Watch Joe Biden’s 2020 election acceptance speech live

first_imgWhen Biden is sworn into the office on Jan. 20, he will face a number of challenges, including his government’s response to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.— CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to address the nation from Wilmington, Delaware Saturday at 8 p.m. ET after NBC News projected that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will win the presidential election.He will be joined by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, the Biden campaign said.The call in the race came four days after Election Day, and during close counts in multiple battleground states. President Donald Trump‘s campaign has mounted several legal challenges over how the ballots are being tabulated.- Advertisement – [The stream is slated to start at 8:00 p.m. ET. Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.]- Advertisement – Biden will carry at least 279 electoral votes, while Trump will get 214 or more, according to NBC. Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina are still too close to call, according to NBC. Alaska is too early to call. The race, decided by narrow margins in a number of swing states, drove record turnout that will see both Biden and Trump garner more than 70 million votes. Biden has a still growing lead of more than 4 million in the nationwide popular vote.“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris,” Biden said in a statement Saturday after his projected victory. “In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Google Play Opens Voting for Users’ Choice Awards 2020 for Games, Apps, More

first_imgGoogle Play has kicked off voting for its Users’ Choice Awards of 2020, helping recognise the best games and apps of the year. Users can vote from the shortlisted apps and games until November 23. As per a report, voting for the Best Book and Movie categories has also started. Winners of each category will be announced on December 1. There are 10 shortlisted nominees in each category and they seem to be localised by country. Users can vote by clicking on the banner announcing the Users’ Choice Awards 2020 on Google Play’s homepage.The apps shortlisted for the Users’ Choice App 2020 in India include Bolkar App, Koo, Moj, MX TakaTak, Pratilipi FM, Reface, Dolby On, Microsoft Office, Zelish, and Vita. Google noted that users should vote for the must-try new apps of this year from this category.- Advertisement – Google Play had picked Video Editor – Glitch Video Effects for the Users’ Choice Award for the best app in 2019. Call of Duty: Mobile had won in the best game category.Is Android One holding back Nokia smartphones in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. For the Users’ Choice Game 2020 Award, users are encouraged to vote for this year’s trending games. The shortlisted games include Grand Hotel Mania, Farm City, Cooking Sizzle, EverMerge, Cell to Singularity, Legends of Runeterra, World Cricket Championship 3, Manor Matters, Dream League Soccer, and Teamfight Tactics. You can only vote once in each category from the shortlisted apps on Google Play.A disclaimer on Google Play notes that you may not be able to see all the titles in the collection if you have parental controls turned on, or if a game/ app is not compatible with the device. One has to also logged into the Google Play store to be able to vote.As per a report by 9to5Google, Google Play has also opened voting for Books and Movies. However, the award category and the list of options are only for users in the US. The shortlisted books are: If It Bleeds, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, Me & White Supremacy, Mexican Gothic, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, The Vanishing Half, Untamed, Wow, No Thank You, Midnight Sun, and Harrow the Ninth. The shortlisted movies include Bad Boys for Life, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Birds Of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, Bloodshot, Frozen II, Just Mercy, Knives Out, Parasite, The Invisible Man, and Trolls World Tour.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

U.S. airline employment to reach lowest levels in decades after pandemic cuts 90,000 jobs

