Modelling reproductive effort in sub-and maritime Antarctic mosses

first_imgA comparison is made of the reproductive effort (RE), considered as the investment in sporophyte relative to gametophyte biomass, of eight species of moss occurring at sub-and maritime Antarctic sites. Six of the species showed smaller sporophytes and game-tophytes at the climatically more extreme maritime Antaretic sites and one species showed no size difference between regions. The remaining species, although showing no regional difference, showed some evidence of a reverse pattern, with higher altitude samples having greater biomass than lower altitude samples. Spore counts indicated a measure of compensation in maritime Antarctic samples, with no significant decrease in spore output in several species despite smaller sporophyte biomass. The relationship between sporophyte (S) and gametophyte (G) biomass within samples was described by an allometric curve (S=aGb) which gave a better fit than a straight line for six species. This form of model allows comparisons of patterns of RE to be made between samples with non-or partially overlapping size distributions, even when the relationship involves size-dependence. An allometric curve was not appropriate for describing samples of one species (Andreaea regularis), and insufficient data were available to identify any relationship in Polytrichum alpinum. The exponent (b) differed between species, but there were no statistically significant differences between exponents from samples of the same species. Samples of two species could further be described by the same coefficient (a), indicating that they lie on the same curve. However, samples of three species from sub-Antarctic South Georgia gave significantly higher coefficients, indicating increased RE relative to maritime Antarctic populations.last_img read more

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Jersey City cop charged with aggravated assault in Hoboken

first_imgHOBOKEN – Jersey City residents Kely Nunfio, 24, and Jersey City Police Officer Erik Castro, 24, were arrested and charged with aggravated assault on Aug. 19 after Hoboken Sergeant Saverio Binetti called in a fight at 2:56 a.m. near First and River streets and requested an ambulance.According to a police press release, the responding officers saw a group of about 40 people in the street and sidewalk and an unconscious man on the ground bleeding from a cut under his eye. He was being tended to by onlookers along with Officer Cynthia Rivera.As the officers tried to disperse the crowd they received information on who caused the victim’s injury.They saw Castro, identified in the report as a Jersey City police officer, standing near the scene. According to the press release Castro allegedly told the officers he had struck the victim.Several witnesses told police both Castro and Nunfio allegedly struck the victim several times. They also allegedly struck him while he was unconscious on the ground.Castro and Nunfio were placed under arrest and transported to headquarters for processing.According to a press release from the Hoboken Police Department, “the victim suffered serious head trauma from the assault.”He was transported to Jersey City Medical Center Trauma Unit where he remained under observation. Castro was released on a summons and Nunfio was remanded to the Hudson County Rehabilitation Center. ×last_img read more

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Medical School revises conflict of interest policy

