Atletico star explains decision to snub Liverpool and Man United interest

first_img1 Koke Liverpool and Manchester United target Koke has opened up on his decision to stay put at Atletico Madrid during the summer.The Spanish midfielder shot to fame after helping Atletico win La Liga last season, and finish runners-up to Real Madrid in the Champions League.Koke’s team-mates such as Diego Costa decided to leave the Spanish capital after the team’s success last term but the 22-year-old went nowhere.Liverpool and Manchester United were part of the chasing pack which also included PSG and Barcelona, who seemed to be at the front of the queue.But, speaking to Sportium News, Koke explained why he decided to stay with Atleti.He said: “Atletico is my home, it’s my life.“I decided to stay to enjoy one of the best moments in the history of this club.“The club did not need to sell and I did not want to leave.”last_img read more

Video Review of DJ Rex, the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Droid Toy

first_imgShare This!When the Droid Factory was announced, the immediate question was would this be the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge answer to Pandoran banshees? After the price was announced, people were understandably skeptical. Here’s a first look at the DJ Rex Bluetooth Speaker toy so you can decide for yourself.What do you think? Is it worth the price or is it a hunk of space junk? Let us know what you think in the comments.last_img

Help make South Africa a success: Zuma

first_img30 April 2012 South Africans celebrate Freedom Day in order to ensure that the present does not erase the past, and in order to protect the future, President Jacob Zuma said as the country marked its 18th year of freedom on Friday, calling on all citizens to work together to make the country a success. “We must put the country first in everything we do, and work together to make a success of the second phase of struggle, that of working towards a prosperous South Africa.” The President was addressing the national Freedom Day celebrations held at the Union Buildings. The day commemorates the first democratic elections held in the country on 27 April 1994. “Together we have built from the ashes of apartheid a country that is dedicated to patriotism, nation-building and reconciliation,” Zuma said, adding that South Africa had been able to tackle its socio-economic development challenges through the creation of a stable democratic system. “It has been a short but very meaningful road from a pariah state to a peaceful, stable, vibrant non-racial, non-sexist, democratic country that is working hard to achieve prosperity for all,” Zuma said. “On Freedom Day we celebrate our victory over racial bigotry.” He the government was working towards eradicating unemployment, inequity and poverty. “The challenge has been to ensure that more of our people benefit from economic growth whilst maintaining and indeed building on the strength of our economy.” South Africa was recovering from the effects of the global financial crisis of 2008-09, with the past 18 months having seen a substantial economic recovery, Zuma said. “The challenge now is to accelerate our gains, to ensure above all that growth supports increased inclusion, employment and equity.” The proportion of the population living below the R422 a month poverty line had decreased from 50% in 1994 to 34.5% in 2009, Zuma said, while in 2011, 75.8% of the country’s households had access to electricity compared to 51% in 1994. “Most importantly, primary health care is now accessible to all South Africans regardless of race, background and nationality,” said Zuma. Efforts to improve social conditions in the country include an R8.2-billion allocation for school infrastructure, while 43 regional bulk projects for water infrastructure will be completed by 2014, benefiting 3.2-million people. South Africa was also working to support unemployed young people through the expansion of public employment programmes, Zuma said. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Behave Yourself

first_imgIt was an honor to be included in Dr. Bob Nelson’s new book “1001 Ways to Engage Employees”. I shared a case study with Dr Bob which showcased how we used the SCARF methodology to enhance a major technology company’s performance management strategy.Managing employee performance has moved from annual write ups to high touch, systematic career development. The example I shared with Dr Bob was effective for two reasons:The process was simpleThe employee was afforded a range of performance objectives to stack rank in order to help their manager better understand their motivationFailure in performance-based systems occurs when too much user input is required or when employees are forced to conform to initiatives that don’t align with their personal career goals.Behavioral Modeling starts with a menu of 5 Intrinsic Motivators:AutonomyMasteryPurposeProgressSocialWe can structure a motivation path around rewards (carrots) or certifications (sticks) but employees would rather be inspired by an element of intrigue.Application Buyers in the HCM space face a logic bending hurdle:Sun-setting legacy technology involves 12 months, 2 FTE’s and a significant loss in opportunity cost.You don’t have to overhaul legacy systems to enhance program access. There are elements of performance management than can be written on a napkin.Trust and Transparency drive Employee Engagement. Giving employees choice for career path empowers them and provides a guide for development.Revisiting the Engagement Ecosystem    If you had to take 12 e-learning courses to be rewarded $50, would you do it?If the knowledge afforded in the learning path is beneficial to your career development, won’t the attainment of knowledge present applicable reward?Do you need to be paid to thank your peers?If you knew recognizing an overworked, underpaid member of your support team would put a smile of his/her face, would that not be incentive enough to encourage their effort?If you complete a project on time and under budget would you prefer a gift card or a week off?The amount of money one makes does not drive engagement, it sets expectations.Purpose-driven work that is consistently challenging is the only path to true success.1. Allow employees to chose their path to success2. Make programs easy to access and operate3. Reward fairly4. Create new challenges  Originally published on Dave’s Weekly Thought blog.last_img read more

