressure on the Speaker for not accepting the resignations and has also been attacking the Congress after Congress leader DK Shivakumar tore resignation letters of some Congress MLAs inside the Speaker’s office.The Congress and JD (S) have alleged that the present crisis is the BJP’s brainchild.WHY DID THE MATTER REACH SUPREME COURT?On Tuesday, Speaker KR Ramesh examined the 11 resignations that were submitted to his office last Saturday. He confirmed that between Saturday and Tuesday, two more resignations had been submitted, taking the total number to 13.The Speaker said after examining the resignations, he found that eight of them were not in proper order. His office thus returned their resignations and asked the MLAs to send them in prescribed form if they still wanted to resign.For the remaining five MLAs whose resignations were found to be in order, the Speaker asked them to meet him in person to discuss their resignations.Speaker KR Ramesh also wrote to the Governor saying none of these MLAs met him.Unhappy with the Speaker’s decision, the rebel MLAs decided to move the Supreme Court to challenge his decision of rejecting their resignations.WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SUPREME COURT?While the battle for Karnataka is mainly being fought in state capital Bengaluru, the national capital too has become abuzz as the Karanataka crisis has reached the Supreme Court.The rebel JD (S)-Congress MLAs have moved the Supreme Court to challenge Speaker KR Ramesh’s decision where he rejected some resignations. Hearing the pleas, the Supreme Court on Friday said status quo should be maintained in Karnataka till Tuesday when it will hear the case again. The Supreme Court said the Speaker should not take any decision until Tuesday.So, at the moment the Congress-JD (S) government is in power in Karnataka. None of the 16 resignations are effective until Tuesday and the government has a majority.Will this status change on Tuesday? That is something that will be answered only on Tuesday.Meanwhile, on Thursday the Supreme Court asked the rebel MLAs to meet the Speaker and also said the Speaker must decide on the resignations by midnight. In response, the Speaker’s counsel pleaded the court that he would need more time to decide on the matter and that he cannot work at “lightning speed”.The counsel for the rebel MLAs have also demanded that the Speaker must face contempt action as he failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to decide on the MLAs’ resignations.BUT WHY IS MUMBAI INVOLVED?Good question. Mumbai ideally has nothing much to do with the power struggle in Karnataka.The only reason why the city has become one of the theatres of action in the battle for Karnataka is that the rebel MLAs are camping in a posh Mumbai hotel.After tendering their resignations on Saturday and meeting Governor Vajubhai Vala, the rebel MLAs reached Mumbai in a chartered flight. Since then they have been in Mumbai, reportedly to ensure that the Congress-JD (S) leaders are unable to “influence” and “intimidate” them.The chartered flight on which these MLAs flew to Mumbai is owned by a company related to BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.On Wednesday, Congress’s troubleshooter and state minister DK Shivakumar reached Mumbai in a special flight. He wanted to enter the hotel where the rebel MLAs are staying.Reason for his visit?Well, he said he is in Mumbai just to have coffee with his friends (the rebel MLAs). Not for politics.While Shivakumar said he flew from Bengaluru to Mumbai to have coffee with his “friends”, the visit’s unsaid purpose was clearly to try and convince the MLAs to withdraw their resignations.To placate and lure them, all Congress ministers in Karnataka have resigned so that the MLAs can be adequately accommodated.But this attempt seems to have failed.Apprehending Shivakumar’s visit, the rebel MLAs wrote to Mumbai Police and requested security cover saying they feel “threatened”. The MLAs requested Mumbai Police that DK Shivakumar should be prevented from entering their hotel and meet them. We don’t want to meet him, they said bluntly.When Shivakumar reached the hotel, police were in position to prevent his planned meeting.The hotel too cancelled his reservation citing emergency circumstances.WHAT IS THE GENESIS OF KARNATAKA’S POLITICAL DRAMA?For this, we need to travel back to 2018.In the 2018 Karnataka state assembly election, no party was able to attain majority on its own. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single-largest party with 105 MLAs in the 225-member assembly but fell short of the majority.During the campaign, the BJP, JD (S) and the Congress had fought and campaigned against each other. But following the election results, the Congress and JD (S) stitched a post-poll alliance and formed the government in Karnataka with HD Kumaraswamy of the JD (S) as chief minister.The BJP thus missed the chance to return to power in Karnataka by a whisker. In fact, even in 2018, the government in Karnataka was formed after much political drama and even saw a midnight hearing in the Supreme Court.The drama was such that BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa earned the not-so-good record of becoming the chief minister with the shortest term ever. After the assembly election results were announced, the Governor invited the BJP to form government on the ground that it is the single largest party.Yeddyurappa was sworn in but the Supreme Court made it clear that he can’t appoint any minister, nominate the lone Anglo-Indian nominated MLA nor take any decision before proving his majority on the floor of the state assembly.When the assembly met to vote, Yeddyurappa resigned even before the motion for trust vote was taken up. This was because the BJP had failed to secure the numbers needed to cross the majority mark.Since then, Karnataka has been ruled by a coalition government of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular). In the past one year, stability is one aspect that has remained conspicuously absent in the government in Karnataka. Controversies and instability have hampered the functioning of the HD Kumaraswamy government putting it always on the brink of a collapse.As for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it remains ever vigilant to pounce and grab the slightest opportunity to try form its government.ALSO READ | SC asks Speaker not to take decision on rebels resignation till TuesdayFor 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 byMukesh Rawat Tags :Follow Karnataka crisisFollow Congress JD(S)Follow HD KumaraswamyFollow congress Your complete Q&A guide to Karnataka crisis: How it started, who stands where, what next and moreKarnataka crisis: 16 MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) have resigned and remain unmoved on their stand that they won’t withdraw their resignations. This has threatened survival of the one-year-old HD Kumaraswamy govt.advertisement Nextlast_img read more