Category Archives: Community News

Denmark To Reeducate Students in History and Christmas

By: Reuters Staff

Denmark will force children in residential areas containing large numbers of immigrants to be educated about democracy, equality and major Danish holidays such as Christmas, the government said on Monday.

The Nordic country has for decades struggled with how to integrate immigrants, primarily from the Middle East, into its ethnically and religiously homogeneous welfare society.

The new policy, agreed with major opposition parties, will force young children living in “ghettos” – an official term for areas consisting of primarily non-Western immigrants – into 25 hours of public education a week from the age of one.

Children in Denmark must normally receive 10 years of education from the age of six. However, school attendance is not compulsory, meaning parents have a right to choose how to educate their children.

Danish parents living in the designated areas will also be forced to enroll their children in the initiative, although those already receiving daycare will not be required to join.

While the primary focus will be on language skills and learning readiness, the deal also seeks to educate the primarily Muslim children in Danish traditions and Christian holidays including Christmas and Easter.

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Tea May Could Fight Lung Cancer

By Swansea University

Nanoparticles derived from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells, destroying up to 80% of them, new research by a joint Swansea University and Indian team has shown.

The team made the discovery while they were testing out a new method of producing a type of nanoparticle called quantum dots. These are tiny particles which measure less than 10 nanometres. A human hair is 40,000 nanometres thick.

Although nanoparticles are already used in healthcare, quantum dots have only recently attracted researchers’ attention. Already they are showing promise for use in different applications, from computers and solar cells to tumour imaging and treating cancer.

Quantum dots can be made chemically, but this is complicated and expensive and has toxic side effects. The Swansea-led research team were therefore exploring a non-toxic plant-based alternative method of producing the dots, using tea leaf extract.

Tea leaves contain a wide variety of compounds, including polyphenols, amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants. The researchers mixed tea leaf extract with cadmium sulphate (CdSO4) and sodium sulphide (Na2S) and allowed the solution to incubate, a process which causes quantum dots to form. They then applied the dots to lung cancer cells.

They found:

• Tea leaves are a simpler, cheaper and less toxic method of producing quantum dots, compared with using chemicals, confirming the results of other research in the field.

• Quantum dots produced from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells. They penetrated into the nanopores of the cancer cells and destroyed up to 80% of them. This was a brand new finding, and came as a surprise to the team.

The research, published in Applied Nano Materials, is a collaborative venture between Swansea University experts and colleagues from two Indian universities.

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Lava Eruptions in Hawaii

Compliments of CBS

Lava flowing from the Kilauea volcano has consumed telephone poles, trees and homes and destroyed at least 35 buildings since it started erupting late last week. A cameraman captured video of the destruction over the weekend, showing how it even swallowed a car.

In the video, lava creeps slowly across a roadway toward a white Ford Mustang. The flow eventually reaches — and ignites — the vehicle.

In another portion of the video, lava easily pushes through a gate as vegetation burns on either side of what appears to be a road or driveway.

Two new cracks spewing lava and gas opened up Monday on Hawaii’s Big Island. Authorities warned people to remain cautious in the face of the volcano, which has spewed lava and toxic gas through at least 12 fissures in Leilani Estates in Pahoa, where more than 1,700 residents have been evacuated, CBS News’ Carter Evans reported.

The once lush landscape now looks more like a blackened moonscape after nothing in the lava’s path was spared.

“Everyone knows that it’s not over,” said Hawaii Governor David Ige.

Monday, however, also brought a much-needed break. The eruptions slowed down, and authorities allowed evacuees to return to their homes to pack their most essential items.

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McDonald’s Workers Begin Walk Out

By: Rajeev Sayal of The Guardian

McDonald’s workers in Britain are striking in a dispute over zero-hours contracts and working conditions that is being closely observed by the fast food industry and trade unions.

Staff from branches in Manchester and Watford will join colleagues in Crayford and Cambridge as part of a “McStrike” as workers demand a minimum £10-an-hour living wage.

Members of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union are also asking for a choice of fixed-hour contracts, the end of unequal pay for young workers, and union recognition.

Employees at UK branches attracted worldwide attention in September by striking for the first time. Britain is one of McDonald’s strongest markets, reporting 12 years of quarterly growth.

While the numbers of employees taking strike action on Tuesday is small – just 11 are officially involved – one academic said the move was significant.

Tony Royle, a professor of employment relations at the University of York, said the dispute was symbolic of the growing income gap, an increase in precarious work and a decline in independent trade union representation.

