New findings bring about better understanding of many cancers metabolic needs

first_img Source:https://stemcell.ucla.edu/news/ucla-study-overturns-dogma-cancer-metabolism-theory-%E2%80%93-tumors-not-addicted-glucose-previously Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 10 2019Scientists at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have discovered that squamous cell skin cancers do not require increased glucose to power their development and growth, contrary to a long-held belief about cancer metabolism.The findings could bring about a better understanding of many cancers’ metabolic needs and lead to the development of more effective therapies for squamous cell skin cancer and other forms of epithelial cancer.The research, led by senior authors Heather Christofk and Bill Lowry, was published in the journal Nature Communications.A fundamental doctrine of cancer metabolism theory is that cancer cells are glycolytic, meaning they consume more glucose and produce more lactate than normal cells. This metabolic shift, called aerobic glycolysis, or the Warburg effect, has been observed in thousands of experiments and inspired treatments that aim to stop tumor growth by preventing cancer cells from increasing their glucose consumption. To date, this treatment approach has not proven successful in clinical trials.Considering these clinical limitations, Christofk and Lowry set out to examine if increased glucose consumption is truly indispensable to cancer formation and growth.They decided to approach this problem using squamous cell skin cancer as a model, as they had made two key discoveries about the nature of this cancer in recent years.In 2011, they determined that squamous cell skin cancer, which forms in the thin, flat cells found on the surface of the skin – can originate from hair follicle stem cells. Hair follicle stem cells produce hair throughout a person’s lifetime and remain mostly inactive, but spring to action during a new hair cycle, which is when new hair growth occurs. In 2017, the pair found that hair follicle stem cells are glycolytic and ramp up their glucose consumption to quickly activate and produce hair follicles.”These findings led us to question: Are squamous cell skin cancer cells glycolytic because they are cancer cells that altered their metabolism to fuel their rapid growth, or because the cells they originated from – hair follicle stem cells – were glycolytic?” said Lowry, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology.To answer this question, the team studied the progression of squamous cell skin cancer in animal models whose hair follicle stem cells had been genetically modified to limit their glucose consumption. Specifically, they de-activated a gene called lactate dehydrogenase-a, which catalyzes the final step in a cell’s process of converting glucose to lactate. Deactivating this gene prevented this final step from taking place, which in turn caused the cells to dramatically reduce their glucose consumption.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerThe change had no effect on cancer incidence or progression. When faced with insufficient glucose for their increased needs, the cancer cells in this model simply altered their metabolism to derive energy from the amino acid glutamine.”These findings suggest that tumors are metabolically flexible and can use nutrients other than glucose to fuel growth,” said Christofk, an associate professor of biological chemistry and molecular and medical pharmacology. “Understanding all of the nutrients cancers use for growth is critical to developing drugs that can successfully target cancer’s metabolism.”The team double-checked their findings by conducting a converse experiment using hair follicle stem cells that had been genetically modified to increase glucose consumption. If their initial finding was incorrect, stimulating glucose consumption would make the tumors grow faster – it did not.”The cells still formed cancer, but they didn’t do so any faster and it wasn’t any more serious,” said Aimee Flores, a postdoctoral fellow in Lowry’s lab and a first author of the study. “The behavior and progression of the disease was quite similar to the disease observed in the model with reduced glucose consumption.”As a next step, the team will conduct experiments to determine if reducing the consumption of both glucose and glutamine can stop the growth of squamous cell skin cancers.”If limiting cancer’s intake of both of these nutrients is shown to be effective, then that points to a path toward the clinic in the form of a combination therapy,” said Lowry.There is already some evidence that a combination therapy of this kind could treat squamous cell lung cancer. David Shackelford, an associate professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine and a colleague of Christofk and Lowry’s at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, found that squamous cell lung cancers metabolize glutamine when unable to increase their glucose consumption.Shackelford and his collaborators – including Christofk –  also identified two drug candidatesthat, when used in combination, may stop the growth of squamous cell lung cancers by reducing the uptake of both of these nutrients.Despite these encouraging findings, the road to bringing combination therapies for squamous cell cancers to humans is a long one, cautioned Lowry. “Every drug you add to a potential treatment carries its own risks and side effects, so identifying and testing combination therapies that will be both safe and effective in humans is a long and arduous process,” he said.last_img read more

Western diet may increase the risk of deadly sepsis warn experts

first_imgNapier also predicts that if it is the fats in the diet that are reprogramming the immune system, then these findings might not only apply to the Western diet but other high-fat diets as well.Napier and her team will now investigate whether specific fats in the diet are able to influence the risk of higher sepsis severity. If you could introduce a dietary intervention while they’re in the ICU to decrease their chances of manipulating their immune system in that way, you can somehow influence the outcome.”Brooke Napier, Study Author Napier and her team also identified molecular markers in mice fed the Western diet that could be used as biomarkers for patients who are at high risk of developing severe sepsis.She stated that treatments could be predicted and specifically tailored depending on whether a patient has these certain “cell populations” in their blood. Source:Western diet regulates immune status and the response to LPS-driven sepsis independent of diet-associated microbiome.center_img The mice’s immune system on the Western diet looked and functioned differently […] It looks like the diet is manipulating immune cell function so that you’re more susceptible to sepsis, and then when you get sepsis, you die quicker.”Brooke Napier, Study Author By Lois Zoppi, BAFeb 13 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)New research conducted at Portland State University suggests that the Western diet may increase the risk of severe sepsis and mortality from the infection.hurricanehank | ShutterstockThe Western diet, which is the most prevalent diet in westernized countries, is characterized by the consumption of foods that are low in fiber and high in fat and sugar. It is well documented that this diet pattern can cause significant damage to cardiovascular health, the kidneys, and cause obesity.However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Western diet can also have detrimental effects on the immune system, which includes increasing the risks of severe sepsis, the 11th most common cause of death worldwide.Sepsis is commonly known as blood poisoning, The illness can occur when the body reacts to an infection too aggressively, attacking its own tissues and organs.The body goes into overdrive and can lead to reactions causing inflammation, clotting, and organ failure. It isn’t fully understood what regulates this serious immunological response, or what influences the outcome and severity of sepsis.In a recent study, Brooke Napier (Portland State University), found that mice who were fed a ‘Western diet’ were more likely to contract sepsis and suffered poorer outcomes, compared to mice that were fed a balanced diet that was rich in fiber.The mice that were fed this high-sugar, high-fat diet presented higher chronic inflammation, increased sepsis-associated immunoparalysis, and altered neutrophil populations in the blood. They also showed an increase in sepsis severity and higher mortality rates than mice fed a standard fiber-rich diet.The increase in sepsis severity and mortality was independent of the diet-associated microbiome, hinting that diet might be “directly regulating the innate immune system”. However, the exact mechanism through which this occurs remains unknown.last_img read more

