With a little help from his PC

first_imgWith “The Ringo Starr Fine Art Show” paying a visit to 60 Church St. in Harvard Square for a three-day stint starting today (June 7), some might assume that the man who rocked the kit for the most influential band in the history of rock ’n’ roll has traded in his sticks for paint and brushes. Not so. The beloved Beatle actually uses a computer to make his art. (Fans of Starr’s musical work, meanwhile, can relax: his 15th solo studio album is forthcoming.)Co-sponsored by the Harvard Square Business Association and 100.7 WZLX FM (with exhibit space made available by Harvard Real Estate Services), “The Ringo Starr Fine Art Show” will feature 17 of Starr’s colorfully buzzing portraits of his far-out, imagined “people.” All of the pieces, hand signed and numbered, will be available for purchase with 100 percent of the proceeds going to charity.Combining the bold decor of ’80s pop art with the hasty forms reminiscent of underground comic pioneer Mark Beyer or cable TV’s “Dr. Katz,” Starr’s work is, at its core, fun and organic. And, he admits proudly, “childlike.” It’s a fitting end product (and outlet) for Starr, a performer long noted for his sense of humor and humility. Both qualities were in evidence during a recent phone interview with the musician/visual artist.“I’ve always sort of drawn and painted all the time, really, and just sort of created stuff … It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed. The idea that you totally get involved in it, suddenly you’re in it,” Starr says, adding, “It’s so great for me.“As a drummer, I always need the other people,” Starr says, chuckling. “You know, I’d like to do ‘A Little Help from My Friends’ just on the drums, [but] you need the pianos and the guitars.”When it comes to Starr’s creative process in producing his visual art, those “pianos” and “guitars”— his friends — are his mind, mood, and the machine sitting across from him.“I just go free-falling. Whatever the face turns out, it turns out. I just guess the colors off the top of my head at that moment,” Starr says, referring to the final product, and succinctly so, as “abstract Zen art.”Starr’s trouble-free approach to creating his art informs every aspect of the process, including the very naming of the pieces. Turns out, Starr designates titles for the majority of his pieces only because he’s required to do so in order to save the file. Consequently, the artist takes a no-frills approach to naming a good number of his pieces for referencing later on. “If you ever want to find it again, you got to give it a name,” he says. For this reason, one doesn’t have to guess too hard what such pieces as “Hat Man” and “Three Faces” are all about.This practice, however, can throw off his audience.Take for instance, his piece “Zak.” Naturally, it’s a portrait of his son (a talented drummer in his own right who plays with The Who), right?“Well, that’s not him,” Starr explains. “I put those letters in the hat to see what it looked like,” Starr says, in reference to the word “Zak” resting on the subject’s hat. “And then I couldn’t find out how to get rid of them,” he admits. Such is Starr’s approach: embracing the happy accidents and enjoying the ride.Or, as Starr puts it, “You take the most sophisticated machine and they look like they’ve been done by children. Isn’t that a groove?”One hundred copies of each of Starr’s pieces will be available for purchase with prices ranging from $400 to $1,800. All proceeds benefit the Lotus Foundation, a London-based organization that supports a range of charitable causes, including family and child welfare, animal protection, and addiction recovery and education.‘The Ringo Starr Fine Art Show’ will run June 7-10 at 60 Church St. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. except for June 10 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The exhibit, which includes ‘A Little Help From His Friends — John, Paul and George’ (a collection of hand signed pieces from Starr’s band mates), is free and open to the public. The show will mark the largest collection of signed Beatles artwork ever assembled.last_img read more

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An analysis of Bristol driver introduction songs: 2018 Night Race update

