Stress and body image: Oxford’s hidden cost

first_imgOxford students continue to be twice as likely as students at other universities to suffer from eating disorders at some point in their lives.A ground breaking investigation conducted by psychologists Sell and Robson in 1998 revealed that 36 per cent of female students at Oxford have suffered from eating disorders, and a follow-up survey 9 years later, conducted by this newspaper, confirmed that over 30 per cent of male and female students continue to have the same problems.61 per cent of students said they knew more than one sufferer of disordered eating, and considered anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating to be a real problem within the University. Almost 40 per cent of those students who suffered from disordered eating said that life at Oxford had definitely been a contributing factor to their illness, with an additional third stating that it had possibly aggravated their illness.One student commented, “As an arts student at Oxford you spend a lot of time by yourself working in the libraries. I remember I was having to get through so many books each week that I stayed in the library all hours. Being at Oxford allows you to do that, whereas other places are more class-based with seminars and things like that. Here, you can get away with not seeing people.”Dr Nicky Boughton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Warneford Hospital, expressed her concern at Oxford students’ susceptibility to eating disorders. “The people that are vulnerable to eating disorders tend to have perfectionist personalities. The whole system reinforces the view that if you don’t do exceptionally well, then you may as well not bother. Students can become very insecure when they realise that maybe they’re not the best, and it’s easy for them to retreat into their room and lose sight of what’s important,” she said.According to the survey’s results, over two-thirds of students feel that the University has adequate welfare provision to deal with students with eating disorders, while 15 per cent felt that services provided were very good. This stands positively against Sell and Robson’s research, which found that 63 per cent of students felt there was a stigma attached to seeking help from a professional.Despite this, students have expressed their concern that current welfare provisions at Oxford are inadequate.One student suffering from bulimia and anorexia described how she felt let down by her college’s response to her admission that she had an eating disorder. “I went to the College Nurse to admit that I had a problem and she was pretty unhelpful and said in a jovial tone that I shouldn’t worry, because there were people at Oxford who went down to 5 stone and still got through their degrees. That’s not helpful when you’re thinking of leaving. You feel like a cop-out. I took it to mean that I hadn’t lost enough weight. I mentioned that when I went into hospital and they were livid. That’s why it’s so important to educate College staff about this,” she said. An Oxford welfare officer who wished to remain anonymous said, “The fact that eating disorders have again been shown to be unusually high in Oxford says something very serious about the culture which students live in, and the failings of the University’s welfare provision. While student welfare officers do an excellent job, the University must start living up to its responsibilities to students.”last_img read more

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Rowe’s brings in Savers sandwiches

first_imgCornish baker W C Rowe is to launch a new line of products – Rowe’s Savers – into its retail outlets to appeal to price-conscious consumers.The new range will initially feature four varieties of ready-made sandwiches, but Rowe’s aims to expand the brand further in 2009. The sandwiches will be priced between £1.50 and £1.60 and will contain fillings such as ham and pickle, tuna and red onion, and egg salad, either in plain white or brown bread.”With the Savers range we have stripped all the extras away to produce simple, quality products,” said Paul Pearce, marketing manager at Rowe’s.last_img read more

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Best Beers For Fall Along The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail

first_imgThere is nothing quite like fall in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s the perfect time to be outside. The temperature is cooler, the sunlight is golden, the leaves have a satisfying crisp underfoot, and nature is putting on a brilliant display of color.And honestly, for beer lovers, one of the most exciting reasons to get outside is what’s waiting when you return. If you’re planning to spend a day (or a weekend) hiking, biking or road tripping amidst the stunning landscapes of the Shenandoah Valley and nearby Shenandoah National Park, plan to quench your thirst at a taproom nearby – with 14 breweries on tap, you’ll have plenty of locations to choose from. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail (SBT) is located in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in and around the beer-friendly cities of Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, and Waynesboro.Fall is the perfect time to experiment with darker porters, some more flavorful spicy and fruit-soaked brews, and even some fresh hop beers. While all the breweries offer fantastic flights of seasonal releases, here are a few fall beers to get you started:Brothers Craft Brewing’s Barrel-Aged “Resolute”Resolute greets you with a thick, chocolaty head followed by an unbelievably complex harmony of vanilla, oak, chocolate, espresso, and a rich malty base that each clamor for your attention.Redbeard Brewing Company’s “Whipple Creek Harvest Ale”This IPA is brewed exclusively with freshly gathered local Cascade hops.  The harvest ale beckons with an earthy, floral nose and offers a dry, crisp palate due to the simple malt bill used to showcase the fresh hops.Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s “Cran-Gose”Based on the traditional Gose brewing style, the brewery added heaps of pureed cranberry to brew its refreshing Cran-Gose.  Light and fruity, Cran-Gose is pink hued with a cranberry aroma and a naturally tart finish.Stable Craft Brewing’s “Hop Harvest Ale”A delightfully fresh, fall take on Stable Craft Brewing’s delicious pale ale. It’s made from the brewery’s own Cascade hops (which are grown and harvested at the farm brewery) and they are used in every process of the beer making, from the mash to the brite tank. Stable Craft’s Hop Harvest Ale possesses the wonderful aromas and flavorings of fresh grass and citrus.Basic City Beer Co.’s Grinville Vanilla StoutThis mouthwatering stout is sure to please. Treat your taste buds to a double dose of vanilla – from Madagascar and Indonesia – which impart a buttery sweet, cocoa fruit essence within the foundation of a silky dark stout.Ready to hit the trail?  Information about what to do, where to stay, and special events is available on the website. This Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail is brought to you by: Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro Tourism, Harrisonburg Tourism, and Lexington & The Rockbridge Area Tourism.Please drink responsibly.Hot tip! >> Make sure to subscribe to the Beerwerks email list, so you can be among the first to get the details on SBT’s new brewery passport, which will be unveiled later this year. Be sure to get your passport document stamped at each brewery you visit.  Once you’ve collected six stamps, you’ll earn a custom-designed, collectible Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail t-shirt!last_img read more

