A newlyelected disabled MP is calling for action

first_imgA newly-elected disabled MP is calling for action to address the bullying and harassment he has witnessed in the House of Commons, in a bid to introduce a new culture of “decorum and professionalism” into parliament.Jared O’Mara has previously spoken to Disability News Service (DNS) about some of the access barriers he has faced in parliament since he defeated former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to win the Sheffield Hallam seat in June.Now he is calling on the House of Commons to draw up a policy on bullying and harassment by MPs, and to carry out a regular access audit of the parliamentary estate.Many disabled people were appalled when O’Mara (pictured, centre) – who is unable to stand for longer than five or 10 minutes – described earlier this month how he had been unable to attend a couple of debates in the main Commons chamber because there were no seats available.But he has now told DNS that he wants the parliamentary authorities to introduce an anti-bullying and harassment policy that would prevent the kind of behaviour he has witnessed in the Commons chamber.He said he had not been bullied or harassed directly, but had been affected by the comments and “jeering” directed against male MPs who have taken advantage of new rules allowing them not to wear ties.The new rules are believed to have been introduced by the Commons speaker, John Bercow, after O’Mara made it clear he was unable to wear a buttoned shirt and tie because of his impairment.All male MPs are now allowed to speak in the Commons chamber without wearing a tie, while O’Mara has also been allowed to wear a tee-shirt under a jacket.But O’Mara said that comments made by the transport minister, John Hayes, who warned that he would refuse to take interventions from any male MPs who were not wearing ties, had made him feel “really upset and uncomfortable”.He said he had taken these comments as “harassment”, even though they were not directed at him.A spokesman for Hayes had failed to respond to a request for a comment by noon today (Thursday).O’Mara said: “There has been other jeering when MPs have been not wearing a tie. It’s Neanderthal and bestial.”He said he was also disturbed by the general “heckling and shouting” at fellow MPs that takes place in the Commons chamber during debates.He said: “That comes under that umbrella of bullying and something I would like to take up, so people are more civilised while in the chamber and so they don’t make other people uncomfortable.”He said that this kind of “very shrill, aggressive, intimidating environment” could cause problems for MPs who have anxiety or other mental health problems, and he warned that some MPs could even be avoiding the chamber because they do not find it a comfortable environment.O’Mara said: “I just want to get some decorum and professionalism in the chamber and get it into the 21st century.”He said the kind of “bully boy, public schoolboy rubbish” he had witnessed was “not right”, but many MPs were “ingrained in that culture”.He said: “I want to make it a comfortable environment and make it an inclusive environment.“I don’t know if I am going to be able to change it. Certainly, I am going to have a try.”He said he wanted to “speak to anyone I can” to address the need for action on some of the barriers he and others were facing, and was planning to meet with the Commons speaker, John Bercow.A House of Commons spokeswoman said that “bullying or harassment of any kind in the workplace is totally unacceptable and we are committed to creating an environment in which everyone is, at all times, treated with dignity, courtesy and respect”.But although there are policies that have been drawn up to protect staff working in parliament from harassment and bullying, there does not appear to be any code of conduct that prevents such activity in the Commons chamber.The MPs’ code of conduct refers only to financial interests and rules on lobbying, while a Respect policy refers to dealings between House of Commons employees, MPs and staff working for MPs, but makes no reference to behaviour in the Commons chamber, and the Valuing Others policy in the staff handbook applies to House of Commons staff and managers.The House of Commons spokeswoman said: “The House has limited jurisdiction over MPs as it is not their employer.“The political parties and the whips also have responsibility for ensuring that their MPs act according to these rules, and are likely to have policies outlining how they do this.“Should an MP have a concern about bullying or harassment, they are able to write to the speaker, approach the commissioner for standards or speak to their party whips.”She said the speaker can ensure MPs follow the rules during debates, by directing an MP to withdraw a remark, suspending a sitting of the House, suspending MPs or asking them to be quiet.She said: “The style of debate in the House has traditionally been one of cut-and-thrust; listening to other members’ speeches and intervening in them in spontaneous reaction to opponents’ views.“This style of debate can make the Commons chamber a rather noisy place with robustly expressed opinion, many interventions, expressions of approval or disapproval and, sometimes, of repartee and banter.“Ultimately it is the chair, the speaker of the House of Commons, who controls the House and who speaks and when.“Members have the right, when speaking, to be heard without unendurable background noise (deliberate or accidental) and the chair will call for order if it appears there is an attempt to drown out a member or when a number of members are leaving the chamber, or conversing loudly.”On access, she said the House of Commons continues “to work towards making parliament more accessible to enable members of both houses and staff with disabilities to access facilities and fulfil their roles when working on the estate”.She said the House of Commons was working with organisations including the Business Disability Forum, Action on Hearing Loss, and the National Autistic Society, and its own workplace equality network, ParliAble.She said: “We are doing our best to adapt and find solutions to problems before they arise, and we are very keen to hear from anyone who may have suggestions about the ways we can develop and improve services for those working in or visiting parliament.“We are always working to improve access (for example, a project to improve signage across the estate is currently underway), and whilst we recognise that there are always further improvements we can make, the pace and extent of change is of course limited by the age and nature of the building and the fact that we are operating within a grade II listed building and UNESCO World Heritage Site.”O’Mara’s comments drew support from Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Debbie Abrahams.She said: “I have spoken to Jared about the barriers that he has faced since arriving in parliament.“He has rightly raised a number of serious issues which we are working with the parliamentary authorities to resolve as a matter of priority. “The Labour whips have found Jared a room close to the chamber, and I understand that the Labour party are looking at what immediate support can be provided for Jared while he is setting up his parliamentary and constituency offices.“As we set out in Labour’s manifesto with and for disabled people, access to political life is a vital part of breaking down the barriers that disabled people face in our society.“Jared has rightly demonstrated that there is much more work to be done, particularly in terms of ensuring that the parliamentary estate and working practices are accessible to everyone.”Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, also welcomed O’Mara’s comments.She said: “Stopping the hostile work environment would remove another barrier which deters would-be disabled politicians from seeking to enter the Commons.”She added: “Disability Politics UK strongly supports Jared O’Mara MP in his effort to change the Commons’ policies and procedures which could in turn lead to a change in MPs’ behaviour.  “Freedom of political speech is one of the most highly protected forms of communication in international human rights law.“However, that does not include the ‘right’ to create a hostile, intimidating work environment for fellow MPs.“The speaker and the Commons have to act on Jared O’Mara’s proposals.”last_img read more

