TiVo has renewed its intellectual property license

first_imgTiVo has renewed its intellectual property license deal with Minerva Networks and agreed a new global metadata agreement with the video technology firm.Minerva will use TiVo as the metadata provider for their new cloud service delivery platform, Minerva YourTV Now. The deal establishes TiVo as Minerva’s primary metadata provider, rather than the company relying on multiple vendors.“TiVo’s IP continues to provide companies around the world with access to transformative entertainment technologies, and our license renewal with Minerva Networks underscores the leadership position of TiVo’s portfolio in the marketplace,” said Arvin Patel, executive vice president and chief IP officer, Rovi Corporation, a TiVo company.“Thanks to our extensive IP portfolio, Minerva Networks can deliver compelling experiences to customers in the United States, Latin America, and around the world.”last_img read more

Initiatives to introduce new market definitions in

first_imgInitiatives to introduce new market definitions in the EC’s Electronics Communications Code would be a step backwards, says Manuel Kohnstamm, chief corporate affairs officer, Liberty Global. Manuel KohnstammWith 5G technology and new applications fast approaching, the telecoms industry is poised for another moment of transformation – a moment that will further alter the way we live, work, play and communicate. Seizing this moment will require companies to invest in their networks, take a risk, and break new ground. It needs pioneers. But they, in turn, need the right climate of regulation to work in.Some senior regulators understand that this is a moment to be nurtured. Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the FCC, has spoken passionately about the need to re-focus back on light touch regulation. His argument is for regulation that is practical, not ideological – that respects basic economics; that provides the freedom and certainty that businesses need to investPai’s vision reinforces the kind of regulation we have enjoyed on the European continent for the last 20 years. It has been an era of radical change. Companies like Liberty Global have invested heavily in communications networks, digital television has blossomed, broadband has spread across Europe. We have seen a virtuous circle of investment, innovation, businesses doing well, consumers having more choice and society reaping the benefits.All this has been underpinned by the right regulation. As we moved from telecoms networks being considered a public utility into a competitive market, regulators and governments have shifted their focus too. The main goal now is to prevent market failure through insufficient incentives and returns on investment. As Andrus Ansip, Vice President of the European Commission has said, investors “need long-term certainty and stability. No constant shifting of goalposts, or a changing regulatory environment. They also need strong incentives that reward their risk-taking.” For the cell towers to be built, the fibre to be laid and the capital expenditure to be committed to, the right incentives must be there.We all have skin in this game. Consumers are empowered by innovation. Innovation is powered by investment. Investment is only possible when legislators and regulations provide businesses with a degree of certainty and the freedom to innovate.That is why all consumers and all telecoms companies should be concerned about initiatives to include new market definitions in the new European Electronic Communications Code. These new definitions would undermine the core principles of a regime that has worked so well for so long. Currently, regulators have the tools to assess markets rigorously and intervene when there is a risk of dominance, or significant market power, and a consequent failing of consumers. With the new provisions, there would be the possibility of regulating operators even if significant market power were not defined and there would no market failureThis would be a step backwards in many ways. It would wreck the code’s objective to reduce sector-specific regulation where effective competition exists. It would open the door to much unnecessary and stifling regulation. Above all it would cast the fog of long-term uncertainty over the sector, dramatically reducing companies’ willingness to invest. We would see a chilling effect across the continent.As major private investors in the infrastructure of our age, we at Liberty Global know the importance of long-term certainty. In the past years we have invested billions, building out new network, creating a network of 50million GIGAReady homes, with plans for millions more in the coming years. We share Europe’s desire for ubiquitous fibre-based networks fit for the GIGAWorld age. But this objective cannot be reached if competition takes a back-seat to new forms of regulation.I strongly believe that we have to make a deliberate choice here. If we want to create optimal conditions for economic growth, facilitate investment and drive innovation, we must stick to the sound economic principles that have served Europe well for the past twenty years. Making the regulatory framework fit for the future means strengthening where it has been successful, modernising where necessary and reducing where possible. Re-regulating a sector that is already confronting many challenges – from demands for increasing bandwidth to intense competition from disruptive OTT players – by adding unnecessary tools is precisely the wrong step at the wrong time.So I would urge those making these decisions to see the bigger picture. Yes, compromise across Member States and between the Institutions is part of any negotiation. But shifting the goalposts now would stifle growth at a time we need it. It would make it harder to realise the massive broadband deployment that Europe needs to be competitive in the global digital world.Today, the vast majority of European consumers enjoy a choice of providers, offering a variety of services, at high speeds and competitive prices. In many ways our telecoms market is the envy of the world. It is a categorical success story – and we are on the cusp of something much greater. Let’s not lose the momentum and strive to be not only the biggest internal market in the world, but also the biggest digital market in the world.last_img read more

DerryFacebookKILFENNAN PARKPOLICE APPEAL OVER SERI

first_img DerryFacebookKILFENNAN PARKPOLICE APPEAL OVER SERIOUS ASSAULT IN DERRY PARKPSNI FOYLE ShareTweet PSNI Foyle area appealing for information about an serious assault last night.The police say on its Facebook: “Following a serious assault in Kilfennan Country Park on Sunday evening evening at  approximately 7 pm a number of witnesses helped the injured person.“If you saw anything, or were there then please let us know on 101 quoting reference 1252 of 02/04/18.”center_img POLICE APPEAL OVER SERIOUS ASSAULT IN DERRY PARK was last modified: February 5th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags:last_img

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first_imgShareTweet adoption and fosteringFoster carers urgently required in Derry to provide loving homes for children in needWESTERN TRUST Babies, children and young people who cannot remain with their birth families due to abuse, relationship difficulties or ill health of parents are among those who require a “loving, stable home environment”.“Fostering can be on a short-term basis or longer term, with some children staying with a foster family right through to adulthood,” added the Trust spokesperson.“Health trust foster carers receive financial allowances, 24-hour social work support and ongoing training.”If you are interested in fostering, call the Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 or visit adcni.net.optionandfostering.hsFoster carers urgently required in Derry to provide loving homes for children in need was last modified: February 4th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: FOSTER carers are being sought in Derrty to provide a stable home for vulnerable children in the care system.Health trusts have launched a radio advertising campaign to highlight the importance of fostering and the positive impact it has on a child in need.They are also stressing that while the assessment of an adult is a “rigorous one”, people from “all walks of life” can apply regardless whether they own or rent their home, are in employment or claim benefits and whether they have children of their own. The Western Trust said: “We are asking people to think about fostering on a personal, local level.“Are you patient, flexible, resilient and child-centred with the time and space in your life to help a child in need? “If so, then right within your own local community, it is possible that there is a child or group of siblings who need you and could benefit greatly from your contribution to fostering.“Applications to become a foster carer are considered regardless of race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age, marital status and sexual orientation.”last_img read more

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first_img Facebook Linkedin Daniella Hankey Users, like 13-year-old Jake, can opt to buy upgrades and bonus features. Jake told ABC News that he spent $300 of his own money to buy game accessories like avatar clothes, which are called skins. The scammer then convinced him to share his log-in information for the game account, Jake said. Home NewsWatch National News Mom warns of Fortnite fraud after teen son’s account was taken over Mail Previous PostOhio couple buys island in West Virginia for $60K “I took some action about it by contacting Epic Games. After we contacted them Jake said that [the gamer] had taken over his email as well and so I contacted Google to see if we could recover that as well,” Bates said. “I never got to log in again, he switched my password and everything,” he added. She continued, “I think it’s an eye-opener and when it happens to you, you just want others to be aware.” (ABC NEWS)- A mother wants to help protect other families from scammers after her teenage son was allegedly duped while playing the competitive fighting game, Fortnite. “I feel bad for him … he trusted somebody and he worked so hard to get those,” Bates said. “So I told him it’s a lesson learned.” “He reached out and then I texted him and asked ‘How did you get all of those [accessories]?’ and that’s how it started,” Jake explained.center_img The 13-year-old said he was in contact with a stranger and fellow gamer while playing the popular combat game that forces characters to fight one another to survive in shrinking spaces. Bates said she has not heard back from Epic Games. The company did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment. The scammer apparently went so far as to kill off Jake’s character from the game. Jake said one of the other gamers promised him a way to get him more skins. Jack’s mother, Amy Bates, said her credit card was linked to Jake’s gaming account. National NewsNewsWatch Mom warns of Fortnite fraud after teen son’s account was taken over By Daniella HankeyJul 21, 2018, 09:04 am 344 0 Twitter Pinterest Google+ Fortnite is a wildly popular multiplayer survival game where players join teams and battle up to 100 others to be the last person standing. Since its release last year, the game now has more than 45 million players, and according to research from SuperData, a provider of data and market intelligence on digital games, collected $318 million in May. Next PostA 3-year-old saved her dad’s life by Facetiming her mom Tumblrlast_img read more