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SOUTHCOM Returns to El Salvador with Humanitarian Assistance

first_imgBy Lorena Baires/Diálogo July 12, 2018 The Salvadoran Armed Force (FAES, in Spanish) and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) launched the combined military exercise Beyond the Horizon 2018 in the municipality of Zacatecoluca, May 31, 2018. Service members focus on improving schools and providing health services to the population of many villages. “Beyond the Horizon is a SOUTHCOM- and FAES-conducted humanitarian exercise,” U.S. Army Colonel Elliot Harris, senior defense officer at the U.S Embassy in El Salvador, told Diálogo. “Its goal is to provide medical assistance to people with limited resources and conduct engineering projects to strengthen the local capacity for humanitarian response and recovery in case of natural disasters.” The exercise lasts three months, during which more than 2,000 service members assigned to SOUTHCOM deploy in rounds of 500 troops. “We’ll have the support of the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy to work with FAES engineers in different projects,” U.S. Army Colonel Israel Romero, commander of the exercise in El Salvador, told Diálogo. “We learn from each other from this experience and receive the fraternal embrace of those who benefit from it.” The work of SOUTHCOM and FAES involves expanding classrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens of four schools, as well as building a community center and a maternal health area—an investment of about $10 million. “The exercise responds to the current reality, the current needs of the Salvadoran people. In the past, we cooperated in the construction of potable water wells, and now we provide support to the educational system and specialized health services,” Col. Romero said. In addition, doctors will take part in a five-day campaign to offer consultations in pediatrics, gynecology, dentistry, geriatrics, and ophthalmology to thousands of people daily. The communities of San Luis Talpa, Olocuilta, and Zacatecoluca, among others, will benefit from the services. “FAES devotes a great part of its potential in logistics and leadership to assist in the country’s development, especially in those communities that need it the most,” said Salvadoran minister of Defense David Munguía Payés. “The exercise allows us to reinforce strong bonds of cooperation with SOUTHCOM, which has conducted similar exercises for many years in different parts of the country and helped improve the quality of life of children and adults.” The planning of the humanitarian exercise began in 2016 with bilateral meetings between SOUTHCOM and FAES, with the participation of operational personnel from the Salvadoran ministries of Health and Education, the beneficiaries of the facilities under construction. On April 14, 2018, the USNS Brittin (T-AKR-305) docked at Port Acajutla in Sonsonate department with equipment and construction materials for the humanitarian exercise. U.S. Army Private Sair Danilso Silverio, a naturalized American citizen from El Salvador, arrived with U.S. Army South to help with Beyond the Horizon 2018. “The exercise is an opportunity to help with the social development of my family’s hometown,” he told Diálogo. “I once dreamed of being part of the U.S. Army and was able to make it happen. I feel proud to be part of a humanitarian mission, back to my roots, and improve my people’s quality of life. I’m very thankful for this opportunity.” Francisco Salvador Hirezi, mayor of Zacatecoluca, was delighted to receive service members from SOUTHCOM and FAES. “This is a unique opportunity to increase our capabilities. When natural disasters happen, schools are fundamental to provide shelters. Now, Beyond the Horizon 2018 will strengthen schools. Not only will children who study there benefit, but the municipality will be better equipped to face emergencies,” he told Diálogo. Beyond the Horizon 2018 illustrates the cooperation between the United States and El Salvador through SOUTHCOM and FAES. The exercise, first carried out in El Salvador in 1993 under the name Strong Roads, helped build community roads. In later years, the exercise took on the name Beyond the Horizon to address humanitarian issues. The exchange of experiences seeks to help economically disadvantaged people in the target country and improve local infrastructure.last_img read more

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Brookhaven Man Fatally Struck by SUV

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An 81-year-old man was fatally struck by an SUV while walking down a street near his Brookhaven home on Tuesday afternoon.Suffolk County police said James Redman was walking on Old South Country Road when his 71-year-old neighbor, Lynn Leistman, backed into him with her Toyota Highlander at 12:45 p.m.Redman was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue where he died shortly later. Leistman was not injured.Fifth Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask that two other pedestrians walking on Old South Country Road at the time contact them at 631-854-8552.last_img read more

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Barrett Brown: American Journalist, Whistleblower & Prisoner