first_imgMost Popular ArtistsOf all 365 musical acts selected for driver introduction songs, AC/DC continues to maintain a stranglehold on first place in the most popular driver introduction song category, selected 26 times — double any other group, and a whopping 3.45% of all entrances since 2009. There is now, however, a new three-way tie for second place on the list after the spring race: Motley Crue and Metallica have now been used 13 times, tying them with fellow runner-up Kid Rock, who hasn’t had much usage since Tony Stewart retired. A Fantasy Racing NoteFirst discovered last year, we’ll continue to note the Keselowski Phenomenon as long as it remains true: when Brad Keselowski chooses a Kid Rock song for his intro, he wins the race, as he did in the 2011 Night Race and the 2012 Spring Race. When he does not choose Kid Rock, he does not win the race, which has been the case in every other Bristol race since the 2012 Night Race.Here’s a list of every race winner’s song selection since Bristol Motor Speedway kicked off the tradition in 2009: 2009 (Night) Kyle Busch: Kanye West’s “Amazing”2010 (Spring) Jimmie Johnson: Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On”2010 (Night) Kyle Busch: Raytona 500’s “Rowdy Busch”2011 (Spring) Kyle Busch: Raytona 500’s “Rowdy Busch” (two in a row!)2011 (Night) Brad Keselowski: Kid Rock’s “Jackson, Mississippi”2012 (Spring) Brad Keselowski: Kid Rock’s “Born Free”2012 (Night) Denny Hamlin: V.I.C.’s “Wobble”2013 (Spring) Kasey Kahne: Kip Moore’s “Beer Money”2013 (Night) Matt Kenseth: Metallica’s “Seek And Destroy”2014 (Spring) Carl Edwards: Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart”2014 (Night) Joey Logano: Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna”2015 (Spring) Matt Kenseth: Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction”2015 (Night) Joey Logano: Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up To Boston”2016 (Spring) Carl Edwards: Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day”2016 (Night) Kevin Harvick: Jake Owen’s “Good Company”2017 (Spring) Jimmie Johnson: Tupac’s “California Love”2017 (Night) Kyle Busch: Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder”2018 (Spring) Kyle Busch: DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win” The complete list of race-winning artists: Raytona 500 (2 wins)Kid Rock (2)Kanye West (1)Led Zeppelin (1)V.I.C. (1)Kip Moore (1)Metallica (1)Motley Crue (1)Carl Orff (1)Megadeth (1)Dropkick Murphys (1)Bon Jovi (1)Jake Owen (1)Tupac (1)Imagine Dragons (1)DJ Khaled (1) Facts, Figures, and Interesting NotesTwelve drivers have raced in all 18 races where introduction music was used (Clint Bowyer, David Ragan, Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard, and Ryan Newman). This year’s spring race marked the first time Matt Kenseth missed a Bristol driver introduction song.NASCAR nation has extended its Nickelback-free streak even further. It’s been since 2011, so maybe we’re in the clear now. Maybe this is because everyone wants to be like Cole Pearn: Spring 2018 Musical DebutsA total of 15 new artists graced the NASCAR world with their debut on Bristol’s stage in the spring race, including notable how-the-heck-have-they-never-been-picked-before acts like Migos, Weezer, and The Beach Boys (as well as John Cena and Bill Elliott for some reason).The most recent debuts:Beach Boys (Brad Keselowski)I Prevail (Alex Bowman)The Doobie Brothers (Michael McDowell)Liberty University (William Byron)Pat Boone (Daniel Suarez)Bill Elliott (Chase Elliott)Kenny Loggins (AJ Allmendinger and Gray Gaulding)Jan Hammer (Aric Almirola)Weezer (Chris Buescher)John Cena (Matt DiBenedetto)Clint Black (Martin Truex Jr.)Judah and the Lion (Landon Cassill)Migos (Ty Dillon and Reed Sorenson)Hank Williams* (Corey LaJoie)Stompin’ Tom Connors (DJ Kennington)*Corey LaJoie requested “The Walmart Yodeling Song” which makes his choice of what’s technically a Hank Williams song exponentially-less cool. Bill Elliott: 44-time race winner, current Xfinity Series driver, and now, thanks to his son, Bristol driver intro song musical artist. “Awesome Bill” is the first to hold such a designation.If you haven’t already heard Elliott’s A Crazy Racin’ Man from the 1983 hit album Stock Car Racing’s Entertainers of the Year, listen for yourself: Bill’s spitting STRAIGHT-UP FIRE on this track. Everybody likes stats. All-time wins lists, qualifying speed records, counting the number of times Denny Hamlin has sped on pit road — it’s all interesting, but it’s also been done to death. Instead, let’s take a look at something a little different: which songs drivers choose to accompany their driver introduction walk-out twice a year at Bristol Motor Speedway when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race hits the high-banked short track in Tennessee. As we’ve noted, since 2009, Bristol Motor Speedway has tasked each driver with selecting their driver intro music — often leading to fun and memorable moments — and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to hoard all this data and obsess over observations like we’re Cole Pearn at a Furniture Row Racing competition meeting. Most Popular SongsUnsurprisingly, based on the trends noted in our last analysis, AC/DC’s Thunderstruck remains at the top of the most popular song list — selected 10 times to accompany drivers — even despite the fact that no driver entered to the classic hit in the most recent Bristol race this spring. In fact, most of the top 10 remained largely unchanged — the only exception being Luke Bryan’s Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day moving into this elite group, courtesy of Ryan Newman. Why such little change at the top since last race? The most likely scenario to which our analysts (well, me, the author, who is not an actual analyst of anything) attribute this is Bristol Motor Speedway’s recent change to how most drivers’ songs are selected: instead of giving drivers carte blanche, fans voted on one of three songs handpicked for each driver. <span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span> Still, we must remain vigilant and refuse to let our guard down.Ryan Newman again extended his streak of picking Luke Bryan’s Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day to four races in a row — now just one shy of tying Jeff Burton’s record five-in-a-row selections of Guns N’ Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle. Newman’s fourth-consecutive pick of the same song ties him with Tony Stewart (Kid Rock’s Bawitdaba) and David Reutimann (The Offspring’s Pretty Fly For A White Guy).Other numbers to consider:18 races at Bristol have used driver introduction songs so far, starting in the 2009 night race. 753 musical entrances have been made. 756 total selections have been made, but over the years, three drivers have DNQed, meaning their picks never made it to the big stage.571 different songs have been used in total.365 different artists or musical acts have been used.115 songs have been used more than once.That’s a 20.1% song re-usage rate (up from 20.0% last year).Take a look at the master collection of data below and find some observations of your own. Please do tweet any interesting stats or patterns you might find — and don’t forget to tune in Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to see what happens to our data after this year’s Night Race.The End?Bristol Motor Speedway noted for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver introductions, songs selected in this year’s spring race will be used, breaking the 18-race streak of unique song selections. For now, there’s no word on whether or not the tradition will resume in the future, but we’re holding out hope. After nearly a decade, driver intro songs have basically have become an institution, and we’d hate for all this data and research no one asked us to analyze to become useless.Take a look at the master collection of data below and find some observations of your own. Please do tweet any interesting stats or patterns you might find.Song Selection by EventSong Selection by DriverCredits:Thanks to Jeff Gluck for documenting driver introduction songs over the years. Nice!Thanks to Sim Racing Design for 2009 (Night) data.Thanks to Motor Racing Digest for 2013 (Spring) data.Thanks to Dustin Long/NBC Sports for 2017 (Spring) data.Data from NASCAR.com (a Steve Luvender fave!) for 2013 (Night), 2014 (Spring), 2015 (Spring), 2015 (Night), 2017 (Night), 2018 (Spring).last_img read more

