Art for artists’ sake

first_img Ed Johnson is one of 20 artists whose work is showcased on the online marketplace ArtLifting. Credit: ArtLifting Allen Chamberland crafts his intricate artworks by carefully cutting out his designs from single pieces of paper. Photo by Andrew Young Scott Benner’s intricate illustration carries the simple title — “Untitled 1.” Credit: ArtLifting In 2009, Scott Benner’s life started to unravel. After 17 years as a supervisor at a steel supply company, new owners shut the business down. It was Friday, Feb. 13, recalled Benner, “just to make it a little more memorable.” His downward spiral had begun.Two years of hunting for work and odd jobs followed. He and his wife watched as his retirement savings dwindled. Benner was diagnosed with Horner’s Syndrome, a rare condition that led to chronic, debilitating headaches. Then his wife got sick. They used the remainder of his savings to help him recover and help her through “a grueling bout with cancer and brutal treatment.”“After that was over,” said Benner, “she and I decided to separate.”They sold their house in June, and Benner “hit the road,” hoping for a fresh start in a different city, but the Horner’s affected his memory and he was disoriented in new surroundings. He returned to the Boston area and the comfort of a familiar setting, but “the money was running out,” he said. “I was heading into a shelter.”That’s where he has been for the past several months, in Quincy, struggling to keep his spirits up, and spending his days in the local library with his one solace, a small sketchpad. “It’s always been a release for me,” said Benner of his talent for intricate pen-and-paper drawings. “I could escape with it.”Soon, Benner is hoping to use his skill for more than simply forgetting his troubles. The 57-year-old is eager to sustain himself as an artist, and with the help of a Harvard graduate and residence manager at Lowell House, he can try that. Benner is part of ArtLifting, an online marketplace founded by Liz Powers ’10 and her brother Spencer that showcases artwork by men and women who are homeless, disadvantaged, or disabled.“The No. 1 goal is to empower the artists and build self-esteem, and the second goal is to give them the opportunity to earn their own income by selling prints of their artwork in large scale,” said Liz Powers, who concentrated in sociology at the College. “That’s a lot more than standing on the street corner and maybe getting $20 from someone.”The social enterprise, founded last year, was long in the making for the Harvard graduate, whose parents encouraged her to “try to be a positive influence on everyone around you.” While at Harvard, she volunteered to help homeless men and women secure housing, jobs, and food stamps. After graduation she used a postgraduate fellowship to blend her passions for art and helping others, creating art groups in local women’s shelters to help the residents connect.“I thought [an art group] would be much less awkward than a stale room with people sitting on chairs, trying to pull people to start talking. But if you’re beading or painting, you just naturally start chatting.”The project was a success, and Powers soon realized the artists needed a way to show off their “amazing artwork.” In 2011 she created City Heart, an art show in Boston’s Prudential Center that brings together roughly 70 artists from eight local homeless shelters. Still, Powers wanted more. After her brother got involved, helping with finances and logistics for the now-annual event, they brainstormed a way to “empower homeless and disabled individuals every single day of the year.”ArtLifting launched last December and currently represents 25 artists, but the goal is to go bigger. With help from a Kickstarter campaign, Powers plans to expand to Chicago, New York, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, and ultimately tap into corporate America.“Once we sign on artists from all over, we will be a national company,” said Powers, who hopes to attract real estate developers, hotel chains, and “big corporations that need art and also want to directly support disadvantaged individuals.”Harvard’s startup community has played an important part in the project. Working with Quincy House resident Charlene Lee ’14, ArtLifting’s COO, Powers and her team connected with the i-lab’s Venture Incubation Program, where they took their project from the brainstorming phase to a full-fledged business with a five-year plan. Next they will transition to the Launch Lab, a new incubator for alumni entrepreneurs. (The i-lab works with currently enrolled Harvard students.)For Benner, ArtLifting has meant the start of a new career with his preferred medium: pen and paper. “I love a crisp white page with black lines,” he said. His meticulous sketches filled with repeating geometric patterns evoke the work of graphic artist M.C. Escher, one of his early inspirations. Until recently, Benner had given his drawings away to friends as presents, and received a few requests to do pictures as gifts. But he has sold close to 15 works since joining up with ArtLifting earlier this year, and he is hopeful that financial independence is just around the corner.“This has reached the point now where I realize that I can find a market for my artwork, and I can make a living off it,” said Benner. “And it’s happening right in front of me. … When the phone rings, I know something good is going to happen when Liz is on the other end of the line.”Connecting with ArtLifting has also been transformative for Boston resident Allen Chamberland, 49, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition that blocks airflow to the lungs. “I can’t walk 10 or 15 feet without getting out of breath,” said Chamberland, who needs a wheelchair to get around.Determined not to let the disease stop him, Chamberland moved to Boston from central Massachusetts in 2010 to pursue a degree in social work. But when his health deteriorated, his doctor issued an ultimatum: Stop taking classes, or receive his diploma “posthumously.”He dropped out of school and channeled his energy into his talent with paper cutting, a delicate process of creating complex designs from single pieces of paper. Chamberland joined ArtLifting late last year. Soon, he was receiving checks in the mail. “By this time next year, I shouldn’t have to depend on Social Security to make a living,” he said.Like Benner, Chamberland says his newfound success means more than a chance for financial independence. It also means something critical to any dedicated artist: validation.“I still wake up surprised some mornings that this is actually working,” said Chamberland. “People like my work … And without the encouragement and opportunity provided by ArtLifting, I never would have found this out.”center_img Allen Chamberland poses with one of his paper cuts depicting Boston’s Quincy Market. Chamberland, who suffers from a chronic condition that affects his breathing, hopes the success he has selling his artwork on ArtLifting will help him get off Social Security. Photo by Liz Powers Artist Katie Hickey Schultz creates her vivid designs using markers and watercolor. Credit: ArtLifting Art with purposelast_img read more