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]E[/dropcap]gyptian authorities barreled through the hotel room door of three Al Jazeera journalists in Cairo last December, arresting the trio for spreading what they deemed were lies.Detained and held without formal charges for more than a month, the United States government publicly condemned their arrest, urging the captors to release the journalists and allow them to report on the country’s upheaval without fear of reprisal.“These figures, regardless of affiliation, should be protected and permitted to do their jobs freely in Egypt,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a press briefing in February.Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed were later charged with spreading false news and assisting the Muslim Brotherhood, the political organization that rose to power following the ouster of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, who has largely been silenced following a military power grab and is now branded a terrorist organization—meaning a journalist’s interaction with members of the group could be considered a pseudo-terrorist act.Greste, an Australian reporter for Al Jazeera, Fahmy, the network’s Cairo bureau chief, and Mohammed, a producer for Al Jazeera English, remain behind bars.Sadly, they’re not alone.As of April 1, 161 journalists were imprisoned across the globe by dictatorships, repressive regimes, and even one bastion of democratic principles, according to Reporters Without Borders, an international nonprofit group that monitors press freedoms.China holds the dubious distinction of having the most journalists currently jailed with 30, followed by Eritrea (28), Iran (20), Syria (19), Turkey (11), Uzbekistan (9), and 24 other countries in the single digits, including the United States—yet many are unaware.Sitting in a Dallas jail awaiting his court hearing after reportedly reaching a plea deal April 3 that could potentially drop his potential sentence to a maximum of five years, down from more than a century, is Barrett Brown, a North Dallas-born journalist, prolific writer and satirist. His adversarial form of reporting and dogged pursuit of the truth, especially involving the shadowy private security and surveillance firms that act as proxies for the U.S. government, gained him notoriety among like-minded activists, journalists and concerned citizens increasingly anxious about the ever-growing surveillance state. Brown, to his liking or not, became the public face of the hacking collective Anonymous—though he has denied ever being its official spokesperson.Brown, a University of Texas dropout from a military family, has been incredibly outspoken about Anonymous’ attacks, given the veil of secrecy surrounding the hacking confederate. He has touted Anonymous’ intrusion of state websites, including Egypt, Tunisia and Iran, and the hacking collective’s defense of WikiLeaks after several financial institutions suspended business with the nonprofit document dumpsite following a series of high-profile leaks. At one point, Brown even called on hackers and non-hackers alike to join the movement to help break down walls built by tyrannical regimes and shady corporations.In a post titled “Yes, you should join Anonymous,” Brown sought to debunk several misconceptions about the Internet activists, including whether only hackers make up Anonymous (the answer, he said, was no), and if its operations were limited to only hacking.“Very few Anonymous participants are actually hackers themselves, and very little of our work actually involves hacking,” he explained. “Increasingly, Anonymous is in the business of fighting tyranny and advocating liberty by other means, almost all of which involve information.”Brown, in defense of Anonymous, admitted that the collective does, in fact, break the law. But he prefaced that by sarcastically asking: “Have you ever lied to the American people about the reasons for the war to which you plan on sending that same young fellow, and spent so much time publicly attacking those who question your competence that you just plain forgot to write up a viable plan by which to conduct the war itself, thereby causing the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of people?”His conclusion: “Three of those things will get you arrested, and the fourth will get you re-elected.”Less than a year later, the FBI came knocking at his—and his mother’s—door.While Greste, Fahmy, and Mohammed’s arrest have deservedly led to a global outcry for their freedoms, even sparking the Twitter hashtag, #FreeAJStaff, the plight of an American journalist, indicted by his own government, has barely been told, aside from some coverage in several alternative news organizations, Rolling Stone and The New York Times.Instead, several high-profile journalists, including famed former Times foreign correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, the beneficiary of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency (NSA) leaks documenting mass surveillance, and celebrated linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, among others, have publicly stated their support for Brown.PLEASE JOIN US IN THANKING OUR UNDERWRITERS FOR SUPPORTING QUALITY JOURNALISM. ACCESS TO OUR WEBSITE IS FREE DUE TO THE SUPPORT OF OUR UNDERWRITERS. CLICK HERE TO VIEW.A number of press organizations and civil rights groups concerned that Brown’s prosecution could chill free speech have also condemned the case—admonishing federal authorities in Dallas for charging the journalist for essentially sharing a link of already publicly available information, albeit hacked material (which the government hasn’t claimed he took part in obtaining) that contained more than 5,000 stolen credit card account numbers and other identifying information and authentication features, according to court documents.The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas alleged that Brown transferred (copy and pasted) the hyperlink from an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to another chat service he operated through his website Project PM, a wiki blogger site he created to crowd-source documents—which allows people from across the globe to access documents and assist with his reporting. Much of what he and others analyzed was obtained illegally by Anonymous and posted on WikiLeaks, which quickly became the scourge of many governments, including the United States, since it started publishing top-secret documents in the latter part of the last decade. It is widely known that a grand jury was empaneled several years ago with regards to WikiLeaks, and which, according to the judge in pre-court martial hearings of Chelsea Manning, has the same journalistic standing as The New York Times.Up until early March, Brown was facing more than 100 years in prison for trafficking stolen authentication features, access device fraud and identity theft—all related to his sharing of a link, plus other charges not associated with his computer activity. One day after Brown’s attorneys filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the controversial charges, prosecutors inexplicably dropped counts one and three through 12—reportedly lowering his potential prison time to approximately 65 years behind bars.“The criminalization of Mr. Brown’s speech (by republishing the hyperlink) is an unconstitutional abridgment of the First Amendment because it regulates pure political speech based on its content,” his lawyers wrote in the motion.Brown, whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Huffington Post and Vanity Fair, among other media outlets, until April 3, remained accused of concealing two laptops and threatening an FBI agent and his family in a series of now infamous, and seemingly indefensible, YouTube rants; he faced 70 years in prison until his recently reported plea deal was reached.That Brown was facing decades in a federal prison before his maximum sentence dropped considerably is the perfect example of the extent to which the government will go to protect information from getting out, says Kevin Gallagher, the founder and director of the movement, Free Barrett Brown:“Barrett Brown’s situation constitutes a case-in-point for the threat of what could happen to a journalist who exposes information that the government doesn’t like,” Gallagher said. “Anyone who wants to see what the FBI can do to repress and silence critical journalists, need only study what happened to him.”(The Press was unable to interview Brown’s attorneys—or even make contact with them—due to a court-imposed gag order initiated by the prosecution. Instead, we relied on interviews with several supporters, friends, press freedom groups and an analysis of court documents to shed light on Brown’s case.)Outraged at the government, both for seizing his laptops, which contained information about his journalism and a future book, while not charging him until six months after the raid at his mother’s house had occurred, and for threats of obstruction of justice directed at his mom—which she eventually pleaded guilty to and was sentenced to probation for—Brown lashed out, albeit very publicly on the world’s most popular video sharing site, YouTube.Caleb Pritchard, a childhood friend of his since the third grade, described Brown’s outburst as a “slow burn” over several months.