CHICAGO ILLINOIS – Families searching for the per

first_imgCHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Families searching for the perfect spring break vacation to unique locales coupled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences are in luck. This spring break, Kipling & Clark, the purveyors of private luxury travel to Asia, is inviting families to pack up the kids and head to Japan for the nine-day family tour of Tokyo, Takayama, Kyoto and Nara. This exclusive five-star Asian holiday is filled with family-friendly activities and all-access to cultural experiences not always available to the traveling public. From catching a private sumo wrestling practice and dressing up like a Geisha for an intimate dinner party to visiting ancient Kyoto shrines and temples and taking in the gorgeous April cherry blossoms, this spring break trip to Japan is sure to turn moments into memories.“Our philosophy is to deliver an experience that is educational, cultural and memorable, while exceeding all expectations,” explained Kipling & Clark Founder Randy Lynch. “Therefore, we designed this private Japanese spring break package to enrich, inspire and educate every member of the family and include exceptional services, amenities and much more.”The spring break family tour includes five-star luxury accommodations and air transportation, expert ground staff hand selected by Kipling & Clark. All of the above arrangements are accompanied by private guide and read more

Appropriations Chair Cox responds to governors budget proposal

first_img Categories: Cox News,News 07Feb Appropriations Chair Cox responds to governor’s budget proposal State Rep. Laura Cox, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, today made the following statement after Gov. Rick Snyder presented his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year:“I appreciate the governor’s ideas for the coming budget year and look forward to working with him, my House colleagues and the Senate to arrive at an efficient and effective budget that creates a path to success for all Michigan families.“The state budget is not just an assemblage of numbers and charts. It is an expression of our values and objectives. It is about people, and priorities.  I plan to work with Governor Snyder to continue our commitment to education, skilled trades, cooperation with local governments, public safety and the services and programs that are vital to the residents of Michigan.“Today, the governor spoke of several goals that we both share.  One of these is keeping state budget growth below the rate of inflation, something I was proud to achieve in last year’s budget. Another is continuing the important work of paying down our unfunded liabilities and shielding our state from a rainy day by putting away money and protecting that money. Finally, completing the state budget process ahead of the constitutional deadline, allowing school boards and local governments to know exactly how much funding to expect from the state, so that they are able to budget accordingly.”“He also brought up some topics that I predict will be critical to this upcoming budget cycle – addressing environmental concerns surrounding PFAS contamination around the state, focusing on our roads and bridges and addressing campus sexual assault.“I will work together with my colleagues in the House, Senate and the administration this year as we continue investing in those things that are most important to individuals, families and businesses in order to keep Michigan on the right track.”last_img read more

Liberty Globalowned Swiss cable operator UPC Cabl

first_imgLiberty Global-owned Swiss cable operator UPC Cablecom is to extend its ‘Wi-Free’ free WiFi offering to the whole of Switzerland from October.Under the Wi-Free service, Cablecom internet customers enable each other to surf the net whenever they want free of charge, and can already use the Horizon Go TV everywhere app to watch TV online when they are out and about.The service makes use of the over 500,000 home WiFi clouds of its customers to enable other Cablecom subscribers to access the internet outside their homes. Wi-Free was piloted successfully in the city of St. Gallen from the end of January to the beginning of August.From mid-September to the beginning of October, Cablecom will extend Wi-Free to the whole of Switzerland. By means of a software update, Wi-Free will be added to Cablecom internet customers’ WLAN modems. Following registration via the My UPC customer portal and initial login using a mobile device, this device will then connect to Wi-Free automatically.last_img read more

