2020 Ford FSeries Super Duty promises 73L V8 and record ratings

first_imgThe third engine will be a diesel. That’s a third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8, which has a new 36,000 psi fuel injection system. It promises more economy, more horsepower, and more torque than before, but with lower noise levels. 2020 F-Series Super Duty Gallery In the cabin, there’s a tech and comfort upgrade. 4G LTE with a WiFi hotspot for up to ten devices is standard; leather, real wood trim, and a B&O audio system are among the options. Wireless charging is available, as are USB-C ports. Like the new Super Duty’s capacities, pricing will be confirmed closer to the trucks’ release. They’re due to arrive in US dealerships this fall, Ford says. The entry-level engine will remain Ford’s 6.2-liter V8. However it’ll be joined by a 7.3-liter V8, which the automaker says will be “the most powerful gas V8 in its class” when it arrives under the Super Duty’s hood. Final power and economy figures haven’t been confirmed yet. center_img Ford has revealed the 2020 Super Duty range, and the new F-250, F-350, and F-450 promise to be the most powerful, tech-savvy trucks from the automaker to-date. A range of new gas and diesel engines are joined by a new 10-speed automatic transmission, along with some big promises from Ford. Both the 7.3-liter V8 gas and 6.7-liter diesel engines will be paired with Ford’s latest 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission as standard. It’ll be an option on the 6.2-liter V8, which will come with the 6-speed as standard. Ford says that the 10-speed does better at towing, but also includes live-drive power takeoff, which can engage industrial equipment and accessories while the truck is already in motion. It also adds a number of drive modes. There’ll be normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and finally deep sand and snow. AdChoices广告What Ford isn’t saying yet is just how much the F-Series Super Duty will be able to tow. All the automaker is promising is its “highest conventional, gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing and payload ratings ever” from the Super Duty. Indeed, it’s warning that trailer manufacturers may have to raise their game when the new trucks hit the market. Like the F-150, Ford will give the new 2020 Super Duty features like Pro Trailer Backup Assist. That uses a knob on the dashboard to reverse, rather than the steering wheel, with the reverse camera showing exactly where the boat, trailer, box, or whatever else is positioned. Trailer Reverse Guidance, meanwhile, shows the angle and direction of the trailer, along with steering suggestions. Both work with all trailer styles, Ford says, including fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers. The same is true for features like blind-spot warnings and lane-keep alerts, which have been upgraded to suit longer vehicles when towing is underway. Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and adaptive cruise control also take potential towing into account. last_img read more

Hondas restored 1961 Chevy truck is very cool

first_img American Honda 60th Anniversary Chevy Delivery Truck American Honda has announced that it has restored a Chevy truck. Why would Honda be restoring a 1961 Chevy Apache 10 truck? In the early ’60s, American Honda used these trucks to deliver motorcycles to dealers. American Honda went into business in Southern California in 1959, and not long after, it purchased a fleet of Chevy trucks to delivery motorcycles to its dealers across southern California. American Honda 60th Anniversary Chevy Delivery Truck American Honda 60th Anniversary Chevy Delivery Truck One of these fleet trucks is seen in an iconic American Honda photo from 1961 sitting in front of the original American Honda office at 4077 Pico Blvd in LA. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of American Honda; it has restored a 1961 Chevy Apache 10 truck to exactly match the one in that iconic photograph. The truck debuted at the June 11 60th anniversary celebration.The restored truck has hand painted graphics and has Honda 50 and CB160 motorcycles from the era in the bed. The delivery truck has a half-ton chassis, 8-foot bed, 283 CI V8 engine making 160 horsepower and a 3-speed manual transmission.The little scooter on the left side of the truck bed is a 1965 Honda 50 known as the Super Cub in other parts of the world and is credited with putting Honda on the map in the early days. The bike has a 49cc single cylinder engine and 3-speed semi-automatic transmission with centrifugal clutch.AdChoices广告center_img The right side of the Chevy truck bed has a 1965 Honda CB160 and was completely restored. It has a tubular steel backbone, 161cc SOHC V-twin engine, 16.5hp, and a 4-speed manual transmission. The bike also has an electric starter. Honda may have had a humble start in the US in 1959, but by 1965, it was the best selling brand of motorcycle in the country. American Honda 60th Anniversary Chevy Delivery Truck In 1959 American Honda established itself in the U.S. selling motorcycles out of a small storefront in Los Angeles, Calif. Honda has steadily expanded its U.S. presence to encompass a broad range of products andoperations. Today, Honda employs more than 27,000 U.S. associates engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, sale and servicing of Honda andAcura products including automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, personal water craft, power equipment, and an advanced light jet.last_img read more

Medicaid Budget Issues Mean Tough Choices Across Nation

first_imgMedicaid programs in Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and California deal with swelling rolls, tight budgets and reimbursement decisions.The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Medicaid Hits BudgetThe larger-than-expected demand for Medicaid health coverage for needy adults, a contributor to Connecticut’s latest budget shortfall, is being felt across the state, according to a review of Department of Social Services statistical reports. Average monthly caseloads in cities and towns during the last three years show the state’s three largest cities have the greatest jump in numbers of residents seeking coverage under Medicaid for Low Income Adults or LIA (11/23).The Dallas Morning News: Texas Health Care Facing Big Changes, Tough Spending DecisionsGov. Rick Perry has promised to fight tooth and nail against implementing the Affordable Care Act. But that doesn’t mean big changes aren’t coming to Texas health care, and it won’t save lawmakers from facing tough spending decisions. … Signs of conflict are already showing. For the 2014-2015 budget cycle, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that runs the Medicaid program has asked the Legislature for an additional $6.7 billion. Republican leaders, meanwhile, have already pledged to increase the entire state budget by only $7 billion. If they plan to maintain their spending cap, they will need to pare down spending on health care (11/24).The Record (New Jersey): N.J. Bill Seeks To Limit Cuts By InsurersOne of the four private insurance companies that manage the state’s Medicaid program is seeking to cut reimbursement rates for home care to the elderly and the sick, but some lawmakers want to limit their authority to do so. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, said she hopes that the Senate will pass legislation next week to require that managed-care companies get written approval from the Department of Human Services to lower homecare reimbursement rates and that a public hearing be held first. Weinberg introduced the legislation in response to pleas from home-health agencies, which expressed concern in September when Horizon NJ Health — the largest of the four managed-care companies that administer the state’s Medicaid system — said it would decrease the hourly reimbursement rate for home care from $15.50, to $13.95, a 10 percent drop (Diskin, 11/24).California Healthline: Letter From Congress Focuses On Healthy Families TransitionCalifornia’s effort to move approximately 860,000 children from the Healthy Families program has drawn national attention. Twenty-two members of the House of Representatives, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), last week sent a letter to state health officials, urging caution in the Healthy Families transition to Medi-Cal managed care. The transition is slated to begin Jan. 1 when almost half the Health Families kids — about 415,000 — make the switch. The state still needs CMS approval for the plan (Gorn, 11/26). Medicaid Budget Issues Mean Tough Choices Across Nation This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