Transferee Not Entitled to Dismiss His Petition Without Liability Decision (Schussel, TC)

first_imgLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative. A transferee was not entitled to have his petition for redetermination dismissed without a decision on the amount of his liability. A taxpayer who petitions the Tax Court for redetermination of a deficiency may not withdraw his petition in order to avoid a decision. Moreover, since the parties had agreed to the transferee’s liability, they were required to file a stipulated decision reflecting that amount.Request to DismissThe transferee asked the court to dismiss his petition with prejudice when the case was called for trial. He stated that he had reached an agreement with the IRS regarding his liability. However, the IRS argued that the petition could not be dismissed with or without prejudice. Either the individual agreed to a stipulated decision or the court entered an order stating the amount of the transferee’s liability.Deficiency CaseContrary to the individual’s assertion, transferee liability cases are treated procedurally in the same manner as deficiency cases. The taxpayer’s attempt to distinguish Estate of Ming was unconvincing. The fact that the Ming taxpayers asked for their case to be dismissed without prejudice was meaningless because filing the petition vested the court with exclusive jurisdiction for the tax years covered by the petition and the limitations period had expired. Therefore, dismissal was effectively with prejudice.Liability Determination RequiredFurther, the individual’s contention that the court could not determine his transferee liability because it was not privy to his agreement with the IRS was also rejected. The IRS’s determination of the transferee’s liability was stated in the notice of liability, which was attached to his petition. Therefore, the transferee’s motion to dismiss was denied and the parties required to submit a stipulated decision.Estate of Ming, 62 TC 519, Dec. 32,686, followed.G. Schussel, 149 TC —, No. 16, Dec. 61,039last_img read more

On a remote Pacific island, this doctor has revived a 60-year quest to eradicate a disfiguring disease