first_imgHarvard Medical School (HMS) released a series of revisions to its conflict of interest (COI) policy today that strengthens its commitment to transparency and financial disclosure while recognizing the School’s commitment to industry collaboration.Among many provisions, the new policy includes a streamlined central system for reporting faculty financial interests with industry; requires the public disclosure of certain faculty financial interests; bans faculty from accepting corporate gifts, including travel and meals; and ends faculty participation in industry speakers bureaus, making it one of the most stringent of any medical college in the country. In addition, faculty disclosures will be made available to the public on the Harvard Catalyst website.“In all cases where financial interests are involved, an essential antidote to potential harm is transparency,” said HMS Dean Jeffrey S. Flier. “And so disclosure of relevant financial interests, both internally and for the first time publicly, will address this concern.”Flier, the Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, said the updated policy is aimed at clarifying appropriate relationships between the School and its industry contacts. It will protect the interests of the public and maintain the integrity of Harvard’s faculty and institutions, he said, while providing clarity of expectations in collaboration between companies and Harvard faculty.A comprehensive re-evaluation of the existing COI regulations has been a top priority for Flier since he was named dean in 2007, and the revised guidelines are the latest in a series of regular changes to a policy created in 1990.In January 2009, Flier convened the Harvard University Faculty of Medicine Committee on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment. The 34-member panel includes HMS faculty, senior administrators, and students. His request to the group: Devise a new set of recommendations for the faculty policy, based on changes in the biomedical field and grounded in modern conventions and practices.Ganesh Shankar — a medical student member of the committee — thought the new standards were an exciting reshaping of the “educational infrastructure” at HMS.“Medicine is constantly changing,” he said, “and we recognize that education in medicine must be equally dynamic.”The committee’s recommendations, accepted by Flier, will be formally incorporated into the School’s COI policy starting in January.The HMS group is a subcommittee of a University-wide body led by David Korn, Harvard’s vice provost for research, which recently conducted its own rigorous review of Harvard’s COI policies and principles.Previous HMS policy had regulated faculty interactions with industry for more than 20 years. The new guidelines include:A streamlined central system for reportingfaculty financial interests with industryA public website for disclosure of certainfaculty financial interestsNopersonal gifts from industry, includingtravel and mealsNo facultyparticipation in industry speakersbureausA furtherstrengthening of existing limitationson faculty financial interests in companies that own or licensetechnologiesstudied in clinical researchNew limitations on industry support for Continuing Medical Education(CME)coursesNew training forstudents and faculty oncritical decision making regarding companies that make drugs or medicaldevicesNew review requirements on proposed facultyboard memberships with for-profit companies.Flier, a strong proponent of industry collaboration, has acknowledged that relationships between industry and academics involve an element of risk. “Some relationships,” he wrote in a white paper last year, “require scrutiny, analysis, institutional guidance, and, in specific cases, prohibition.”However, even as he announced the new, more stringent guidelines, Flier wanted to make absolutely clear that the goal was not to create a wall between industry and medicine. “That would be precisely the wrong thing to do at a time when we want to promote and develop human health,” he said. “Doing that requires effective interactions between industry and academia of a kind that are judged to be appropriate.”The central theme of the revised policy is transparency and increased disclosure of industry relationships, especially as related to ongoing research. They reinforce the restrictions already in place by:Prohibiting sponsorship of any research projectby a business in which a faculty members holds equity. The prohibitionisabsolute if the business is privately held. If the business is publiclytraded,then a faculty member’s financial interest in the company cannot exceed$30,000a year.Prohibiting clinical research on a technologyowned or licensed to a business with which the faculty member receives morethat $10,000 in annual income. (The previous limit was $20,000.)Reporting of outside relationships with industry, includingthose relevant to ongoing faculty research, will continue to be part of ayearly disclosure process. And for the first time, Harvard will workwith its16 affiliated hospitals and institutions to capture all requiredinformationthrough a common reporting mechanism for the approximately 12,000HarvardMedical School employees who work at the Medical School and itsaffiliatedhospitals and institutions. Previously, each organization managed itsowndisclosure process.Also for the first time, such financial disclosures will also be made publicly available on the HMS Catalyst website and will be part of a comprehensive institutional monitoring system. In certain instances, financial disclosures will also be subject to review by the HMS Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest.The new disclosure mechanism, Flier said, will allow HMS to identify any potentially troubling trends and “areas where there might be a need for further policy revision.”The new recommendations will also prohibit faculty participation in industry speakers bureaus if only industry presentations are used.“It’s one of the biggest departures in the policy,” said Flier. “If you are Harvard Medical faculty, you can’t function as a member of a speakers bureau and give company-determined and prepared talks. It’s vital that our faculty maintain their intellectual control.”The new guidelines also impact the small percentage of Harvard’s Continuing Medical Education courses that receive company funding.Building on previous requirements, the new recommendations state that a course must be funded by more than one industry sponsor, with no one sponsor being able to support more than 50 percent of a particular course’s budget.As part of the new policy, HMS will also develop a dean’s fund. It will solicit unrestricted industry donations to support Harvard’s Continuing Medical Education efforts, including research on best CME practices and technology-based teaching methods. “There will be no connection between the company and what we do with it,” said Flier.He added that the fund “ties into the broader interest of how to use Harvard Medical School to have a positive influence in the world.”Included in the new policy is a broad statement, in compliance with Massachusetts law, that prohibits the faculty from receiving industry-sponsored personal gifts of any kind. The new HMS gifts requirement will also extend to nonclinical faculty.“Even if you are a Ph.D. scientist working on cells or mice you are subject to this policy,” said Flier. “We are now saying that this is part of our overall faculty policy.”The updated HMS COI policy, said Korn, who heads the University’s efforts on COI policy, will further the School’s dedication to professional codes, institutional values, integrity, and transparency. It will also help HMS continue its efforts to enhance the future health of the country. “When all parties are clear on the rules governing potential relationships, and compliant with them, the hope is that more collaborations may be fostered and the significant educational, research, and health benefits captured for the benefit of the public.”Under our new policy, we will limit potential abuses,” wrote Flier in an article appearing on the HMS website, “while promoting our great capacity to do good.”Additional reportingby Colleen Walshlast_img read more