“It finally got to the point where Barrett just snapped,” Pritchard tells the Press, “but I think at first he was just trying to figure out what the fuck was going on.”Sometimes displaying a menacing grin, taking sporadic drags of a cigarette and interrupting his own profanity-laced cringe-inducing rant by releasing several belches, Brown called FBI Special Agent Robert Smith a “chicken shit little faggot cock sucker,” and allegedly threatened to “look into his fucking kids.” Federal agents swooped in with an arrest warrant and took him into custody several hours after the tirades hit the Web.Those videos, seen by hundreds of thousands, can still be viewed on YouTube and are cited several times in the government’s first indictment, filed in October 2012.The FBI’s seizing of Brown’s laptops without charging him until his arrest on Sept. 12, 2012 is deeply concerning, say his supporters, who argue that by doing so the government was free to scrutinize his journalistic material—including sources, documents and research. Additionally, they continue, his facing more than 100 years in prison—before some of the charges were dropped—stinks of another troubling example of prosecutors overcharging defendants. That the hacker, 28-year-old Chicago-native Jeremy Hammond—who was actually charged with the computer attack related to Brown’s early link-sharing accusation—was sentenced to 10 years in prison, is proof enough, they say, of something far more sinister afoot.The government’s critics also point to a list of items the federal authorities sought to seize during the raid, which consisted of “evidence, contraband, fruits, and instrumentalities of criminal violations,” according to the search warrant obtained by the late BuzzFeed/Rolling Stone muckraker Michael Hastings. FBI agents were seeking recordings from government contractors, including HB Gary, Infragard, and Endgame Systems, as well as information related to Anonymous, the hacking group Lulzec, pastebin.com, among other Internet entities. They were also looking for any computers or hard drives containing the aforementioned material.Thus, federal authorities’ pursuit of Brown is exemplary of the extent to which the U.S. government is willing to go to chill free speech and journalism, his supporters say.When lumped in with the revelations of mass surveillance and the unprecedented number of Espionage Act charges against whistleblowers by the Obama Administration; the seizing of Associated Press phone records as part of a leak probe into an AP story regarding a CIA investigation in Yemen that disrupted a bomb plot; labeling Fox News reporter James Rosen a co-conspirator in a case in which a U.S. State Department adviser, Stephen Kim, was later indicted for allegedly revealing information about a North Korean nuclear test; going to great lengths to subpoena Times reporter James Risen to testify about his sources in a book he wrote; the conviction of whistleblower Chelsea Manning; and possibly the most chilling of them all, Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the government the authority to indefinitely detain people allegedly associated with terrorism; Brown’s case is exemplary of the disturbing—and evolving—portrait of a government obsessed with controlling the flow of information and endeavoring to decide for itself what the American public is granted permission to see, while at the same time cracking down on what appears to be the biggest threat to this cause: journalists, whistleblowers and dissenters.Alexa O’Brien, the journalist who published crucial transcripts of the Manning court martial proceedings and created a searchable database that included documents of United States v. Pfc. (then) Bradley Manning, has a gloomy view of what she and many others consider the deterioration of freedom of information, or right to know, and the escalation of government intrusion.“If the simplest aims of life are dissent, if the simplest act of Barrett Brown publishing information about what private security contractors are doing with taxpayer money, then if not wanting to murder unlawfully is dissent [referring to extra-legal drone assassinations], if being incapable of believing lies after you learned the fact—something that Barrett and any journalist or any member of the public can understand—then the system is a problem,” O’Brien tells the Press via Skype from Germany.“The policies and the laws are a problem because it’s built for the ignorant and the uninformed, and it’s unsustainable,” she continues. “It stifles the very creativity that is so natural to human beings. We have to think about this with a broader view that has been presented to us: When the ideas in our head and the genes in our body become the property of private corporations…we need to expand our view of the commons and we need to look toward strengthening our fundamental rights, because right now we’re building a system that is counter to the very aims of life.”Brown was increasingly becoming a threat to that system. Then he was arrested.Photo taken in the fall of 2000 of Brown in his friend Caleb Pritchard’s dorm room studies reading a newspaper. (Photo credit: Caleb Pritchard)“Guerilla Cyberwar”In December 2010, several of the world’s largest financial companies—Bank of America, Visa and MasterCard—as well as Internet payment provider PayPal, cut off all payments to WikiLeaks just as the U.S. government was ratcheting up its rhetoric against the whistleblower site founded by Julian Assange in 2006.A series of leaks—the Collateral Murder video unveiled during an April 5, 2010 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., showing cockpit footage from two U.S. Apache helicopter attacks that killed two Reuters journalists and other men mistaken for insurgents; more than 75,000 secret U.S. military reports concerning the Afghan War released in the summer of 2010; and the largest-ever leak at the time, known as the Iraq Logs, in October 2010—sparked a massive outcry from U.S. government officials, who condemned the unsanctioned disclosures for damaging the country’s interests and putting “innocent lives at risk,” according to a statement released by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Cali.) office at the time.“Mr. Assange claims to be a journalist and would no doubt rely on the First Amendment to defend his actions,” the statement read. “But he is no journalist: He is an agitator intent on damaging our government, whose policies he happens to disagree with, regardless of who gets hurt.”Hers and other statements were enough for the financial institutions to cut off funding to WikiLeaks.In response, Anonymous launched “Operation Payback/Avenge Assange,” which amounted to a series of coordinated Web-strikes targeting institutions that ditched WikiLeaks amid growing government outrage. They were out for revenge.It was the first of a number of hacks catapulting Anonymous into the public consciousness, and the savvy computer hackers were just getting started.Brown, in an interview with NBC News, described those and future attacks as “guerilla cyberwar,” adding, “It’s sort of an unconventional, asymmetrical act of warfare that we’re involved in. And we didn’t necessarily start it. I mean, this fire has been burning.”Perhaps, Anonymous’ most notable hack, and one that led a group of Democratic representatives calling on their Republican counterparts to immediately conduct hearings into three federal defense and intelligence agency data security contractors, and one law firm, for “possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech,” was its targeting of private contractor HBGary.Anonymous set its virtual scopes on the company after Aaron Barr, the then-CEO of its subsidiary, HBGary Federal, boasted to the Financial Times in February 2011 that he was close to exposing the leaders behind the confederation of computer hackers.What followed was a precise, tactical assault on HBGary that resulted in the release of 70,000 emails and eventually led to Barr’s resignation.Brown and others analyzed the emails and learned that HBGary was one-third of a consortium that also included Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies, collectively called Team Themis. The trio was recruited, according to the emails, by the law firm Hunton & Williams, which was working with two clients—Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—to discredit WikiLeaks and its supporters, such as journalist Glenn Greenwald.“I think we need to highlight people like Glenn Greenwald,” Barr wrote in an email leaked by Anonymous and posted on WikiLeaks. “Glenn was critical in the Amazon to OVH transition and helped Wikileaks provide access to information during the transition. It is this level of support we need to attack. These are established professionals [sic] that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals. Without the support of people like Glenn Wikileaks would fold.”Barr, in another email, explains that one particular strategy would be to go after WikiLeaks’ financials, which Team Themis deemed one of the website’s major weaknesses.“Obvious when attacking any adversary you attack their week [sic] points,” he wrote. “In this case their strength is their global following and volunteer staff. This allows them to have a very loose organization, probably little if any direction or coordination is actually passed it is just inferred as part of the cause. Julien pronounces and the minions follow. Larger infrastructure is fairly pointless to attack because they have so many other points so many other organizations that are willing to distribute the information and help them get new hosting services. Weak points. Financial. They are under increasing financial pressure because authorities are blocking their funding sources. Need to help enumerate these. Also need to get people to understand that if they support the organization we will come after them.”The HBGary email correspondence also suggested discrediting U.S. Chamber of Commerce critics like U.S. Chamber Watch, Change to Win, the Center for American Progress and others, by supplying fake documents, hoping they’d take the bait and eventually call out the error. The ill-fated proposal also included creating a phony “insider persona and generate communications with CtW (Change to Win).”These proposals, generated by government contractors, raised a few eyebrows in Washington, D.C., and among more than a dozen Democratic congressmen, who in a joint letter to government agencies speculated if any of the tactics were in violation of the law.“The published correspondence appears to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics,” the group of elected officials wrote. “The techniques may have been developed at U.S. government expense to target terrorists and other security threats.”As is the norm in the nation’s capital, nothing came out of their request for hearings.But Anonymous—and Brown’s work—wasn’t complete.In June 2011, Brown wrote on his Project PM site that in the haul of HBGary emails he uncovered a “sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once,” known in U.S. intelligence quarters as Romas/COIN.PLEASE JOIN US IN THANKING OUR UNDERWRITERS FOR SUPPORTING QUALITY JOURNALISM. ACCESS TO OUR WEBSITE IS FREE DUE TO THE SUPPORT OF OUR UNDERWRITERS. CLICK HERE TO VIEW.What Brown exposed on his Project PM site was massive surveillance, not by any U.S. government agency, which has generated quite the attention across the globe since the infamous (and still flowing) leaked NSA documents provided to Greenwald by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in May 2013, but instead developed and orchestrated by contractors that essentially work in the shadows, do not have to answer to the American public and are not subject to government oversight.