first_img 8 N. DESAI/SCIENCE Stanis Malom’s (center) untreated infection caused an open wound on his shin. He no longer attends school. LIHIR ISLAND IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA—In a small, poor village 15,000 kilometers from his home, Oriol Mitjà jumped out of a white van one early May afternoon and started to look at people’s legs.”Any children with ulcers here?” he asked in Tok Pisin, the lingua franca of Papua New Guinea (PNG). “Can we see them?” Soon, a young woman pushed a crying boy about 5 years old toward Mitjà. The boy was barefoot; he had a mop of blond curly hair, like most kids here, and was dressed only in dirty blue shorts. A group of villagers, mostly women and children, had gathered to watch. “What’s his name?” Mitjà asked as he sat down on a low wooden bench, pulled on disposable gloves, and gestured to the sobbing kid to come sit on his right leg. “Jeremiah,” his mother said.Mitjà, 38, a physician-scientist from Spain with earnest eyes and a friendly smile, has a way of putting kids at ease. As Jeremiah calmed down and began to wipe the tears from his eyes, Mitjà took a close look at his legs. On each, the boy had a glistening pink ulcer the size of a coin, with slightly raised edges. Nearby were whitish, warty splotches. Mitjà also checked Jeremiah’s arms, hands, and the soles of his feet; they looked fine.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Jeremiah’s mother didn’t seem overly concerned. The ulcers were common, and she said she hadn’t taken the child to a clinic. “Does Jeremiah play with the other kids?” Mitjà asked. She nodded. “Does he go to school?” No, she said—not yet.The ulcers and splotches, or papilloma, are symptoms of a tropical skin disease called yaws, Mitjà’s professional and personal obsession. Yaws affects people in hot, humid areas in PNG and at least 13 other countries in the western Pacific Ocean, Southeast Asia, and Africa. The disease is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pertenue, a close relative of the organism that causes syphilis, and it spreads primarily through skin contact, often between children. Yaws isn’t fatal, but if left untreated it can disfigure the skin and bones, causing lifelong pain and disability.When Mitjà arrived in PNG in 2010 to work at a local clinic, he had no idea what yaws was; the disease was so neglected that it didn’t appear on many lists of neglected tropical diseases. And yet eradicating it was once a major global public health goal. In the first half of the 20th century, colonial health administrators recorded staggering numbers of cases—an estimated 50 million worldwide in 1952—in 90 countries girdling the equator. Then, in 1948, scientists discovered that a single injection of penicillin cured yaws, and in 1952, the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland—founded 4 years earlier and brimming with optimism—embarked on an audacious plan to wipe it out. BRIAN CASSEY Vanuatu 2 14 8 Solomon Islands 6 3 9 Mitjà found his answer in yaws. “When I saw the first case, I asked the health workers whether they knew what it was. It was embarrassing because I was the expatriate doctor supposedly helping them,” he says. But he was drawn by the idea of focusing on a forgotten disease—a PubMed search turned up mostly old studies—and he loved Lihir, with its lush vegetation, mountainous interior, and friendly people. “I was really moved by the conditions of the people here. I wanted to do something to help,” he says.Yaws often starts with a single ulcer, which can last for months if not treated; in the second stage, lesions can turn up elsewhere on the body, as they had in Jeremiah. In the long term, the bacterium can infect joints and the outer layer of bones, causing them to swell. It also can cause painful hardening of the skin on the palms and soles of the feet, as well as eruptions on the face.One afternoon in May, Mitjà went to see a 15-year-old Lihir boy named Stanis Malom, who had suffered long-term damage from yaws. The bacterium had caused a symptom sometimes called saber shin, in which the shinbone curves forward. This had likely made the leg prone to tearing of the skin, Mitjà said, and caused a permanent open wound the diameter of a teacup, which he covered with a bandage.Stanis had stopped going to school because of the pain, his father said, and was now helping him grow vegetables. (Mitjà believed the stigma of disease may also have played a role.) Stanis had been treated with antibiotics and no longer had yaws, but the damage had been done; the open wound made him vulnerable to all sorts of infections. In a richer country, an orthopedic surgeon might be able to repair the leg—”You’d have to break the bone and put it back together in a better position,” Mitjà said—but that option did not exist here. “The bottom line is, he’s not going to have a happy life.”A new cure revives old dreamsIn the late 1940s, when antibiotics were new, public health experts began to think big. At the First International Symposium on Yaws Control, in Bangkok in 1952, they discussed how to set up a massive, modern campaign to fight the disease across the tropics. “This symposium marks the coming of age of yaws and the passing of its control from the enthusiastic amateur to the professional slayer of dragons,” one scientist gushed in The British Medical Journal. “The purpose of the campaign will be the eradication of yaws from the community, not merely its reduction to some ill-defined low endemic level,” another wrote.Their optimism was understandable. One shot of benzathine benzylpenicillin effects a seemingly miraculous cure, especially in children. “The ulcers just melt away—it has always fascinated me,” says Donald Hopkins, a former director of health programs at The Carter Center in Atlanta, who saw lots of yaws cases in Sierra Leone in the 1970s.Between 1952 and 1964, a campaign supported by WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund screened more than 300 million people in 46 countries, treated more than 50 million, and slashed the number of cases by an estimated 95%. But efforts in the 1960s and ’70s to integrate the military-style program into developing countries’ own fledgling health systems failed. Even as cases of yaws dwindled, other, deadlier diseases, including HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, were