New study evaluates complexity of patients undergoing headCT examinations

first_img“Head-CT is not only most frequently ordered in the ED, but also during the most complex ED visits, suggesting that the ICD-10 codes associated with such exams do not appropriately reflect patient complexity,” stated coauthor Ryan Lee, M.D., a radiologist at Einstein Healthcare Network, “The valuation process should also consider the complexity of associated billed patient encounters.”Source: Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute Of the 6,363,404 head-CT exams in 2017, 56.1% were performed in the ED and 70% of non-contrast exams performed in the ED were ordered in the most complex patient encounters (level 5 visits). The most common diagnosis reported for head-CT scans without contrast agents in level 5 visits were “dizziness and giddiness”, and for head-CT without and with contrast agents was “headache”.”Melissa M. Chen, MD, Lead Author, Clinical Neuroradiologist, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 20 2019Computed tomography (CT) of the head uses special X-ray equipment to help assess head injuries, dizziness, and other symptoms of the brain. This new study, published online in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology, evaluates the complexity of patients undergoing head-CT examinations.Chen and her co-investigators used 2017 Medicare claims data to identify the most common site for performing head-CT examinations. After finding the most common site was emergency departments (ED), the authors classified the data by the complexity of the patient’s ED visit. The visits were analyzed by the level of complexity (1-least complex to 5-most complex patient) as well as the diagnosis reported on the billed head CT claims.last_img read more

Goats milkbased formula good for infants gut health

first_imgGoats being milked in a mechanised milking parlour. Image Credit: Takako Picture Lab / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJun 27 2019Researchers from RMIT’s lab analyzed goat’s milk formula and looked at the oligosaccharides present in it. These simple sugars and the prebiotics present within the goat’s milk based infant formula have been found to help develop helpful or beneficial gut bacteria in the infant’s gut and protect them from harmful bacterial colonization in their intestines. The study results were published in the latest issue of the journal British Journal of Nutrition and titled, “Oligosaccharides in goats’ milk-based infant formula and their prebiotic and anti-infection properties.” The study results were presented at the 2019 Annual Nutrition Conference of the American Society of Nutrition in Baltimore, USA.The team writes that human milk is rich in a wide range of oligosaccharides that provide immense health benefits to the infants. One of these benefits includes development of the microbiome in the gut or healthy microbes in the intestines. This development is linked to development of a healthy immune system and also protection against gastrointestinal infections. Cow’s milk based formula is most commonly used for infants but it has been seen that goat’s milk is closer to humans than cow’s milk, write the researchers.The team analyzed two commercially available goat’s milk formula preparations and found that these contain 14 naturally-occurring prebiotic oligosaccharides. Only five of these are found in the human breast milk, they write. Study leader Professor Harsharn Gill explained that this is the first study that explores the diverse nature of the oligosaccharides found in goat’s milk and compare them to human breast milk. He said, “Our results show goat milk formula may have strong prebiotic and anti-infection properties, that could protect infants against gastrointestinal infections. The study indicates the prebiotic oligosaccharides in goat milk formula are effective at selectively promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.” He added however, “While these laboratory results are promising, further research including clinical trials will help us to confirm these benefits for infants.”Infant formula is substituted for human breast milk when breastfeeding is not possible or inadequate. Till date there have been no studies that compare the benefits provided by the oligosaccharides from breast milk of goat milk based formula milk and their likely benefits to the health.Related StoriesNew methods to recognize antimicrobial resistant bacteria and how they workNon-pathogenic bacteria engineered as Trojan Horse to treat tumors from withinJAMA commentary: Nutrition knowledge essential for today’s physiciansThe team examined two goat milk formula and searched for naturally found oligosaccharides. The formula they studied were “Oli6 Stage 1 for babies aged 0-6 months and Oli6 Stage 2 for babies aged 6-12 months.” They looked for prebiotic properties as well as their infection-protection role.Results showed that goat’s milk contained natural prebiotic oligosaccharides that helped in growth of healthy gut bacteria called “bifidobacteria”. These oligosaccharides also helped in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut including pathogenic E. coli. These organisms are responsible for one in three cases of infant diarrhoea explain the researchers.The team used “Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS)” to analyze the oligosaccharides. The prebiotic potential of the formula was assessed by allowing the formula to help in the growth of bacteria such as “Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB12, Bifidobacterium longum BB536, Lactobacillus acidophilus 4461 and Lactobacillus casei 2607” in the laboratory settings in vitro. To test the anti-infective properties, these oligosaccharides were tested if they prevented the adhesion of harmful bacteria such as “Escherichia coli NCTC 10418 and a Salmonella typhimurium isolate” to experimental cell lines called Caco-2 cells.Results revealed that the 14 quantifiable oligosaccharides in stage-1 and stage-2 goat’s milk-based infant formula were similar to those present in fresh goat’s milk. These oligosaccharides helped in growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and also reduced the adhesion of harmful bacteria such as E. coli NCTC 10418 and S. typhimurium to Caco-2 cells.Two oligosaccharides were abundantly found in goat’s milk – fucosylated and sialylated. Gill explained, “Fucosylated are the most abundant oligosaccharides in human milk and are the focus of significant commercial and regulatory interest. These oligosaccharides have been shown to play a significant role in anti-infection properties of breast milk.”Authors of the study concluded, “these results suggest that oligosaccharides naturally present in goat’s milk-based infant formula exhibit strong prebiotic and anti-pathogen adhesion properties and may confer gut health benefits to infants.”As a next step of their study, the team is looking to undertake a clinical trial to confirm the anti-infective and probiotic properties of goat’s milk versus other formula milks.This study was supported by the RMIT and an Entrepreneurs’ Programme: Innovation Connections Grant as well as by the Australian Government and Nuchev Pty Ltd, manufacturers of Oli6. Researchers declared no conflicts of interest with the manufacturers. Source:https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/media-releases-and-expert-comments/2019/jun/goat-milk-formula-gutJournal reference:Leong, A., Liu, Z., Zisu, B., Pillidge, C., Rochfort, S., Almshawit, H., & Gill, H. (n.d.). Oligosaccharides in goat’s milk-based infant formula and their prebiotic and anti-infection properties. British Journal of Nutrition, 1-26. doi:10.1017/S000711451900134X – http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S000711451900134Xlast_img read more

