5 things that will decide Italy’s constitutional vote

first_img1. The Grillo factorAfter local elections in June the anti-establishment, anti-euro 5Star movement has emerged as Renzi’s main antagonist. The party is strongly opposed to Renzi’s constitutional reforms. In June the movement, founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, won elections in Rome and Turin, historically a left-wing stronghold.But Rome’s new mayor, Virginia Raggi, has had such a poor start in office — helping fuel a rebound for Renzi’s party in the polls — that Grillo has had to intervene. The comedian said a few months ago he would step aside to let the movement grow autonomously, but has now changed his mind. Over the weekend he said he would return as 5Star leader. If his strategy for distracting from Raggi’s woes is to step up attacks on Renzi’s reforms, it could make a difference to the outcome. The question is whether he can distract enough from Raggi’s woes to make any difference in the referendum.2. EU budget battlesRenzi’s post-summit mini-tantrum in Bratislava earlier this month over what he called the slow pace of European reforms after Brexit is sure to play well in Italy, which has increasingly turned Euroskeptic after years of German-led economic austerity. The Italian leader has also made a major show of trying to negotiate with the European Commission some maneuvering room in eurozone rules on deficit spending so he can cut taxes and increase pensions.Italian daily La Stampa said the referendum will be “the turning point in the relationship between Europe and Italy” because if Renzi wins he could be emboldened to increase deficit spending even beyond the 3 percent threshold as defined by the eurozone’s Stability and Growth Pact. But the question is will he have any real room to reduce taxes and improve the life of Italians, who are facing a decline in standards of living after 20 years of virtually no economic growth.3. Migration politicsRenzi reminds at every opportunity that migrants continue to arrive in Italy even if the flow of migration from Turkey to Greece has been slowed to a trickle. Part of his outburst in Bratislava was about the fact that the EU’s planned relocation of refugees from Greece and Italy has not worked. Now, with stricter border controls in place in Europe — especially in France, Austria and Switzerland — Italy is no longer a transit country; it’s a final destination for migrants and refugees.Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala is the latest Italian politician to complain to Renzi that he needs a new policy to deal with migration. If voters see the December ballot as a way to vent their frustration at the Italian leader, he could have trouble on referendum day. The Italian government has now set December 4 as the date for a constitutional referendum on which Matteo Renzi has staked his political future, promising to resign if he failed and then — as his popularity numbers went down since the heady early days of 2014, when the reforms were first unveiled — backtracking.His position is precarious, which helps explain the delay in the vote, originally expected in October. Unclear is whether the delay will make any difference.With the referendum campaign clock now ticking, here are five factors likely to determine the outcome of the vote: 4. Return of ‘demolition man’Earlier this month the political weekly l’Espresso wrote that Renzi was moving from being “demolition man” to “reconstruction man” because he wanted to be more inclusive with rivals within his party and with trade unions. Yet it’s one of the main rivals within his party, former Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema, who is increasingly being seen as the leader of the “No” campaign.This, analysts say, could end up favoring Renzi, who could return to his “demolition man” persona. D’Alema is unpopular and was one of the main targets of Renzi’s effort to wipe out Italy’s previous political establishment. The more D’Alema plays a role defending the status quo, the more Renzi can go back to his initial winning rhetoric against the old leaders of the party who he can argue have destroyed the country.5. How the question is wordedAs in all referendums, the wording of the question on the ballot is likely to have a big effect on the outcome. Renzi has said the language will make clear to Italians that with their vote they can reduce government costs by downsizing the Senate and deliver a blow to what Italians call “la casta” — the privileges and the high salaries of politicians. That my prove hard to resist.The wording, already agreed, explicitly calls for cutting the number of senators and a reduction in the costs of the political institutions. But it may not lead everyone to support the measure. On social networks critics have been joking that the wording should include the fact that even in a downsized legislature, senators will keep their immunity from prosecutors. Also On POLITICO Italy to hold constitutional referendum on December 4 By Cynthia Kroet Matteo Renzi’s not-so-secret weapon: Euro-bashing By David M. Herszenhorn and Jacopo Barigazzilast_img read more

