Csection rate rises despite lower overall birth rate report

first_imgTORONTO – A higher proportion of Canadian women are giving birth by caesarean section, even while the overall rate of in-hospital births across the country is declining, says a report released Thursday.The report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows there were more than 103,000 C-sections in 2016-2017, making them the most commonly performed in-patient surgical procedure, followed by knee- and hip-replacement operations.So what’s behind the rise in C-section rates, given that there’s been a push over the years to pare back the number of these procedures whenever possible?“We don’t know for certain, there are a number of factors that can contribute to the increasing rates, one being that the average age of mothers giving birth is going up,” said Greg Webster, CIHI’s director of acute and ambulatory care information services.Overall, the proportion of births in Canadian hospitals performed by C-section rose to 28.2 per cent in 2016-2017, from 26.7 per cent in 2007-2008, said CIHI. At the same time, the hospital birth rate continued to decline, dropping to 102 per 10,000 population in 2016–2017 from 112 per 10,000 population in 2007–2008.Giving birth was the most common reason for hospitalization in Canada, with about 366,000 births in 2016-2017. The average length of hospital stay for a vaginal birth was just under two days, with an average cost of $2,569, while women who had C-sections were admitted for about three days, with that stay costing $4,033 on average.CIHI found there were dramatic variations in C-section rates across the country.British Columbia topped the list with 35.3 per cent of deliveries being done by caesarean, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador at 30 per cent. The Northwest Territories had the lowest C-section rate at 18.5 per cent, with Manitoba and Saskatchewan next-lowest at 23 per cent each.Webster said the significant variation in C-section rates across Canada has been noted for a number of years “and we also see C-section rates increasing moderately over time as well.”The CIHI study cannot explain why B.C.’s rate is so high, but “the data provide an opportunity to see variations so regions and provinces and territories know where they are relative to their neighbouring provinces and territories,” he said.“And then with a concerted effort the data can be analyzed in more detail to try to tease out what are the factors that make sense clinically for higher and lower rates in different regions.”There are a number of reasons why doctors might perform a caesarean, including pregnancies where the mother or baby are at risk for complications. Pre-term infants and those small for their gestational age can lead to a C-section, as can a woman’s preference for how she wants to give birth.“In some cases, some caesareans are done when there was an equally appropriate natural birth opportunity as well,” said Webster. “But again, each province and territory is different in terms of its rural and urban nature, how services are organized and the needs of the individual patients.”Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, said each hospital needs to understand the contributing factors to caesarean-sections in its population, “but the ultimate goal will always be to have a healthy mother and baby.”For Dr. Brenda Wagner, an ob-gyn who sits on the Perinatal Services BC steering committee, said a major factor driving C-section rates is what kind of “maternity culture” exists in any given hospital.When Wagner took over as head of obstetrics at the Richmond Hospital some years ago, she said it had the highest C-section rate in B.C.But she and her team set a goal of improving the culture by taking a multidisciplinary approach to improve quality of care and safety for mothers and babies — and now the hospital has one of the lowest caesarean rates in the province, Wagner said from Richmond, B.C.“When we did that, we inadvertently significantly impacted our vaginal birth rate and our caesarean-section rate,” she said. “It’s the culture of ‘how do you support women to have vaginal births?’”Nurses on the team encourage patients to be up out of bed, to use non-pharmaceutical methods for pain control, and to employ other measures that can lead to a vaginal birth, she said, noting that the maternity ward was also remodelled to include a private circuit, where women can walk with the aid of a nurse during labour.Wagner said there is an effort going on in B.C. to bring together practitioners at hospitals with high vaginal delivery rates and low C-section rates to help their counterparts across the province try to duplicate their success.“There’s a lot of work happening to try to shift the culture but we’ve got a long way to go, and the CIHI data show we’ve got to continue to work on this,” she said. “I’m hoping that the CIHI data will spur this work on.”— Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.last_img read more

Chris Young To Headline Labor Of Love Concert

first_imgCASE Construction Equipment will host “Labor of Love” 2016 on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 5, 2016), featuring headliner and award winning country music star Chris Young.Video: Labor of Love 2016 with Chris YoungProceeds from the concert will benefit Team Rubicon, a disaster response organization comprised of more than 36,000 veterans and first responders, with the goal of helping the organization expand its skills training programs.Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com/laboroflove. Doors open at 11:30 AM and Chris Young takes the stage at 2:30 PM. The concert event, taking place at Racine Festival Park in Racine, Wisconsin (5 5th St, Racine, WI 53403), will also feature local food vendors, and a silent auction will further benefit Team Rubicon.The partnership with CASE and Team Rubicon is a natural one for Young – his father works in construction and multiple family members, including his younger sister, are either in the Marines or are US military veterans.“I appreciate the CASE commitment to helping veterans fill the skills gap through Team Rubicon’s focus on training and development,” says Young. “I’m glad to support the important work they do in not only giving veterans the opportunity to improve job skills but also serve the community.”“Labor of Love” launched in 2015 with the goal of connecting veterans with jobs and training in the skilled trades. The concert raised $10,000 for Wounded Warrior Project in 2015.“We launched Labor of Love last year to build a bridge between job-seeking veterans and a critical shortage of qualified equipment operators and technicians,” says Scott Harris, vice president – North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “This year, we’ve worked with Team Rubicon on their operator training program by providing equipment and support. It’s a natural progression of our relationship and we’re excited to work with TR and Chris Young to further this initiative.”CASE will also be raising funds for Team Rubicon through an online fundraiser. To donate and show support for “Labor of Love” and Team Rubicon, visit CASE.TeamRubiconUSA.org.For more information on the festival, visit CaseCE.com/LaborofLove.last_img read more

Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards rocks Winnipeg

first_imgAPTN National NewsWinnipeg played host to this year’s Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards.This year, over 300 submissions from 140 artists were narrowed down to 21 categories.The star-studded event took place last Friday.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler was there.last_img