becoming more urgent. The campaign also had an inbuilt flaw. Most countries treated only patients with visible symptoms, along with their contacts. But for every active case, five or six latent carriers may exist whose disease can reactivate, sometimes many years later, and infect others. But the campaign fizzled out in the 1970s and ’80s. Penicillin had its drawbacks. The injections—in the buttock, with a thick, hollow needle—are painful and can introduce bloodborne pathogens if not done safely; penicillin allergy is a problem as well. After cases had been slashed by some 95%, the campaign became a victim of its own success. Yaws faded from a global priority to a forgotten disease.That is now changing, thanks largely to Mitjà, an assistant professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain. In 2012, he published a paper in The Lancet showing that yaws can be cured with a single dose of the oral antibiotic azithromycin. That much safer and easier treatment can be given not only to infected people, but also to entire at-risk populations. The study—”perhaps the most important [paper] on yaws in the past 50 years,” as David Mabey of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) wrote—revived the dream of eradication. WHO is now spearheading a new global attack plan. If it succeeds, it would be a major feat, because only one human disease has been eradicated: smallpox, in 1980. (Campaigns to end polio and Guinea worm disease are in their final stages.) Yaws would also be the first bacterial disease to be wiped out.But success isn’t guaranteed. The scale of the challenge is uncertain because no one knows how many yaws cases remain—or just how many countries are still afflicted. Global health’s usual benefactors, having picked other priorities, have refused to open their wallets. And some scientists say Mitjà and WHO ignore an inconvenient fact: Unlike other agents marked for eradication, the yaws bacterium—or a close relative—also infects monkeys and apes, suggesting the disease could jump back into the human population at any time.Those questions haven’t deterred Mitjà, whose tireless campaign—mixing science, medicine, and advocacy—has made him a celebrity in Catalonia, his native region of Spain. This spring, together with PNG health officials and with modest funding from a group of donors, he launched the first of three mass treatments with azithromycin, each 6 months apart, to test the feasibility of eradication. Jeremiah’s village on the island of New Ireland is part of the study area. “Tomorrow, a team will come with yaws medicine. Everybody will get the drug,” Mitjà said after the boy, now smiling faintly, had hopped off his lap. “Jeremiah’s ulcers will be gone within a few weeks,” he promised the boy’s mother.Lasting damageIn 2010, a medical center on Lihir, a very remote island, advertised a temporary position for a doctor. About one-third the size of New York City, Lihir has 18,000 inhabitants and one of the world’s biggest gold mines, operated by an Australian company named Newcrest Mining Limited, which also supports the clinic. Mitjà, who had finished his residency and taken a course in tropical medicine at LSHTM, answered the ad.Mitjà grew up in a small town 40 kilometers northeast of Barcelona. He loved travel and languages, and as a medical student at the University of Barcelona he spent 3 months at a rural clinic in the state of Punjab in India—a “life-changing experience” that strengthened his desire to work on tropical diseases and help the poor. Lihir had both, in abundance. The local population has not benefited much from the riches dug up here; few villages have electricity or running water, and living conditions are unhygienic. But Mitjà wanted to do science as well as practice medicine. “He came to me and said, ‘Look, if I take this offer, do you think we could attach a research component to that?’” says Quique Bassat, Mitjà’s Ph.D. supervisor and mentor at ISGlobal. “I said: ‘Yeah, but I have no clue what you could do there.’” 5 14 Cameroon 3 Port Moresby Unfinished business Sixty years ago, yaws affected a broad belt of countries around the equator. An early eradication effort sputtered out, and the disease persists in at least 14 countries. It may be present in others; so far only Ecuador and India have been declared yaws-free. Benin Ghana Lihir Island On Lihir, Mitjà set out to find a better and easier cure. Azithromycin, an antibiotic not available in the 1950s, was a logical candidate. Most antibiotics destroy bacteria only when they multiply; because Treponema divides slowly, once every 30 hours or so, a single-dose antibiotic can work only if it has a long half-life, as intramuscular penicillin does. Azithromycin fits the bill, and in a trial with 250 children, Mitjà showed that a dose of 30 milligram per kilogram of body weight works just as well as the painful penicillin shot.Mitjà told WHO about his findings before The Lancet published them. “We were very thrilled,” says Kingsley Asiedu, a medical officer responsible for yaws in the agency’s department of control of neglected tropical diseases. The finding promised to revolutionize yaws control, Asiedu says: “A single dose, no more injections—that means you can treat populations very quickly.” And that would help get rid of the latent cases.WHO had never officially called off the eradication campaign—that would have been admitting defeat—but for all practical purposes it had stopped. After hearing about the findings from Lihir, the agency included new, bold targets in its 2012 global road map for neglected tropical diseases: Countries in Asia and the western Pacific Ocean could get rid of yaws by 2015, and those in Africa by 2020. Asiedu also invited Mitjà, Mabey, and other experts, as well as health officials from affected countries, to discuss a new plan to reach those goals. (It was named the Morges Strategy, after the medieval town on Lake Geneva in Switzerland where they met.) Optimism was back.Pilot projects got underway in several countries. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ghanaian health officials set up a mass treatment study in Ghana—Asiedu’s home country, heavily affected by yaws. In the Solomon Islands, mass administration of azithromycin was already planned for another disease, trachoma; LSHTM researchers decided to track how the drug affected yaws. And Mitjà turned Lihir into a giant lab by setting up an island-wide mass treatment program. In April 2013, teams of health officials and volunteers swarmed out to all 28 villages to give azithromycin tablets to the entire population. The effort treated 83% of the population. After 12 months, the number of active cases had dropped from 323 to 33, the team reported in 2015 in The New England Journal of Medicine—an almost 90% reduction. The outcome was good, if not stellar. Central African Republic 5 NewIreland The new eradication effort is based on mass drug administration. Volunteers dole out antibiotic tablets to everyone, regardless of whether they show symptoms. AtlanticOcean 10 IndianOcean Republic of the Congo Declared yaws-free Things weren’t going well. Only three people from what was supposed to be a five-member team had shown up at the site, a small field surrounded by a few simple homes. Just two dozen people had gathered, waiting for the distribution to begin. Mitjà looked alarmed. “There should have been hundreds of people here already,” he says. The team leader, a PNG scientist named Michael Soi, said the group had problems getting organized and people weren’t very motivated to come. The island had also recently seen a mass treatment campaign against lymphatic filariasis, and a certain fatigue had set in. Mitjà wasn’t buying it. “We need 100% coverage,” he exhorted, “otherwise, we will not have eradication.””We will try,” Soi said, “but this is Papua New Guinea.” New Ireland 7 7 Currently endemic Children in Papua New Guinea are at high risk of yaws. The earlier eradication effort failed to treat kids with symptomless infections, who could later spread the disease. Côte d’Ivoire BRIAN CASSEY 11 Democratic Republic of the Congo 10 1 Bacteria from yaws ulcers can infect another person when they enter through wounds or scratches. Togo Philippines 1 2 9 13 11 6 That result also led to a research revival. Mitjà recruited new collaborators, including Sheila Lukehart, a syphilis expert at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Michael Marks, a young scientist at LSHTM who had worked in the Solomon Islands. The scientists studied diagnostic tests, epidemiology, and the feasibility of eradication. In PNG, Mitjà’s work was welcomed, says Wendy Houinei, a health extension officer with the PNG Department of Health in Port Moresby, the capital. “Yaws is an important public health problem, and he made it a priority,” she says. Houinei says she especially appreciates Mitjà’s efforts to help build up local research capacity and clinical expertise. “He’s also very easy to get along with,” she says.But the work took a personal toll. Getting anything done in PNG can be exhausting, he says, and being away from his partner, Sergi Gavilán, for 8 months a year made it harder. “I missed him and my family so much that at one point I was very close to leaving Lihir.” In 2015, the University of Barcelona agreed to give Gavilán a position as an administrator to help with the project. “Now, I don’t think about going back to Spain,” Mitjà says.Meanwhile, his work attracted attention back home. A 2015 documentary about Mitjà stole many hearts—especially in Catalonia, a fiercely independent-minded region that loves its heroes, Bassat says. “People saw a sweet, young guy, very hardworking, ready to sacrifice himself by going and living in this crazy faraway place.” The documentary also helped Mitjà raise donations, from both charities and private citizens, some as small as €20.Some news stories in Spain cast Mitjà as a lone hero who would singlehandedly eradicate yaws within a few years. “This is a very dangerous thing,” Bassat says. “I told him, ‘You need to be careful with these headlines because it’s going to bounce back if you don’t succeed.’”A treatment for everyoneNobody believes WHO’s 2020 target is feasible—”I always thought it seemed rather ambitious, to say the least,” Mabey says. (Asiedu says WHO may soon set a new deadline.) Adding to the concerns, the Lihir experience showed that one massive round of azithromycin isn’t enough because too many people are missed. That’s why Mitjà’s team is now trying three rounds of mass drug administration (MDA) at 6-month intervals in a district on New Ireland that’s home to some 60,000 people.The team is finding that mass treatment in a poor country takes persistence. New Ireland sits about 80 kilometers from Lihir; a speedboat covers the distance in 2 hours. Mitjà, suffering from seasickness, sat on the deck with his eyes closed almost that entire time, his head propped up on a folded mosquito net. Gavilán sat next to him, but the roar of the engine made talking almost impossible. Accompanying them was a Spanish Ph.D. student from the University of Lisbon, Camila González-Beiras, who had spent several weeks training 20 teams of local health workers and volunteers—some 100 people altogether—to administer the drug. The next day, a driver took González-Beiras and Mitjà to the outskirts of a town named Namatanai, to see one of the teams in action on its first day. Timor-Leste Papua New Guinea 4 PacificOcean 12 4 13 Yaws hangs on in Papua New Guinea decades after a global eradication effort. Previously endemic (current status unknown) By Martin EnserinkJul. 19, 2018 , 2:00 PM WHO At last, an older woman began to dispense azithromycin tablets from a big jar, noting each person treated. To determine the success of the operation, recording the number of yaws cases at the start was vital. So whenever the team found someone with an active ulcer, Helen Soi, a nurse and Michael’s wife, did a diagnostic test that took about 20 minutes. It required a series of steps she hadn’t fully mastered; Mitjà had to walk her through the entire procedure as more ulcer patients were lining up behind her.After a while, dozens more people started to arrive—”This is beginning to look more like an MDA,” Mitjà said—but the scene also became more chaotic. Mitjà tried to get the newcomers to line up and asked Michael Soi to help. “Michael, you support your team now? Because they are stressed out,” he said. “You organize it.””I’m glad you got to see that,” Mitjà said later, in the van heading back to the village. “This is also part of an eradication. It’s not always easy.” “It was a disaster,” González-Beiras said at dinner the next evening.But later she and Mitjà sounded a