Recycling of platinum jewelry in China and Japan i

first_img Recycling of platinum jewelry in China and Japan is falling and is on pace to be 12.9% lower than last year. European auto sales are declining, so one would think demand would be the most impacted. However, this has major implications for supply, too: The average age of a car in Europe is eight years, with more than 30% over 10 years old. When a vehicle exceeds 10 years, the wear and tear on the catalyst is so significant that a substantial portion of the platinum has already been lost. So the jump in supply many are anticipating will be much less than expected. Some of these declines are offset by scrap from auto catalysts in the US, but this obviously hasn’t made up for all of it. Demand Isn’t Letting Up Either Platinum demand is driven mostly by the automotive industry and jewelry, which account for 75% of world demand. What happens in these two sectors has a significant impact on the metal. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the data… The Cars Auto industry analysts forecast total monthly sales in the US last month will reach about 1.23 million for passenger cars and light trucks, up 12% from 1.09 million in October 2012. China, the world’s largest auto market, saw a 21% rise in passenger car and light-truck sales in September to 1.59 million units, an eight-month high. PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts that sales of automobiles and light trucks in China will have nearly doubled by 2019. This trend largely applies to other Asian countries too, becoming a constant source of demand for both platinum and palladium. The Politicians Both platinum and palladium will benefit from new regulations that take effect in 2014 in Europe and China: Europe’s new “Euro 6” emission regulation will force diesel vehicles to have new catalysts going forward. China has already accepted tighter emission standards that will substantially push platinum demand in the country. It’s worth mentioning that car markets in China and other emerging countries are at the “Euro 4” level, so they have some catching up to do before reaching US and European levels. The Investors NewPlat, a platinum exchange-traded fund, launched in South Africa on April 26 and has already seen an inflow of 600,000 ounces through the end of September. This unprecedented surge is expected to lift platinum investment demand by 68% to a record 765,000 ounces. The Jewelers Jewelry is the second-largest use for platinum, representing 35% of overall demand. China dominates this market, and demand has doubled in the past five years. According to ETF Securities, China is well on its way to make up around 80% of total platinum jewelry sales in 2013—their report calls Chinese platinum demand “a new engine of growth.” Johnson Matthey expects the interest for platinum jewelry to soften in China this year. However, a recent article in Forbes suggests the opposite may be happening: A good proxy for Chinese platinum jewelry demand is the volume of platinum futures traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange. Average daily platinum volume on the exchange in 2013 is running near 45% above 2012 levels, recently reaching a new record high this year. Another indicator of Chinese platinum jewelry demand is China platinum imports. The latest data on China platinum imports for September showed the highest level since March 2011 at 10,522 kilograms (or approximately 338,300 ounces). And this from International Business Times… Net platinum inflows into China hit their highest levels in two and a half years … China’s net imports of platinum rose by 11%, to hit almost 70 metric tons for the first three quarters in 2013, higher than the 62 metric tons from the same period last year. Overall, platinum demand is expected to be greater than ever before, reaching a record 8.42 million ounces this year. And this while supply continues to decline. This supply/demand imbalance will likely continue for at least several years, perhaps a decade. Prices haven’t moved all that much yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Prices of commodities with a supply/demand imbalance can only stay subdued for so long before reality catches up. Either prices must rise or demand must fall. We already recommend the best vehicle to play this worsening supply crunch to our subscribers—but you can buy this fund at a better price now than when we first recommended it. And it’s a great way to diversify your precious metals portfolio. Get the name of this fund and our recommendation with a risk-free trial subscription to BIG GOLD. Try it for 3 months with full money-back guarantee—click here. Let’s take a closer look… Will the Supply Deficit Continue? According to Johnson Matthey, the world’s largest maker of catalysts to control car emissions, palladium supply will decline to 6.43 million ounces this year, largely due to lower Russian stockpile sales. But the company claims the decline will be made up by a 7.4% increase in recycling. Ha. Projections on scrap supply are almost always wrong. Analysts said in early 2012 that supply from recycling would grow 10-12% that year—but it declined by 4%. There are critical issues with scrap this year, too, especially with platinum… Impala Platinum (“Implats”) reported a 17% decline in output, not due to decrease in production but in scrap supply. Other companies have not reported this problem, but Implats is one of the biggest producers of the metal.center_img Can you name a commodity that’s currently in a supply deficit—in other words, production and scrap material can’t keep up with demand? How about two? If you find that difficult to answer, it’s because there aren’t very many. When you do find one, you might be on to a good investment—after all, if demand persists for that commodity, there’s only one way for the price to go. At the end of 2012, the platinum market was in a supply deficit of 375,000 ounces. Much of it was chalked up to the sharp decline in output from South Africa, where about 750,000 ounces didn’t make it out of the ground due to legal and illegal strikes, safety stoppages, and mine closures. The palladium sector was worse: It ended the year with a huge supply deficit of 1.07 million ounces—this, after 2011, when it boasted a surplus of 1.19 million ounces. The huge reversal was due to record demand for auto catalysts and a huge swing in investment demand—going from net selling to net buying in just 12 months. What’s important to recognize as a potential investor is that the deficit for both metals isn’t letting up, especially for platinum.last_img read more