Bringing big data to the farm

first_imgThe next great agricultural revolution is likely to come from information, not new plant breeds or genetic tinkering, as digital technology and big data help farmers make better decisions and drive up crop yields, according to the head of a “digital agriculture” company.Michael Stern, president and chief executive officer of Climate Corp., told a Harvard audience on Monday that the ability to gather detailed information about farmers’ fields, coupled with advances in weather forecasting, computing power, and artificial intelligence, will change farming from a business that often reacts to the past — applying fungicide this year because of an outbreak last year, for example — to one that uses real-time data and weather forecasts to make more accurate decisions for the season to come.Introducing Stern, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Peter Huybers, co-director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE), noted that the first great agricultural revolution happened 10,000 years ago, when humans settled on farms. The second, he said, was the “green revolution” from the 1930s to the 1960s, in which high-yield crops were developed and advances in fertilization, mechanization, and irrigation dramatically increased global food production. The third, Huybers said, may very well be one of information.Such a revolution will be needed badly in the decades to come, said Stern, who spoke at the Geological Museum as part of HUCE’s Future of Food lecture series. Global population is expected to rise rapidly, while the ability to bring new land into production — which in the past has been a significant way to increase food production — will be constrained by environmental concerns. Projections show about a third less land in production by 2050, he said.“We’re going to have to figure out how to grow a lot more food on a lot less land and do it sustainably,” Stern said.This all has to happen as global climate change affects weather patterns, which in turn will affect things such as water availability, plant diseases, and the ranges of agricultural pests.“It’s going to require us to think differently about agriculture and … how can we develop brand-new tools going into the future,” Stern said. “This is something we need to do over the next five, 10, 15 years as we see the challenges we’re going to be facing in order to feed a planet that’s going to be much more populated, probably a lot drier, and certainly a lot hungrier.”Luckily, the potential to increase yields is enormous, Stern said. A recent contest sponsored by agricultural giant Monsanto, which bought Climate Corp. in 2013, produced 521 bushels of corn per acre on 10 intensively managed acres, he said. That compares with a national average of just 175 bushels per acre, representing an opportunity to improve yields without bringing new land under the plow.“We know the genetics of the plant, the physiology of this corn plant, is perfectly capable of producing 500 bushels per acre, if it’s managed correctly,” Stern said. “This is the opportunity of digital ag.”Stern cited a study by the University of Illinois that broke down key factors driving crop growth. Weather is the most significant, according to the research, followed by fertilizer, type of plant hybrid, what was previously grown in the soil, plant population, how the field is tilled, and use of plant-growth regulators.Over the course of a growing season, Stern said, farmers make 40 to 50 key decisions that affect crop performance. Recent trends that have swept other areas of society — such as cheap data storage, the ability to transfer data wirelessly, and dramatic increases in computing power — have the potential to also transform the farm, he said.Stern offered the example of a farmer preparing for the regular fall fertilizing of his fields who delays the application after being alerted to a coming storm. That decision reduces runoff and keeps fertilizer on the field. This helps control the farmer’s costs and also reduces the amount of fertilizer reaching nearby waterways. As data accumulates season after season, computer models will help farmers better manage fertilizer and other additions to optimize yields and minimize runoff.Remote sensing is another way that modern technology can help farmers know what’s going on in their fields, Stern said. Many farmers drive around to monitor growth and watch for pests and diseases. But these surveys are typically random and don’t cover more than 2 percent of a field. Remote sensing can provide accurate data that covers an entire field and enables recommendations tailored to what’s going on in the afflicted portion.“The technology that permeates society today is just beginning to hit farm country,” Stern said. “This is going to be the tool that helps us unlock that yield gap.”last_img read more

