Bridging the gap, digitally

first_imgOne recent morning, Karthik Ramanna, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School (HBS), sat down in a virtually empty Harvard conference room and prepared to explain different forms of government corruption and how to combat them.But he was not teaching his usual M.B.A. students. Rather, his words — specifically, a presentation of HBS three case studies on anti-corruption efforts in China, Russia, and India — were being broadcast live to students, academics, and activists at 13 universities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.Ramanna, an authority on corporate accountability, was sharing his knowledge with the eager audience of budding social entrepreneurs, who had gathered in classrooms around the world (it was evening, by their time) to hear how his examples might prove useful in their homelands. Corruption is a problem in countries, Ramanna said over the live feed, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be solved by clever, dogged individuals.“Transparency is perhaps the most potent tool in the fight against corruption,” he said, as he launched into a presentation about a fearless publisher of exposés in Russia and an Indian website that crowdsources examples of government officials seeking bribes.His talk was part of a series of live Web chats, hosted by the South Asia Institute and made possible by the Pakistan Higher Education Commission’s Virtual Education Project, that aims to bring together Harvard experts and social entrepreneurs in South Asia. The live video chats are the latest tech-savvy solution to the question of how Harvard can share its insights on education, health, good governance, and a host of other social issues with civic-minded entrepreneurs around the globe.The video conferences are the latest project of the Pakistan Innovation Network, a social enterprise started by graduate students Mariam Chughtai, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and Erum Sattar, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School (HLS). In addition to Ramanna’s class on Feb. 27, the series also has featured Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education, and Tarun Khanna, HBS’s Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, and Sattar and Chughtai are planning six more conferences for the 2013-2014 academic year. The startup, which receives support from the South Asia Institute, recently acquired space in the Harvard Innovation Lab to continue its work on fostering social entrepreneurship in Pakistan and the surrounding region.Students Erum Sattar (from left) and Mariam Chughtai (center), and Karthik Ramanna, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, talk via webcast with participants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.The point of the group is “not to say, ‘Let’s all go and build iPad apps,’” Sattar said. “It’s saying, ‘Let’s encourage people to find solutions to problems that they all experience everyday, and that maybe they never thought they could do anything about.’”Sattar and Chughtai, who are both from Pakistan, hope to capitalize on a growing interest in entrepreneurship in the region, where neither civil servants nor business leaders are necessarily taught to think about how to solve broad societal problems.“In India or Pakistan, people go to business school to work for Citibank or Coca-Cola,” Sattar said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they’re not trained to solve the problems and work on finding solutions to the most pressing social concerns. People are seeing that problems are going to have to be solved innovatively.“If you wait for some donor, some international agency to come and solve your problems, that’s not going to happen,” Sattar continued. “Then there are people at the base who have immense capacity, and no one has enabled this amazing human potential.”Sattar and Chughtai acknowledge that few Harvard professors can find time to travel to — or even have much expertise concerning — Pakistan, but they hope that virtually connecting students and activists in the region with Harvard academics can lead to a fruitful exchange of ideas.“Harvard’s strength can be its global view, a horizontal worldview,” Sattar said. Their plan, she said, is to “put Harvard in conversation with these people who have deep vertical knowledge of their society.”That difference in worldviews was on display during Ramanna’s video chat. After he presented the case studies, questions poured in through Twitter and the live feeds in classrooms across the globe. And Ramanna’s students for the day were not afraid to push back.“None of your examples would work in our country,” said one leading activist from Sri Lanka. While the country has no dearth of “bravado” when it comes to calling out corruption, he added, “Naming and shaming makes no difference in our country.” There are also structural impediments to unearthing corruption, he added. To start a petition to Parliament, Parliament must first sign off on the content of the petition.When a questioner in Karachi, Pakistan, asked about the ability of open-source models, such as the website WikiLeaks, to achieve “radical transparency” in government, Ramanna urged caution.“Instances of misuse of transparency have ironically received more coverage in some cases than corruption itself,” he said, noting the notorious legal and media backlash against WikiLeaks.In Sattar’s view, the morning’s session was a perfect example of how social media can enliven conversations about deep, systemic problems like corruption that will require years of slow, determined work to solve.“Overturning 150 years of colonial history is not going to happen in five minutes,” Sattar said. “These things need our sustained attention and hard work.”last_img read more