Rivers may have flowed on Mars for longer than thought says study

first_imgWashington DC: Water from rivers persisted on Mars much later into its history than previously thought, according to a study which found that the rivers on the Red Planet were wider than those on Earth today. Riverbeds were carved deep into the Martian surface long ago, but the understanding of the climate billions of years ago remains incomplete. Scientists at the University of Chicago in the US catalogued these rivers to conclude that significant river runoff persisted on Mars later into its history than thought. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe study, published in the journal Science Advances, showed that the runoff was intense — rivers on Mars were wider than those on Earth today — and occurred at hundreds of locations on the Red Planet. This complicates the picture for scientists trying to model the ancient Martian climate, said Edwin Kite, assistant professor at University of Chicago. “It’s already hard to explain rivers or lakes based on the information we have. This makes a difficult problem even more difficult,” Kite said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe constraints could be useful in winnowing the many theories researchers have proposed to explain the climate. Mars is crisscrossed with the distinctive tracks of long-dead rivers. NASA’s spacecraft have taken photos of hundreds of these rivers from orbit, and when the Mars rover Curiosity landed in 2012, it sent back images of pebbles that were rounded — tumbled for a long time in the bottom of a river. It is a puzzle why ancient Mars had liquid water, researchers said.Mars has an extremely thin atmosphere today, and early in the planet’s history, it was also only receiving a third of the sunlight of present-day Earth, which shouldn’t be enough heat to maintain liquid water. “Indeed, even on ancient Mars, when it was wet enough for rivers some of the time, the rest of the data looks like Mars was extremely cold and dry most of the time,” Kite said. Seeking a better understanding of Martian precipitation, researchers analysed photographs and elevation models for more than 200 ancient Martian riverbeds spanning over a billion years. These riverbeds are a rich source of clues about the water running through them and the climate that produced it. For example, the width and steepness of the riverbeds and the size of the gravel tell scientists about the force of the water flow, and the quantity of the gravel constrains the volume of water coming through. Their analysis shows clear evidence for persistent, strong runoff that occurred well into the last stage of the wet climate, Kite said.last_img read more

SC Collegium firm on Justices Bose Bopanna

first_imgNew Delhi: Rejecting the government’s objections, the Supreme Court Collegium has reiterated its recommendation to elevate Justices Aniruddha Bose and A S Bopanna to the apex court, observing that nothing adverse has been found regarding their competence, conduct or integrity.The Collegium has also recommended names of Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant for elevation to the apex court. The two resolutions of the Collegium were made public on the apex court’s website on Thursday. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkThe 5-member Collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had met on Wednesday and deliberated on the issue of elevation of the four high court judges. “In view of the above, on due consideration of all aspects mentioned in the file, the Collegium resolves to reiterate the aforementioned recommendation dated 12th April 2019, especially since nothing adverse regarding competence, conduct or integrity of Justices Aniruddha Bose, and A S Bopanna, has been pointed out,” the Collegium said in its May 8 resolution. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenThe government had earlier returned the names of the two judges, citing seniority and representation of regions as the reasons. Justice Bose, whose parent high court is Calcutta, is the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court and is at number 12 in all-India seniority of judges. Justice Bopanna, whose parent high court is Karnataka, is the Gauhati High Court Chief Justice and stands at number 36. The government had returned Justice Bose’s name to the Collegium last year as well when he was recommended to head the Delhi high court. Justice Gavai is a judge of the Bombay High Court and Justice Kant is the incumbent Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. “While recommending the names of Justice B R Gavai and Surya Kant, the Collegium has taken into consideration combined seniority on all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, apart from their competence, conduct and integrity,” said the Collegium, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and R F Nariman, in its May 8 resolution. It added: “The Collegium has also kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the Bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the High Courts as well as to all sections of the society including those belonging to SC/ST/OBC categories, women and minorities. We are also conscious of the fact that some High Courts have remained unrepresented in the Supreme Court “The Collegium, therefore, recommends that Justice B R Gavai and Surya Kant, be appointed as Judges in the Supreme Court of India.” As against the sanctioned strength of 31 judges, the apex court is currently functioning with 27 judges.last_img read more

Qatar Calls for Settlement of Western Sahara Under Moroccos Sovereignty

New York  –  Qatar on Thursday called before the 4th Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to reach a final settlement of the Western Sahara issue in the framework of dialogue and negotiation, so as to guarantee the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco.Speaking at the Committee’s general debate, Qatar’s representative commended the efforts made to reach consensus in the political process initiated in 2007 under the auspices of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy for the implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council in order to ensure the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco.In this regard, he recalled the declaration of the Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Morocco, which noted that Morocco’s autonomy plan is the basis for any solution to this regional conflict. He underlined the need for the General Assembly to support efforts to complete the political process and to preserve the consensual nature of the resolution to be considered by the 4th Committee in this regard. He said that a political solution to this long-standing conflict “will have positive repercussions on the strengthening of cooperation between the countries of the region and will strengthen stability and security in general”. read more

Vasu Reconciliation Minister Keheliya State Minister of Media

Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara was appointed as the Minister of National Integration, Reconciliation, and Official Languages today.Former Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was appointed as the State Minister of Media and Digital Infrastructure today by President Maithripala Sirisena. (Colombo Gazette)