Public Hearing Scheduled On Agreement Between County, Aviation Company

first_imgImage by Justin Gould / WNY News Now.MAYVILLE – A public hearing to discuss a recent agreement between an aviation company and the Chautauqua County Executive’s Office will take place on Sept. 23 before the Chautauqua County Legislature meeting. The agreement originally called for Chase Aviation Company, LLC. to pay $500 a month from October until September 30, 2024, according to the resolution that was supposed to be voted on by the Chautauqua County Legislature’s Public Facilities Committee Monday. However, the committee amended the resolution to a two-year agreement, provided the meeting was agreed to and that the full Legislature passed the agreement.Officials say the agreement was shorted because Chase Aviation wants to move long-term into a hanger that isn’t currently available because it is being renovated. The hanger is reportedly scheduled to be ready in 2022.The County reportedly received and accepted a Letter of Intent from Chase Aviation Company, LLC conveying its desire and intention to lease office facilities at the Jamestown Airport for the purpose of engaging in aircraft brokerage and lease management services. The agreement is for the lease of Terminal Building Office No. 46 for the specific purposes of aircraft brokerage, lease management, and authorized aviation activities for FAA-funded and regulated public airports. In February, Centric Aviation took over operation of all core flight-line services at both the Jamestown and Dunkirk airports under separate lease-operating agreements signed with the County.Under those agreements, the county receives a fixed monthly rental fee as well as a percentage of gross revenues generated from fuel sales, aircraft de-icing and other services. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Colombian police and Armed Forces cooperate to reduce crime