first_imgU.S. airlines employment will fall to the lowest since the mid-1980s by the end of 2020, the result of the pandemic’s devastating impact on the sector, an industry group said Thursday.Airlines will have cut the equivalent of about 90,000 jobs by then, the result of more than 30,000 furloughs at airlines like United and American that began last month and the departure of thousands of other workers that accepted buyouts from Southwest, Delta and other carriers.Passenger carriers and their employees’ labor unions have repeatedly urged Congress for a second $25 billion federal aid package to preserve jobs through March, but so far Congress and the White House haven’t reached an agreement on a new national coronavirus stimulus package, or aid solely for battered sector.- Advertisement – The industry’s workforce in the fourth quarter will fall to about 370,000 full-time equivalent jobs, from 460,000 in March, according to Airlines for America, a trade group that represents the major U.S. airlines.Air travel demand has begun to recover from more than five-decade lows hit in April, early in the pandemic, but it remains a fraction of last year’s levels. Since the start of October, the Transportation Security Administration screened 34 million people, down nearly 65% from the 97 million people who went through airport checkpoints during the same time last year.Thanksgiving will provide only a modest uptick in demand, and airline executives on Thursday highlighted continued challenges facing the business in the pandemic.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Airlines for America said U.S. carriers’ Thanksgiving-week capacity will be down close to 39% from a year ago, compared with a 47% drop in the first two and a half weeks of November.Southwest on Thursday said a revenue rebound appeared to be losing steam for November and December bookings.“While the Company expected the election to impact trends, it is unclear whether the softness in booking trends is also a direct result of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases,” Southwest said in a filing “As such, the Company remains cautious in this uncertain revenue environment.” Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian noted the optimism following positive results from a Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine trial released earlier this week, news that sent airline stocks soaring, but warned the industry isn’t out of the woods.“Keep in mind that while developing a vaccine is an important step, widespread distribution will take many months, so we continue to expect 2021 will be a year with continued challenges,” he said in a staff note.center_img – Advertisement – A United Airlines plane takes off above American Airlines planes on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.Mario Tama | Getty Imageslast_img read more

The Masters: Kevin Na excels from tee to green, but 39 putts adds up to a 73 | Golf News

first_imgBall-striking masterclass from Na at Augusta National, apparently the first man to hit 18 greens in regulation at the Masters since 2009, but a poor day on the greens added up to a disappointing 73. By Keith JacksonLast Updated: 13/11/20 1:07am Kevin Na produced one of the most bizarre rounds in Masters history, hitting all 18 greens in regulation but struggling with the putter as he fired a one-over 73.Na’s form with the flat stick did not come close to matching his prowess from tee to green as he became the first player to hit every green in regulation for 11 years, according to stats supremo Justin Ray.But the 37-year-old needed 39 putts in what he referred to as “my new record” on his Instagram account, and he is believed to be the first player since records began some 30 years ago to shoot over par when not missing a green. According to the shot tracker on the official Masters app, Na missed six putts from inside 10 feet, including birdie chances from seven feet at the second and fourth.The irony is that Na was ranked fifth in the Strokes Gained – Putting statistics on the PGA Tour last season! Get Sky Sports Golf for just £10 a month – Advertisement – Na made only one birdie and needed 39 putts in his 73 Na made only one birdie and needed 39 putts in his 73