Vancouver Humane Society pleased Bell not sponsoring Stampede rodeo this year

by Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 3, 2012 5:01 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CALGARY – Telecommunication giant Bell Canada is not sponsoring any rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede this year and an animal welfare group says it believes its campaigning had something to do with the move.The Vancouver Humane Society launched an e-campaign in June 2011, urging the public to demand Bell (TSX:BCE) stop sponsoring the rodeo. The campaign included a pre-written letter that could be sent to Bell chief executive George Cope.The society says more than 1,200 people had participated before the page was taken down last Friday when the group learned of Bell’s change.“To us, it’s a significant change,” said humane society spokesman Peter Fricker.“What we hope it means is that it’s showing an increase in corporate distaste for the rodeo and obviously we’re pleased that Bell Canada is no longer a major sponsor, or a sponsor, of the Stampede rodeo.”Bell is still a major sponsor of Stampede events around the rodeo, presenting free live entertainment at the brand new Bell Centennial Plaza on the Stampede grounds.“We are not sponsoring the rodeo this year,” company spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis said in an email. “We have decided to focus on the entertainment part of the Stampede in celebration of its 100th anniversary.”Stampede spokesman Doug Fraser said Bell is still one of the festival’s top sponsors.“The fact of the matter is Bell is still a valued sponsor here at the Stampede at the same level that they were always at,” he said.“They’re putting a goodly amount of money into their sponsorship here on park and we’re thrilled to have them. They just had different business motives to go to and they decided to go with it that way.”The Calgary Stampede annual 10-day celebration of cowboy culture that features the rodeo, chuckwagon races, carnival rides, a plethora of deep fried treats and live music.The animal events have long been a lightening rod for critics. The Vancouver Humane Society has been among the most vocal arguing animals are needlessly harmed in many events.The Vancouver Humane Society recently wrote to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi urging him to join its fight to stop calf roping at the Stampede rodeo.The event features a running calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The rider must catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck. He then dismounts from the horse, runs to the calf and restrains it by tying three legs together in as short a time as possible.“Although the mayor of Calgary has a seat on the board of the Calgary Stampede, the Calgary Stampede has ultimate authority over animal care at the Stampede rodeo,” Nenshi replied in a letter to the humane society. Vancouver Humane Society pleased Bell not sponsoring Stampede rodeo this year read more

Ozzie Smith Auctioning Off Gold Gloves AllStar World Series

Ozzie Smith, perhaps the best defensive shortstop in baseball history, is auctioning off lots of hard-earned hardware, including Gold Gloves, All-Star Game rings, World Series championship rings with the St. Louis Cardinals and more, according to ESPN.com.Available for the right price are Smith’s 13 Gold Gloves, 11 All-Star Game rings, the World Series rings he got for the 2006 and 2011 Cardinals championships and his Roberto Clemente and Lou Gehrig Awards, according to the site.ThThe mass paraphernalia sale is for “estate and family planning,” the site reported, saying it was unaware if Smith had financial concerns. He earned just under $32 million in his career, accoring to Baseball-Reference.com.The site speculated that auctioning the items could be  just to help set up funding for posterity, and not for Smith personally. No further details are available, but any sort of personal money woes would be relatively surprising.Smith, 57, retired after the 1996 season and has had various entrepreneur ventures — like a restaurant and salad dressing — since his playing days.Smith was the Cardinals special instructor during this past spring training.Meanwhile,  college basketball Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight said he selling his championship basketball rings and Olympic gold medal for the education of his grandchildren.A collection of the former coach’s memorabilia will be auctioned by Steiner Sports Memorabilia. It’s part of a sale that features the jersey Yankees pitcher Don Larsen wore while pitching a perfect game in the World Series.“John Havlicek and I were just talking one day about all the stuff we had accumulated over the years,” Knight said Monday from the Denver airport, referring to his college teammate at Ohio State who went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics. “As we talked we decided the money could be very useful to put our grandchildren through college.”The auction, which has already started for some items, runs through Dec. 5 and will feature Knight’s rings from his three NCAA championship teams at Indiana — the undefeated 1976 season and the ones from 1981 and 1987.The company will also sell a sports coat and a warmup jacket given to Knight as coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team in 1984.“I’ve got stuff I didn’t even know I had,” Knight said. “I don’t put anything up in the house. If you came into the house you would think I was a mailman. And I don’t even wear rings.” read more

UNEP study confirms DRCs potential as world environmental powerhouse but warns of

