News Scan for May 22, 2015

first_imgSierra Leone, Guinea report 10 more Ebola casesSierra Leone has reported three more lab-confirmed Ebola infections in two different districts, while a case detection push in Guinea’s Forecariah district—a disease hot spot over the past several weeks—has turned up seven more cases, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) reported today.The cases in Sierra Leone are new ones reported since the last World Health Organization weekly epidemiologic update on May 20, reflecting cases reported to the country’s National Ebola Response Centre between May 19 and May 21. Two infections are in Western Area Urban district, and the other is in Port Loko. One of the Western Urban Area cases prompted the quarantine of six households near Freetown.Meanwhile, the cases in Guinea were reported between May 16 and May 19, the first 4 days of a case-finding and sensitization campaign targeting Forecariah district.The cases lift the overall outbreak total to 26,971 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in the three main outbreak countries. The number of deaths has reached 11,122, according to UNMEER.May 22 UNMEER update Qatar reports another MERS infectionFor the second day in a row, Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH) reported a new MERS-CoV case, the country’s fourth this year.The patient is a 73-year-old Qatari citizen who is hospitalized with severe pneumonia, according to a translated SCH statement flagged and posted by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog. Yesterday the SCH announced a MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection in a 29-year-old foreigner who works at a camel farm.According to a case list kept by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board, the latest case lifts Qatar’s total from the virus to 15, which includes 6 deaths.Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported two deaths in previously announced case-patients. They include a 30-year-old Saudi woman from Hofuf and a 36-year-old Saudi man from Khamis Mushait. The country’s number of infections remained at 1,002, with the newly reported deaths lifting the fatality total from the disease to 436. The MOH added that 558 people have recovered from MERS, while 7 are still in treatment and 1 is in home isolation.May 22 Avian Flu Diary post May 22 Saudi MOH statement Salmonella outbreak linked to raw tuna grows to 53 casesA Salmonella outbreak apparently associated with raw tuna in sushi has increased to 53 cases in nine states, with most cases in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported yesterday. The new number is up by two cases from a day earlier.The source of contamination has not been conclusively determined, but 34 of 36 sick people who were interviewed said they had eaten sushi containing raw tuna in the week before their symptoms began, the CDC said.California has reported 31 of the 53 cases. Other states and their numbers are Arizona, 10; New Mexico, 6, and 1 each in Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.Illness-onset dates ranged from Mar 5 to May 3, the CDC said. Among 46 people with available information, 10 were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.The outbreak involves Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+), an unusual strain. It typically causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever starting 12 to 72 hours after exposure, the CDC said, but it doesn’t cause paratyphoid fever, enteric fever, or typhoid fever.No common brand or supplier of raw tuna linked to illnesses has been identified so far, and hence there are no specific preventive steps for restaurants, retailers, or consumers to take, the agency said.But the CDC repeated its warning that those at increased risk for complications of foodborne illness—children under age 5, seniors, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised—should not eat any raw fish or raw shellfish.May 21 CDC statement Related May 19 CIDRAP News itemlast_img read more