It is designed to help residents with their effor

first_img“It is designed to help residents with their efforts to prevent, reduce, reuse and recycle their household waste and has a host of features to make recycling as convenient as possible.“With the chance to win a fantastic Samsung Galaxy tablet there has never been a better time to download the app and improve your home waste management.”Conor Canning, Head of Environment at Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the app is particularly effective at pointing users towards the correct bin for waste disposal.“Over 300 different household items are listed on the app with photographs that allow you to easily search and check how you should dispose of each waste material,” he noted. BIN AND WIN WITH COUNCIL’S NEW WASTE MANAGEMENT APP ShareTweet DERRY City and Strabane District Council are offering householders the chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet if they download their new Bin-Ovation app in the month of February.The free tool allows users to access all the information they need to know about bin collections and recycling centres to make home waste management as easy and efficient as possible.The competition was launched by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, who highlighted the wide range of information available through the app.“Bin-Ovation is a free and easy to use service that provides residents with instant access to all the information they need about their bins,” she said. “The app’s range of features includes reminders to leave out your bins and handy notifications when there is a change to collections or service.“Users can also check the location of their nearest recycling centre, get directions using GPS and check their opening hours.”To enter the free draw and be in with a chance to win the Samsung Galaxy tablet, all you have to do is download the app from the Google Play or Apple App store.Select Derry City and Strabane District Council, go to the ‘More’ section and select the option to enter the draw remembering to provide your e mail or phone number so you can be contacted if you win.The competition runs for the whole month of February and the winner will be notified in early March.BIN AND WIN WITH COUNCIL’S NEW WASTE MANAGEMENT APP was last modified: January 30th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags:last_img read more

Alternative currency that performs 300 better in

first_img Alternative currency that performs 300% better in a currency collapse Today, most Americans know absolutely nothing about, let alone own, this incredibly valuable asset. Click here to learn more. Recommended Links Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida November 20, 2015 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. •  E.B. Tucker, editor of The Casey Report, says Square has bigger problems than its lackluster IPO… E.B. thinks Square will be a casualty of the digital revolution in money… In the September issue of The Casey Report, E.B. said the way we pay for everyday goods and services is “antiquated, expensive, and inefficient.” Most people pay with credit or debit cards right now. But E.B. thinks more and more people will use their smartphones to make purchases soon. He says “traditional plastic credit cards will join VHS tapes, floppy discs, phone books, and landline telephones in the graveyard of outdated technology.” •  The digital money revolution will claim many victims… E.B. says businesses won’t need credit card terminals if people stop using credit cards. …[T]he credit card terminal. It’s a clunky, redundant, and expensive appendage jutting out from the side of every checkout lane in America. We’re used to swiping our card through it. But if cards become obsolete, so does swiping terminals. That’s a big problem for Square. The company is a “one-trick pony.” Payment processing for its portable credit card readers accounts for 95% of its sales. E.B says its portable readers are already outdated. Square got rid of the traditional terminal and replaced it with a small white contraption that reads credit cards when inserted into a smartphone. That’s the technological equivalent of making a buggy whip with a more ergonomically pleasant handle. It’s still a buggy whip…and the car is about to be invented. •  E.B. thinks another payment company is even more vulnerable than Square… In the September issue of The Casey Report, E.B. recommended shorting (betting against) the “most vulnerable” company in the digital money revolution. This