First Edition September 13 2013

first_imgFirst Edition: September 13, 2013 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Today’s headlines include stories highlighting how the health law factors into Capitol Hill’s current political dynamics.Kaiser Health News: Each Marketplace Plan Must Offer 10 ‘Essential Benefits’ (Video) Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews helps you navigate the new insurance marketplaces that are scheduled to launch on Oct. 1, answering a question about the basic benefits package health plans must offer on the new health exchanges. Watch the video or watch other earlier videos that were part of this series. Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Insurance Exchange Outreach In Connecticut Goes Far Afield; Campaign To Enroll LBGT Community In Health Coverage Launched At White HouseNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, WNPR’s Jeff Cohen, working in partnership with KHN and NPR, reports on Connecticut’s health exchange outreach: “Across Connecticut, you can see billboards and television ads, hear radio spots and get pamphlets, all about how to get insurance under the new federal health law starting Oct. 1. But the state also is spending big bucks on less traditional ways to get the word out” (Cohen, 9/12).Also on Capsules, Ankita Rao reports on the launch of a new effort to enroll the LGBT community in health coverage: “The Obama administration and community advocates touted the effort to reach out to those communities about new online health insurance marketplaces, where people can compare insurance plans and find out if they’re eligible for government subsidies.  The marketplaces open for enrollment Oct. 1, and will sell policies that take effect beginning Jan. 1” (Rao, 9/13). Check out what else is on the blog. The Wall Street Journal: Poll Finds Republicans Gain Favor On Key IssuesOn topics such as health care, Democrats have seen their long-standing advantage whittled to lows not seen in years. … The poll found Americans giving the party increasingly less credit as stewards in areas long seen as Democratic franchises. The party holds a 17-percentage-point advantage in looking after the middle class, the lowest in decades of Journal polling on the issue. The Democrats’ eight-percentage-point advantage on dealing with health care also was a new low, and half the edge the party held on that issue in February (King, 9/13).Politico: White House Determined Not To Give Ground On ObamacareDon’t blink first. That’s the strategy President Barack Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats are pursuing as the nation faces a government shutdown, a historic default on its debt and the final phase of Obamacare (Allen, 9/12).The New York Times: Boehner Seeking Democrats’ Help On Fiscal TalksBut a bloc of 43 House Republicans undercut the speaker’s deficit-reduction focus, introducing yearlong funding legislation that would increase Pentagon and veterans spending and delay President Obama’s health care law for a year — most likely adding to the budget deficit. That bloc is large enough to thwart any compromise that does not attract Democratic support (Weisman, 9/12).The Wall Street Journal: Boehner Wants Joint Talks On Debt, BudgetMr. Boehner said he made the same case in a private meeting with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday. But Mr. Lew said the White House wouldn’t agree to such talks, following the 2011 political showdown that nearly led the government to begin missing payments. Mr. Boehner didn’t specify the spending cuts, “changes and reforms” he would seek in exchange for raising the debt cap, but a clamor is growing among House conservatives to demand that no funding measure be approved unless it strips money from the federal health-care law. Conservative opposition to the health law is making it difficult for the House to pass a short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, that would keep the government operating after the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1 (Hook and Boles, 9/12).The Associated Press/Washington Post: GOP Leaders Confounded On Stopgap Spending Bill Over Conservative Assault On ‘Obamacare’GOP leaders eager to avoid blame for a possible government shutdown next month appear confounded by conservatives’ passion for using fast-approaching deadlines to derail the implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, conceded Thursday his plan was all but dead for quickly passing a temporary spending bill that also defunds Obamacare, make the Senate vote on each idea separately and then send only the portion for keeping the government open to the White House for the president’s signature (9/12).The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog: Obamacare Created 22 New Health Insurance Plans. Can They Succeed? The  Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or Co-Ops, are a small part of the health care law that could have big implications for its success. Nonprofits in 24 states have received over $2 billion in federal loans to essentially start new health insurance products from scratch. And the health care observers I talk to think that these plans have the potential to upend the health insurance market — or end up as the next Solyndra. Right now, it’s too early to tell which direction they’ll go (Kliff, 9/12).The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Passes Bill To Delay Health Care Subsidies, Imposing New System To Verify EligibilityThe House passed a bill Thursday to ban new subsidies to help people buy health insurance until the Obama administration enacts a new verification system to ensure benefits go only to those who are eligible. Democrats say the bill, which has no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate, would unnecessarily delay subsidies slated to start next year. The White House has threatened a veto (9/12).Politico: House Passes Obamacare Verification Bill The House notched its 41st Obamacare vote on Thursday, this one aimed at the insurance subsidies to be handed out on the exchanges opening in less than three weeks. The bill, which passed 235-191, would mandate a verification program to make sure Americans don’t collect more insurance subsidies than they’re qualified for. HHS is already putting such a program in place, but Republicans insisted their measure is necessary in light of extra leeway the Obama administration granted states over the summer (Cunningham, 9/12).Politico: Obamacare, Keystone Collide In Senate Energy FightThe Senate’s first big energy debate since 2007 quickly devolved into an accidental collision between Obamacare and the Keystone XL pipeline. On one side is Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who has halted action on a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill while demanding a vote on an unrelated Obamacare measure. On the other is Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who wants to use the energy bill as a vehicle for a pro-Keystone amendment that he’s crafted to make as much bipartisan noise as possible (Goode and Restuccia, 9/12).Politico: Sources: Tom Corbett Preparing To Embrace Pennsylvania Medicaid ExpansionRepublican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is planning a Monday press conference to throw his support behind a version of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, industry and legislative sources tell POLITICO. Corbett’s eyeing versions of expansion that rely on private-sector health plans rather than adding to the public Medicaid rolls, similar to approaches being considered in Iowa and Arkansas, according to the sources. The approach would bring in billions of Obamacare dollars marked for states that back expansion and use them to buy private insurance for the state’s poorest residents (Cheney and Millman, 9/12).Politico: Arizona Activists Fail To Get Medicaid Expansion On Ballot – But Turn To CourtsThe tea party just got iced in Arizona. Conservative activists narrowly failed to gather enough signatures for a 2014 ballot initiative to derail Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in the Grand Canyon State by the Wednesday night deadline (Cheney, 9/12).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Unfinished Business: Unions Press For Obamacare ChangesThe AFL-CIO wound up passing a watered-down version of a resolution affirming what individual labor groups have been complaining about for nearly a year:  Higher costs related to the Affordable Care Act could force millions of their members to lose coverage under union-sponsored health-care plans. The resolution underscored the extent to which organized labor is trying to reach a peaceful resolution with the Obama administration, which wants to smooth out the wrinkles without a messy fight (Trottman, 9/12).Politico: AFL-CIO Demands Changes To ObamacareAFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the resolution raises the issue of whether “low- and moderate-income union members and their collectively bargained health care plans will be able to benefit from the same premium support that big insurance companies will receive and if they will have to pay fees to subsidize big insurance companies,” a statement on the AFL-CIO site reads. “There also are concerns that smaller employers will be able to get away with taking health care away from workers while paying no penalty” (Norman, 9/12).Politico: 5 Questions About The Unions’ Beef With ObamacareKey parts of organized labor have a case of buyer’s remorse over Obamacare and they’re letting everyone know about it. The AFL-CIO at its convention this week passed a resolution calling President Barack Obama’s health law “highly disruptive” to some union insurance plans, “substantially changing the coverage available for millions of covered employees and their families.” The labor federation did back the sweeping goals of Obamacare — covering people and restraining costs —but that wasn’t the part of the message that resonated politically (Norman, 6/12).The Wall Street Journal: Budget Deficit On Track For Smallest Shortfall Since 2008August was the eleventh month of the 2013 fiscal year, and the September data will likely show that 2013 was the first year since 2008 that the government had an annual deficit of less than $1 trillion. The Treasury Department said the August spending level was elevated because Social Security, Medicare, and other benefit payments scheduled to go out Sept. 1 were pushed to Aug. 30 because payments can’t go out on the weekend (Paletta, 9/12).Politico: Eli Lilly Sues Canada On Drug PatentsU.S. pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has filed a $500 million international lawsuit against the Canadian government, saying it unfairly shortened the life of patents for its best-selling drugs. The case, filed Thursday under the rules of the North American Free Trade Agreement, threatens to shed a negative light on a dispute resolution mechanism also being proposed by the U.S. as part of the Pacific trade deal (Behsudi, 9/12).  Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.last_img read more

State Highlights Enrollment In NH Medical Marijuana Program Nears 5000 Ga Lawmakers

