Rwandas 1st female neurosurgeon chose Canada to complete training Toronto Western

first_imgTORONTO – As a child growing up in Rwanda during the 1980s and ’90s, Claire Karekezi dreamed of becoming a doctor. But what she calls her “guiding star” has taken her far beyond that initial goal to join the ranks of what is perhaps medicine’s most demanding specialty.In early July, the 35-year-old will return home as the first and only female neurosurgeon in Rwanda, says Toronto Western Hospital, where she has spent the last year honing her skills in neuro-oncology and skull base surgery, specializing in the removal of brain tumours.Providing that service to brain cancer patients in a country with only one hospital-based MRI and few CT scanners will be a daunting task, but it’s one Karekezi is determined to overcome, just as she has all the challenges and sacrifices needed to fulfil her childhood dream.It was a childhood scarred by the 1994 genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 people in the African nation, a bloodbath that retired Canadian general Romeo Dallaire and his inadequately manned contingent of UN peacekeepers were powerless to prevent.“In 1994, I was 10 years old … so I experienced the genocide as a growing kid,” said Karekezi, who was living with her parents and two older siblings in Kigali, the capital. “Everyone had to get out, people were being killed on the roads.”She lost cousins and aunts in the massacre — a 100-day period she is loathe to speak about in any detail.“I always tell people that that’s what sort of made us who we are today as Rwandese people, because we grew up knowing that we cannot count on anyone but ourselves.“So this kind of spirit kept me going, to do whatever it takes to get where I want to go,” she says. “I keep pushing because the genocide happened, the whole world was watching and no one did anything. But we came through that, we are a strong nation, and we have very brave people who have managed to do impressive things now.”Karekezi can surely count herself among their number.After finishing high school in 2001, she was awarded a full government scholarship as an outstanding student to study medicine at the University of Rwanda in Butare, the city where she was born.In 2007, with a couple of years left until she graduated as a doctor, Karekezi applied and was accepted as an exchange student to study at the University of Linkoping in Sweden through the International Federation of Medical Students.“That time, my purpose was to go to Europe,” she admits, smiling coyly. It was her first time away from home.But it was July, and the only department in operation through the traditional summer-holiday period was neurosurgery, an area of medicine she’d never considered.“I knew nothing about neurosurgery, I had no training in brain anatomy,” Karekezi concedes, adding that she had planned to study radiology.But that guiding star must have had other notions.Serendipitously, she found herself taken under the wing of department head Dr. Jan Hillman, who led Karekezi to the operating room and had her scrub in to observe surgery on a patient with a brain tumour.“That was the first time I saw the brain,” she says. “I was amazed. I was like ‘This is the brain?’”Hillman became her first mentor, explaining and demonstrating to Karekezi the intricacies of the brain and encouraging his protege to embrace the complex specialty and eventually practise it in Rwanda, where at the time there was not a single neurosurgeon.“He saw this light in me,” she says of the Swedish doctor, calling him her “father in neurosurgery.”Back at home, she continued reading texts about neurosurgery on her own while finishing her medical degree. A month before graduation in 2009, she was accepted for a short neurosurgery program at Oxford University in the U.K.Determined to follow her new dream, she doggedly kept emailing the head of the Rabat Reference Center for Training Young African Neurosurgeons in Morocco, seeking a spot in the program that had been set up under the auspices of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies.She was finally accepted after securing government funding and moved to Morocco in 2011, spending the next five years immersed in learning the specialty. In her final year, she was named chief resident.“At the end, I was a neurosurgeon,” says Karekezi, who is fluent in French, English, Rwandan and Swahili, with some knowledge of Arabic from her time in Morocco.But that guiding star wasn’t done with her yet.In 2013, she had been given a Women in Neurosurgery award sponsored by Dr. Mark Bernstein, a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, who holds the Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery.Though they hadn’t met in person, Karekezi contacted Bernstein about applying for one of four annual fellowships at Toronto Western in neuro-oncology, also sponsored under the Wilkins-Barrick chair.Having heard about her through the Women in Neurosurgery award and from an African colleague who knew her, Bernstein decided “she would be a very worthy candidate” for the program.“It just seemed she had what it takes, she seemed to be sharp and very dedicated and committed,” he said. “She had been through a lot to get where she is, and that struck me as well.”So last July, Karekezi arrived in Toronto, ready to tackle the final stretch of what has been a 12-year journey.That odyssey has been one of sacrifice: years away from her family, moving from country to country, and putting relationships, marriage and motherhood on hold.Still, she is philosophical about what she has missed out on. “I need to carry the dream to the end — and then I can think about settling.”When she returns to Rwanda in July, Karekezi will take home not only her skills in neurosurgery, but also a mental blueprint learned in Toronto of how to more efficiently deliver services to patients, by smoothing the paths between surgeons, oncologists, radiation therapists and other care providers.Her next dream is to collaborate with her colleagues — there are four male neurosurgeons now practising in the country of 12 million people and a fifth is just finishing his training — to work towards developing such a multidisciplinary neuro-oncology centre.“I really respect what she’s done,” said Bernstein. “She’s looking to get to the moon and she’s going to get there.”So what is it that continues to drive Karekezi?“It’s passion, it’s dedication,” she says, simply. “It’s not about money — I’m living my dream and I love what I do.“This is something I can do. This is something I can bring back to Rwanda.”— Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.last_img read more

