Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday hit out at Rahul Gandhi over his planned visit here saying the “yuvraj (prince) sitting in Delhi” cannot be permitted to make Gorakhpur “a picnic spot”.Mr. Adityanath, who inaugurated a cleanliness campaign in the district to tackle the deadly encephalitis outbreak in the wake of death of 71 children at the BRD hospital here, also targeted Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.“I feel that the ‘shehzada’ sitting in Lucknow.. ‘yuvraj’ sitting in Delhi will not know the importance of this cleanliness campaign. They will come here to make it a picnic spot, we cannot permit it,” he said, attacking Gandhi who is scheduled to meet the families of the victims and visit the BRD hospital on Saturday.“If someone gives an open challenge to the self respect of the people of Gorakhpur and eastern U.P. …they will themselves come forward to fight such dreaded diseases through their awareness,” Mr. Adityanath stressed, launching the ‘Swachch Uttar Pradesh — Swasthya Uttar Pradesh campaign’ here.Voicing hope that the campaign will be successful in checking encephalitis, he accused the previous governments of depriving the people of the State of basic facilities for their vested interests.Stressing that more than treatment of encephalitis, checking its spread was important for which cleanliness and potable water were necessary, Mr. Adityanath said his government was working in this regard.The Mr. Adityanath, who has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha five times, will also tour encephalitis and flood—affected areas.The Congress has targeted the Adityanath Government over the deaths following allegations that the children who were critically ill succumbed due to oxygen shortage.
WINNIPEG — One of five women who lived with a man now accused of first-degree murder testified she met him buying methamphetamine but it soon turned romantic.Perez Cleveland, who is 46, has pleaded not guilty in the death of Jennifer Barrett, whose body was found in a barrel behind their Winnipeg home in December 2016.Jessica Reid, who is 36, has told Cleveland’s trial that he got jealous and one night she woke up with him pointing a gun at her.Court has already heard that Cleveland controlled the women through abuse, drugs and surveillance.The Crown says he tortured and killed Barrett, who was 42, because he thought she was cheating on him.Reid was the last woman to join Cleveland and what prosecutors have described as his domestic partners.She was also the first woman to talk with police. The Canadian Press
Facebook Advertisement By Raju Mudhar Twitter His act often mixes live sampling and beatboxing, along with plenty of punchlines.He’s definitely a polymath, who is also an actor, and currently the bandleader on The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS. Reggie Watts performs at the Sony Centre on Sept. 29. (VIA JFL42.COM) “Maybe some people go, ‘He’s a comedian,’ but now that I do The Late Late Show, ‘He’s also a musician.’“Ultimately it just comes down to, ‘Oh this person is just a creative person,’ and could do comedy, could do music, could do theatre, could do videos, could do whatever,” he says.“But also, I just like it when people are confused and surprised. Look, it is continually a surprise to me: ‘Oh wow, this works.’ Like it gets you places.”One of the biggest changes for Watts in taking The Late Late Show gig has meant he has stopped constantly touring — resulting in a physical transformation. He has lost more than 60 pounds and packed on 20 pounds of muscle.“It’s a goal I had for a very long time and just because of touring, it was very difficult to achieve it on a willpower front. But I took the gig for The Late Late Show, and half the reason I took that gig was that I wouldn’t have an excuse to really not be in shape anymore,” he says.“It’s great to accomplish that goal, it was something I wanted to do for a very, very long time.”Watts says he’s currently shopping another comedy special. Asked about the state of the standup industry, he sees good and bad in the platforms that are focusing on it.“It’s interesting, because Netflix has triggered a response in a few other entities, as far as buying comedy specials, like in Amazon and Apple, and Hulu and a few others.“They continue to do what they do with their original programming, which is just put out as much as possible. Like, it’s great having a lot of standup specials, but when you have a glut, sometimes it can be confusing. At the same time, it’s nice to see a lot of voices getting out there. It’s a weird time.”He likes the fact that there is more diversity in comedians. One of his favourites: Baroness Von Sketch, the lauded all-female troupe on CBC.“I think they are great. The world that they see is through their lens, in a specific way that’s refreshing because no one else has that voice,” he says.You could say the exact same thing about him. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Login/Register With: There is a small club of people who get the chance to be a bandleader on a late-night talk show. But among them, Reggie Watts is probably the most unique.Watts, who comes to town as one of the headliners on Sept. 29 as part of the JFL42 comedy festival, is obviously very musical.But he has also been working as a comedian for years, mining what he variously describes as an “absurd,” “nerdy” and “silly” vein of comedy. He appeared for years on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast and TV show, and recently recorded and released an electronic music album in collaboration with John Tejada, under the band name Wajatta.It’s that project that has him excited to try out something cutting edge for what’s he doing next.“I am getting ready for a music video for my music project, which I did with John Tejada. We’re shooting it in Intel’s large-scale volumetric capture lab, which you can just go in and move around, and it’s all captured, and turned into whatever (augmented or virtual reality) you want it to. So we’re going to make the first music video using that technology.”Watts first hit some Toronto fans’ radar in 2010, when he opened at Massey Hall for Conan O’Brien, when the latter left NBC’s Tonight Show on bad terms and went on his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.But the musical nature of much of what he does has meant you may have seen him here on a North by Northeast festival stage or as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival.Now he’s a JFL42 headliner performing on Saturday at the Sony Centre — and being interviewed about his distinctive sort of creativity earlier that day as part of the festival’s parallel ComedyCon lineup of chats and podcast tapings.Watts says he has got to the point where his mix of music and comedy doesn’t have to be explained to the audience as it once was, and his continued success shows that it is working. Advertisement