first_img The PNC is using social media to improve public safety. The PNC has a significant presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube. Overall, the PNC has more than 1 million followers on different social media platforms. The PNC uses social media to spread messages about how to avoid robberies, kidnappings, and extortions. The PNC puts out a steady stream of messages about community-based prevention programs. The PNC also uses social media to provide phone numbers that members of the public can use to report crimes and provide information on suspects. The social media efforts have helped the PNC connect with the civilian community. The community is responding by providing the PNC more information, which helps police solve crimes and find stolen items. For example, from December 2013 through February 2014, the PNC has recovered 1,333 stolen motorcycles and 536 stolen cars. Security forces have seized large numbers of explosives and drugs in recent years. For example, between 2011 and 2013, Colombian security forces seized 130 tons of explosives and destroyed 35,847 explosive devices, according to the Ministry of Defense. The Colombian National Police (PNC) and Armed Forces have also confiscated large quantities of drugs. Between 2011 and 2013, security forces seized 393 tons of cocaine, which were worth more than $12 million (USD), authorities said. In 2012, the National Police seized 548,697 kilograms of cocaine, cocaine base, crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. That was 76,000 kilograms more – an increase of 16 percent – from the amount security forces seized in 2011. Seizures of marijuana were also up sharply. In 2013, security forces seized 347 tons of marijuana, 50 tons more than they confiscated in 2012. It was the highest quantity of marijuana Colombian security forces have seized since 1993. The Antinarcotics Division of the National Police, led by Gen. Ricardo Alberto Restrepo, and the Criminal Investigation Office, led by Brig. Gen. Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, cooperated with the Cauca polic to seize 468 kilograms of heroin in 2012. Throughout the country, security forces in 2012 seized more than 91,000 hallucinogenic pills, a 93 percent increase over the number of pills the National Police and the Armed Forces confiscated in 2011. By Dialogo March 13, 2014 While security forces have made progress in lowering the rate of killings and other crimes, they must remain vigilant against the theft of oil from pipelines and attacks against oil industry infrastructure. Attacks on oil infrastructure increased by nearly 72 percent in 2013. These attacks create economic and environmental damage and create psychological damage, Andrade said. “This form of terrorism affects the economy and the perception of security, besides the enormous ecological damage that is caused by each of these crimes, decreases the possibility of foreign investment and increases security costs,” Andrade said. The PNC and the Armed Forces are working hard to prevent attacks on oil infrastructure and to capture those who commit these crimes. Security forces are also cracking down on domestic drug sales, Andrade said. In recent years, organized crime groups like the FARC and Los Urabenos have sold more drugs inside Colombia, authorities said. About 20 percent of the drugs produced in Colombia are sold to drug users inside the country, officials said. “We went from being a producer country to a consumer country, with variables such as the so-called ‘electronic bazuco’ (slot machines and other gambling games),” Andrade said. “Criminal gangs have taken ownership of these businesses and does not discriminate in its expansion. This scourge of drug addiction and gambling is increasingly penetrating our youth from an early age and is becoming the cause for which they are committing crimes.” Social media campaign Seizures of explosives and drugs Goals and challengescenter_img The PNC and the Armed Forces are executing a security strategy that involves the gathering and use of intelligence, cracking down on organized crime groups, higher levels of professionalism, and improved relationships with local communities. “All security forces in Colombia have implemented management strategies such as strategic planning, defining objectives to results but based on respect for human rights and the humanization of the police service, and training programs for the development of specific skills,” said Sonia Andrade, a security analyst at the Superior School of Colombian Police and the Colombian Army Intelligence and Counterintelligence University. Police have improved public safety with the “Safety Quadrant, Safety City Program,” in which security forces are deployed to specific neighborhoods to maximize visible police presence and response time. The PNC’s “Green Heart” program has also helped improve public safety, Andrade said. In the Green Heart initiative, police concentrate on protecting communities vulnerable to organized crime enterprises, fighting extortion, and combatting the theft of oil and minerals. Among the organized crime groups which operate in Colombia are the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); the National Liberation Army (ELN); Los Urabenos, Los Rastrojos, and the BACRIM. The Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican transnational criminal organization, also operates in the country. On Feb. 22, 2014, Mexican security forces captured cartel’s longtime kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The PNC is cooperating with Interpol on a security initiative known as the Enterprise Security Front. The partnership is known as the Direction of Criminal Investigation and Interpol (DIJIN). The DIJIN concentrates on fighting transnational criminal organizations. The DIJIN operates throughout the country to stop the criminal enterprises of the FARC and other organized crime groups. Meanwhile, authorities are trying to achieve a long-term resolution to the 50-year conflict with the FARC. Government representatives are engaged in ongoing peace talks with the FARC in Havana. “We are witnessing a peace negotiation. This can be a great opportunity for peace,” Andrade said. “One of our challenges is to combat urban violence. We’re not talking about a fight at the institutional level but citizen participation. Colombia requires a cultural change. Education programs in the social and civic field to eliminate intolerance and avoid confrontations between civilians.” Overall crime in Colombia has plunged to levels not seen in more than 30 years, thanks to the efforts of the country’s security forces. The dramatic decrease in crime is attributable to security initiatives led by Gen. Rodolfo Palomino López, chief of the Colombian National Police, and the Ministry of Defense, which is led by Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno. These security initiatives rely heavily on the use of intelligence. The National Police and the Armed Forces cooperated closely on several security initiatives. Colombia experienced a reduction in several crime categories in 2013. Homicides declined by 7 percent, bank robberies decreased by 15 percent, residential burglaries were down by nearly 11 percent, and thefts of motor vehicles declined by 5 percent. There were increases, some of them dramatic, in other categories. Organized crime attacks were responsible for dramatic surges in two types of crime, extortion, which increased by 52 percent, and attacks on oil infrastructure, which went up by nearly 72 percent. Fighting organized crime A need for continued vigilance last_img read more