In This Issue IMF increases global confidence

first_imgIn This Issue. * IMF increases global confidence… * Europe’s recovery on track… * China’s PMI reading weakens again… * Gold down but Palladium hits 3 year high… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! IMF says global economy is improving… Good day.  I want to start today’s Pfennig with a big thank you to Mike Meyer for doing such a great job writing the Pfennig last week.  And I also wanted to join Mike in wishing a Happy Birthday to the creator of the Pfennig and our boss, Chuck Butler.  I will guarantee Chuck enjoyed his birthday with an ice-cold Bud and some Cardinal baseball.  I made it back from the Dominican Republic in one piece, and while I enjoyed the time away I am truly happy to be back at work. I know the desk was busy last week with several of us taking our spring breaks, and the currency markets were definitely active with the macro events of Crimea and Janet Yellen’s statement that rates would head higher a bit earlier than markets had believed.  I’ve got to think that Yellen’s ‘six month’ comment was a bit of a rookie mistake during her press conference.  If you think about it, the whole purpose of dropping the 6.5% Unemployment rate threshold was to give the FOMC more flexibility to keep rates low for an extended period of time.  But then the new Fed Chairwoman turns around and ‘locks’ in a 6 month window after the taper is complete – definitely not what she intended to do.  As Mike has reported, the markets have written the 6 month time frame into stone – and an interest rate rise is now being priced in for the US beginning in April of 2015.  But worries about higher US interest rates certainly haven’t survived the weekend, and the currency markets are looking like we will have another ‘risk on’ day with the Aussie dollar, South African rand, and Mexican Peso leading the currency pack this morning.  IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde gave traders a bit of confidence when she said in a speech yesterday that the world economy ‘is slowly turning the corner’ as global growth continues to improve.  Data released out of Europe would certainly confirm the IMF Director’s opinion, as indexes for both manufacturing and services in the euro-area remained at good levels.  The composite gauge published by Market Economics showed a slight drop from 53.3 in February to a reading of 53.2 this month.  But the reading matched projections, and remained well above the 50 reading which indicates expansion.  “The ongoing upturn in business activity in March rounds off the euro zone’s best quarter since the second quarter of 2011,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a statement.  A highlight of the Markit survey was France which saw manufacturing growth for the first time in two years.  The March flash composite purchasing managers’ index for France jumped to 51.6 from 47.9 last month, a very large jump and good news for Europe’s second largest economy.  But the positive report hasn’t been able to give any support to the euro which lost the $1.38 handle and is trending toward the lower end of last week’s range.  The strength of the euro remains a focus of the ECB, with ECB leader Mario Draghi pointing to the single currency’s strength as a challenge for the euro-zone’s recovery.  Adding to pressure on the euro was another piece of data which showed German investor confidence suffered its third monthly decline in February. The news out of China wasn’t nearly as encouraging as the European reports, with the flash Markit/HSBC China Purchasing Manager index falling to an eight month low of 48.1 in March from February’s reading of 48.5.  A survey of economists by Bloomberg News has predicted a reading of 48.7 so the further drop surprised the markets.  As I mentioned above, any reading below 50 indicates a contraction, and this report has remained below 50 since the beginning of the year.  The report will probably add to concerns that China will not be able to hit the 7.5% GDP target for 2014.  But after initially falling, Chinese stocks actually rebounded as investors speculate the weakening growth will prompt additional stimulus measures from the Chinese leadership.  Several economists have been calling for looser monetary policy in China with 11 of 21 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicting a cut in bank’s reserve requirements and reducing barriers on private investment.  But Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said yesterday that China won’t use traditional large-scale fiscal stimulus to spur investment and will focus instead on the ‘quality’ of growth.  The nation will pay more attention to the environment and reduce overcapacity, Lou was cited as saying.  Additional stimulus measures are expected, as Premier Li Keqiang said last week investment and construction plans would be accelerated to ensure domestic demand expands at a stable rate.  It looks to me that the Chinese leadership are going to continue to do everything they can to make sure growth in 2014 comes in ‘around’ their goal of 7.5%.    Here in the US we will get our own reading of manufacturing health with the release of the Markit US Manufacturing PMI reading for March.  The reading is projected to show a slight drop from 57.1 in February to 56.5 this month.  In addition, we are scheduled to get a reading from the Chicago Fed with the release of their Activity Index for February which is supposed to show a slight increase (.10) compared to last month’s reading of -.39.  As Mike mentioned on Friday, we will have a very busy week of data releases, with housing numbers from S&P/CaseShiller tomorrow along with New Home sales and consumer confidence readings.  On Wednesday we will get Durable Goods data for February along with more Markit PMI readings.  And Thursday we will get the 4th quarter GDP figure which is predicted to show a slight increase to 2.7% from the previous reading of 2.4% followed by the weekly jobs numbers and Pending home sales.  Finally we will close out this very packed week of data releases with readings of Personal income and spending for the month of February on Friday along with the PCE and the U of Mich confidence numbers.  Throw in a few speeches by various ‘Fed Heads’ and it could end up being a pretty volatile week. The Australian dollar continued its gains from last week, trading higher on expectations that the central bank will be increasing interest rates at some time during the next year.  The Aussie was able to increase in value in spite of the lower than expected Chinese PMI reading, showing that interest rate differentials are once again taking a much more important role in determining the currency’s value.  The New Zealand dollar also gained as investors see the RBNZ continuing with the tightening cycle they began earlier this year. Gold continued the downward slide which began on Friday morning, slipping another $12 over the weekend and is now approaching a 3 week low.  The decision by the FOMC to continue the taper, combined with Janet Yellen’s hawkish tone sent gold prices down.  With interest rates now predicted to rise more quickly than previously projected, the ‘holding costs’ of precious metals increases causing a drop in projected demand.  The continuing tensions in Ukraine, along with the poor Chinese data wasn’t enough to reverse the downward trend this morning, as both gold and silver continue to drop.  The only precious metal which is higher this morning is Palladium which is now at a 3 year high.  Russia is the largest producer of Palladium, and the situation in Ukraine has caused some to worry that sanctions against Russia could cut into the supply of Palladium at some point in the future.  Industrial demand for both Platinum and Palladium is projected to continue to increase as global demand for autos continue to increase.  “A perfect storm has been brewing for palladium this month,” analysts at UBS AG wrote in a report today, citing new palladium backed funds, a mine strike in South Africa and concern about Russian supply.  “If no resolution is found in South Africa in the next few weeks, we think metal tightness will only intensify if producers are forced to source metal in the market.” The timing of our recent addition of palladium to our unallocated metals offering couldn’t have been better – giving investors an excellent option for investing in this ‘hot’ metal. For What It’s Worth. I opened this weekend’s newspaper to see a familiar face in the obituaries. Dr. Murray Weidenbaum, the person responsible for creating ‘Reaganomics’ passed away last Thursday, March 20th.  I was lucky enough to get to spend a semester listening to Professor Weidenbaum’s engaging lectures on ‘smaller government’.  Here is a piece of the obituary which ran in Saturday’s St. Louis Post Dispatch: “Murray Weidenbaum taught students at Washington University and presidents in the White House that government should get out of the way and let people and business work as hard as they can to achieve as much as they can. He preached deregulation, and his syndicated newspaper columns caught the eye of Ronald Reagan, who in 1980 was running for president.  Reagan took Professor Weidenbaum to the White House as his top economic adviser.  At first, they used tax cuts to fight high unemployment and inflation.  But when Reagan later pushed massive increases in the military budget, Professor Weidenbaum quietly tendered his resignation, returned to St. Louis and resumed his 50-year career at Washington University. A soft-spoken man, Professor Weidenbaum never would have openly contradicted the president. But he believed in balanced budgets and said the revenue numbers didn’t support Reagan’s increased spending.” Professor Weidenbaum continued teaching at Washington University up until about 3 weeks ago.  I remember him as being a wonderful storyteller, able to put complex economic theories into real life examples making them much easier to understand.  His was one of the classes to which I would typically try to arrive a bit early, as he would always engage the students as soon as he walked in, no matter when the class was scheduled to begin.  He will certainly be missed by the Washington University community. To recap.  The IMF is convinced global growth will continue and the week is beginning with a ‘risk on’ day.  The Euro appreciated after data indicated manufacturing and services continue to recover, with France showing the largest improvement.  China’s PMI reading was not as positive, showing another drop and increasing worries that China will not be able to hit their 7.5% growth target for 2014.  Gold was lower, but Palladium reached a 3 year high on supply concerns out of Russia.  Currencies today 3/24/14. American Style: A$ .9113, kiwi .8534, C$ .8909, euro 1.3769, sterling 1.6490, Swiss $1.1289. European Style: rand 10.851, krone 6.064, SEK 6.4365, forint 227.11, zloty 3.0475, koruna 19.910, RUB 36.1198, yen 102.47, sing 1.2719, HKD 7.7571, INR 60.78, China 6.1452, pesos 13.2087, BRL 2.3232, Dollar Index 80.268, Oil $99.63, 10-year 2.766%, Silver $20.12, Platinum $1.429.00, Palladium $792.25, and Gold. $1,322.70. That’s it for today. I survived a spring break week with my son – it was certainly an experience!  I am happy to report we all made it home with no major issues, and everyone had a great time.  The weather was perfect with 80 degree temps and no rain.  I spent most of the weekend catching up on some sleep and watching a few of the NCAA games the highlight had to be that Shocker/Kentucky matchup right here in St. Louis. Thanks again to Mike Meyer for covering for me last week, it is a big job made even bigger by all of the spring break vacations.  As Mike mentioned, the desk is a bit shorthanded again this week, so I’ll get this out the door and get to work.  I hope everyone has a Marvelous Monday, and a thanks for reading the Pfennig! Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

Mr Athabasca as they call Tim and his partner M

first_imgMr. Athabasca, as they call Tim, and his partner Matt Mason have made a fortune being ahead of the curve staking mineral claims and then selling them to early-stage public exploration companies. No person or company has staked more claims in the history of Saskatchewan, Canada (10 million-plus acres) than Tim Young and Matt Mason. Tim cut his teeth early on in the sector by roughnecking it. He took Doug Casey’s advice to skip post-secondary education and jumped into his passion at a very young age. His father was involved in the junior exploration business, but it was Tim who seized the opportunities and paid his dues. Tim’s biggest scores have been in the Athabasca Basin with uranium and potash properties. As a speculator in the junior resource sector, it is important to understand how a company you’re putting your money in acquired its projects and how it pays for their development, whether through cash, shares, an earn-in based on exploration, etc. It’s also important to understand what payments the company is required to make to the vendors moving forward. Tim has made the 2014 Casey NexTen list because he has made not just himself but investors who backed his projects hundreds of millions of dollars. Hathor Exploration, which got bought out by Rio Tinto in January to know that he always bounces back. Moving forward, we think this was a great lesson for Nolan and his team, as they have survived and learned from the critical mistakes. We’re calling it SND 2.0 because Nolan will do whatever it takes to make Sandstorm Metals & Energy work, and there’s no doubt in our minds that he will make it work. We are watching his moves very carefully and will notify you when it’s time to jump back in.last_img read more