first_imgUNEP says social entrepreneurs hold the key for job creation and green economy transformation in DR Congo. With half of Africa’s forests and water resources and trillion-dollar mineral reserves, the DRC could become a powerhouse of African development provided multiple pressures on its natural resources are urgently addressed. A major Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the DRC by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) underlines the global significance and extraordinary potential of the country’s natural and mineral resources. However, the study warns of alarming trends including increased deforestation, species depletion, heavy metal pollution and land degradation from mining, as well as an acute drinking water crisis which has left an estimated 51 million Congolese without access to potable water.The outcomes of the two-year assessment were released on Monday in Kinshasa, by UNEP’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner, and the DRC’s Environment Minister, Mr José Endundo.Conducted in conjunction with the DRC’s Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, the assessment highlights successful initiatives and identifies strategic opportunities to restore livelihoods, promote good governance and support the sustainability of the DRC’s post-conflict economic reconstruction, and reinforce ongoing peace consolidation.The study’s good news is that most of the DRC’s environmental degradation is not irreversible and there has been substantial progress in strengthening environmental governance. For example, through steps such as regular anti-poaching patrols, the Congolese Wildlife Authority has secured the Virunga National Park, which at the peak of the DRC’s crisis was losing the equivalent of 89 ha of forest each day due to illegal fuel wood harvesting.However, the country’s rapidly growing population of nearly 70 million people – most of whom directly depend on natural resources for their survival – and intense international competition for raw materials are adding to the multiple pressures on the DRC’s natural resource base.Key findings include: The DRC has the highest level of biodiversity in Africa, yet 190 species are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Elephants and mountain gorillas are among the species under threatUp to 1.7 Mt of bushmeat (mainly antelope, duiker, monkey and wild boar) are harvested annually from unregulated hunting and poaching, contributing to species depletionThe DRC’s tropical rainforests extend over 1.55 million km2 and account for more than half of Africa’s forest resources – making them a critical global ecosystem service provider and a potential source of up to $900 million in annual revenue up to 2030 through REDD+The DRC has the largest artisanal mining workforce in the world – around two million people – but a lack of controls have led to land degradation and pollution. Its untapped mineral reserves are of global importance and are estimated to be worth $24 trillionAround 15 t/y of mercury are used in the DRC’s artisanal gold mining operations, making it the second largest source of mercury emissions in AfricaThe Congo basin supports Africa’s largest inland fisheries with an estimated production potential of 520,000 t/y. While at the national level this resource is under-exploited, there are many instances of serious over-fishing pressures at the local levelThe most alarming climate change-related issue is the vulnerability of rain-fed small-scale agriculture. For example, as of 2020, the duration of the rainy season in the drought-prone region of Katanga is expected to reduce from seven months to five monthsThere is a remarkable rise of ‘people-based’ social enterprises, most of which reply on natural resources. Yet with a fragile banking system and limited incentives to formalise transactions, the informal sector’s growth has become a critical structural problem as businesses can operate beyond environmental and labour lawsAs it is still emerging from a long period of State decline and protracted crisis, the provision of basic services, including energy and water supply, and environmental problems in urban centres remain key challenges for the DRCTo support the DRC’s development challenges, a doubling of aid is urgently needed, including an estimated US$200 million per annum for the environment.Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said the assessment highlights strategic opportunities that can support the sustainability of the DRC’s post-conflict economic reconstruction and serve to accelerate peace consolidation efforts. “This assessment confirms the DRC’s unique endowment of natural resources and how they can contribute to sustainable economic growth, but also reveals the legacy of using these resources in fuelling much of the conflict and human tragedy that has plagued its people for too long,” he said.“It is UNEP’s hope the assessment’s outcomes will galvanize action and greater support from the international community and help set the nation on a more sustainable course, capitalising on the opportunities offered by a green economy in the DRC,” the UNEP Executive Director said.The assessment aims to support the creation of enabling conditions for a transition to a ‘green economy’ in the DRC and promote a fundamental rethinking of the country’s ‘frontier’ approach to the use of its natural resources.Speaking at the launch, the Environment Minister, José Endundo, said the government welcomed the assessment which sheds light on important issues and opportunities, including the potential of the carbon market and ecotourism as sources of large-scale financing.“We know from this two-year joint study that the DRC’s vast mineral reserves are again the object of intense foreign competition and that this is placing great pressures on our forests, wildlife and water resources,” Minister Endundo said.“The REDD+ scheme in which the DRC is already engaged could potentially generate the necessary funding to address a wide range of development and environment challenges and we look to such mechanisms to support a sustainable recovery in the DRC,” the Minister said.Funded by the Government of Norway, the UNEP post-conflict environmental assessment covers all of DRC, not only conflict-affected areas, and provides 70 recommendations covering 15 sectors and 13 environmental degradation ‘hot spots’.Key recommendations include:Engaging in a ‘green economy’ transition whereby sustainable reconstruction in the DRC includes capitalizing on the DRC’s emerging social economy to generate ‘green jobs’ and other employment, including for former combatantsDiversifying energy sources as a basis for restarting economic activity. The DRC has a hydropower potential of 100,000 MW – or 13% of the world’s hydropower potential – which could meet domestic needs and generate export revenue from the sale of electricityOvercoming the considerable environmental liabilities of a century of mining – with immediate action to remediate mining pollution ‘hot spots’ in Katanga – by introducing a new, modern mining approach and formalizing the artisanal mining sector to introduce better environmental and occupational health standardsPromote trans-boundary collaboration for sustainable fisheries management in the internationally shared Great Rift Valley LakesStrengthening institutional capacities for disaster preparedness – such as epidemics, volcanic eruptions, floods and forest fires – including early warning systemsMore detailed surveying and mapping of natural resources and integrating the economic valuation of ecosystem services into all development planning.UNEP’s Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the Democratic Republic of Congo: Synthesis Report for Policy Makers is available online at: www.unep.org/drcongo. The study includes input from more than 50 partners including NGOs, universities and the UN family.The assessment focuses on the most urgent environmental and natural resource management issues confronting the DRC, including the links between conflict and natural resources, the environmental impacts of population displacement, forestry resources, protected areas, water resources, fisheries, climate change, mining and environmental governance. The main assessment report is due to be published in early 2012.With this comprehensive study, UNEP sets the stage for long-term international assistance to support the DRC in the sustainable use of its natural resources. UNEP proposes to actively support its main government partner, the Environment Ministry, in leading this effort. A key step will be to prioritise the assessment’s recommendations in a National Environmental Action Plan.last_img read more

Stop paying your mortgage Dont leave your home new advice from the

first_imgTHE IRISH MORTGAGE Holder’s Organisation has called on people who aren’t being offered a sustainable debt solution to stop paying their mortgage and remain in their homes.The ‘No Surrender’ policy will be announced by IMHO chairman David Hall at a conference on mortgage arrears at Griffith College Dublin later today.Estimates by the IMHO of the number of people currently facing such a stand-off with their banks run to 10,000.Hall said that the policy is designed to help “those who are being bullied by banks to hand back their homes”, many of whom are being forced into what he described as “silent repossessions”.Legal processThe IMHO acknowledged that those following this advice will be open to a “legal process of repossession”, and promised to offer all advice and guidance that it could in relation to that process. He also warned, however, that borrowers could be facing legal action on residual debt even if they hand back their house, especially if the debt is sold on to a third party.“Handing back the house and possibly facing more aggressive legal action on the debt could be more stressful.”Hall alleged that many lenders are offering incentives for borrowers to leave their homes, such as payments of furniture removal costs.However, if the borrower leaves and the bank takes repossession of the house, there is often no deal on the residual debt offered.Hall said:“Where a bank will not come to an agreement on the residual debt the borrower should stay in the property and not surrender it. There is no benefit to the borrower surrendering the property.”There has been no forward guidance on the policy issued to lenders, Hall said, adding that some banks had upped the stakes themselves by outlining a veto policy on debt write-downs in front of the finance committee earlier this year.He said that in the context of some of the solutions being offered by banks at the moment, borrowers “may be better off bankrupting themselves in their own time”.Read: ‘The shortest bankruptcy in the world’ – IMHO agrees three month debt deal with banks>Read: News of 100 mortgage write-downs shows crisis ‘akin to Russian roulette’> “There will be phone calls and harassment,” he warned.last_img read more