HOROSCOPES BY PSYCHICDEB – September 2015

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Aries – Uranus in your first house – be sensitive to others’ positions without compromising your own. Remaining flexible but firm might help to resolve an impasse. A change of scenery might be just what you need to shake off a rather hemmed-in feeling. Enjoy!Taurus – go over paperwork carefully, but spend just as much time going over your internal accounting, finding out whether your heart’s into what you’re doing. If it isn’t, find out why you’re putting so much time into it and what you might do to change the situation.Gemini – your Sun opposite Saturn – it’s time to set some projects into motion. Despite that impetuous feeling, cultivate an inordinate amount of patience. Mercury is retrograde so things are likely to move slowly and communication can get jumbled.Cancer – Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun prods you toward some introspection regarding your transformative drives and your connection to your instincts. Take some down-time to do this work.Leo – new resolutions in your close personal relationships can run around on the rocks of too much self-involvement, or they can sail pleasantly on seas of honesty. The choice is yours. Paradoxically those relationships will flourish only if both parties spend a significant amount of time alone. Virgo – Jupiter in your first house – don’t try to convert people to your point of view or you’ll get difficult feedback. Instead, translate your ideas into action. But with Mercury retrograde, those actions will require patience. Don’t expect matters to leap forward quickly. Libra – your Sun opposite Uranus – although Mercury is retrograde, you can be quite effective when dealing with paperwork as long as you cultivate a sense of humor. It shouldn’t be hard for you then, but do be sure to limit the time spent at work. Your mind is adaptable but you’ll benefit from other types of input as well.Scorpio – Saturn is no longer conjunct your Sun so let go of the past now. You can do this best by being honest about how it affects you. No need to communicate all this to others, it’s a personal matter. This kind of introspection requires that you take care of yourself. Sagittarius – Saturn in your first house conjunct your Sun – spend time in detailed work that needs attention. Some recent distractions might have put you behind schedule. It’s time to play catch-up. Keep to yourself and avoid emotional outbursts.Capricorn – professional duties will demand some of your time but you should be as honest as you can be about your connection to those duties. Are you comfortable with them? Do they allow you sufficient self-expression? More importantly, do they encourage you to make a heart connection to other people? Remember that your values are changing and expanding.Aquarius – somebody finds you absolutely fascinating. It’s possible there is a psychic or spiritual connection at work here. This could be a relationship that works out extremely well. Keep planning about that luxury item you’ve been wanting.Pisces – socialize without any particular game plan in mind. Friends can offer helpful perspective and humor so be ready to act on their advice. Step off the beaten track and into the fields of imagination.IF YOU KNOW YOUR RISING SIGN, CONSULT THE HOROSCOPE FOR THAT SIGN AS WELL.Psychicdeb has been a professional astrologer for over 25 yrs. Self-taught, she began her studies in astrology when she was 8 yrs. old learning what she could from her mother’s astrology magazines. As she got older and learned geometry, she searched for books on Astrology and taught herself how to construct a chart. She teaches Astrology for a nominal fee. Psychicdeb also uses the tarot to do psychic readings channeling her spirit guide Helen. Reiki is one of her obsessions. She is a Reiki Master and loves to teach others the benefits of Reiki. Namaste. You can find her at the Original Psychic Fairs on Sundays. A listing of the Fair dates can be found on her website at: www.astro-mate.orglast_img read more

COVID-19—Why your credit union website matters even more right now

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr 46% of Baby Boomers39% of Gen Xers36% of Millennials Right now, in the midst of an intense global pandemic, people are staying inside. They’re not going to restaurants, or gyms, or even to church. And they are certainly trying not to take unnecessary trips to the bank. Because of this, you’ve likely already seen an increase in traffic on your credit union website.What you may not have realized: the change is here to stay. Recently, payments firm FIS conducted a large survey of COVID-era banking habits. Here are some of their key findings.Percentage of respondents who have changed how they interact with financial institutions: 45%Percentage of respondents who are now using mobile or online banking:center_img continue reading »last_img read more