Freddys Frozen Custard and Steakburgers customers

first_imgFreddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers customers had a chance to grab a bite to eat and support a good cause Tuesday evening.During the event, which was held from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., 15 percent of the proceeds from orders at Freddy’s were given to the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter.Customers could enjoy food that included burgers and custard while giving back to animals in need. Attendee Haven Pate said it is cool that Freddy’s was helping an organization that is so prevalent to the community.“Animals need to be loved, and a lot of animals are being abused at homes and that isn’t right,” Pate said. “I love animals and as a animal lover – I have a pet myself – it really hurts me emotionally knowing that animals are being hurt and some aren’t being loved properly.”Although the fundraiser at Freddy’s is over, Metro is always accepting donations via their website and by stopping by the facility on the corner of 35th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.last_img read more

Alabama assistant strength and conditioning coach

first_imgAlabama assistant strength and conditioning coach Josh Chapman was arrested and charged with driving under the influence Saturday morning.The former Crimson Tide defensive tackle was taken to the Tuscaloosa County Jail but was later bonded out.This is Chapman’s second DUI charge since working for the Alabama football program, with his first DUI coming in 2017.Chapman spent four years in the NFL after a successful collegiate career at Alabama from 2007-11.The arrest was first reported by The Tuscaloosa News.last_img

LONDON — The IOC advised national Olympic committe

first_imgLONDON — The IOC advised national Olympic committees on Friday to follow the World Health Organization’s guidance on dealing with the Zika virus ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, asserting its confidence that the games will be safe.Brazil has been hit hard by the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in infants, raising concerns about the outbreak’s potential impact on South America’s first Olympics in August.The International Olympic Committee sent a note to all national Olympic committees outlining the latest medical advice concerning Zika, the most recent problem for a country already dealing with a severe economic crisis and a sprawling corruption scandal.“All parties are taking action to address this topic, and are following developments closely,” the IOC said.The two-page note from the IOC medical commission repeated advice for travelers to take precautions against mosquito bites and for women who are planning to become pregnant to assess the potential risks of traveling to areas infected with the virus.“The IOC remains in close contact with the WHO to ensure that we have access to the most up-to-date information and guidance, from now through to Games time,” the IOC statement said. “At the same time NOCs should consult with their national health authorities to get advice and guidance.”The IOC did not say the Olympics were threatened in any way and made clear it expects the Aug. 5-21 games to be secure for athletes and visitors.“We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable games in Rio de Janeiro,” the statement concluded.The WHO, which declared Thursday that the Zika virus was “spreading explosively,” will hold an emergency meeting of independent experts Monday to decide if the outbreak should be declared an international health emergency.Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday announced a nationwide attack on the mosquito that spreads that Zika virus, vowing to “win this war” against the insect.The mosquito has been linked by Brazilian researchers to a seemingly sudden upsurge in cases of microcephaly, in which children are born with abnormally small heads. The virus has also been linked to the paralysis-causing Guillain-Barre syndrome.Brazilian researchers believe the strain of Zika may have entered Brazil with visitors arriving for the 2014 World Cup.Mario Andrada, spokesman for Rio’s Olympic organizing committee, said there was no threat of the games being postponed or canceled because of the outbreak.“We’re not even thinking of that,” he said. “This has never been mentioned. No way. It’s impossible to do that. There is no reason to do that.”The IOC reiterated the position that, because the games will be held during the southern hemisphere winter, the mosquito population will be smaller and the threat of the virus diminished.The IOC cited current medical advice that all travelers should take measures to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long pants and long sleeves and using insect repellent.Women who are planning to become pregnant should discuss travel plans with their health providers to assess the risk, it said.The IOC said the WHO does not recommend any change to travel plans, but noted that some national authorities have recommended “on a precautionary basis” that pregnant women should consider avoiding travelling to areas infected by Zika.The IOC noted that plans had already been put in place by Brazilian organizers for daily inspection of Olympic venues to remove any puddles of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.“Rio 2016 will also continue to follow the virus protection and control measures provided by the authorities, and will provide the relevant guidance to games athletes and visitors,” the statement said.Andrada, the Rio Games spokesman, said organizers held a conference call Friday with sponsors to explain preventive measures. He said officials had started inspecting the venues and already noticed an improvement.“In the beginning, the first few days of inspecting, we found a lot (of stagnant water),” Andrada said. “Now it’s dropped dramatically.”The Australian Olympic Committee said this week that any pregnant team members “need to consider the risks very carefully” before deciding whether to go to Brazil.The U.S. Olympic Committee said it was monitoring the situation through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the IOC, the WHO and infectious disease specialists.The European Olympic Committees said it was following events and also expects that each individual country “will be taking strict precautions and will be advised by their own health authorities.”STEPHEN WILSON, AP Sports Writer__AP Sports Writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Even with the talent oozing through the squad Cro

first_imgEven with the talent oozing through the squad, Croatia only squeezed through the playoffs to qualify for a second straight World Cup.More is expected of Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic in Russia.Can they emulate the performance in 1998 when Croatia finished third at its first World Cup?Davor Suker, who was that tournament’s top-scorer, now has overall responsibility as the head of Croatia’s football federation.After France, Croatia qualified for three more World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2014 but was always eliminated in the group stage.In qualifying for the 2018 edition, Croatia was robust in defense but lacked consistency in attack. Only 15 goals were scored, the second lowest after Ireland among the top two finishers from all qualifying groups in Europe.Whenever an opponent scored, Croatia could find no way to win.Here’s a closer look at the Croatia team:COACHZlatko Dalic took charge at a critical time with one game remaining in qualifying. The win over Ukraine carried Croatia into a playoff series against Greece that Croatia won 4-1 on aggregate. His immediate impact was called “phenomenal” by Modric. Although Dalic had been in charge of clubs in United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia since 2010, he wasn’t entering unknown territory given he worked with many players as assistant coach of the under-21 national team.FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 9, 2017 filer, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Karavaev, left, challenges Croatia’s Luka Modric during their World Cup Group I qualifying soccer match between Ukraine and Croatia at the Olympiyskiy Stadium in Kiev. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)GOALKEEPERSLyon goalkeeper Danijel Subasic has become the first choice after conceding twice in eight qualifiers. Subasic, who has made 36 international appearances since his debut in 2009, might also be able to chip in with goals. He scored from a free kick while playing for Lyon in 2012. Gent’s Lovre Kalinic is the likely backup.DEFENDERSSubasic has decent support from the defensive line. In qualifying, Croatia only conceded four times, the same as World Cup holder Germany and reining European champion Portugal.The defense could yet be stronger. Vedran Corluka is back at full strength after missing last year with an Achilles tendon injury. A veteran of 98 international appearances, the 32-year-old Lokomotiv Moscow center back has experience from the Premier League with Manchester City and Tottenham, where he played alongside Modric.Domagoj Vida of Besiktas and Josip Pivaric of Dynamo Kiev were mainstays in the team in qualifying. Liverpool center back Dejan Lovren is also available.MIDFIELDERSCroatia’s creative midfield pairing of Modric and Rakitic might be facing its last chance to deliver at this World Cup. Modric is 32, with 105 caps, and Rakitic is 30 and has made 91 appearances.Croatia needs them to replicate their club form at a major tournament. So far, their best achievement with the national team was reaching the Euro 2008 quarterfinals.Dalic has a number of other attractive choices who are hungry to impress: Milan Badelj, who became the captain of Fiorentina after Davide Astori died in March; Sime Vrsaljko of Atletico Madrid; Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic; and Modric’s Madrid teammate, Mateo Kovacic.With such creative power, Croatia should be able to outplay most opponents.FORWARDSIn the 4-2-3-1 formation, Mandzukic leads the attack and scored five goals in qualifying, taking his tally to 30 in 82 appearances.FILE – In this Nov. 19, 2013, file photo, Iceland’s Aron Gunnarsson, left, is challenged by Croatia’s Luka Modric during their World Cup qualifying playoff second leg soccer match in Zagreb, Croatia. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic,File)With support from Inter forward Ivan Perisic and AC Milan’s Nikola Kalinic, they should pose a real threat. Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric also stepped up in qualifying, scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory at Ukraine, securing a spot in the playoffs.Keep an eye on Perisic’s head. When an outline of a map of Croatia was shaved into his hair at Euro 2016, Perisic scored twice. When he replaced it with the red and white checkerboard design of Croatia’s flag sprayed into his cropped hair for a match against Portugal, he didn’t score and Croatia was eliminated from the tournament.GROUP GAMESCroatia opens its Group D campaign against Nigeria on June 16 before facing Argentina on June 21 and Iceland on June 26.FULL SQUADGoalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb)Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg)Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka)Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt)—By KAREL JANICEK , Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