China reports 17 H7N9 cases as fast disease progression noted

first_imgChina’s weekly number of H7N9 avian flu cases continues to slowly decline following an unprecedented spike of cases over the winter, with 17 more illnesses, 3 of them fatal, reported in the past week.Also, a research team from China published an analysis of cases in Jiangsu province this season, which raises questions about whether illnesses have become more severe over the past few H7N9 waves.New cases in 6 Chinese provincesCiting mainland health officials, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said today in a weekly update that 17 new cases were reported from Mar 24 to Mar 30 in six provinces, most of them in Hunan, Jiangsu, and Guangxi provinces. All patients were adults, with illness onsets ranging from Mar 6 to Mar 24.Sixteen of the patients had exposure to poultry or poultry markets, a known risk factor for contracting H7N9.China has now reported at least 555 cases and 179 deaths in the fifth H7N9 wave. The country first reported the disease in 2013.Experts probe reasons for H7N9 surgeThe analysis of H7N9 cases in Jiangsu province appeared yesterday in the latest issue of Eurosurveillance.Jiangsu is one of the most affected provinces regarding H7N9 cases and is part of southern China’s poultry production hub. The report by Jiangsu researchers covers 109 fifth-wave cases reported through Jan 31, a number that exceeds all of the cases reported for the first four H7N9 waves in that province.Ten of Jiangsu’s 13 cities have been affected this season, with officials reporting a possible human-to-human case cluster and a coinfection with seasonal flu, presumably H3N2.The demographic profile of Jiangsu’s cases this season is similar to previous H7N9 waves, but the investigators said that, over the past three waves, disease progression seems faster, with the median time from symptom onset to intensive care unit admission decreasing from 9 to 10 days to 7 days. Likewise, the median time from symptom onset to death has also become shorter: 13.5 for the current wave, compared with 15 to 28 days for the last four waves.Genetic analysis of strains from recent Jiangsu cases, however, showed no known mutations that would make the virus more transmissible to people, easier to spread among people, or resistant to neuraminidase inhibitors, the most commonly used class of antiviral drugs.A December spike in cases could have been influenced by weather conditions as well as higher levels of contamination in poultry, the authors said, adding that an increase in environmental positives hints that the virus might be more resistant to higher ambient temperatures. They added, though, that more work is needed to analyze genetic sequences and to study the interactions among the factors that lead to human infections.Several cities, including Suzhou, Wuxi, and Changzhou, temporarily closed live-poultry markets in December, which was followed by a case decline in January, with an even steeper drop in February.The group concluded that it’s crucial to monitor the pandemic potential and the impact that recent genetic changes may have on the poultry industry. Also, they said more efforts are needed to more quickly identify the disease in people, especially at community clinics, which is where nearly half of H7N9 patients first seek medical care.See also:Mar 31 CHP H7N9 updateMar 30 Eurosurveill reportlast_img read more

East Hampton Delays Tax Grievance Day

first_imgThe Town of East Hampton rescheduled property tax assessment grievance day to Tuesday, June 16. It had been scheduled for May 21. The town’s tentative tax roll was filed May 1 and can be viewed online. The process, discussed during the virtual May 7 town board meeting, will be quite different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution pushing the date back includes language from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s April 20 executive order making the town’s action possible. The resolution changes the law to allow “notice of the filing of the tentative roll to be published solely online so long as the date for hearing complaints is prominently displayed, to suspend in-person inspection of the tentative roll, and to allow local boards of assessment review to hear complaints remotely by conference call or similar service, provided complainants can present their complaints through such service and the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding.” The tentative assessment roll is a PDF document over 3100 pages long and can be accessed through the assessor’s office page on the town’s website. The site also features a guidebook on the grievance process, and the needed forms. As of May 11 not all the information had been updated to reflect the town board’s resolution, though the main assessor’s page was up to date. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc also discussed the May 31 due date for property taxes. He told the board, and members of the public watching the teleconferenced meeting on LTV, that when he had once went to pay his taxes June 1, he learned the hard way that if even just one day late, you’re forced to pay your taxes to the county, instead of the town, and there can be penalties involved. Amid this novel coronavirus spread however, the supervisor said that “Suffolk County has the ability to waive the penalties and interest due” if the inability to pay by May 31 can be shown to be directly related to the pandemic. Another resolution passed by the town board May 7 was the approval of all five East Hampton Town hamlet studies, which will be incorporated into the town’s comprehensive plan, its blueprint for future development and change. All five saw some measure of controversy arise during the drafting process, which took several years. Van Scoyoc also paid homage to the late Rick Del Mastro, the former chairman of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee, who had long pushed the idea of a hamlet study for Wainscott. Del Mastro died last month after contracting COVID-19. The supervisor also praised his predecessor, Larry Cantwell, for his role in moving the five hamlet studies along, so that they could be completed simultaneously, as well as former planning director for the town, Marguerite Wolffsohn. The hamlet studies are available online on the town’s [email protected] Sharelast_img read more