Disappearance and Death of Louisiana Teen Raises Questions About Police Response

first_imgWithin hours of being notified that Quawan might be in their jurisdiction, Iberia Parish sheriff’s deputies discovered the body of a teenage boy around 6 p.m. in a muddy field near Loreauville, a small rural community not far from the Irvins’ home, after they pinged Quawan’s cellphone, Mr. Hall said. “It appears that something hateful happened to Bobby,” Ron Hall, a lawyer for the family, said in an interview, using Quawan’s nickname. “Whether this was an intentional act or grossly negligent indifference for human life, it’s still horrible.”On Oct. 30, Quawan’s mother had planned to pick him up from his father’s home for a haircut at 3 p.m., but he didn’t answer his phone, according to Mr. Hall. When he hadn’t responded by 7 p.m., his parents began to worry. His father forced down his locked bedroom door, realized he was missing and called the Baldwin Police Department, Mr. Hall said. Quawan Charles in a photo provided by his family.Credit…via Associated Press – Advertisement – Mr. Arceneaux said the failure of the police to immediately look for Quawan at the football game or to issue an Amber Alert was indicative of a larger issue.“Regardless of whether this was racially motivated or not, regardless of what the situation surrounding his death may be, the fact that the police departments didn’t act the way they would’ve acted if Quawan was a 15-year-old white girl named Katie, that’s the problem,” Mr. Arceneaux said.The American Civil Liberties Union has backed the call for an independent and transparent investigation, according to a statement from Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the A.C.L.U. of Louisiana.“The disrespect and lack of transparency demonstrated by local officials in response to Bobby’s tragic and suspicious death is unacceptable,” Ms. Odoms Hebert said in a statement. “We join the family in demanding a full and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bobby’s death.”Quawan’s family has organized demonstrations outside the Baldwin Police Department and the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office to call for justice and answers. They feel that if action had been taken sooner, Quawan could be alive today, Mr. Hall said.“He’s still a kid,” he said. “If there’s a 1 percent chance at preventing what happened to Bobby — whatever that was — if you put full resources into finding this kid, then you take that chance.” After they located the body, the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office opened a homicide investigation that included interviewing those who were believed to have been with Quawan before his disappearance and searching their home, the office said in a statement on Saturday. A spokeswoman declined to answer whether that included Ms. Irvin and her son.“We interviewed these same individuals and are currently tracking their whereabouts,” the statement said. Video evidence recorded near the area where his body was found indicates that Quawan was alone for some time before and after he was seen on the recording, according to the statement.A preliminary autopsy report released by the Iberia Parish coroner on Friday said the cause of Quawan’s death was drowning, citing muddy water found in his airways and hyperinflated lungs. In the report, the coroner attributed the scratches and wounds on Quawan’s face to “aquatic animal activity” and said that the boy had not sustained the injuries before his death.A toxicology report has not yet been released.There are several bodies of water near the sugar cane field where Quawan was found, Mr. Hall said, but none deeper than two feet.“If in fact he did die of drowning — and we’re saying that as an if — we’re calling into question how exactly that would have happened,” Mr. Hall said. “Can somebody who’s 5-foot-6 typically drown in two feet of water? No, not unless there’s another cause associated with that.” The Baldwin Police Department, which also did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday, said in a statement on Tuesday that it would handle the investigation into his disappearance. Quawan’s death would be investigated — as a homicide — by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. The Police Department added that “proper protocol was used to report the juvenile as missing.” The family has commissioned an independent autopsy and has sent an investigator to capture drone footage of the fields where Quawan was found, Mr. Hall said.Quawan was a quiet teenager who had seven siblings, according to Mr. Hall. He had an understated sense of humor that would come out as he got to know a person and had recently adopted a dog he named My Baby, according to The Washington Post.“Like a lot of teenagers, he was just at that age where you’re trying to figure out your place in this world,” said Andre Arceneaux, a local activist who founded Stand Black, an advocacy group. “He was just a good kid and something happened to him that we don’t know the ins and outs of yet.”When his family saw photos of Quawan taken at the coroner’s office the night he was found — a quarter of his mangled face gone, revealing half his teeth in a gruesome, forced grin — they likened his appearance to that of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black youth who was killed in 1955, recalled Mr. Arceneaux, who was with them at the time.Quawan’s mother decided to release one of the photos, Mr. Arceneaux said.“She somehow had the bravery to say, ‘The world needs to see my child; the world needs to see what he looks like,’” Mr. Arceneaux said. “Sometimes it takes something like that for people to see the severity of what happened.”On a GoFundMe page for Quawan’s family, Mr. Till and Mr. Charles are displayed side by side, their faces captioned “1955” and “2020.” By Saturday afternoon, more than $235,000 had been raised for autopsy and funeral costs.Quawan’s death has not been deemed racially motivated by the authorities or his family, Mr. Hall said. The police assured Quawan’s parents that he was probably at a football game or with friends, Mr. Hall said. No Amber Alert was issued.- Advertisement – Days after his family had reported him missing, 15-year-old Quawan Charles was found dead in a sugar cane field, more than 20 miles from his home in Baldwin, La., his face badly disfigured.A preliminary autopsy found that his death had most likely been caused by drowning. But the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, and the local police’s slowness to take action, have prompted the boy’s family to commission an independent autopsy and question whether his death could have been prevented.- Advertisement – Frustrated, the family took matters into their own hands and learned that Quawan had been picked up by Janet Irvin and her son, without his parents’ permission, Mr. Hall said. He was taken to their home in the neighboring Iberia Parish, he said.It is unclear when, why or how Quawan left the Irvin home, Mr. Hall said. Ms. Irvin did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday, and the Baldwin Police Department, which is investigating Quawan’s disappearance, did not respond to questions.Quawan’s parents contacted the authorities in neighboring Iberia Parish on Nov. 3 to involve them in the search.- Advertisement –last_img read more