“The new revelation provides for a disturbing picture, particularly when viewed in a wider context,” Brown wrote. “Unprecedented surveillance capabilities are being produced by an industry that works in secret on applications that are nonetheless funded by the American public—and which in some cases are used against that very same public.”It was around this time that Brown’s star began to shine the brightest.He had gone from writing satirical pieces, such as “Christ Announces His Bid for President,” resigning from his post as “savior to over 1 billion Christians,” and political pieces, like “The Trouble with Charles Krauthammer,” which slammed the conservative pundit for flip-flopping on the importance of Obama’s identity prior to his first presidential bid, to swimming in troves of leaked documents that many in the media, especially the mainstream, weren’t reporting on.That these leaks and sometimes the stories he published were not getting the attention Brown thought they deserved frustrated him, says Gallagher ofFree Barrett Brown, who became “intrigued” with Brown’s work around 2010 and eventually met him at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York City in the summer of 2012.“I just felt that like his work was really important,” Gallagher tells the Press. The Project PM stuff was getting at corruption in the private intelligence contracting industry and that [is an] issue that no one is really focusing on. I mean all the Snowden leaks are about governmental state surveillance, people don’t discuss how it gets outsourced to private companies.”“My sense was that Project PM was kind of where the actual important work was happening,” he adds, “and the majority of people in Anonymous were just trolling or having fun; but Project PM—he was actually trying to get shit done. He was trying to do stuff. He was trying to change the media.”It’s unclear when exactly the government began looking into Brown’s affairs, but he and Anonymous in November 2011 attracted the attention of a potentially far more dangerous adversary: the violent Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas.Anonymous successfully obtained the names of Los Zetas collaborators, according to Brown, who appeared to be in the beginning stages of working with others to assess the thousands of emails they obtained.The perils of investigating the cartel, like many others in Mexico, became all-too real when a kidnapped Anonymous member was released with a foreboding note warning of potential murders of “ten civilians for every name published,” Brown posted on Paste Bin on Nov. 4, 2011. Apparently the threat had its intended effect. Brown noted that the names wouldn’t be published, but in an earlier post he dismissed those who suggested he refrain from naming potential criminals. “No individual living in the free world should refrain from working to fight injustice simply because there is a possibility of retaliation,” he wrote—vowing to go after other cartels.Brown’s insistence to continue his work, despite the apparent legal or other life-altering ramifications, was nothing new. One friend, Nikki Loehr, who briefly dated Brown and who is on the shortlist of people he can correspond with through email from jail, says he never really understood the consequences of his actions, despite the possibility of far-reaching ramifications to himself and others around him.His crusade, which really started in earnest in early 2010, reached its climax on Dec. 25, 2011, when Brown allegedly transmitted a link already published online from the just-released documents from Texas-based global intelligence firm Stratfor, which the government said also contained more than 5,000 credit card account numbers.Instrumental in the hack was Jeremy Hammond, who went by several nicknames online: Anarchaos, sup_g, burn, yohoho, POW, tylerknowsthis and crediblethreat.According to court documents, Hammond—who was rounded up in March 2012 along with five other alleged hackers aligned with Anonymous—along with his alleged co-conspirators, “mounted a cyber assault” on the intelligence firm’s website from December 2011 until the their arrest.The digital heist, prosecutors said, netted approximately 60,000 credit card numbers belonging to Stratfor clients, including their names and addresses, plus security codes and expiration dates. Additionally, about 860,000 records—including usernames, encrypted passwords, email addresses—belonging to the firm’s clients were grabbed, court documents say. (The hackers, according to a statement posted by Stratfor CEO George Friedman several weeks later, also managed to deface the company’s website and “published a triumphant note” declaring that credit card info had been stolen.)What prosecutors didn’t mention, however, was that the emails also reportedly shed light on Stratfor’s inner workings, including revelations that it provided confidential intelligence to corporations and government agencies. Ironically, the emails, according to a WikiLeaks press release, also revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange: “Not for Pub—We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect,” stated a purported email from Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice president for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security.Interestingly, the government knew that hack was going on as it was happening.According to court filings in Brown’s case, the government knew about “and, through their confidential informant were orchestrating” the hack, as early as Dec. 6, even though the entire episode lasted until Dec. 24.Back in Dallas, Brown, also aware of the hack, was working at his computer when he allegedly transferred a hyperlink from one Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to another one affiliated with his crowdsourcing site.Who knew on Christmas Day 2011 that three months later FBI agents would be executing a search warrant on his apartment and mother’s house partly due to him simply copying and pasting of a link.No sleep till BrooklynIt was in the third grade at Preston Hollow Elementary School in Dallas when Caleb Pritchard first got a glimpse of Barrett Brown’s humor.Pritchard’s teacher had instructed the class to take out a biography from the library and write a report on the subject. So he walked through the aisles of the library and, for whatever reason, pulled out a book about Adolf Hitler. In short time, he had completed a written report and created an illustration of the Nazi leader. And then the project ended up being displayed along the walls of the school hallway.“Apparently it was so bad and grotesque,” Pritchard says of his drawing, “[Brown] said: ‘Adolph Hitler? More like Rudolph Hitler.’”“And we were fast friends from then on.”By the time the two North Dallas kids met, Brown’s parents had already been divorced. Brown was living with his mother and grandmother at the time, and the family moved three times but stayed in the area.The two classmates, who ironically attended the same elementary school as George W. Bush’s twin daughters, usually came to the same conclusions about life and society and also shared an affinity for satire. Brown was also big into video games and books—the latter of which mostly occupies his time in jail.An admirer of MAD magazine, Brown and Pritchard would often rollerblade to the local Borders bookstore and pick up the latest issue of The Harvard Lampoon and “laugh our asses off,” Pritchard recalls.By the time they reached Middle School, Brown had begun immersing himself in books about communism.“[Brown] touted himself as a communist anarchist,” Pritchard says.Then it was onto Ayn Rand, and eventually, libertarianism. His view of the world kept evolving.“To me it just seems like a natural progression,” Pritchard says. “There’s a common core of anti-authoritarianism involved. One thing Barrett doesn’t like is authority.”The pair ended up enrolling at University of Texas but Brown spent only a couple of semesters at the journalism school there before dropping out; he was then free to roam.“Perhaps [he] doesn’t fit into the usual model of the typical student who’s ready just to sit there in a middle-class university and give some guy thousands of dollars in tuition to rubber stamp you and get the diploma and get out,” his buddy says.“In a more sane world he would’ve been a lawyer if he could’ve sat through law school and gone through all the bureaucratic loopholes to get that degree,” he adds, “because the guy, he can analyze anything from any point of view and just zero-in on things that no one else would ever figure out. And completely out-argue anybody about anything. It’s fucking frustrating sometimes.”Despite being raised in a military family, Brown apparently never felt the pull to serve, but he had all the trappings of a fearless soldier committed to a higher cause. His thin frame belied his mettle and zeal, say friends.After briefly dipping his toe into the realm of higher education, Brown pursued his true passion—writing—and ended up taking whatever freelance work he could: blurbs for bars and restaurants for the local alternative weekly and even some satire columns.It wasn’t until he left Dallas for a three-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn—where he started reading William Gibson and his cyberpunk musings—did Brown begin seeing the Internet in a whole new light, developing a deeper understanding of its full potential.But that wasn’t all he was into.By the time Pritchard had arrived in New York he discovered that his longtime friend had become hooked on heroin. Brown had “always been carefree about his indulgences,” Pritchard says, but he was mostly smoking pot, drinking alcohol and even experimenting with pills, so his new hobby didn’t come as a total shock.“I’ve seen him do far things worse to his body before, so I’m not really going to worry about it,” Pritchard says, recalling his mindset at the time. “If anybody can be a junkie and be wacky about it, it’s this guy right here…If you know the guy, it’s not anything to be terribly concerned about unless you’re his mother or something.”Pritchard trusted his friend, who had an addictive personality and was rarely seen without a cigarette.Brown did, however, try several times to quit heroin cold turkey, says Pritchard—once, before joining his father across the globe for an African Safari—and would roll around in his bed as he battled withdrawal.“It was a very masochistic display to look at this person and not jab a needle in his vein to make him not hurt as bad as he was because the addiction got to him,” his friend says.Brown and Pritchard also lived with another roommate, but since neither of them earned a considerable income, they decided to rent out the apartment to some drug dealers who had just been kicked out of their safe house down the block. The pot dealers seemingly fit right in; smoking weed and playing X-Box until they bid ado at around 10 p.m. every night and returned to their wives.