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The rigor of reargument

first_imgRussell Kornblith got his J.D. at Harvard Law School in May. Compact and fit, he looks like a vest-pocket Superman, able (perhaps) to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But his latest feat of strength was staying up late — for 14 weeks.It was for a good cause, and Kornblith had plenty of company. Since early March, two professors from Harvard’s International Human Rights Clinic and four law students — all from the Class of 2012 — each worked up to 80 hours a week. They scoured archives, pored over cases, and struggled to craft the right language for  a brief of amici curiae — a “friends of the court” brief — in the matter of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. It’s now on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.The lawsuit, brought by 12 Nigerians, alleges that the Dutch oil company was complicit in torture, extrajudicial executions, and other crimes against humanity from 1992 to 1995. The plaintiffs are members of the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta, who during this time were protesting a new pipeline being laid by Shell contractors. The amici — the clinic’s clients — are nine legal historians, including Charles Donahue, Harvard’s Paul A. Freund Professor of Law.Susan H. Farbstein, a team member and an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Law School, called Kiobel ”one of the biggest human rights cases the [Supreme Court] has heard in recent years.”At issue: What are the limits of corporate liability? And can U.S. courts hear lawsuits regarding incidents outside U.S. territory? (It’s an issue lawyers call “extraterritoriality.”)Behind those questions is a debate over the interpretation and intent of the Alien Tort Statute, a 1789 law that allows foreigners to bring suit in U.S. courts. The statute was seldom cited until 1980, when it was revived as the basis for international human rights litigation.“Decades of jurisprudence are on the line in Kiobel,” said Clinical Professor of Law Tyler R. Giannini, who co-directs the clinic with Farbstein. “Cases have been litigated for more than 30 years for claims arising outside the United States, including for more than 15 years against corporations.” A Supreme Court ruling against either corporate liability or extraterritoriality, he said, “would represent a radical departure from this recent history.”That departure would limit the right of plaintiffs to seek redress from multinational corporations. For those writing the brief, the stakes were high.“The challenge is making sure you have a sufficient store of adrenalin,” said Sarah Alexander, J.D. ’12. She worked with Kornblith, sometimes 19 hours a day. (Other team members were Yonina Alexander, J.D. ’12 — no relation to Sarah — and Daniel Saver, J.D. ’12.)The team established a “war room” in Pound Hall and, after December, on the third floor of Wasserstein Hall. The brief came to life there, line by line, on a large-screen monitor. “We endlessly discussed the significance of historical cases and doctrines amongst ourselves and with the amici,” said Giannini. “There were countless calls, discussions, and drafts exchanged until we had a polished brief.”Finishing was a triumph. The magic moment came just after 5 p.m. June 13, when the team filed its 35-page brief (plus appendices) electronically. Kornblith was up until 5 a.m. that day, hammering out last-minute details via Skype, talking at his computer. “The neighbors complained,” he said.Case historyIn February, the Supreme Court was confronted with a lawsuit that might have seemed out of place: Nigerian plaintiffs suing a Dutch company in American courts over alleged abuses committed in Africa. Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. seemed skeptical. “What business does a case like that,” he asked, “have in the courts of the United States?”That question will be resolved after the court meets again in October. Meanwhile, the two rounds of briefing on Kiobel drew a flurry of amicus briefs from interested parties (amici) on both sides of the question: multinational corporations, governments, South African jurists, Nuremberg scholars, and specialists in international law, business law, human rights, and civil procedure.During oral arguments before the court on Feb. 28, only corporate liability, the first issue, was highlighted. (The same team wrote a brief for that.) “We know that corporations have rights,” said Farbstein. “The question is whether they will also have liabilities.”But the justices asked for a second round of briefs, what lawyers call a “reargument,” on the issue of extraterritoriality. That’s unusual, said Farbstein. “It means that the justices were interested in this question and felt it wasn’t sufficiently addressed in the first round of briefing.”In early March, the team received a specific task from its nine clients, the legal historians: Use history to make an argument for the legal soundness of extraterritoriality.Writing a legal history brief had already worked well for the Harvard team in the first round of arguments. It had uncovered “The Case of Thomas Skinner, Merchant v. The East India Company,” a 1666 British trial that put an individual head to head with the biggest proto-corporate player of the 17th century. Skinner showed, said Farbstein, that “even a powerful corporate actor can be held accountable when it commits international law violations.”History shows that the Alien Tort Statute meant that civil liability for international law violations would follow the defendant, said Giannini. “The basic principle at the time … was that a violator could be held accountable wherever he could be found, and that still holds true today.”Go back to 1789, Kornblith said, to the framers of the statute and to their intentions. “The idea behind the First Congress’s actions was that this was a statute meant to cover acts that concern the whole world,” he said. “One of these acts is not just an assault on the person who was assaulted, it’s an assault on principles of justice and humanity.”The team brief provided other history lessons, citing 34 cases (1666 to 2011), six U.S. statutes, and more than 20 other authorities.The team brief also used two stark historical examples of how a “universally accepted law of nations” was often applied, despite where alleged offenses occurred: piracy and — eventually — the slave trade.But the Alien Tort Statute itself, its antecedents, and the context of its framing do not tell the whole story. The young United States wanted to tell the world it respected international law, said Farbstein, and that it would be a beacon of justice.“This gets back to what values we hold dear as a country,” she said. “Are we going to harbor individuals who commit these kinds of egregious abuses? … Are we going to say they can be held accountable here because we have bold international law principles — or not?”Read the brief here (pdf).last_img read more