first_img New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program has more than doubled in size since 2016, according to the latest available data from the Department of Health and Human Services. About 4,700 patients were enrolled as of Dec. 20, up from just over 2,000 patients the same time last year. (McDermott, 1/8) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. State Highlights: Enrollment In N.H. Medical Marijuana Program Nears 5,000; Ga. Lawmakers Focus On Data, Solutions To Improve Care Media outlets report on news from New Hampshire, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Kansas, Colorado and California. Denver Post: There Were Numerous Mental Health Warnings Leading Up To The Douglas County Deputy Shootings. Why Wasn’t The Gunman Hospitalized?  KCUR: University Of Kansas To Receive $25 Million Grant For Clinical Research  Adfinitas Health has acquired a majority stake in Advanced Inpatient Medicine, continuing the expansion of the Hanover-based hospitalist group. The acquisition adds four regional hospitals in Northeast Pennsylvania to Adfinitas portfolio, which already provides health care professionals to 14 hospitals and more than 40 post-acute facilities in Maryland, Virginia and Michigan. (Cohn, 1/8) Acting on the first day of the 2018 Georgia General Assembly session, a task force of state lawmakers approved recommendations Monday to create two centers that its leaders say will develop data and solutions to improve health care in Georgia. Led by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the Georgia Health Care Reform Task Force proposed a Health Coordination and Innovation Council and a Health System Innovation Center to boost collaboration and help create a more efficient delivery of care. (Miller, 1/8) For the man who killed a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy and wounded six other people, the warning signs were abundant. At various points over the past three years, Matthew Riehl’s parents, friends who served with him in the Wyoming National Guard, professors at his former law school and law enforcement officers in two states all expressed concern about his mental health, according to official documents and interviews. His mother told police last year that he had stopped taking medication for bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders. A sheriff’s deputy and a mental health professional went to his apartment last month and had the door slammed in their faces.But, despite those concerns, Riehl was not placed on an emergency mental health hold in recent years and was not apparently receiving treatment of any kind when deputies arrived at his doorstep on New Year’s Eve morning. (Ingold and Phillips, 1/8) Today, the University of Kansas announced a $25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund the KU Medical Center’s program, Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute (KU CTSI). Frontiers began five years ago. It’s a clinical science institute dedicated to connecting scientists at the KU Med Center to resources and innovative research tools. It’s one of just 57 institutes of its kind in the country. The university has become known for this program, along with its cancer center, and Alzheimer’s disease center. (Tudhope, 1/8) center_img The Star Tribune: Eden Prairie-Based Metavention Gets $65 Million To Test Diabetes Treatment  Georgia Health News: Task Force Proposing Two New Centers To Boost Georgia Health Care The Baltimore Sun: Maryland-Based Adfinitas Health Buys Stake In PA Hospitalist Group  New Hampshire Public Radio: 4,700 Now Enrolled Under N.H.’s Medical Marijuana Law KQED: L.A. County Mobilizes To Bring Homeless In From The Cold L.A. County has opened more than a dozen temporary winter shelters, with about 1,500 beds. Hinderliter says the shelters give LAHSA outreach workers a chance to offer services to people who can otherwise be hard to reach and track at a time when there isn’t enough supportive housing to shelter the county’s surging homeless population. (Cuevas, 1/8) Eden Prairie-based Metavention, which is designing a machine to treat type 2 diabetes by burning away nerves thought to drive glucose dysfunction, has raised $65 million in venture capital. Metavention announced Monday that Menlo Park, Calif.-based New Enterprise Associates led the series C funding round that includes several new investors. (Carlson, 1/8) last_img read more

News 2018 Nissan Kicks

Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicles Nissan’s New Kid On The BlockHave you seen the 2018 Nissan Kicks on the road yet? If not, you will soon. This all-new five-door (hatchback), small crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is predicted to become a very common sight, especially in cities where projected sales will be the strongest.Likely showing up on a street near-you soonThe brand-new Kicks more-or-less replaces the Juke as the subcompact crossover in the Nissan line-up. The Kicks joins the Rogue Sport, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and Armada, allowing Nissan the opportunity to say they have a size and model for everyone. Whether it’s a first car for young adults or families wanting up-to eight passenger capacity, Nissan feels they have what you will need.A shared project between Nissan’s design teams in Japan, Brazil and the U.S., the Kicks has a flair to it that reflects Rio de Janeiro as well as the practicality of the United States. The Kicks design will be familiar as it carries Nissan’s V-motion grille, “boomerang” head and tail lights, and floating roof that ties the windshield into the front windows. Nissan says the Kicks has “an expressive sense of style” and it “combines emotion and practicality.” In the very crowded compact crossover segment, it is a challenge to design a vehicle that will stand out. Nissan has included design cues of a blacked-out C-pillar, and wheel arches that accentuate the Kicks’ stance and presence.The Power DetailsThe 2018 Kicks is powered by a 1.6-liter, non-turbo four-cylinder engine. Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) drives the front wheels. AWD is not offered. This combination puts out 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque, and delivers an estimated fuel economy of 31 city/36 highway/33 combined. These numbers make the Kicks best-in-class.The interior seats up to five, but four would be more comfortable. However, if Nissan hits its targeted buyer—young adults and singles—then plan on the 60/40 split, fold-down rear seat to be lowered most of the time. Packing for weekend outings and long road trips will be a breeze, as the Kicks will handle pretty much what needs to be stowed for two people.It’s a kick inside, tooThe infotainment system offers all the sound and music sources you want, with an optional Bose system that could become the best stereo you own. Advanced driver assistance technologies, expected on all new cars, are either standard or available as part of trim line packages.There are three 2018 Kicks models, with these base prices:S at $17,900,SV at $19,690, andSR for $20,290.Options and the $995 destination and handling fee are extra.Clean Fleet Report will have full reviews soon of the 2018 Nissan Kicks. Until then, you can visit your local Nissan dealer and check it out for yourself. [See image gallery at www.cleanfleetreport.com] Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Slick Subcompact CrossoversRoad Test: 2017 Mazda CX-3Road Test: 2018 Toyota CH-RRoad Trip: 2018 Ford EcoSportRoad Test: 2015 Chevrolet TraxRoad Test: 2016 Fiat 500XRoad Test: 2017 Jeep RenegadeRoad Test: 2016 Honda HR-VRoad Test: 2018 Hyundai KonaRoad Test: 2015 Buick EncoreRoad Test: 2018 Kia Niro PHEVRoad Test: 2018 Mini Countryman PHEVRoad Test: 2018 Subaru CrosstrekRoad Test: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport& a look back at the Kicks’ kickass predecessor, the Juke NismoThe post News: 2018 Nissan Kicks appeared first on Clean Fleet Report. read more