TORONTO – Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week:Never-ending NAFTA: The seventh round of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations commence in Mexico City on Monday, where fallout from the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership is likely to cause tension. Ottawa has said TPP is likely to curb U.S. imports into Canada by $3.3 billion, mainly in automotive products, a gap U.S. negotiators may seek to close in a renegotiated NAFTA deal.Canada’s first feminist budget: Finance Minister Bill Morneau tables the federal budget on Tuesday, which will feature the economic success of women and gender equality as major themes. A briefing note prepared for Morneau estimates that closing the labour-market participation gap between women and men by half over 15 years would raise the country’s potential long-term economic growth by an average of 0.25 percentage points per year over that period.Banks look to the black: BMO, Scotiabank and TD are all set to release first-quarter results this week. While analysts expect one-time writedowns due to a reduction of deferred tax assets south of the border, the broader picture for the banks looks sunnier thanks to U.S. tax reform and higher interest rates, although domestic mortgage demand and ongoing tensions over NAFTA could cloud the long-term outlook.Valeant earnings: Valeant Pharmaceuticals discusses fourth-quarter and year-end results on Wednesday. A U.S. District Court judge gave Canada’s largest publicly traded drug company preliminary approval in January for a $368-million settlement of lawsuits stemming from the unsuccessful attempted hostile takeover in 2014 of Botox maker Allergan Inc.Have you checked the mail room? Bakery goods and grocery giant George Weston releases fourth-quarter and year-end results on Friday. The CEO of rival grocer Sobeys said earlier this month that George Weston and Loblaw Companies “should keep checking the mailroom” for upcoming legal action after they implicated Sobeys in an alleged industry-wide bread price-fixing scheme that goes “right to the heart of the trust” between Canadians and their grocers.
New Delhi: Virat Kohli is not a “shrewd captain” who could be compared to his national team deputy Rohit Sharma or former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who have won three IPL titles each, feels former KKR captain Gautam Gambhir. The former India opener, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL trophies in 2012 and 2014, feels that in result oriented franchise environment, Kohli has been “lucky” to have survived despite Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) never winning the coveted title in his eight years as skipper. “I don’t see him as a shrewd captain. I don’t see him as a tactful captain (tactician). And he hasn’t won the IPL. So ultimately, a captain is only as good as his record,” Gambhir told on host broadcasters’ ‘Star Sports’ show ‘GamePlan’. Gambhir’s comments is specific to Kohli’s success as a leader in IPL since he is the first captain who has led India to a Test series win on Australian soil. “There are people who have won the trophy three times. MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. So I think he has a long way to go. You cannot compare him to someone like Rohit or Dhoni at this stage,” Gambhir said. “He has been a part of RCB, and captaining RCB for the last seven to eight years, and he has been very lucky and should be thanking the franchise that they stuck with him. Because not many captains have got such a long rope where they haven’t won a tournament,” said Gambhir, who had to part ways with KKR in 2018 after seven long years and two titles.
New Delhi: The country’s fiscal deficit touched 134.2 per cent of the full-year revised budgeted estimate at the end of February 2019, mainly due to tepid growth in revenue collections, official data showed Friday. In absolute term, fiscal deficit for April-February 2018-19 was Rs 8.51 lakh crore as against the revised estimate (RE) of Rs 6.34 lakh crore for the entire year, according to Controller General of Accounts (CGA) data. However, Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg told reporters that the government is committed to restrict the fiscal deficit at 3.4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as envisaged in the Budget. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe CGA data revealed that revenue receipts of the central government was Rs 12.65 lakh crore or 73.2 per cent of the revised budgetary estimate (BE) at February end. In the same period last fiscal, the revenue collection was 78.2 per cent of the estimates. The government’s tax revenue stood at Rs 10.94 lakh crore and non-tax revenue was Rs 1.7 lakh crore. Total expenditure incurred by the government during April-February 2018-19 was Rs 21.88 lakh crore (89.08 per cent of RE), of which Rs 19.15 lakh crore was on revenue account and Rs 2.73 lakh crore on capital account. Out of the total revenue expenditure, Rs 5.01 lakh crore was on account of interest payments and Rs 2.63 lakh crore on major subsidies. Meanwhile, the finance ministry in a statement said that Rs 5.96 lakh crore has been transferred to the state governments as devolution of share of taxes by the central government up to February, which is Rs 67,043 crore higher than the corresponding period of last year 2017-18.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday stayed till April 8 interim hike in fees by private unaided schools in the national capital on a plea of the AAP government challenging its single judge order allowing the same.A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta also issued notice and sought response of Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, in which a number of private schools are members. The Delhi government on Tuesday had challenged in the HC its single judge order allowing private unaided schools in the national capital to go ahead with the interim hike in fees to implement the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission on salaries of teachers and other employees. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe single judge on March 15 had permitted the interim fee hike by quashing a Delhi government circular of April 13 last year, which had prohibited private unaided schools functioning on government land from hiking tuition amounts without approval of the Directorate of Education (DoE). The government order was selectively applied to private schools which were on government land and as per a ‘land clause’ in the lease agreement, they needed to seek prior approval of the DoE before hiking fees. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe division bench on Wednesday said that till April 8, the next date of hearing, none of the ‘land clause’ schools will proceed to collect the interim hiked fee. It also asked the Delhi government to produce on the next date, the orders passed by it on the proposals given by different ‘land clause’ schools for hiking fees. The Delhi government, through its standing counsel Ramesh Singh and additional standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi, said the findings of the single judge that the interim fee hike was perfectly in order in view of an earlier order of the high court is “ex-facie unsustainable”. Seeking to set aside the order of the single judge, the government said the court had erred in holding that no prior approval of DoE was required in case of interim fee hike as the same was not an act of fee increase by the school, but a dispensation by the department itself. “The single judge failed to appreciate the interim fee hike as contemplated in the circular of October 17, 2017 could not have obviated the mandatory requirement of prior approval in DDA land clause cases, even though, the same was a dispensation by the DoE as the said dispensation was merely an interim measure subject to detailed scrutiny and prior approval of the DoE once the accounts of the schools have been scrutinised,” the Delhi government said in its appeal. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday hailed the Delhi High Court’s order staying the interim hike in fees by private unaided schools in the city till April 8. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also welcomed the court’s order. “Delhi government, in it audit report of schools that were willing to increase their fees, found that they had excess money than they were spending. Delhi has an honest government which understands the pain of parents. Schools have a right to charge fees according to their expenditure but this government will not allow them to increase their arbitrarily,” he posted on Twitter. Kejriwal tweeted there was anger among parents due to the fee hike but the AAP government appealed in the High Court.