PORTLAND Ore AP — LeBron James opened with two

first_imgPORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — LeBron James opened with two thunderous dunks and had 26 points and 12 rebounds in his first game with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Portland Trail Blazers prevailed 128-119 Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.Damian Lillard had 28 points and Nik Stauskas came off the bench to score 24 for Portland, which won its 18th straight home opener to extend an NBA record.It was the Blazers’ 16th straight victory over the Lakers.The opening festivities were tempered by the death this week of Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen. A “Rip City” baseball cap rested in Allen’s courtside seat with a single rose.The enigmatic co-founder of Microsoft died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 65. There was moment of silence before the game and tributes to Allen throughout the night.On the court, the focus was all on James. His monster dunks to start stunned the Moda Center crowd while Nike co-founder Phil Knight looked on from courtside seats.76ERS 127, BULLS 108PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists and Joel Embiid had 30 points and 12 rebounds in Philadelphia’s victory over Chicago.Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 30 points in their season opener.The curious case of Markelle Fultz continued when one of the more scrutinized players in the NBA managed to steal the spotlight from his more accomplished teammate with simple jumpers.Fultz had open looks early and 76ers fans exhorted him to “Shoot! Shoot!” each time he touched the ball as the second-year guard tries to overcome his aversion to jumpers.He found the look he wanted 3 minutes into the second quarter. Fultz dribbled to the foul line and hit an uncontested pull-up jumper, the ball rattling around the rim four times before it plopped through the net for two points. Fans erupted in cheers as they gave him a standing ovation and chanted “Fultz! Fultz! Fultz!” Fultz was 1 of 6 in 15 minutes in the first half and didn’t play again until late in the third and the Sixers leading by 88-68.HEAT 113, WIZARDS 112WASHINGTON (AP) — Kelly Olynyk’s putback of Dwyane Wade’s missed jumper produced the go-ahead basket with 0.2 seconds left, lifting Miami past Washington.Josh Richardson led Miami with 28 points, Rodney McGruder added 20, and the Heat hit consecutive 3s late in the fourth quarter.With Washington center Dwight Howard sidelined by a sore backside, the Wizards were led by old standby John Wall, who delivered 26 points and nine assists. He and fellow All-Star guard Bradley Beal, who scored 20 points, accounted for Washington’s last eight points.But with a 112-111 lead, Wall missed a 26-foot pull-up jumper, giving Miami a chance. Wade’s shot with about 3 seconds left was off the mark, and Olynyk grabbed the rebound and his layup won it.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Health plans that dont meet the standards of the

first_imgHealth plans that don’t meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act; work requirements for Medicaid coverage; changes to Medicare’s approved drug lists: As the ground continues to shift on health care coverage, I’m answering readers’ queries this week about these three different types of plans:I lost my job last year and my employer coverage ended in January. I bought a new plan through the marketplace that went into effect last month. I just received policy information, and it states that because the plan does not cover major medical services, I may have to pay additional taxes to the government. I was told that the plan didn’t cover major medical, but wasn’t told about any taxes. Will I be fined next year?It sounds like you bought a plan that doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, and if that’s the case you may indeed have to pay a penalty for not having comprehensive coverage when you file your taxes next year.The tax reform law repealed the individual penalty for not having health insurance, but that provision doesn’t take effect until 2019. So for 2018 you may be charged the greater of $695 or 2.5 percent of your household income.The federal- and state-run marketplaces established by the ACA sell only comprehensive plans that cover 10 essential health benefits, including “major medical” services like hospitalization and prescription drugs.But some insurance broker websites call themselves marketplaces too, says Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. And that can be confusing. These companies may sell other insurance products — like short-term or accident coverage — alongside comprehensive plans that comply with the law.Ever since the health law was passed, “There have been opportunistic companies trying to take advantage of consumer confusion to make money,” Corlette says.If you aren’t happy with your plan, you may still be able to switch. Losing your employer coverage qualifies you for a 60-day special enrollment period to pick a new plan. Since it appears you’re still in that window, you may be able to choose a comprehensive plan.To ensure you’re using your state’s official marketplace, go to healthcare.gov and click on “see if I can change.” That will take you to your state marketplace, even if you live in one of the dozen or so states that run their own exchanges.I’m in a state that is looking into work requirements for Medicaid. At sign-up time, can I simply tell the exchange that I intend to be ineligible for Medicaid by refusing to work and get the premium tax credit to buy a private plan on the insurance marketplace?Federal health law regulations don’t clearly address the situation you describe, but the short answer is probably not, according to policy analysts.In general, people who are eligible for employer coverage or Medicaid — the federal-state health program for people with little income — can’t qualify for federal tax credits that help pay for premiums on plans sold on the health insurance exchanges.This year, Kentucky and Indiana became the first states to receive federal approval to require some Medicaid recipients to put in 80 hours each month at a paid job, school or volunteer work (among other activities), to receive benefits. Nearly a dozen other states have made similar requests.If you refuse to work, does that make you ineligible for Medicaid? The rules aren’t clear, says Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.States might argue that someone in your situation is eligible for Medicaid — you just have to fulfill the work requirements, says Timothy Jost, a professor emeritus of law at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, who is an expert on the health law.There are other actions people could take — or fail to take — where this issue might come up. “You could argue that someone is not eligible because they haven’t completed the Medicaid application or provided the required documentation,” Jost says. “There are any number of requirements, but I can’t imagine someone saying they didn’t do those things and so they’re not eligible for Medicaid.”Whatever the rules, it’s unlikely that many people will be in a position to consider taking this stance. To qualify for premium tax credits, your income must be between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $12,000 to $48,500 for an individual in 2018). But you’d also have to be eligible for Medicaid, generally with an income limit of 138 percent of poverty (about $16,750) in states that expanded coverage to adults. In addition, the Medicaid work requirements in your state would have to apply to you.I picked a Medicare Part D drug plan that covered all the drugs I take. But as soon as I got my first Novolin R prescription filled, they notified me that they don’t cover it anymore. Can they just switch it like that?Medicare drug plans can change their list of covered drugs, called formularies. If they’re doing so at the start of the new calendar year, as appears to have happened in your case, the plan may notify you of the change when you fill the prescription for the first time in the new year. At that time, the plan would typically give you a 30-day transition refill so you can switch to another drug that’s on the formulary or start the appeals process to continue taking your current insulin drug, Novolin R.If you and your doctor think it’s important that you have Novolin R and not another drug that is similar, you can ask your plan to make an exception to allow you to continue to take the drug.To go that route, you would need to get your doctor to “make the case for why that formulary drug is not the right drug” for you, says Casey Schwarz, senior counsel for education and federal policy at the Medicare Rights Center, an advocacy group. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

