Consumers in the US are registering a sharp increa

first_imgConsumers in the US are registering a sharp increase in 3D TVs and, to a greater extent, connected sets, according to the latest research.IHS polled consumers about their buying plans and 30.7% of those planning to buy a new TV in the year to June will choose an internet-connected set. That stacks against 18.1% in the corresponding period a year earlier.The proportion planning to buy into 3D TV also grew, albeit at a smaller rate with 18.8% of those surveyed saying they will opt for 3D. That compares with 6.6% a year earlier.“Features most commonly found on high-end TV models and bigger screen-size sets, like 3D and internet-connectivity, are becoming more important to U.S. consumers,” said Veronica Thayer, TV systems analyst at IHS. “But the appeal of 3D TV remains far lower than that of internet-enabled sets – often marketed as smart TVs.”Other key purchase drivers include LCD technology but the biggest deciding factor among US consumers remains size.last_img read more


first_imgShareTweet Mr Sharkey, now a Detective Sergeant, denies her claims and those made by the other women. He never faced any prosecution.But a judge was told that an internal disciplinary process resulted in a finding that he breached Ms Hampson’s integrity by placing his hand on her hip.He was cautioned and fined £250.Setting out the plaintiff’s case, Mr McCollum claimed the detective repeatedly put his hands on her shoulders during incidents in work.Such physical contact between serving police officer 20 years older than her was completely inappropriate, counsel said.“Mr Sharkey is probably old enough to be the plaintiff’s father,” he insisted.“In different circumstances would it be appropriate for an older male barrister, for example, to be placing his hands on the shoulders of a younger female barrister?“The motive behind it isn’t important, the question is whether this is appropriate, proper behaviour within a workplace.”During opening submissions Mr Justice Burgess heard it was no answer to say Ms Hampson didn’t object to what was allegedly happening.A reasonable employer should have put an immediate stop to any such conduct.Although police chiefs were said to have separated the detective from the plaintiff, Mr McCollum said that wasn’t enough.“Mr Sharkey was interviewed and talks about (being) touchy feely – touchy feely has no place in the workplace whatsoever,” he continued.Three other female members of staff were said to have alleged similar behaviour.One claimed in a statement that Mr Sharkey approached her on a work night out, put his hand on her upper thigh and remarked on the tights she was wearing.In a second alleged incident she described him coming up behind her in a CID office and putting his hands on her hips, adding: “I immediately froze.”Another woman made three allegations of inappropriate behaviour.She claimed Mr Sharkey slapped her on the backside in work, told her at one stage to bend over a desk to be spanked, and also pulled her towards him by putting his arm round her waist.He denies all the allegations against him of unwanted or inappropriate physical contact with the women.Allegations of sexualised touching by a male detective on female civilian staff heard at the High Court in BelfastMr McCollum argued that even if those women didn’t want to go though the ordeal of an investigation, their employer was under a duty to take action and stamp out the alleged behaviour.“What they described was entirely unacceptable, inappropriate, abusive behaviour in the workplace,” he said.Instead, he claimed, the PSNI did nothing about the other three women’s statements after being informed they don’t want to make official complaints.“That is not just a bad response from an employer, it’s an utterly deplorable, appalling one,” Mr McCollum claimed.“It’s very hard not to be driven to the conclusion this is male chauvinism around women… it’s just going to be tolerated or brushed under the carpet.”Pointing out that he was not referring to the force as a whole, the senior QC: “It actually amounts to sexism or misogynism.“It’s something that has emerged in relation to this particular branch of the police at this particular time.”He also submitted: “Any employer has an obligation to ensure the workforce behave appropriately, within the confines of the station and anything to do with work events or socials.“That duty is much higher when the employer is the main law enforcement agency in the country.”The case continues today.COURT HEARS CLAIMS OF SEXUALISED TOUCHING OF FEMALE POLICE STAFF IN DERRY was last modified: October 11th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: THE PSNI is in the dock over shocking allegations of sexualised touching and harassment of female civilian staff in Derry police stations during a three year period.A senior lawyer said the women’s complaints were “brushed under the carpet” amid misogyny and male chauvinism within the PSNI.Counsel for a civilian worker suing over claims that an older detective subjected her to unwanted contact said the force’s investigation amounted to an “abject” failure in its responsibilities. Liam McCollum QC said: “It was a complete dereliction of the duty and obligation of a major employer in the 21st Century.”The High Court heard three other women made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against the same detective.Mr Justice Burgess was told of incidents in which:* one woman had her backside slapped by the detective;* she was told to bend over a desk for a spankingl* another had her thigh touched on a works night out.Administrative assistant Sinead Hampson, the only one of the four to make a formal complaint, is seeking damages against the PSNIThe alleged unwanted contact occurred at stations in Derry between 2009 and 2012.Ms Hampson, 37, claims Detective Constable Ronan Sharkey subjected her to unwanted sexualised physical touching, as well as harassment and bullying, the court heard. DETECTIVE CONSTABLE RONAN SHARKEYDETECTIVE SERGEANT RONAN SHARKEYhigh courtLIAM MCCOLLUM QCMR JUSTICE BURGESSPSNISUE HAMPSONlast_img read more