At the age of 15, Esperanza Spalding picked up a bass. She’s never put it down

first_imgEmily, of course, is also Spalding’s middle name.“Ebony and Ivy” was inspired by Craig Steven Wilder’s Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities.A 2006 report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution’s complex and contested involvement in slavery–setting off a controversy that leapt from the ivory tower to make headlines across the country. But Brown’s troubling past was far from unique. In Ebony and Ivy, Craig Steven Wilder, a rising star in the profession of history, lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy.Many of America’s revered colleges and universities–from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to Rutgers, Williams College, and UNC–were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color. Slavery funded colleges, built campuses, and paid the wages of professors. Enslaved Americans waited on faculty and students; academic leaders aggressively courted the support of slave owners and slave traders. Significantly, as Wilder shows, our leading universities, dependent on human bondage, became breeding grounds for the racist ideas that sustained them.Spalding is acutely aware of what she owes to jazz history, and to artists like Wayne Shorter, a pioneer of jazz fusion. Here’s her vocal tribute to Shorter at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2018, performing “Endangered Species.”In an earlier tribute to Shorter, Spalding picked up the bass guitar for this 2009 performance of that same composition on Austin City Limits. Which do you prefer?Spalding’s versatility can be seen in cross-genre collaborations—like this one with Grammy Award-winning pianist Robert Glasper.Spalding also engages in social activism offstage. She’s been an ambassador for the Innocence Project since 2018.A lot of Spalding’s music takes on a keen social consciousness.  She dedicated Land of the Free to Innocence Project client Cornelius Dupree, who was exonerated after spending more than 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. (She performed at our 25th Anniversary celebration where she had a chance to meet Cornelius and his wife, Selma.) Spalding also made a video in 2013 titled We Are America about the prison in Guantanamo Bay and performed at the Peace Ball at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.It was great to see the birthday wishes for her roll in last month. May she be gifted with many more.I realize, dear readers, that there are many bassists whom I haven’t yet covered in this series. Join me in the comments for some of them, and feel free to post your favorites. And if you have some free time (or extra funds)—help us get Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff elected in Georgia! Never heard of Esperanza Spalding? Here’s a great introduction.The American Academy of Achievement has an extensive biography of Spalding, including several video interviews.Esperanza Spalding was born in Portland, Oregon. Her parents separated when she was very young, and her mother raised Esperanza and her brother on her own in King, a Portland neighborhood that suffered from poverty and violence in the years when Esperanza was growing up. Despite the family’s limited resources, Esperanza’s mother encouraged free thinking and creative expression for her children and exposed them to a variety of cultural influences.Esperanza fell in love with music at age four, after seeing the classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Too small to hold the cello, she took up the violin. After a few violin lessons she was able to practice and study on her own. Her progress on her first instrument was extraordinary. The Portland community provided a number of opportunities for young people to participate in music ensembles and young Esperanza took advantage of them all. At age five she was playing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon.Over the next ten years, she learned guitar with her mother, taught herself piano, and experimented with the clarinet and oboe. By 15, she was concertmaster (lead violinist) with the Chamber Music Society and ready to pursue her original dream of playing the cello. By chance, she picked up an upright bass instead and fell in love with the giant of the string family. Even larger than the cello, the bass is usually the chosen instrument of tall men with long arms and big hands. At five-foot-six, Esperanza Spalding compensated for her smaller stature with an outsize talent and unrelenting commitment to music. She also took up the electric bass, and began writing songs, singing and leading a band in Portland rock clubs.- Advertisement – Spalding’s affinity with the bass has been on display to jazz fans from the time she released her debut album in 2006, Junjo, as Michael G. Nastos at All Music wrote at the time.The debut recording by acoustic upright bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, a native of Portland, OR, residing in Boston, MA, is an exercise in joy and freedom. Well rendered for such a very young musician, it’s quite notable, considering the certainty of her concept and clarity of her vision. While steeped in contemporary jazz, there are Latin flavors, unabashed free moments, and some implied and direct swing. Further, it is an expression of her well-being, optimism, and future hope for her life in this music. Also in her peer group, pianist Aruan Ortiz and drummer Francisco Mela add a hundredfold to this music and establish themselves as leaders-to-be, and are quite capable partners for Spalding‘s wonderful sounds. The first piece, a take of the Jimmy Rowles evergreen “The Peacocks,” lets you know something special is going on. Spalding‘s bass leads out with the probing piano of Ortiz as wordless vocals and a modal jam all precede the melody, followed by a free section. The imagination quotient of this interpretation is off the charts.Listen to “The Peacocks” yourself, and you’ll find yourself agreeing with Nastos: There is something special going on.Yet despite becoming a professor at 20, and releasing her first album at 21, Spalding is quick to dismiss those who describe her as a prodigy, for one very clear reason.- Advertisement – xwell, this being over here is deep in study and conjure mode in the quietude self-quarantining.  