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Why some stay-at-home mothers choose to opt out of the workplace

first_imgJournal and Courier – Lafayette:Valerie Wininger recently left her full-time job as a Web master in the entomology department at Purdue University to become a stay-at-home mom. Now, she is caring for her three children, Brianna, 8, Eli, 5, and 11-month-old Fiona.“Financially, it was almost not even worth it for me to work with day care costs and everything,” the 30-year-old said. “I got so few hours in the day with them, and it was always so stressful and chaotic.”Wininger felt like her decision to leave work and stay at home full-time was her choice, she said.“I’m very happy,” she said. “There are days that are hard, but mostly I just love it. I still do freelance Web design mostly in the evening … I don’t really want to go back to a full-time employer. I like the flexibility of being here and working when I can.”Although choice is an important right — highly valued among Americans — it can cover up systemic flaws such as gender discrimination in the workplace, according to a new study that will be published in the October issue of the journal Psychological Science.Read the whole story: Journal & Courier – Lafayettelast_img read more

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US labs progress with H7N9 studies as CDC urges readiness

first_imgMay 1, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – As labs in the United States study how the H7N9 virus behaves in humans and animals, state and local health officials should dust off their pandemic preparedness plans in case the virus becomes a bigger threat, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.The CDC made the recommendation in a review of China’s H7N9 outbreak and US efforts to learn more about the disease that appears in an early release of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The CDC has a close collaboration with China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), and a team from the CDC was invited by China to help assess the situation and assist with investigations.In its epidemiologic review, current as of Apr 29, the CDC said, of 82 confirmed case-patients with available information, 63 (77%) were exposed to live animals, mainly chickens (76%) and ducks (20%).The agency also said at least three family clusters of two or three cases have been confirmed, which could have involved limited human-to-human transmission. However, no transmission in the follow-up of 1,689 close contacts, including healthcare workers, has been detected, and serologic investigations are ongoing.A few days after the first human H7N9 cases were announced in China, the CDC urged state and local health officials to boost their surveillance for people who got sick 10 days after returning from China. So far 18 states have identified 37 travelers who fit the description, but none were infected with H7N9. Seven had seasonal flu, 1 had rhinovirus, 1 had respiratory syncytial virus, and 28 were negative for influenza A and B.During that period, the US flu season was retreating to levels below seasonal baselines, with mainly influenza B detected in low numbers.To learn more about the virus, CDC researchers are studying H7N9 gene sequences uploaded by China to the GISAID database and doing experiments based on two human H7N9 isolates from China. As of yesterday China had uploaded 19 partial or complete H7N9 sequences: 12 from humans, 5 from birds, and 2 from the environment.Experiments on the human isolates so far show robust replication in eggs, cell culture, and the respiratory tracts of ferrets and mice. The H7N9 virus was deadly to mice infected with higher doses of the virus, according to the CDC.Antiviral resistance testing shows that one of the human isolates is susceptible to oseltamivir (Tamiflu), while the other has a marker that suggests that it is not. The CDC said it is still assessing the clinical relevance of the change, but its identification is a good reminder that resistance can emerge spontaneously or during antiviral treatment.Animal testing in China has detected the virus in a small number of poultry and environmental samples, primarily from poultry markets. The CDC said that, as of Apr 17, 4,150 samples had been collected from swine and environments from farms and slaughterhouses, and all swine samples tested negative.Chinese officials have intensified their animal surveillance to answer questions about the animal reservoirs of the virus, and their efforts will focus on areas where human cases have been detected, the CDC said.The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up a situational awareness unit to study, along with the CDC, the epidemiology of the virus in humans and animals. So far the H7N9 outbreak strain has not been found in US animals, and federal officials don’t allow the import of live poultry, other birds, or hatching eggs from countries affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza.Surveillance programs are already in place to detect avian influenza in commercial poultry, and animal health labs have screening tests for avian flu that can be used with confirmation tests at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories to detect the H7N9 strain in poultry and wild birds, the CDC said.The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working with the US Department of the Interior to assess potential movement of Eurasian avian flu viruses into North America by wild birds.Researchers in USDA labs are also conducting animal studies to learn more about the pathogenicity and transmission of the virus, the CDC said. Early results show that chickens and quail show no signs of illness but shed the virus. USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists have also completed an antigenic mapping study to help find isolates that could be used to develop a poultry vaccine, if needed.The CDC’s report also aired its public health concerns about the new virus. Compared with other influenza A virus, H7N9 has differences associated with respiratory-droplet transmission, increased binding to receptors in mammals’ respiratory tracts, increased virulence, and increased replication.Though investigations haven’t shown evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission, further adaptation might lead to more efficient and sustained transmission, according to the report. CDC experts also noted that the H7N9 virus is much more severe in humans than other previous H7 viruses have been.Federal officials have not decided to launch an H7N9 vaccine program in the United States, but if one is needed, the CDC and its partners are already working on a candidate vaccine virus and are planning for vaccine clinical trials.In the meanwhile, the CDC recommends that state and local officials review and update their pandemic preparedness plans, because it would take several months to prepare a vaccination program, if necessary.”CDC also recommends that public health agencies review their overall pandemic influenza plans to identify operational gaps and to ensure administrative readiness for an influenza pandemic,” the agency added.See also:May 1 MMWR reportlast_img read more