New covered California signups plummet

first_img This article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 30 2019The number of new enrollees in Covered California plans plunged by nearly a quarter this year, largely because of the elimination of the tax penalty for people without insurance, officials announced Wednesday.The decrease was steeper than expected — and larger than the drop in new enrollment in the federal marketplace, It occurred even as Covered California, the state health insurance exchange, spent millions on advertising to entice people to sign up for coverage during the open-enrollment period that ended Jan. 15.Overall, more than 1.5 million Californians selected a health plan for 2019 coverage, a figure similar to last year, the agency said. But new enrollment fell by 23.7 percent, with 295,980 sign-ups compared with 388,344 last year. Meanwhile, plan renewals remained strong, and posted a 7.5 percent increase.”Recent actions at the federal level appear to be causing large drops in enrollment that will lead to more uninsured and higher premiums for all Californians,” said Covered California executive director Peter Lee.”The federal removal of the individual mandate penalty appears to have had a substantial impact on the number of new consumers signing up for coverage,” he said.New enrollment in the federal health insurance exchange,, which serves 39 states, fell to 2.1 million, down 15.8 percent from the previous year, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.Total enrollment dropped to 8.4 million from roughly 8.7 million in 2018. The drop in enrollment, especially if fewer healthy people are signing up, could lead to higher premiums, explained David Panush, president of California Health Policy Strategies, a Sacramento-based consulting firm, and former external affairs director for Covered California.“When you have fewer healthy people enrolling, that has an effect on the risk pool. And when you have a sicker pool that means premiums go up, although so do subsidies,” Panush said. “But for people on the non-subsidized side, that’s a big deal.”In fact, premium rates have already increased because of the elimination of the penalty for not having health coverage, which took effect this year. Covered California said the average rate increase for 2019 would have been closer to 5 percent — instead of 8.7 percent — if the individual mandate penalty hadn’t been axed as part of the 2017 Republican tax bill.On his first day in office, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom called for a state-based mandate, which would require all Californians to have health coverage. The legislature would have to approve it, which isn’t guaranteed even with a Democratic majority because the mandate was one of the least popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act.Penalizing uninsured Californians in this way could raise roughly $500 million a year, Newsom said when he unveiled his proposed budget earlier this month. That money, he suggested, could be used to create state subsidies for Californians who struggle to afford health insurance.New enrollment fell even though Covered California spent $40 million on ads during the latest open-enrollment period, out of a monster $107 million marketing budget. By comparison, the federal government spent $10 million on advertising.Related StoriesSupplements claiming to boost brain health are ‘too good to be true’, warn expertsGovernment policy and infrastructure have substantial impact on hospitalization of seniorsExperts release scientific statement on predicting survival for cardiac arrest survivorsWhile advertising is important, it alone doesn’t do the trick, experts say. “You need all three — affordability, a mandate and advertising,” Panush said.Kevin Knauss, an insurance agent in Granite Bay, Calif., said he believes affordability played the biggest role in the drop in new enrollment. He added that a strong economy means that more people have job-based health insurance, and so they don’t need to buy plans on the open market.“In my experience, high rates are the primary driver for people not signing up,” not the end of the penalty, Knauss said. “They say ‘I can’t do it, I can’t afford it.’”At the same time, Knauss said the drop in new enrollment is almost expected, given the evolution of the market.“We have to remember the market is saturated — Covered California has been around for a while, and people that want to buy have probably already made that decision,” he said.Doreena Wong, a project director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights organization, said it was harder this year to persuade people to enroll and renew their coverage.The group, part of a statewide collaborative, receives grant money from Covered California for outreach and enrollment, particularly in immigrant and low-income communities.“It’s hard to know exactly why, but we have seen at least a 10 percent drop ourselves,” she said.Wong blames the elimination of the penalty coupled with fear among immigrant communities as reasons for the decline in new enrollment.She pointed to the proposed “public charge” rule change, which is awaiting final action by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The change would allow the federal government to consider legal immigrants’ use of an expanded list of public benefit programs, including Medicaid, food stamps and Section 8 housing, as a reason to deny lawful permanent residency — also known as having a green card. Medicaid is the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people.Although federal tax credits for plans bought through Covered California are not included in the list of public programs that would be considered, there’s so much confusion among immigrants that some chose to skip enrolling in coverage, Wong said.“There are fears that communities are experiencing,” she said. “The proposed public charge rule, for example — we’ve gotten a lot of calls about that.”This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.last_img read more

