Browsing articles from "April, 2014"

Jaundice outbreak in Morang; over 100 affected

Apr 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on Jaundice outbreak in Morang; over 100 affected

BIRATNAGAR, APR 30 –
More than 100 people have been affected by Hepatitis E ( jaundice ) in Morang district in the past week, the District Public Health Office, Morang said on Wednesday.

Doctors in the district fear a jaundice epidemic if precaution and protection is not adopted against this viral outbreak .

Although it is estimated that the disease has claimed the lives of four people and infected around 300 in the district, pathology tests carried out on suspected jaundice cases at government and private hospitals here by the DPHO confirmed Hepatitis E in 100 patients.  

The DPHO has warned the people against drinking contaminated water, stale and spoilt food.

The Biratnagar Sub Metropolitan City has already issued a notice urging the public to take precautionary measures against jaundice in the wake of the rising cases of the disease reported by the health institutions.

The Koshi Zonal Hospital (KZH) said that it is receiving around 60 jaundice patients on a daily basis. Dr Dipak Sigdel said that the number of people suffering from the disease has increased in the past one week. “There are at lease 36 jaundice patients in the hospital’s out-patient department,” he said, adding that the situation could get worse if precautionary measures are not adopted at the earliest.

Dr Sigdel said that consumption of polluted water and contaminated food causes the disease and its symptoms include yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin and loss of appetite. “One can be safe from the disease if they consume purified water and avoid contaminated food,” he said. “The disease can be cured if treated in time.”

 

Posted on: 2014-04-30 04:55


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Prez urges media to play leading role in statute writing

Apr 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on Prez urges media to play leading role in statute writing



KATHMANDU, APR 30 –
President Ram Baran Yadav said that the issues of federalism and form of governance in the new constitution are crucial ones and that the journalists should write about the twin issues after doing thorough study.

President Yadav said so while inaugurating the newly constructed building of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in the Capital on Wednesday. Remembering the contributions of media in achieving democracy in the past, the president urged the media persons to play a leading role in the task of constitution writing.

President Yadav further urged the media to become more responsible as press would find itself in trouble if democracy was not ensured.

Also speaking on the occasion, Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal said that the government was ready to work in collaboration with the FNJ. He appealed the journalists to play a supportive role in their effort to draft a new constitution within a year.

FNJ President Shiva Gaule expressed happiness in completing the task of constructing new building at the FNJ premises which his group had initiated three years ago. He added that they were planning to convert the new building into a sophisticated training center with the help of the government.

 

Posted on: 2014-04-30 06:44


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Colorado Works On New Rules For Edible Marijuana

Apr 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Colorado Works On New Rules For Edible Marijuana

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s marijuana experiment is threatened by the very popularity of eating it instead of smoking it. Now, the pot industry is joining health officials and state regulators to try to curb the problem of consumers ingesting too much weed.

A task force that’s meeting Wednesday plans to start work on refining Colorado’s rules on edibles, the industry term for marijuana that has been concentrated and infused into food or drink.

Marijuana-infused foods are booming in the state’s new recreational market.

Some choose edible pot because of health concerns about smoking the drug. Others are visitors who can’t find a hotel that allows toking. Whether through inexperience or confusion, many are eating too much pot too quickly, with potentially deadly consequences.

Apple Versus Samsung Case Goes To California Jury

Apr 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Apple Versus Samsung Case Goes To California Jury

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — After listening to a month’s worth of testimony from expert witnesses hired by Apple and Samsung as well as executives from each company, a Silicon Valley jury of four men and four women were tasked with sorting out the latest legal dispute over technology between the world’s two largest smartphone makers.

Apple is demanding Samsung pay it $2.2 billion after accusing the South Korean company of infringing five software patents related to smartphones. Samsung denies the claims and counters that Apple owes it a little more than $6 million for infringing two of its patents.

The jury began deliberating late Tuesday and left at 4:30 p.m. PDT without reaching a verdict. The jurors are scheduled to resume deliberations Wednesday morning in San Jose.

A lawyer for Apple on Tuesday accused Samsung of copying key features of its iPhone and iPad products and demanded $2.2 billion in damages.

An attorney for Samsung denied the allegations and argued that its Google-developed software differs from Apple’s operating system.

In his closing argument, lawyer William Price referred to an email from Apple founder Steve Jobs indicating that he had ordered employees to wage a “holy war” against Google and its Android system, believing it was a rip-off of Apple’s operating system.