Dixie D’Amelio Responds to Ariana Grande’s Shade at TikTok Stars

first_img– Advertisement – “I think it’s fair. I definitely have been not going … because I’ve been working out a lot and also preparing for my movie,” she said, referring to the upcoming gender-swap remake of She’s All That.Rae, who has more than 67 million TikTok followers, added that she’s encouraging her man to stay home too. ”No more parties for Bryce,” she said.TikTok stars aren’t the only ones under fire for partying as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Kendall Jenner recently made headlines for her Halloween-theme 25th birthday party. The bash, which was held at Harriet’s Rooftop at 1 Hotel in West Hollywood on Saturday, October 31, reportedly had 100 people in attendance, including her sisters Kylie Jenner and Kim and Kourtney Kardashian. Other A-listers at the party included The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Winnie Harlow, Jaden Smith and Saweetie.Kris Jenner later defended her daughter amid backlash.“We’re dealing with lots of people that have different opinions and all we can do is live our lives the best way we know how and be responsible and do the right thing,” Kris, 64, said on SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live on Monday, November 2. “And we’re doing that. … I am very sensitive to what’s going on, believe me. I’ve really tried so hard.”Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories! She added, “Did we all really need to put on our cowgirl boots and ride a mechanical bull that bad? We need that Instagram post that badly?”Dixie D'Amelio Responds to Ariana Grande Shade at TikTok StarsCourtesy of Dixie D’Amelio/InstagramWhile Grande didn’t name names, TikTokers are often spotted partying at the Los Angeles hotspot. The California city began reopening restaurants at the end of May after shutting down amid the COVID-19 crisis.After a clip of the comment circulated on social media, Dixie, the 19-year-old sister of Charli D’Amelio, the most followed person on TikTok, was asked about the controversy.- Advertisement – “She’s right, she’s right,” Dixie admitted to Pap Galore, adding that Grande is “a queen” whom she “loves.”Rae, 20, was also asked about Grande’s criticism while out with on-again, off-again boyfriend Bryce Hall.- Advertisement – Dixie D'Amelio Responds to Ariana Grande Shade at TikTok StarsAriana Grande Broadimage/ShutterstockNow accepting shade. Ariana Grande’s remark about young influencers going out amid the coronavirus pandemic has gone viral — and TikTok stars Dixie D’Amelio and Addison Rae have taken note.“Couldn’t we have just stayed at home for a few more weeks? … Did we all really need to go to f—king Saddle Ranch that badly that like we couldn’t have waited for the deathly pandemic to pass?” the 27-year-old singer recently said on the Zach Sang Show while promoting her new album, “Positions.”- Advertisement –last_img read more

Agencies to seek accord on naming of H5N1 strains

first_imgDec 11, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – International health officials who met with Chinese health experts last week said the dispute over the “Fujian-like” strain of H5N1 avian influenza reflects confusion over names and vowed to seek an agreement on terminology for the various H5N1 subgroups.The meeting in Beijing came a few weeks after US and Hong Kong scientists reported in a medical journal that the Fujian-like strain had emerged as the predominant H5N1 strain in southern China in the past year and caused increased poultry outbreaks. Chinese authorities rejected the report, saying the strain did not exist as a distinct subgroup.A postmeeting statement from the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) affirmed the existence of the Fujian-like strain, but said it has been called several different names.Participants agreed that “a number of significant H5N1 virus groups have been identified from poultry and wild birds in China since 2004,” the statement said. “One such identified group of viruses has been termed differently by several groups. Terms include the ‘waterfowl clade’, ‘clade 2.3’, and ‘Fujian-like’.”The statement also said, “It was agreed there is a need for a shared understanding and a common nomenclature for influenza A(H5N1) groups and that some of the recent confusion about the avian influenza situation in China resulted from multiple terms used to describe the same virus groups.”FAO/OIE/WHO will establish an international working group including Chinese experts to develop global consensus on terminology to be used when describing different influenza A(H5N1) virus groups.”According to a Reuters report, the WHO’s David Heymann told reporters after the meeting, “It’s very important that naming of viruses is done in a way that doesn’t stigmatize countries, that doesn’t stigmatize regions and doesn’t stigmatize individual people.” Heymann is the WHO’s assistant director-general for communicable diseases.Media reports on the meeting said Chinese experts didn’t deny the existence of the Fujian-like strain but did take exception to the name. According to a Canadian Press (CP) report, Chinese officials said the Hong Kong–US researchers had renamed a known H5N1 subgroup that some other authorities called Anhui-like, Anhui being another Chinese province.The FAO-OIE-WHO statement affirmed some aspects of the Hong Kong–US researchers’ report, which was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For example, the statement said information presented at the meeting indicated that the Fujian-like strain has grown more common in parts of southern China since 2005 and has been found in poultry in Laos and Malaysia this year.In addition, the statement said, “This virus group has been documented to cause some human infection in 2005 and 2006 in China,” as the Hong Kong–US researchers had said.But contrary to another possibility the researchers have suggested, “There is no evidence to date to link the emergence of this virus group with use of poultry influenza vaccination in China.”The statement affirmed that vaccination can control H5N1 in poultry, provided that vaccines are of high quality and well matched to circulating viruses and that vaccination coverage is adequate.”China has recently strengthened poultry surveillance to include serological (antibody) and virus surveillance as well as surveillance for disease outbreaks,” the statement added. With the increased surveillance, China is now publishing data monthly on the Ministry of Agriculture Web site, rather than annually, news services reported.China has been criticized for sharing too little data on the H5N1 virus and too few samples. Last month the country promised to provide samples to the WHO.Keiji Fukuda, coordinator of the WHO global influenza program, said all participants at the meeting agreed that sharing information and virus samples “is critical for the defense of everybody,” according to Reuters.The FAO-OIE-WHO statement said there has been no evidence that the Fujian-like strain is more transmissible to humans than other H5N1 viruses and no evidence that it has sparked human-to-human transmission.See also:Nov 10 CIDRAP News story “Chinese promise H5N1 samples, deny claim of new strain”Nov 3 CIDRAP News story “Study says new H5N1 strain pervades southern China”last_img read more