Greek day out at Double Bay

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Woollahra council is running a Greek cultural day at the Redleaf and Blackburn Gardens called the Greek Day Out. The event will celebrate all the best aspects of Greek culture, with things for young and old. Greek theatre shadow puppets and facepainting will entertain the kids while mum and dad can grave a souvlaki and watch the wide selection of local Greek musical talent. Exhibitions and lectures will also be on offer to get the crowd informed and entertained on all this to do with greek heritage. When: Sunday 24 August from 12:00pm to 4pm Where: Redleaf and Blackburn Gardens, 536 New South Head Rd, Double Bay For more information visit woollahara.nsw.gov.au/GreekDayOutlast_img

150000 Hoverbike Now Available for Preorders

first_img U.S. Army To Test Remote-Controlled Combat VehiclesDomino’s Brings Autonomous Pizza Delivery to Houston The Dubai Police are already utilizing the Hoverbike S3 as part of the city’s plans to adapt “smart city” initiatives.According to Hoversurf, the  Hoverbike S3’s frame was created using different types of carbon fiber technology, and the ergonomics of the pilot’s seat have been improved in the new model to allow the rider to sit comfortably at any height.Photo Credit: HoversurfThe Hoverbike S3 has also been updated with a new hybrid lithium-manganese-nickel battery that allows riders to fly up to 40 minutes in “drone mode.” Safety features include auto-stabilizers, auto-takeoff, and auto-landing; and  an electronic safety system, which includes emergency landing, sound and visual warning system, and anti-interference screening.You can preorder the Hoverbike S3 for $150,000, for delivery in two to 6 months. Hoversurf requires a $10,000 reservation deposit, and takes PayPal.More on Geek.com:Robots to Build Robots at Shanghai FactoryVirgin Orbit Unveils ‘LauncherOne’ RocketPhotographer Creates Camera Lens Out of Ice Ever dreamed of commuting via your very own Star Wars-style hovering vehicle? If you have $150,000 to spare, you’re in luck. The Russian tech company Hoversurf has announced that its Hoverbike S3 2019 vehicles are ready for production and preorders are open.The craft, which weighs around 253 pounds, relies on four heavy-duty propellers to stay airborne. It’s capable of taking an adult rider 16 feet above the ground, at speeds of up to 60 mph for 10 to 25 minutes, depending on weight and weather conditions.Photo Credit: Hoversurfcenter_img Stay on targetlast_img read more

Could Bono Save AMI

first_imgPecker, former CEO at Hachette, also said publishers should at least begin to consider product placement as an untapped revenue stream, although, he said, AMI has “never had that conversation” with marketers and wouldn’t want to “overpromise” without being able to deliver such editorial.Was Bonnie Fuller Worth $2 Million a Year?When asked directly whether Bonnie Fuller—the high-profile editor of Star who last week announced she would resign from AMI—was worth her $2 million annual salary, Pecker said he had no regrets hiring Fuller away from Wenner Media’s Us Weekly. “Looking at the competitive set, I thought it was a perfect investment to make.”“Star was a 60-page tabloid selling on roto-paper,” he continued. “Nobody has ever changed a 60-page tabloid into a 100-page glossy magazine.” Pecker added: “I can’t think of anyone I know who’s more capable and worth more dollars than her to create shareholder value for that magazine.”What Pecker does regret, he said, was moving the National Enquirer from Florida to New York and hiring an entirely new staff from London to run the magazine. When it didn’t work out, he said, “I had to rehire the people I had let go.”While Pecker sees more consolidation coming in the industry—the retailers are going to make that happen—he doesn’t see it happening in the celebrity category. But, he warned, wholesalers are “getting hit hard” with fuel costs, and are moving to less deliveries per week, something that will hurt magazines with weekly distribution. “They’re going to say ‘You get the product there yourself.’”MORE COVERAGE: Fuller’s Boss on Whether She Was Worth It [Portfolio] NEW YORK—With a long-rumored sale to Source Interlink seemingly ground to a halt, American Media Inc. chairman and CEO David Pecker says he’s looking at all options—including an influx of capital similar to what Elevation Partners, the $1.8 billion investment company backed by Bono, the U2 singer, gave Forbes in 2006.“I would do that in a heartbeat,” Pecker said during wide-ranging talk at a Magazine Publishers of America breakfast in New York this morning. But Pecker declined to say if he was in sale or financing talks with any private equity firms, or to give an update on the publicly proposed sale of Weider Publications, the company he bought in 2002. (Pecker now considers the $350 million acquisition his “biggest success.” “People said ‘David overpaid.’ We didn’t. You get what you pay for.”)For the moment, Pecker is focused on improving AMI’s financial footing while building out an events business. He pointed to the successful launch of Men’s Fitness’ Ultimate Athlete, a “seven-figure” event held in Central Park earlier this year, as a prototype for consumer publishers to follow. (Pecker says he’s in discussions with a television producer to take the event on a “five-to-ten city tour” culminating in a television special.)For the National Enquirer and Star, a brand expansion to television would “absolutely require a partner,” similar to what TMZ.com has done in the celebrity space. Television, Pecker said, is “very expensive.”last_img read more