Celebrate the season with family and friends at the 47th annual Christmas Revels

first_img Read Full Story A holiday tradition for nearly five decades, “The Christmas Revels” is a joyful theatrical celebration of the winter solstice that travels the world each year showcasing cultural traditions including music, dance, folk tales and rituals. This year’s holiday treat takes us to Renaissance Venice, crossroads of the world!WHO LET THE DOGE OUT? The Doge of Venice has had it. It is time for the solstice and the Feast of the Seven Fishes and everyone wants his opinion – merchants, lawyers, politicians, artists, even the fishwives want him to rule on who makes the best spaghetti putanesca. So he is going to take a little unauthorized vacation and meet some of his more lowly subjects. The wild adventures ahead involve reckless actors, jailbreaks, itinerant musicians, English Morris men and maybe even the Spanish Armada!  A beloved holiday tradition since 1971, “The Christmas Revels” features luscious music, tricky sets and gorgeous costumes, superb musical guests, a tuneful, dancing chorus, some familiar Revels touchstones, and street kids who sing like angels.Our 100-member ensemble includes musician and song leader David Coffin, The Revels Chorus of adults and children, a brilliant group of vocalists and musicians from the Early Music community (Sophie Michaux, Gideon Crevoshay, Lysander Jaffe, Daniel Meyers, Simon Martyn-Ellis, Nathaniel Cox, and Fabio Pirozzolo), The Serenissima Dancers, our acting troupe, Commedia Buffo (old friends Noni Lewis, Billy Meleady, Mark Jaster and Sabrina Selma Mandell), and Richard Snee as the Doge. The Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble and The Pinewoods Morris Men also join us onstage at Sanders this year.  Besides the carols and rounds we’ll ask you to sing, performance highlights include the Bal do Sabre, an Italian Sword Dance, plus familiar Revels touchstones like the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, Susan Cooper’s classic poem, “The Shortest Day,” and our signature piece, “Lord of the Dance,” which will literally have you dancing in the aisles!18 Performances – Matinees & EveningsDecember 8–27, 2017 at Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, Mass.Directed by Patrick Swanson; Megan Henderson, Music DirectorOrder Tickets online through a link at www.revels.org, by phone at 617-496-2222 (Tue–Sun 12–6 p.m.) or in-person at the Harvard Box Office at Farkus Hall, 10 Holyoke Street, near Harvard Square (Tue–Sun 12–6 p.m.).Groups of 15+ Call 617-972-8300 x22 or email Alan at [email protected]last_img read more

Pierre Masuy of OMYA named Rutland Region Business Person of the Year

first_imgOmya Inc,The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce held their 113th Annual Meeting on November 7th.  Pierre Masuy, Plant Manager, OMYA, Inc.’s Florence Verpol Plant was named the 2011 Business Person of the Year.  In his remarks RRCC EVP/CEO Tom Donahue noted noted the importance of the OMYA facility.The plant is the third largest in OMYA’s worldwide system, employing a staff of 175 workers. The plant is also the largest customer of Vermont Railway.  Masuy oversaw construction of the plant’s multimillion-dollar dewatering facility that came online in 2009, recycling 750,000 gallons of water a day from the calcium carbonate manufacturing process. Donahue informed those in attendance that the contributions made by Masuy and the plant go beyond its economic benefit.  Donahue stated ‘At OMYA, they feel it is their civic responsibility to support local efforts that benefit the community and neighbors, in the past six months alone, they have made donations to 56 local organizations and community groups.’  Masuy, a native of France, holds degrees in physics and engineering and a master’s degree in business administration. He relocated from his job at OMYA’s Aragon facility in France to assume the job of Florence plant manager. While accepting the award, Masuy thanked his employees at the plant.  Masuy was joined on stage by his key management team and his wife, Patricia.   While introducing his team Masuy stated:  ‘In talking about business, the first thing I have in mind to do a good business, you need to have good people around you.’  Masuy said in a tough economy, his employees ‘work hard every day to find new ideas to keep our business strong in Vermont to support our customers, to support our people and to support our community,’ he said. ‘It is part of our responsibility and really we like it.’Other highlights of the meeting included an overview of the Chamber’s accomplishments over the past year and goals looking forward.  The meeting featured Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, as the keynote speaker. Pierre Masuy, Plant Manager, OMYA, Inc. accepts the RRCC 2011 Business Person of the Year Award.last_img read more