Paddy Power bolsters retail racing content with The Racing Partnership (TRP)

first_imgShare Related Articles Share Submit StumbleUpon Paddy Power raises awareness of Missing People with Motherwell ‘silhouette’ stand August 7, 2020 Updating the market, Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) has announced that it has agreed a long-term racing media rights deal The Racing Partnership (TRP).The partnership will see TRP content distributed throughout PPB’s Paddy Power retail betting estates from the 1 January 2017.TRP racing content will now include UK all-weather racing from Lingfield Park, Southwell and Wolverhampton tracks. Additionally, Paddy Power estates will gain broadcasts of all 15 Arena Racing Company owned-racecourses and seven independent racecourses from January 2018.Commenting on the agreement, Manging Director for Retail at Paddy Power Betfair, Dan Taylor said: “Paddy Power Betfair is delighted to have entered into this agreement with The Racing Partnership to ensure that customers in all of our shops across Ireland and the UK will continue to see fixtures from TRP racecourses, as well as racing from South Africa.”Director of The Racing Partnership, Mark Kingston, welcomed PPB as content partners: “This is a significant step for The Racing Partnership as it continues to establish itself in the market. As one of the leading operators in the UK and Ireland, we are delighted to have agreed a deal with Paddy Power Betfair. This follows strong take up from independents in both the UK and Ireland.”The deal with Paddy Power Betfair brings the total number of UK and Irish betting shops (Licensed Betting Offices – “LBOs”) who are signed up to TRP to more than 1,800 shops.  Larger independent LBOs who are taking the service include Boylesports, Jenningsbet and Stan James, with more recent signings including McLeans, Mark Jarvis and Toal’s bookmakers Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 FSB selects Glenn Elliott as new COO August 12, 2020last_img read more

Harvard admissions investigation prompts mixed reactions from Asian-American students