more positive note. It was only the first day of the 2-week program, Mitjà said; González-Beiras added that teams elsewhere on the island had run a very smooth operation. Her draft report about the mass treatment effort, finished in July, said almost 80% of the target population had been treated in the first round. Asiedu says he expects the second and third rounds, 6 and 12 months later, to do better.Roadblocks aheadThe microbe itself could introduce new obstacles. In a follow-up analysis of the Lihir mass treatment program, published last February, Mitjà and colleagues showed that resistance to azithromycin had developed in five patients. They were all in one village, suggesting that the bacteria in one patient developed resistance, which then spread to others. The finding will complicate eradication plans and make them more expensive. After doling out the pills, teams will have to follow up on every patient to check whether their ulcers have healed. If not, a traditional penicillin shot is in order.Meanwhile, Sascha Knauf of the German Primate Center in Göttingen has questioned whether eradication is even possible—at least in the traditional sense. According to the International Task Force for Disease Eradication (ITFDE), a respected think tank at The Carter Center, a disease isn’t “eradicable” if it occurs not only in humans but also in animals; in such cases, the best achievable result is “elimination as a human health problem” or some such. Old studies, as well as recent ones by Knauf, show that the same subspecies of T. pallidum also infects chimpanzees, gorillas, and smaller primates in Africa. The bacterium might be able to jump to humans—for instance, when somebody slaughters an infected monkey. In a study published in 1971—and now considered unethical—researchers inoculated people with Treponema bacteria from West African baboons and found they could cause an infection. Yaws eradication planners “are not thinking about this from a one-health approach,” Knauf says, referring to the notion that animal and human health are inextricably linked. PapuaNew Guinea BRIAN CASSEY Indonesia 12 On a remote Pacific island, this doctor has revived a 60-year quest to eradicate a disfiguring disease BRIAN CASSEY The issue has led to fierce arguments. Asiedu is so annoyed by Knauf’s papers that he prefers not even to discuss them. No evidence exists of yaws jumping from primates to humans in nature, he says. “As long as they haven’t shown that, it’s a distraction,” he says—one that could sap enthusiasm for eradication. Knauf, who calls the debate “very political,” says finding watertight evidence for species crossover is going to be hard because such events are probably rare—but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Hopkins, a member of ITFDE, says he too has “worries” about the natural reservoir.Money is another concern. Some countries may be able to finance eradication themselves—Indonesia already did one mass treatment—but many others would need help. A 2015 cost-effectiveness study by WHO health economist Christopher Fitzpatrick put the cost of eradication somewhere between $75 million and $1 billion; given the disease burden, “that’s within the ballpark of the best buys in global health,” he says. And raising money and awareness “should not be that hard,” says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, a successful campaigner for other neglected tropical diseases himself.But that isn’t the experience Mitjà and WHO have had. “We’ve knocked on everybody’s door,” Mitjà says. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has declined: It’s sticking to a list of 10 diseases included in a 2012 agreement called the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, a spokesperson says. The Carter Center, which is underwriting the fight against Guinea worm disease, needs to finish that job, Hopkins says. “An enlightened philanthropist could singlehandedly fund the eradication,” Fitzpatrick says. “It has been a surprise that there hasn’t been a taker.” On the upside, a big Brazilian pharmaceutical company named EMS last year pledged to donate 153 million tablets of azithromycin.Reaching the rest of the worldFour weeks after the start of the New Ireland study, Mitjà and Gavilán were back in Barcelona. On a Tuesday evening in late May, they strode into Catalonia’s National Theater for a gala. Mitjà wore a yellow ribbon signaling solidarity with Catalan politicians in prison or exile after last year’s constitutional crisis. The newspaper El Periódico was about to announce its Catalan of the Year 2016 award. (The event was supposed to be held in 2017, but was postponed because of a strike.) Mitjà was one of three finalists, competing against a cartoonist and a priest known for his social work.Just 4 days earlier, Mitjà had bagged a Medicines & Solidarity Award from a health insurance company, in the presence of former Spanish Queen Sofía. Tonight’s event had plenty of VIPs as well. Catalonia’s new president, Quim Torra, gave a speech. Thunderous applause erupted when the evening’s emcees tore open an envelope and announced that Mitjà, seated in row 7 with his family, had won. Mitjà’s face turned red, and he cried as he made his way to the stage.In his acceptance speech, he recalled police violence against Catalans during the 2017 referendum on independence before he addressed inequities in global health. And he made a plea for money: “It is within our reach: Catalonia can become an even stronger force for solidarity,” he said. “And if we achieve our goals … we will have eradicated the second disease in history.” Afterward, at a reception, people approached Mitjà to take selfies; women he didn’t know hugged and kissed him.The contrast was striking. At home, his fight against yaws had made Mitjà a star and turned pian, Catalan for yaws, into a household word. But in the wider world, the disease remained almost as unknown as it was 8 years ago. Mitjà’s hopes that the 2015 documentary would trigger an international breakout had not come true; its producers have been unable to sell an English version outside of Spain. “Making people aware of this disease, not only in Barcelona but also in the rest of the world,” he said, “that would be my dream.”With reporting by Luca Tancredi Barone. Reporting for this story was supported by the Pulitzer Center.last_img read more