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ASP Scan (Weekly) for Sep 14, 2018

first_imgUK-India effort explores diagnostics solutions to AMR in IndiaA 3-year, £3 million ($3.9 million) collaboration between UK and India researchers seeks to create rapid diagnostics to help address the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in India, according to a news release yesterday from the University of Edinburgh, one of the project partners.The program, called Diagnostics for One Health and User Driven Solutions for AMR (DOSA), will involve nine academic institutions, five from India and four from Britain. Medical researchers, diagnostic innovators, economists and social scientists will create cutting edge, rapid diagnostic solutions to fight AMR in settings as diverse as community healthcare, dairy farms, and aquaculture, according to the release. Project experts will meet Sep 24 and 25 at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi to kick off the venture.The project is jointly funded by UK Research and Innovation/Economic and Social Research Council, the Newton Fund, and Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology.”DOSA gives us the exceptional possibility to create a deep understanding between user needs and diagnostics innovation,” said Till Bachmann, PhD, UK project coordinator and deputy head of the Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. “The project will focus on community settings in India. It is here where the big drivers of AMR are located, where AMR is a huge burden and where it is exceptionally difficult to implement rapid diagnostics.”Sep 13 University of Edinburgh news releaseDOSA project abstract Systematic review finds probiotics tied to lower antibiotic use in childrenJust a week after two small studies panned probiotics for restoring the gut microbiome, a new meta-analysis has found probiotic use to be associated with a reduced need for antibiotics in infants and children, according to a study today in the European Journal of Public Health.Probiotics are live microorganisms taken to balance the gut microbiota and for other health benefits. The study—a review of 17 randomized controlled trials—included studies that used 13 probiotic formulations, all of which contained Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium either alone or in combination.An analysis of the pooled data from the studies found that infants and children who received probiotics to prevent acute illnesses like respiratory tract infections had a 29% lower incidence of being prescribed antibiotics compared with those who took placebos. And when the researchers honed in on the five studies with a low risk of bias, probiotics were associated with a 54% lower risk of being prescribed antibiotics.In a University of Georgetown press release, senior author Daniel Merenstein, MD, of Georgetown’s Department of Family Medicine, said, “We already have evidence that consuming probiotics reduces the incidence, duration, and severity of certain types of common acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. The question is whether that reduction is solidly linked to declining use of antibiotics, and we see that there is an association.”By using “association,” Merenstein refers to a link between probiotics and antibiotic use, meaning the study did not show that the first definitively caused the latter.”More studies are needed in all ages, and particularly in the elderly, to see if sustained probiotic use is connected to an overall reduction in antibiotic prescriptions,” said the study’s lead author, Sarah King, PhD, from Cambridge, United Kingdom. “If so, this could potentially have a huge impact on the use of probiotics in general medicine and consumers in general.”Sep 14 Eur J Public Health studySep 14 University of Georgetown news releaseSep 7 CIDRAP News scan “Studies find probiotics lacking for restoring gut microbiome” Investigation provides details on Candida auris outbreak in New YorkOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 13A study published yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases describes the outbreak of the multidrug-resistant fungal infection Candida auris in New York healthcare facilities.Since C auris was first detected in the United States in 2016, New York has consistently reported the highest number of cases. Of the 391 confirmed and probable cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 11 states as of Aug 17, 213 are in New York. To better understand the spread of C auris in New York healthcare facilities, researchers from the New York State Department of Health, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the CDC conducted an epidemiologic investigation that included review of clinical cases reported by Apr 30, 2017, contract tracing and screening, and collection of environmental samples from facilities where case-patients resided.The investigators detected 51 cases in 19 healthcare facilities, all but one of which were in New York City. Of these case-patients, 31 (61%) had lived in long-term care facilities before being admitted to the hospital where the infection was diagnosed. The 90-day mortality rate among these cases was 45% (23/51), although the number of deaths attributable to C auris is unknown. Exploration of epidemiologic links revealed a large, interconnected web of affected healthcare facilities throughout New York City.Screening cultures performed for 572 patients in the 19 facilities where cases were identified revealed an additional 61 patients who were colonized with C auris. Environmental samples were positive for C auris at 15 of 20 facilities, with contamination of surfaces and objects in case-patient rooms and mobile equipment outside those rooms common. Assessment of infection control found that adherence to recommended practices—including hand hygiene, implementation of contact precautions, use of personal protective equipment, and environmental cleaning with proper disinfectants—varied.The investigators say the reasons for the preponderance of C auris cases in New York City are unknown. The possibilities include a true higher prevalence from multiple introductions into the city, more detection from aggressive case finding, the presence of a large, interconnected network of healthcare facilities, or a combination of all three factors. The infection prevention and control lapses observed by investigators have since prompted intensive improvement efforts.”The goals are delaying endemicity, preventing outbreaks within facilities, reducing transmission and geographic spread, and blunting the effect of C auris in New York and the rest of the United States,” the investigators write.Sep 12 Emerg Infect Dis article Analysis of European data finds link between warmer temps, resistanceOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 13A team of researchers that