Diabetes drug could help with smoking cessation

first_img Source: Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 30 2019Phillip Robinson has gone from 10 cigarettes a day to one or two every other day after enrolling in a smoking cessation clinical trial launched by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). To help smokers quit, researchers are using a drug known more for helping people with diabetes control their blood sugar.With the support of a Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Scholar Award and PARTNERS Research Award, Luba Yammine, PhD, RN, FNP-C, an assistant professor in the Department of Research at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, and Joy Schmitz, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, plan to recruit 90 volunteers. PARTNERS stands for Providing Advancement Resources To Nursing Education Research and Students and is an organization that supports Cizik School of Nursing.”Preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that a Food and Drug Administration-approved diabetes drug with the generic name of exenatide can decrease consumption of food and other addictive substances such as alcohol and nicotine,” said Yammine, the study’s principal investigator. “These findings prompted us to investigate exenatide as a potential treatment for smoking cessation. We think that this drug will help with smoking cessation through the mechanism of reward – people will experience less enjoyment when they smoke. It may also help to decrease cravings for cigarettes and withdrawal symptoms that people may experience when they try to quit smoking.”Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S., including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 every day.”Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death. Effective treatments for smoking cessation exist, but we still see a high rate of relapse,” said Schmitz, the Louis A. Faillace, MD Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School.Related StoriesAADE’s comprehensive guidance on care of children, young adults with diabetes releasedNew biomaterial could encapsulate and protect implanted insulin-producing cellsDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomes”Exenatide targets a different mechanism of action that holds promise for pharmacological treatment of smoking and possibly other addictive behaviors,” Schmitz said.Yammine said exenatide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA). In the clinical trial, the drug is being studied in people who are prediabetic, or overweight but not diabetic. They must be between 18 and 75 years of age and make an earnest attempt to quit smoking.Participants receive six weeks of treatment with exenatide or placebo in the double-blind, randomized trial. Clinic visits take place at the Center for Neurobehavioral Research on Addiction at UTHealth. The trial is registered on (NCT02975297).Robinson, who has now completed the trial, received a weekly injection over a six-week period and nicotine patches to curb his urge to smoke. He also received individual smoking cessation counseling. To verify his smoking status and abstinence from smoking, his breath carbon monoxide levels were tested at every appointment.”I started 25 years ago and I wished I hadn’t. I used to smoke a half pack or more of cigarettes a day. Now, I’m down to no cigarettes or one cigarette a day,” said Robinson, a 60-year-old maintenance supervisor.Robinson had tried unsuccessfully to quit on his own. “I tried the gum. I tried the patches. But, I didn’t get far. I know cigarettes are not good for you but it’s hard to stop,” he said.When Robinson heard about the trial, he decided to give it a shot. “I wanted to try something different. I liked the fact that the study involved an existing drug,” he said.Robinson and his wife Mindy Lee Robinson have a young son named Phillip Robinson III. “I’m doing this for my family, too,” he said.”The obtained data will provide information for a larger study,” Yammine said.last_img read more