for those who might be interested, here’s some talkings about spells, music-gift-commodity relations and more…love to allhttps://t.co/jUZCF2LxMo pic.twitter.com/JlYWTt7Bni— esperanza spalding (@EspeSpalding) March 22, 2020Spalding is not just an instrumentalist; she is a gifted singer-songwriter as well. Nor is she locked into what people expect to hear from a “jazz artist.” She moves fluidly and freely between musical genres. NPR’s Lara Pellegrinelli wrote an effusive review of Spalding in back in 2018, going so far as to call her a “genius.”A favorite of the Obamas, Spalding performed “Overjoyed” at the White House in tribute to Stevie Wonder in 2009, sparking a relationship between the two artists. Prince invited her to jam, and she played on his BET Lifetime Achievement Award tribute and opened for him on tour in 2011. (When I saw the show, I couldn’t help checking out Questlove seated at the end of my aisle, his head bobbing to Spalding’s “I Know You Know.”) Radio Music Society featured a guest appearance by Lalah Hathaway; Q-Tip produced a pair of its tracks. Spalding appeared as a guest on Janelle Monáe’s 2013 album The Electric Lady and Bruno Mars’ 2012 Unorthodox Jukebox.These artists clearly acknowledge Spalding as a talented peer. The benefits of their creative exchanges may seem obvious to those outside of jazz, but they run contrary to jazz’s often elitist musical culture. They come at a time when the form has its sights set in the rearview mirror, when most young artists are “trying to sound like they peaked in 1942 or 1957,” says Carrington.Spalding, instead, has more in common with two of jazz’s greatest living composers: pianist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, co-founder of the superband Weather Report. (Incidentally, Spalding is writing the libretto for Shorter’s opera Iphigenia, premiering in 2020.) Alumni of Miles Davis’ second great quintet, the two men pioneered fusion starting in the 1970s, walking paths that brought them to audiences for commercial music.Yes, Spalding is a fave of the Obamas. In 2009, she performed at President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony.Here she is backstage at the White House in 2016. One of the things I miss the most about not having the Obamas in the White House? The amazing array of artists that they supported, Spalding among them.Here’s Spalding at the 2009 White House Poetry Jam.For Black History Month 2012, Spalding released this remarkable video for “Black Gold.”NPR offers some context.The Afro-centric implication of the title is no coincidence. The song was released yesterday, Feb. 1 — the first day of Black History Month. The video was premiered yesterday on a network called Black Entertainment Television. And to these ears, the music itself connects jazz aesthetics to sounds of black popular music today.In case that message wasn’t clear, Spalding wrote some commentary on the track for members of the press:This song is singing to our African American heritage before slavery. Over the decades, so much of the strength in the African American community has seeded from resistance and endurance. I wanted to address the part of our heritage spanning back to pre-colonial Africa and the elements of Black pride that draw from our connection to our ancestors in their own land. I particularly wanted to create something that spoke to young boys. In the interview below, Spalding talks about growing up in a rough neighborhood, and how important it was to have community programs in Portland that supported the arts. She shares memories of hearing Yo-Yo Ma for the first time, on public television, and on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Full video transcript here.In a 2008 interview with Nu-Soul Magazine, Spalding explained her unique choice of instrument.“Well, I didn’t really choose the bass, nor did I expect it to take me anywhere as I started studying it.  I played many other instruments, well dabbled at them, but the bass had its own arc and it unfolded a path for me that I just kept following. I don’t know why or how, but my evolution on bass actually occurred quite naturally and unexpectedly. What would I do with any other instrument? That is kind of how I feel. The bass and I just resonate.”- Advertisement – The Brooklyn concert was a preview before a world tour that started this month showcasing her new album, which marks her evolution as a singer-songwriter. It is less overtly jazz-related than her four previous solo releases. She doesn’t play any acoustic bass or take solos.“Emily is a name for a process … when you sense that there’s something pent up that you haven’t been developing,” said Spalding, 31, said at a cafe near her Brooklyn home. “It sometimes takes an eruption to open that up and that’s a lot of what Emily does.” The lyrics are powerful:Think of all the strength you have in youFrom the blood you carry within youAncient manPowerful manBuilders of civilizationHold your head as high as you canHigh enough to see who you are, little manLife sometimes is cold and cruelBaby no one else will tell you so remember thatYou are Black Gold, Black GoldYou are Black GoldIn an interview with Yin & Yang, Spalding speaks briefly about her process when writing the song, and about Black identity writ large.She further reinforces her identity as a Black woman—a group for whom hair has historically been a key issue in the context of white society—in “How To (hair),” from her 2018 Grammy Award-winning album, 12 Little Spells. The final lyrics are potent.I raise my palm in praise of the symphonic nappynessHaloing your headI raise my palm in praise of the God-given nappynessHaloing your headI raise my palm in praise of the beautiful nappynessHaloing your headAs with “Black Gold,” the video is a powerful one!In 2016 Spalding went in a different direction, with the release of Emily’s D+Evolution, reviewed for the Philadelphia Tribune by jazz writer Charles J. Gans (who is also a Daily Kos contributor). Supported by her power rock trio of electric guitarist Matthew Stevens, drummer Jason Tyson and three yellow-clad backup singers-dancers, Spalding turned her Brooklyn show into performance art using such props as a stack of books on “Ebony and Ivy,” which alludes to the historic links between elite American universities and the slave trade. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Glaxo H5N1 vaccine may work against multiple strains