earlier this year identified a link between antibiotic resistance and warmer temperatures across the United States is reporting similar findings in an analysis of European data.In a study yesterday on the preprint server bioRxiv, the researchers from Harvard, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Statens Serum Institut in Denmark performed an ecological analysis of country-level antibiotic resistance prevalence in three common bacterial pathogens—Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus aureus—across 28 European countries. They used multivariable models to evaluate associations with minimum temperature and other predictors, including antibiotic consumption and population density, over a 17-year period (2000-2016), then quantified those effects on the rate of change of antibiotic resistance across geographies.The results of the analysis showed that countries with warmer ambient minimum temperatures were experienced faster increases in antibiotic resistance over time for most pathogens and antibiotic classes, even after accounting for rates of antibiotic consumption and population density. Specifically, a 10°C (18°F) increase in the average minimum temperature was associated with an increased rate of change in resistance to aminoglycosides, third-generation cephalosporins, and fluoroquinolones in E coli and K pneumoniae—ranging from 0.33% per year to 1.2% per year.The researchers also found, however, that the rate of S aureus resistance to methicillin decreased by 0.4% a year as minimum temperatures increased, a finding they argue reflects widespread declines in methicillin-resistant S aureus across Europe over the study period.As in their previous study, the researchers note that their findings do not show that increasing temperatures are causing antibiotic resistance rates to rise, but that temperature may be playing a role in modulating the rate of change of antibiotic resistance in a region and deserves further exploration. They conclude, “We hope this work will drive further avenues of research to investigate the role of climate as well as other sociodemographic factors on the distribution and transmission of antibiotic resistance.”Sep 12 bioRxiv abstractMay 23 CIDRAP News story “Study finds antibiotic resistance rise tied to hotter temps” European Parliament representatives adopt One Health AMR action planOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 13Stressing the need to take into account that human, animal, and environmental health are interlinked, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) today voted to adopt a One Health action plan against antimicrobial resistance.In the non-binding resolution, adopted with 589 votes for and 12 against, MEPs urged the European Union (EU) Commission and EU member states to restrict the sale of antibiotics by human and animal health professionals and to remove any incentives for prescribing them. The resolution also called for penalties for illegal sales, and sales without prescriptions, of antibiotics.”We have to start looking at the whole cycle, because people’s and animal health are interconnected,” rapporteur Karin Kadenbach, an MEP from Austria, said in a European Parliament press release. “Diseases are transmitted to people from animals and vice versa, and that is why we support the holistic approach of the ‘One Health’ initiative.”MEPs also recommended that the EU Commission draft a list of priority pathogens for humans and animals that could be used to guide future antibiotic research and development efforts, and they emphasized the need for cheaper rapid diagnostic tests to determine whether infections or bacterial or viral.  Sep 13 European Parliament press release India bans 328 combination drugs, including antibioticsOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 13In a blow to pharmaceutical firms but with antimicrobial stewardship ramifications, the government of India has banned 328 combination drugs, Reuters reported today.The Indian government in 2016 had banned 350 such drugs, called fixed-dose combinations (FDCs), but a scientific advisory board was reviewing the ban after industry groups mounted a legal challenge. The country’s Supreme Court ordered the review.India’s health ministry said yesterday that the board of experts had found “no therapeutic justification for the ingredients contained in 328 FDCs and that these FDCs may involve risk to human beings.” The ministry is immediately prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and use of the drugs in people. The Times of India reports that two of the drugs are the antibiotic Lupidiclox and the antibacterial Taxim AZ.Health advocates have cheered the ban over concern about antibiotic resistance because of the misuse of FDCs, Reuters said.The president of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association, Deepnath Roychowdhury, said the order would affect drugs worth about 16 billion rupees ($222 million) a year, but he said the industry would respect the verdict. Sep 13 Reuters news storySep 13 Times of India report Chilean study finds multidrug-resistant gut bacteria in farmed salmonOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 12Chilean scientists have found that extensive use of the antibiotics oxytetracycline and florfenicol leads to the selection of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria in the gut microbiota of farmed salmon, according to a study yesterday in PLoS One.To demonstrate the impact of antibiotic use in Chile’s salmon farms, where more than 5,500 tons of antibiotics have been used over the last 10 years to help prevent and treat infections caused by the bacterium Piscirickettsia salmonis, the scientists selected 15 healthy Atlantic salmon from four salmon farms, then isolated and tested bacteria from fecal matter and intestines. They were particularly interested in oxytetracycline and florfenicol, because those are the two most administered antibiotics in salmon farming, mainly delivered through medicated feed.In total, 47 bacterial isolates resistant to florfenicol and 44 resistant to oxytetracycline were isolated from the fish, with 38.3% showing a high degree of resistance to florfenicol and 34.1% showing a high degree of resistance to oxytetracycline. In addition, 6 of the 91 isolates were resistant to six other antibiotics—chloramphenicol, tetracycline, erythromycin, ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, and kanamycin—and were characterized as “super-resistant.” Molecular analysis of the isolates identified several genes that confer resistance to florfenicol and oxytetracycline, which corroborated the phenotypic resistance that was observed.”The information collected in the present study clearly indicate that using large amounts of antibiotics to treat industrially farmed animals has the consequence of selecting for multiresistant