Price said that was the sole reason Apple filed the lawsuit against Samsung.

“We don’t think we owe Apple a nickel,” added John Quinn, one of four Samsung lawyers involved in the company’s closing argument.

Quinn also said Apple wants to monopolize the industry.

“They want to attack Google and Android by attacking the most successful Android maker,” he said.

Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny told jurors that Samsung’s “illegal strategy has been wildly successful” and insisted that Google had nothing to do with the case.

“Despite all the times Samsung mentioned it, you will not find a single question about Google in your jury form,” McElhinny said. “Google is not a defendant in this case.”

Google spokesman Matt Kallman declined comment on the proceedings.

The four men and four women on the jury began deliberating later in the day.

The case marks the latest legal fight between Samsung and Apple as each tries to dominate the $330 billion annual market for smartphones.

Samsung has captured about 31 percent of the smartphone market while Apple retains a 15 percent share.

A different jury in San Jose presiding over a previous trial regarding older technology ordered Samsung to pay Apple $930 million. Samsung has appealed that ruling.

Google may not be a defendant in the current trial, but evidence introduced by Apple attorneys showed the Internet search giant has agreed to reimburse Samsung if the South Korean company is ordered to pay damages on two of the five patents at issue.

In addition, Samsung lawyers called three Google engineers to the witness stand to testify.

The trial involves five Apple patents that the company accuses Samsung of using to create nine newer smartphones and a tablet. The features in question include slide-to-lock, universal searching, quick linking, background syncing and automatic word correction.

Samsung, meanwhile, has alleged that Apple infringed two of its patents related to camera use and video transmission. Samsung is seeking $6.2 million in damages.

Jobs, who died in 2011, is a Silicon Valley legend revered for launching Apple in his family’s garage in 1976. The Cupertino headquarters of the tech giant is a 15-mile (25-kilometer) drive from the San Jose federal courthouse where the patent case is playing.

Prospective jurors were closely questioned before the trial about connections and views about Apple, which employs about 80,000 workers worldwide.

Spain Economic Recovery ‘Gathering Pace’

Apr 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Spain Economic Recovery ‘Gathering Pace’

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s economic recovery will gather pace this year but unemployment is set to remain above 20 percent until 2017, according to government predictions Wednesday.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said Spain’s economy should grow by 1.2 percent in 2014 and 1.8 percent in 2015 as the country recovers from a double-dip recession that ended late last year and destroyed millions of jobs. The growth figures were upwardly revised from the previous predictions of 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent.

De Guindos said the government hoped to reduce the unemployment rate from 26.1 percent at the close of 2013 to 24.9 percent this year, and 23.3 percent in 2015. However, it won’t be until 2017 before unemployment falls below the 20 percent threshold.

Spain’s economy, like others that have the euro as their currency, has suffered as the government imposed harsh austerity measures in order to get its public finances into shape. The country’s Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said the government was now aiming to achieve a 2014 budget deficit worth 5.5 percent of Spain’s annual gross domestic product, down from a previously forecast 5.8 percent.

Predictions for the following years were left unchanged at 4.2 percent in 2015 and 2.8 percent in 2016 — just below the eurozone ceiling of 3 percent.

Spain’s economy began to crumble in 2008 with the collapse of its bloated real-estate sector. Government spending cuts and tax increases as well as wide-ranging economic reforms has helped restore investor confidence and the country’s borrowing costs have dropped from perilously high levels in 2012 to pre-crisis rates.

The government forecasts came on the day the National Statistics Institute said the economy grew at its fastest rate in six years in the first quarter. It said the economy expanded by 0.4 percent January through March, the best quarter since the first three-month period of 2008, when the economy grew by 0.5 percent.

The first quarter rate was double that of the previous three-month period.

Compared with a year earlier, the economy grew by 0.6 percent in the quarter, the first annual growth figure after nine quarters of contraction.

US Economy Slowed To 0.1 Percent Growth Rate In Q1

Apr 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on US Economy Slowed To 0.1 Percent Growth Rate In Q1

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy slowed drastically in the first three months of the year as a harsh winter exacted a toll on business activity. The sharp slowdown, while worse than expected, is likely to be temporary as growth rebounds with warmer weather.

The economy’s growth slowed to a barely discernible 0.1 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was the weakest pace since the end of 2012 and was down from a 2.6 percent growth rate in the October-December quarter.