first_imgEditor’s note: This story was revised Mar 7 to clarify information about global influenza vaccine production capacity.March 6, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) unveiled new findings yesterday suggesting that its inactivated H5N1 influenza vaccine may protect humans from more than one strain of the virus, which may build a stronger case for prepandemic vaccination and spur more countries to consider stockpiling.Researchers from GSK detailed recent findings from two studies at a symposium in Hong Kong, the company said in a press release yesterday. In July 2006, the company had reported that its vaccine triggered a good immune response in humans at a much lower dose than other H5N1 vaccines under development.GSK’s vaccine, based on an H5N1 virus collected in Vietnam in 2004, contains a proprietary adjuvant (an immune-stimulating chemical). Adjuvants enable vaccine makers to produce more doses from a limited supply of antigen.Though the GSK vaccine is made with older egg-based production methods, which are slower and more laborious than newer cell-culture or DNA technology, the dose-sparing effect of the adjuvant is crucial. The current world population is more than 6 billion, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated the maximum global production capacity for seasonal flu vaccines at only about 350 million doses.In November, the WHO cautioned governments against spockpiling prepandemic vaccines, because many fundamental questions about H5N1 vaccines remained, such as whether vaccines would work against more than one strain of the virus.However, vaccines that are effective against more than one strain could strengthen the case for building prepandemic vaccine stockpiles. David Stout, president of GSK Pharmaceuticals, commented in the press release, “We believe this vaccine will provide governments with a new option to help protect their populations against the threat of a future human influenza pandemic.”Study resultsThe first study GSK presented at the Hong Kong meeting involved 400 adults and found that very low levels of GSK’s inactivated, adjuvanted H5N1 vaccine (two 3.8-microgram [mcg] doses administered 21 days apart) elicited strong cross-reactive immunity against an Indonesian strain of the virus. The response was 25 times greater than that observed in a control group that received a nonadjuvanted version of the vaccine, GSK said in its press release. Immunity was assessed by measuring the level of neutralizing antibodies.”This means that proactive administration of our prepandemic vaccine before or just after the start of a pandemic could help to substantially slow down the spread of the disease,” said Jean Stephenne, president of GSK Biologicals.For comparison, an H5N1 vaccine made by Sanofi Pasteur that was recently recommended for approval by a US Food and Drug Administration panel required two 90-mcg doses to yield an immune response in less than half of patients tested.In the second study, researchers immunized ferrets with the GSK vaccine and then infected them with an Indonesian strain of H5N1 virus. Only 1 of the 23 infected animals died, which translates to a 96% protection rate, GSK reported.Findings difficult to evaluateGregory Poland, MD, a vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told CIDRAP News that it’s hard to evaluate GSK’s findings, because the company has not yet published any clinical trials in peer-reviewed medical journals. “It’s certainly exciting news, but it needs to be confirmed,” he said. Researchers are eager to learn more about the adjuvant that GSK used, particularly its safety profile and reactivity.The report of a robust immune response with a low dose of vaccine is promising, and in a prepandemic setting, a two-dose course isn’t likely to be problematic, said Poland, who is a professor of medicine in infectious diseases at the Mayo College of Medicine and directs the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology. “It’s tempting to go overboard, and I’m excited, but cautiously so,” he added.Besides positioning its vaccine as a prepandemic measure for national stockpiles, GSK would also like to market the vaccine someday to medical clinics and individuals, according to a Canadian Press story published yesterday.In November 2006, the US Department of Health and Human Services awarded GSK a $40 million contract for a supply of its H5N1 antigen in bulk form, and in January it granted the company $63.3 million to develop antigen-sparing H5N1 influenza vaccines.See also:Jul 2006 CIDRAP News article “Glaxo says its H5N1 vaccine works at low dose”last_img read more