Staffers Asked to Reapply for Jobs Amid Reorganization at Johnson Publishing

first_imgAs a result of the reorganization, Johnson says it expects to “see a net gain” in employee head count. “We are executing a multi-phase reorganization by adding new capabilities to service the changing media environment and expand the presence of our iconic brands while strategically improving our operational efficiencies,” the spokesperson wrote.The spokesperson declined to comment in detail on the process.”Reshaping our organizational design will help ensure that we continue to evolve with the ever-changing media landscape,” chairman and CEO Linda Johnson Rice said in a statement, also e-mailed to FOLIO:.Earlier this month, three of Johnson’s four managing editors—including Ebony’s Lynn Norment and Walter Leavy, and Jet’s Malcolm West—accepted early retirement packages and are no longer with the company.Last year was a tough one for Johnson’s magazines. Ebony saw ad pages fall 14.7 percent while Jet’s pages plummeted 22.3 percent, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures.Layoffs Hit Incisive Media, AgainAmerican Lawyer publisher Incisive Media experienced another round of layoffs last week as 42 staffers were notified that their posititions were eliminated, FOLIO: has learned.The cuts were company-wide and represent roughly 4 percent of the publisher’s overall workforce.In November, nine employees were cut from Incisive’s real estate group. Early last year, the publisher cut more than 40 jobs across the board. RELATED: How to Cleverly Spin Your Next Round of LayoffsChicago-based Ebony and Jet publisher Johnson Publishing is undergoing a “multi-phase” staffing reorganization in which employees will be required to reapply for new positions within the company.In an e-mail to FOLIO:, a Johnson spokesperson indicated that  “current employees are eligible to be considered for new positions.” The initiative is “not targeted to any specific individuals or departments,” the spokesperson wrote.last_img read more

Police name student paramedic 31 who died in Staffordshire collision

first_imgThe BMW driver is receiving treatment for non-life threatening injuries (Image: @SnapperSK) Read MoreMan, 25, jailed for 12 years after arson attack on 15-floor block of flats “Thirty-one-year-old Tammy Minshall, a university student paramedic from Stretton, Burton-upon-Trent, sadly passed away at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham as a result of her injuries.  “Specialist officers continue to support Tammy’s family and they have requested that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.   West Midlands Ambulance Service said Tammy was a first year Staffordshire University student paramedic who had been on placement with West Midlands Ambulance Service at Lichfield ambulance hub since May. The Trust’s Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Nathan Hudson, said: “I offer my sincere condolences to Tammy’s family and friends and my thoughts remain with them at this truly terrible time. Punter found hiding in bushes Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailPolice have named a 31-year-old student paramedic who died following an accident involving an ambulance and a car on a Staffordshire road yesterday evening. Tammy Minshall, from Stretton, in East Staffordshire, was airlifted to hospital following the collision near the junction of Anslow Road and Belmont Road in Needwood, near Burton, just before 6pm on Wednesday (July 3). She was taken to hospital in Birmingham, where she died a short time later. A Staffordshire Police spokesman said:  “Staffordshire Police are now in a position to name the woman who sadly died following a road traffic collision in Needwood, Burton-upon-Trent, yesterday (3 July).  “Emergency services were called to the Anslow Road junction with Belmot Road at around 5.45pm following reports of a collision involving an ambulance and a BMW 3 Series.  The crash happened at about 5.45pm (Image: @SnapperSK) Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital windowcenter_img Read MorePolice want your help to identify two people after damage at education centre   “When it is one of your own, it really hurts and we as an ambulance service are hurting now.  We’re taking the time to provide support to all of our staff who have been affected and continue to offer our support to Tammy’s family at this time. “We have been overwhelmed with the kindness and support of people who have sent messages of condolence. It is truly humbling and reflects the high esteem that people in our profession, like Tammy, are held in.” Staffordshire University Dean of the School of Health and Social Care, Ann Ewans, said: “This has come as a huge blow to our University and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Tammy who has tragically lost her life. We will be working with our staff and students to help them come to terms with what has happened.” Officers from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit continue to investigate the incident. Anyone who witnessed the collision or has dash-cam footage that could assist with the police investigation should contact Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident 619 of 3 July. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Follow StokeonTrentLive Download our app – You can download our free app for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or get the Android version from Google Play.  Follow StokeonTrentLive on Facebook – Like our Facebook page to get the latest news in your feed and join in the lively discussions in the comments. Click here to give it a like! Follow us on Twitter – For breaking news and the latest stories, click here to follow SOTLive on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram – Featuring pictures past and present from across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire – and if you tag us in your posts, we could repost your picture on our page! We also put the latest news in our Instagram Stories. Click here to follow StokeonTrentLive on Instagram. Police search for missing woman Driver named following fatal collisionlast_img read more

Dr Joshua Eckroth on performing Sentiment Analysis on social media platforms using