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Tech feud complicates EU search for coronavirus tracking app

first_imgTurning tideThe split underscores a rapid breakdown in trust.PEPP-PT began life as Europe’s answer to surveillance-heavy technology used in countries like China to ease lockdown measures, and promised to unite the Continent’s techies. Together, they would come up with privacy-friendly ways to do “contact tracing” — a technique of gathering data on encounters and alerting those that have crossed paths with coronavirus-infected people.But the project is now on life support as erstwhile members withdraw their backing.“PEPP-PT is still trying to claim it’s some kind of umbrella organization, but it’s been captured by a single project,” DP-3T member and University College London researcher Michael Veale told POLITICO over the phone.According to Veale, a mostly German group including the renowned Fraunhofer institute and tech entrepreneur Chris Boos are using PEPP-PT to push their more centralized approach to contact tracing at the expense of other models — including the “decentralized” one developed by DP-3T.Boos, who is also part of PEPP-PT’s leadership team, sought to play down reports of the rift in a call with reporters on Friday, saying that PEPP-PT still supports different models of contact tracing. “We still like the DP-3T protocol … Our approach is that countries have to be able to choose.” Governments are betting on coronavirus tracking apps to help ease lockdown restrictions. Too bad the techies developing these tools have turned on one another.At first glance, the spat seems charmingly geeky — developers who favor so-called decentralized design for the apps, with data stored on devices, disagree with other developers who back a centralized design where data gets stored on the cloud.But for those involved, the choice is ultra-serious and has far-reaching consequences for privacy and Europe’s technological independence. The dispute now puts researchers head to head — especially in Germany, where most of PEPP-PT’s members are headquartered.PEPP-PT’s website says it backs both centralized and decentralized approaches to contact tracing. Boos said Friday he is also in favor of a “semi-centralized” model.At an online virtual conference the same day he also dismissed the debate raging around the relative merits of the different systems.“Honestly, I could not care less. Both approaches guarantee privacy — one sends more data to a central server and the other sends more data to everyone. It doesn’t matter, and this discussion has been going on for 30 years in the crypto community and they will never be able to agree.”Germany center stageThe dispute now puts researchers head to head — especially in Germany, where most of PEPP-PT’s members are headquartered.The German government has been in talks with these institutes and companies for its app for weeks. But it will now have to hear out the criticism of the rival, “decentralized” group. Over 50 German scientists signed the new letter, including one from the Fraunhofer institute, several ones from the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security and others from institutes like Bundeswehr University in Munich. It’s already prompted a series of defections from a high-profile German-led project, and comes at an inconvenient time for governments — just as they are agonizing over which apps to choose to help them out of their lockdowns.At the center of the fight is the clunkily named Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) consortium, an alliance once of around 130 European computer scientists that launched last month with the aim of developing apps that adhere to the Continent’s strict privacy rules.”Right now, PEPP-PT is not open enough, and it is not transparent enough” — Marcel Salathé, a researcher at École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneBut while PEPP-PT is gaining traction among national governments — the body’s leadership say eight countries are developing apps using its code, while 40 others have signed up — it is facing an exodus of members over what they say is a lack of transparency and a preference for a centralized app design.A letter out Monday signed by over 300 scientists from 25 countries — including former PEPP-PT backers — argues that decentralized app designs do a better job of preserving privacy than centralized models.”The statement … recommends that decentralised approaches be adopted. Interestingly, the PEPP-PT consortium, now largely composed of German research institutions, has been promoting an opposite, centralized approach,” said Kenneth Paterson, an ETH Zürich researcher who publicly withdrew support from PEPP-PT on Saturday in a statement accompanying the letter.center_img The letter also has the support of researchers across institutes and universities in Canada, the U.K., U.S. and other non-European countries.It’s the latest, arguably strongest push to adopt “decentralized apps” and steer clear of projects like the earlier PEPP-PT project — after a series of European researchers sounded the alarm in the past days.“I am personally disassociating from PEPP-PT … I can’t stand behind something I don’t know what it stands for. Right now, PEPP-PT is not open enough, and it is not transparent enough,” said Marcel Salathé, a researcher at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in a tweet on Friday.Instead, Salathé said he would be pouring his efforts into a DP-3T, a group that began under the auspices of the PEPP-PT, but has now largely detached itself from the umbrella organization.Other defections swiftly followed, with researchers from ETH Zürich, CISPA, and KU Leuven withdrawing from PEPP-PT to focus on DP-3T over the weekend.Many defections have focused on PEPP-PT’s alleged lack of transparency — a claim backed up by a group of MEPs, who wrote to the organization’s leadership on Friday to demand more clarity. By contrast, DP-3T has gained kudos for publishing its code. In a position paper sent to the German government, a coalition of German startups that is working with PEPP-PT fired back, arguing that DP-3T’s approach of storing data on phones would mean more ending up in the hands of the two companies that make the vast majority of phone software: Google and Apple.”Looking from a global perspective, PEPP-PT is on the side of a decentralized national storage — while with DP-3T, all data would be stored globally with two giant companies, therefore more centralized than ever,” the group, called GesundZusammen, said in a statement.PEPP-PT promised clarity, but as techies ramp up their feud, privacy-conscious governments are facing an even tougher choice.Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email [email protected] to request a complimentary trial. Also On POLITICO BY THE NUMBERS Coronavirus in Europe: Live data tracker By Arnau Busquets Guàrdia, Hanna Pawelec and Cornelius Hirsch Coronavirus: Live updates By POLITICOlast_img read more