FDA unveils pandemic preparedness plan

first_imgMar 14, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued a pandemic influenza preparedness plan that defines the agency’s current role in federal pandemic planning, such as expediting the review of new vaccines and antivirals, and spells out work it will do in areas such as food safety and targeting counterfeit drugs.The lengthy plan, posted on the FDA’s Web site, addresses six major areas: vaccines, antiviral medications, medical devices, food and feed safety, emergency preparedness and response, and enforcement.Though the FDA has already accomplished several pandemic-related tasks, such as approving a pediatric indication for the antiviral oseltamivir, other tasks are ongoing. The plan details steps needed to improve the surge capacity for producing products that will be crucial during a pandemic, such as antivirals, diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment, and other medical equipment.On the food safety front, the FDA said it is identifying a list of regulated foods and animal feeds that are at increased risk for contamination from a pandemic virus strain. The list would include products that contain poultry ingredients. The agency also said it would gauge the risk of food contamination from infected waterfowl and the possibility of contamination of ready-to-eat foods by infectious respiratory droplets from humans.In addition, the FDA said it is investigating which food-processing practices can kill influenza viruses. The agency will conduct its own research on the effectiveness of processing methods, and also monitor the scientific literature on the survivability of viruses in various foods and conditions.Though the FDA has already prohibited the use of human antiviral drugs in poultry and is currently educating groups about the rule, it said the next step is to provide a test for antiviral drug residues in products that contain poultry. The FDA said it expects to provide testing capability sometime during the 2007-08 fiscal year.The agency reported it is already pursuing actions against fraudulent or counterfeit pandemic-related products, particularly those that are risky to consumers. One of the next steps, officials said, is to draft a plan to expand investigations and prosecutions of such cases and intercept product shipments at US borders.In other news related to flu viruses and food safety, scientists at the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Ga., recently tested whether cooking chicken at the USDA-recommended temperature kills the H5N1 virus. The researchers used heavily contaminated meat from 4-week-old White Leghorn chickens that they infected with a 2003 Korean strain of the H5N1 virus.Their study, described in the March issue of the Journal of Food Protection, showed that cooking the meat at the recommended 165ºF killed the virus with a large margin of safety. The USDA made the 165ºF recommendation in April 2006, on the basis of advice from its National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. Some previous federal recommendations called for slightly higher temperatures.See also:Thomas C, Swayne DE. Thermal inactivation of H5N1 high pathogenicity avian influenza virus in naturally infected chicken meat. J Food Protect 2007 Mar;70(3):674-80 [Full Text]April 6, 2006, CIDRAP News story “USDA: 165 degrees is magic number for safe poultry”http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food/news/april0506cook.htmllast_img read more