Colombian smugglers’ ‘drug subs’ show increasing sophistication

first_img BAHÍA MÁLAGA, Colombia — For years, it was rumored that Colombian smugglers were transporting tons of cocaine aboard homemade submarines. But without hard evidence, the scuttlebutt sounded like a Jules Verne fantasy, a sort of Twenty-thousand kilos under the sea. As it turns out, narco U-boats are all too real. Ecuadorian police raided a clandestine jungle shipyard last year, just south of the Colombian border, and impounded a 74-foot-long submarine capable of carrying nine tons of cocaine to delivery points off the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America. Its hull was built of Kevlar and carbon-fiber. Its 249 lead-acid batteries could power the diesel engine for 18 hours before the sub would have to resurface. The Ecuadorian sub was no fluke. In February, Colombian authorities confiscated a second fully submersible drug submarine. This 70-foot-long vessel was spotted on an estuary to the Pacific and was about to make its maiden voyage. Nearby, troops found 2.9 tons of cocaine. “It was all ready to go,” says Colombian Navy Lt. Fernando Monroy, who piloted the drug sub from its hiding place to Bahía Málaga, the Navy’s main base on the Pacific. “Its tanks were filled with 1,700 gallons of diesel.” “Drug traffickers have now literally done what many people thought was unthinkable,” said Jay Berman, who heads the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Andean division. “They’ve invested enormous amounts of resources, money, manpower in acquiring the technology to build submarines.” He added: “Pictures do not do them justice. You have to see the subs to get a perspective of how large they are and how much effort it takes to build them.” With its sleek shape, rear fins, and conning tower, the Colombian drug sub looks like a conventional submarine though it’s far smaller than most military models. It’s also a hybrid of high- and low-technology. Rather than steel, the sub is built from wood, fiberglass and PVC tubing, materials that are all widely available and easily transportable to secret jungle dry docks. Yet it exhibits a level of sophistication new to maritime smuggling. It’s been equipped with day and night vision cameras. In the stern sits a 346-horsepower diesel engine. There are four bunk beds for the crew members, compressed air tanks, touch screen controls, a GPS and satellite telephones. Unlike the Ecuadorian sub which could move forward underwater, the Colombian model was built to travel just below the surface, then cut its engines and dive down 30 feet or so to hide from interdiction vessels. Submarines have been on the traffickers’ drawing board for years. Back in 2000, Colombian authorities stumbled upon a half-built, double-hulled submarine in a warehouse outside of Bogotá. The 78-foot vessel was designed to descend to depths of more than 300 feet. But in that case, drug mafia engineers may have bitten off more than they could chew. Over the next decade, they settled upon a less-sophisticated watercraft: the so-called semi-submersible. These are airtight boats that ply the ocean with just a navigational dome and air and exhaust pipes sticking out of the water at odd angles. They look like something Dr. Seuss might have drawn but the homemade vessels have been highly successful. Semi-subs are easy to build and, at $500,000, they’re relatively cheap. As a result, they are usually scuttled after just one mission because it’s more secure to sink the boats on the high seas than steer them back to Colombia. More importantly, their tiny wakes make them difficult to detect on radar. By some estimates, more than half of all the cocaine leaving Colombia’s Pacific coast in 2009 was shipped aboard semi-subs. The semi-submersible marked the triumph of stealth over speed. In the 1980s and ‘90s, traffickers often used go-fast boats that could travel up to 80 miles per hour and outrun most Coast Guard boats. But those crafts left huge wakes and anti-drug agents — using helicopters and their own racing boats — became more adept at spotting them and, in some cases, shooting out their engines. More recently, authorities have gotten better at picking up the radar signature of semi-subs. And a recent drop-off in captures may indicate that the drug traffickers are moving completely underwater. The number of impounded semi-subs dropped from 17 in 2009 to just one so far this year. And though no drug-laden submarines have been spotted in the ocean, they are very likely out there. If so, this technological leap presents vexing new challenges to law enforcement because submarines are invisible to radar. Hunting them requires sonar to identify their sounds or magnetic anomaly detectors, since conventional subs are basically huge masses of steel which can cause deviations in the Earth’s magnetic field. But the Pacific is vast and the two impounded drug subs are small, fiberglass vessels made with very little steel. Even if a suspected drug sub is located, practical and legal procedures for forcing it to the surface remain unclear. For drug traffickers, the submarines also mean more headaches. For one thing, they are more onerous and costly to build than semi-subs. The clandestine shipyard in Ecuador had space for 50 workers. Taking into account materials, labor and security fees, the submarine impounded in Ecuador may have cost upwards of $5 million. In addition, submarines are more difficult to operate than semi-subs. Any boat captain can drive a semi-sub but navigating a submarine, especially bringing one back up to the surface, requires a special skill set. One retired smuggler, who made three drug delivery trips to Mexico at the helm of semi-subs, said that clandestine sub pilots learn through computer simulators or by trial and error. Either way, the trips can be hellish. The smuggler, who spoke to Diálogo on condition of anonymity, described the drug runs up to Mexico as tense and claustrophobic. There was no toilet, so the air on board quickly filled with the vapors of excrement, cocaine and diesel fuel. They rarely stopped for breathers because stationary vessels are easier to spot. On board, an armed guard made sure there were no mutinies. Once back on the mainland, the smuggler said he stunk so badly that he spent the next two weeks bathing himself with a mix of Clorox and water. “It’s like being a kamikaze,” he said. “I sometimes wonder how I survived.” Still, he earned about $300,000 for each trip. Such eye-popping fees make it easy for traffickers to recruit sub captains and crew members among the impoverished fishermen of the Pacific coast. However, conditions aboard the drug subs aren’t much better. Monroy, the Navy officer who piloted the Colombian sub to Bahia Málaga, said the temperature inside rose to 100 degrees. But he predicted that drug sub builders would make the necessary adjustments, saying “we believe the smugglers will keep improving their technology, allowing them to make all their trips underwater.” By Dialogo April 21, 2011 It’s amazing that these “merchants” of drugs, having succeeded in developing this technology, taking into account how formidable a submarine is as a weapon of war, we would have to be prepared, for these organizations to successfully face a regular army. It would be much better to legalize drugs, then they would pay taxes and the government could exercise effective control, although it would be huge blow to the international financial system. last_img read more