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Jam Cruise 12 Lineup Announced

first_imgThe festival that trumps every other festival has finally announced its much anticipated lineup.  Jam Cruise 12‘s lineup has been officially announced.  And what a lineup it is!  This year we can expect epic performances from a slew of artists including Galactic, Thievery Corporation, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Lotus, Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, Anders Osborne, The New Mastersounds, Pork Tornado, The Wailers, Anders Osborne, Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang and many more.To add the icing on the cake, there will also be a “Surprise Show” on the private island that the boat stops at. What act/s this could wind up being is anybody’s guess, and simply leaves so much to the imagination that we can’t even begin to comprehend.  Jam Cruise is known for pulling out all the stops, and we expect this year to be no different, as we set sail out of Miami from January 4-9th, and bask in the Caribbean sun.  Is it January yet?Check out our coverage from last year’s mind-blowing experience and see just why this is the best festival around.  Here is the link to book your cabins.  Jam Cruise 12 may be moving to a bigger ship, but when we say this is going to sell out, and you should get on board immediately, we mean it!Watch the official lineup announcement video here:Official Jam Cruise 12 Lineup:Thievery CorporationGalacticRobert Randolph and the Family BandGeorge Porter Jr.The New MastersoundsLes Claypool’s Duo De TwangKarl Denson’s Tiny UniverseThe RevivalistsAnders OsborneRob Garza (Solo DJ Sets)ConspiratorGigantic Underground ConspiracyBootsy Collins & The Funk Unity BandLotusThe WailersKeller WilliamsKeller and the KimocksLettuceDumpstaphunkDJ Logic and John PopperThe Infamous StringdustersALOMarchForth Marching BandOrgonePork TornadoBoneramaRobert Walter’s 20th CongressMonophonicsMike Dillon BandEric Krasno BandEveryone OrchestraAlan Evans Super JamNathan MooreBrock ButlerCyril NevilleBill EvansOteil BurbridgeWill BernardAlecia ChakourSkerikMaster Class At Sea (Artist At Large): Col. Bruce, Kofi Burbridge, Butch Trucks, Victor Wooten, Luther and Cody Dickinsonlast_img read more

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Friday Roundup: Cycling Odds & Ends