bacteria in the intestinal microbiota, which then have undeniable advantages when liberated into the environment through the feces,” the authors write, warning that the release of feces with antibiotic resistance genes into the marine environment could increase the risk of fish pathogens acquiring those resistance elements and becoming untreatable.Sep 11 PLoS One study UK study: Common antibiotics boost risk of drug-resistant E coli in dogsOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 12The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections in dogs can create a reservoir of antibiotic-resistant E coli within the canine gastrointestinal tract, UK researchers reported yesterday in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.In the study, the researchers examined fecal samples from 127 dogs before treatment, immediately after treatment, and 1 month and 3 months post-treatment with one of five antibiotics—cefalexin, amoxicillin/clavulanate, cefovecin, clindamycin, or a fluoroquinolone. All confirmed E coli isolates then underwent antibiotic susceptibility testing, and resistant isolates were further analyzed for phenotypic extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) and AmpC production and for the presence of resistance genes. The impact of treatment group per point in time and other factors on the presence of resistance were investigated using multilevel modeling.The results showed that treatment with beta-lactams or fluoroquinolones was significantly associated with the detection of third-generation cephalosporin-resistant, AmpC-producing, MDR and/or fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli immediately after treatment. But at 1 month post-treatment, only amoxicillin-clavulanate was significantly associated with the detection of third-generation cephalosporin-resistant E coli. There was no significant difference at 3 months post-treatment for any of the antibiotics used. The detection of ESBL-producing E coli was not associated with use of any of the antibiotics administered at any time during the study.The authors say the findings are important because they suggest that treatment with commonly used antibiotics can affect the commensal fecal flora of dogs, causing a shift toward a more resistant population of E coli that could be shared within households and healthcare settings and may cause extra-intestinal infections.They conclude, “This information can be used to design biosecurity guidelines that limit transfer of such bacteria to in-contact individuals or to the environment, including barrier nursing, appropriate disposal of dog waste, and strict hand hygiene.”Sep 12 J Antimicrob Chemother study Pharma CEO defends 400% essential antibiotic price hikeOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 12Nirmal Mulye, chief executive officer of the small Missouri-based drug company Nostrum Laboratories, said he hiked the cost of bottle of nitrofurantoin, an essential antibiotic, from  $474.75 to $2,392 last month because there was a “moral requirement to sell the product at the highest price.”Mulye was quoted in the Financial Times. Nostrum Laboratories makes a liquid version of the antibiotic, which was first developed in 1953 and used to treat bladder infections. The drug is considered an essential antibiotic by the World Health Organization (WHO).Mulye said the decision to raise the price was a direct response to a similar raise by Casper Pharma, which prices a bottle of their branded antibiotic at $2,800.”The point here is the only other choice is the brand at the higher price. It is still a saving regardless of whether it is a big one or not,” said Mulye in the Financial Times.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said on Twitter that “there’s no moral imperative to price gouge and take advantage of patients,” in reference to the story.  He also noted that there is no shortage of nitrofurantoin.Sep 11 Financial Times storyScott Gottlieb Twitter account Study: Antibiotics do not reduce hospitalization risk for coughOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 11A study published in the British Journal of General Practice yesterday shows that prescribing antibiotics to children with coughs does not reduce the risk of subsequent hospitalization.The study involved researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Southampton, Oxford, and Kings College London, and looked at data on adverse outcomes in 8,320 children (ages 3 months to 15 years) who presented to their general practitioner (GP) with acute cough and other respiratory infection symptoms.Immediate antibiotics were prescribed to 2,313 (27.8%) and delayed antibiotics to 771 (9.3%). Only 65 children (0.8%) children were hospitalized, and 350 (4.2%) revisited their GP for worsening of symptoms. Of the 65 children hospitalized, 25 (38.5%) had been prescribed an antibiotic.”Compared with no antibiotics, there was no clear evidence that antibiotics reduced hospitalisations,” the authors wrote. The immediate antibiotic risk ratio (RR) was 0.83 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 1.45); delayed RR was 0.70 (95% CI, 0.26 to 1.90; overall P = 0.44).”These results provide reassurance that, when faced with a child and uncertain prognosis, delayed prescribing can be a safe and effective method to reduce the child’s probability of reconsulting with deterioration and can act as part of safety-netting strategies for parents,” the authors concluded.Sep 10 Br J Gen Pract study Clinical trial doesn’t support piperacillin-tazobactam for resistant BSIsOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 11The results of a randomized clinical trial published today in JAMA indicate that the combination therapy piperacillin-tazobactam should not be used as carbapenem-sparing therapy in patients with bloodstream infections caused by ceftriaxone-resistant E coli or K pneumoniae.The noninferiority trial, the results of which were reported in April at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease, included hospitalized patients with ceftriaxone-resistant E coli or K pneumoniae from 26 sites in nine countries. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive either 4.5 grams of piperacillin-tazobactam—a beta lactam/beta lactamase inhibitor combination—every 6 hours, or 1 gram of meropenem every 8 hours. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality at 30 days after randomization, with a 5% noninferiority margin.A total of 378 participants completed the trial and were assessed for the primary outcome. Of the 187 patients randomized to piperacillin-tazobactam, 23 (12.3%) met the primary outcome of mortality at 30 days, compared with 7 of 191 (3.7%) patients randomized to meropenem. Results were consistent in an analysis of the per-protocol population, with 30-day mortality in the piperacillin-tazobactam patients significantly higher than those treated with meropenem (10.6% vs. 3.8%). In addition, serious adverse events occurred in 5 of 188 patients (2.7%) treated with piperacillin-tazobactam, compared with 3 of 191 patients (1.6%) in the meropenem group.”Among patients with E coli or K pneumoniae bloodstream infections and ceftriaxone resistance definitive treatment with piperacillin-tazobactam compared with meropenem did not result in noninferior 30-day mortality,” the authors concluded. “These findings do not support the use of piperacillin-tazobactam in this setting.”Sep 11 JAMA abstractApr 24 CIDRAP News story “Combo antibiotic found inferior for MDR bloodstream infections” Data show non-inferiority for combo antibiotic for serious pneumoniaOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 11Merck today announced that its antibiotic Zerbaxa (ceftolozane combined with tazobactam) was shown non-inferior to meropenem for adult patients who had either ventilated hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia (HABP) or ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (VABP), the company said in a news release.This prospective, randomized, double-blind, multicenter phase 3 study assessed the safety and efficacy of Zerbaxa compared with meropenem in 726 adults with either ventilated HABP or VABP requiring intravenous antibiotic therapy. In the study, Zerbaxa was administered in an investigational 3-gram dose (compared with 1 gram of meropenem), and both drugs were given intravenously every 8 hours for 8 to 14 days, or for 14 days for Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Meropenem is an approved broad-spectrum injectable antibiotic widely used to treat serious infections.Zerbaxa met the pre-specified primary end points, demonstrating non-inferiority to meropenem in day 28 all-cause mortality and in clinical cure rate. Zerbaxa is currently indicated in US adults for treating complicated urinary tract infections caused by certain gram-negative bacteria and for complicated intra-abdominal infections caused by certain gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Merck is based in Kenilworth, N.J.Based on the study results, Merck plans to submit supplemental new drug applications to the FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) for this new indication.”HABP and VABP are serious and life-threatening hospital related pulmonary infections, especially in patients with severe underlying medical conditions,” said Roy Baynes, MD, PhD, senior vice president with Merck. Sep 11 Merck news release Study shows little connection between C diff in food animals, humansOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 11After observing a rise in Clostridioides difficile (formerly Clostridium difficile) infections in the central part of the state, Minnesota investigators discovered a 0% prevalence of C difficile in retail metal samples in the area and a 9% rate in animal fecal samples, but the isolates did not match human isolates well, demonstrating that neither meat nor food animals are an important source of infection in that area, according to a study yesterday in the Journal of Food Protection.C difficile infection (CDI) can cause a serious, typically healthcare-associated infection. But community-associated CDI (CA-CDI) now accounts for about 50% of CDI cases in central Minnesota, the study authors write.They said that, from November 2011 to July 2013, they cultured retail meat products and fecal samples from food-producing and companion animals in central Minnesota for the pathogen using standard methods. They recovered no C difficile from 342 retail meat samples but 51 (9.1%) from 559 fecal samples from food-producing animals.They then compared the 51 livestock isolates with 30 archived local veterinary C difficile isolates and 208 human CA-CDI case isolates from central Minnesota from 2012 from the Minnesota Department of Health. “Overall,” the researchers write, “the 81 animal source isolates and 208 human source isolates were highly diverse genetically.” Only 5 human isolates were classified as animal source.”These data do not support meat products or food-producing and companion animals as important sources of CA-CDI in the central Minnesota study region,” the authors conclude.Sep 10 J Food Prot abstract Report identifies actions for making pharmaceutical AMR data publicOriginally published by CIDRAP News Sep 10The Wellcome Trust has released a set of recommendations from a pilot project to make human AMR data generated and collected by the pharmaceutical industry publicly accessible.The 90-day pilot project, funded by Wellcome and led by the Open Data Institute, with input and advice from a steering group composed of representatives of industry, public health, and academia, aimed to come up with plans for making AMR data from pharmaceutical companies openly available for researchers, health professionals, and AMR surveillance systems. Pharmaceutical companies typically generate AMR data for their own development of antibiotics and publish papers with summarized data but do not make their complete datasets publicly accessible. Advocates believe these data can boost global AMR surveillance efforts.The project began with a landscape analysis of the industry-generated AMR data that are currently available, based on a questionnaire sent to 11 companies. The analysis found that datasets held by pharmaceutical companies currently cover clinical isolates collected in laboratories from 93 countries, including countries where robust AMR surveillance data is limited. The analysis also found that the quality of data from industry was good, but that standardization could be improved, and that the data could be made more relevant to medical and public health professionals.To make the AMR data from the pharmaceutical industry publicly available, and unlock the value of the data, participants at a workshop held at the end of the 90-day research phase came up with four recommendations: (1) Develop a public-private partnership among industry, public health agencies, and other AMR initiatives to provide a more informative, coherent, and openly accessible data landscape; (2) enable open innovation and data sharing within the AMR community by encouraging reuse of AMR data from the industry; (3) facilitate the development of common methodologic standards and data governance frameworks to enable data use by the scientific and public health professionals; and (4) launch an online data portal managed and governed by an independent party.A post-project report concludes, “There is both a well-defined problem that needs solving and a community of stakeholders with the determination and commitment to do so. We recommend building on this momentum to make open pharmaceutical AMR surveillance data a reality.” September 2018 Wellcome Trust/Open Data Institute reportlast_img read more