New Delhi: Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari, who is re-contesting from the North East Delhi Lok Sabha seat, on Saturday held a massive roadshow here. Tiwari, who is pitted against Delhi Congress chief and three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Aam Aadmi party’s Dilip Pandey, kicked off the 15 km-roadshow from MIG flats in north east Delhi to Loni road, covering areas like Shahdra, Jagatpuri and Mansarovar park. Hundreds of BJP supporters participated in the roadshow and raised slogans in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also Read – CM urges Delhiites to help accident victims The traffic in the area came to a standstill as people thronged on the streets to get a glimpse of the Bhojpuri actor and singer. Tiwari had held a similar roadshow in his constituency while filing his nomination earlier this week. The elections on all the seven seats in the national capital is scheduled on May 12, in the sixth phase of polling. The BJP, which won all the seven seats in 2014, is facing a triangular fight in the city as the talks of alliance between the AAP and Congress failed.
High CourtPresident Abdul Hamid has appointed three judges at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.They are Zinat Ara, Abu Bakar Siddiquee and Md Nuruzzaman – all of whom were serving as the High Court judges.The president made the appointment on Monday, an official of the court told Prothom Alo.With this, the number of judges at the Appellate Division increases to seven.The three new judges will take the oath of office to be administered by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain at the Supreme Court Judges’ Lounge Tuesday morning.Apart from the chief justice, there are four judges at the Appellate Division. They are Syed Mahmud Hossain, Muhammad Imman Ali, Hasan Foez Siddique, and Mirza Hussain Haider.
Travelweek Group Posted by ‘Havana After Dark’ plus Mexico, D.R. for Virgin Voyages’ debut season Tags: Openings & Renovations, Virgin Voyages Friday, February 1, 2019 Share MIAMI — Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, setting sail from Miami to the Caribbean in 2020, will offer four and five-night ‘Havana After Dark’ itineraries with overnight stays in Havana.The 2,770-passenger ship will also offer five-night ‘Mayan Sol’ sailings to Costa Maya and five-night ‘Dominican Daze’ itineraries to Puerto Plata.Virgin says passengers will also have more time to explore in each destination, with extended port hours and an overnight stay or a late-night sail away on all voyages.Virgin also says news about an additional destination for all sailings will soon be released.“Our research with Sailors unearthed their desire to go to places that allow for a variety of experiences,” said Diana Block Garcia, Vice President of Itinerary & Destination for Virgin Voyages. “Our destinations offer a combination of opportunities for exploration and relaxation, to complement our Virgin Voyages experience.”The inaugural season opens for bookings on Feb. 5 for pre-sale deposit holders, and Feb. 14 for the general public.The cruise line also has new details about its staterooms. Designed for function and mobility, they will feature flexible furnishings for increased socializing opportunities, upgraded bathroom experiences and tech-forward, ‘clever cabin’ touches.More news: Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaVirgin has already teased its dining options and luxe-focused RockStar Suites.For the cabins, “We wanted … a place people actually wanted to hang out in,” says Jamie Douglas, Senior Product Design Manager, Virgin Voyages. “The cabin feels like a reflection of modern city living. A design that works harder with what are normally constricted spaces.”To counter what it calls the boxiness of traditional sea cabins, an exclusive patent pending cabin layout was born in partnership with Pearson Lloyd Design of London. The layout uses intelligent architecture to optimize space with an angled wall. Though hardly detectable, the angled wall “vastly alters” the room, says Virgin.Another innovation is the Seabed, the first-ever transformational cabin bed at sea, specially engineered and handcrafted by German-based, Walter Knoll designers.SeaBed in Day ModeSustainability was another consideration. PIR presence detectors with eco modes were added, where air-conditioning, lighting and curtain settings auto-adjust for energy conservation when a passenger steps out of the cabin. If there’s a phone charging in the room, power still stay on for the phone but switch off for everything else. All of the technology can be controlled on the in-room tablet.SeaBed in Night ModeSome 93% of the cabins have sea views, and 86% have sea terraces with outdoor hammocks for lounging beneath the stars. That includes an XL Sea Terrace option for more added room and terrace space.Terrace at NightThere’s also a variety of Insider Cabins with solo options for more personal travel, as well as loft-style, bunk bed lined Social Insider cabins for groups.More news: Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaVirgin says most of Scarlet Lady’s standard cabins will have transitional Seabeds, sustainably sourced, hand-woven hammocks, sensory mood lighting, in-room entertainment with 43”+ 4K flat-screen HDTVs, minibars, ‘glam areas’, flexible wardrobes and premium products in upgraded bathrooms with rainshowers. << Previous PostNext Post >>