Consumer spending grew at a 3 percent rate. But that gain was dominated by a 4.4 percent rise in spending on services, reflecting higher utility bills. Spending on goods barely rose. Also dampening growth were a drop in business investment, a rise in the trade deficit and a fall in housing construction.

The scant 0.1 percent increase in the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, was well below the 1.1 percent rise economists had been predicting. The last time the quarterly growth rate was so slow was in the final three months of 2012, when it was also 0.1 percent.

A variety of factors held back growth. Business investment fell at a 2.1 percent rate, with spending on equipment plunging at a 5.5 percent annual rate. Residential construction fell at a 5.7 percent rate. Housing was hit by winter weather and by other factors such as higher home prices and a shortage of available houses.

A widening of the trade deficit, thanks to a sharp fall in exports, shaved growth by 0.8 percentage point in the first quarter. Businesses also slowed their restocking, with a slowdown in inventory rebuilding reducing growth by nearly 0.6 percentage point.

Also holding back growth: A cutback in spending by state and local governments. That pullback offset a rebound in federal activity after the 16-day partial government shutdown last year.

Economists say most of the factors that held back growth in the first quarter have already begun to reverse. Most expect a strong rebound in growth in the April-June quarter. The consensus view is the economy will expand by 3 percent in the second quarter.

Analysts say the stronger growth will endure through the rest of the year as the economy derives help from improved job growth, rising consumer spending and a rebound in business investment.

In fact, many analysts believe 2014 will be the year the recovery from the Great Recession finally achieves the robust growth that’s needed to accelerate hiring and reduce still-high unemployment. Many analysts think annual economic growth will remain around 3 percent for the rest of the year.

If that proves accurate, the economy will have produced the fastest annual expansion in the gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of the economy’s health, in nine years. The last time growth was so strong was in 2005, when GDP grew 3.4 percent, two years before the nation fell into the worst recession since the 1930s.

A group of economists surveyed this month by The Associated Press said they expected unemployment to fall to 6.2 percent by the end of this year from 6.7 percent in March.

One reason for the optimism is that a drag on growth last year from higher taxes and deep federal spending cuts has been diminishing. A congressional budget truce has also lifted any imminent threat of another government shutdown. As a result, businesses may find it easier to commit to investments to modernize and expand production facilities and boost hiring.

State and local governments, which have benefited from a rebound in tax revenue, are hiring again as well.

A survey by the private Conference Board released Tuesday found that while U.S. consumer confidence dipped this month, many people foresee a strengthening economy in the months ahead.

Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, said he expects job growth to average above 200,000 a month for the rest of the year — starting with the April jobs report, which will be released Friday.

“Those are the types of job gains which will generate incomes and consumer confidence going forward,” Naroff said.

Naroff said solid job growth should lead consumers, who drive about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, to boost spending. He expects pent-up demand from purchases that were put off during the harsh winter to power a burst of growth in the April-June quarter. He thinks annual growth for the quarter will reach a vigorous 4.3 percent.

Leader Nepal for strengthening party organisation

Apr 29, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on Leader Nepal for strengthening party organisation



BIRGUNJ, APR 29 –
CPN-UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal has said he has been working towards strengthening the party organisation and forging consensus among the party leaders and cadres.

Talking to journalists at Matsari of Rautahat district on Tuesday, leader Nepal said there was a need of bringing radical changes through a democratic process by electing party chairman from party’s upcoming general convention. The new leadership should be capable to unite party and move ahead, he reiterated.

Former Prime Minister Nepal said he was working to end the practice of intra-party factionalism and strengthen the party from a new perspective.

Leader Nepal and parliametary party (PP) leader KP Sharma Oli are in the fray for the post of party chairman at the upcoming convention.

Earlier, Nepal visited the fire victims and distributed relief of Rs. 10,000 each to 22 families at Brahmapuri VDC, Rs. 15,000 to the deceased family, Rs. 10,000 each to two other families at Matsari and Pacharukhi VDCs.

 

Posted on: 2014-04-29 05:12


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South Korean president ‘sorry’ for ferry disaster

Apr 29, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from Nepal  //  Comments Off on South Korean president ‘sorry’ for ferry disaster



SEOUL, APR 29 –
South Korea n President Park Geun-Hye apologized on Tuesday for her government’s failure to combat systemic and regulatory “evils” blamed for the loss of about 300 lives in a ferry disaster.