ALEX Walmsley is targeting this Fridays friendly

first_imgALEX Walmsley is targeting this Friday’s friendly against Huddersfield as a chance to stake a claim for the rest of the season.The big prop, who signed from Batley, says he can’t wait to get some minutes under his belt and hopefully show Saints fans what he can do.“It’s been a good, tough and harsh pre-season,” he told Allan Rooney at Radio Merseyside, “but enjoyable and a good place to be. The lads have been really welcoming but also the coaching staff too.“I’ve made some big strides… I went from amateur to Batley, had a good season and that was a massive shock to me. I then got picked up by Saints and I’m relishing getting going.”The 22-year-old is in his first pre-season as a full pro after joining the club from Batley on a three-year contract.He played for GB Students and Dewsbury Celtic before attracting the attention of the Bulldogs and won the Championship Young Player of the Year last season.He will be dual-registered with his former club in 2013 and is full of praise for what they, and in particular John Kear, have done for him.“John was fantastic and guarded me well,” he added. “There were a few clubs interested but when I came down to Saints I knew it was the place for me really. They were the most positive club with great facilities and there was a good warmth about them. Now I have completed my degree and I can concentrate on rugby and look to have a good season.“There’s a great bunch of lads at Batley and it wouldn’t be bad at all if I played with them again this season, but personally I know I want to get a few minutes under my belt and get into the first team here. I know there are good players in my position though so I will have knuckle down and hope for the best.“I am learning a lot here as the facilities make the difference. You have all day to do as much as you want training wise and that is good. At Batley you had to jam everything into a couple of hours. Now it’s more intense but you have the time to make sure you get things right.“It’s all about finding those little things to get better and it’s good. At the end of the day though I am an out and out prop. Give me the ball and I will run!”Alex and Saints will take on Huddersfield on Friday January 11 with an 8pm kick off.You can buy your tickets from the ticket office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.Radio Merseyside’s try time is on from 6pm to 7pm every Thursday.last_img read more

ARE you a local business or brand that would like

first_imgARE you a local business or brand that would like more exposure in and around our region?Then, 2016 Player Sponsorship packages are now available – and they provide great added benefits and features.Sponsoring a member of the 2016 squad is a great way to get involved with your Saints, exposing your brand or company on a busy match day and throughout the season.Each Player Sponsorship includes:Match day PA & score announcementsAcknowledgements in the match day programmePersonalised memorabilia – your sponsored player’s match worn jersey framed & signed (delivered post-season)Two tickets to any game to watch your player (excludes Wigan & Warrington)Complimentary invitation to Pre-Season Dinner and Player of the Year Awards DinnerSpecial Mentions via our Official Website and Twitter.Player’s appearance at one of your events to help promote your business or brand.Plus many more great benefits. If you are interested in finding out how to get involved with sponsoring one of our players please contact Neil Douglas on 01744 455080 or email neil.douglas@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