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US foreclosure activity increases 6 percent in February, Vermont second lowest

first_imgRealtyTrac(R) (www.realtytrac.com(link is external)), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its February 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report(TM), which shows foreclosure filings – default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions – were reported on 290,631 U.S. properties during the month, an increase of nearly 6 percent from the previous month and an increase of nearly 30 percent from February 2008. The report also shows one in every 440 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in February.Vermont had the second lowest rate in the nation (ranked 49th) and Nebraska was ranked 50th. New Hampshire was 19th, Massachusetts 26th, Connecticut 14th, Rhode Island 30th, Maine 39th, and New York was 35th.”The increase in foreclosure activity from January to February is somewhat surprising, given that many of the foreclosure prevention efforts and moratoria in place in January were extended through most of February as well,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “There were some notable exceptions to this: a 45-day voluntary moratorium in Florida expired at the end of January, and foreclosure activity there was up 14 percent from the previous month; and many New York foreclosure proceedings delayed by a new law for an extra 90 days appear to have hit the system in February, when the state’s foreclosure activity increased 23 percent from the previous month.”Nevada, Arizona, California post top state foreclosure ratesWith one in every 70 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in February, Nevada continued to document the nation’s top state foreclosure rate. Foreclosure filings were reported on 15,783 Nevada properties during the month, a 9 percent increase from the previous month and a 156 percent increase from February 2008.Arizona posted the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate in February, with one in every 147 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month, and California posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 165 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s 10 highest were Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Oregon and Ohio.California, Florida, Arizona post highest foreclosure totalsForeclosure filings were reported on 80,775 California properties in February, the most of any state and a 5 percent increase from the previous month. The state’s foreclosure activity increased 51 percent from February 2008, with auction sale notices increasing nearly 179 percent – the most of any category on a year-over-year basis.Florida foreclosure activity increased nearly 14 percent from the previous month and 43 percent from February 2008 – thanks in large part to a nearly 158 percent year-over-year increase in auction sale notices and a 128 percent year-over-year increase in bank repossessions. With 46,391 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, the state posted the nation’s second highest state total in February.Arizona posted the third highest state total in February, with 18,119 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the month – a 23 percent increase from the previous month and an 88 percent increase from February 2008.Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Virginia also reported foreclosure totals that were among the nation’s 10 highest.Sunbelt cities post top metro foreclosure ratesOne in every 60 Las Vegas housing units received a foreclosure filing in February, giving the city the nation’s highest foreclosure rate among metro areas with a population of at least 200,000. The city’s foreclosure rate was more than seven times higher than the national average. Another Nevada metro area posted a foreclosure rate in the top 10: Reno-Sparks ranked No. 8, with one in every 108 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.The Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., metro area documented the second highest foreclosure rate in February, with one in every 65 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.Six California cities registered foreclosure rates among the top 10: Stockton at No. 3 (one in 67 housing units), Modesto at No. 4 (one in 68), Merced at No. 5 (one in 74), Riverside-San Bernardino at No. 6 (one in 80), Bakersfield at No. 7 (one in 85), and Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 10 (one in 111).With one in every 110 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, the Phoenix metro area posted the ninth highest foreclosure rate in February.Report methodologyThe RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing reported during the month – broken out by type of filing at the state and national level. Data is also available at the individual county level. Data is collected from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. RealtyTrac’s report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default – Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction – Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank). If more than one foreclosure document is filed against a property during the month or quarter, only the most recent filing is counted in the report. The report also checks if the same type of document was filed against a property in a previous month or quarter. If so, and if that previous filing occurred within the estimated foreclosure timeframe for the state the property is in, the report does not count the property in the current month. U.S. Foreclosure Market Data by State – Feb 2009 Properties with Foreclosure Filings Rate State Rank Name NOD LIS NTS NFS REO — U.S. 54,064 55,509 78,234 28,729 74,095 42 Alabama 0 0 312 0 401 32 Alaska 0 0 112 0 91 2 Arizona 3 0 12,258 0 5,858 18 Arkansas 162 0 1,050 0 404 3 California 43,072 0 18,831 0 18,872 11 Colorado 4 0 3,126 0 1,089 14 Connecticut 0 1,793 3 118 306 33 Delaware 0 0 0 203 70 District of Columbia 135 0 180 0 64 4 Florida 0 27,492 4 12,923 5,972 8 Georgia 0 0 7,073 0 3,112 27 Hawaii 102 0 364 0 71 5 Idaho 1,003 0 669 0 92 7 Illinois 0 6,882 1 4,362 2,973 13 Indiana 0 1,386 3 1,603 1,414 37 Iowa 0 0 215 0 364 28 Kansas 0 149 1 375 646 43 Kentucky 0 95 0 219 284 40 Louisiana 0 2 4 494 178 39 Maine 115 0 124 0 22 16 Maryland 0 2,183 0 470 523 26 Massachusetts 0 1,498 0 486 956 6 Michigan 0 0 7,838 0 4,726 23 Minnesota 5 0 1,089 0 1,480 44 Mississippi 0 0 173 0 121 21 Missouri 3 0 1,592 0 1,534 46 Montana 0 0 10 0 44 50 Nebraska 0 0 0 3 10 1 Nevada 8,406 0 4,560 0 2,817 19 New Hampshire 0 0 586 0 153 29 New Jersey 0 1,783 2 840 654 38 New Mexico 0 133 0 140 100 35 New York 0 3,200 2 729 370 36 North Carolina 217 0 492 0 1,330 47 North Dakota 0 0 0 15 22 10 Ohio 0 4,453 2 3,376 3,400 34 Oklahoma 261 0 542 0 227 9 Oregon 33 0 2,803 0 772 31 Pennsylvania 0 1,686 5 1,383 1,118 30 Rhode Island 0 0 197 0 212 20 South Carolina 0 1,129 1 393 950 48 South Dakota 0 0 0 30 2 17 Tennessee 0 0 1,994 0 1,697 24 Texas 19 0 5,943 0 4,565 12 Utah 523 0 674 0 608 49 Vermont 0 0 0 0 11 15 Virginia 1 0 3,198 0 1,624 25 Washington 0 0 2,055 0 966 45 West Virginia 0 0 90 0 21 22 Wisconsin 0 1,645 0 567 774 41 Wyoming 0 0 56 0 25 % Change % Change Rate State 1/every X from from Rank Name Total HU (rate) Jan 09 Feb 08 — U.S. 290,631 440 5.92 29.95 42 Alabama 713 2,997 -22.50 0.99 32 Alaska 203 1,390 21.56 37.16 2 Arizona 18,119 147 23.48 87.76 18 Arkansas 1,616 797 6.60 16.01 3 California 80,775 165 5.23 50.62 11 Colorado 4,219 504 -2.41 -37.38 14 Connecticut 2,220 648 34.46 1.00 33 Delaware 273 1,424 56.90 19.74 District of Columbia 379 750 83.09 11.47 4 Florida 46,391 188 13.79 42.97 8 Georgia 10,185 389 2.81 33.47 27 Hawaii 537 944 59.35 275.52 5 Idaho 1,764 358 16.67 129.39* 7 Illinois 14,218 369 -1.59 62.34 13 Indiana 4,406 631 -3.29 -14.40 37 Iowa 579 2,296 -14.48 22.41 28 Kansas 1,171 1,041 76.09 156.80 43 Kentucky 598 3,187 -10.88 25.63 40 Louisiana 678 2,742 39.79 4.31 39 Maine 261 2,669 -15.26 28.57 16 Maryland 3,176 730 -14.09 -20.92 26 Massachusetts 2,940 926 -12.55 -24.73 6 Michigan 12,564 360 10.04 14.67 23 Minnesota 2,574 895 36.48 63.84 44 Mississippi 294 4,268 6.91 98.65* 21 Missouri 3,129 846 26.73 -9.80 46 Montana 54 8,065 10.20 -70.17 50 Nebraska 13 60,062 -58.06 -94.37 1 Nevada 15,783 70 9.27 155.93 19 New Hampshire 739 804 -1.47 14.93 29 New Jersey 3,279 1,067 -34.49 -41.43 38 New Mexico 373 2,311 127.44 -25.99 35 New York 4,301 1,846 23.03 -17.97 36 North Carolina 2,039 2,023 -14.54 -49.68 47 North Dakota 37 8,393 -28.85 68.18 10 Ohio 11,231 451 0.29 8.14 34 Oklahoma 1,030 1,576 5.86 -42.49 9 Oregon 3,608 446 -20.02 127.78 31 Pennsylvania 4,192 1,307 13.85 73.58* 30 Rhode Island 409 1,102 -45.10 -8.30 20 South Carolina 2,473 818 0.41 254.30* 48 South Dakota 32 11,164 -17.95 23.08 17 Tennessee 3,691 738 0.79 -25.57 24 Texas 10,527 896 7.92 -14.14 12 Utah 1,805 513 0.78 40.14 49 Vermont 11 28,312 83.33 175.00* 15 Virginia 4,823 679 -10.12 15.19 25 Washington 3,021 908 -3.79 36.08 45 West Virginia 111 7,952 50.00 184.62 22 Wisconsin 2,986 857 10.63 24.78 41 Wyoming 81 2,992 -2.41 26.56 *Actual increase may not be as high due to data collection changes or improvementsAbout RealtyTrac Inc.RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com(link is external)) is the leading online marketplace of foreclosure properties, with more than 1.5 million default, auction and bank-owned listings from over 2,200 U.S. counties, along with detailed property, loan and home sales data. Hosting more than 3 million unique monthly visitors, RealtyTrac provides innovative technology solutions and practical education resources to facilitate buying, selling and investing in real estate. RealtyTrac’s foreclosure data has also been used by the Federal Reserve, FBI, U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee and Banking Committee, U.S. Treasury Department, and numerous state housing and banking departments to help evaluate foreclosure trends and address policy issues related to foreclosures.IRVINE, Calif., March 11 /PRNewswire/SOURCE RealtyTraclast_img read more