first_imgRed Bull Last Stand brings Crit Racing to The Alamo this weekend  – On Saturday hundreds of the fastest riders from all over the country will take to the streets in San Antonio on the famous Alamo Plaza in the latest of Red Bull’s Last Stand criterium road races. The race is slated to give an overhaul to the typical crit race, with an eliminator format, knocking out the last rider to cross the finish line each lap, until just one racer remains to take their final victory lap. The night-time races on the flat and technical 1/2 mile course with 9 turns will be free for all spectators, with great views set up of the iconic Alamo Plaza.Fixed gear women kick off the racing at 5pm, followed by the fixed men at 6pm. Then the main events of the geared women kick off at 7pm, with the geared men the last to toe the line at 8pm. More info at: LastStand.splashthat.com. Check out a teaser video after the jump… courtesy of XPDTN3, photo by Marc GaschWTB Partners with XPDNT3 Explorers for 3-day trips across the globe  – Back when 3T introduced their new aero gravel adventure bike – the Exploro – earlier this summer, they also teased a new XPDTN3 club project. The idea was to head out and map adventure rides around the world, so everyday riders could see how close they were to real adventures. The project started off with well-known brand ambassador Magnus Backstedt, but the idea was always to lay some ground work to open it up for anyone to head out on a trip then report back on the adventure to open it up for more people to experience. WTB was there from the beginning putting Road+ and Gravel+ tires to work, but now they are formally a partner on the project extending to saddles as well. The impetus behind the XPDTN3 explorer club… “We love bike expeditions. But like most of you, we don’t have the time for 5 weeks in Mongolia or 3 months in Peru. So we started the XPDTN3 club, packing as much bike adventure as possible into 3 days.” The deal is all about sharing amazing stories, photos, places to ride and videos. The photo above is just a tiny teaser, and we’ll be sure to get into some more detail on these adventures in the future. For now, check them out the club and the growing list of trips from the Westfjords of Iceland, to the US’s Idaho Hot Springs route, all at: XPDTN3.Club… courtesy of Red Bull, photo by Daniel CavazosWeekend of racing Gear & Industry NewsVelocity to centralize all of production and distribution to Michigan HQ – After 5 years of rim production in Jacksonville, FL, Velocity is moving all rim manufacturing and distribution to their world headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI. As they enter their 25th year, the brothers who run the company are happy to see the growth and return of American made bicycle products. The move is expected to cut product delivery times and bring more specialized factory jobs to Grand Rapids, along side their current distribution and wheel building facility. VelocityUSA.comVolagi Cycles co-founder Choi starting to recover after recent collision – A couple of weeks ago Volagi Cycles co-founder Robert Choi was involved in a collision with a car. a week ago. Choi suffered a head injury after being hit from behind near his company’s HQ in Ogden, UT. After thinking he was fine, he returned to the office, only to be be found unconscious some time later. Following emergency surgery, and a coma for some days, he is said to be finally improving. With a long recovery ahead, friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to help support his recovery: GoFundMe.com/RCroad2recovery.Like Waffles? Like Pumpkin? Trek’s in-house chef shares his recipe for pocket-sized pumpkin waffles to fuel your next ride. So, the real question here is, why wasn’t anyone doing the slip ‘n’ slide down the muddy hill? Seems like that would’ve been faster… #cyclocrossAdvocacy100+ cyclists & 6 US Paralympians take on Challenged Athletes Foundation Million Dollar Cycling Challenge starting this weekend – They start out with the Ride Out Event on Saturday the 15, led by  NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton. From October 15-21, they’ll ride the 620-mile journey down the California coastline from San Francisco to San Diego. The Ride Out kick off event starts out early this Saturday from 7:30 am at the Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Warf. This whole deal is an exclusive and fully supported ride that includes stops in California’s most stunning coastal towns. More details at: ChallengedAthletes.orgQBP donates $100,000 to trail center in Minneapolis – Bike distributer Quality Bicycle Products has ponied up a hundred grand for the new trailhead at Theodore Wirth Park, a trailhead and Welcome Center project near the center of town in Minneapolis, MN. Together with the Loppet Foundation who supports both cross country ski events in the winter and a trips for kids mountain bike program in the summer, the new project hopes to improve access to healthy outdoor recreation for those in the city with a new trailhead facility offering bike & ski rentals, a couple of skills parks, a permanent cross course, and a learning center.last_img read more