SAP unveils big push into French tech startups

Europe’s biggest software company SAP on Monday said it will spend up to two billion euros investing in and nurturing French start-ups as part of its push into cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence. The move by the German firm comes as France is increasingly emerging as a leading hub for tech innovation, boosted by President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to promote the nation as open for business.”There is a real sense of economic momentum in France,” said SAP chief executive Bill McDermott after Macron hosted talks with some 140 business leaders at the Versailles chateau near Paris.In a statement, SAP said it will spend 150 million euros ($180 million) annually over the next five years on research and development in France.It plans to focus its efforts on emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain—the technology that underpins bitcoin.SAP also said it would open an incubator in France, its second in Europe after Berlin, that would nurture over 50 start-ups and give them access to SAP’s software and cloud computing operations.It also promised to invest in early-stage ventures looking for their first seed money, and said it had already acquired the young French venture Recast.AI that builds so-called “chatbots”.Without giving a breakdown of its planned investments in France, SAP said overall it “estimates a more than two-billion-euro spend over five years”.Other firms attending Macron’s business summit in Versailles also unveiled new spending plans.Facebook said it will pour an additional 10 million euros into artificial intelligence in France by 2022. It also pledged to train 65,000 people in digital skills in free schemes to help women set up businesses and the long-term unemployed get back to work. SAP announced plans to invest in French start-ups Explore further Citation: SAP unveils big push into French tech start-ups (2018, January 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-sap-unveils-big-french-tech.html © 2018 AFP Facebook to train 65,000 in French job schemes 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. read more

Phishing success linked to incentives and sticking to an effective strategy

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Citation: Phishing success linked to incentives and sticking to an effective strategy (2018, February 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-phishing-success-linked-incentives-effective.html Not all phishing campaigns work, but when an attacker perseveres with a strategy that does it is the key to their success. That’s the finding of a new study focusing on the attacker, a largely ignored but crucial aspect of phishing. In addition to identifying successful strategies, it also reveals that attackers are motivated by quicker and larger rewards—with creative individuals putting more effort into constructing these malicious emails. Insights from the study, published today in open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, can be used to develop tools and training procedures to detect phishing emails. Provided by Frontiers Gone phishin’: CyLab exposes how our ability to spot phishing emails is far from perfect “We find specific phishing strategies, such as the use of authoritative tone, expressing shared interest and sending notifications, are more likely to succeed,” says Dr. Prashanth Rajivan, lead author of the study and based at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania, USA.Phishing is a common form of cyber-attack. Criminals impersonate a trustworthy third party to persuade people to visit fraudulent web sites or download malicious attachments, with the intent of compromising their security. While research has largely focused on the victims of these crimes, this new study looks at a critical aspect of phishing: the attacker’s behavior and strategies.”We created a game-like experiment to assess how well different strategies work, and to understand how incentives and success rates, or an individual’s creativity, can affect motivation,” explains Dr. Rajivan.In the experiment, human participants play the role of a phishing attacker and accumulate points, over a number turns, for successfully deceiving other people who are the ‘end-user’ performing an email management task. The game was carefully constructed to train and reward people into producing phishing emails that employ different strategies and topics.Strategies that were less likely to succeed included ‘offering deals,’ ‘selling illegal materials’ and ‘using a positive tone.'”People may be less receptive to strategies associated with scams that worked a decade ago,” explains Dr. Rajivan. “More successful strategies today would be ‘sending notifications,’ ‘use of authoritative tone,’ ‘taking advantage of trust by impersonating a friend or expressing shared interest,’ and ‘communicating failure’.”The repeated design of the game allowed the researchers to assess the attacker’s tactics over time. This revealed that perseverance with a successful strategy, rather than switching from one to another, can yield better results. The researchers attribute this to the attackers improving the email text at each turn.Incentives had a direct influence on motivation, with delayed rewards resulting in lesser effort. The easier and sooner high rewards were gained, the more effort an attacker applied to designing persuasive emails, as did individuals who scored high in a ‘creativity’ test. There was no evidence to suggest, however, that creativity could be used as a predictor of phishing success.”There has been a resurgence in phishing attacks in recent years and the regular, non-expert users of the Internet are usually the victims of these crimes. We need to improve current security practices to change the incentive structure for the attacker. If the rewards are greater than the costs, attackers will continue to exert more effort into phishing campaigns,” says Dr. Rajivan. “We think that attackers with higher creativity may be capable of changing and adapting emails to evade detection, even though their creativity cannot determine how much success they achieve in getting the end-user to respond.”He continues, “Our novel experimental design could be used to crowdsource people to play our game, which would give us lots of information on phishing success rates and how these emails can be adapted, thereby improving detection software. In addition, we could use it as a training tool to help people think like hackers to better detect phishing emails.” Journal information: Frontiers in Psychology Explore further More information: Frontiers in Psychology (2018). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00135 , https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00135/full 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. read more