Shock and oil Alberta premier threatens to turn off taps in BC

first_imgEDMONTON – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is threatening to turn off the oil taps in a fight with British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.Notley won’t say if she would cut off B.C. or the rest of Canada — or both — but says her government is ready to pass legislation to make it happen.“Our key focus is getting people’s attention on the matter,” Notley told a news conference Thursday prior to the speech from the throne to open the next session of the legislature.“We’re not interested in creating any kind of crisis in any way, shape or form. We’re going to be measured. We’re going to be careful.”The $7.4-billion pipeline expansion would triple the amount of Alberta crude going from Edmonton to ports and refineries in B.C.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved the Kinder Morgan project in 2016, but the pipeline has since faced permit fights and challenges from the B.C. government.Alberta has already imposed and pulled back on a ban of wine from B.C., but Notley said the government will not stand for further delays and harassment.She said the project is vital to Alberta and to the rest of Canada, and the country is forgoing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost revenue due to pipeline bottlenecks.“There are many tools that we also have between our previous wine ban and this tool,” said Notley.“All we are doing is making sure that our tools are at the ready, because it is important for Albertans to understand that we are going to stand up to protect the interests of Albertans on this matter.”The announcement echoes action taken in 1980 by former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed in a showdown with the federal government.Lougheed announced phased cuts to oil flows amounting to 15 per cent over nine months as well as the cancellation of two large oilsands developments after Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals brought in the national energy program with its price controls, new taxes and revenue sharing.The two sides brokered a compromise after Lougheed turned off the taps.Opposition United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney has been pushing Notley for weeks to take a tougher stance with pipeline opponents, including revisiting Lougheed’s moves.Notley brought in a ban on B.C. wine in February after B.C. Premier John Horgan’s government announced it would not allow increased oil shipments through the province until it had reviewed oil spill safety.Notley lifted the ban on Feb. 22 after Horgan said his government would ask the courts to determine if B.C. has the authority to take the action it was planning.Notley and the federal government have stated that the law is clear and Ottawa alone has ultimate jurisdiction on interprovincial pipelines.last_img read more

Two Jaish ultras killed used to target civilians

first_imgSrinagar: Two Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants involved in the killing of a number of civilians and police personnel were on Saturday gunned down by security forces in an encounter in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. The slain militants have been identified as Abid Wagay, a resident of Rawalpora Shopian, and Shahjahan Mir, hailing from Amshepora Shopian, a police spokesman said.Based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Gahand area of Shopian district of south Kashmir, a cordon and search operation was launched by security forces there in the morning, the spokesman said. He said during the searches, the militants fired upon the security personnel who retaliated.last_img

Campaign for byelection in four Assembly constituencies concludes

first_imgKolkata: Campaign in four Assembly constituencies where by-election will be held on May 19, came to an end on Friday afternoon. By-election in Nowda and Kandi Assembly seats will be held on May 20.The seats at Bhatpara, Islampur, Darjeeling and Habibpur (ST) seats fell vacant as the MLAs who had been elected from these seats in 2016 are contesting in the Lok Sabha polls. Bhatpara Assembly seat under Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat has drawn maximum attention where Madan Mitra of Trinamool Congress is contesting against Pawan Singh of BJP. The seat fell vacant after Arjun Singh, former Trinamool Congress MLA left the party and to contest on BJP ticket in the Lok Sabha poll. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaMitra won the by-election from Bishnupur (West) seat in 2009. In 2011, when Mamata Banerjee came to power, he was elected from Kamarhati and became the Transport minister in Banerjee’s Cabinet. He got involved in multi-crore Sarada scam and resigned. He lost the Assembly election in 2016. Mitra is confident about his victory. Binay Tamang is contesting as a Gorkha Jana Murti Morcha from Darjeeling Assembly seat. The seat fell vacant after Amar Singh Rai went on to contest as a Trinamool candidate in the Lok Sabha election. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAbdul Karim Chowdhury of Trinamool is contesting in the by election from Islampur seat that falls under Raigunj Lok Sabha seat. MLA Kanaia Lal Agarwal is contesting in the Lok Sabha from Raigung seat. Amal Kishku of Trinamool is contesting from Habibpur (ST) seat. The by-election in Nowda and Kandi Assembly seats will be held on May 20. The MLA from Nowda in Murshidabad district, Abu Taher Khan is contesting in Lok Sabha seat. Apurba Sarkar who was the MLA from Kandi is contesting against his mentor Adhir Chowdhury in Berhampur seat.last_img read more