first_imgSentiment analysis is achieved by labeling individual words as positive or negative, among other possible sentiments such as happy, worried, and so on. The sentiment of the sentence or phrase as a whole is determined by a procedure that aggregates the sentiment of individual words. In this article we’ll demonstrate how to perform sentiment analysis on social media platforms using the CoreNLP library. This article is taken from the book AI Blueprints written by Dr Joshua Eckroth.The book covers several paradigms of AI, including deep learning, natural language processing, planning, and logic programming. Consider the sentence, I didn’t like a single minute of this film. A simplistic sentiment analysis system would probably label the word like as positive and the other words as neutral, yielding an overall positive sentiment. More advanced systems analyze the “dependency tree” of the sentence to identify which words are modifiers for other words. In this case, didn’t is a modifier for like, so the sentiment of like is reversed due to this modifier. Likewise, a phrase such as It’s definitely not dull, exhibits a similar property, and …not only good but amazing exhibits a further nuance of the English language. It is clear a simple dictionary of positive and negative words is insufficient for accurate sentiment analysis. The presence of modifiers can change the polarity of a word. Wilson and others’ work on sentiment analysis (Recognizing contextual polarity in phrase-level sentiment analysis, Wilson, Theresa, Janyce Wiebe, and Paul Hoffmann, published in Proceedings of the conference on human language technology and empirical methods in natural language processing, pp. 347-354, 2005) is foundational in the dependency tree approach. They start with a lexicon (that is, collection) of 8,000 words that serve as “subjectivity clues” and are tagged with polarity (positive or negative). Using just this dictionary, they achieved 48% accuracy in identifying the sentiment of about 3,700 phrases. To improve on this, they adopted a two-step approach. First, they used a statistical model to determine whether a subjectivity clue is used in a neutral or polar context. When used in a neutral context, the word can be ignored as it does not contribute to the overall sentiment. The statistical model for determining whether a word is used in a neutral or polar context uses 28 features, including the nearby words, binary features such as whether the word not appears immediately before, and part-of-speech information such as whether the word is a noun, verb, adjective, and so on. Next, words that have polarity, that is, those that have not been filtered out by the neutral/polar context identifier, are fed into another statistical model that determines their polarity: positive, negative, both, or neutral. Ten features are used for polarity classification, including the word itself and its polarity from the lexicon, whether or not the word is being negated, and the presence of certain nearby modifiers such as little, lack, and abate. These modifiers themselves have polarity: neutral, negative, and positive, respectively. Their final procedure achieves 65.7% percent accuracy for detecting sentiment. Their approach is implemented in the open source OpinionFinder. Sentiment analysis using Natural Language Processing A more modern approach may be found in Stanford’s open source CoreNLP project . CoreNLP supports a wide range of NLP processing such as sentence detection, word detection, part-of-speech tagging, named-entity recognition (finding names of people, places, dates, and so on), and sentiment analysis. Several NLP features, such as sentiment analysis, depend on prior processing including sentence detection, word detection, and part-of-speech tagging. As described in the following text, a sentence’s dependency tree, which shows the subject, object, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions of a sentence, is critical for sentiment analysis. CoreNLP’s sentiment analysis technique has been shown to achieve 85.4% accuracy for detecting positive/negative sentiment of sentences. Their technique is state-of-the-art and has been specifically designed to better handle negation in various places in a sentence, a limitation of simpler sentiment analysis techniques as previously described. CoreNLP’s sentiment analysis uses a technique known as recursive neural tensor networks (RNTN) (Here, a sentence or phrase is parsed into a binary tree, as seen in Figure 1. Every node is labeled with its part-of-speech: NP (noun phrase), VP (verb phrase), NN (noun), JJ (adjective), and so on. Each leaf node, that is, each word node, has a corresponding word vector. A word vector is an array of about 30 numbers (the actual size depends on a parameter that is determined experimentally). The values of the word vector for each word are learned during training, as is the sentiment of each individual word. Just having word vectors will not be enough since we have already seen how sentiment cannot be accurately determined by looking at words independently of their context. The next step in the RNTN procedure collapses the tree, one node at a time, by calculating a vector for each node based on its children. The bottom-right node of the figure, the NP node with children own and crashes, will have a vector that is the same size of the word vectors but is computed based on those child word vectors. The computation multiplies each child word vector and sums the results. The exact multipliers to use are learned during training. The RNTN approach, unlike prior but similar tree collapsing techniques, uses a single combiner function for all nodes. Ultimately, the combiner function and the word vectors are learned simultaneously using thousands of example sentences with the known sentiment. Figure 1: CoreNLP’s dependency tree parse of the sentence, “Self-driving car companies should not be allowed to investigate their own crashes” The dependency tree from the preceding figure has twelve leaf nodes and twelve combiner nodes. Each leaf node has an associated word vector learned during training. The sentiment of each leaf node is also learned during training. Thus, the word crashes, for example, has a neutral sentiment with 0.631 confidence, while the word not has negative sentiment with 0.974 confidence. The parent node of allowed and the phrase to investigate their own crashes has a negative sentiment, confidence 0.614, even though no word or combiner node among its descendants have anything but neutral sentiment. This demonstrates that the RNTN learned a complex combiner function that operates on the word vectors of its children and not just a simple rule such as, If both children are neutral, then this node is neutral, or if one child is neutral, but one is positive, this node is positive, …. The sentiment values and confidence of each node in the tree is shown in the output of CoreNLP shown in the following code block. Note that sentiment values are coded: 0 = very negative 1 = negative 2 = neutral 3 = positive 4 = very positive (ROOT|sentiment=1|prob=0.606 (NP|sentiment=2|prob=0.484   (JJ|sentiment=2|prob=0.631 Self-driving)(NP|sentiment=2|prob=0.511  (NN|sentiment=2|prob=0.994 car)  (NNS|sentiment=2|prob=0.631 companies))) (S|sentiment=1|prob=0.577(VP|sentiment=2|prob=0.457     (VP|sentiment=2|prob=0.587    (MD|sentiment=2|prob=0.998 should)    (RB|sentiment=1|prob=0.974 not))     (VP|sentiment=1|prob=0.703       (VB|sentiment=2|prob=0.994 be)       (VP|sentiment=1|prob=0.614     (VBN|sentiment=2|prob=0.969 allowed)         (S|sentiment=2|prob=0.724           (TO|sentiment=2|prob=0.990 to)           (VP|sentiment=2|prob=0.557             (VB|sentiment=2|prob=0.887 investigate)             (NP|sentiment=2|prob=0.823               (PRP|sentiment=2|prob=0.997 their)               (NP|sentiment=2|prob=0.873                 (JJ|sentiment=2|prob=0.996 own)                 (NNS|sentiment=2|prob=0.631 crashes))))))))   (.|sentiment=2|prob=0.997 .))) We see from these sentiment values that allowed to investigate their own crashes is labeled with negative sentiment. We can investigate how CoreNLP handles words such as allowed and not by running through a few variations. These are shown in the following table: Sentence Sentiment Confidence They investigate their own crashes. Neutral 0.506 They are allowed to investigate their own crashes. Negative 0.697 They are not allowed to investigate their own crashes. Negative 0.672 They are happy to investigate their own crashes. Positive 0.717 They are not happy to investigate their own crashes. Negative 0.586 They are willing to investigate their own crashes. Neutral 0.507 They are not willing to investigate their own crashes. Negative 0.599 They are unwilling to investigate their own crashes. Negative 0.486 They are not unwilling to investigate their own crashes. Negative 0.625 Table 1: Variations of a sentence with CoreNLP’s sentiment analysis It is clear from Table 1 that the phrase investigates their own crashes is not contributing strongly to the sentiment of the whole sentence. The verb, allowed, happy, or willing can dramatically change the sentiment. The modifier not can flip the sentiment, though curiously not unwilling is still considered negative. We should be particularly careful to study CoreNLP’s sentiment analysis with sentence fragments and other kinds of invalid English that is commonly seen on Twitter. For example, the Twitter API will deliver phrases such as, Ford’s self-driving car network will launch ‘at scale’ in 2021 – Ford hasn’t been shy about… with the … in the actual tweet. CoreNLP labels this sentence as negative with confidence 0.597. CoreNLP was trained on movie reviews, so news articles, tweets, and Reddit comments may not match the same kind of words and grammar found in movie reviews. We might have a domain mismatch between the training domain and the actual domain. CoreNLP can be trained on a different dataset but doing so requires that thousands (or 10’s or 100’s of thousands) of examples with known sentiment are available. Every node in the dependency tree of every sentence must be labeled with a known sentiment. This is very time-consuming. The authors of CoreNLP used Amazon Mechanical Turk to recruit humans to perform this labeling task. To summarize, in this article, we have demonstrated how to identify the sentiment, or general mood, of the feedback from customers and the general public on social media platforms (e.g. Twitter). We also performed sentiment analysis using a method based on machine learning using CoreNLP. Master essential AI blueprints to program real-world business applications from the book AI Blueprints by Dr Joshua Eckroth. Read Next How to perform sentiment analysis using Python [Tutorial] Understanding Sentiment Analysis and other key NLP concepts Sentiment Analysis of the 2017 US elections on Twitterlast_img read more