Artificial intelligence which is bringing us ever

first_imgArtificial intelligence, which is bringing us everything from self-driving cars to personalized ads on the web, is also invading the world of medicine.In radiology, this technology is increasingly helping doctors in their jobs. A computer program that assists doctors in diagnosing strokes garnered approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year. Another that helps doctors diagnose broken wrists in x-ray images won FDA approval on May 24th.One particularly intriguing line of research seeks to train computers to diagnose one of the deadliest of all malignancies, pancreatic cancer, when the disease is still readily treatable.That’s the vision of Dr. Elliot Fishman, a professor of radiology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. Artificial intelligence and radiology seem like a natural match, since so much of the task of reading images involves pattern recognition. It’s a dream that’s been decades in the making, Fishman says.”When I started in radiology, they said, ‘Ok don’t worry about reading the chest x-rays because the computers will read them,’ ” Fishman says. “That was 35 years ago!”Computers still can’t perform the seemingly simple task of reading a chest x-ray, despite sky-high expectations and more than a little hype around the role of artificial intelligence. Fishman is undaunted as he turns this technology on pancreatic cancer.And that disease is a huge challenge. Only 7 percent of patients given a pancreatic cancer diagnosis are alive five years later. One reason the disease is so deadly is that doctors usually diagnose it when it’s too late to remove the tumors with surgery. Fishman and his team want to change that, by training computers to recognize pancreatic cancer early. Working with Johns Hopkins computer science students and faculty, they are helping develop a tumor-detecting algorithm that could be built into CT scanner software.Americans get 40 million CT scans of the abdomen every year, for everything from car accidents to back pain. Imagine if a computer program with expert abilities could look for pancreas tumors in all those scans.”That’s the ultimate opportunity — to be able to diagnose it before you have any symptoms and at a stage where it’s even maybe too subtle for a radiologist to be able to detect it,” says Dr. Karen Horton, chair of the Johns Hopkins radiology department and Fishman’s collaborator on the project.The challenge lies in teaching a computer to detect what a well-trained doctor knows to look for.”Elliot and I are very sub-specialized so we’re really, really good,” Horton says matter-of-factly. “We see more pancreatic cancer than probably anyone in the world.”She says if the computer algorithm could capture their collective knowledge about how to diagnose pancreatic cancer and give that expertise to the typical doctor, “you could be, I would argue, better than us, but certainly as good as us — which would mean better than most of the practicing radiologists.”Even a program perfectly attuned to finding patterns can’t reliably recognize cancer if it hasn’t been trained on reliable starting material.When it comes to developing AI, “sometimes people say, ‘oh just take a bunch of cases and put them in a computer and the computer will figure out what to do’,” Fishman says. “That’s nonsensical.”The Felix Project at Johns Hopkins, as the pancreas effort is called, pours a huge amount of human time, labor and intellect into training computers to recognize the difference between a normal pancreas and one with a tumor.Of all the internal organs to deal with, “the pancreas is the hardest,” Fishman says. “The kidney looks like a kidney, the liver’s a big thing.” On the other hand, he says, “The pancreas is a very soft organ, it sits way in the middle and the shape varies from patient to patient. Just finding the pancreas, even for radiologists, is at times a challenge.”Eva Zinreich, a retired oncologist, is up for that challenge. She is one of a team of medical experts who spend their days pouring over CT scans and teaching the computer how to recognize the pancreas, other organs, and then, tumors within the pancreas.She sits at a computer workstation, wielding a digital paintbrush.”I’ll show you in 3D because that’s the fun stuff, ok?” she says as she sets about coloring in the aorta and other blood vessels on a scan.Next, she colors the pancreas yellow.”You see that shaded area?” she asks. “That’s the tumor,” and she proceeds to color it red.It will take her almost four hours just to mark up this single scan. Four medical experts have been working full-time for well over a year on this project. They’ve done this painstaking work on scans from about 1,000 healthy people, and their tally of pancreatic cancer images is now approaching 1,000 as well, Fishman says.They are feeding their annotated scans into the project’s computer program and gradually teaching it to recognize the same signs of a tumor that radiologists now pick out of the scans.At another workstation in the lab, radiologist Linda Chu is trying to make the computer system even more adept than Elliot Fishman and Karen Horton are at recognizing pancreas cancers. She’s developing ways for the computer to look for patterns in the scan that the human eye can’t pick out. It’s interpreting textures in the images, rather than shapes and shading.Chu says she’s making tentative progress. For example, she’s been training the software to identify subtle clues that distinguish between a benign cyst and cancer.”We don’t truly understand what the computer is seeing, but clearly the computer is able to see something in the images that us humans cannot comprehend at this point,” Chu says.But this is also part of the challenge of AI — if the computer highlights something that a human expert can’t see, and it’s not clear how it arrived at that conclusion, can you trust it?”That’s what makes the research interesting!” Chu says.Computer science students from the Johns Hopkins University main campus are key to developing the software that’s learning how to read and interpret the images that flow from Fishman’s lab.The Lustgarten Foundation, which is focused on pancreatic cancer, has provided nearly $4 million over two years to fund the Felix Project. Horton says if it’s successful, all the information they collected on healthy people can be used as a starting point to study tumors elsewhere in the body.”You could have Felix kidney, Felix liver, Felix lung, Felix, heart,” she says. And they could all go together into the scanner software.The project is named after the “Felix Felicis” good-luck potion, from the Harry Potter books. And, absent an effective magic spell, the laborious process is a reminder that success in bringing artificial intelligence to medicine will not be as simple as dumping piles of data into a computer and trusting that an algorithm will sort it all out.You can contact Richard Harris at rharris@npr.org. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Since Kristen Catton started taking the drug Gilen

first_imgSince Kristen Catton started taking the drug Gilenya two years ago, she’s had only one minor relapse of her multiple sclerosis, following a bout of the flu.Thanks to the medicine, she says, she’s able to walk comfortably, see clearly and work part time as a nurse case manager at a hospital near her home in Columbus, Ohio. This is a big step forward; two drugs she previously tried failed to control her physical symptoms or prevent repeated flare-ups.The drug is expensive — about $90,000 a year. Novartis, the company that makes Gilenya, helps defray that cost for Catton and other patients by making their copayments directly to the patient’s health plan; Catton’s copay for the medicine is roughly $3,800 a month.Until recently those payments by the drug company helped Catton save money on her medical out-of-pocket expenses, because they counted toward her family’s $8,800 annual pharmacy deductible on their health plan.But his year, Catton got a shock. Her health plan changed the way it handles Novartis’ payments, and the money no longer counts toward that deductible.Catton is one of a growing number of consumers taking expensive medicine who are discovering they are no longer insulated by copay assistance programs that used to help cover their costs.Through such programs, consumers typically have owed nothing or have had modest monthly copays for pricey drugs, thanks to a financial contribution by the drugmaker that chips away at the consumer’s deductible and out-of-pocket maximum limits until the health plan starts paying the whole tab.Under the copay accumulator programs introduced by some health plans in 2018, the process has changed.In Catton’s case the change meant that after she hit the drug manufacturer’s payment cap for the copay assistance in April, she’s had to pay the entire co-payment herself — roughly $3,800 — and will have to continue to pay it until her health plan’s pharmacy deductible is met.For May, Catton has put the $3,800 copay on a credit card. But, she says, her family can’t afford to pay nearly $9,000 a year out-of-pocket for the foreseeable future.”I’m talking to my doctor to see if I can I take it every other day,” she says. “I guess I’m winging it until I can figure out what to do.”Drug copay assistance programs have long been controversial. Proponents say that in an age of increasingly high deductibles and coinsurance charges, such help from the manufacturer is the only way some patients can afford crucial medications.But opponents to such assistance say the programs increase drug spending on expensive brand-name drugs by discouraging patients from using more cost-effective alternatives.That last argument misses an important point, according to Bari Talente, executive vice president for advocacy at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.”Generally the multiple sclerosis drugs are not substitutable,” she says. “Most have different mechanisms of action, different administration and different side effect profiles.” And generics, when they’re available, are pricey too — typically costing $60,000 or more annually, she says.Most annual copay assistance limits for MS drugs, if available, are between $9,000 and $12,000, Talente says.Some employers argue that the drug copayment programs are an attempt to circumvent their efforts to manage health care costs. There’s also the issue of fairness, they say.”From an employer perspective, everyone under the plan has to be treated the same,” says Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, which represents large employers.If someone needs medical care such as surgery, for example, that person doesn’t get help covering his deductible, he says.In an NBGH survey of about 140 multistate employers with at least 5,000 workers, 17 percent report they have a copay accumulator program in place this year, Marcotte says. Fifty-six percent say they’re considering them for 2019 or 2020.Marcotte says that if there is no other comparable drug available, drug copayment programs may have a role to play if they can be structured so that participating patients are paying some amount toward their deductible. But, he argues, assistance programs for drugs that are available from more than one source — such as a brand drug that is also available as a generic — shouldn’t be allowed.In 2016, 20 percent of prescriptions for brand-name drugs used a drug copay assistance coupon, according to an analysis by researchers at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. Among the top 200 drugs (based on spending) in 2014, the study found that 132 were brand-name drugs, and 90 of them offered copay coupons.Fifty-one percent of the drugs with copay coupons had no substitute at all, or only another brand drug as a close therapeutic substitute, the analysis found.Advocates for people with HIV and AIDS say copay accumulators are cropping up in their patients’ plans and beginning to cause patients trouble. Drugs to treat HIV typically don’t have generic alternatives.The biggest impact for the community their organizations serve may be for PrEP — a daily pill that helps prevent HIV infection, says Carl Schmid, deputy executive director at the AIDS Institute, an advocacy group. A 30-day supply of PrEP (brand-name Truvada) can cost nearly $2,000. Gilead, the drug’s manufacturer, offers a copay assistance program that covers up to $3,600 annually in copay assistance, with no limit on how much is paid per month.”They’re at risk for HIV, they know it and want to protect themselves,” Schmid says. “It’s a public health issue.”Earlier this month, the AIDS Institute was among 60 HIV organizations that sent letters to state attorneys general and insurance commissioners across the country asking them to investigate this practice, which has emerged in employer and marketplace plans this year.Compounding advocates’ concerns is the fact that these coverage changes are frequently not communicated clearly to patients, Schmid says. They are typically buried deep in the plan documents and don’t appear in the user-friendly summary of benefits and coverage that consumers receive from their health plan.”How is a patient to know?” Schmid asks. They learn of the change only when they get a big bill midway through the year. “And then they’re stuck.”Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service covering health issues, is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation and is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