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E-filings now accepted in 46 counties

first_imgE-filings now accepted in 46 counties March 1, 2012 Regular News E-filings now accepted in 46 countiescenter_img Most Florida counties are now connected to the Internet portal that is the gateway to the new electronic filing system for Florida courts.The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority Board, which oversees the portal, discussed county progress at its February 1 meeting in Orlando. The board, chaired by Orange County Clerk of Court Lydia Gardner, is made up of eight county court clerks and Supreme Court Clerk Tom Hall.In an update on the e-filing system, the board was told that 46 counties are now accepting at least some civil filings and plans are underway to connect the other 21 counties. That’s a big jump. At the end of 2011, 20 counties were connected to the portal.Court clerks have set a goal of having all counties capable of accepting electronic filings in all five civil divisions by July 1, and having all counties capable of accepting all criminal filings by the end of the year. (In a rules case pending at the Supreme Court, the Florida Courts Technology Commission has recommended that e-filing be made mandatory nine months after those dates, although the court has asked for more information before issuing its decision.)Melvin Cox, of the Florida Association of Court Clerks and who is overseeing the implementation of the portal, said that for 2011, around 35,000 documents were filed through the electronic gateway and 6,000 lawyers registered to use the portal. Around 1,500 of those registered actually used it to file documents, he added. (E-filing went online in the first counties in January 2011.)Among the advancements Cox discussed were:• Levi Owens has been hired as the e-portal project manager and will work as a liaison between the clerks and the counties as they connect to the system. Owens is initially working with the 21 counties that have not yet connected to the portal to help them meet the July 1 deadline for accepting civil filings. He is also working with the counties that had their own e-filing systems before the statewide system was set up and integrating them into the portal.• The e-filing software was updated on January 23 based on input from the initial court clerks already using the e-filing system. Cox said the new release makes 20 enhancements and addresses 50 “deficiencies” identified by the clerks. Enhancements include allowing the filer to pay for items such as number of defendants greater than five, summonses, and lis pendens. A feedback process has also been set up so input can be continually taken from the clerks, those suggestions ranked in importance, and then integrated in future software upgrades.• Progress has been made on e-filing for criminal cases, particularly the ability to accept batch filing that is particularly important for state attorneys and public defenders, who handle large numbers of cases. Cox said he has worked with prosecutors and public defenders around the state, and the initial design for criminal filing will allow multiple filings in a single case or multiple filings in several different cases. “This is the major new functionality that is being added to this,” Cox said. “It will primarily enhance our criminal arena, but it will help all divisions as we move forward.”• Electronic filing for the Supreme Court and district courts of appeal should be accomplished by the planned June 30 deadline.A complete list of counties that have connected to the portal can be found on the authority’s website. Look for the information under the items on the board’s February 1 meeting agenda. Specific information on which counties are accepting e-filing and in which divisions will be posted soon on the authority’s website. Those wishing to register with the e-filing system can do so through the portal. Go here and follow the directions. On another matter, Putnam County Clerk of Court Tim Smith was seated as a new member of the authority, replacing Clay County Clerk of Court James Jett, who is exploring a run for Congress.The authority board set its next in-person meeting for April 24 at 8:30 a.m. in Gainesville, although it may have a teleconference before then. If the teleconference is scheduled, it will be listed in the public notice section on the authority’s website.last_img read more

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Hassett shines once more in 13-inning gem