With the busy Christmas period approaching fans n

first_imgWith the busy Christmas period approaching, fans now have a little extra time to secure their 2018 Membership before the festive period hits full swing.Early-Bird Membership is the ideal way to secure your place for the 2018 Betfred Super League season for the best possible price.Your Membership provides a whole host of benefits…Adult:Membership Access CardYour ticket reserved for additional major home games (World Club Series/Challenge Cup)All your Betfred Super League and Super 8s home games included in one great Membership packagePriority match tickets for major games including finals*Exclusive Club news straight to your mobile or other device via emailExclusive local partner offers giving you even more value with your MembershipExclusive Membership only merchandise & stadium promotional offers sent directly to you via emailExclusive news including new signings, via SMS before general releaseExclusive invites to Member only events during 2018Bring a friend for just £5 to a 2018 home match of your choice (excludes Wigan home games)50% off your 2018 Magic Weekend ticketAccess to our Member feedback channels to engage with the Club and give us your views and opinionsDiscounted away travel via our Travel Partner Hattons TravelJunior:Membership Access CardJunior Membership holders get free access to all 2018 Saints away games (subject to availability)Entry into a draw to be a matchday mascot and walk out with the first-team before a Super League matchYour ticket reserved for additional major home games (World Club Series/Challenge Cup)All your Betfred Super League and Super 8s homegames included in one great Membership packagePriority match tickets for major games including finals*Exclusive local partner offers giving you even more value with your MembershipExclusive Membership only merchandise & stadium promotional offers sent directly to you via emailExclusive invites to Member only events during 2018Supporter:Membership card50% off your Magic Weekend 2018 ticketExclusive Club news straight to your mobile or other device via emailExclusive Membership only Club offersExclusive local partner offersExclusive invites to Member only events£10 off a single Betfred Super League matchday ticketAnd… a range of local partner offers giving you more value and discount with your Membership.Simply present your 2018 Membership card to access these benefits!Partner Benefits:Da Vinci Menswear – 10% off at all times and 15% off on 2018 home matchdays.David Lloyd, Knowsley – Free day pass for all 2018 Members by emailing mship.knowsley@davidlloyd.co.uk and quoting your 2018 Membership Number.Costa Coffee (St. Helens branches only) – 10% off at all times.Dark Star Laser – 3 games for the price of two.Nandos St Helens – 20% off food on matchday only.Not only this but 2018 Members can currently receive 10% off our brand new 2018 Home and Away shirts in store at the Totally Wicked Stadium.All prices and details are available here.last_img read more

Pender county prepares for the worst

first_img “If we have needs that we can’t meet ourselves, we’ve got a direct contact that we can make sure those needs are communicated so that we can get supplies, staffing, equipment. Whatever we might need,” Bergman said.Bergman urges the people in the area to be prepared for the worst and more meetings will be held before the storm to assess any other needs. Pender County is preparing as much as possible. Surf city management says this is a process they are very familiar with. PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County is preparing as much as possible. Surf city management says this is a process they are very familiar with.Town manager, Larry Bergman, says Pender county emergency services is coordinating with multiple areas throughout the county to gear up for the storm. He says Surf City is always ready for the worst case scenario and Pender county will help with anything they need.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Ludacris and Billy Currington to perform at 2018 Azalea Festival

first_imgLudacris and Billy Currington are among the NC Azalea Festival main stage acts. (Photo: Azalea Festival) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We are less than two months from the North Carolina Azalea Festival, and we now know a couple of the big name entertainers heading to town.Billy Currington will take the stage Thursday, April 12, along with Drake White and Kenton Bryant. Tickets are $45 and will go on sale Tuesday, February 13 at 9 a.m. Click here to buy tickets.- Advertisement – Ludacris will take the stage Saturday, April 14. Tickets are $46 and will go on sale Tuesday, February 13 at 9 a.m. Click here to buy tickets.The North Carolina Azalea Festival is currently working on placing an act for Friday, April 13 on the Main Stage.All acts will perform at the Main Stage Festival Site – the lot adjacent to CFCC’s Schwartz Center.last_img read more