PBS restrictions on anti‐epileptic drug prescribing promote unsafe and outdated care

first_imgThe PBS urgently needs to update anti-epileptic drug restrictions that put patients and prescribers at risk.When a new medication is first listed on the PBS, prescribing restrictions are put in place to protect the taxpayer from unreasonably high costs.The current system for listing drugs is well organized and provides a good balance between taxpayer and patient interests.But there is currently no adequate and effective mechanism to review PBS restrictions once they are in place.In the long term, this fosters outdated prescribing practice and suboptimal care.”Professor Christian Gericke, UQ neurologist Related StoriesA Portable Solution for the On-scene Identification of KratomArtificial DNA can help release active ingredients from drugs in sequenceComputer-generated flu vaccine enters clinical trials in the USProfessor Gericke said the problem was not limited to anti-epileptic drugs but they were a glaring example of it.In 2018, the Therapeutic Goods Administration Advisory Committee on Medicines advised doctors to avoid prescribing the common anti-epileptic drug valproate to pregnant women, due to the risk of birth defects and reduced intelligence in children exposed to valproate during pregnancy.”However the TGA recommendations cannot be implemented in daily prescribing practice in Australia unless the PBS lifts its restrictions on other anti-epileptic drugs,” Professor Gericke said.”In practice, most epileptologists and many physicians and general practitioners ignore the PBS restrictions and follow the international prescribing guidelines in order to provide safe care for their patients.”These medical practitioners are at risk of legal and financial sanctions.”It’s not fair on doctors, and it’s not fair on our patients.”Doctors should not be forced to choose between safe patient care and complying with outdated government regulation.”Professor Gericke called on the PBS to urgently update its restrictions on the use of anti-epileptic drugs and to create a regular review mechanism of its own prescribing restrictions for all medications on the PBS.”This will allow Australian doctors to prescribe in line with international best practice without imposing a financial burden on patients or contravening PBS regulations,” he said. Source:University of QueenslandJournal reference:Gericke, C.A & O’Brien, T.J. (2019) Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme restrictions on anti‐epileptic drug prescribing promote unsafe and outdated practice. Medical Journal of Australia. Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 1 2019Prescribing restrictions for anti-epileptic drugs expose flaws in the review process of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), a University of Queensland researcher proposes.UQ neurologist Professor Christian Gericke said the PBS needed to implement an effective review process of its own restrictions that would allow Australian doctors to prescribe in accordance with American and European clinical guidelines that facilitated safe and up-to-date clinical practice.last_img read more