Go back to the enewsletterW Hotels Worldwide has this week opened W Dubai – The Palm, located on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.W Dubai – The Palm is the newest W Escape, the W brand’s playful spin on the traditional resort experience and is set to add a new beat to the already dynamic and pulsating city. With its electrifying style, evocative design and eclectic destination restaurants led by world-class chefs including Massimo Bottura and Akira Back, W Dubai – The Palm will shine bright in the City of Gold.All 350 guestrooms and suites offer uninterrupted views and dreamy amenities. Curved walls are intricately tiled to glisten like the lights and colours of the sea at various times of the day, bringing the shoreline into each room. Modern graffiti adorns the walls of every room, featuring lyrics in Arabic from a popular song by Lebanese singer, Fairouz.After checking in, guests can check out the incredible amenities of W Dubai – The Palm, including the hotel’s multiple pools that sit in a wave-like pattern in the centre of the Escape to form the W brand’s WET Deck experience directly facing a fabulous beach with views of the Dubai skyline.The W brand’s signature AWAY Spa invites guests to ‘Stroll in and Strut out’, offering 10 treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, experiential showers, a hammam and a couples’ suite. Guests are treated to a design inspired by the underwater perspective of a pearl diver, where iridescent shells reflect the sunlight that peeks through the ocean above. Relaxing, social and surreal, the space also features a Beauty Bar for touch-ups and ‘Quick Fix’ treatments. Guests can sweat it out at FIT (gym) which boasts state-of-the-art equipment overlooking the WET Deck, beach and skyline views, featuring abstract art inspired by the graceful forms of both jellyfish and the parachutes of adventure-seeking skydivers.W Dubai – The Palm features six beverage and food destinations. Translated as “I will be right back”, Torno Subito is the first restaurant outside of Italy by global culinary genius, chef Massimo Bottura, whose Osteria Francescana has been feted as the “World’s Best Restaurant”.Pro snowboarder turned adrenaline-fuelled culinary master, chef Akira Back, brings his modern taste of Japanese cuisine prepared with a Korean essence to the Middle East for the first time at Akira Back.SoBe (short for South Beach) is an adults-only playground inspired by the eclectic and vibrant spirit of Miami. This is the only rooftop bar in Dubai where guests can watch the sun sink into the Arabian Sea with 360-degree views to watch as the Dubai skyline lights up each night. Serving up eclectic live DJ performances, imaginative cocktails and even tattoo artists, there will be nothing else like it in the city.LIV offers guests greener, lighter, fresher and brighter options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and was designed using only upcycled materials, meaning no new materials were created to build the venue.“We are excited to bring the W brand to Palm Jumeirah with the highly anticipated opening of W Dubai – The Palm,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “As our first W Escape in the region, W Dubai – The Palm combines the city’s unique allure with the brand’s bold design and dynamic lifestyle and gives it a locally relevant twist. With game-changing style, amplified entertainment and innovative culinary offerings, this W Escape will inject a fresh vibe into the local hospitality scene and offer the most sought-after luxury getaway for locals as well as global jet-setters.”More at www.wdubaithepalm.comGo back to the enewsletter
Gary AlfonsoFox Networks Group has hired a former senior CNBC executive to become general manager of a restructured African operation.Gary Alfonso will lead FNG Africa,taking control of sub-Sahara operations for the broadcast group and sister business National Geographic Partners.In Africa, FNG operates pay TV networks Fox, FX, FoxCrime, Fox Sports, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Gold and BabyTV.Nami Patel and Makhosazana Khanyile have also landed senior roles in a rejigged FNG operation, Patel is promoted from VP, business development, Europe and Africa, to CFO, UK and Africa, while FNG Africa marketing head Khanyile has been named director of sales and marketing.New chief Alfonso has worked in broadcasting for almost three decades. He joins from Nigeria-based broadcaster Gotel Communications, where he was COO, and was previously managing director of CNBC Africa and GM of Summit TV.“Our genre defining brands are market leaders in Africa, delivering year on year growth over the past three years,” said Adam Theiler, FNG’s executive VP, Nordics, Turkey, Greece, Israel and Africa.“Gary’s 29 years of leading industry experience will continue to drive our success, evolving our businesses to meet the changing media landscape as we bring the best in entertainment, factual and sports programming to audiences across the continent.”Alfonso, who will report to Theiler, said: “Working with the highly talented team in the FNG Africa office, I look forward to helping the business increase its regional footprint, in a challenging and dynamic media environment.”The news comes soon after Theiler tweaked FNG management in Turkey, promoting Cenk Soner and Mehmet Icagasioglu to new top-level positions.It is also the latest change at FNG Europe and Africa, which came into being in January with the 21st Century Fox-owned networks business dropped its Fox International Channels moniker and said goodbye to long-serving international chief Hernan Lopez in the process.