first_imgHassett shines once more in 13-inning gemThe Gophers’ ace pitched 13 scoreless innings Sunday as Minnesota recorded the 1-0 win.April 21, 2008Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintThe Minnesota softball team earned its wins this weekend.up next south Dakota State universitywhat: Softballwhen: 4 p.m., Thursdaywhere: MinneapolisThe Gophers (23-14 overall, 6-6 Big Ten) played 12 innings in Illinois and 20 at No. 25 Iowa to split series with both squads, improving their chances at a Big Ten Tournament berth.“It was a very successful weekend,” coach Lisa Bernstein said. “A split on the road is fantastic, and I’m proud of the effort of these kids.”Junior pitcher Briana Hassett kept the dangerous offense of Illinois at bay Friday, striking out nine while allowing six hits to complete her eighth shutout of the season.Offensively, Minnesota’s infield provided just enough spark to win, collecting six of the team’s seven hits and driving home a pair of runs.Junior third baseman Colleen Conway scored freshman shortstop Brianna Sudenga on an RBI groundout in the third to open up the Gophers’ scoring.Senior second baseman Amber Nelsen’s RBI single in the sixth brought home freshman first baseman Malisa Barnes, tacking on the insurance run in the 2-0 win.The dormant Illini offense woke up for the second game of the series however, hammering out 12 hits to score 10 runs in just four innings of work.Illinois (27-24, 6-8) collected seven hits in a six-run second inning, and the Gophers were unable to recover, losing by the eight-run mercy rule, 10-2.Hoping to rebound from the loss, the team traveled to Iowa Sunday, escaping the big bats, but meeting up with strong pitching.Iowa (32-14, 10-4) took the first game as Brittany Weil out-dueled Minnesota’s Hassett in the matchup of junior pitchers, scattering five hits to shut out the Gophers.Hassett was in control throughout the game as well, allowing just four hits. But the Hawkeyes managed to push two runs across, one earned, to edge out the Minnesota ace, 2-0. The Gophers had only one true scoring opportunity in the game, as juniors Conway and Shannon Stemper bunched a pair of hits together to put runners on second and third in the sixth.A two-out walk loaded the bases, but Minnesota failed to take advantage of its opportunity, ending the inning with a strikeout.“It was pretty tough on us,” Hassett said. “Iowa’s got some good pitching and solid defense. It was hard to push across runs.”Hassett remained in the lineup for the second game as well, and produced her third gem of the weekend.Both teams collected just three hits over the first seven innings, heading into extra innings tied at zero.Minnesota’s best opportunity to score was squandered in the fourth, when a pair of errors gave the Gophers runners on first and second with no one out. But three strikeouts followed, stranding both.After 12 scoreless innings, Minnesota managed to sneak a run across in the 13th.Senior outfielder Sila Fernandez and Barnes led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Fernandez came around to score on a two-out error.Fernandez led the team with four hits, and was finally rewarded, scoring on Nelson’s grounder.“I actually didn’t know she scored until I turned around and saw her cross the plate,” Nelson said. “It was amazing to finally score after twelve innings, and we were going to take it any way possible.”Hassett finished off the Hawkeyes in the bottom of the inning, ending the 13-inning shutout with 15 strikeouts.last_img read more

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Flu Scan for Feb 21, 2014

first_img1,500 chickens culled for H5N1 in NepalAfter about 300 chickens on a farm in Nepal died mysteriously, H5N1 avian flu was confirmed and 1,552 chickens on that and a neighboring farm as well as 30 crates of eggs were destroyed yesterday by a rapid response team, according to a story in Republica, a Nepalese newspaper.The farms are in Itahari in the southeast district of Sunsari. Dr. Bodh Raj Parajuli, director of the Regional Veterinary Directorate at Biratnagar, said chickens and other domestic birds within a 500-meter radius of the two farms would be destroyed, says the article. Poultry farmers are being urged to report any symptoms of illness in their flocks.Large outbreaks of H5N1 in Nepal were reported late last year.Feb 20 Republica story Most recent (Nov 13, 2013) CIDRAP News item on H5N1 in Nepal WHO holds mission in Egypt to lend support surrounding H1N1 fluEgypt’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has received help from the World Health Organization (WHO) in the midst of a rash of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza cases, according to a WHO statement yesterday.According to the WHO, the large number of H1N1 cases is not unexpected, as the strain is hitting many areas of the world hard this flu season. The number of cases this season is similar to the number last flu season, but many areas are reporting an increase in severe cases. The 2009 H1N1 type of flu tends to affect young adults in larger numbers than typical seasonal influenza strains.The H1N1 cases appear to have peaked about 2 weeks ago, said Anthony Mounts, MD, leader of the epidemiologic portion of WHO’s Egyptian mission, and numbers are likely to decline going forward.The WHO gave recommendations to MoHP for improving early detection and notification of influenza-like illness and severe respiratory events. The organization also worked with MoHP on educating critical care doctors in Egypt on specimen collection, care of critically ill patients, and infection control, and it worked with MoHP staff on appropriate risk communications.Henk Bekedam, WHO’s representative in Egypt, said that “On the whole, Egypt has a well-established and -functioning surveillance system.”Feb 20 WHO statementlast_img read more