On National Drink Beer Day AB InBev Agrees To Pay 6 Million

first_imgYesterday was National Drink Beer Day.Fitting then that yesterday the SEC announced this administrative cease and desist order against Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Belgium brewer with American Depository Receipts traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The conduct at issue involved improper payments by an Indian joint venture “to Indian government officials to obtain beer orders and to increase brewery hours.” AB InBev held a minority interest in the joint venture which marketed and distributed the beer of AB InBev’s wholly-owned Indian subsidiary.The SEC found that AB InBev violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, AB InBev agreed to pay approximately $6 million to resolve the matter. As highlighted below, the SEC also found that AB InBev entered into a separation agreement with a former employee that violated an SEC Rule implementing Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower provisions.In summary fashion, the SEC’s order states:“This matter concerns AB InBev’s violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA, which occurred at its Indian wholly owned subsidiary, Crown Beers India Private Limited (“Crown”). From 2009 to 2012, AB InBev held a 49% interest in an Indian joint venture, InBev India International Private Limited (“IIIPL”), which managed the marketing and distribution of Crown beer. During this period, IIIPL used third-party sales promoters to make improper payments to Indian government officials to obtain beer orders and to increase brewery hours for Crown in 2011. IIIPL invoiced Crown for reimbursement for certain of these expenses, and Crown paid or accrued them. In doing so, Crown recorded certain of these expenses in its books as legitimate promotional costs. During this period, Crown had inadequate internal accounting controls to detect and prevent these improper payments and to ensure that transactions involving these promoters were recorded properly in its books. As a result, Crown’s books, which were consolidated into AB InBev’s books and records, did not accurately and fairly reflect the nature of the promoters’ transactions.”Crown is described in the order as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AB InBev headquartered in India whose financial results are consolidated into AB InBev’s financial statements filed with the SEC.IIIPL is described as follows.“[A] defunct company formerly based in Gurgaon, India, was a joint venture between AB InBev and RJ Corp, an Indian corporation. InBev (AB InBev’s predecessor) and RJ Corp formed IIIPL in 2007 to brew and sell beer in India and Nepal. Prior to its dissolution in early 2015, RJ Corp and AB InBev owned 51% and 49% of IIIPL, respectively. AB InBev and RJ Corp each had the right to appoint four IIIPL directors, with RJ Corp having the right to appoint the Chairman, who cast the tie-breaking vote on all but certain specified matters. RJ Corp appointed the IIIPL CEO, who had the power to appoint the other members of the IIIPL management team, except for the CFO, whom AB InBev appointed. Throughout the relevant period, the top financial officer at Crown acted as the top financial officer at IIIPL. From mid- 2011 through early 2014, Crown’s in-house counsel also acted as IIIPL’s in-house counsel.”In terms of background, the order states:“Pre-merger, Crown controlled the marketing, distribution, and sale of the beer it brewed. The Anheuser-Busch/InBev merger, however, triggered a provision in the IIIPL joint venture shareholders’ agreement that required IIIPL to manage the marketing, distribution, and sale of beer brewed by Crown. Thereafter, IIIPL controlled the third-party sales promoters that were used to facilitate the sale and marketing of Crown’s beers in both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Among other tasks, these promoters administered retail promotional programs and liaised with Indian state government authorities.The sale of beer in India is predominantly regulated by individual states. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited (“APBCL”), an instrumentality of the government of Andhra Pradesh, purchases beer directly from brewers and sells beer directly to private retailers. In the state of Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (“TASMAC”), an instrumentality of the government of Tamil Nadu, controls both wholesale and retail beer sales, purchasing beer from brewers and selling to consumers through TASMAC retail outlets.”Under the heading “Third-Party Promoters of AB InBev’s and IIIPL’s Beers Provided Improper Benefits and Payments to Indian Government Officials,” the order states:“In early 2009, IIIPL’s CEO and his appointed executives formulated a plan to increase IIIPL’s market share in Andhra Pradesh by providing improper benefits and payments to government officials through third-party sales promoters.Promoter Company A In 2009, IIIPL hired a promoter for the state of Andhra Pradesh, Promoter Company A. Promoter Company A had no experience in the alcohol industry. Promoter Company A received excessive commissions and reimbursements for questionable promotional charges. For example, Promoter Company A sought reimbursement from IIIPL of certain “display” charges that had no substantiation and were billed on a “per case” basis rather than based on the actual amount spent on the display. Promoter Company A used these excessive commissions and reimbursements to make improper payments to government officials at APBCL.There was no executed contract in place to govern the relationship between Promoter Company A and IIIPL. Neither IIIPL nor Crown conducted any due diligence on Promoter Company A. Instead, the contractual terms of IIIPL’s agreement with Promoter Company A were documented only in two short internal emails between IIIPL employees. Promoter Company A was replaced by a successor entity in April 2012, but neither IIIPL nor Crown conducted any due diligence on the successor entity at that time. Even though Crown’s inhouse counsel forwarded AB InBev’s FCPA due diligence forms to IIIPL staff and offered to help complete them, the due diligence forms were never completed. Neither company executed a written contract with the successor entity until September 2012.In December 2009, AB InBev received an internal complaint regarding compliance and internal control issues at IIIPL, including potential FCPA issues related to Promoter Company A. In response, AB InBev expedited an already-planned internal audit of IIIPL, which AB InBev staff conducted in early 2010. This audit did not scrutinize Promoter Company A’s activities or expenses. Still, the 2010 audit identified various deficiencies at IIIPL, including (a) a lack of documented business policies and procedures for significant functions such as procurement, vendor selection, and expense reimbursement; (b) a lack of awareness about FCPA compliance; and (c) inadequate information technology controls regarding financial processes and expense payments. AB InBev did not rectify many of the issues identified in the audit until 2011 or early 2012.From April 2009 until March 2012, IIIPL generally incurred the initial costs of marketing and selling Crown’s beer and then sent invoices to Crown for reimbursement. Crown, in turn, recorded certain of these costs as expenses on its books and records. Crown thus either incurred or accrued certain of Promoter Company A’s expenses and recorded them as legitimate commissions or promotional costs, even though some of those amounts included improper payments to government officials.Despite the internal complaint and the 2010 audit results, Crown personnel did not verify that a contract was in place with Promoter Company A and did not ensure that IIIPL personnel had performed due diligence on Promoter Company A. As a result, Crown recorded certain Promoter Company A expenses on its books in a manner that failed to accurately and fairly reflect their true nature and purpose.Promoter Company B In or about 2011, IIIPL began working with an individual (the “Principal”) who had connections in Andhra Pradesh, including to the son-in-law of the Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister. The Principal used his local connections to secure extra brewing hours for Crown after the Andhra Pradesh Excise Commissioner limited Crown’s production time to 8 hours per day. On April 1, 2011, before the Principal was hired in any capacity by IIIPL or Crown, and before the Principal had entered into any contract, the Principal emailed IIIPL a signed order from the Andhra Pradesh Excise Commissioner that gave Crown an additional 7.5 brewing hours per day. The Principal helped IIIPL obtain further authorizations from the Andhra Pradesh Excise Commissioner to operate for an additional 7.5 hours per day in May 2011, and an additional 7 hours per day in June 2011. Neither IIIPL nor Crown held any contractual relationship with, or had performed any due diligence on, the Principal when he helped secure the additional brewing hours.Around the same time, IIIPL engaged the Principal to assist in generating beer orders from TASMAC in Tamil Nadu. In April 2011, the Principal secured orders of more than 534,000 cases of beer in Tamil Nadu, resulting in gross profits of approximately $637,000 to Crown. This was the first and only time that IIIPL ever sold Crown beer in Tamil Nadu.IIIPL utilized the Principal’s company, Promoter Company B, to promote beer in Tamil Nadu despite the fact that Promoter Company B had no experience, staff, or infrastructure in Tamil Nadu.IIIPL personnel did not conduct due diligence on the Principal or Promoter Company B before they began performing work for IIIPL. To conceal this fact, IIIPL employees subsequently completed and backdated Promoter Company B’s due diligence forms to make it appear as though they were completed in April 2011, when IIIPL initially engaged Promoter Company B. In addition, IIIPL employees allowed the Principal to complete the due diligence forms in the first instance, and then altered his responses to make them more suitable.Neither Crown nor IIIPL had a written agreement in place with the Principal or Promoter Company B. Rather, the basic terms of the engagement were first set out in an internal email between IIIPL employees in June 2011, several months after IIIPL had begun to sell beer in Tamil Nadu and after Promoter Company B had already invoiced IIIPL for its services. The terms included an inflated commission rate, which Promoter Company B used to make improper payments to TASMAC officials. IIIPL employees subsequently drafted and backdated a contract with Promoter Company B to create the appearance that the contract had been executed on the date that IIIPL initially engaged Promoter Company B. In reality, IIIPL did not execute a formal contract with Promoter Company B until approximately January 2012.Although they were on notice of internal controls issues at IIIPL and had received a complaint about the Principal and Promoter Company B, Crown personnel did not verify the existence of a written contract with Promoter Company B and did not confirm that IIIPL personnel performed due diligence on Promoter Company B.”Based on the above findings, the SEC found that AB InBev violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.A separate set of findings in the Order related to AB InBev’s separation agreement with a former Crown employee. According to the Order:“[I]n December 2012, AB InBev entered into a separation agreement with a former Crown employee containing language that impeded the employee from communicating directly with the Commission staff about possible securities law violations. AB InBev had also used the same or similar language in other separation agreements in the past.”According to the order:“After signing the Separation Agreement, the Crown Employee, who was previously voluntarily communicating directly with the Commission staff, stopped doing so. The Crown Employee stopped doing so because he believed that he was prohibited by the recently executed Separation Agreement and any violation of the Separation Agreement would risk triggering the Separation Agreement’s liquidated damages provision. Only after the Commission issued an administrative subpoena for testimony and documents did the Crown Employee resume communicating directly with the Commission staff.AB InBev has used the same or similar language in other agreements in the past.”Based on these findings, the SEC found that AB InBev violated Dodd-Frank, specifically Rule 21F-17 which provides that “No person may take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement . . . with respect to such communications.”For other recent SEC enforcement actions concerning employee severance agreements, see prior posts here, here and here.Under the heading “Document Destruction at IIIPL,” the order states:“In or about May 2013, Commission staff learned of IIIPL’s plans to destroy or hide documents. The Commission staff informed AB InBev immediately thereafter, but the company took no immediate corrective action. In September 2013, AB InBev notified the Commission staff of a meeting in which several IIIPL managers instructed top IIIPL employees to remove potentially inculpatory data from their offices and computers. Crown and IIIPL’s in-house counsel attended the meeting, but never alerted AB InBev management to the document removal instructions. Other IIIPL employees reported that they had helped or observed IIIPL managers take several binders out of the building to destroy or move to a “secret location.”Under the heading “AB InBev’s Investigation and Remedial Efforts, the order states:“AB InBev did not report the 2009 and 2011 complaints to the Commission staff before the Commission first contacted AB InBev in October 2011. During the investigation, AB InBev did not respond to subpoenas in a timely manner, and made broad assertions of privilege that required significant resources from the Commission staff to address and delayed the production of responsive, non-privileged documents. The timeliness of AB InBev’s responses to the Commission’s requests for documents and information improved over time.After the 2010 internal audit, AB InBev did improve some internal controls at Crown and IIIPL, including by adopting AB InBev’s own policies, due diligence questionnaires, and checklists; more sound controls over expenses and cash; and tighter controls over IIIPL’s accounting software, and the eventual replacement in 2012 of a flawed accounting system with a more sophisticated system. However, IIIPL employees were still able to circumvent many of these controls between 2010 and 2012. AB InBev also conducted FCPA training at both IIIPL and Crown, albeit over a year and a half after it received the first complaint regarding potential FCPA violations.Additionally, AB InBev and RJ Corp terminated their joint venture and dissolved IIIPL in early 2015. AB InBev now operates in India solely through its wholly owned subsidiary, Crown, and has consolidated its Indian production, sales, and marketing functions at Crown. Following the dissolution of IIIPL in 2015, AB InBev conducted extensive FCPA training for Crown’s staff, and implemented improved compliance policies and controls at Crown, including policies and controls relating to third-party due diligence and contracts. AB InBev also has hired a dedicated India compliance manager who reports to a new India Legal Counsel and Head of Compliance.In September 2015, AB InBev amended its separation agreements that impose confidentiality restrictions on departing employees of its United States entities to make clear that they do not prohibit the employees from reporting possible violations of law to governmental agencies. Those separation agreements now include the following language: “I understand and acknowledge that notwithstanding any other provision in this Agreement, I am not prohibited or in any way restricted from reporting possible violations of law to a governmental agency or entity, and I am not required to inform the Company if I make such reports.”As noted in the SEC’s release:“Anheuser-Busch agreed to pay $2,712,955 in disgorgement plus interest of $292,381 and a penalty of $3,002,955.  For a two-year period, the company must cooperate with the SEC and report its FCPA compliance efforts while making reasonable efforts to notify certain former employees that Anheuser-Busch does not prohibit employees from contacting the SEC about possible law violations.”The SEC’s order does not state what portion of the overall settlement amount was for the FCPA violations vs. the Dodd-Frank violations. By way of background, the prior whistleblower severance agreement cases were resolved for $130,000; $265,000; and $340,000.In the release, Kara Brockmeyer (Chief of the SEC’s FCPA Unit) stated:“Anheuser-Busch recorded improper payments by its sales promoters in India as legitimate expenses in its financial accounting, and then exacerbated the problem by including language in a separation agreement that chilled an employee from communicating with the SEC.”Jane Norberg (Acting Chief of the SEC’s Whistleblower Office) added:“Threat of financial punishment for whistleblowing is unacceptable. We will continue to take a hard look at these types of provisions and fact patterns.”The SEC’s order requires AB InBev, for a two-year period, to report to the SEC on the “operation of AB InBev’s FCPA and anti-corruption compliance program. In addition, AB InBev agreed to “make reasonable efforts to contact former employees … and provide them a copy of this Order and a statement that AB InBev does not prohibit former employees from contacting the Commission regarding possible violations of federal law or regulation.*****Steven Fagell (Covington & Burling) represented AB InBev.last_img read more