Amos-17Israeli satellite operatorSpacecom’s latest satellite, Amos-17, is completing the final stages of its pre-launch preparation ahead of take-off later this summer for the 17°East orbital position.Amos-17 has beendesigned to targetthe African market. The craft’s C-band,Ka-band and Ku-bandcapacity will enable ti to provide broad regional beams and high throughput spot beams across Africa.Equipped with a digital payload from Boeing Satellite Systems International, the satellite has now completed its environmental testing simulating the launch and harsh space environment.Amos-17 is currently undergoing final preparation operations ahead of shipment to Cape Canaveral, where it is scheduled to be launched on a Falcon-9 launch vehicle by SpaceX.David Pollack, president and CEO of Spacecom said, “We are excited by the opportunities Amos-17 will offer our clients throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. With a state-of-the-art digital payload, it will be the most technologically advanced satellite to service Africa and will deliver a large variety of services as well as connect Africa, Europe and the Middle East. We have worked closely with the Boeing team and are very much looking forward to moving ahead in Africa.”
John Garland Graves was taken aback when he walked into his McKinleyville, Calif., gym in October and learned that his SilverSneakers membership was being canceled.Since 2014, Graves, 69, has enjoyed free access to the gym through SilverSneakers, the nation’s best-known fitness program for seniors. He was disturbed by the news, as are many other people who have recently learned they’re losing this benefit.A controversial business decision by UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurance carrier, is causing the disruption. As of Jan. 1, the company is dropping SilverSneakers — an optional benefit — for 1.2 million customers with Medicare Advantage plans in 11 states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina and Utah) as well as 1.3 million customers with Medicare supplemental (Medigap) insurance in nine states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin).Graves, who works out four to five days a week and has a UnitedHealthcare Medigap policy, decided to seek coverage elsewhere after the company raised his policy’s rates and eliminated SilverSneakers in California. He has signed up for a new policy with Blue Shield of California.Starting next year, UnitedHealthcare will offer members a package of fitness and wellness benefits instead of paying to use SilverSneakers — a move that will give the company more control over its benefits and may save it money.Seniors with UnitedHealthcare Medicare supplemental policies will get 50 percent off memberships at thousands of gyms across the country, telephone access to wellness coaches and access to various online communities and health-related resources.Those with Medicare Advantage policies can join Renew Active, UnitedHealthcare’s fitness program, with a network of more than 7,000 sites, at no cost, and qualify for an evaluation from a personal trainer and an online brain-training program, among other services.Steve Warner, who leads UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage product team, explained the company’s move by noting that over 90 percent of policyholders who are eligible for SilverSneakers “never step foot in a gym” or use this benefit.UnitedHealthcare wants to reach “a broader portion of our membership” with a “wider variety of fitness resources,” he said, noting that the company’s shift away from SilverSneakers began last year and has accelerated this year.Altogether, more than 5 million customers have been affected. But the company is making market-by-market decisions, and nearly 675,000 UnitedHealthcare Medigap policyholders and 1.9 million UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan members will retain access to SilverSneakers in 2019.”I think it’s a smart move,” said Connie Holt, an independent broker with Goldsum Insurance Solutions of Pleasant Hill, Calif.But many of the company’s customers aren’t happy that SilverSneakers, which offers group classes tailored to seniors in addition to gym access at 15,000 sites, is disappearing. And confusion about alternatives is widespread.It’s one of the “top topics” that seniors have been raising over the past few months when they call Ohio’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program, said Chris Reeg, the OSHIIP program director.Michael Chanak Jr., 69, of Wadsworth, Ohio, had problems getting through to UnitedHealthcare’s customer relations department several times when he called with questions — a common complaint. “The way this is being implemented is a train wreck,” said Chanak, who has a UnitedHealthcare Medicare supplemental policy and spends an hour every day exercising at his gym.People are “extremely upset,” wrote Margaret Lee of Arroyo Grande, Calif., in an email. “That’s about the only topic of conversation at my water exercise class!”AARP has also become a target of anger because it endorses UnitedHealthcare’s Medigap and Medicare Advantage insurance policies — an arrangement that yields substantial royalties for the organization.In an email, Mark Bagley, a spokesman for the organization, said “[UnitedHealthcare], not AARP, operates these plans and determines the benefits.””I will be dropping my AARP membership when it is time to renew,” wrote Shelley Holbrook, 67, of Yorba Linda, Calif., a UnitedHealthcare Medigap policyholder, in an email exchange about the loss of SilverSneakers. “I am a Parkinson’s patient who has been prescribed this type of exercise program,” she explained. “This program is under the guidance of certified instructors that make sure the exercise routines are performed correctly. … An ordinary gym membership provides no instruction on how to use the equipment safely for seniors.””A health coach is not what I need,” Holbrook continued. “I have used the health coaches before, and have found them to be totally worthless.”For policyholders like Holbrook, the situation is complicated by another factor: Federal laws don’t ensure that seniors can switch Medicare supplemental insurance plans without undergoing new medical evaluations after an initial “guarantee issue” period. (This period occurs six months following a person’s enrollment in Medicare. Changes are allowed under a few specific circumstances and by laws in a few states.)If seniors can meet medical standards, they’ll find SilverSneakers available from other insurance operators. In 2019, Tivity Health is offering the program through more than 65 health plans covering more than 15 million older adults and introducing a new digital platform that emphasizes its social benefits: SilverSneakers Connect.”There are people we’ve learned who are alone but don’t want to go to the gym,” and the new platform can help them connect with each other as well as activities in their communities, said Donato Tramuto, Tivity Health’s CEO. Recent research suggests that SilverSneakers may help reduce isolation and loneliness in seniors who go to classes and form new relationships, he noted.Whether UnitedHealthcare’s health plans will be less appealing because of the shift away from SilverSneakers is yet to be determined. Several years ago, Humana, another giant insurer, also began reducing the number of plans that offered SilverSneakers, but it faced a backlash from members and sales representatives. “The membership perceives [SilverSneakers] as a valuable benefit despite the fact that not everyone uses it,” said George Renaudin, Humana’s senior vice president of Medicare.Humana subsequently reversed course and is now making SilverSneakers broadly available to about 3.5 million Medicare Advantage and Medigap policyholders.Ray Liss, who retired seven years ago, just changed over from UnitedHealthcare to a Humana Medicare supplemental policy with his wife. The loss of SilverSneakers precipitated the switch, which has an unexpected benefit: The couple will save almost $60 a month next year on their new policy.In an email, Liss, who declined to say where he lives, was philosophical about the value of exploring his options, writing, “I was pretty mad at the time, but it worked out for the best.”Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.KHN’s coverage related to aging and improving care of older adults is supported in part by The John A. Hartford Foundation. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.