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Girl’s Capture Highlights FARC’s Use of Minors

first_imgBy Dialogo June 28, 2012 The capture of a wounded girl in camouflage paint and with explosives provided by FARC guerrillas has raised fears that Colombia’s half century old conflict may be taking an ominous new turn. While the leftist guerrilla group has long been accused of recruiting minors to its ranks, a video aired this week by the Colombian police appeared to show for the first time they are now being used in combat operations rather than in support roles. Taken in the province of Norte de Santander, the images show a wounded girl and the body of a boy who were captured after detonating explosives that killed seven police in a passing patrol. The girl is shown with a leg wound, her half-naked body covered in green paint, a technique used by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to hide in the jungle. “She was in a state of severe anemia and appeared to be barely 12 years old,” Colonel Eliecer Camacho, the police chief in the region bordering Venezuela, told AFP. The girl, however, who has a cousin in the ranks of the FARC, said in the hospital that she was recruited four years ago at the age of 14. The boy’s torn body, also painted green, was found in the same place as the girl, Camacho said. The girl told authorities they had been put through an “inhuman training over eight months,” the colonel said. “They were required to walk for hours without shoes to harden the soles of their feet. They were denied food and water so they could endure more,” he said. According to the police commander, the guerrillas recruit minors by trying to convince them to join voluntarily, but once in they are forced to stay. “The recruitment of minors is not new, but their participation unfortunately is on the increase. Still, this is the first time they have been used for this kind of action,” said Ariel Avila, an expert at the Nuevo Arco Iris foundation. “It is too soon to know whether there has been a change of strategy by the FARC to use minors in these commandos, or whether these are isolated cases,” Avila said. Nearly 3,000 minors registered as part of a demobilization of armed groups between 2002 and 2011, but there could be as many as 10,000 more minors in rebel ranks, according to a 2009 UN report.last_img read more