Paper sensor to speed up sepsis diagnosis wins innovation competition

first_img Provided by Imperial College London 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. SpiraSense, founded by Imperial student George Winfield, is developing the low-cost sensors to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in hospital patients. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition responsible for 44,000 deaths every year in the UK. It arises when the body overwhelmingly over-reacts in trying to control an infection, injuring its own healthy organs and tissue in the process, and is a particular risk for people already in hospital because of another serious illness.If it is caught early and treated quickly, most people make a full recovery. But without rapid treatment, sepsis can quickly lead to multiple organ failure and death in just a few hours. Low-cost solutionOne of the early symptoms of sepsis is rapid breathing. Currently, breathing rate is measured manually by doctors on observation rounds.Tests show that SpiraSense can monitor respiratory rate continuously, as well as detecting other biomarkers for organ failure using only the patient’s breath—something that would usually require an invasive and intermittent blood test. If adopted, an AI powered app could then alert doctors to possible patient deterioration in real time, allowing for faster diagnosis and treatment. George, who is undertaking an MRes in Medical Device Design & Entrepreneurship at Imperial, said: “The device learns from every breath a patient takes. It would allow doctors to see trends that might not be immediately apparent from manual observations, giving them more information to make an informed decision about patient care.” Their small paper sensors, which are about the size of a postage stamp, are designed to attach to any breathing mask or nasal cannula already used in hospitals, potentially offering a low cost solution. SpiraSense was awarded a £7,000 prize package, including a 12-month membership at the Imperial Incubator and £5,000 to support the business’s growth. George is currently engaged with securing further funding to develop his device ready for clinical testing. Citation: Paper sensor to speed up sepsis diagnosis wins innovation competition (2018, May 31) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-paper-sensor-sepsis-diagnosis-competition.html Boosting growth Delivered in partnership with NatWest, the Innovators’ Programme is the Imperial Incubator’s flagship pre-accelerator programme. It aims to support the development of technology focussed early-stage companies by providing funding, mentoring, access to Imperial’s innovation ecosystem, free space to work, and training in areas such as fundraising, team building, IP, marketing and pitch practice. The programme runs twice a year at the White City Incubator, and is aimed at Imperial alumni, current students, and tech businesses from the local area. George added: “It has been fantastic to work with such a diverse range of people and businesses on this programme. You really learn a lot from other perspectives and approaches. “The mentoring on the programme has been especially valuable. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas around with people who have such great experience and networks.” The programme culminated in a pitching event on the 24 May, where eight participating businesses pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. The panel included Dr. Govind Pindoria—Director of the Venture Support Unit at Imperial Innovations, Rebeca Santamaria-Fernandez—Head of Corporate Partnerships for the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial, Rebecca Wilson—Head of Corporate Partnerships for the Faculty of Natural Sciences atImperial, Chris Tilley – Director of the Investor Club at Coutts Private Banking, and Peter Ryan-Bell—Head of Large Corporate & Sectors UK & Western Europe at RBS. Runners up Rightly, founded by Alexander Arbuthnot and Tom Andrews, took home second prize for their start-up that allows consumers control over how their data is used by companies by automating subject rights requests enabled under DGPR. Local White City resident Sasha Pinnock was awarded third prize for SP Tracked Safety Jackets, a business that creates GPS trackable high-vis jackets. The jackets would allow parents and guardians of small children or carers of vulnerable adults to keep track of where their loved-ones are and monitor their safety Fourth prize went to ifPlus, founded by Imperial College Business School alumnus Tassilo Vogel, a decision-making tool and knowledge sharing platform that would allow users to search for advice for a variety of different situations. Breath test breakthrough for early diagnosis of oesophageal and gastric cancer Credit: Imperial College London A student-founded startup creating paper sensors to monitor breathing rates of hospital patients has won the White City Innovators’ Programme. Explore furtherlast_img read more

A year in Uber CEO works to rebuild companys reputation

first_imgQ: What’s the timeline for taking the company public, and do you think you can do it without being profitable?A: We’re looking at the second half of next year toward the end of the year. There are very few companies of our size that have the kind of growth rate or exciting new businesses like Uber Eats within the portfolio, and we’re showing progress toward profitability. We have to show a path to profitability.Q: What about the driverless car program? Is Toyota going to run it, and what are the plans for Toyota’s $500 million investment?A: We have an incredibly talented in-house team of engineers who are building hardware, software and operations to make self-driving cars a reality in a safe manner. An advantage we have now is we’re building self-driving technology while we have a live network in place, and ultimately we think there’s going to be a hybrid of self-driving technology and human-driven technology. We wanted to bring Toyota in as a valuable partner. Toyota is bringing in special cars that are going to be electric and that are built for ride sharing in urban destinations. Their expertise in self-driving and car manufacturing and our expertise with advanced technologies and our network will be an unbeatable combination.Q: Do you think that Toyota will help in terms of rebuilding the trust in Uber’s self-driving program after what happened in Phoenix?A: I think Toyota’s investment in us and their partnership with us speaks volumes about our efforts and their efforts. We have a lot to learn from Toyota in terms of manufacturing, technology, brand and safety. We’re here to learn, and the partnership is off to a great start. Ever since he stepped into his role as CEO a year ago, Dara Khosrowshahi has had to deal with wave after wave of major scandals and bad press, much of which he inherited from his predecessor, Travis Kalanick. Citation: A year in, Uber CEO works to rebuild company’s reputation (2018, September 6) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-year-uber-ceo-rebuild-company.html Uber rolls out safety features for drivers, passengers Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the company’s unveiling of the new features, in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand.(AP Photo/Richard Drew) About two weeks after Khosrowshahi started his job, London’s transport regulator decided to revoke Uber’s license to operate, jeopardizing the regional business with 3.5 million passengers. A court eventually gave Uber a license, although much shorter than normal.Later that year Uber was forced to come clean about covering up a major computer attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million customers and drivers. In February, Uber agreed to pay $245 million to Google’s self-driving car spinoff to end a legal brawl that aired out allegations that Uber stole technology.Perhaps the biggest problem came in March when an Uber self-driving test vehicle ran down and killed a pedestrian in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, Arizona. Later it was disclosed that the human backup driver in the Uber SUV was streaming the television show “The Voice” on her phone and looking downward just before the crash.Under Khosrowshahi, Uber has been trying to shore up its reputation. It has made safety a top priority and on Wednesday, it revealed a suite of safety features for both drivers and passengers. Uber is also teaming up with Toyota to build self-driving cars for its ride-hailing service and will receive a $500 million investment from the Japanese automaker. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the company’s unveiling of the new features in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Khosrowshahi sat down with The Associated Press to talk about his first year as CEO and how he plans to steer the company. Answers have been edited for space and clarity.Q: Aside from improving safety features, where do you see the company headed?A: Uber was a ride-hailing service, but really we want to think about Uber as a broad transportation platform which includes ride-hailing, Uber Eats, e-bikes, scooters—and eventually we’re going to integrate with mass transit. So if you work in a city and if you want to get from point A to point B, we want you to think about Uber. We ultimately want to be your one-stop shop for transportation.Q: You’ve been at Uber a year, and from the moment you walked through the door there have been problems. When do you feel like you’ve reached the point where you’ve stopped repairing the damage of your predecessor and are really making your mark on the company? Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the company’s unveiling of the new features in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Uber is aiming to boost driver and passenger safety in an effort to rebuild trust in the brand.(AP Photo/Richard Drew) A: My predecessor made mistakes. I’m going to make mistakes as well. The fact is that I’ve inherited an incredible company with incredible talent. My predecessor and his team built a company that’s a verb. So no one’s perfect and there’s a lot that we’ve undertaken to fix. We have rebuilt the culture of the company, we have reprioritized safety as a number one priority for the company…I can tell you that a year in, I’m thrilled to be here and I’ve got a ton of work to do. 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