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) —  To achieve an exceptional college application has become seemingly more and more difficult — at least for certain groups of students. Ben Huynh, a Vietnamese-American born to immigrant parents and raised in Chicago, received a 2400 on his SAT, had perfect grades, held leadership positions and was very involved in his passion for music, all elements of an impeccable application by most standards. With his outstanding résumé, one would expect him to get into at least one of his top schools, but was rejected from most of them, including Harvard. “I was a little disappointed,” Huynh said, adding he never once blamed under-represented minorities as part of the problem. Despite his initial frustration, he said he remains a firm advocate of affirmative action. Though flawed, he said, the policy provides a level of balance that plays only a part in what is a complex and multifaceted admissions process. Huynh ended up accepting a full ride to University of Chicago and is happy with how things turned out. “I don’t think I’d do anything differently,” he said. “I didn’t see the point to racialize myself, there are other more important factors to address.” Huynh’s response is one of many mixed reactions from the Asian-American community to the ongoing debate about college admission practices, an issue brought back to light when the Department of Justice launched an investigation into the use of race in Harvard University’s admissions practices. In November, the DOJ demanded Harvard to turn over admissions records as part of its investigation to examine whether Harvard is in violation of Title VI, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin” in Federal funded programs. The investigation began as the national conversation about the controversial practice of affirmative action continues. The concern that top universities like Harvard may be limiting the numbers of Asian-Americans it admits in favor of other minorities as a way to create a diverse student body is mirrored by other lawsuits like the one filed by the Student for Fair Admissions in 2014. That suit alleges Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian-Americans by limiting the number of Asian students who are admitted. Edward Blum, president of Student for Fair Admissions and the legal strategist behind the 2014 lawsuit, formed the non-profit organization with the goal to eliminate racial preferences in college admissions. Blum praised the investigation as a “welcomed development,” in a statement. “In order to create true diversity there are far better ways to go about it without raising the bar for some and lowering for others,” Blum told ABC News. However, some Asian-American students don’t see it that way. As a Chinese-American student at Harvard, Raymond Tang said he understood the need for policies like affirmative action and the innate selectivity in elite colleges, especially Ivy League schools. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t get into Harvard, because I expect it to be hard to get in,” Tang told ABC News. With a 2340 SAT score, six Hong Kong national medals in figure skating and numerous other successes in academia and the arts, Tiffany Lau is also a student with impeccable qualifications. Now a 20-year-old History & Literature and Theater, Dance & Media major at Harvard, she too, emphasized the expected competitiveness in college admissions. Lau said she believes any applicant, regardless of race, should be expected to have “more than just great scores and impressive resume.” In order to examine a person as a whole, she said, one must evaluate the components that make up the person’s identity. And that’s why she would not support a race-blind admissions process, “as an individual’s race is a central part of how they navigate the world, how they grew up and who they are,” said Lau. Similarly, Tang said he believes schools are justified to accept students for different reasons. “If there wasn’t a way to accommodate different experiences, they’ll end up with a homogeneous pool of students,” he said. Others hold similar opinions to Blum and accept the current system as an ugly truth. Michael Paik, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania who scored over 2300 on the SAT and was a straight A student, remembered consciously shaping his application to differentiate himself from other applicants who may be perceived as more “traditional” Asian-American students. Paik said it’s a “commonly known thing” among Asian American households, since as a group, children tend to be raised in a culture where academic excellence is prioritized, making their application pool more competitive. Even his non-Asian friends, some who are at the opposite end of the affirmative action spectrum, admitted that his applications will have to be much stronger to be considered, Paik added. Between the myriad of variables at play and the limited spots available he recognized the complexity the issue warrants; however, he said although the process “is difficult and unpredictable” he still felt like “it’s unfair” at times. His mother, Michelle Paik, felt more strongly about what she saw as “an unjust system,” especially having five children with two of her eldest sons in college and three more on their way. “I was absolutely shocked when both of my sons got into their top choices, even though they were both top of their class,” said Mrs. Paik. She said it wasn’t for the lack of confidence in their abilities, but the unfortunate reality she and all of her children were acutely aware of — that Asian Americans are held to a higher standard. She didn’t want to discourage her children but she did warn them, “you may have all the qualifications but you are an Asian boy so there’s a big possibility you’ll be denied.” Instead of what is in place now, Mrs. Paik supports preferential policies based on socio-economic background. When a group of students of similar backgrounds and received the same private education “why should someone receive so much more benefits just because of their last name and skin color?” she questioned. As a mother of five, she often discussed the issue with other parents in the community who she said “share the same sentiments.” When they see certain unexpected college acceptances or rejections “they just roll their eyes, it’s an understood norm, which is sad,” Mrs. Paik told ABC News. “At this point there’s nothing you can do, this is the system in place, in a way you do have to accept it and just try your best,” a mentality she has tried to instill in her children’s minds. A Gallup poll taken in 2016 reflects the viewpoints of Mrs. Paik and that of many others, showing 65% of Americans are opposed to the consideration of race in admissions and support decisions that are based solely on merit. Citing the poll as one of the evidence of Americans’ desire to end racial preference, Blum said the students and families involved in the lawsuit were replete with relief and gratification when they realized they had a channel to voice their frustration in a significant way. The families were hopeful that the younger generation “will not be subject to the same kinds of discrimination,” the kind of quota system Harvard imposed on Jewish students back in the 1920s, Blum added. Policies akin to affirmative action has been on the nation’s center stage for decades and as the Justice Department’s investigation and pending lawsuits move forward, the country is certain to continue to debate the merits behind admission practices that take race into consideration. “It’s like a lottery,” Mrs. Paik said. “You may have everything, but it’s not a guarantee at all.” Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMatico Relatedlast_img read more