Two days after her prime minister resigned over the tragedy, Park’s comments are another attempt to defuse growing public anger about the April 16 sinking of the 6,825-tonne Sewol.

“I don’t know how to apologize for the failure to prevent this accident, and for the insufficient first response,” Park said in a statement to her cabinet that was broadcast on national television.

“I am sorry to the people and heavy-hearted that many precious lives were lost.”

Park’s government has been widely criticized over perceived corruption and lax safety standards that may have led to the disaster, with claims that the ferry was overloaded and that the passenger list was inaccurate and incomplete.

Echoing words used by Prime Minister Chung Hong-Won when he fell on his sword on Sunday, Park blamed systemic and regulatory failings for one of South Korea ‘s worst ever maritime tragedies.

“I feel so regretful for having been unable to correct such long-running evils and letting an accident like this take place,” she said.

Park accepted Chung’s resignation but ordered him to remain in office until the recovery operation was completed.

Earlier on Tuesday, the president had travelled to Ansan, just south of Seoul, where she paid her respects at a memorial for the schoolchildren who died in the disaster.

Of the 476 people on board the Sewol, 325 were students from the same high school in Ansan. Only 75 of them were rescued.

But in a sign of the boiling anger felt by relatives of the missing and the dead, there were shouted demands for her floral tribute to be removed from the shrine, and reports the president had been jostled.

The confirmed death toll from the accident, which took place several hundred kilometres (miles) south of Ansan, stood at 193, with 109 people still missing.

Search mission spokesman Koh Myung-Seok said divers had worked their way through passenger cabins on the fourth and fifth levels of the submerged ferry on Tuesday, recovering four more bodies.

But he added that 26 of the ferry ‘s 64 cabins had yet to be accessed, with divers hampered by strong currents and debris that was blocking access.

As the operation on the sea bed crept forward, the probe into the catastrophe was gathering pace, with the head of the ferry ‘s operator called to answer investigators’ questions.

Kim Han-Sik, the CEO of Chonghaejin Marine, was summoned to the prosecutors’ office in the port city of Incheon, from where the ill-fated ferry departed

Kim, 71, issued a tearful apology for the “horrible tragedy” the day after the accident, saying he and other company officials were responsible for a “grave sin” in letting it happen.

Live footage Tuesday showed Kim — wearing a dark hat and a mask shielding most of his face — mobbed by TV crews and reporters as he limped into the prosecutors’ office, held up by two aides.

Kim faces charges including negligence, embezzlement and tax evasion related to the family that effectively owns the company, according to media reports.

On Monday, prosecutors raided the coastguard office in the southern port of Mokpo to probe allegations that it had failed to respond quickly enough to a passenger’s emergency call.

All 15 of the surviving crew responsible for sailing the huge ferry remain in custody, facing charges including negligence and abandoning passengers.

The public’s already dim view of the crew worsened on Monday when the coastguard released a video showing the trouserless captain scrambling to safety as hundreds of his passengers remained trapped inside the ferry .

The 10-minute video — taken by rescue officials — shows 69-year-old Lee Joon-Seok, wearing a sweater and underpants, hastily escaping from the bridge of the tilting ship.

The footage shows the open decks nearly empty, after crew repeatedly instructed passengers to stay in their cabins until it became impossible for them to evacuate.

The delay in the crucial final stages — when most crew members fled the ferry — sparked outrage that many lives could have been saved if passengers had received timely instructions.

Posted on: 2014-04-29 05:56


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High Court To Hear Fish Tale Of 3 Missing Groupers

Apr 29, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on High Court To Hear Fish Tale Of 3 Missing Groupers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not even Supreme Court justices can resist a good fish story.

The court said Monday it will hear the case of a Florida fisherman charged with destroying evidence — three small grouper — under a federal law originally aimed at the accounting industry.

Commercial fishing boat captain John Yates argues that the federal government used its mighty power to convict him of tossing overboard three fish that were under the 20-inch minimum legal size for red grouper caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

Yates was prosecuted under part of the law Congress passed in 2002 in response to the Enron scandal and abuses in the accounting industry. He said the law’s anti-shredding provision is intended to prevent the destruction of financial records. The Obama administration said the law plainly prohibits the destruction of “tangible objects,” including fish.