“Typical New York experience, I figured,” says Pritchard with a hint of sarcasm.With money running dry and their job prospects quickly disappearing thanks to the Great Recession, Brown and Pritchard decided to pack up in pursuit of a more stable life in their home state.During the time Brown spent in Brooklyn and over the course of the next few years, he was dabbling in all sorts of projects. He published his first book, “Flock of Dodos,” in April 2007 and contributed to a number of outlets—including Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Vanity Fair—and even served as the communications director for Enlighten the Vote, a political action committee that worked to get Atheists elected to public office.But it was in early 2010, when Anonymous infiltrated several Australian government websites in protest of Internet censorship, when Brown’s interests in the cyber-industrial complex took form.In March 2010, Brown announced the creation of Project PM and he was well on his way to exposing through “civil disobedience” the shadowy—and burgeoning—relationship between private security contractors and the U.S. government.Little did he know just how hard Uncle Sam would fight to keep those contractors’ secrets safe. He soon found out.Barrett Brown, of Dallas, is the only journalist currently jailed in America, according to press freedoms group Reporters Without Borders. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)War on DissentFollowing his arrest, Brown received considerable backing from some of the most prominent press groups and journalists around the world. Many, astonished that the action of sharing a link could be criminalized, decried the charges against Brown and shouted that his prosecution was the latest salvo in the government’s war on information and whistleblowers.“It’s good that they dropped it [most of the charges against Brown] but the precedent…without a court ruling on it they could go after someone else for doing something similar in the future,” says Hanni Fakhoury, staff attorney with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Whether they will or not I’m not sure, I’m hopeful that they won’t.”He continues: “The thought that if you report on something and post a link that involve documents you’re not really supposed to have, which is a big part of journalism, especially investigative journalism; if you think that you can potentially get charged, just the threat of getting charged is enough to chill that journalistic practice. It sends a real scary message to those people who do this for a living.”Under President Obama, who in his first days in office promised an open and transparent government, more people (eight in total) have been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917—a World War I-era law initially created to prosecute spies—than all other administrations combined.“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government,” Obama wrote in a memorandum signed Jan. 21, 2009. “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”Thirteen months later, NSA Senior Executive Thomas Drake was charged under the Espionage Act for unlawful retention of classified information after exposing the spy agency’s Trailblazer project, a domestic surveillance program, to a Baltimore Sun journalist. He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor was sentenced to 240 hours of community service.One month after that, FBI translator Shamai Leibowitz became the subject of the Obama Department of Justice’s second Espionage Act case for sharing classified information about FBI wiretaps to a blogger; he was sentenced to 20 months in prison.More charges emerged against former military and government employees who sought to expose the truth. Before that year’s end, three more people were charged under the act, including Manning, who leaked 250,000 documents to WikiLeaks in addition to the Collateral Murder video. None of the people involved in killing the two innocent Reuters journalist were ever prosecuted. Yet Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison—though she wasn’t convicted on the Espionage Act charges.Two other cases that emerged in 2010 provide further insight into this so-called “Information War.”One year earlier, U.S. State Department adviser Stephen Kim allegedly met with Fox News reporter James Rosen and allegedly shared top-secret information with him regarding North Korea’s nuclear test plans in response to sanctions, which Rosen reported on the network’s website. The FBI reportedly obtained the reporter’s emails and went as far as to label him a potential co-conspirator, drawing tremendous outcry from press groups.“U.S. government efforts to prosecute leakers by obtaining information from journalists has a chilling effect domestically and sends a terrible message to journalists around the world who are fighting to resist government intrusion,” nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Executive Director Joel Simon said last May when Rosen’s link to Kim was first reported.A case of equally great concern among press groups involves former CIA analyst Jeffrey Sterling, who was indicted in December 2010 and is accused by the government of being the source of allegedly classified information the Times’ James Risen discloses in his book “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,” revealing “a failed attempt by the CIA to have a former Russian scientist provide flawed nuclear weapons blueprints to Iran,” according to court documents from Risen’s federal appeal’s court hearing.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District declined to hear his appeal. Risen is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court.Judge Roger L. Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District wrote the dissenting opining and criticized his colleagues for reading “narrowly the law governing the protection of a reporter from revealing his sources, a decision that is, in my view, contrary to the will and wisdom of our Founders.”“Democracy without information about the activities of the government is hardly a democracy,” Gregory added.Appearing at a panel at the Times Center last month, Risen reportedly told the audience the Obama Administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”These examples, and the ongoing Espionage Act charges brought against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, are emblematic of the current war on whistleblowers, press freedom groups and advocates say.“Snowden may make people look twice at who is being prosecuted for espionage and try to look at what these cases are really about,” Jesselyn Radack, one of the lawyers representing Snowden, and the Washington-based Government Accountability Project’s National Security & Human Rights director, tells the Press.“The only way people get informed is by newspapers,” she adds, “and in particular, by sources for newspapers, and when those dry up or get burned, then really democracy is threatened even further.”When The Washington Post reported last month that a 6,300-page classified Senate Intelligence Report concluded that the CIA misled the government about its interrogation program, citing anonymous “current and former U.S. officials,” Radack blasted the government for essentially picking and choosing what it considers a leak.The story “is a classic illustration of the government’s blatant double-standard on leaks. Since drowning detainees in ice water is an ‘authorized leak’ [referring to the alleged CIA torture technique never disclosed to the government] by ‘US officials,’ no one will be prosecuted for espionage,” she wrote in a statement to the Press. “In contrast, my client John Kiriakou is in jail for revealing that the CIA was engaged in waterboarding.”Nonprofit Reporters without Borders, which since 2002 has released annual reports dubbed the “Press Freedom Index,” provides the clearest indication as to how 180 countries treat journalists. It recently dropped the United States in its rankings, from 32 to 46, due to the war on whistleblowers and Brown’s prosecution.“In 2013, it’s clear now that the whistleblowers are the enemies of the U.S. And it’s really interesting, because rather than pursuing journalists,” they are instead going after their sources, Delphine Halgand, U.S. director of Reporters Without Borders, tells the Press.“Before Obama took office, only three whistleblowers have been charged,” she adds. “That really reminds us that leaks are really crucial, are the lifeblood of investigative journalists given that nearly all information related to national security is considered secret and classified, so that’s why we really see this war on whistleblowers [as] a clear strategy. This crackdown against whistleblowers is clearly designed to restrict all but officially approved versions of the events.”“It’s kind of the idea,” she continues, “everything which is not presented in a press conference is a leak.”That is why journalists who report on leaks say their work is more important now than ever. But the threat of prosecution is very real, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.Meanwhile, Brown remains behind bars, biding his time voraciously reading books and articles sent to him by friends, family and supporters. It’s unclear if Brown, who has been silenced ever since a court-imposed gag order in September, will ever again pursue his journalism when he’s eventually released. Regardless, many are thankful for his work.“We live in an era about increased secrecy about what the government is doing both in terms of the surveillance practices, both domestically and within the NSA,” says the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Fakhoury. “And I think that we rely on investigative journalist to report on these things, and…if the government would be more transparent and open about what it was doing there wouldn’t be the need to hack into computer systems and report on these things in illicit ways.”“They go hand-in-hand,” he adds. “More transparency will lead to the same end-result, but without the collateral consequences of credit card numbers getting leaked and all that. I’m not saying leaking hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers is appropriate, absolutely not, it’s just a matter of: How do we reconcile these two things? I understand the government has to keep some things under wraps, but when they do it excessively you’re going to peak people’s curiosity, and then this is how that curiosity gets dealt with.”First Indictment Against Barrett BrownSecond Indictment Against Barrett BrownThird Indictment Against Barrett BrownBarrett Brown First Superseding IndictmentBarrett Brown Lawyer MotionBarrett Brown Gag Order RequestJeremy Hammond Indictmentlast_img read more