Congress partys 52 bn basic income plan short on funding details

first_imgeconomy (general) SHARE COMMENT Subsidy handouts already pressuring government’s deficit goal   –  Reuters A $52 billion basic income plan promised by India’s main opposition Congress party if its voted to power sounds like tonic to the economy, but is short on details on what it means for the nation’s fiscal consolidation path.The plan, which promises income support of as much as ₹72,000 ($1,046) a year to 50 million families and announced Monday, left economists looking for answers on how this would be rolled out without breaching the budget deficit goal of 3.4 percent of gross domestic product for the fiscal year starting April. Existing subsidy handouts are already putting pressure on the deficit targets.Income support is a hot topic as India prepares for elections starting April, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government already announcing more than $10 billion of cash handouts to about 120 million farmers. In the process, the government widened its fiscal deficit targets for the current financial year and the next.Merger of subsidiesThe Congress hasn’t said how it would deal with Modi’s handout to farmers or whether it will trim 9 percent of the budget the government already spends on food, fertilizer, fuel and other subsidies to the poor. The federal government alone runs about 950 central sector and centrally sponsored sub-programs that cost about 5 percent of GDP.The Congress will more likely merge certain subsidies and hand out cash to the people in phases, letting them decide how they want to spend it, said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist with Care Ratings Ltd. in Mumbai. Everyone is trying to reach out to the electorate, Sabnavis said, adding that the handout will help, given the demand side problem in economy today.Weak domestic demand and a global slowdown is weighing on economic growth, which slowed to 6.6 percent in the quarter to December.A minimum income set at ₹72,000 annually would cost about 1.3 percent of GDP and benefit the bottom 33 percent of Indian households, representing a substantial improvement in living standards for the poorest segments of society, according to a report by Nitin Bharti and Lucas Chancel of Paris-based World Inequality Lab.The income support plan will loosen up purse strings of poor households and generate enormous demand and investment, said Santosh Mehrotra, an economics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. There’s no choice but to reform the subsidies. Its a do or die situation. SHARE SHARE EMAIL national electionscenter_img Published on Indian National Congress March 27, 2019 The poll promise of ₹72,000 to 50 million families may force rationalization of subsidies: economists COMMENTSlast_img read more

Water crisis DMK warns of jail bharo stir across TNWater crisis DMK

first_imgPeople waiting for water with empty plastic pots at Metro water tank taps. File Photo   –  The Hindu SHARE Tamil Nadu COMMENT water (natural resource) Published oncenter_img June 24, 2019 Upping the ante against the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu for “inefficient handling” of the water scarcity in the state, DMK president M K Stalin on Monday led a massive protest here and lambasted Chief Minister K Palaniswami for attempting to downplay the crisis.‘Yagams’ (ritualistic worships) that AIADMK leaders are conducting are to save their positions in the government and not to please the rain gods, said Stalin, while also warning of a massive ‘jail bharo’ stir if the government failed to solve the state-wide water crisis.AIADMK leader D Jayakumar, however, asserted that the protest would get no support from the people.Joining the DMK workers at the protest, Stalin dramatically raised an empty pot and asked, “Kudam Inge, Kudineer Enge?” (Pot is here, where is the drinking water)?”“The government has scarcity of funds, schemes, jobs, industries, justice, law and order, now include water. But Chief Minister K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam and Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani are not bothered,” the DMK chief said addressing a large group of his party cadres.“This is the situation in Tamil Nadu. The state government, which is on the Centre’s clutches, has not taken any initiative to avert such a situation,” he alleged.Terming the crisis as avoidable, Stalin said, “I am not ready to argue that ‘yagams’ are wrong. This is not something which occurred all of a sudden. I have been raising the issue of plummeting water levels in lakes in the assembly for the last one year. But no efforts were made.”He referred to the party moving a resolution earlier seeking the removal of assembly Speaker P Dhanapal and said the rituals were aimed at saving positions held by AIADMK leaders in the government.“Because, on June 28, the assembly would meet and there is no need to wait for elections for a change of government. There is a possibility even before that,” Stalin said.Hitting out at Palaniswami and Velumani for allegedly trying to downplay the crisis, Stalin asked , “Why would protests spill on to the streets if people have water for basic needs?.” SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTSlast_img read more