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Consumer rights needed

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Celebrating Dr. King’s Legacy

first_img East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Worshipers give thanks following the scholarship offering during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Worshipers give thanks following the scholarship offering during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) Share East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Destiny Robinson performs a Praise Dance during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The gospel music group HeavenSent sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Destiny Robinson performs a Praise Dance during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The gospel music group HeavenSent sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The Combined Choir of Calvary sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The Combined Choir of Calvary sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The Combined Choir of Calvary sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – East Hampton High School student Naomi Blowe, gives the welcoming remarks during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant)center_img East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The gospel music group HeavenSent sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Keynote speaker Mrs. Arthurine Dunn, an english teacher at the East Hampton High School, during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) Destiny Robinson performs a Praise Dance during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. Independent/Gordon M. GrantCalvary Baptist Church in East Hampton held its annual celebration of the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday with hymns, prayers, and sermons. Arthurine Dunn, an English teacher at East Hampton High School, gave the keynote address. The church choir, as well as the HeavenSents, a male Gospel group, were among the performers. King, who was born 90 years ago, was the most visible symbol of the civil rights movement, which he led with a focus on nonviolence and civic activism. East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Destiny Robinson performs a Praise Dance during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The gospel music group HeavenSent sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The Combined Choir of Calvary sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The Combined Choir of Calvary sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The gospel music group HeavenSent sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The Combined Choir of Calvary sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Keynote speaker Mrs. Arthurine Dunn, an english teacher at the East Hampton High School, during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – Attendees of a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant) East Hampton, NY – 1/21/19 – The gospel music group HeavenSent sings during a celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, NY January 21, 2019. (Photo by Gordon M. Grant)last_img read more

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Modulift works with Siemens HTT on bespoke rigs

first_imgThe two vertical Benson-type heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) first needed to be lifted aboard a vessel in South Korea for transportation to Thailand.Modulift sent two rigs, one for loading and a second for discharging, to South Korea and Thailand respectively. Each rig comprised of eight 34-tonne capacity MOD 34 beams in addition to slings, shackles, tie-plates, and other rigging gear.Dennis de Jong, supply manager for Siemens HTT, said that the HRSG modules are the largest the company has ever constructed. This presented a rigging challenge given the dimensions involved, principally because slings would have needed to be rigged at an acute angle from an existing lifting beam to connect to the load’s pick points.The solution was based on utilising the existing beam, beneath which eight 3.25 m-long standard spreader beams were rigged at a 90 degree angle to the larger beam. This widened the below-the-hook system.“The result was a mix of the old and the new with an existing beam rigged above the new beams beneath. The use of wire rope slings was also carefully planned to ensure maximum safety and efficiency,” said de Jong.Chris Schwab, account executive at Modulift, added: “Siemens wanted to utilise the same pick points so we were steered towards the eight-beam solution; we added another layer to the rig. Above each beam, a sling was rigged at either end at a 55 degree angle to a tie-plate, with an 18-tonne safe working limit (SWL); between the plates, a 17-tonne SWL tie grommet sling provided stability and attached our rig to their beam.”The HRSGs will be installed at the 1,300 MW South Bangkok phase one combined-cycle power plant, located 20 km south of Bangkok. www.modulift.comwww.siemens.comlast_img read more

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Agony aunt rescues app

first_imgWhen the Department for Work and Pensions unveiled its web app to help separating parents get advice without paying for pesky lawyers, it realised that the minister responsible, Steve Webb, was not an A-list draw. (No doubt he is famous in Thornbury & Yate.) Bravely, in the week of the Leveson report, the department turned to the tabloid press for support, picking the Mail on Sunday’s agony aunt, Zelda West-Meads, as the face of the launch. The DWP assured us that the former Relate counsellor was ‘very central’ to the project. So much so, in fact, that the press office was unable to fulfil the Gazette’s request for a picture of the app without Dear Zelda in shot.last_img

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European Commission allows aid for London & Continental reform

first_imgUK: On May 13 the European Commission approved £5·169bn of ‘one time last time’ state aid for London & Continental Railways, which will result in the unbundling of High Speed 1 infrastructure and Eurostar’s transport operations. Debt cancellation and a sustainable financial structure will lead to a significant reduction in track access charges, removing a potential barrier to competition. London & Continental Railways developed High Speed 1, the rail link between London and the Channel Tunnel which opened throughout in November 2007. LCR also owns Eurostar (UK) Ltd, the British arm of the cross-Channel high speed operator. Seven previous Commission state aid decisions had approved guarantees which were required in order to secure private funds for HS1. This has exposed the UK government to a range of long-term liabilities, resulting in high access charges which have proved to be financially unsustainable and could constitute a barrier to new entrants when the international passenger rail market is liberalised in 2010. Each of LCR’s businesses will now be established on a sustainable commercial and financial basis, bringing the long-term guarantees and liabilities to an end and removing the need for ongoing public support. The Commission considered that this state aid has two separate aspects. The first is re-organising the financing of the infrastructure, by assuming all of LCR’s debts and removing the various guarantees in return. LCR’s infrastructure activities will be consolidated into a single entity, which will be sold. The concession period for HS1 will be significantly shortened, and access charges will be revised and significantly reduced. The Commission verified that this is designed to promote an important project of common European interest, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and considered that the financial re-organisation complies with the EC Treaty. The second aspect is the restructuring of EUKL by recapitalising the company, in particular to allow fleet replacement. All guarantees to EUKL will be removed and relations with the infrastructure activities will be established on a commercial basis at market rate. The Commission found the plan complies with rescue and restructuring guidelines, with compensatory measures in favour of possible competitors, and declared the restructuring compatible with the EC Treaty. The UK has agreed to discuss a list of independent financial advisers who will assist the Commission in the monitoring of the present decision. The UK has also committed to the ‘one time last time’ principle preventing the granting of additional restructuring aid in the future.last_img read more

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