Željko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera, named Businessman of the Year

first_imgŽeljko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera, the largest tourist company in Croatia, was named Businessman of the Year.According to the choice of the readers of Večernji list and Poslovni dnevnik, Kukurin won the title in a record tourist year in which Croatia exceeded 100 million overnight stays for the first time. “It is my pleasure to receive this award, which is a confirmation of Valamar’s philosophy of excellence in tourism through investments in employees, products and tourist destinations in which we operate, so that we always take care of socially responsible and sustainable business. This is also an award for tourism, which is the driver of the Croatian economy as a leader in investment, employment and exports, and perhaps more importantly, the driver of other industries such as construction, agriculture, trade, IT and small and medium enterprises. Tourism is a time of great development and all of us in the sector must be aware of this and take responsibility for the development of tourism and the Croatian economy. I believe this award will be another incentive for that. I thank everyone who chose Valamar. I also thank the employees, the management of Valamar, our shareholders, investors, special partners and all those who participated in this success.”, Pointed out Željko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera.Since Kukurin was appointed President of the Management Board of the Valamar Riviera Consolidated Portfolio in June 2015, the company has been on a strong rise. In the last three years, Valamar has more than doubled its share value, started a cycle of intensive investments in tourist facilities and services in all destinations, took over the Baška and Imperial Rab hotels, realized important strategic partnerships and achieved double-digit annual revenue and profit growth.So far, Valamar has invested over four billion kuna in Croatian tourism, and by 2020 it will invest another two billion kuna. In 2017, with total investments of HRK 906 million, Valamar realized the largest annual investment cycle in Croatian tourism this year and created 1.000 new jobs. Valamar will continue with investments in 2018, when total investments will exceed HRK 705 million. 600 new jobs are planned for next year.Related news: ACCORDING TO THE GUEST SURVEY, THE HOSPITALITY OF VALAMAR EMPLOYEES AT A VERY HIGH LEVEL <br />
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Fortress of St. Nicholas and officially under the protection of UNESCO!

first_imgYesterday, a ceremony was held at the Šibenik Theater to present the charter on the occasion of the registration of the Fortress of St. Nikola to the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the charter was handed over to the prefect Goran Pauk by the UNESCO Assistant Director for Culture Francesco Bandarin. By the way, in the morning, before the award ceremony, the UNESCO flag and the flag of the Republic of Croatia were ceremoniously placed on the walls of the fortress. “This is a historic moment for Šibenik when we become the only city in Croatia with two UNESCO monuments. Next to the Cathedral of St. Jakov, the fortress of St. Nikola is the pearl of our historical and cultural heritage, which we are infinitely proud of, and at the same time it will be the last restored Šibenik fort. Our fortresses are the generators of the future of this city. We believe that this legacy of our ancestors, once the defensive shield of the city, will bring new value and recognition in the world to Šibenik in the future.”, Said Mayor Zeljko Buric and thanked everyone who worked on the project.UNESCO Assistant Director for Culture Francesco Bandarin expressed his enthusiasm, stating that the fortress of St. Nikola is the most beautiful fortress he has ever seen and he singled out the world’s metropolises that have more than one UNESCO monument London, Berlin, Beijing, and among them is now Šibenik. “By entering the imposing fortress of St. Nikola on the World Heritage List, little Šibenik found itself in the company of large and few cities that have as many as two UNESCO monuments and I congratulate you on that. I must say that the fortress of St. Nikola is one of the most beautiful fortresses I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of them in my work. ”, said UNESCO Assistant Director for Culture, Francesco Bandarin.Mayor Goran Pauk pointed out that they were extremely proud of the proclamation in Krakow at the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in July this year. He reminded that for the previous works on the fortress of St. HRK 1,5 million was allocated to Nikola, while HRK 500 thousand was invested in the preparation of documentation.last_img read more