company is the top manufacturer of credit card terminals in the world. Its annual sales only grew 0.16% between 2012 and 2014. E.B. expects the company’s struggles to get worse quickly. The physical credit card won’t be around much longer. That means this company’s days are likely numbered. We believe that right now is a very important time to hedge your portfolio with a large cash level, physical gold, and some short sales of companies that are extremely vulnerable to a slower economy or technological change. Taking these steps could mean the difference between losing a fortune during the next downturn and having “ammo” ready when the next buying opportunity strikes. You can get in on our “death of the credit card” short – and learn other strategies to protect and grow your money – by taking The Casey Report for a risk-free trial. Click here to learn more. Chart of the Day The U.S. IPO market is having its worst year since the Great Recession… Today’s chart shows how much U.S. IPOs have raised since 2005. As you can see, the IPO market grew steadily from 2005 to 2007. However, like most markets, it imploded during the global financial crisis. Then it recovered. In 2014, U.S. IPOs raised more than $85 billion, the most money since 2000. So far this year, U.S. IPOs have only raised $29 billion. That’s 64% less than the same period last year. Companies that do IPOs are usually young and unproven. They’re typically riskier than established, blue chip companies. The huge decline in the size of the IPO market this year could be a sign that investors are losing their appetite for risky assets. That often happens in the late stages of a bull market… This is completely unfair to you One of America’s most lucrative new ways of investing is off-limits to ordinary investors by order of U.S. Govt. Rule 501. But one New Jersey entrepreneur has found a “backdoor” that could help you make $10,000s. Details here.center_img — – Another major IPO just flopped… Yesterday, credit card processing company Square (SQ) held its initial public offering. An IPO is when a company sells shares to the public for the first time. Companies “go public” to raise money. Square makes a small, plastic device that turns any smartphone into a credit card reader. The device is popular with coffee shops, food trucks, and other small merchants. Square originally hoped to raise $324 million. It only raised $243 million, or 25% less than its original goal. Yesterday’s IPO put the value of Square at $2.9 billion, a major disappointment. Last year, private investors valued Square at $6 billion. Based on that, Square had hoped to price its shares at about $15.46. But the company couldn’t generate enough investor interest at that price, so it lowered its goal to $11-$13 per share. In the end, Square went public yesterday at only $9 per share… •  Then Square’s stock price skyrocketed on its first day of trading… Square closed at $12.85 on Thursday, or 44% above its IPO price. This doesn’t make the IPO any less of a failure. The post-IPO rally doesn’t put any more cash in the company’s bank account. After six years of business, Square still hasn’t turned a profit. The company lost $54 million last quarter. Also, its sale growth rate slowed during the first half of 2015, which is a bad sign for any startup. Plus, Square only has a part-time CEO, Jack Dorsey. He doubles as the CEO of social media giant Twitter (TWTR). Twitter’s stock price has fallen 34% over the past year. •  Square picked a lousy time to go public… U.S. IPOs have raised 64% less money this year than they had at the same point last year, according to IPO research firm Renaissance Capital. The number of IPOs is also down 62% compared to the same period last year, according to research firm Dealogic. The number of tech IPOs has dropped 53%. Meanwhile, companies that are going public are struggling to raise money… Last month, global payment processing company First Data Corp. (FDC) had the biggest IPO of 2015. The company originally hoped to raise $3.2 billion. Like Square, First Data couldn’t generate much investor interest at its target valuation. So, the company discounted its IPO share price by about 16%. Other companies are delaying or canceling IPOs altogether… Last month, supermarket chain Albertsons postponed its IPO because of market volatility. The company was hoping to raise $2 billion. It would have been the second-biggest IPO of the year. And mobile phone provider Digicel Group flat-out canceled its IPO in early October.last_img read more