“McDonald’s is a multibillion-dollar corporation which continues to pay its senior executives sky-high salaries while paying low wages for the vast majority of its 2 million employees.

“Young workers in particular have felt the brunt of the ‘flexible’ labour market and austerity government policies and are increasingly frustrated, angry and ready to fight for a more just workplace.

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Michael Bloomberg Writes Check To Cover U.S. Obligation To París Climate Agreement

By: Harry Cockbern of The Independent

Billionaire former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg has said he will write a $4.5m cheque to cover the US’s financial commitment to the Paris Climate agreement for 2018.

Donald Trump pulled the US out of the climate pact last year, saying it was a “terrible deal” which would “undermine” the economy and put the US at a “permanent disadvantage”.

The move made the US the only country in the world opposed to the climate change agreement which aims to cut carbon emissions in an effort to restrict global temperature rises to less than 2C by the end of this century.

In an interview with CBS, Mr Bloomberg said he hopes that by next year Mr Trump will have changed his mind.

Mr Bloomberg will continue to provide money for the pact if the United States does not rejoin the agreement, according to a news release from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charity he founded.

“Our foundation will uphold our promise to cover any cuts to UN climate funding by the federal government,” Mr Bloomberg said in the statement.

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Research Shows Positive Brain Developments From Patients on LSD

By: Eric Dolan of PsyPost

New brain published in the journal Scientific Reports sheds new light on how LSD produces its psychedelic effects. The drug resulted in the “emergence of new type of order in the brain,” the researchers found.

The study used a new mathematical method to analyze brain activity, known as connectome-harmonic decomposition, to examine how LSD caused alterations in consciousness. A connectome is a distinctive pattern of neural connections — like a wiring diagram of the brain.

“I am generally interested in novel therapeutic tools that can help with the healing of psychiatric disorders, especially healing from trauma. I feel that as Western societies we generally tend to label and marginalise mental illness instead of seeing it as a rather normal reaction to extreme and abnormal circumstances,” said Selen Atasoy, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and lead author of the study.

“This, in my opinion, makes the recovery of a patient from trauma even more difficult, as this perspective of the society may further deepen the ‘dissociation’ – the withdrawal of the person, who experienced the traumatic event, from that painful experience.”

“As Dr. Gabor Mate nicely explains, trauma is not caused by the extremely painful experience itself but rather by our dissociation from that part of ourself that had to bear that experience. When I came across the studies about psychedelics, it was very remarkable to me to see how patients under the effect of psychedelics were able to reclaim and integrate their most traumatic experiences and how that led to a powerful healing process,” Atasoy told PsyPost.

“It is probably due to this effect of psychedelics that a very strong, natural psychedelic – ayahuasca – is considered a very powerful plant medicine in various indigenous cultures and has been used in shamanic healing ceremonies for centuries. On the other hand, neuroscience today has another very powerful tool; the imaging technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) allow us to visualise the brain activity of a person.”

“My research focuses on understanding the changes in brain activity caused by psychedelics using these functional neuroimaging datasets,” Atasoy said. “In the future, my hope is that we can gain some insights into the neural mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effect of psychedelics and also of other therapeutic tools.”

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#NeverAgain: Students Across USA Protest Gun Violence

Out of the mouth of babes come the words that will make a difference.  School shootings are finally being taken seriously by lawmakers who have turned a deaf ear on the urgent need for changes in gun control laws and have favored the gun lobby over our children’s safety.  As students protested across America, all the way to the White House sitting before President Trump, we now seem to have the attention of lawmakers.  It is sad that it took these many deaths to get their attention.  Our heart and prayers go out to the families who lost their beloved children.

UC TRN Networks


Compliments of ABC News, By Collin Binkley, Associated Press

GunsWarDeath

In a wave of demonstrations reaching from Arizona to Maine, students at dozens of U.S. high schools walked out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence and honor the victims of last week’s deadly shooting in Florida.

The protests spread from school to school as students shared plans for their demonstrations over social media. Many lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Hundreds of students from Maryland schools left class to rally at the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds more filed out of their schools in cities from Chicago to Pittsburgh to Austin, Texas, often at the lunch hour. Thousands walked out in Florida.

At the protest in Washington, students held a moment of silence in memory of those killed in Parkland and listened as the names of the dead were recited. Daniel Gelillo, a senior at Richard Montgomery High in Rockville, Maryland, helped organize the protest and said students aimed to pressure lawmakers to act on gun control.