Life or death Sentencing begins for convicted killer James Bradley

first_img Thursday was the first day of the sentencing phase of Bradley’s murder trial.One witness revealed some disturbing details about the death of Bradley’s eight year old stepdaughter Ivy Gibson, who he killed back in the 1980’s.The prosecution had planned to call Gibson’s mother to the stand, but the judge ruled against it.Related Article: Man arrested in connection to gas, bank robberiesThe defense brought in one expert who highlighted Bradley’s good behavior throughout his past time in prison.The defense brought in an expert witness who reviewed Bradley’s time he has spent behind bars. That expert says he never had one bad report and even went as far as calling him a model inmate.The defense also brought in a forensic psychologist who reviewed Bradley’s childhood history. She says she saw what could possibly be some childhood trauma.No decisions were made and the hearing is will continue Friday. Whatever the jury decides, Bradley will spend the rest of his life behind bars. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — James Bradley will either be sentenced to death or life behind bars for the death of Elisha Tucker, his third murder victim.The jury has found Bradley guilty of murdering Tucker on Tuesday.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Frying Pan Tower gearing up for epic dive event

first_img One of the Frying Pan Tower owners Richard Neal sat down with WWAY’s Donna Gregory to give us a special preview of this summer’s D3 dive event.During the event, sky divers will wing suit from 10,000 feet to land on the egg yolk painted on the Frying Pan. High divers will jump from 60-130 feet off the tower into the barracuda and shark infested waters below and Free divers will swim 55 feet down to the sea floor to compete for “gold” doubloons.For more information you can watch the full interview above. CAPE FEAR, NC (WWAY) — It’s one of the more interesting structures off the coast of North Carolina and you have a chance to help make it even cooler.Frying Pan Tower, the former U.S Coast Guard light station that’s now privately owned, is in need of some refurbishing.- Advertisement – last_img read more

75 individuals saved from tuna fish farm

first_img SharePrint WhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>center_img The Armed Forces of Malta in conjunction with the Italian Coast Guard have saved a number of migrants that were found in the sea on Wednesday. The 75 migrants were found resting in a tuna pen on a fish farm, and were saved thanks to a P22 AFM patrol boat, which berthed at Malta at around 8am on yesterday. It also appears that another group of migrants arrived at Lampedusa on Wednesday evening. last_img

Facebook Unveils Networking Switch to Take On Cisco

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook Inc. unveiled a new networking-equipment system designed to displace products from companies like Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. with flexible hardware at the heart of large data centers.The system, nicknamed 6-pack, will let Facebook build networks by filling large racks with a smaller switch called Wedge, introduced in June. Using its own design helped Facebook, whose social-networking website has 1.4 billion users, reduce spending on infrastructure and upgrade its capabilities without depending on outside suppliers.The 6-pack is built to replace high-capacity spine switches that handle the bulk of traffic in data centers. Though it was originally marketed as a cheaper, top-of-rack switch, Wedge was designed to become a building block for systems to replace more expensive kinds of gear, said Najam Ahmad, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure. – Advertisement – The spine switch market was worth about $2.9 billion in 2014, smaller yet more profitable than the $3.1 billion top-of-rack switch market, according to Infonetics Research, a unit of IHS Inc. In the past, Menlo Park, California-based Facebook bought its spine switches from traditional networking-gear providers like Cisco and Juniper, Ahmad said, without specifying the company’s suppliers.The 6-pack system will replace these systems while encouraging traditional network-equipment makers to change their designs, he said.“I see this as a challenge, as an opportunity for them, rather than a threat,” Ahmad said.Switches are the biggest business for Cisco, the world’s largest maker of networking gear. In the quarter that ended in January, 30 percent of revenue came from its switch product lines.Since 2011, Facebook has been working with companies to develop new low-cost systems for its data centers, which house tens of thousands of server computers that store and dish out information for its website and other services. Suppliers such as Synnex Corp. and Quanta Computer Inc. have benefited from this strategy, while incumbents like Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have faced more competition.Facebook shares its insights and technologies through a group called the Open Compute Project, which encourages multiple companies to work together to design lower-cost systems. Other Open Compute members include Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp.Bloomberglast_img read more