Midterm voting exposes growing problem of aging machines

first_imgIn Georgia, where numerous problems led to long lines and discouraged voters at polling places Tuesday, the cost to replace its all-electronic machines is estimated at $120 million. The machines have been in use since 2002 and do not produce a paper record that voters can use to verify their selections and election workers can use to audit results.The election technology in Georgia and the other states using all-electronic machines is so unreliable and vulnerable to hacking that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has joined calls for the machines to be replaced. In August, she said she wants “all state and local election officials to make certain that by the 2020 presidential election, every American votes on a verifiable and auditable ballot.”Voters on Election Day and during early voting in the weeks before reported sporadic problems with election equipment in numerous states, including Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which runs the nonpartisan Election Protection voter assistance hotline.During early voting in Texas, some voters who were casting “straight ticket” ballots for candidates solely of one party found their vote in the nationally watched U.S. Senate race changed to the other party’s candidate. State officials said that can occur when voters complete and submit ballots too quickly, but voting experts said it was wrong to blame voters. The real problem was poorly designed technology that is 16 years old, they said.”You design it to work regardless of how fast people push buttons,” said University of Iowa computer scientist Douglas Jones, author of “Broken Ballots.”Jones said Tuesday’s problems were not unusually bad given the state of the technology used. On Election Day, 18 voting locations in Texas opened late because of machine or poll book failures, and some locations still did not have all machines working by mid-afternoon Tuesday.Officials in 33 states have said they must replace their machines by 2020, according to a Brennan Center for Justice report earlier this year. But so far there has not been a wholesale commitment to paying for the upgrades.”A big part of this is people who are responsible for making decisions on how the money is being spent think people don’t care,” said Lawrence Norden, a voting systems expert at the Brennan Center. “When you have to make decisions about how to spend money and you are a state legislator, you feel more pressure to spend money on basic services.”New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said she was determined to get something done after voters in her state were forced to drop their ballots into emergency boxes or resort to voting by affidavit because so many electronic scanners failed within hours after the polls opened.New York’s “archaic elections systems aren’t just inconvenient—they also undermine our democratic process,” Underwood tweeted Tuesday.The malfunctioning equipment turned a polling place in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood into a “mosh pit,” said Brad Lander, a New York City councilman. By the time he got a chance to vote, all four of the scanners in the precinct were broken.The clock is ticking to make upgrades, with the presidential election just two years away. Selecting and buying new voting machines can easily take a year and a half or longer, and that’s assuming a state has money to spend.”It’s not like going into Best Buy, and saying ‘I want 250 of those machines,'” said Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos. Citation: Midterm voting exposes growing problem of aging machines (2018, November 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-midterm-voting-exposes-problem-aging.html Explore further Elections forensics can enhance, challenge legitimacy of election outcome People stand on numerous lines as they wait to vote at Kingsboro Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. The malfunctioning equipment turned a polling place in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood into a “mosh pit,” said Brad Lander, a New York City councilman. By the time he got a chance to vote, all four of the scanners in the precinct were broken. (Courtesy of Brad Lander via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Election experts have long warned about the nation’s aging fleet of voting equipment. This week’s elections underscored just how badly upgrades are needed. Across the country, reports poured in Tuesday amid heavy voter turnout of equipment failing or malfunctioning, triggering frustration among voters and long lines at polling places.Scanners used to record ballots broke down in New York City. Voting machines stalled or stopped working in Detroit. Electronic poll books used to check in voters failed in Georgia. Machines failed to read ballots in Wake County, North Carolina, as officials blamed humidity and lengthy ballots.Those problems followed a busy early voting period that revealed other concerns, including machines that altered voters’ choices in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.Voting experts had hoped the threat of foreign governments meddling in U.S. elections, raised in 2016 when Russia targeted state election systems, would prompt action to upgrade the machinery that underpins U.S. elections.But two years before the 2020 presidential election, 41 states are still using machines that were manufactured more than a decade ago and a dozen states are using at least some electronic machines that produce no paper trail, which can be used to settle a disputed outcome. Just three states require the type of rigorous audit backed by cybersecurity experts.Some of the voting machines in use Tuesday were built before Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, while other equipment has become so obsolete that election workers have been forced to search on eBay for replacement parts.In some cases, local election offices have no technicians who are trained to repair their machines when something goes wrong. Some even run on Windows operating systems that Microsoft no longer supports.”You can’t run democracy on the cheap,” said Jenny Flanagan, vice president for state operations with Common Cause. “We have to invest in our democracy to make our elections work.”Congress sent $380 million to states earlier this year, but that was nowhere near enough to pay for the bulk of the nation’s nearly 10,000 election jurisdictions to upgrade their equipment. Experts with the Brennan Center for Justice have estimated it would take $1 billion or more to make the necessary upgrades. 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