Alan Joyce to chair IATA in 2012

first_imgAlan Joyce will chair IATA from June 2012 Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce will serve as chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Board of Governors from June 2012, IATA has announced.The announcement, made yesterday at the conclusion of the association’s 67th Annual General meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Singapore, will see the Qantas boss succeed newly appointed chairman Peter Hartman, president and chief executive of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.Hartman, who replaces outgoing chairman and FedEx Express chief executive David Bronczek, said he was “honoured and excited” to take on the role at such a “critical time” for air transport.“IATA’s leadership touches all the critical industry issues from safety and security, to environment and Simplifying the Business,” Mr Hartman said.“We must continue our joint efforts towards a sustainable aviation industry, to deliver the needed change to react quickly to crises, and also to proactively modernize processes and spread best practices.”Also announced at the AGM yesterday, was the appointment of former Cathay Pacific chief executive Tony Tyler to the position of Director General and chief executive of IATA, effective from 1 July 2011.Tyler, who takes on the “heavy responsibility” of leading IATA, succeeds departing boss Giovanni Bisignani, whose retirement from the post he held for a decade will see him become Director General Emeritus.“I will be a strong advocate for all of our member airlines,” Mr Tyler said. “My goal is to make the world a better place for airlines to do the important business of connecting 2.8 billion people.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

Tax Reform Could Put Homeownership Out of Reach

first_img June 5, 2017 566 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines Share Homeownership HOUSING mortgage Mortgage Interest Deduction National Association of Home Builders Tax Reform Trump 2017-06-05 Aly J. Yalecenter_img Tax Reform Could Put Homeownership Out of Reach More than 70 percent of Americans believe owning a home is an essential part of the American Dream, but with potential tax reforms on the way that could make homeownership less affordable for many, the National Association of Home Builders says there’s still much work to be done.If President Trump’s plan for tax reform moves forward, a large percentage of American homeowners would be unable to deduct mortgage interest from their federal income taxes. Though the plan does not outright eliminate the deduction, it does raise the threshold of who can use it—and once on the books, it will mean only homeowners with hefty home loans will qualify. This, according to the NAHB, could create an affordability problem.“A key component in the ability of families of all income levels to become homeowners is the mortgage interest deduction, which has been a cornerstone of American housing policy since the inception of the tax code more than 100 years ago,” the NAHB reported.According to data from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the deduction has primarily benefited middle-class taxpayers thus far.Though Granger MacDonald, NAHB Chairman, said the organization has “long fought for sensible reforms to burdensome regulations that needlessly increase the cost of homes for low- and middle-income families,” this deduction doesn’t fall into that category—and raising the threshold could put homeownership out of reach for many Americans.“NAHB supports this tax incentive, as well as provisions that encourage development of affordable housing,” the NAHB stated.Currently, the national homeownership rate is “stalled” at 64 percent, according to the NAHB. As such, the organization says it “must continue working to address the obstacles for many potential homebuyers”—tax code changes included.“We must support the dream of homeownership and not create barriers through unnecessary federal regulations or tax code changes,” MacDonald said.President Trump’s tax code reform isn’t the only change coming down the pipeline for the housing industry. According to the 2018 budget blueprint released in May, the President will also cut $6.2 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, end the Community Block Grant Program, and slash the budget of HUD’s rental assistance program.last_img read more

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first_img Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo For his career, Bishop has one interception, seven forced fumbles, 10 pass deflections and 224 total tackles. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellingcenter_img Top Stories Just two days before their season opener against the San Diego Chargers, the Arizona Cardinals announced Saturday that they’ve released linebacker Desmond Bishop.Bishop, who signed with the team as a free agent on Aug. 14, played in three preseason games with the Cardinals, recording four total tackles.Before signing with Arizona, Bishop played parts of seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more