Have you heard the theory that low air pressure du

first_imgHave you heard the theory that low air pressure during a hurricane can cause a surge in births? Supposedly a steep drop in barometric pressure makes it easier for a baby to pop out. As Hurricane Florence ripped through the Carolinas, we wondered if that was really true.”It’s one of those old wives’ tales,” said Dr. Hal Lawrence, executive vice president and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Yes, a study published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics in 2007 that looked at births at one hospital between January 1997 and December 2003 found an increase in the number of deliveries during periods of low barometric pressure. And another report from 1985 found a significant increase in the premature rupturing of fetal membranes within just a few hours of the barometric pressure falling. But Lawrence says we shouldn’t read too much into them. “The studies show an association between low pressure and an increase in deliveries, but there has never been a study that has shown a causation between low pressure and more births,” he says. However, other problems common in severe storms, such as stress, an abrupt change in daily routine and transportation challenges may be important. Health care professionals in the Carolinas urged their patients to be ready ahead of Florence’s arrival. Expectant mothers at 37 weeks or more near Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Bolivia, N.C., were advised to leave the area ahead of the storm if they were able to. “We told our patients close to due date to get somewhere safe and to heed the advice of local authorities,” says Dr. Navin Bhojwani, an obstetrician with Novant Health System’s OB/GYN service in Charlotte, N.C.New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C., also told pregnant women at 37 weeks or later to evacuate the area: “It will be difficult to travel to the hospital during the height of the storm, and emergency vehicles may not be able to reach you if roads are blocked by flooding or downed trees.” The medical center advised patients to get their paperwork from their obstetricians before leaving. Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, N.C., printed the records for all patients who were 37 weeks and above in case power went out.Patients throughout the region had to make decisions about whether to stay in place or evacuate. The fire department knocked on doors Friday in Hope Mills, N.C., where Amanda Garcia and her husband, Ruben, live, to tell people about a voluntary evacuation. Amanda had been scheduled for a cesarean section on Thursday, but Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, N.C., canceled her procedure and advised her to come on Friday. All the beds were filled then, so she was told to come Saturday instead.The couple stayed in town, confident they would be able to get to the hospital. “I got a Jeep; I’m going to make it [to the hospital] no matter what,” Ruben said he thought during the storm.Luckily, fallen power lines and trees didn’t prevent them from getting to the hospital.As heavy rains fell, Amanda gave birth to a daughter, Arlee Grace Garcia, at the hospital on Sunday. In Bolivia, close to the coast, flooding and blocked roads stopped fresh teams of doctors and nurses from reaching the Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center. For five days straight, 187 people worked until some were released to go home Monday. A Novant Health hospital in Charlotte admitted at least one patient who delivered her baby there instead of in Bolivia. Bhojwani, who was on call on Saturday night in Charlotte, noticed a “fairly average” volume of deliveries, despite the weather-related chaos. “When you work in labor and delivery, you think about a big change in pressure, and you prepare for a difference in volume. Anecdotally, we all think about it when we’re in these situations,” Bhojwani says. “But when you actually look at the information out there, it doesn’t support that.”Studies suggest that floods and other environmental disasters “increase the risks of spontaneous miscarriages, preterm births, and low-birth-weight infants among pregnant women,” according to guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on disaster preparedness for maternity care.”The bigger issue whenever there is a natural disaster like a hurricane, earthquake or flood is that the support systems are in jeopardy,” ACOG’s Lawrence says. When disaster threatens, he says, pregnant women need to make sure they know which health care facilities are open and which ones they can get to.In the end, Lawrence says, speculation about low pressure triggering more deliveries is just one of many ideas about what causes labor. “Having delivered over 6,000 babies, we always talk about what causes labor, what doesn’t cause labor,” he says. “It’s just hard to prove any of that.”Rachel D. Cohen is an intern on NPR’s Science Desk. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Old World Creamery plans to produce butter at the

first_imgOld World Creamery plans to produce butter at the former Dean Foods facility in Sheboygan. Source: Google Earth, Sheboygan Plan Commission documents.Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:22 pmOld World Creamery plans to expand its Sheboygan operations to include butter production, moving beyond the processing work the firm has specialized in over the last two years.Old World Creamery plans to produce butter at the former Dean Foods facility in Sheboygan. Source: Google Earth, Sheboygan Plan Commission documents.The company was launched in 2016 as part of Sun Prairie-based Weyauwega Cheese and established operations in the former Dean Foods/Verifine facility at 1606 Erie Ave. The facility was previously closed in 2015.Plans at the time called for the company to initially start by processing butter, converting large blocks into smaller packages, and eventually move into making butter. “The market support for our products has been overwhelming,” said Steve Knaus, Old World Creamery president. “We have found a highly skilled dairy workforce here, and now, to ensure consistent high-quality butter products, we are pleased to soon begin manufacturing our butter right here in Sheboygan.”The project includes investment in new equipment and could generate 29 full-time equivalent jobs over the next three years, according to Sheboygan Redevelopment Authority minutes. Senior lending for the project was provided by the State Bank of Mauston and the Redevelopment Authority approved a $500,000 loan to support it as well.“Despite continued downtrend of fluid milk markets, this project places Sheboygan County into a growth portion of the dairy business,” said Jim Schuessler, Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. business development manager. “Food manufacturing is less impacted by recession and this project will help expand Sheboygan County’s strength in the food sector.” Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribelast_img read more