This Week On FCPA Professor

first_imgFCPA Professor has been described as “the Wall Street Journal concerning all things FCPA-related,” and “the most authoritative source for those seeking to understand and apply the FCPA.”Set forth below are the topics discussed this week on FCPA Professor.As highlighted here, Stryker joined the FCPA repeat offender club as the SEC announced a $7.8 million enforcement action against the medical device company for not having internal accounting controls “sufficient to detect the risk of improper payments in sales of Stryker products in India, China, and Kuwait” and because “Stryker’s India subsidiary failed to maintain complete and accurate books and records.”As highlighted here, the DOJ and SEC announced an enforcement action against Brazil-based Petrobras based on its interactions with Brazilian politicians and political parties and related financial disclosure issues. The net FCPA settlement amount was approximately $170 million. The enforcement action is believed to be the first FCPA enforcement against a foreign government in that Petrobras is an alleged SOE and thus considered by the FCPA enforcement agencies an “instrumentality” of the Brazil government. This post highlights additional issues to consider from the enforcement action.As highlighted here, former SBM Offshore executives Anthony Mace (the former CEO of SBM Offshore) and Robert Zubiate (a former sales and marketing executive at a company subsidiary) were sentenced. Mace was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison and a fine of $150,000 and Zubiate was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison and a fine of $50,000. As highlighted in this prior post, the Mace enforcement action, in particular, should be required reading for all corporate executives.As summarized in this post (with commentary), Deputy Assistant AG Matthew Miner gave a speech that touched upon a number of FCPA issues including: the DOJ’s Corporate Enforcement Policy, voluntary disclosure, so-called declinations, coordinated resolutions, general compliance issues, and M&A transactions.As highlighted here, Stephanie Avakian (Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division) recently delivered a speech in which she pondered the meaning of success in enforcement.So much for that tone at the top thing as the SEC returned to bring an enforcement action against SQM’s former CEO Patricio Contesse Gonazlez (see here).This FCPA Flash podcast episode is a conversation with Judge Shira Scheindlin. Judge Scheindlin served as a federal trial court judge in the Southern District of New York for 20+ years until May 2016.  Most federal court judges go their entire career without an FCPA case being placed on their docket. However, Judge Scheindlin is an exception and during her time on the bench she refereed more disputed FCPA issues than any other federal court judge in FCPA history. During the podcast, Judge Scheindlin describes how she was generally on a judicial island when interpreting the FCPA and the difficulty of interpreting the “ambiguous” FCPA. The podcast is a must listen for anyone interested in FCPA jurisprudence.As highlighted in this guest post, Canada now has deferred prosecution agreements. How much do you know about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act? Let’s find out in this week’s FCPA challenge.Elevate your FCPA knowledge and practical skills at the FCPA Institute – Philadelphia on October 18-19. Click here to learn more and register.last_img read more

3 Steps to Prepare for Dying at Any Age

first_imgby, Kyrié Carpenter, Managing EditorTweet33Share112Share8Email153 Shares“The simple view is that medicine exists to fight death and disease, and that is, of course, its most basic task. Death is the enemy. But the enemy has superior forces. Eventually, it wins. And in a war that you cannot win, you don’t want a general who fights to the point of total annihilation.” — Atul Gawande, On Being MortalWe all know death will win in the end. Yet, talking about death, especially when to stop fighting it, rarely happens. In my work with people diagnosed with dementia, I have seen what happens when we avoid unpleasant conversations and end of life issues sneak up on us. Not making any decision becomes a decision of its own — the decision not to have control over your end of life experience. Then a guessing game ensues and the burden falls on loved ones.Thankfully, we do have some control over our end of life experience. We can put our wishes into writing so that one day, if we are unable to be heard, our wishes are known. No matter what age you are now, having clear wishes can drastically increase quality of life in your final chapter.First: Decide when you believe life ends.For many years the adage “blood goes round and round and breath goes in and out” was used to determine if a person was alive in the medical paradigm. Now machines can carry out these tasks and a new definition of death is emerging — brain death.Philosopher Peter Singer gives a thorough overview of this dilemma in his thought-provoking book “Rethinking Life and Death” One important distinction Singer makes is the difference between a body and consciousness. Paraphrasing Dr. Neil Campbell, he wrote:“What we really care about — and ought to care about — is the person rather than the body. We may respect a dead body, but our concern should be for a conscious being.”Second: Research the laws in your state and get the appropriate documentation to ensure your beliefs are respected.Decide who you want to make your final decisions — medical, financial etc., if you are unable. You may want to select someone who is not closely tied to you emotionally, but who you still trust. Having to make these decisions may prove difficult and burdensome for those closest to you. A lawyer can help and there are many organizations created for this purpose. For example, I used CompassionateChoices.org, which has links to each states’ end of life care paperwork.Third: Write “Care and Handling” instructions for yourself.Imagine you are in a state (physically or mentally) where you cannot communicate your wishes. How would you like to be treated? Think about things in your daily ritual, and what brings joy and comfort to your life.For example:Do you always like to have a drink before dinner?How do you take your coffee?How do you like to sleep? On your back, side etc.?Are there certain songs which elicit strong emotions for you?Are there scents that bring back certain memories?Do you prefer a shower or a bath?How often do you wash your hair?Many times when I was called in for psychological consultation because a resident was upset we found the culprit to be not “agitation or aggression,” which are often labeled as “behavioural” symptoms of dementia but rather some little thing in their routine which was easily adaptable. Again, write these things down and make sure they are kept with your other wishes.We each have rights over our own life and it’s quality. We each have the responsibility of examining end of life issues and coming to an opinion we can stand behind.Need more inspiration? Check out this Planet Money post on the surprising economics of how end of life planning could be the solution to our health care cost crisis.Related PostsDo Your Family a Favor and Write an Advanced Directive ProntoLike most Americans, when your time comes, you probably want to go through the process of dying surrounded by those you love, in the comfort of your home free of pain.How to “Finish Strong”“We deserve a home stretch that’s in keeping with the lives we’ve led,” Lee asserts. “We can ensure that the final phase of our lives reflects and upholds the values we cherish and the beliefs we hold.” She further invites readers “to join the movement for autonomy over how we…Why Everyone is Talking About DeathA new conversation about death has been dominating headlines and casting light on the failure of health care and medicine to help people navigate the final stage of life.Tweet33Share112Share8Email153 SharesTags: Being Mortal mortality quality of lifelast_img read more