Women are better at coding than men but only if their gender

first_imgComputer codes written by women get higher approval ratings than the code written by men. Image Credit: Vanderbilt Advertisement Computer codes written by women get higher approval ratings than the code written by men but only if the gender of the coder is being hidden, says a new study. According to one 2013 survey, women make up a very small percentage of software developers 11.2% .Github is an enormous developer community which does not request gender information from its 12 million users. On GitHub, women’s contributions actually outnumber men’s as long as they don’t actually identify themselves as women.The study conducted by a team of six computer science researchers, which consisted of students and assistant professors at North Carolina State University and Cal Polytech State University, California, examined how gender impacts the acceptance of contributions on the open source code repository site GitHub. – Advertisement – “Surprisingly, our results show that women’s contributions tend to be accepted more often than men’s,” the study’s authors wrote. “However, when a woman’s gender is identifiable, they are rejected more often. Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.”The researchers analyzed around 1.4 million users that logged on to coding website GitHub on April 1, 2015. The researchers were able to identify whether or not these people were male or female, either from their gender being known in their profile, or because their email addresses could be linked with social media profiles.“For outsiders, we see evidence for gender bias: women’s acceptance rates are 71.8 percent when they use gender-neutral profiles, but drop to 62.5 percent when their gender is identifiable. There is a similar drop for men, but the effect is not as strong,” said the paper.“Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless,” the paper added which was published on February 9. Basically, women seem to have higher acceptance rates, but only if it’s not known that they are women.According to The Guardian, the researchers also looked behind the reasons why female coders might have a higher acceptance rate than men, i.e. whether women were making smaller changes to code or whether women were outperforming men in only certain kinds of code.Girls learn how to program right from a tender age. Image Credit: CloudFront“Women’s acceptance rates dominate over men’s for every programming language in the top 10, to various degrees,” the researchers found.It’s important to note that the study is still awaiting peer review, meaning that it still has to be approved as valid by other experts.[related-posts]Despite numerous initiatives started by tech firms, the avalanche of research on gender discrimination within the technology sector, typically finding men to be more dominant, visible, and respected, whereas on the other hand, women are more likely to battle rampant sexism continues. The tech world definitely has a long way to go to end this gender discrimination.[TechWorm]last_img read more

Long injury list a huge turn off for Motherwell

first_img[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou simply can’t ignore injury lists when it comes to football.Ordinarily, I’d be quite keen on Motherwell to win at Dundee United tonight. They are nine points higher than their Scottish Premiership rivals and have the added carrot of knowing that a success tonight would take them into second place, behind runaway leaders Celtic.They also have an oustanding record when it comes to playing at Tannadice Park:HEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Max last 10 only)Nov 2013 Premier Motherwell 0-4 Dundee UtdSep 2013 Premier Dundee Utd 2-2 MotherwellApr 2013 Premier Dundee Utd 1-3 MotherwellFeb 2013 Premier Motherwell 0-1 Dundee UtdNov 2012 Premier Dundee Utd 1-2 MotherwellNov 2012 Premier Motherwell 0-1 Dundee UtdMay 2012 Premier Motherwell 0-2 Dundee UtdJan 2012 Premier Dundee Utd 1-1 MotherwellNov 2011 Premier Motherwell 0-0 Dundee UtdOct 2011 Premier Dundee Utd 1-3 MotherwellThe key point though is that Motherwell could be without up to eight first-team players for tonight’s match – it’s a real headache for boss Stuart McCall who said: “The bench will be full of kids but I’m not whinging about it. It’s just part and parcel of the game.“It’s just unfortunate the injuries have all come at once after having quite a good break from injuries.“With the addition of Bob McHugh and Adam Cummins going out on loan until the end of the season, it leaves us very short.“Whatever team we put out will be competitive anyway. If we have to throw our young kids in, then let’s be excited about it.“Regardless of who we put out, I’m sure we will give it a good go.”Fighting talk, but this game always looked delicately poised and the team news firmly puts the odds in favour of the hosts who can be backed at around 10/11 with Star Sports for the match which is live on BT SPORT at 7.45pm.RECOMMENDED BET (1-10 points)10 points DUNDEE UNITED at around 10/11 with Star SportsRUNNING RETURN (FEBRUARY): LOSS 41.00 POINTSRUNNING RETURN (YEAR): LOSS 30.28 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more


first_imgWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Thursday 26 MarchRACING1.50 WolverhamptonForceful Beacon 5/2 > 13/83.05 NewburyCadoudoff 11/1 > 6/14.00 WolverhamptonSbraase 2/1 > 5/44.10 NewburyRemiluc 5/2 > 7/44.45 NewburyWestaway 100/30 > 2/18.15 ChelmsfordLeoncavallo 13/8 > evens(All prices subject to fluctuation)last_img

STARTERS ORDERS Saturday 9 March

first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Star Sports update with our key market movers for the day and sign up specials.Saturday 9 March1.20 SandownPercy Prosecco 15/2 > 5/11.30 WolverhamptonDrakefell 3/1 > 9/42.45 AyrSteak And Spuds 11/1 > 6/1LIVE FOOTBALLPremier League12:30 Sky One / Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD17/20 Crystal Palace15/4 Brighton & Hove Albion12/5 DRAWPremier League17:30 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD2/13 Man City16/1 Watford15/2 DRAWSTAR PROMOTIONS BET NOW starsports.bet or 08000 521 321last_img