Barcelonas boardwalk is lined with migrants selli

first_imgBarcelona’s boardwalk is lined with migrants selling knock-off purses, off-brand tennis shoes and soccer jerseys on blankets. Most are sub-Saharan African men, yet there are a few groups of women selling jewelry or offering to braid people’s hair. They huddle together, away from the men, and don’t interact much with the tourists walking past.At one point, a sub-Saharan woman comes by with a bag overloaded with Tupperware falling out. Two of the street sellers call her over — she pulls out a disposable plate with rice, then pours sauces and spices on top of it. After the men pay her, she walks just a few feet before another group of hawkers — known in Spain as manteros, for the manta or “blanket” they place their merchandise on — get her attention, and she stops again.”What women have started doing recently is making money feeding manteros typical African food,” says Rose Mirène Mouansie Mapiemfou, 44, who migrated to Spain from Cameroon in 2001. “They walk around with their carts during lunch time.”Mapiemfou says that while it’s difficult for undocumented migrants to find work in Spain, it’s even harder for the women who arrive. It’s the female migrants, she adds, that hold up the migrant community.Crossings from Africa to Spain increased significantly this year, making up almost half of all irregular migrant arrivals into Europe. The numbers have been rising each month, even as temperatures drop and sea crossings become more dangerous. As of Oct. 28, the last figures available, there were 10,324 arrivals that month — the highest this year so far.And 10 percent of those who cross are women, according to the International Organization for Migration. Immigration lawyers and activists say nearly every woman who makes the journey to Spain is sexually abused along the way – sometimes they come through sex trafficking mafias, who facilitate the crossing in return for a debt of tens of thousands of dollars. Women sometimes arrive pregnant or with infants conceived on their journey, often a result of rape.Mapiemfou is an exception. She came to Barcelona with a temporary visa 17 years ago, which then turned into a residency permit, and eventually led to citizenship. Today, Spain grants fewer tourist and student visas given to people from African countries — so one of the only options left is to arrive by boat.”I was an economic migrant, just like a lot of the people arriving in dinghies today,” says Mapiemfou. “But I can tell you, there’s not much difference between those who have papers and those who don’t.”She says that being a black female migrant in Spain means fighting two battles: racism and sexism. There are certain parts of town she says she can’t go to during specific times of the day. Last time she went to the touristy street of Las Ramblas after nightfall — a place known for prostitution — a Spanish man came up to her and asked her how much she charged.”I was outraged. I can’t sit in parks, or walk down the street without someone harassing me,” Mapiemfou says. “We exist, and we’re not all sex workers, and we didn’t all arrive by boat.”Gema Fernández, an immigration lawyer for the nonprofit Women’s Link, says female migrants have been made invisible to the public eye.”All the attention when it comes to immigration is placed on the male experience,” says Fernández. “So we wanted to ask: How are women arriving? What happened during their journey? And when they arrive, where do they go?”Fernández found that a lot of women who crossed from Africa without papers work in the private sphere, doing things like domestic work, agricultural work and, most often, sex work. These types of jobs, Fernández adds, puts them in an even more vulnerable situation than they were already in by being undocumented.”Every migrant goes through hardships, but the hardships for women are sexualized,” Fernández says. Throughout their journey, if they need to make more money, “men can take up odd jobs, but women have to get into sex work or borrow money in exchange for sexual favors.”Women’s reasons for migrating are often different from men’s, she adds. They generally flee gender-related violence, such as forced marriages or female genital mutilation. Other times, they’re looking for better education and work opportunities than they can find as women in their home countries. They hope that in Spain — or in Europe in general — they’ll be able to lead a more autonomous life.Yet that’s not always the case, says Fernández.”Women can fall into sex trafficking if they’ve racked up a debt,” she says. “Whether it happens along the way or once they’re already in Spain.”Áliva Díez, coordinator at the nonprofit Spanish Commission for Refugees in Madrid, says a lot of women who come through the organization were already victims of trafficking when they arrived. This year, the group has not only seen an increase of arrivals in Spain’s southern shores, but an increase of female migrants as well.”[Sex trafficking] is a phenomenon that’s very difficult to measure. The cases we see are just the tip of the iceberg,” Díez says. “When [migrants] arrive, they first go through the national police, and there’s rarely a calm moment where we can sit down with each woman and get her full story. And they’re so tired after the sea crossing, that it’s very difficult to identify a possible victim. There are many cases that are completely missed by authorities.”Women who migrant from sub-Saharan countries such as Nigeria, Guinea and Ivory Coast may spend months, sometimes years, making their way to Europe. Díez says they sometimes have “journey husbands” who protect them from other men, in exchange for having unlimited access to the woman whenever he wants.”Many of them have been subjected to sexual abuse and when they arrive, on top of mental and psychosocial trauma, their bodies begin to process the wounds suffered throughout their journey,” Díez says. “They face triple discrimination: being an immigrant, being a woman, and being poor, with few possibilities to move forward.”When Mapiemfou left Cameroon as a 26-year-old, she was looking for better work opportunities. The situation in her home country was worsening, and the privatization of resources — including potable water — was making it more difficult to make ends meet.”So why wouldn’t young people want to migrate?” she asks.Despite having papers, Mapiemfou says that finding work and renting an apartment as a black immigrant woman was extremely difficult. Nearly every job or apartment she nailed down was thanks to a friend or found through social networks.But she was fortunate to get a visa, she adds. Many undocumented women in her community prefer to get into sex work because they say it’s easier and they make more money.”Having resources available doesn’t mean that people will take advantage of them. There’s barely any information available for women to know their rights,” says Mapiemfou. “Barcelona makes itself out to be a welcoming city, Spain wants to paint itself as a welcoming country. But I’m not too convinced.