Up until now, he said, nothing has quite fazed them.

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New Cancer Vaccine Has 100% Cure Rate In Mice

By: Stanford Medical Center

Injecting minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in mice can eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals, including distant, untreated metastases, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine

The approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously, the study found.

The researchers believe the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.

“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology. “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”

One agent is currently already approved for use in humans; the other has been tested for human use in several unrelated clinical trials. A clinical trial was launched in January to test the effect of the treatment in patients with lymphoma.

Levy, who holds the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professorship in the School of Medicine, is the senior author of the study, which was published Jan. 31 in Science Translational Medicine. Instructor of medicine Idit Sagiv-Barfi, PhD, is the lead author.

‘Amazing, bodywide effects’

Levy is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy, in which researchers try to harness the immune system to combat cancer. Research in his laboratory led to the development of rituximab, one of the first monoclonal antibodies approved for use as an anticancer treatment in humans.

Some immunotherapy approaches rely on stimulating the immune system throughout the body. Others target naturally occurring checkpoints that limit the anti-cancer activity of immune cells. Still others, like the CAR T-cell therapy recently approved to treat some types of leukemia and lymphomas, require a patient’s immune cells to be removed from the body and genetically engineered to attack the tumor cells. Many of these approaches have been successful, but they each have downsides — from difficult-to-handle side effects to high-cost and lengthy preparation or treatment times.

“All of these immunotherapy advances are changing medical practice,” Levy said. “Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal.”

Cancers often exist in a strange kind of limbo with regard to the immune system. Immune cells like T cells recognize the abnormal proteins often present on cancer cells and infiltrate to attack the tumor. However, as the tumor grows, it often devises ways to suppress the activity of the T cells.

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Trump’s Racism Strikes Again Calling Africa A Sh*t hole

By: Cara Ana

Africans were shocked on Friday to find President Donald Trump had finally taken an interest in their continent. But it wasn’t what people had hoped for.

Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal. On Friday he denied using that language.

The African Union continental body told The Associated Press it was “frankly alarmed” by Trump’s comments.

“Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,” AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

Some African governments found themselves in an awkward position. As top recipients of U.S. aid, some hesitated to jeopardize it by criticizing Trump, especially as his administration has sought to slash foreign assistance.

“Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say,” South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the AP.

But Botswana’s government called Trump’s comment “reprehensible and racist,” saying the U.S. ambassador had been summoned to clarify whether the country was regarded so poorly after years of cordial relations. Senegal’s President Macky Sall said he was shocked and that “Africa and the black race merit the respect and consideration of all.”

Both nations have been praised by the U.S. government as stable democracies in the region.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress called Trump’s comments “extremely offensive,” while opposition leader Mmusi Maimane said “the hatred of Obama’s roots now extends to an entire continent.” Uganda’s state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, called the remarks “unfortunate and regrettable” and hoped that heads of state will reply at an African Union summit later this month.

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Bill Gates Claims Cancer Will Be A Thing Of The Past

By: Chris Weller of Business Insider

Bill Gates is betting big that certain cancer therapies, if manufactured correctly, could help “control all infectious disease.”

Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made the announcement during his keynote address at the recent JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.

“This would be a huge victory for humanity – and potentially a significant market for the life sciences,” Gates said, referring to the prospect of broadly effective immunotherapies.

Since stepping down from his post as Microsoft CEO in 2006, he and his wife Melinda have dedicated their lives to reducing poverty around the world. Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis remain the top enemies.

The Gates Foundation has spent billions of dollars in grant money to this end, funding companies that research and manufacture disease therapies. In his recent keynote remarks, Gates mentioned a handful of deserving companies that could pave the way for controlling infectious disease.

One of the Gateses’ investments is the company Immunocore, which developed technology that stimulates patients’ immune system. The technology relies on the body’s own immune cells (known as T-cells), essentially reprogramming them, and using them to fight the cancer in a way that is personalized to the patient.

“Initially, Immunocore’s ‘T-cell receptor’ technology targeted cancers, but it could also be applied against infectious diseases,” Gates said.

The Gates Foundation has also taken an interest in gene therapies using a component of the human body known as messenger RNA, or mRNA. Modifying these molecules and injecting them back into the body can produce a stronger immune response. In his address, Gates pointed out that such vaccines would be cheaper, easier, and faster to make than traditional vaccines.

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