Rice study examines how bacteria acquire immunity

first_imgShareCONTACT: Jade BoydPHONE: 713-348-6778E-MAIL: jadeboyd@rice.eduRice study examines how bacteria acquire immunityFirst theoretical description of bacterial system to silence viral genesIn a new study this week, Rice University scientists bring the latest tools of computational biology to bear in examining how the processes of natural selection and evolution influence the way bacteria acquire immunity from disease.The study is available online from Physical Review Letters. It builds upon one of the major discoveries made possible by molecular genetics in the past decade — the revelation that bacteria and similar single-celled organisms have an acquired immune system.“From a purely scientific perspective, this research is teaching us things we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago, but there’s an applied interest in this work as well,” said Michael Deem, the John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering and professor of physics and astronomy at Rice. “It is believed, for instance, that the bacterial immune system uses a process akin to RNA interference to silence the disease genes it recognizes, and biotechnology companies may find it useful to develop this as a tool for silencing particular genes.”The new study by Deem and graduate student Jiankui He focused on a portion of the bacterial genome called the “CRISPR,” which stands for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” The CRISPR contain two types of DNA sequences. One type — short, repeating patterns that first attracted scientific interest — is what led to the CRISPR name. But scientists more recently learned that the second type — originally thought of as DNA “spacers” between the repeats — is what the organism uses to recognize disease.“Bacteria get attacked by viruses called phages, and the CRISPR contain genetic sequences from phages,” Deem said. “The CRISPR system is both inheritable and programmable, meaning that some sequences may be there when the organism is first created, and new ones may also be added when new phages attack the organism during its life cycle.”The repeating sequences appear to be a kind of bookend or flag that the organism uses to determine where a snippet from a phage begins and ends. The CRISPR will often have between 30 and 50 of these snippets of phage sequences. Previous studies have found that once a bacteria has a phage sequence in its CRISPR, it has the ability to degrade any DNA or RNA that match that sequence — meaning it can fend off attacks from any phages that have genes matching those in its CRISPR.“What we wanted to explore was how the history of a bacterium’s exposure to phages influences what’s in the CRISPR,” Deem said. “In other words, how is an organism’s previous exposure to viruses reflected in its own genome?”From earlier published studies, Deem and He knew that phage sequences were added to the CRISPR sequentially. So, in a CRISPR system containing 30 snippets, the newest one would be in position one, at the front of the line. In another study in 2007, researchers examining the CRISPR of whole populations of bacteria noticed some statistical irregularities. They found that the likelihood of two different organisms having the same snippet in their CRISPR increased exponentially as they progressed away from position one. So, in the organism with 30 snippets, the phage gene in position 30 was the most likely to be conserved time and again across all the bacteria in the population.To use the power of computers to examine why this happens, Deem and He needed a mathematical description of what was happening over time to both the bacterial and phage populations. The equations they created reflect the way the bacterial and phage populations interact via the CRISPR.“Each population is trying to expand, and selective pressure is constantly being applied on both sides,” Deem said. “You can see how this plays out in the CRISPR over time. There’s a diverse assortment of genes in the first spacer, but the second spacer has been in there longer, so there’s been more selective pressure applied to that spacer. Because bacteria that contain the dominant viral strain in their CRISPR are more likely to survive than those that don’t, they tend to squeeze out their neighbors that are more vulnerable. At position N, the farthest way from position one, selection has been at work the longest, so the genes we find there were the most common and the ones that tended to afford the most overall protection to the organism.”In addition to interest from biotechnology firms, Deem said the workings of the CRISPR are of interest to drugmakers who are investigating new types of antibiotics.The research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more

Johnny Depp Sues Exmanagers Alleging Millions in Losses

first_img US Show Discussion US actress Amber Heard arrives with her husband US actor Johnny Depp for the screening of the movie ‘The Danish Girl’ presented in competition at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival on September 5, 2015 at Venice Lido. (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images) Share  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   center_img Johnny Depp sued his former business managers on Friday alleging they mismanaged his earnings throughout a lucrative period of his career, although the company says the actor’s spending is to blame. Depp’s lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against The Management Group seeks more than $25 million, alleging its owners failed to properly pay his taxes, made unauthorized loans and overpaid for security and other services. Michael J. Kump, an attorney for The Management Group, calls Depp’s lawsuit a “fabrication” and wrote in a statement that Depp never alleged any wrongdoing. The company “did everything possible to protect Depp from his irresponsible and profligate spending,” Kump wrote. Depp’s lawsuit accuses the company and its owners, attorneys Joel and Robert Mandel, of receiving $28 million in payments for their services over the roughly 16 years they managed his finances. The company “actively concealed the true state of Mr. Depp’s finances while driving him deeper and deeper into financial distress,” the lawsuit states. Depp hired the Mandels in 1999 and their compensation was not subject to a written contract, his lawsuit states. It states they received 5 percent of his income on hit films such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and other major releases, including “Alice in Wonderland” and the 2005 film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It alleges the company failed to file Depp’s tax returns on time, costing him nearly $5.7 million in penalties. The lawsuit also alleges the company overpaid for several services, including forgetting to terminate the lease on a home where Depp’s mother lived temporarily, and spending $8 million on security between 2012 and 2015 alone. Depp learned of the problems after hiring a new management company in March 2016, the complaint states. Kump wrote that Depp owes The Management Group $4.2 million from a $5 million loan they provided the actor. “His tactics and lawsuit will fail, and he will be forced to pay back the loan as promised,” Kump wrote. The lawsuit came on the same day Depp finalized his divorce from actress Amber Heard. Their divorce judgment calls for the actor to pay his ex-wife $7 million in installments — which she has earmarked for two charities — while allowing him to keep numerous properties and vehicles.  Share this article Johnny Depp Sues Ex-managers Alleging Millions in Losses By The Associated Press January 14, 2017 Updated: January 14, 2017last_img read more