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The chancellor’s decision to pump billions of pounds into universal credit will not halt the “humanitarian crisis” that will be caused by its systemic flaws, disabled activists have warned.Philip Hammond announced in this week’s budget that he had found £1 billion – spread over five-and-a-half years – to ease the delayed “managed migration” process that will see about three million claimants of “legacy” benefits such as employment and support allowance (ESA) moved across to the new universal credit.He also promised another £1.7 billion a year to pay for more generous work allowances for universal credit, which combines six income-related benefits into one.Hammond began his speech on Monday by making it clear that his budget was “unashamedly” intended to help “hard-working families… people who get up early every morning… the strivers, the grafters and the carers”.Managed migration will begin next year but will affect only about 10,000 people in 2019, before accelerating in 2020.One of the flaws of universal credit repeatedly raised by critics is the length of time – at least five weeks, usually – that a claimant has to wait before they receive their first payment.Among the new managed migration measures detailed in the budget documents are that claimants of income-related ESA, jobseeker’s allowance and income support will receive an extra two weeks of those payments during the transition to universal credit, but only from July 2020.There will also be a cut, from October 2019, in the maximum rate at which universal credit advance payments can be paid back, from 40 per cent of the standard living costs allowance to 30 per cent; and, from October 2021, there will be an increase from 12 to 16 months in the length of time DWP will take to claw back these advance payments.Budget documents also reveal that the much-delayed rollout might now not be completed until June 2024, rather than the end of 2023, once a “six month contingency” for further possible delays is taken into account.Hammond also announced that the amount that disabled people and households with children can earn before their universal credit begins to be withdrawn – known as the work allowance – will rise by £1,000 a year from April 2019.This will mean that those affected will keep up to £630 a year, with the measure eventually costing the government an extra £1.7 billion a year.Bob Ellard, a member of the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts, which is campaigning to scrap universal credit altogether, dismissed any suggestion that the budget signified an end to austerity.He said: “While tax cuts for the rich took priority, Hammond did at least find some money to appease Tory MPs’ complaints over universal credit.“It will make little real difference to claimants, however, as universal credit will still be the cause of a humanitarian crisis in this country, whatever last-minute tinkering the Tories do.“And the elephant that wasn’t allowed into the room was the extreme poverty that many disabled people are living in, even before being forced to transfer to universal credit.”Disability Rights UK said that “while these changes may be positive all are subject to delay and overall do not remove universal credit’s delivery and design problems”. Dr Victoria Armstrong, chief executive of Disability North, said her organisation witnessed the “devastating impact of the roll out of universal credit on a daily basis”. She said: “Whilst in principle the idea to have a universal benefit could be seen as a step forward, we have seen it be used as a vehicle for cutting basic income for disabled people.  “Not only that, the way that it has been administrated is not fit for purpose, for example the unacceptable waits, pushing people further into poverty, the use of food banks. Disability North have so many examples of this.  “Therefore, we broadly welcome the £1 billion to manage the migration process, but much of this should not be thrown at the DWP, or even Citizens Advice, but should be going to local, user-led organisations like ours so that people can be supported to understand and access the system (including digital access) and appeal incorrect decisions.”Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of Shaping Our Lives, said: “Pumping big money into a model failing because it is overly-simplistic and over-reliant on technology won’t solve its problems.“Disabled people are among those worst affected by this government’s failing policies and politics.“It’s just hoping that continuing attacks on Labour’s leadership and talking up the end of austerity will keep the punters sweet, long enough.“We just have to hope that UK democracy is not yet so damaged that the Tories will get away with it again at the next election.”In a blog published the day after the budget, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, the new chair of DWP’s social security advice body, the social security advisory committee, welcomed the “positive steps” on universal credit announced in the budget, but said the managed migration process was still “enormously ambitious”.He said his committee was concerned that the government’s plans “load an unreasonable level of risk onto the claimant” and added: “We fear that, in too many cases, they may be adversely impacted by the proposals or fall out of the social security system entirely.”Disabled activists have repeatedly warned that universal credit is “rotten to the core” with “soaring” rates of sanctions and foodbank use in areas where it has been introduced.In June, a report by the National Audit Office said DWP was failing to support “vulnerable” claimants and was unable to monitor how they were being treated under universal credit.And in July, employment minister Alok Sharma was asked by MPs on the Commons work and pensions committee why the benefits of hundreds of sick and disabled universal credit claimants were apparently being sanctioned, even though they should not have had to meet any of the strict conditions imposed by the system.In the same month, further concerns were raised by the committee about disabled people with high support needs who need to claim universal credit and face the possibility of strict conditions – such as being forced to carry out hours of job searches every week – as they wait for a work capability assessment.*For further details on the universal credit changes in the budget, see this blog by the Child Poverty Action Group’s Josephine Tuckerlast_img read more