Change your phone settings so Apple Google cant track your movements

first_imgAnd many users don’t know that even when their name and contact information is removed from location data, even a modest location history can reveal their home addresses and the places they visit most, offering clues to their identities, medical conditions and personal relationships.Why people don’t opt outWebsites and apps make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for most people to say no to aggressive surveillance and data collection practices. In my role as a scholar of human-computer interaction, one issue I study is the power of defaults.When companies set a default in a system, such as “location services set to on,” people are unlikely to change it, especially if they are unaware there are other options they could choose. Further, when it is inconvenient to change the location services, as is the case on both iOS and Android systems today, it’s even less likely that people will opt out of location collection – even when they dislike it.Companies’ take-it-or-leave-it privacy policies and default choices for users’ privacy settings have created an environment where people are unaware that their lives are being subjected to minute-by-minute surveillance. They’re also mostly not aware that information that could identify them individually is resold to create ever-more-targeted advertising. Yet the companies can legally, if not ethically, claim that everyone agreed to it.Overcoming the power of defaultsPrivacy researchers know that people dislike these practices, and that many would stop using these services if they understood the extent of the data collection. If invasive surveillance is the price of using free services, many would rather pay or at least see companies held to stronger data collection regulations.The companies know this too, which is why, I argue, they use a form of coercion to ensure participation.Until the U.S. has regulations that, at a minimum, require companies to ask for explicit consent, individuals will need to know how to protect their privacy. Here are my three suggestions: Start by learning how to turn off location services on your iPhone or Android device. Turn location on only when using an app that clearly needs location to function, such as a map.Avoid apps, such as Facebook Mobile, that dig deeply into your phone for as much personal information as possible; instead, use a browser with a private mode, like Firefox, instead. Don’t let default settings reveal more about you than you want. Explore further Location data as an ‘identifier’ of personal data Citation: Change your phone settings so Apple, Google can’t track your movements (2019, January 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-apple-google-track-movements.html Consumers often do not have a free choice when it comes to privacy agreements. Credit: Marta Design/Shutterstock.com Theoretically, users might be able to vote with their feet and find similar services from a company with better data-privacy practices. But take-it-or-leave-it agreements for technologically advanced tools limit the power of competition across nearly the entire technology industry.Data sold to third partiesThere are a few situations where mobile platform companies like Apple and Google have let people exercise some control over data collection. For example, both companies’ mobile operating systems let users turn off location services, such as GPS tracking. Ideally, this should prevent most apps from collecting your location – but it doesn’t always. Further, it does nothing if your mobile provider resells your phone’s location information to third parties. App makers are also able to persuade users not to turn off location services, again with take-it-or-leave-it notifications. When managing privileges for iOS apps, users get to choose whether the app can access the phone’s location “always,” “while using the app” or “never.” But changing the setting can trigger a discouraging message: “We need your location information to improve your experience,” says one app. Users are not asked other important questions, like whether they approve of the app selling their location history to other companies. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.center_img Smartphone users are never asked explicitly if they want to be tracked every moment of each day. But cellular companies, smartphone makers, app developers and social media companies all claim they have users’ permission to conduct near-constant personal surveillance. The underlying problem is that most people don’t understand how tracking really works. The technology companies haven’t helped teach their customers about it, either. In fact, they’ve intentionally obscured important details to build a multi-billion-dollar data economy based on an ethically questionable notion of informed consent.How consumers are made to agreeMost companies disclose their data protection practices in a privacy policy; most software requires users to click a button saying they accept the terms before using the program. But people don’t always have a free choice. Instead, it’s a “take-it-or-leave-it” agreement, in which a customer can use the service only if they agree.Anyone who actually wants to understand what the policies say finds the details are buried in long legal documents unreadable by nearly everyone, perhaps except the lawyers who helped create them.Often, these policies will begin with a blanket statement like “your privacy is important to us.” However, the actual terms describe a different reality. It’s usually not too far-fetched to say that the company can basically do whatever it wants with your personal information, as long as it has informed you about it.U.S. federal law does not require that a company’s privacy policy actually protect users’ privacy. Nor are there any requirements that a company must inform consumers of its practices in clear, nonlegal language or provide consumers a notice in a user-friendly way. Provided by The Conversation Technology companies have been pummeled by revelations about how poorly they protect their customers’ personal information, including an in-depth New York Times report detailing the ability of smartphone apps to track users’ locations. Some companies, most notably Apple, have begun promoting the fact that they sell products and services that safeguard consumer privacy. Your phone tracks your movements all the time. Credit: grapestock/Shutterstock.com 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

In Killer Robots debate Japan shuns fully automated arms

first_img Citation: In ‘Killer Robots’ debate, Japan shuns fully automated arms (2019, March 25) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-killer-robots-debate-japan-shuns.html Nobushige Takamizawa spoke at Monday’s opening of the latest weeklong meeting of government experts in Geneva on the future of “Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems,” also known as “Killer Robots.”Takamizawa’s comments have been widely anticipated in Japan, a country with highly sophisticated technological know-how and concerns about regional security threats—notably North Korea, which in recent years has tested missiles by firing them over Japanese territory.He mentioned “positive effects” of autonomous weapons systems under human oversight, such as saving labor and reducing collateral damage. Opponents of fully automated systems fear that machines could one day conduct wars without human control. Explore further © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Japan’s ambassador to the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament says his country has not developed fully autonomous weapons systems and has no plans to do so. 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. UN panel agrees to move ahead with debate on ‘killer robots’ (Update)last_img read more

UK makes first conviction over 3D printed gun

first_img Tendai Muswere, 26, pleaded guilty to making the 3D printed gun, in a hearing at Southwark Crown Court in the British capital.Police searched Muswere’s central London home on drugs grounds in October 2017. They found evidence of cannabis cultivation—and also components of a 3D printed gun, capable of firing a lethal shot.Zimbabwean national Muswere, who does not hold a firearms licence, said he was printing the firearm for a university film project and claimed he did not know that the components were capable of firing.”He later refused to comment on what his film project was about,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.Officers went through his internet search history and found he had viewed videos demonstrating how to use a 3D printer to manufacture firearms which fired live ammunition.A second raid in February 2018 resulted in the discovery of further components of a 3D printed gun.”Muswere claimed that he was printing the firearms for a ‘dystopian’ university film project but he has not explained why he included the component parts necessary to make a lethal barrelled weapon,” said Acting Detective Sergeant Jonathan Roberts, who led the investigation. Citation: UK makes ‘first’ conviction over 3-D printed gun (2019, June 19) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-uk-conviction-3d-gun.html © 2019 AFP Explore further “Muswere was planning to line the printed firearms with steel tubes in order to make a barrel capable of firing.”This conviction, which I believe is the first of its kind relating to the use of a 3D printer to produce a firearm, has prevented a viable gun from getting into the hands of criminals.”Muswere will be sentenced on August 9. 3D printing technology has made it possible for people to make complex objects—including plastic firearms, such as this one produced in the UScenter_img 3-D-printed guns may be more dangerous to their users than targets 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. Muswere claimed the printed gun was for a “dystopian” university film project, but police say he didn’t explain why it contained lethal parts A student was convicted on Wednesday of manufacturing a firearm using a 3D printer, in what London’s police said they believed was the first such successful prosecution in Britain.last_img read more