Car Hits a Crowd of People at Boston Airport in Possible Accident

first_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   A car drove through a crowd of pedestrians at Boston’s Logan Airport, Massachusetts, Police said.The incident took place after 2 p.m. local time. At least 10 people were hospitalized with injuries of “varying intensity,” according to a Twitter update from the Massachusetts State Police.The Boston Globe reported that it might be accidental, caused by a driver error.iosduadsp1piuThe car—a Boston city taxi—struck an area where other cab drivers were waiting.An East Boston cab driver, 57, lost control of the vehicle. He is cooperating with investigators, CBS News reported.Officials told CBS there is no link to terrorism. (ChiccoDodiFC/Shutterstock) US Share this articlecenter_img Share Car Hits a Crowd of People at Boston Airport in Possible Accident By Jack Phillips July 3, 2017 Updated: July 4, 2017 Show Discussionlast_img read more

Powerball Winning Numbers Announced No Winners Yet

first_img Powerball Winning Numbers Announced; No Winners Yet By Epoch Newsroom December 28, 2017 Updated: December 28, 2017 US News (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images) Show Discussion  QualityAuto 1080p720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video The Powerball lottery jackpot raised to $384 million after nobody won Wednesday’s drawing,  according to lottery officials on Thursday morning, USA Today reported.  The next drawing is Saturday night, Dec.30.The winning Powerball numbers were 3, 9, 16, 56, 60 with a Powerball number of 3.Powerball tickets are $2 per play, and drawings are always Wednesday and Saturday evenings.Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot has risen to $306 million. The next drawing is 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29.The odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot are one in 292.2 million.Mega Millions changed its format in October, sending the odds of picking all six numbers to one in 302.6 million from one in 258.9 million, CNN noted. They also cost $2 per ticket.The chance of winning both games is one in 88 quadrillion. 2017 Year in Review  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share Share this articlelast_img read more

Raytheon Developing Laser Weapons for US Army

first_imgRaytheon is helping to develop a laser weapon for the U.S. Marines that is small and rugged enough to be mounted on a tactical ground vehicle, as shown in this illustration. (Raytheon) One of the top arms developers in the United States is pushing forward the production of new laser weapons after receiving a major contract to develop the next-generation weapons system.On July 2, Raytheon announced it would be developing the system for the U.S. Army’s new Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles under a $10 million contract from the U.S. Army’s High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstration program. It comes on the heels of an announcement that U.S. security forces may soon have laser rifles.The new weapons to be created by Raytheon will allegedly be able to destroy rockets, artillery, and small drones.The development follows trends in weapons systems around the world. Chinese news outlets reported on July 1 that regime scientists had developed the new ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle. Its beam can pass through windows and can allegedly cause “instant carbonization” of human skin.The Chinese weapon is not the type of glowing laser often imagined in sci-fi films. Instead, it emits a beam that cannot be seen with the naked eye. According to Chinese news reports, the laser rifle is already ready for mass production, and the first batch will likely go to anti-terrorism squads of the Chinese Armed Police.The laser weapons would fit under the broader category of directed energy weapons (DEWs), which includes weapons that work on the electromagnetic spectrum of light and the sonic spectrum of sound. In the United States, DEWs were featured prominently in the new FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for the Pentagon to “develop, establish, and coordinate directed-energy testing activities” and for “developing and deploying directed-energy systems to match national security needs.” A laser weapon strikes a towed target during U.S. Navy demonstrations conducted in 2014. (U.S. Navy image)Raytheon built the first working laser in 1960 and has already produced more than 50,000 lower-power military lasers, used mainly for targeting. It has been working on a laser system for ground vehicles of the U.S. Marines that could disable small aircraft.It states in a report that laser weapons are affordable, with even a large-scale system costing only about a dollar a shot. Rick Hunt, vice president for Navy/Marine Operations at Raytheon, stated in the report that the weapons could grant a critical advantage.“It’s going to be us, or it’s going to be the bad guys,” he said. “We’ve got to get it out first.” Follow Joshua on Twitter: @JoshJPhilipp Share  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share this articlecenter_img Raytheon Developing Laser Weapons for US Army By Joshua Philipp, The Epoch Times July 5, 2018 Updated: July 5, 2018 US News Show Discussionlast_img read more