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Flu Scan for Jul 06, 2015

first_imgSouth Africa, Sri Lanka cited as flu hot spots by WHOSouth Africa and Sri Lanka were about the only exceptions to a global pattern of low influenza activity revealed by surveillance as of mid-June, according to a recent flu update from the World Health Organization (WHO).South Africa reported high flu activity, with the H3N2 and 2009 H1N1 viruses both circulating, the WHO said. Activity was increasing but still low in Australia and New Zealand, while temperate regions of South America reported expected levels of flu circulation for this time of year.In tropical Asia, increasing flu activity was reported in Hong Kong, Singapore, southern China, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, with type A viruses predominant. But of those, Sri Lanka was the only country described as having high activity, with 2009 H1N1 predominant.Labs in the WHO’s flu surveillance network reported identifying 1,620 flu cases among 23,577 samples tested in the first 2 weeks of June. Of those, 69% were type A and 31% were type B; 77.2% of the type A viruses were H3N2 and 22.8% were 2009 H1N1.Jun 29 WHO update summary Full WHO update  Study: Oseltamivir protects ferrets from influenza eye challengeOseltamivir (Tamiflu) protected ferrets that were infected with influenza viruses via the eye from death, reduced clinical signs and symptoms, and decreased virus transmissibility, according to a new study in Virology. No antiviral drug is currently licensed for treating ocular influenza.Scientists with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sprayed aerosolized influenza H5N1, H7N9, H7N3, and 2009 H1N1 on the surface of ferrets’ eyes, and followed with oseltamivir at regular intervals for some animals and no treatment for control animals.Of those four strains, H5N1 has proved fatal to ferrets infected via the ocular route in previous experiments. But the three animals treated with oseltamivir survived the H5N1 challenge, while control animals did not.The team also found that clinical signs and symptoms, viral shedding, and disease transmission were all reduced for all the strains of flu in animals given oseltamivir.The authors conclude, “These findings provide critical experimental evidence supporting the use of neuraminidase inhibitors during outbreaks of influenza virus resulting in ocular disease or following ocular exposure.”Jul 3 Virology studylast_img read more

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Changes Announced On The Robert Bosch GmbH Board Of Management

first_imgSTUTTGART, Germany – Wolf-Henning Scheider (52) is leaving the Bosch Group effective March 31, 2015, and joining MAHLE GmbH. Effective July 1, 2015, he will become chairman of its board of management. For some years, Bosch and MAHLE have enjoyed a close business relationship. Since 2008, they have run the Bosch Mahle Turbosystems joint venture, which develops and manufactures exhaust-gas turbochargers. Scheider is spokesperson for the Automotive Group and has been a member of the Bosch board of management since 2010.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementThe shareholders and supervisory board thank Scheider for his many years of good service in various functions with Robert Bosch GmbH. Over the course of his career, Scheider was president of the Car Multimedia division, as well as president of the Gasoline Systems division from 2006 to 2010.Effective April 1, 2015, Dr. Rolf Bulander (56) will assume responsibility for the Mobility Solutions business sector. Operationally, he will be responsible for the Diesel Systems, Gasoline Systems and Starter Motors and Generators divisions, and also will have corporate responsibility for quality. In addition, he will be responsible for the Electrical Drives division in the future. Bulander, who has a P.h.D. in mechanical engineering, has been with the company for 26 years and was appointed to the board of management in 2013. Prior to that, he was president of the Gasoline Systems division.At the same time, Dr. Markus Heyn (50) will be joining the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. Following a proposal by the shareholders, his appointment was decided by the supervisory board. His future areas of responsibility will include OE Sales and Marketing and Sales. He also will be responsible for the Automotive Aftermarket division and the ETAS GmbH and Bosch Engineering GmbH subsidiaries. Heyn, who also has a P.h.D. in mechanical engineering, has been with Bosch since 1999. Most recently, he was president of the Diesel Systems division.AdvertisementAs part of the reshuffle of responsibilities, Dr. Dirk Hoheisel (56) will retain responsibility for the Chassis Systems Control, Car Multimedia and Automotive Electronics divisions. He will also assume responsibility for the new Automotive Steering division. The latter change is subject to the antitrust authorities approving the complete acquisition of ZF Lenksysteme GmbH. In addition, Hoheisel will remain responsible for Automotive Systems Integration. Hoheisel, who has a P.h.D. in electrical engineering, has been a member of the board of management since 2012. He was previously a member of the executive management of the Car Multimedia and Chassis Systems Control divisions.last_img read more

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