Striferidden Italian coalition faces showdown over graft case

first_imgFILE PHOTO: Interior Minister Matteo Salvini looks on next to Italy’s Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio at the Quirinal palace in Rome, Italy, June 1, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File PhotoFILE PHOTO: Interior Minister Matteo Salvini looks on next to Italy’s Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio at the Quirinal palace in Rome, Italy, June 1, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement said on Sunday the government would fall unless its coalition partner the League agreed to the sacking of a junior minister caught up in a corruption case.Relations between 5-Star and the far-right League have grown increasingly fraught in the run-up to EU parliamentary elections on May 26, with the two parties acting more like political enemies than cabinet allies.Their growing rivalry triggered an unprecedented spat between the interior and defence ministries as tensions grow over the fate of junior transport minister Armando Siri, who is very close to League leader Matteo Salvini.Siri last month was put under investigation for allegedly accepting a bribe from a wind farm entrepreneur who has been linked to the Sicilian Mafia. Siri has denied wrongdoing, but 5-Star has said he must resign for the good of the government.Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who belongs to no party and presents himself as the mediator between the two cabinet allies, agreed last week that Siri must go.However, the League, which has surged in the polls over the past year and has easily overtaken 5-Star as Italy’s leading party, has so far refused to back down, saying he has not been charged and not yet had a chance to speak to investigators.The 5-Star’s Barbara Lezzi, who serves as minister for the south, told Il Messaggero newspaper on Sunday that the accusations against Siri were undermining the government, which took office last June promising radical political change.Asked if the coalition would fall if the League refused to let him go, she said: “Yes. I cannot accept that a government undersecretary investigated for corruption should stay on.”There was no sign of a League retreat. Instead Salvini, who serves as interior minister, looked to shift focus with his ministry saying the defence ministry had wrongly tweeted that the navy had thwarted an attack on an Italian fishing boat.The interior ministry accused Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, who comes from 5-Star, of putting out fake news. “The defence minister should act like a defence minister. The Armed Forces deserve much better,” a statement said.The 5-Star said Salvini had “crossed a red line” by using his ministry to attack another for electoral purposes, and said it would not back down over Siri.“Show you have balls in the Siri case and make him quit,” it said in a blunt statement on Sunday.Pointing to recent high-profile crimes, including the shooting of a toddler in Naples, it also suggested Salvini was spending too much time on the campaign trail for the EU ballot and not enough time behind his desk.Several Italian newspapers quoted sources within the League at the weekend as saying they were fed up of working with 5-Star and predicting the government could fall after the May 26 vote.Salvini denied the reports and accused journalists of generating “pointless” controversies. “The government will last for four years,” he told an election rally on Saturday.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Naltrexone implant more effective in reducing relapses in HIV patients with opioid