Good social skills make animals smarter

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Using tools doesn’t make humans, dolphins, and crows smart. Rather, it’s the stress and challenge of living with others—recognizing friend from foe, calculating who to deceive and who to befriend—that led these and other social creatures to evolve their cognitive skills. That’s the gist of the social intelligence hypothesis, an idea that’s been around since 1966. But does having to remember whose lice need picking actually improve other mental abilities, like figuring out how to open a locked box with a hunk of meat inside? A new study of four carnivores—two social and two solitary species—suggests that it does.“They’ve taken an important issue and tested it in a simple but novel way,” says Richard Byrne, an evolutionary psychologist at The University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study. “The results are clear: The cognitive benefit from being a social carnivore does transfer” to a mental ability that has nothing to do with being social, he says.Other researchers think the results aren’t as clear-cut. “It is important and a valuable stepping stone in our quest to understand how intelligence evolved, but like all studies, it is one piece of a larger puzzle,” says Sarah Benson-Amram, a zoologist at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, whose recent comparative study of 39 species of carnivores reached the opposite conclusion. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email Scientists devised the social intelligence hypothesis to explain the evolution of the human brain. They’ve found that most social species (from chimpanzees to social wasps) have relatively large brains and are cognitively sophisticated, adept at experiments designed to test their smarts. But some researchers argue that another factor—a challenging environment—may also stimulate cognitive evolution. If so, then more solitary species could also be large-brained and smart thanks to the ecological difficulties they face.“I thought that carnivores offered a good way to test these two hypotheses,” says Natalia Borrego, who was a behavioral ecologist at the University of Miami in Florida at the time the study was conducted and the study’s lead author. She notes that the species she and her University of Miami colleague, Michael Gaines, selected to study are related, but socially distinct. All are in the family Carnivora. The spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) have hierarchical societies similar to those of primates; lions (Panthera leo) live in egalitarian prides with as many as 21 members; whereas tigers (P. tigris) and leopards (P. pardus) lead more solitary lives, except when females have young or when males and females meet to mate. The four species also pursue widely distributed prey in similar patchy and challenging habitats, and they need flexible hunting strategies. Yet lions and hyenas typically cooperate with their own kind to bring home the bacon, whereas leopards and tigers hunt alone.To find out which, if any, of these carnivores were better at solving a problem they’d never previously encountered, Borrego devised a large, rectangular box of marine-grade polymer that could be opened only by pulling a rope away from the box at a 180° angle. The rope was attached to a spring latch. She baited the box with raw meat, and she drilled holes in the box’s sides so that the prize could be seen and smelled.Between May 2012 and May 2015, Borrego placed the box inside the outdoor enclosures of the four species at wildlife sanctuaries, parks, and zoos in Florida and South Africa. Each animal, other than the hyenas, encountered the box alone and for three 10-minute trials. Because of constraints at the hyena facilities, one to four animals were tested at a time. To ensure the carnivores were motivated, none were fed for 24 hours before the experiment. They could use either their mouths or paws to open the box. “I wasn’t sure if they would even approach it,” Borrego says, because many animals regard novel items as dangerous.She tested 48 individuals and found that the social animals—hyenas and lions—were the most successful. Eight out of nine hyenas, and 16 of the 21 lions correctly pulled the rope (as in the photo) and seized the meat; whereas only six of the 11 leopards and two of the seven tigers did so (see video, above). Lions were also the most exploratory species, circling, digging, biting, pawing, and pushing the box, the team will report next month in Animal Behaviour.“This isn’t a task that requires social cognition,” Borrego says. “Yet, the social species were better at it, and that suggests there’s something about being social that bolsters cognition overall.”Other researchers concur, but with caveats. “They did find a nice link between sociality and success” on this task, says Evan MacLean, a comparative psychologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. But he wonders what type of cognition the ability to open a puzzle box actually demonstrates. “It may be reflective of trial and error learning, insight, or just of curiosity or interest in novel objects.”  The puzzle box is also not particularly “ecologically relevant,” to the carnivores, notes primatologist Frans de Waal at Emory University in Atlanta, who would like to see the animals tested on some type of predator-prey task. Still, it is “a good first step and a fresh approach to the intelligence of carnivores, a group we have neglected for too long.”last_img read more

Key climate panel citing impending crisis urges crash effort to reduce emissions

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Dennis NormileOct. 8, 2018 , 7:15 AM Coal-fired thermal power plants in Singrauli, India Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The United Nations’s climate panel has moved the goal posts for limiting climate change, setting the world a staggering challenge. A report released yesterday in Incheon, South Korea, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says allowing the planet to warm by more than 1.5°C could have dire consequences, and that a speedy transformation of the world’s energy systems is needed to avoid breaching that limit, which is notably tighter than the target of 2°C cited in the Paris agreement of 2015. “Net [carbon dioxide] emissions at the global scale must reach zero by 2050,” said Valérie Masson-Delmotte, a climate scientist at France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission in Paris and a key participant in drafting the report.There is no time for delay, the report warns, a consensus drawn from thousands of scientific studies. The world has already warmed by about 1°C since preindustrial times, two-thirds of the way toward the new target. “We have to alter course immediately; no longer can we say the window for action will close soon—we’re here now,” Drew Shindell, an atmospheric scientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, wrote in an email to Science. Among other measures, the IPCC says, coal needs to be all but eliminated as a source of electricity, renewable power must be greatly expanded, and “negative-emissions” strategies that suck carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere need to be adopted on a large scale, particularly if emissions reductions are delayed.Under pressure from island nations at risk from sea-level rise, the United Nations agreed during the Paris negotiations to ask the IPCC to investigate the impact of 1.5°C of global warming. In what IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, a South Korean economist, called “a Herculean effort,” more than 90 authors and reviewers from 40 countries examined 6000 scientific publications. The resulting picture is urgent and alarming. Given accumulated emissions, the report says, “Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.” INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT Email Key climate panel, citing impending crisis, urges crash effort to reduce emissions With reporting by Paul Voosen. It warns that overshooting 1.5°C will be disastrous. For example, with 1.5°C of warming, sea levels are projected to rise 26 to 77 centimeters by 2100; going to 2°C adds another 10 centimeters, which would affect an additional 10 million people living in coastal regions. Plants, insects, animals, and marine life will all be pushed farther out of current geographic ranges with 2°C of warming. Coral reefs are projected to decline 70% to 90% at 1.5°C, but at 2°C, 99% of reefs would be ravaged. Storms, flooding, and drought would exact an even higher toll. “Every bit of extra warming makes a difference,” said Abdalah Mokssit, director of Morocco’s National Meteorological Department in Casablanca and IPCC secretary.The panel says keeping warming to 1.5°C is technically feasible, but the emissions cuts pledged so far by the nations that signed the Paris agreement fall far short of what’s needed. To hit and keep that 1.5°C target, net anthropogenic CO2 emissions must come down 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero around 2050. “We’re not on track, we’re currently heading for about 3° or 4° of warming by 2100,” Mark Howden, a climate change scientist at Australian National University in Canberra, said during an online briefing on Sunday. “The good news is that there’s actually movement in the right direction in many areas,” he added.One bright spot is renewable energy. “There [has been] exponential growth in the last 5 years in solar, wind, and batteries that is significantly changing electricity systems around the world,” Peter Newman, a sustainability scientist at Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, said during the Sunday briefing. But efforts to reduce emissions are lagging in freight, aviation, shipping, and in industry, he said.Because forests capture and sequester carbon, reforestation could help reduce net emissions. But forest loss is still outpacing reforestation globally. Other strategies to sequester carbon have yet to live up to their promise, Newman says. The report notes that one proposed approach, bioenergy with carbon capture, in which trees or other crops are grown on vast plantations, then burned in power plants that capture carbon emissions and store them underground, could encroach on agricultural land and undermine food security.Meanwhile, coal’s share of global electricity must be cut from 37% today to no more than 2% by 2050, the report says. Technologically, economically, and politically the challenge is immense, “indicative both of the scale of the challenge and the resistance [the effort will] face,” notes Shindell, who also contributed to the report.Jim Skea, a sustainable energy expert at Imperial College London, says achieving the needed emissions cuts will not be a matter of picking and choosing among options. “All options need to be exercised.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Anthraxcarrying flies follow monkeys through the forest