Bill addresses paternity registry

first_img April 15, 2003 Regular News A bill establishing a paternity registry for unwed fathers who might want to oppose adoption of their children has cleared a key House committee.HB 835, which had the support of the Bar’s Family Law Section, unanimously cleared the House Judiciary Committee on March 26.Rep. Mark Mahon, R-Jacksonville, said an overhaul passed last year proved both unworkable and embarrassing to the state. It required single mothers who wanted to place their children up for adoption, but who didn’t know who the fathers were or where they were, to take out newspaper ads identifying themselves and their partners. The idea was to give fathers a chance to assert their rights.But the law provoked a storm of criticism, including that it violated the mothers’ privacy rights. When a legal challenge to the law recently was heard at the Supreme Court, the state elected not to defend the statute.To replace the notification, HB 835 “creates a paternity registry where the father goes and registers to protect his right as a father,” Mahon said. “The other changes are more procedural, really, on glitches and areas that came up from [adoption] practitioners.”Amy Hickman, representing the Family Law Section, said the section was originally opposed to the paternity register, but changed its view after seeing how it operated in 36 other states.“We believe it’s constitutional. We believe it’s one of the fairest registries if it is passed,” she said. “It eliminates the glitches we have in the current law and truly creates a stable adoption system for the children in the state of Florida.”Committee Chair Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, said the bill streamlines the process, while providing notification for men who want to take responsibility for any children they father.Hickman said the bill allows the courts to ensure that the father is going to support the child once he expresses an interest. And she said it can guard against instances where the mother has failed to notify the father of the pregnancy.The committee also passed HB 983, guaranteeing that the records of the paternity registry would remain confidential.The bills next go to the House floor. Similar legislation, SB 2526 and SB 2456, have been introduced in the Senate. They have been referred to the Judiciary; Children and Families; Health, Aging, and Long-Term Care; Governmental Oversight and Productivity; and Rules and Calendar committees. Bill addresses paternity registrycenter_img Bill addresses paternity registry last_img read more

What’s up with the New Season of ‘True Detective’?