The congress industry seeks to enable professional and scientific gatherings

first_imgZajednica poslovnog turizma Hrvatske gospodarske komore zatražila je od nadležnih ministarstava  da stručne i znanstvene skupove uvrste u kategoriju događanja koja će biti dopuštena za održavanje u prvoj fazi mjera za pokretanje gospodarskih i drugih djelatnosti. Inicijativu da se omoguće stručni skupovi podržali su i Hrvatska udruga profesionalaca kongresnog turizma (HUPKT), Hrvatski liječnički zbor (HLZ – preko 150 liječničkih društava s ukupno 10.500 članova), Hrvatska udruga medicinskih sestara (HUMS – 33 stručna društva s ukupno 5.500 članova) i Udruga industrije medicinskih proizvoda (CROMED). The profession says that business tourism, given the currently very bad situation in the sector, ie almost one hundred percent losses in the spring season, will certainly not recover until the spring of 2021. Therefore, they are also seeking an extension of the measures to preserve jobs that are currently in force. President of HUPKT Ranko Filipovic naglašava kako su hoteli i konferencijski centri, kao i ostali dobavljači, spremni na uvođenje mjera zaštite i kontrolu pravila distanciranja te ograničenje broja korisnika s obzirom na preporučene norme.  „We suggest that the general limit applies to 100 participants, however exceptionally in case the convention center and accommodation facility is able to provide the prescribed distance due to capacity, and more with the prior consent of the local or national Headquarters. Additionally, in the direction of encouraging Croatian companies to organize internal meetings, we request, at least temporarily, the abolition of the payment of salary contributions in kind for internal events.”, Said Filipović.  Također, iz HUPKT-a predlažu i da se dopusti posluživanje hrane u zatvorenim prostorima (hotelskim restoranima) budući da terase nisu svima dostupne niti prikladne u slučaju lošeg vremena, naravno sve uz potpuno poštivanje preporuka epidemiologa. The letter to the ministries also outlined concrete measures that the organizers can take to ensure the highest prescribed hygiene standards, which guarantees the health safety of the participants.  “The congress industry is an important segment of tourism, but also of the overall Croatian economy because its consumption and long-term stability is a significant generator of inflows to domestic hotels, congress centers, restaurants and transport companies that are most affected by this pandemic. We believe that professional and scientific gatherings are in a more favorable position than similar public gatherings, primarily because they are educations with a special emphasis on professional development and knowledge exchange where there is no place for entertainment. This is especially true for medical gatherings which, according to strict codes of ethics, are not allowed to have entertainment or have it to a very limited extent. “, pointed out the president of the Business Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Jasmina Bilać, noting that the average delegate spends significantly more on professional development than leisure tourists.last_img read more

AEON Mall BSD City closes after employees contract COVID-19

first_imgThe employees who tested positive apparently worked in the management room, but authorities have decided to disinfect all parts of the four-story building, inside and outside, including the parking area.The mall will reopen after the sterilization process complete.Tangerang COVID-19 task force spokesperson Hendra Tarmizi said the cases were revealed after one of the infected employees visited a local hospital after experiencing symptoms. “He was suffering from a cold and a headache. His swab test result showed he had contracted COVID-19,” Hendra said. (vny)Topics : Shopping center AEON Mall BSD City in Tangerang, Banten, will be closed for the next seven days, until Aug. 12, after two of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.Authorities will sterilize the facility and conduct rapid tests on 1,200 of the mall’s employees and tenants.”We will finish the rapid tests within three days,” Tangerang regency secretary Moch. Maesal Rasyid said as quoted by kompas.id on Thursday.The sterilization process, meanwhile, would take longer than three days, Maesal added.last_img read more