Wolves complete perfect homestand, beat Blazers

first_imgHotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Timberwolves: At Orlando on Tuesday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next TIP-INSTrail Blazers: Portland’s 10 points in the second quarter wasn’t the Blazers’ lowest output of the season — they scored only six against Toronto on Oct. 30. It was, however, the fewest points allows by Minnesota in any quarter at Target Center since Philadelphia scored nine in the second on Dec. 3, 2014. … The Blazers reserves outscored Minnesota’s 42-25.Timberwolves: It’s the third time in franchise history the Wolves have won five games on a homestand. … Jamal Crawford had 10 points off the bench. … There were plenty of purple Vikings jerseys in the crowd, which broke out into its loudest cheers of the first half when the final score of Minnesota’s last-second playoff victory was flashed on the scoreboard. The crowd also broke out into a few impromptu “Skol!” chants. .UP NEXT:Trail Blazers: Host Phoenix on Tuesday night.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Collison, Oladipo lead balanced Pacers to rout of Phoenix BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusivescenter_img Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View comments Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, front left, and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, front right, go after the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)MINNEAPOLIS — Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Jeff Teague added 22 and the Minnesota Timberwolves wrapped up a perfect homestand with a 120-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 11 rebounds for his NBA-leading 37th double-double of the season. The Wolves had their first 5-0 homestand since 2001, winning each game by double figures against the likes of New Orleans, Cleveland, Oklahoma City and New York.ADVERTISEMENT ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims They led by as many as 26 against Portland to send the Trail Blazers to their third loss in a row.Damian Lillard scored 21 points, and C.J. McCollum and Pat Connaughton each had 18 for Portland. The Blazers had scored 110 points or more in seven straight game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThat streak was in jeopardy early thanks to the Blazers’ paltry 10-point second quarter and 18 total turnovers.Portland led by five early and ended the first quarter up 33-31. But the Blazers went cold in the second, shooting only 2 for 15 and scoring more points off six free throws in the quarter. The Wolves, meanwhile, put together a 14-0 run and steadily pulled away. LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