Cree hopes to open Pleasant Prairie location in Ma

first_imgCree hopes to open Pleasant Prairie location in MayNorth Carolina-based Cree Inc. plans to sell its lighting business, including operations in Racine, to Ideal Industries, a family-owned manufacturer that serves a variety of end markets.The deal is valued at $310 million before tax impacts and includes an initial cash payment of $225 million and a potential $85 million earn-out payment based on adjusted EBITDA over the 12-month period beginning two years after the deal closes.The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019. In announcing the deal, Sycamore, Illinois-based Ideal Industries highlighted the significant manufacturing capabilities of Cree Lighting in Racine that come with the purchase.Cree Lighting has more than 800,000 square feet of operations in Racine, including 160,000 square feet for production, 418,000 square feet for warehousing and nearly 225,000 square feet for administrative functions. The company also has nearly 150,000 square feet of warehousing operations in Pleasant Prairie.The deal includes Cree’s LED lighting fixtures, lamps and intelligent light control solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications. It also allows Ideal to use and operate under the Cree Lighting brand. It will become Ideal’s 20th branded operating unit.“We’re acquiring a very special organization poised for sustained success, and we look forward to assisting Cree Lighting in realizing its full potential,” said Jim James, chairman and CEO of Ideal Industries.Cree significantly grew its lighting business from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2012 with the acquisition of Racine-based Ruud Lighting in a more than $580 million deal. After the acquisition, Cree invested significantly in its Racine operations and the lighting business grew to more than $900 million in revenue and became 55 percent of the company in fiscal 2015, according to securities filings.But revenues have declined in recent years due to lower sales volumes, decreasing customer demand and quality issues. In fiscal 2018, the lighting segment had $569 million in revenue.In February 2018, Cree announced it would increase its focus on its Wolfspeed semiconductor business.“This transaction provides significant resources to help accelerate Wolfspeed’s growth while providing a terrific growth opportunity for the Lighting Business and its employees through an expanded channel that strengthens its market position,” said Gregg Loew, CEO of Cree.Ideal announced Craig Atwater, senior vice president and general manager of Cree Lighting, would join Ideal. The lighting business would continue to operate out of Durham, North Carolina, Racine and other global locations.“In so many ways, becoming part of the Ideal family returns Cree Lighting to its earliest foundations and values,” Atwater said. “Our people and partners are going to see that Ideal is a strong cultural and strategic fit for Cree Lighting.” Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribelast_img read more

Host committee chair Alex Lasry DNC chairman Tom

first_imgHost committee chair Alex Lasry, DNC chairman Tom Perez, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, along with other city and party leaders, celebrate after announcing that Milwaukee will host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Last updated on June 18th, 2019 at 11:53 amA group of city leaders and local politicians on March 11 occupied the atrium of Fiserv Forum, raising cups of beer in a ceremonial – and “Milwaukee-esque” – toast to a victory that many didn’t see coming. At the front of that group stood Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who earlier had announced he had selected Milwaukee’s bid to host the party’s upcoming national convention in 2020.Now, about one month later, the city and state are preparing to take center stage for when more than 50,000 politicians, delegates, lobbyists, dignitaries and members of the national and international media descend upon Milwaukee from July 13 to 16, 2020.Over the past year, the local bid committee had worked hard at convincing Perez that Milwaukee – a small-market city once defined by its place along America’s Rust Belt – could take on an event historically hosted by top-tier metros. But after impressing party officials during two site visits and hitting all the marks on their list of requirements (including quotas for available hotel rooms and event venues), Milwaukee had won him over and in doing so, could give the Democrats a better shot at winning a crucial swing state and taking back the White House.With that influx projected to exceed $200 million, the state and region’s hospitality industry is expecting, and preparing, to cash in on a mammoth opportunity.“To have 50,000 visitors over that four-day period, that’s going to really bring an influx of dollars to our community,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “It’s really about creating an economic opportunity… and to make sure that the fruits of the labor are spread throughout this entire community.”Hotel rooms in cities as far away as Green Bay and in Lake County, Illinois have been blocked; Milwaukee’s Airbnb hosts are raising rates; construction timelines for hotel and infrastructure projects have been pushed up; and area restaurants are being trained on how to serve mass amounts of diners.Now that Milwaukee has won the bid, local organizers have turned their attention to what needs to be done in order to put on an event of this scale and significance. Those efforts will be led by a host committee, formally known as The Good Land Committee Inc., which has not officially been staffed yet, said Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, who will serve as chair of that committee. Lasry anticipates hiring 10 to 20 staff members, with an executive director as the most immediate hire, he said.Lasry, who also headed the local bid committee for the DNC, has been and will continue to be heavily involved in fundraising efforts for the convention. Since no state or city taxpayer dollars will be used, that’s a major item on the host committee’s to-do list. Before Milwaukee was selected as host city, $11 million in local donations had already been secured, but with a $70 million total fundraising goal, the committee will now rely on both local and national donors to close that funding gap, Lasry said.“We’re seeing a renewed interest locally from corporations and individuals who want to be involved in the biggest (event) that has ever been in Milwaukee,” Lasry said. “We’re also seeing nationals coming in to talk to us because they’re very interested in playing a big part in an event this special.”Lasry did not disclose the names of those donors. However, the bid committee’s June 2018 bid proposal, recently obtained by BizTimes from the City of Milwaukee, includes a list of “corporations and other entities” that will make financial contributions to the host committee while serving as its members and on its finance committee. That list includes local business leaders Andy Nunemaker of Dynamis Software Corp., Hannah Rosenthal of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Cory Nettles of Generation Growth Capital Inc., Ted Kellner of TM Partners, Omar Shaik of SURG Restaurant Group LLC, JoAnne Anton of Herb Kohl Philanthropies and local philanthropist Marianne Lubar. Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan, Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Chicago Bulls CEO Michael Reinsdorf are also listed.The document additionally contains letters of vocal support from Todd Teske of Briggs & Stratton, Tim Sheehy of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Gavin Hattersley of MillerCoors LLC, David Jacobson of BMO Financial Group and John Donofrio of Johnson Controls International plc.“The response I’ve gotten from the business community is that this is not a partisan affair, this is a civic affair… and they understand you invest in a community in order to get visitors,” Barrett said.The committee has also continued to recruit and register local, diverse businesses for its Supplier Diversity Initiative, an effort led by local DNC activists Jason Rae and Martha Love, Lasry said.Those businesses will be included in a directory provided to convention organizers as they start to plan the upwards of 1,500 related events set to take place at venues throughout the city.“They’re going to need any type of vendor to make sure that they’re able to put on their events,” Lasry said. “…We want to make sure the contracted businesses are as local and as diverse as possible.”The initiative so far has held five informational meetings, with more planned for the next few months, Lasry said.In addition to contractors, 12,000 volunteers will be recruited from across the state to serve during the convention as local resources for attendees and to help the event go off without a hitch, Lasry said.The committee is currently using digital and social media platforms to spark public interest and direct potential volunteers to sign up on its website.As far as security and transportation, Lasry said the local host committee plans to work closely with the DNC’s convention committee and state, city and county entities to “figure out how we make sure that this event allows people to move around freely, but also make sure everyone is safe and protected.”Considering all of the logistics that go into an event of this scale, the DNC seems like a massive undertaking for any city. But organizers and supporters remain confident that, as a city that knows how to throw a party, Milwaukee is up to the task.Summerfest attracts upwards of 825,000 attendees during its annual 11-day music festival along Milwaukee’s lakefront. But unlike the DNC, which will bring in mostly out-of-state visitors who need lodging accommodations, Summerfest’s draw is heavily local.Still, visitors travel from all 50 states (many from the Chicago area) and 40 countries to attend the iconic event, now in its 52nd year, said Don Smiley, who has served for 15 years as president and chief executive officer of Summerfest and its nonprofit operator, Milwaukee World Festival Inc.Although Milwaukee has been home to Summerfest for decades, there’s always room for year-over-year improvement, Smiley said.“You really need to have the right people in the right positions to effectively plan the event, execute the event, and really have impeccable communication skills up and down the ladder,” he said.Logistics surrounding transportation and security alone require “months and months” of planning, both internal and external collaboration and, when appropriate, transparent communication with the public via news media and social media outlets.As early as January, Smiley and his leadership team meet with a taskforce of law enforcement agencies, including the Milwaukee Police Department, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration to draft a security plan for that year’s festival. Traffic control near the festival grounds is a crucial part of that strategy, Smiley said.He expects the DNC to present a different security challenge with the number of venues it will use throughout the city.Harley-Davidson Inc.’s massive anniversary celebrations are perhaps more comparable to the DNC, at least in terms of scope and attendee base. When the company rang in its 115th year last summer, an estimated 150,000 motorcyclists from across the globe came to town for a five-day party that took place throughout the region.As Harley’s global operations manager, Chris Urban led the planning and execution of the event. Asked how the company made efforts to welcome out-of-town riders who attended, he said that was one thing he didn’t have to worry about.“The local population takes care of that from a level of excitement and hospitality,” he said. “Citizens and business owners love sharing the city, so fortunately, folks who live here take care of showing visitors around… People genuinely appreciate the welcoming nature and sense of hospitality that Milwaukeeans have.” Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribelast_img read more