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West Babylon Slaying Suspect Nabbed

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Manhattan man was arrested Sunday for allegedly killing a 32-year-old Brooklyn man in West Babylon nearly eight years ago, Suffolk County police said.Daniel Greenspan, 28, was charged with second-degree murder.Homicide Squad detectives alleged that Greenspan shot Michael Sinclair to death on Jan. 31, 2009.Officers had found the victim suffering from gunshot wounds on Kellum Street after responding to a 911 call reporting shots fired, police said. The victim was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he died.Greenspan was ordered held without bail. He is due back in court Friday.last_img

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Indonesia reports new H5N1 death

first_imgAug 4, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – An official from Indonesia’s health ministry recently confirmed that a 19-year-old man died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection.Nyoman Kandun, director general of communicable diseases at the health ministry, said the man died last week in a hospital west of Jakarta, according to an Aug 2 report from the Associated Press (AP).The man, a cargo worker, died in Tangerang, a suburb of Jakarta, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported yesterday. If his death and another reported last month are confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the man would be listed as Indonesia’s 137th H5N1 case and its 112th death.Media reports gave no details about the source of the man’s infection or whether his personal contacts have undergone medical evaluation.The confirmation of the man’s death by an Indonesian health official appears to deviate from the country’s recent policy of foregoing official announcement of H5N1 cases as they occur, opting instead for periodic updates. In early June, health minister Siti Fadilah Supari said the country would announce cases at longer intervals, perhaps as long as 6 months, according to previous reports.Though Indonesia’s stance appears to raise questions about its compliance with International Health Regulations, WHO officials have said its relationship with the country remains good and that the delay in reporting has not hampered the ability to conduct joint investigations into Indonesian H5N1 cases.Healthcare workers and family members alerted the media about Indonesia’s last H5N1 case, that of a 38-year-old man who reportedly died on Jul 10. However, a health ministry spokeswoman declined to confirm the case and said officials would release the information in an H5N1 case update at the end of July. No updates appear to have been posted on the government’s health ministry or avian influenza Web sites.Also, it’s not clear if Indonesia has notified the WHO about the two cases. The WHO has not yet confirmed the illness and death of either man, so for now the group still lists Indonesia’s case count as 135 cases and 110 deaths. Indonesia leads the world with the most H5N1 cases and fatalities.The WHO’s world H5N1 count stands at 385 human cases and 245 deaths.See also:Jun 5 CIDRAP News story “Indonesia quits offering prompt notice of H5N1 cases”last_img read more

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NEWS SCAN: Smallpox antiviral sought, mass drug dispensing, peanut plant hazards missed, Chinese food safety, cell phone bugs