Nearly 80 per cent of Ujjwala recipients opted for refill PradhanNearly 80

first_imgSHARE With launch of Ujjwala scheme, 97% households in Karnataka have LPG connections Published on RELATED COMMENTS This has been the world’s largest poverty alleviation programme, said the Vice President of India COMMENT In the last 32 months, six crore LPG connections have been disbursed under the Ujjwala scheme. File photo   –  THE HINDU January 02, 2019 LPG ‘Ujjwala connections get three refills annually on an average’ SHARE SHARE EMAIL The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said that there have been 23 crore refills under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana till now.Speaking at an event,Pradhan said, “In the last 32 months, six crore connections have been disbursed under the Ujjwala scheme and 80 per cent of the recipients have opted for a refill of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders.”“There have been up to 12 refills in some cases but the average refilling is four for the Ujjwala connections,” he added.Lauding the Centre’s efforts for the success of the scheme, Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, said, “This has been the world’s largest poverty alleviation programme. There has been no comparable achievement by recent governments. LPG coverage stood at 50 per cent of the country in 2014 when the scheme started. It has now grown to 90 per cent in December 2018.”last_img read more

Chandrababu Naidu protests poll panels unilateral decisions

first_img COMMENT ‘EC taking orders from Modi govt’ COMMENTS SHARE Published on Chandrababu Naidu Andhra Pradeshcenter_img national elections SHARE SHARE EMAIL Elections 2019 On the eve of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the State, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday lodged a protest with the Chief Electoral Officer, Gopalakrishna Dwivedi, objecting to what he called “the unilateral decisions taken by the Election Commission on complaints lodged by the YSR Congress Party leaders.”He met Dwivedi along with his party leaders to submit the complaint and then spoke to the media. “We have registered our objections in the letter, and orally explained our position very respectfully to the officer, and requested him to conduct the elections in a free, fair and impartial manner,” he said.Arbitrary transfersNaidu said there should be a level playing field and the Election Commission (EC) should not act in an arbitrary manner and take unilateral decisions. “Several IAS and IPS officers were transferred and relieved of election duties, based on false and frivolous complaints lodged by YSR Congress leaders. Even the Chief Secretary was transferred. The District Collector of Srikakulam was transferred even before the election code came into force. How can such actions be justified or defended? The autonomy of the institution comes into question if such actions are taken. Under PM Modi, the credibility of all institutions is eroded,” he said.He also said a series of raids by the Income Tax Department officials in the State were going on at the houses and companies of Telugu Desam party leaders. “It is utterly undemocratic and against the guidelines of the Supreme Court. Such high-handedness has never been witnessed in the country before. Democracy is in danger. We have to save the nation, save democracy,” he said.He said a letter was submitted by 66 highly-respected former bureaucrats to the President against EC’s style of functioning. “The Modi government is utterly unresponsive and undemocratic. I appeal to all democratic forces in the country to join hands and save our great State and the nation,” he said.   April 10, 2019last_img read more

Telangana Interexams fiasco One more firm to help clear the mess

first_imgPublished on SHARE SHARE EMAIL Telangana Police tackle a BJP activist outside the Secretariat in Hyderabad during a protest against the Intermediate Board exam fiasco on Thursday. There was partial response to a bandh call given by the BJP demanding action against the guilty and compensation for the families of students who committed suicide   –  THE HINDU education May 02, 2019center_img SHARE COMMENTS COMMENT Intermediate Education Board to select new software firm to work along with Globarena Bowing to pressure from various quarters, the Telangana Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) has finally agreed to rope in a new private software firm for the re-verification of results. According to board officials, a decision to engage another software firm to work along with Globarena was taken and the process of selecting the company is currently on. Results on May 8The board is also working on announcing the dates for new supplementary examinations which may be linked to the release of results of the re-verification of answer scripts, which is currently on. The results are to be announced on May 8.Protests Meanwhile, there was partial response to a bandh call given by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding action against those responsible for the fiasco and compensation for the families of students who committed suicide. Protests were also held at Gandhi Bhavan, State headquarters of the Congress party, and the BJP offices in the State capital and districts. Large-scale discrepancies crept into the intermediate examination results announced by BIE on April 18, with about 3.28 lakh students were declared failed. last_img read more

Telangana govt to come up with new solar policy

first_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE Telangana The Telangana government is planning to come out with a new solar policy factoring in the changes in the rapidly expanding renewable energy sector.The policy framework will take forward the State government agenda and align with the Centre’s larger target of achieving 175 GW (giga watt) capacity by 2022.The State also plans to come out with fresh solar tenders for capacity addition including for a couple of large floating projects in the two major reservoirs of the State.Ajay Mishra, Special Chief Secretary, Telangana, said that the solar policy announced about five years ago provided a push to the sunrise industry with an installed capacity of about 3,600 MW. And cumulatively, the State’s renewable energy capacity is up at 3,800 MW.Having achieved its near term goals, it is time to re-strategise and look at setting up more capacity by coming out with a new policy that is in tune with the changed requirements, he said.DistributedThe distributed solar installation approach has made a big impact on the State’s energy pool by enabling it to harness the potential of unused transmission networks thereby paving the way for supplying power to deficit locations.Speaking at the Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mishra said the State started with over 30 per cent power deficit and industrial units had to face two days of power holidays in a week, and rural areas had power barely for few hours. However, with a focussed approach, the State managed to ensure 24×7 power supply within months of the new government’s formation in 2014.New capacity“Thereafter, it has grown from strength to strength and we are in the process of developing additional thermal power capacity of 9,000 MW over the next few years,” he said.“Due to elections, fresh tenders could not be floated. We look forward to offer new projects factoring these changes and including the lower prices at which new projects are coming up,” he said. solar Published on New tenders for capacity addition, floating solar plantscenter_img The distributed solar installation approach has enabled the State to harness the potential of unused transmission networks, paving the way for supplying power to deficit locations   –  C.V.Subrahmanyam industrial policy COMMENTS June 18, 2019 COMMENTlast_img read more