Geoff Weiss Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals September 12, 2014 Register Now » Next Article While consumer and media response to Apple’s forthcoming range of watches and smartphones has been decidedly mixed, one thing is fairly unanimous: the company’s rollout process seems to have been botched at every turn.Last night, when pre-order for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus became available at 3 a.m. ET, online shoppers in the U.S. were vexed to arrive at a malfunctioning Apple store, which was down for a total of 2-1/2 hours.While some consumers were able to successfully order their phones via the Apple Store app for iOS, others tried their luck on carrier websites like AT&T and Verizon, reports CNET. Sprint and T-Mobile, meanwhile, were as glitchy as the Apple site itself.Related: Apple’s Big Announcements and What They Mean to You: The Weekly RoundupEven users who managed to place an order were met with unexpected delays: the iPhone 6 will deliver within seven to 10 business days, some shoppers reported, while the 6 Plus won’t arrive for another three to four weeks.Though the iPhone 5 also sold out upon its launch in 2012 at a record pace — causing Apple to prolong shipment times from one week to three — this reportedly marks the first time that Apple’s online store has completely crashed.Frustrated users took to Twitter to vent about the situation:Odd. If you hit refresh enough times when the Apple Store website is down you get this easter egg. pic.twitter.com/f9r5TggnoF— Jonathan Paull (@zamn) September 12, 2014Related: Leadership Lessons From Apple CEO Tim CookThe hilarious responses took a similar tone to the social avalanche on Tuesday when Apple’s livestream — during which the new products were to be officially unveiled — similarly crashed. As Apple doesn’t typically livestream its keynotes, those who tuned in were staggered to discover strange error screens, a Mandarin translation dubbed over the audio stream and a maddening string of stops and starts.Which all begs the question: could Apple have done better? While the onslaught of orders would seem to indicate that the company succeeded from a product perspective, the glitches may be a blight upon Angela Ahrendts, according to CNET — the former Burberry CEO who joined Apple in May to revamp its underperforming retail and online stores division.And as for the live stream failures?If you’re having a bad day, remember that there’s some guy that needs to tell Tim Cook that half the live stream had Chinese dubbing.— Josh Helfferich (@JoshHelfferich) September 9, 2014Related: The ‘i’ Goes Silent: Why Apple Didn’t Name Its Smartwatch ‘iWatch’ 3 min read Add to Queue Retail Center Former Staff Writer Tech Glitches, Delivery Delays: Apple’s Latest Product Rollout Has Been a Mess So Far Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. –shares
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 4 2019When President Donald Trump demands a border wall or threatens to deport young unauthorized immigrants, one of the loudest opposition voices comes from the son of Mexican immigrants — who also happens to be California’s top lawyer.Democrat Xavier Becerra, the state’s first Latino attorney general, is not only one of Trump’s biggest critics, he is an unrelenting adversary in court, striking at Republican efforts to overturn federal rules not just on immigration, but on health care, birth control, climate change and more.On Tuesday, Becerra, 61, will take the national stage when he gives the Spanish-language rebuttal to the president’s State of the Union address. He has challenged the Trump agenda before.Becerra has taken the Trump administration to court 45 times since former Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to the job in 2017. In November, voters overwhelmingly gave him a four-year term, validating his decision to leave Congress after 24 years.Becerra, whose wife is a doctor, is leading a coalition of 20 states and the District of Columbia in defending the Affordable Care Act against a Texas lawsuit that could determine the fate of the law — and with it, health coverage for millions of Americans. And he won a nationwide court injunction last year that blocked the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows qualified young people who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children to obtain temporary work permits.When news reports last month revealed that Trump was considering diverting emergency disaster relief funds from California, Florida and Texas during the partial federal government shutdown, Becerra condemned the president on Twitter for poaching funds for a “reckless & lawless” border wall.The fights are ones that Becerra describes as personal. He talked to California Healthline’s Samantha Young about his role — and how his upbringing influences his legal decisions.The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.Q: You were a veteran member of Congress in a leadership role. Why did you take this job? November 2016 hits. We have the election. All the things that I cared about were going to be placed in jeopardy by this new president.I found myself thinking I probably could make a bigger difference as the attorney general for the entire state of California, defending everything I fought to erect, than as a minority member in the House of Representatives trying to make my point, but always losing.I made a calculation. I think I made the right choice.Q: You have sued the Trump administration 45 times on education, immigration, health care, birth control access, climate change and more. What’s the one case you really wanted to win?I’ll give you two.First, the Affordable Care Act, knowing how much it has been a game changer for families. I would never have believed that I’d be leading the effort to protect the entire Affordable Care Act as an attorney general for one of 50 states. But here I am.The second one is the DACA litigation, because as the son of immigrants, I watched my parents struggle and saw the things they had to live through. I believe these DACA recipients are going to be some of the greatest leaders America has and it’s because they had to go through so much like my parents did. So, it’s very personal.Q: Do you remember your parents’ economic struggles as a child?I thought I was middle class growing up as a kid. It really wasn’t until I was driving with my mom to start my first day at Stanford University, driving through Palo Alto, that I realized I’m not middle class.We always had decent food to eat. I never got a pair of Converse. I never had a pair of Levi’s jeans. Never had that kind of stuff, but I always had clothes. It didn’t dawn on me that we were much different than other folks.Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenQ: How does your upbringing influence your decisions as attorney general?Everything I do is informed by what I grew up with. I defend immigrants with a passion because I saw immigrants every day of my life. And I know how hard they work. I never saw a day where my dad didn’t work.My mom came here when she was 18 from Guadalajara, when she married my dad. Didn’t know English. Learned it. She could always find a job, and when she learned English it became easier. But she could never go very high because she never went to college.So, when someone wants to knock an immigrant, you’re knocking my dad and my mom.Q: You believe everyone should have access to health care. Was there ever a period in your life when you didn’t have health insurance?I don’t ever recall a time when I didn’t. That’s why I’m such a big defender of unions. My dad was a construction worker. My dad got to the sixth grade. As difficult as it is for someone with a sixth-grade education to get a decent job, and while being a manual laborer and working construction doesn’t make you a millionaire, if you work for a union it gets you basic benefits.I knew what it meant to have health insurance, especially on the day my mom ended up having a miscarriage. She was hemorrhaging at home and she had to be rushed to the hospital. There was no hesitation.We knew we could go to the doctor — and everybody should know that. For me, health care is a right. I’ve been a single-payer advocate all my life.Q: Why do you think it’s important to build coalitions with other states when challenging the Trump administration?Lifting something by yourself is very difficult. When you get a team to do it, it just clicks so much easier. Maybe it’s because I went through Congress more years in the minority than the majority, where you realize what it takes to actually cobble together a coalition to get something done. Or, maybe it’s just that when you’ve been in a minority all your life, the son of immigrants with very little, you know it takes a team effort.I got through Stanford knowing my family didn’t have a lot of money, so I had to work, take out student loans and receive help from the government. It was a combination of a lot of things.Q: What’s your response to critics who say state attorneys general are “militarizing” their office to overturn policies your party can’t block in Congress?Which of the cases should we not have filed? The one to defend the Affordable Care Act, or the one to prevent women from losing access to birth control, or is it the one to allow DACA Dreamers to be deported, or is it the one to make sure that we are defending against a crazy border wall, or is it the one that should allow predatory for-profit colleges to continue to avoid having to provide relief to students who were defrauded?We’re not doing this because we’re trying to attack the federal government or because we’ve got it out for this particular president. How would we explain to the people who would have been unprotected why we just watched, why we just spectated?This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation. This article was reprinted from khn.org 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)Apr 5 2019Cancer is a highly varied disease, with genetic differences among different tumor types, individuals and ancestral populations. These genetic differences can impact disease aggressiveness, the type of disease, and the response to therapy. It is important that scientists have proper tools and model systems to study how these variations affect cancer development and devise effective therapies for patients of all genetic backgrounds. In a new paper published in Cancer Research, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers, in collaboration with scientists at Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico, investigated this issue by creating an online tool that can be used by scientists to determine the genetic ancestral origin of more than 1300 different cell lines.In cancer research, cell lines established from patient tumors are used in laboratory experiments as model systems to understand the molecular and cellular basis of cancer, identify therapeutic targets and develop novel treatments. However, the genetic ancestry of these cell lines is often unknown or incomplete. As a result, scientific data may not accurately reflect the diverse populations that exist throughout the world, resulting in less effective patient management and treatments for different populations.The research team performed an extensive set of analyses to improve on this knowledge gap by examining the genetic ancestry of 1,393 cancer cell lines based on known populations. They found that these commonly used cell lines do not represent the diverse ancestry of the human population. The majority, 62.46 percent, of the cell lines were determined to be from European origin, while 29.18 percent were from East Asian origin. All other populations were represented by less than 10 percent of the analyzed cell lines, including 5.26 percent of African origin, 0.86 percent of African American origin and 1.95 percent of Hispanic/Latino origin. Additionally, many ancestral populations were largely absent or underrepresented in cell lines for specific cancer types. For example, African American men are known to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a younger age and have a higher risk of dying from the disease than other populations. However, only 1 out of 10 prostate cancer cell lines was found to represent African ancestral genetic factors.Related StoriesStudy: Causes of anorexia are likely metabolic and psychologicalSlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionWith the information they obtained, the team created an online, interactive web-based tool that allows researchers to determine the genetic ancestry of cell lines. “This information can be used by scientists as a data and visualization tool to show the genetic ancestry of the cell lines they are using for experiments,” said Steven Eschrich, PhD, lead author of the article and senior member of the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Department at Moffitt. “We believe that this new tool, representing diverse ancestries, will be an important resource to reduce the knowledge gaps that exist about disease prevention and treatment among diverse ancestral populations.””We expect this resource to allow researchers access to ancestry in cell line models and to contribute to efforts to address the underrepresentation in cancer types with clear disparities. Incorporating estimated genetic ancestry within cell line molecular biology and drug discovery studies can significantly improve the rigor, reproducibility and relevance of cancer research activities, not just those explicitly examining the role of genetic ancestry in cancer biology,” said Julie Dutil, Ph.D., professor at Ponce Health Sciences University. Source:https://moffitt.org/newsroom/press-release-archive/2019/moffitt-cancer-center-researchers-develop-interactive-tool-to-estimate-genetic-diversity-and-ancestry-of-cancer-cell-lines/