The tale begins in 2007 on board the Miss Katie, a commercial fishing boat out of Cortez, Fla., on the Gulf of Mexico.

A Florida fish and wildlife officer boarded the Miss Katie in the Gulf for a routine inspection, according to court documents. The officer noticed several fish that appeared to be too small and eventually counted 72 red grouper that were under 20 inches long. He ordered those fish to be set aside so that authorities could seize them when the boat returned to port.

Four days later, after a federal inspector got involved in the case, the same Florida officer measured the fish again and this time counted only 69 that were too small. The officer suspected that the undersized fish he looked at in port were not the same ones he measured at sea.

A member of the boat’s crew was questioned by federal agents and eventually said Yates ordered the undersized fish to be thrown overboard, according to a federal appeals court opinion. A jury convicted Yates of getting rid of the undersize fish and a judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail. The federal appeals court based in Atlanta upheld the conviction.

Yates disputed that any fish were too small, but the Supreme Court case turns only on the use of the federal law against him.

He said owners of fishing boats refuse to hire him because they fear his presence on their boats would lead to more trouble with the federal government. “I am now unable to make a living doing what I love to do,” he said in article he wrote for Politico.

Yates said he can’t believe that a fisherman could be ensnared by a law intended to stop the white-collar crime of destroying evidence to frustrate an investigation.

Something smells rotten in his story, he said, and it isn’t the fish.

Yates v. U.S., 13-7451, will be argued in the fall.

Users Bemoan E-Cigarette Bans In NYC, Chicago

Apr 29, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Users Bemoan E-Cigarette Bans In NYC, Chicago

NEW YORK (AP) — Laws in New York and Chicago making electronic cigarettes subject to the same regulations as tobacco are taking effect, and their sellers and users are steadfast in their opposition.

The New York ban — along with the measure in Chicago, one that previously went into effect in Los Angeles and federal regulations proposed last week — are keeping debate smoldering among public health officials, the e-cigarette industry and users.

Proponents of the bans, which began Tuesday, say they are aimed at preventing the re-acceptance of smoking as a societal norm, particularly among teenagers who could see the tobacco-free electronic cigarettes, with their candy-like flavorings and celebrity endorsers, as a gateway to cancer-causing tobacco products.

Dr. Thomas Farley, the New York City health commissioner under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, says allowing electronic cigarettes in bars and restaurants would undermine existing bans on tobacco-based products.

“Imagine for a moment you’re at a bar and there are 20 people who are puffing on something that looks like a cigarette and then somebody smells something that smells like tobacco smoke,” Farley says. “How’s the bartender going to know who to tap on the shoulder and say, ‘Put that out’?”

Makers of the devices say marketing them as e-cigarettes has confused lawmakers into thinking they are the same as tobacco-based cigarettes. They say the bans ostracize people who want an alternative to tobacco products and will be especially hard on ex-smokers who are being lumped into the same smoking areas as tobacco users.

Their defenders also say they’re a good way to quit tobacco, even though science is murky on the claim.

Peter Denholtz, the chief executive and co-founder of the Henley Vaporium in Manhattan, says electronic cigarettes “could be the greatest invention of our lifetime in terms of saving lives” by moving smokers away from traditional cigarettes.

“This law just discourages that,” he says.

Chris Jehly, a 31-year-old Brooklyn resident, also defends the devices as a vehicle for quitting.

“The tougher they’re going to make it on vapers, the tougher it is people are going to find an actual vehicle for quitting or as a supplement to cigarettes,” Jehly says from his perch at the counter at Henley. “There’s no need for it. This is working so much better than patches or gum or prescription drugs.”

Robin Koval, chief executive of the anti-smoking Legacy Foundation, says that while ingredients in electronic cigarettes are not as harmful as those in tobacco products, they are still a concern because they contain highly addictive nicotine. The National Institutes of Health says users could expose themselves to toxic levels of nicotine while refilling the devices or even use them to smoke other substances.

Since little evidence exists on the effect of the devices on smoking — whether as an aid in quitting, a gateway for non-smokers or a bridge to keep smokers hooked longer — she says she favors a legislative approach that balances public health with the development of safer alternatives.

“The right way forward will be a way that promotes innovation that helps us do everything we possibly can to get combustible tobacco to be history,” Koval says. “We want a generation of Americans where, for them, cigarettes are a thing of the past — an artifact like a roll of film or a rotary telephone.”

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