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Financial marketers need nimble game plans for COVID-19 world

first_imgOne word comes up more these days than any other: “Unprecedented.” Even Google searches for the word have skyrocketed! Never in modern times has society ground to such a screeching halt as in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The implications for families and businesses are staggering, and financial institutions and those they serve are no exception.Messaging Happens on Multiple Levels NowIf there is a single, overarching takeaway thus far for financial marketing communications professionals, it’s the democratization of messaging.Under ordinary circumstances, the average bank or credit union has dozens or hundreds of audiences. Best practice, of course, is to segment by any number of attributes in order to finely tune and personalize communications that resonate with particular customers’ circumstances, habits and preferences. Financial marketers, especially in recent years, have invested heavily in tools and talent to improve marketing automation, insights and analysis in order to be able to build more data-driven and highly targeted messages. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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WHO report calls H5N1 vaccine stockpiling premature

first_imgNov 2, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A group of influenza experts convened by the World Health Organization cautioned today that governments shouldn’t stockpile “pre-pandemic” H5N1 influenza vaccines now, because too little is known about the requirements for an effective vaccine.The group of 22 scientists, who met for 2 days in September, “agreed that governments should not rush to place orders for pre-pandemic vaccines when so many fundamental scientific questions are still outstanding,” says their report.The United States and some other countries have been stockpiling H5N1 vaccines, despite lack of assurance that they would be effective against a pandemic strain. Switzerland recently announced plans to buy enough vaccine for the entire Swiss population.The 16-page report, titled “Influenza Research at the Human and Animal Interface,” emphasizes the continuing seriousness of the threat posed by the H5N1 virus. The meetings on which it was based involved many of the world’s leading experts on influenza.The experts agreed that “the seriousness of the present situation, including the risk that a pandemic virus might emerge, is not likely to diminish in the near future,” the document states.The report also warns that if the H5N1 virus becomes a pandemic strain, it could remain as lethal for humans as it is now, depending on how it acquires the ability to spread from person to person. The current case-fatality rate, with 256 cases and 152 deaths, is about 59%.If the virus becomes more transmissible by acquiring genes from a human-adapted flu virus, its deadliness “would most likely be reduced.” But if it remains “a wholly avian virus” that adapts to humans through a series of mutations, it could remain as deadly as it is now, the experts say.The report says that vaccine development results so far “have not been promising,” in part because H5N1 viruses have branched off into a number of diverse subgroups, and vaccines that seem to work against one clade, or group, don’t work well against others.Many fundamental questions about vaccine development remain to be answered, the group concluded. For example, scientists need to determine which adjuvant (general immune system stimulant) works best and to define what kind of observed immune response indicates an adequate level of protection against the actual virus.The experts say the idea of intradermal injection (injecting vaccine just under the skin instead of into muscle) as a way to stretch vaccine supplies “does not look promising and is not likely to be suitable for worldwide use.”The document cites an urgent need for international standards for evaluating the efficacy of pandemic vaccines. “On such an important matter, it is unwise to leave assessments of appropriate vaccines to competing manufacturers,” it states.The report describes human H5N1 disease as “fundamentally different” from ordinary flu, marked as it typically is by progressive viral pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, and sometimes diarrhea and liver dysfunction. The disease’s severity may be a result of the “cytokine storm,” or flood of chemical messengers causing intense inflammation in the lungs, but it is not clear whether the cytokine storm is the cause or the result of extensive tissue damage and disease.Some other observations and recommendations in the wide-ranging report are as follows:A simple, rapid, and reliable diagnostic test for use in the field and at the patient’s bedside is urgently needed.Research is needed to determine what makes children and young adults especially vulnerable to infection.Recent serologic studies have shown very little evidence of asymptomatic or mild H5N1 infections in humans. All healthcare workers studied in Thailand tested negative, and samples submitted from Djibouti, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia for testing at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were all negative. However, some family members of patients in Vietnam tested positive.Studies are needed to determine if a genetic predisposition increases the risk of human infection or of human-to-human transmission among blood relatives.Resistance to the first-choice antiviral drug, oseltamivir, has been seen in a few patients, but studies show a low rate of oseltamivir-resistance mutations in H5N1 viruses in birds. Resistance to amantadine, the second-choice antiviral, varies among H5N1 strains.Mallard ducks are now seen as the leading vectors in the geographic spread of H5N1; mute swans are highly susceptible to the disease but probably don’t spread it.Regarding poultry outbreaks in China, “the situation is severe and not yet fully under control,” and vaccination of the entire poultry population is needed.To control H5N1 disease in poultry, vaccination, coupled with appropriate monitoring, should be used when culling is impracticable.Scientists who track the disease in ducks should adjust their sampling procedures to reflect that ducks now shed more virus in their respiratory secretions than in feces.The experts’ warning against stockpiling of H5N1 vaccines was hailed by infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, as appropriate advice in view of the virus’s genetic variability.”I think this report will result in a pause in what I think has been a recent epidemic of vaccine results by press release,” said Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site.He also said the report makes clear that the risk of a severe pandemic like that of 1918 still exists. “Some have suggested that talking about any kind of pandemic other than [the moderate pandemic of] 1957 or 1968 was tantamount to scaremongering,” but the report makes clear that from a virologic standpoint, the H5N1 virus could remain highly deadly while evolving into a pandemic strain, he said.”This is a really thoughtful report, and it adds a tremendous amount to the ongoing discussion,” Osterholm said.See also:Nov 2 WHO report “Influenza Research at the Human and Animal Interface”last_img read more