first_img Anthrax-carrying flies follow monkeys through the forest Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Nearly 12% of the flies carried sylvatic anthrax, which causes more than 38% of wildlife deaths in rainforest ecosystems. The researchers hypothesize that flies could be at least partially responsible for the persistent spread of the disease, which is transmitted by a different microbe from the type of anthrax that infects people. A few flies also carried the bacterium that causes yaws, a disfiguring skin disease that affects both humans and animals.Next, the team will explore whether flies follow groups of hunter-gatherer humans around, and whether these fly behaviors have caused primates to change their own behavior over time. Although mangabeys are known to use tools, researchers have not yet observed them wielding fly swatters.*Correction, 12 July, 3:55 p.m.: The original picture that ran with this item was of a chimpanzee, not a monkey. The image has been updated. Mark Bowler/Science Source Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Eva FrederickJul. 12, 2019 , 1:30 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Humans aren’t the only primates flies follow around. The insects tail monkeys, too, according to a new study, and they can carry deadly pathogens such as anthrax.Researchers followed a group of approximately 60 wild sooty mangabeys (their relative, the gray mangabey, is pictured), small furry monkeys with light-colored eyelids and long slender arms and legs, in the tropical rainforest of Taï National Park in Ivory Coast. They caught flies within the group of mangabeys and at distances up to 1 kilometer away. The researchers found about eight to 11 times more flies inside the group than in the rest of the forest. The same was true for three different groups of chimps.Next, the team gently dabbed nail polish on nearly 1600 flies to find out whether the same group of insects followed the mangabeys, or whether the primates attracted different flies as they moved through the trees. The marked flies kept turning up around the mangabeys, even 12 days later when the group had moved more than 1 kilometer away, the team reports in Molecular Ecology. Emaillast_img read more

Howard Stern Reminded Of Racist Past By Sunny…

first_img Howard Stern , Sunny Hostin , The View Radio shock jock legend Howard Stern appeared on “The View” Thursday. And while most of the ladies asked him softball questions, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin had some time.SEE ALSO: Maleah Davis’ Mother Confirms Her Husband Talked About Murder And Dumping A BodyWhile promoting his new book “Howard Comes Again,” a collection of his greatest interviews, Hostin said, “I was in college in the ‘80s, and I found your show so offensive.”“Thank you,” Stern joked.“You were a shock jock,” she continued. “You used the N-word a lot.”Stern cut her off and said, “Wait a second. I used the N-word? Hold on a second before you say that.”“Yeah you did,” Hostin replied calmly. “I remember it.”Clearly, frazzled, Stern said, “Hold on, no. We had a guy on from the Ku Klux Klan who very freely used the N-word, and my belief was hey, say it out in the open, I didn’t use the N-word. Let’s be very clear.” A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ 31 Black Women Who Died In Police Custody For some reason, he got claps from the audience.“It was something that was batted around on your show,” Houston said. “I’ll rephrase it.” However, she didn’t have to say it differently since Stern once used the N-word six times in two minutes. See the receipts below. SEE ALSO:All The Ways Cops Are Still Trying To Cover Up LaQuan McDonald’s ExecutionOutrageous! Figurines Of White Cherub Crushing Head Of Black Angel Removed From Dollar StoreMeet Jogger Joe, The Man Who Took Racist Cue From BBQ Becky In Tossing Homeless Man’s Clothes Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist More By NewsOne Staff Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Family USA, New York, Protesters of police killing march in New York demanding Justice For All Howard Stern Denied Using N-Word on The View, But This Shocking Video Shows Him Using it Six Times https://t.co/fetptTZ334 He was gaslighting you, @sunny pic.twitter.com/G1RHHmnin3— Tormund XtopHodor, First of His Name (@tommyxtopher) May 16, 2019He even said the N-word in a “Rolling Stone” interview in 1994.Hostin also called out Stern for disgusting comments about Gabourey Sidibe.“There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous,” Stern spat about the Oscar nominee back in 2010. “Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie. She should have gotten the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot. What movie is she gonna be in?”Of course, the entitled Meghan McCain had to interject.“I grew up listening to you, Cindy McCain is my mother, I love the show forever,” McCain babbled. “I was never offended!”Girl, your father John McCain was defending the Confederate flag as recently as 2000. You clearly aren’t offended by racism.Nonetheless, Hostin did say Stern has changed and that she enjoyed his book.Watch below:last_img read more

lf course liquor license approved

first_imglf course liquor license approved By Diana Hutchison The public hearing portion of the liquor license process for the Snowflake Community Golf Course was held on March 6 prior to the Snowflake Town Council meeting, giving residents the opportunity toSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad Graphic courtesy of the Town of SnowflakeThis graphic shows the proposed changes to accommodate beverage service at the Snowflake Community Golf Course pro shop. center_img March 13, 2018last_img read more

Centre says no to Tamil Nadu Puducherry for NEET exemption

first_img Govt has initiated several steps to make varsities cashless: HRD minister Related News Won’t allow people to give JNU a bad name: HRD minister The information was shared by Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in response to a written question in the Lok Sabha.“Medical education comes under the purview of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which has informed that requests have been received from the state governments of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu to exempt students from appearing in NEET.”“However, Section 10D of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 prescribes conducting of a uniform entrance examination, namely NEET for medical admissions. Since the provisions of the above Act apply across the country without exemption, no relaxation was given to the states,” Nishank said. By PTI |New Delhi | Updated: July 15, 2019 8:09:38 pm Several steps taken for skill development in Higher Education: HRD Minister Advertising Post Comment(s) National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate and postgraduate medical admissions. (Express Photo)The Centre has turned down requests from Puducherry and Tamil Nadu governments to exempt students from appearing in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate and postgraduate medical admissions, according to the HRD Ministry.last_img read more

Gilead Sciences plans to launch authorized generic versions of Epclusa and Harvoni

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 24 2018Gilead Sciences, Inc. announced today plans to launch authorized generic versions of Epclusa® (sofosbuvir 400mg/velpatasvir 100mg) and Harvoni® (ledipasvir 90mg/sofosbuvir 400mg), Gilead’s leading treatments for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), in the United States, through a newly created subsidiary, Asegua Therapeutics LLC. The authorized generics will launch at a list price of $24,000 for the most common course of therapy and will be available in January 2019.Since the launch of Gilead’s first HCV medication in 2013, the average price paid for each bottle of medicine in the United States has decreased by more than 60 percent off of the public list prices, across health insurers and government payers. Due to the complexity and structure of the U.S. healthcare system, however, these discounts provided by Gilead may not always translate into lower costs for patients. Further, existing contracts, together with laws associated with government pricing policies, make it challenging to quickly lower a product’s list price once it is on the market.Related StoriesScientists discover weakness in common cold virusSleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsNew solution makes fall recovery safer and easierThe authorized generics are priced to more closely reflect the discounts that health insurers and government payers receive today. Insurers will have the choice of offering either the authorized generics or the branded medications for both Epclusa and Harvoni. In the Medicare Part D setting, the authorized generics could save patients up to $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs per course of therapy. The authorized generics will also offer substantial savings to state managed Medicaid plans that do not currently benefit from negotiated rebates and that represent a significant number of people in need, potentially opening up access to our medications to beneficiaries who were previously denied coverage.”Launching these authorized generics is the best solution available to us today to quickly introduce a lower-priced alternative to our HCV medications without significant disruption to the healthcare system and our business,” said John F. Milligan, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gilead Sciences. “This launch also will hopefully help increase transparency by more closely aligning our medications’ list prices with their cost. Our ultimate goal is to lower the list price of Epclusa – a medication we believe is of great importance given its clinical profile across genotypes – and Harvoni. We are committed to working with all of our partners in the healthcare system to help enable list price reductions of our HCV medications and find better solutions to reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs.”Beyond the company’s efforts to reduce patient costs, Gilead is continuing to pursue innovative collaborations and long-term financing models, such as a potential subscription model, that could not only expand access, but aim to eliminate HCV in the United States and around the world.Source: http://www.gilead.com/news/press-releases/2018/9/gilead-subsidiary-to-launch-authorized-generics-of-epclusa-sofosbuvirvelpatasvir-and-harvoni-ledipasvirsofosbuvir-for-the-treatment-of-chronic-hepatitis-clast_img read more