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York HBO’s first Sunday evening of programming since Game of Thrones’ season five finale left us so demoralized we would’ve done anything to watch Daenerys soar into the sky atop Drogon once more—ahh, the memories. Alas, we couldn’t turn to Veep, the most potent chaser of them all.Instead, the network gave us the ballyhooed return of its noirish crime drama True Detective, a season two premiere that began with an off-putting theme song from Leonard Cohen with his vocals at their harshest as the opening credits dripped with weird melting imagery of L.A. and its freeways superimposed on the cast members’ faces. From there it quickly went downhill, with dumbfounding one-liners and shoe-horned psychobabble that doesn’t quite feel as poetic now that Matthew McConaughey isn’t the one delivering the lines and Woody Harrelson isn’t the one reacting to them. The episode’s final moment—a breathtaking view of the California coast—was the most pleasing. Everything else felt like a complete waste of time. And Tim Robbins and Jack Black in the pseudo-political satire, The Brink, making light of a coup in Pakistan, made us only long more for Julia Louis-Dreyfus running amok in the White House, but her show is on hiatus.So here we are in this summer of our discontent, trying to make the best of HBO’s most hyped night-time offering, and it raises a few questions: Are we going to be forced to watch Ray (Colin Farrell) self destruct into a father-pummeling, journalist-intimidating, chemically imbalanced corrupt cop for the entire season? Was there no better way to introduce a strong female character like Ani (Rachel McAdams), a sheriff, than by portraying her sexual promiscuity, her dysfunctional relationship with her cult-leading hippie dad, and her apparent icy emotional detachment from her male partner? On the other side of the coin, we see California Highway Patrol officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), appearing on our TV screens for the first time, questioning an erratic driving, clearly inebriated female celebrity who suggests he escort her back to her place nearby where she left her license, presumably soliciting her body to get out of trouble. The ambiguous scene led to Paul being put on administrative leave during an internal investigation, revealing that he’s an Iraq war veteran still struggling to adjust to civilian life, but was there no other way to get there? Perhaps he could’ve pummeled someone instead, like one of the script writers. Or better yet, punch out Ray. He actually deserved it. And what was up with that damn bird head on the passenger seat beside the city manager? Was it a stuffed stool pigeon? A raven mask? What a pile of horse-feathers, we say!It appears the show runners—who must have just graduated from film school—are trying their darnedest to put a million miles between this season and the last—which was hugely successful and garnered several high-profile nominations, but they can’t budge an inch because they’re stuck on the 405 Freeway in rush hour with a trunk load of pretention. So, instead of the vast murky nothingness that was rural Louisiana (season one’s setting), we get urban southern California, and all the refinery smoke stacks, casinos, and garish colors that come with it. At least the ocean looks nice.And the prolific and profoundly interesting two character leads (McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) of season one have been replaced with four key figures, the three aforementioned cops working in separate agencies on a murder investigation and Vince Vaughn, who plays a career criminal named Frank with fantasies of making big bucks the, ahem, legal way. His girlfriend tells him he’s the best of the bunch. Then he enlists Ray to beat down the poor journalist investigating corruption in his city. Sigh. The episode devoted most of its time developing the foursome, a seemingly cumbersome task that may eventually be this season’s undoing.Rachel McAdams as Ani Bezzerides in Season 2 of True Detectives. (Photo credit: HBO/True Detective)Frank is emboldened to secure a profitable land deal in Vinci, a fictionalized corrupt city, whose city manager—Frank’s business partner—has gone missing. The politician’s lifeless body—minus his eyeballs—is discovered propped up on a park bench by Paul, who moments before had seemed intent on committing suicide by crashing his motorcycle but suddenly thought better of it. He swerves to a stop, and there in the motorcycle’s headlights, is the murdered victim. How convenient.We don’t ever actually meet the dead city manager—only his corpse—but we do get a look inside his kinky private life when Ray and his stereotypical partner, a raggedy, overweight detective straight from central casting, break into the guy’s house in search for clues to his whereabouts and find a skeleton in costume, graphic depictions of sex acts, kinky adult toys and canvases emblazoned with naked women decorating the walls.We are left to assume that the land deal and the city manager’s death are linked, but no one tells us for sure. It doesn’t matter—we’ve seen this plot before. We get a lot of character development but it’s unclear where any of these twisted characters are headed in the darkness that passes for their existence. Will Ray, Ani, and Paul join forces to find the city manager’s murderer? Will they compete for glory? Should we even care?The first episode gives us few clues to these eternal questions.Maybe the bird head is meaningful. Who knows? Remember the Maltese Falcon? We do, and so do the show runners. Only that bird has flown.last_img read more