Process of report productionIn June 2018, the German Ministry of Health commissioned IQWiG to prepare the report as a rapid report in an accelerated procedure. Interim products were thus not published and did not undergo a hearing. The present rapid report was sent to the Ministry on 29 March 2019.Source:Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care The discrepancy between the broad and sometimes vehement debate about blister packaging on the one hand and the lack of evidence on the other surprised us. Individual stakeholders and interest groups passionately argue for or against blister packaging, without being able to scientifically support their pros or cons. It is good that the commission from the Ministry of Health has now disclosed this.” Against this background, IQWiG developed the design for a future study and integrated it into the report. Thomas Kaiser affirms: “Our research has shown that high-quality studies are indeed available on other research questions in residential long-term care and that such studies are evidently feasible.”Thomas Kaiser, Head of the Drug Assessment Department, IQWiG Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 20 2019In blister packaging, a pharmacy (or a service provider commissioned by it) portions and packs the prescribed drugs of a patient according to weekdays and times of day, sorted into individual transparent packages (blisters). In this way, one can see at a glance when tablets should be taken and whether all tablets have been taken as planned.For some years now, there has been a broad and controversial debate in Germany as to whether increased blister packaging for nursing home residents is suitable for relieving the burden on the long-term care system and sustainably improving the care of nursing home residents. The German Federal Ministry of Health therefore commissioned the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) to examine, among other things, findings from studies. The report is now available.According to IQWiG’s search for evidence, studies on patient-specific blister packaging have so far been predominantly conducted for the outpatient sector, also internationally. However, as far as blister packaging for nursing homes is concerned, hardly any robust data from studies are available. Even the common arguments put forward by various stakeholders and interest groups for or against more blister packaging in nursing homes are not scientifically proven. This also applies to the aspect of cost-effectiveness.Possible advantages and disadvantagesIn the opinion of its advocates, the fact that medication errors will occur less frequently with blister packaging supports the introduction of this method. Because the more illnesses a resident suffers from, the more complex drug therapy becomes. In addition, if nursing staff were relieved of the burden of organizing the administration of drugs, they would have more time to care for the individual patient. And this in turn could increase job satisfaction in nursing and make the profession more attractive for young people.Critics, however, fear a loss of competence if tasks are increasingly shifted from nurses to other professional groups. Moreover, patients might also lose some of their autonomy because they would be even less able to recognize and decide which drugs to take and which not. Critics also point out that not all drugs are “blisterable”. This could even complicate the administration of drugs for nursing staff in nursing homes, as they would have to remember a second distribution of drugs in addition to the tablets in the blisters.Initially, blister packaging causes additional costs. However, these should at least in part be compensated if wastage is reduced. The fact that not every patient receives a full package, but only individual tablets in the blister, means that overall, fewer tablets are thrown away.Studies examine blister packaging in the outpatient sectorThe IQWiG researchers found a number of studies that investigated aspects of the benefit of blister packaging, but they all referred to an outpatient setting; however, such studies can hardly be transferred to residential settings. This holds especially because people who live at home should still be able to handle their medication themselves. No study investigated residential geriatric long-term care.Related StoriesSecurity cameras installed in nursing homes may do more harm than goodNew computational framework reveals impact of arthritis drugs on gene expressionStudy: Stress experienced by premature infants can carry on throughout their adult lifeThe studies originating from Germany are mainly before-and-after comparisons without a control group, which were evaluated in model projects by health insurance funds. However, the results of such studies are not very meaningful from a scientific point of view – both with regard to the benefit for nursing home residents (symptoms, state of health, side effects of medication, etc.) and for the nursing staff (professional competence, work-related quality of life, etc.). IQWiG concludes that the benefit and harm of blister packaging in nursing homes therefore remain unclear.Statements on cost-effectiveness can only be made by means of estimationThe evidence on the cost-effectiveness of blister packaging for nursing homes is also insufficient, but the Institute was able to estimate possible effects based on various sources. IQWiG assumed that a weekly blister costs about €3 and that drug expenditure will decrease by 4.1% due to less waste. If at least €73.17 of costs for blistered drugs are incurred per week and resident, blister packaging would be cost-neutral. This, however, refers only to drug costs. Due to a lack of data, it is not possible to consider other monetary effects (e.g. due to fewer hospital referrals).Statements on non-monetary effects are also uncertain: Assuming that about half to two thirds of the approximately 818,000 people needing full residential nursing care in Germany receive blister-packed drugs, the time savings for nursing staff would amount to about 22 to 51 minutes per month and resident.Great need for research: IQWiG proposes a design for a new studyThe Institute has identified a great need for research on blister packaging in nursing homes.