New Stem Cell Treatment Offers Dramatic BurnHealing Potential

first_imgThe CellMist System hasn’t been approved yet for clinical use in the United States, although it has been used on thousands of patients on an experimental and innovative practice basis, Bold noted.The company is awaiting FDA approval of its CellMist System so that it can begin clinical trials.The FDA isn’t the only hurdle for RenovaCare to clear on its road to bringing its medtech to market, however.Avita Medical has challenged one of RenovaCare’s patents. Avita also makes a skin regeneration system that sprays a patient’s cells on a wound to heal it.Avita last month filed a challenge against RenovaCare with the U.S. Patent and Appeals Board, which will decide if the dispute between the firms should be taken to court.”We believe we have presented a very strong rationale to the PTAB,” said Avita CEO Adam Kelliher, “as to why this patent should never have been issued.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. Patent Challenged RenovaCare’s CellMist method gets a greater yield from its harvest than mesh grafting, a more common way to treat burns. At a maximum, grafting can treat six times the size of its harvest area. CellMist can cover 100 times its harvest area.”That’s why our skin sample can be so small,” Bold told TechNewsWorld. “Depending on the size of the wounded area, we’re talking about postage-stamp-sized.” High-Cell Viability A key to the effectiveness of RenovaCare’s treatment is its high rate of cell viabililty.When dispensing cells over a wound, it’s important that they make the transition without being damaged. Damaged cells reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.Ninety-seven percent of the stem cells in RenovaCare’s SkinGun remain viable after being sprayed on a wound, according to the company.High cell viability also contributes to faster healing. When a wound heals naturally, cells migrate to it to build up the skin. That process can take weeks.”What we do is isolate the cells from a healthy area, spray them on the wound, and accelerate the healing process,” Esteban-Vives told TechNewsWorld.”With the stem cells, we create thousands of regenerative islands all over the wound and close it with an epithelial layer,” Bold explained. “Once that layer is closed, the wound is dry and considered healed.”After that, the cosmetic healing will take place naturally.Time is important for wound healing.”Our patients’ wounds could heal over time,” Esteban-Vives said. “The problem is that during that healing time, complications can occur. Infections, contractions and scar formation could happen.” Using stem cells to treat some types of burns is a promising alternative to skin grafting, which involves removing large sheets of healthy skin from a patient and puncturing it in a grid-like pattern to form an expandable mesh that’s stitched to the wound.”The [skin-graft] procedure is extremely painful,” said Bold.What’s more, an additional wound is created in the place where the healthy skin for the graft was removed.”That often results in poor cosmetic outcomes, with scars and deformed skin,” Bold pointed out.Other drawbacks of skin grafting include restricted joint movement and the inability of the skin to grow with a patient.”For a kid,” Bold noted, “that means ongoing new surgery as the kid grows.”Mesh graft patients can require months of physical therapy. They also can face ongoing problems ranging from the psychological impact of permanent disfigurement to risk of addiction resulting from long-term pain management with pain killers. A med-tech startup has developed a fast and easy way to treat certain burn wounds with stem cells.RenovaCare harvests a variety of cells, including stem cells, from a healthy area of skin on a patient. Those cells are then suspended in a water-based solution, which is loaded into the company’s SkinGun and sprayed onto the wound.”The sprayer allows us to have a generous distribution of cells on the wound,” explained Roger Esteban-Vives, director of cell sciences at RenovaCare.The procedure takes about 90 minutes.”It’s gentle, and the skin that regrows feels and functions as the original skin that it replaces,” said RenovaCare CEO Thomas Bold. Alternative to Skin Graftslast_img read more

Researchers identify marker protein that offers both diagnostic and therapeutic function

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 24 2019Osaka University researchers base biomarker detection and targeted therapy on the same protein from pancreatic cancer patientsOf all gastrointestinal cancers, pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive. Because of this, it has a very low 5-year survival rate of just 5% and a median survival time below 6 months. Additionally, treatment is difficult, with only surgery shown to provide a cure. However, the vast majority of patients have tumors that cannot be removed surgically or their cancer is too advanced or spread too far to be treatable.Current chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is ineffective long-term. Therefore, to improve the prognosis and as a novel treatment, Osaka University researchers identified a marker protein that could be used in molecular targeted therapy and companion diagnostics. Such a tool can determine how suitable a treatment is for a specific patient, enabling tailored therapy to be administered.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerResearchers identify potential drug target for multiple cancer typesThe team studied CKAP4, a plasma membrane protein that functions as a receptor for the secreted protein DKK1 and promotes tumorigenesis. They found that CKAP4 was released from pancreatic cancer cells in exosomes, which are tiny membranous sacs produced by tumor cells to communicate with each other. An advantage of secreted membranous proteins is that they are fairly simple to detect because of their accessibility, so two related techniques were developed to do just this.”We generated anti-CKAP4 monoclonal antibodies that we used to develop ELISAs for the detection of CKAP4 released by tumors,” says first author Hirokazu Kimura. “These were successfully able to measure CKAP4 protein in the serum of pancreatic cancer patients, and expression levels were shown to match those determined in the tumors themselves.”These same monoclonal antibodies had the added advantages of blocking signaling in pancreatic tumor cells and preventing them from proliferating and migrating in the laboratory. The team then analyzed the effects of the antibodies on mouse tumors that had developed from the transplantation of human pancreatic cancer cells. Some of the antibodies inhibited tumor growth and stopped the spread of tumors to the lymph nodes, thus crucially prolonging the life of the mice.”Our work on developing monoclonal antibody preparations against pancreatic cancer offers the dual benefits of diagnosing and treating the disease,” explains corresponding author Akira Kikuchi. “As a next step, we hope to develop screening methods for patients carrying the CKAP4 antigen biomarker who will benefit from therapeutic interventions using anti-CKAP4 antibodies.” Source:https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/last_img read more

Two major forms of CD44 have distinct biological functions in breast cancer

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 29 2019One of the main obstacles to successfully treating breast cancer is the cells’ ability to change in ways that make them resistant to treatment. Understanding the cellular mechanisms that mediate this cancer cell plasticity may lead to improved treatments. Taking a step in that direction, a team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine has discovered that breast cancer cells can shift between two forms of the cell surface molecule CD44, CD44s and CD44v. Published in the journal Genes & Development, the study shows that breast cancer cells expressing mainly CD44s have increased metastatic behavior and resistance to therapy, while those expressing CD44v do not associate with these behaviors but do present increased cell proliferation.”One of the goals of my lab is to better understand the mechanisms that allow breast cancer cells to be remarkably heterogeneous, which is one of the reasons cancer is difficult to treat,” said corresponding author Dr. Chonghui Cheng, associate professor at the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, of molecular and human genetics and of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine. “In this study, we investigated cancer stem cells, a cell population that has the plasticity to generate cells with different properties, focusing on the cell surface molecule CD44.”CD44 is a well-known marker of cancer stem cells and one that is extensively studied in the Cheng lab. The CD44 gene can produce two different forms of the protein – CD44s and CD44v – via a process called alternative splicing. Cheng and her colleagues investigated whether there was a difference in the two forms of CD44 expressed in human breast cancer cells. They also wanted to know whether the different forms of CD44 contributed differently to the disease.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerTo answer their questions, Cheng and her colleagues took an unbiased approach. They conducted bioinformatics analyses of breast cancer patient data collected in the Cancer Genome Atlas database.”Our analyses show that CD44s and CD44v, the two major forms of CD44 generated by alternative splicing, have distinct biological functions in breast cancer,” said Cheng, who also is a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.”Our findings support that cancer cells can use different forms of CD44 to survive and that they also can switch from one form of CD44 to the other,” said Cheng. “Cancer cells expressing high levels of CD44s have properties of cancer stem cells, they tend to be metastatic or recurrent and to survive treatment. But when they switch to CD44v, they have fewer cancer stem cell properties but are engaged in proliferation. Alternative splicing is the mechanism that allows the CD44 proteins to switch.”The researchers envision that by manipulating the levels of the two forms of CD44, it might be possible to change the cancer cell properties in ways that may enhance the cancer’s susceptibility to treatment.”We anticipate that other genes that also undergo alternative splicing could as well contribute to the cells’ fate and to the plasticity that generates cancer heterogeneity,” Cheng said. Source:https://www.bcm.edu/last_img read more