Nominate CU champion for NAFCU’s 2019 Paul Revere Award

first_img continue reading » NAFCU is now accepting member credit union applications for the association’s 2019 Paul Revere Award, which recognizes a credit union champion who goes to great lengths in his or her grassroots and political efforts.“We are proud to honor a credit union champion each year with the Paul Revere Award as their efforts bolster NAFCU’s award-winning advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill,” said NAFCU Director of Political Affairs Chad Adams. “The positive changes we’ve accomplished in the legislative and regulatory environments wouldn’t be possible without our members’ commitment to political and grassroots advocacy. We look forward to honoring the winner in September.”The deadline for entries is Aug. 16. The winner will be announced and recognized during NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus, Sept. 8-11 in Washington. Attendees can save $200 off registration with the code CAUCUSAVINGS through Friday; see who’s on the speaker lineup so far here. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Advent announced in Zagreb

first_imgThe best Advent in Europe starts on Saturday, December 1 and will last, along with New Year’s events, until January 6, 2019.In addition to the traditional locations that will shine again this year and the continuation of cooperation with the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia as part of Advent at Prekrižje, the Zagreb Tourist Board and its partners have prepared new programs for many visitors and citizens. Thus, it will be presented as a new location Advent in Maksimir which offers designed entertainment for the whole family, in collaboration with the Zagreb Zoo, and there is also Advent Stara Tkalča which will show the traditional crafts and revive the spirit of the oldest Zagreb settlements Gradec and Kaptol. The novelty is also Movie Advent as part of which Christmas films for all ages will be shown in the Europa cinema, and the Baković Sisters Passage will be conveniently arranged as a set from the shooting of a Christmas film.Special emphasis this year has been placed on cultural events which will put us in the most beautiful way possible in the festive mood and anticipation of Christmas. Namely, during Advent in Zagreb it will even be held eight different commemorative music festivals, which are: Adventfest in the Cathedral, Advent Classic Fest, Festival of Advent and Christmas songs in Zagreb, Concerts in the church of St. Katarina, Concert program of the Zagreb Soloists for Advent in Zagreb, Advent in the parish of St. Blaž, From Christmas Balconies in Zagreb and Christmas with Kids. There are, of course, the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb, the Croatian Music Institute and the Vatroslav Lisinski Cultural Center, which offer a rich repertoire in December, and  The Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Gallery of the Archaeological Museum will organize occasional exhibitions. Of the other interesting points, we point out An invitation to tea where the students of the Marija Jambrišak Student Dormitory open the doors of the courtyard of their student dormitory and invite them to socialize, and Advent in Vidri where you can watch the program of the oldest drama studio for the blind and partially sighted in the world “New Life”.Advent in Zagreb is the most important event in our capital, and last year there was an increase of 17% in arrivals and 18% in overnight stays. Namely, according to the data of the Tourist Board, in December 2017, 111.429 arrivals and 201.734 overnight stays were recorded, while in December 2016, 94.573 arrivals and 169.095 overnight stays were recorded. All news, service information about the parking lot and special ZET lines, as well as details of individual programs are available on the website Advent in ZagrebRELATED NEWS:CLOSURE OF ZAGREB ROTOR FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ONE RENTERlast_img read more