Exclusive Pentagon races to track US rare earths output amid China trade

first_img World 29 May 2019 China ready to hit back at U.S. with rare earths – newspapers Markets 15h ago Most Asean markets fall on weak China data; Singapore edges up World 14h ago China says U.S. should ‘not play with fire’ on Taiwan (Reuters) – The Pentagon is rapidly assessing the United States’ rare earths capability in a race to secure stable supply of the specialized material amid the country’s trade conflict with China, which controls the rare earths industry, according to a government document seen by Reuters. The push comes weeks after China threatened to curb exports to the United States of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used to build fighter jets, tanks and a range of consumer electronics. The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop U.S. rare earths mines and processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to detail their needs for the minerals, according to the document, which is dated June 27.Responses are required by July 31, a short time frame that underscores the Pentagon’s urgency. The U.S. government’s fiscal year ends in September. AdChoices广告The U.S. Air Force, which is part of the Pentagon and created the document, confirmed the document’s existence. The Pentagon’s headquarters did not respond to a request for comment. The responses will be reviewed by two government contractors, including Northrop Grumman Corp, which did not respond to requests for comment.”The government wants to know how much of these minerals we could eventually be producing, and how soon,” said Anthony Marchese, chairman of Texas Mineral Resources Corp, which is working to develop the Round Top rare earth deposit in the state’s western edge.Several miners, though, declined to comment when asked if they will reply to the Pentagon, a sign of the sensitivity around rare earth mine development during the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute.The document does not directly promise loans, grants or other financial support to U.S. rare earths projects. But the Pentagon’s request is derived in part from the Defense Production Act (DPA), a 1950s-era U.S. law that gives the Pentagon wide berth to procure equipment necessary for the national defence. Some type of financial assistance is ultimately expected for the industry after the Pentagon reviews the responses, according to industry analysts and consultants.CHINA DOMINATESAlthough China contains only a third of the world’s rare earth reserves, it accounts for 80% of U.S. imports of minerals because it controls nearly all of the facilities to process the material, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.It is unclear how much money the U.S. military will spend to boost America’s rare earths industry as the DPA does not set a financial limit. The June Pentagon letter notes that government investments usually range from $5 million (£3.9 million) to $20 million per project.”The overall goal is to secure and assure a viable, domestic supplier (of rare earths) for the long-term,” according to the nine-page document.The Air Force Research Laboratory, which drafted the request, said it wants information related to U.S. rare earth “shortcomings, risks, and opportunities which may be addressed by investments” by the military.”There is no guarantee that any submitted topic will” receive military support, Diana Carlin, the Air Force’s executive agent program manager for the DPA program related to procurement, said in an emailed statement to Reuters. James Litinsky, co-chairman of MP Materials, which owns the Mountain Pass mine in California, said the United States needs “a sustainable supermajor for the Western supply of these minerals.” A supermajor would be a large producer that dominates the global industry. MP Materials, the only existing U.S. rare earths facility, ships its ore to China for processing and has been subject to a 25% tariff since last month.Some industry analysts have called for the Pentagon to broaden the scope of its study and commit to direct government funding of rare earth magnet and motor manufacturing, much like China’s government.”The U.S. government doesn’t have a holistic approach to the entire rare earths supply chain, even now, and that’s a problem,” Jack Lifton, an industry analyst with Technology Metals Research LLC, said in an interview this week.BILLS IN U.S. SENATEThe Pentagon’s request builds on several executive orders from President Donald Trump on strategic minerals, which he has said are critical for national defence.Several U.S. senators have sponsored legislation in recent weeks designed to boost domestic production of lithium, rare earths and other strategic minerals. On Thursday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, introduced a bill that would let rare earths producers form cooperatives, avoiding U.S. antitrust statutes.None of the bills have passed yet.The Pentagon has also held talks with rare earths suppliers in Malawi and Burundi, department officials told Reuters last month.”There’s a heightened sense of urgency on developing a rare earth supply chain in North America,” said Don Lay, chief executive of Medallion Resources Ltd, which earlier this month said it was studying potential sites across North America to develop an extraction plant for rare earths.(For a graphic on ‘Rare earth export prices perk up after China rattles trade war sabre’, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Id5tQ2)(For an interactive graphic on ‘Rare earth production’, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2I9MfL5) (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston; Additional reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Amran Abocar and Matthew Lewis) Related News Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Varanasi Girl alleges discrimination at BHU administration denies

first_img Asian News International VaranasiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 13:05 IST BHU Student Archana Kumari alleges of discrimination by security guard.Photo: ANIA girl from Banaras Hindu University on Friday alleged discrimination by a security guard while trying to use a toilet in one of the colleges in the varsity campus.Archana Kumari told ANI, “I am a second-year student here. I am in charge of the BHU Bahujan help-desk which we place near Mahila Maha Vidyalaya (MMV) for helping students in the admission process. Yesterday when I was trying to get inside MMV to use the toilet, they refused to allow me to enter inside the college. He also misbehaved with me.”She also alleged that misbehaviour by security guards is common at the university and said, “Security guards often misbehave with women in BHU. Today also they have done the same and there anti-women behaviour is intolerable.”One of Archana’s associates, Ravindra Prakash Bharti said, “We put-up help desk at different places in BHU with due permission from the administration. This behaviour by security guard reeks of the social menace of untouchability. We demand the necessary action from authorities.”College administration, however, refuted the allegations and claimed that the girl was only barred from using a toilet meant for men.OP Rai, Chief Proctor, BHU said, “I have received the information about the incident and also sent a concerned official to the spot. After visiting the place of the incident he informed me that the girl was seeking to access a toilet meant for males for which she was prohibited. However, she was allowed to enter the college and use the designated washroom for girls.”The girl had also written a letter to Vice-Chancellor and proctor of the university seeking justice.Also read: BHU student shot dead outside hostel, tension on campusALSO WATCH| VC claims plot to defame BHU: Do you agree?For 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 byIram Ara Ibrahim Varanasi: Girl alleges discrimination at BHU, administration deniesCollege administration, however, refuted the allegations and claimed that the girl was only barred from using a toilet meant for men.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

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