Illegal Immigration and Identity Theft

first_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   A woman walks past the Social Security Administration office in downtown Los Angeles, on Oct. 1, 2013. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images) WASHINGTON—One impact of illegal immigration that is rarely publicized is that of identity theft. Credit scores are shot, mortgages are turned down, a child is unable to get into college, or an individual is ineligible for assistance—there are many forms of identity theft, and many ways it can impact a person.“But when it’s done for illegal employment, typically it involves a social security number and adopting the name and date of birth,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at Center for Immigration Studies. Often that information is then used to obtain other documentation such as a driver’s license or credit cards, as well as public benefits.The fraudulent documents are often obtained through a document ring, Vaughan said. “One of the most notorious schemes is for people to purchase Social Security numbers that were issued in Puerto Rico.”Vaughan said previously lax security measures in Puerto Rico meant criminals could get names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers off registration forms when parents signed their kids up for baseball leagues, for example. And inmates who are going to be incarcerated for a long time sell their numbers to Dominican Republic heroin dealers operating in the New England area. Vaughan said illegal immigrants are one of the “very common” groups involved in identity theft. “There have been some older studies that found that identity theft that was done for the purpose of illegal employment by someone in the country illegally did represent a very large share … we don’t know exactly, but between 30 percent and 60 percent of all identify fraud,” she said. Often the victims have no idea that someone has stolen their identity because the social security administration doesn’t notify people if it detects a number has been compromised.  They may apply for a mortgage and get turned down and have no idea why, Vaughan said. In Utah, young children who had social security numbers were being denied social services like a Head Start program or a nutrition program because someone had their number and was earning money under it.“There was an illegal alien who had stolen the identity of an elderly man living in Louisiana who was denied veterans’ benefits and some other things that he was entitled to … and this illegal alien apparently had been siphoning off a lot of his benefits and defrauding this man,” Vaughan said. A house for sale in northeast Washington on June 23, 2015. Victims of identity theft are often unable to obtain a mortgage because their credit score is ruined by the person who stole their identity. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Tax NumberShe said many illegal aliens obtain a tax identification number from the Treasury Department, which is not a social security number, but it can provide eligibility for low-income workers to tax breaks, such as the earned income credit and child tax credits. If the illegal alien finds that they owe tax at the end of the year, they often will simply not file. “They are here illegally. They know nothing is going to happen to them. It’s only when they get a benefit, like a refund, that they will file in most cases,” Vaughan said. “So it’s really not a benefit to the U.S. government and of course it encourages people to be here working illegally—which is a problem for Americans.”Vaughan said the problem has been compounded due to lax immigration enforcement policies, particularly under the Obama administration. “The attitude was that people in the country illegally were forced into this criminal activity because they had no other way to work here,” she said. “It was considered victimless, harmless, just something that they had to do to support their families, and the victims were largely ignored.”  She said if employers used the E-verify system, which is currently voluntary, it can root out identity thieves and illegal aliens. Arizona requires all employers to use both E-verify and the social security number verification system (SSNVS). “It helps them identify problems. Not just for immigration-related problems,” Vaughan said. “It helps them identify, for example, if there is a child molesterer who has adopted someone’s identity to get a job in a daycare center … there are lots of reasons people want to hide their identity. Maybe they are trying to evade child support payments.”The DamageOnce identity theft is detected, it’s only the beginning. One help website says it takes up to 600 hours of contacting the appropriate institutions and agencies, reporting the fraud, getting credit repair, and attempting to reverse the damage.A quarter of victims end up borrowing money and 15 percent have to relocate and sell possessions, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. “It can be a huge problem if your credit has been trashed or somebody is racking up bills or a criminal history in your name—that’s very difficult to get erased,” Vaughan said. What To Do If You’re a VictimPeople can check their own social security status through the E-verify system on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website: uscis.govIf there is a problem, file a police report right away. Contact credit agencies.Contact creditors.Keep a record detailing everyone you’ve contacted, on what dates, what you said and what they said.The Federal Trade Commission has a section on identity theft at: ftc.gov Follow Charlotte on Twitter: @charlottecuthbo Share this article US News center_img Illegal Immigration and Identity Theft By Charlotte Cuthbertson July 24, 2018 Updated: July 24, 2018 Share Show Discussionlast_img read more