Lalit Modi’s RCA terms its suspension by BCCI arbitrary

first_imgThe Board of Control for Cricket in India has suspended the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) whose new body has been just elected with Lalit Modi as its president on Tuesday.Lalit Modi defeated his opponent Rampal Sharma by a landslide margin of 26-7.Mehmood Abidi, newly-elected vice president, has termed it suspension arbitrary and questioned fairness of acting BCCI president Shivlal Yadav.”We expected a fair decision from him but he has acted like a stooge of N. Srinivasan, harming RCA like never before,” Abidi told India Today.”You may suspend an individual member but suspending an entire state association is ridiculous,” he said, but added that he was yet to see the notice of suspension.Lalit Modi is expected to address his team through video conference in the afternoon as he returns as president of RCA, five years after he lost in March 2009.He said through his victory in RCA , he wanted to prove a point to N.Srinivasan.Will Modi return to India?His return to India will be easier if a BJP government comes to power despite senior leader Arun Jaitley known to be against him in BCCI.Modi’s passport remains impounded but cases against him are expected to be diluted.Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had been instrumental in his rise but this time, she will help him while keeping him away from her administration.Modi was accused of interfering in her administration by Congress leader Ashok Gehlot during her previous tenure between 2003 and 2008, an allegation never substantiated.advertisementThis was in strong contrast to when then Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot ordered police to hound Modi on RCA premises, threaten him with arrest and encouraged his opponents who lodged a series of cases against him and involved the entire state machinery to ensure that Modi lost.Modi lost to Sanjay Dixit in March but Gehlot got re-elections held in December as his close aide Shiv Charan  Mali, RCA general secretary, could not get along with Modi. Modi again lost, this time to CP Joshi, then union minister and present AICC general secretary.Modi’s fortune to rise againElection of the 24-member Modi team was a foregone conclusion. Abidi and Amin Pathan, both close aides of Modi, have been elected as the vice president and Somendra Tiwari as secretary.So was the foregone conclusion about the BCCI threat to act against RCA if Modi, expelled for life, was elected chief.  RCA says it will move court against the BCCI  suspension orders on grounds that its elections were under the Rajasthan Sports Act and not governed by BCCI’s orders.The BCCI has already stopped most of its financial grant to the RCA. Despite the suspension,  the victory marks a change for better in Modi’s fortune, whose emergence in Indian cricket had started with his becoming RCA chief in 2004, ending the regime of the Rungta family.The elections were held on December 19 in an extreme peaceful atmosphere with Raje as the chief minister.For Modi, it is a long legal battle ahead before he gets actively into BCCI affairs. Modi, in the small period of less than five years, made Rajasthan a name on the international scene by improving facilities to world class level, something that was never even attempted earlier.He had the backing of then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje , whose defeat in 2008 also expedited Modi’s decline. Raje wanted to show that things in sports could be improved quickly and through Modi, succeeded in proving that.Modi went further and floated the Indian Premier league and launched a cricket team named after Rajasthan, Rajasthan Royals.However, his rise and flamboyant style led to some vested interests in Rajasthan turning against him.His staying away from India and Rajasthan has exposed all those who thought they could match what Modi did.last_img read more

BREAKING: Former Five-star Receiver Transferring to Oklahoma State

first_imgFormer five-star receiver Tyron Johnson, who announced he was transferring from LSU recently, confirmed to The Times-Picayunne Friday that he will be transferring to Oklahoma State. He even made it official on his twitter account:Pistols firing???? pic.twitter.com/xjALO89NLn— 国王 (@_TBJXIII) August 19, 2016After announcing his intent to transfer, Johnson cited a desire to play in ‘a more wide open offense’ as one of his major factors for leaving LSU. And the first school that came to mind during the process? None other than Oklahoma State.“Oklahoma State has a lot to offer me,” Johnson told The Times-Picayunne. “I really like their staff and their offense is exactly what I was looking for. They were the school I initially thought of when I decided that transferring was the best option for me and I’m glad everything worked out.”Being a five-star prospect in the class of 2015, he was sought after by [almost] all relevant college football programs in the country. But of course, in this instance, he only had one week to pick a school rather than going through a typical recruiting process. Here’s what he said about going through a shortened version of it this past week:“It was kind of strange going through this process again,” a relieved Johnson said. “It was tough enough the first time and I had a whole year to focus on it. I only had a week this time and I was still fighting through the emotions of leaving LSU, too. It was tough, but I’m glad I got through it and ended up where I wanted to be.”As a freshman last season for LSU, he hauled in 9 passes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Which is [just slightly] a dip below the 181 receptions for 3,022 yards and 34 touchdowns he tallied during his final 2 years at Warren Easton HS. Now he has the offense and opportunity he’s looking for to get back to those video game numbers he’s accustomed to putting up.Johnson will be forced to sit out the upcoming season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, and will be eligible in 2017, where he will have 3 years of eligibility remaining. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more