first_imgMar 6, 2009HHS seeks proposals for smallpox antiviralThe US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for proposals (RFP) on its Web site yesterday seeking 1.7 million treatment courses of a smallpox antiviral for the Strategic National Stockpile. The 5-year contract, offered through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), would cover advanced development of the countermeasure. The contract requires that the smallpox antiviral for adults ages 18 to 64 require no more than 3 doses per day for up to 21 days and have a minimum shelf-life of 36 months. The contract includes options for intravenous and liquid formulations and the capacity to scale up production to make 12 million more courses.[Mar 5 HHS smallpox antiviral RFP]Bank drill to test countermeasure distributionIn one of the first exercises of its kind, banks in two Utah towns will test the logistics of handing out antibiotics or antiviral medications at bank drive-through windows to prepare for an influenza pandemic or bioterrorist attack. The Summit County Health Department is planning the drill, which will take place tomorrow at two Zions Bank branches in Coalville and Kamas, both located about 40 miles east of Salt Lake City. The exercise is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cities Readiness Initiative, the Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday.Private inspector missed problems at Georgia peanut plantA private food safety inspector gave the Peanut Corp. of America’s (PCA’s) Georgia processing plant a “superior” rating after auditing it a year ago, though federal inspectors later found the plant had already been shipping Salmonella-tainted products for months before that, the New York Times reported yesterday. With government inspectors overburdened, many food companies pay for private food-safety inspections, which vary widely in their rigor, the report said. The man who inspected the Georgia plant was not aware that peanuts could harbor Salmonella, the story said.[Mar 5 New York Times report]Texas inspector failed to report unlicensed plant tied to outbreakA Texas agriculture inspector who visited the PCA peanut plant in Plainview, Tex., three times in recent years failed to note that it was operating without a state health department license, according to an Associated Press (AP) report today. The inspector, who was assigned to certify the plant to process organic products, wrongly indicated that the plant was licensed, which allowed it to escape state health inspectors’ notice, the story said. The facility came under investigation as a result of the current nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to PCA products. Though the outbreak has been blamed mainly on the PCA plant in Georgia, the outbreak strain was found in samples from the Texas facility in February.[Mar 6 AP report]China passes new food safety lawIn response to several tainted food incidents, China on Feb 28 passed a new law that strengthens food safety regulation and boosts penalties for offenders, the Voice of America reported on Mar 2.The new law provides extra compensation for victims of tainted food, bans supervisory agencies from advertising food products, and makes people, such as celebrities, who advertise for tainted products liable for damages. Also, China’s departments of health, agriculture, quality supervision, industry, and commerce will share responsibility for monitoring the country’s food supply.MRSA and other bugs on healthcare workers’ cell phonesMobile phones are a source of nosocomial pathogens, and regularly cleaning the devices could reduce the number of infections in healthcare institutions, according to Turkish researchers who presented their findings today in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials. They took samples from the phones of 200 healthcare workers, along with samples from the workers’ hands, and found that 94.5% of the phones were contaminated with bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus strains were isolated from 52% of the phones, of which 37.7% were methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA). Gram-negative strains were isolated from 31.3% of phones, of which 39.5% were ceftazidime resistant. Only 10.5% of healthcare workers said they routinely cleaned their cell phones.[Mar 6 Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob study]Malaria drug looks promising for treating Hendra and Nipah virus infectionsA drug commonly used to prevent and treat malaria looks like a potential tool for blocking infections with Hendra and Nipah viruses, which cause encephalitis in humans, researchers reported in a Mar 4 early online edition of the Journal of Virology. The group, using a nonlethal engineered virus that contained Hendra proteins on its surface, found that chloroquine inhibited the action of a key enzyme, cathepsin L, that is essential for the growth of the two viruses. Researchers noted that chloroquine is inexpensive and has been widely and safely used for more than 50 years.[Mar 4 Journal of Virology abstract]Defunct infection-fighting gene revived after millions of yearsA gene that helps mammals fight infections like tuberculosis and salmonellosis died out very early in primate evolution but was resurrected eons later in the common ancestor of humans and great apes, according to scientists from the University of Washington and the Howard Hughes Medical institute. The gene, called human IRGM, died in the common ancestor of Old World and New World monkey species, but its remnant persisted through millions of years. The gene somehow became functional again in the ancestor of humans and great apes, possibly when a retrovirus inserted itself into the genome, the scientists report in PLoS Genetics.[Mar 5 University of Washington news release][PLoS Genetics article]last_img read more

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CHAN Cameroon 2020: Libya replaces Tunisia

first_img North Zone – Morocco, Libya Southern Zone – Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe West ‘A’ Zone – Guinea Mali West ‘B’ Zone – Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo Meanwhile, the draw for the final tournament has been fixed for Monday,  February 17,  2020, at Palais Polyvalent des Sports de Yaoundé in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, at 19H00 local time (18H00 GMT). Read Also:CAF moves CHAN event to April The final tournament of the sixth edition of the competition designed exclusively for players featuring in their domestic leagues will be held from 4-25 April 2020 in the cities of Yaounde, Garoua, Douala and Limbe. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Following the withdrawal of Tunisia, the Organising Committee for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) has confirmed Libya as replacement for the Total CHAN Cameroon 2020. Per the tournament regulations, Libya, who lost to Tunisia in the Northern Zone qualifiers, completes the qualified teams for the final tournament. The composition of qualified teams is as follows; Host – Cameroon Central Zone – Congo, DR Congo Central-East Zone – Rwanda, Uganda, TanzaniaAdvertisement Promoted ContentA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic BombsWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?The Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreThe Rarest And Most Valuable Card In The Whole WorldTop 10 Most Romantic Nations In The WorldWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Best & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growth10 Absolutely Stunning Asian Actresses10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksTake A Look At The Celebs Who Lost Their Money And Why Loading… last_img read more

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