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Does this northside home have the best view in Brisbane?

first_imgA very modern kitchen.The striking view, which overlooks the ranges and the CBD, was one of the original selling points when he made an impulse purchase on the property in 2012.A tradesman and renovator by trade, he bought the home from a liquidator’s sale at a time when it had sat unoccupied for seven years.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agoA near perfect view.Despite its dated aesthetics he looked at the Art Deco design and eye-catching view and set out to renovate the house in a way that would restore the home’s former glory. “In its day it would have been very flash,” he said. “What we did with this house is very true to its Art Deco features.”An extra bedroom was added, and a large deck was built to take advantage of the generous view. The home was updated and modernised.The bathroom and kitchen was completely renovated and Mr Kerr worked tirelessly on finding materials that would suit the Art Deco design. “We got recycled posts from Bundaberg and we used Spanish tiles downstairs,” he said.Perhaps the most expensive addition was the backyard swimming pool which came at a very high cost due to the steep hill it needed to be built on. Modern bathrooms.Now that the time has come to sell he said he will miss living in the home but added he would feel like “Leonardo da Vinci not painting” if he did not move on to his next project.“It is truly a unique property. I think we have done a good job of keeping with the Art Deco heritage,” he said. The home at 39 Barokee Street in Stafford is on the market now through Belle Property – Wilston.center_img Not a bad view.COULD this be the best view in Brisbane?It is a bold claim, but one that Gerard Kerr sticks by as he talks up the Stafford property that he spent years making it into what it is today.“I won’t get a view like this again,” Mr Kerr said.last_img read more

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UK government proposes ‘expert stewardship oversight group’

first_imgThe UK government has proposed establishing an “expert ‘stewardship oversight group’” to improve the quality of stewardship of UK companies by investors. The group could review significant corporate failings and scandals, make recommendations, and ensure that lessons are applied throughout the investment chain, according to proposals from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).Suggested members included the Investor Forum, company chairmen, company secretaries, asset owners and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Launched in 2014, the Investor Forum was one of the key recommendations to come out of the 2012 Kay Review. It exists to facilitate better engagement between UK public companies and their shareholders.   Another idea suggested by BEIS was to get large listed companies to commit to “hosting periodic strategy and stewardship forum meetings focusing on the company’s long-term strategic plans”.“This is an essential counterpart to the Department for Work and Pensions’ recent defined benefit white paper”.Pensions and Lifetime Savings AssociationBEIS floated the ideas in a consultation on insolvency and corporate governance on Tuesday. It said they were options for reform alongside those suggested by the FRC earlier this year in connection with its upcoming consultation about the Stewardship Code.BEIS said the FRC’s consultation would be “a significant opportunity to help strengthen the quality of investor engagement with UK companies”.The government’s consultation was aimed at improving the UK’s corporate governance framework and ensuring “the highest standards of behaviour in those who lead and control companies in, or approaching, insolvency”.BEIS said: “The vast majority of UK companies are run fairly and responsibly, but a small number of recent corporate governance failures have raised concerns that company directors can unfairly shield themselves from the effects of insolvency and – in the worst cases – profit from business failures while workers and small suppliers lose out.”Other proposals in the consultation included disqualifying directors or holding them personally liable if they were found to have sold a struggling company recklessly or knowing it would fail, and giving the Insolvency Service new powers to investigate directors or dissolved companies.The high-profile collapse of Carillion, a UK construction company that went into liquidation in January, has been the focus of considerable political and media attention in recent weeks. It has triggered questions about the behaviour of a range of actors – company directors, auditors, investors, regulators and others – and the regulatory framework governing them. The UK pension fund association said the government’s new consultation was “an essential counterpart” to the recent defined benefit white paper from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).Caroline Escott, policy lead for investment and defined benefit at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, said: “In light of recent events, such as the failures of BHS and Carillion, we are glad to see the government looking at the relationship between good corporate governance and good outcomes for pension scheme members.“This is evident both in today’s consultation from the BEIS and also from the DWP’s recent defined benefit white paper. It is imperative that the interests of scheme members remain at the forefront of a company’s considerations in the case of insolvency or restructuring.”Last year the government announced corporate governance reforms that focused on boardroom accountability to shareholders, employees and the public.last_img read more

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