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine worked well in monkeys: Study

first_imgIn the Moderna animal study, three groups of eight rhesus macaques received either a placebo or the vaccine at two different dose levels — 10 micrograms and 100 micrograms.All vaccinated macaques produced high levels of neutralizing antibodies that attack a part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus used to invade cells.Notably, monkeys receiving both dose levels produced these antibodies at levels higher than those found in humans who have recovered from COVID-19.The authors reported that the vaccine also induced the production of a different immune cell known as T-cells that may have helped boost the overall response. Topics : US biotech firm Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine induced a robust immune response and prevented the coronavirus from replicating in the noses and lungs of monkeys, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine said Tuesday.The fact that the vaccine prevented the virus from replicating in the nose is seen as particularly crucial in preventing it from being transmitted onward to others. The same outcome did not occur when the University of Oxford’s vaccine was tested on monkeys, though that vaccine did prevent the virus from entering the animals’ lungs and making them very sick.center_img A major area of concern is that vaccines under development could actually backfire by amplifying rather than suppressing the disease.So-called vaccine-associated enhancement of respiratory disease (VAERD) has been linked to the production of a specific type of T-cell known as Th2 — but these cells were not produced during the experiment, suggesting this vaccine won’t backfire.Four weeks after the monkeys received their second injection, they were exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, both through the nose and directly to the lungs via a tube.After two days, no replicating virus was detected in the lungs of seven of the eight macaques in both the low and high dose groups.By contrast, all eight in the placebo group continued to have the virus present.None of the eight macaques in the high dose groups had detectable levels of virus in their noses two days after exposure. “This is the first time an experimental COVID-19 vaccine tested in nonhuman primates has been shown to produce such rapid viral control in the upper airway,” said the National Institutes for Health, which co-developed the vaccine.A COVID-19 vaccine capable of stopping the virus in the lungs will prevent the disease from becoming severe, while stopping the virus from replicating in the nose would lessen transmission.The Moderna vaccine uses genetic material in the form of viral RNA to encode the information needed to grow the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein inside the human body to trigger an immune response.Spike proteins give coronaviruses their crown-like appearance and are used to invade human cells, but by themselves are thought to be relatively harmless.The advantage of this technology is that it bypasses the need to manufacture viral proteins in the lab, helping to ramp up mass production.Both Moderna’s vaccine and the vaccine co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have entered late-stage human trials.last_img read more

Townsville house and unit prices steady

first_img50 Camp St, MundingburraHOUSE and unit prices are remaining steady in Townsville according to the latest Core Logic figures while agents are reporting an increase in buyer activity.CoreLogic’s July 2018 Market Trends report shows median house prices in Townsville are $335,000 and have remained unchanged in the three months until April 2018.Units have a median price of $270,000 and have also remained unchanged during the same period.Both houses and units are taking 63 days to sell on average compared to houses taking 70 days and units 94 days during the same time last year.RE/MAX Excellence Townsville agent Loretta Fabbro said she had seen a marked interest in the number of buyers turning up to open homes and putting offers in for properties, especially from people from out of town.She sold 50 Camp St, Mundingburra at auction last Saturday for $326,000.More than 30 groups of people inspected the property and it received three offers before auction day.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“Most of my stock in now under contract and most of my properties have had more than one buyer making offers on the same day,” Ms Fabbro said.“I’ve had buyers from Perth, New Zealand, Tasmania and Canberra and I’m getting a lot of people who are moving here because they have family here.“Price wise it is still difficult but we are getting some good prices achieved for certain properties.”While some agents are noticing an increase in buyers, others are reporting a shortage of quality housing stock to sell while numbers at open homes are also down, especially in Townsville’s outer suburbs.CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said he was cautiously optimistic Townsville’s market would not worsen any further but he was predicting wide spread price growth in the near future.“The worst is probably behind Townsville but I’m not sure recovery is imminent,” he said. “You’re not really seeing that decline in sales activity any more, it’s pretty steady and that is usually an indication that you’re close to the bottom of the market but it doesn’t necessarily mean the market is going to start growing imminently.“I know there are some local projects kicking off like the stadium which might be a driver of demand going forward.”last_img read more