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 22 2019When patients with HIV who are also battling opioid dependence go without addiction treatment, they are more likely to stop taking their HIV medications than drug-free patients. While the daily oral form of naltrexone–a drug that blunts the effects of opioids–is one option to treat opioid dependence, medication adherence among drug users is known to be low. A new study, published this month in Lancet HIV by Penn Medicine researchers, shows that a naltrexone implant placed under the skin, which slowly releases the drug over three months, was more effective at helping HIV-positive patients with an opioid addiction reduce relapse and have better HIV-related outcomes compared to the oral drug.The study was conducted in Russia where oral, extended-release injectable, and implantable naltrexone products are approved, but agonist or partial agonist maintenance using medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, are against the law. Agonists remain controversial in some cultural settings because they activate the same neurological receptors as opioids, and some critics view the approach as exchanging one drug addiction for another. Naltrexone has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the 1970s, however the only commercially available forms are the 50 mg tablet and an extended-release injectable product that blocks opioid effects for a month.”The findings have implications for treatment of opioid dependence among patients that do not want agonist maintenance or who live in places where options are more limited,” said senior author George E. Woody, MD, an emeritus professor in the department of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Further development and formal approval of these implants in a wider range of cultural settings has the potential to provide an effective and meaningful HIV and opioid treatment option for these patients.”In the phase 3, double-blind, double-dummy trial, researchers from Penn, the First Pavlov State Medical University and the VM Bekhterev National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology in Saint Petersburg, Russia, enrolled 200 people seeking treatment for HIV and opioid dependence, and assessed HIV and addiction treatment outcomes over the next 12 months. All participants had the study explained, provided informed consent, were not on HIV treatment or had not been on it for the past year, and had viral loads over 1,000 copies per mL. The researchers randomly assigned participants to receive the naltrexone implant every 12 weeks along with daily placebo oral naltrexone (100 people), or oral naltrexone 50 mg/day along with a placebo implant (100 people). All were offered biweekly drug counseling and treated with antiretroviral therapies.Related StoriesScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachStudy: HIV patients continue treatments if health care providers are compassionatePrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedResults of the study showed that the implant was associated with more HIV infected patients maintaining their ART regimen and lowering viral loads compared to the oral drug. At the end of the study, 46 people in the implant group remained on ART compared to 32 in the oral drug group, and 66 people in the implant group had viral loads less than 400 copies per mL compared to 50 in the oral group. The remainder of patients dropped out or relapsed and seven died from various causes including heart disease, trauma, overdose, cancer and AIDS. The implant group also remained in addiction treatment without relapsing for a longer period of time: 32 weeks vs. 20 weeks. The authors said that patients in the implant group likely had better outcomes because they had longer periods of remission, which in turn allowed them to focus more on HIV treatment than purchasing and using opioids.”While we only looked at an opioid addicted HIV population in Russia, these results suggest that naltrexone implants could be helpful to patients in the U.S. and elsewhere that do not want agonist maintenance treatment or who live in settings where these treatments are difficult to access or unavailable,” Woody said. “However, that will largely depend on the results of commercial development and approval of these implants.”Source: read more

Lesotho emerges as unlikely testbed for 5G revolution

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. World’s fifth largest diamond discovered in Lesotho © 2018 AFP Citation: Lesotho emerges as unlikely testbed for 5G revolution (2018, September 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Explore furthercenter_img The mountainous kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa has become an unexpected test venue for high-speed 5G mobile technology that is set to revolutionise global communication, transport and entertainment. Two companies in the country’s tiny capital Maseru are now using one of the world’s first commercial 5G networks on the long-awaited 3.5 GHz spectrum.The network in Lesotho, set up by local Vodafone affiliate Vodacom, delivers speeds of up to 700 megabits per second, allowing movies to be downloaded in seconds and could in future provide safe technology for driverless cars.”It is a bit of a testbed for us,” Andries Delport, Vodacom’s chief technology officer, told AFP on Friday after the service was launched.”With 5G, there is a lot of hype based on future use. It is transformative… it allows us to start talking about driverless cars, and robots and machines in factories,” he said.”I can tell you, the Lesotho people are super-proud of this.”Just 530 employees at the head offices of the Central Bank of Lesotho and the Letseng Diamond Mining company in Maseru currently enjoy the 5G speeds, but Vodacom plans to extend the scheme.The Lesotho network, which is the first in Africa, could mean that customers on the continent could avoid the need for expensive fibre cabling, instead “leap-frogging” to the new higher speeds.Other commercial networks have been set up in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the race to bring 5G, meaning “Fifth Generation”, to customers.Lesotho, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa, has a population of just 2.2 million. It is known as the “Kingdom in the Sky” as it largely consists of rugged mountains with some villages accessible only by foot or pony.Vodacom said it chose Lesotho because the government offered the 3.5 GHz spectrum that has not yet been alloted in South Africa and many other countries. The Lesotho 5G network is the first in Africalast_img read more