PCR personnel rescues two persons from burning car

first_imgNew Delhi: In a brave effort, the Police Control Room (PCR) unit of Delhi Police rescued two persons trapped in burning car near Dilshad Garden.According to police, the staff of PCR MPV of Shahdara Zone on the intervening night of May 18-19, the PCR MPV staff consisting of I/C ASI Rishi Kumar, gunman ASI Naresh Kumar and driver constable Surender received a call that two persons are entrapped in a burning car. “Two persons were trapped in the burning car and struggling to come out. Without wasting time, the MPV staff immediately broke the window glass of the car and pulled out both persons trapped inside the car,” said DCP PCR. Saving accident victim On the intervening night of May 18-19, the PCR MPV staff consisting of HC Rakesh women constables Billa, Raveena and constable Ghanshyam noticed that two persons were coming from Shadipur flyover and going towards Moti Nagar, riding on a motorcycle. In the meantime, one Hyundai Creta Car (white colour) came from behind at high speed, driven rashly and negligently by the driver and hit the motorcycle near front gate No. 1 Moment Mall. The MPV staff alerted the other MPVs by flashing a QST regarding the offending vehicle. They also rushed to the aid of both the injured identified as Vishal and Prakash and admitted them to Acharya Bhikshu Hospital. They also caught an offending vehicle. Saved snatching victim On the intervening night of May 18/19 SI. Shyam Lal and ASI Gajender Singh were performing their duty on PCR MPV. They noticed that one scooty borne assailant and a girl were scuffling. The accused was trying to snatch the mobile from thegirl and she was struggling to foil his attempt. The PCR Staff apprehend the scooty borne accused, identified as Sahil and save the victim. PCR caught robber: On the intervening night of May 18/19 the PCR MPV staff received a PCR call of robbery at C-Block in Mansoravar Garden. The PCR staff noticed that public persons were chasing three boys. On seeing the PCR van, the boys changed their direction and started running in another direction. The PCR staff succeeded to apprehend one of the suspects identified as Vikas.last_img read more

Larviciding to happen on campus this summer

From June 17 to Sept. 13, 2013 Brock University will run a larviciding program under the authority of the Region’s Medical Officer of Health to control larval mosquitoes and prevent the possible spread of West Nile virus.The larvicide Methoprene will be applied by direct hand application into catch basins at Brock University-owned and leased properties in Niagara.The biological larvicide Bti may be placed by direct hand application into selected bodies of surface water, such as ditches and ponds, depending on results of tests for the presence of mosquito larvae.Signs will be posted at surface water locations where Bti is applied.All larvicides will be applied by Ministry of the Environment-licensed applicators.For details on the exact locations and dates of treatments, please contact Facilities Management Customer Service at ext. 3717 or by emailing facilitiesmanagement@brocku.ca. read more

Bride searches for answers after Sarcoa closes

Ann Jennings booked and has been busy planning her wedding at Sarcoa. It’s been more than three weeks since the Hamilton Waterfront restaurant was forced to close after its lease was terminated, and she still doesn’t know where she is getting married.Ann was watching CHCH News when she learned Sarcoa had its lease terminated by the Hamilton Waterfront Trust after claims they racked up $226 000 in unpaid rent and violated their lease. At this point though Ann and her fiance haven’t been contacted by JEM Hospitality- which handles special events at Sarcoa- even though they have a contract, a wedding date set for November 7th and have put down a $500 deposit.More than two weeks ago JEM Hospitality said it would be announcing a new arrangement which would include access to three different venues not far from hereShe says she has looked at other venues but this spot is special.She’s also relying on her $500 deposit to secure another venue, but two weeks ago when we spoke to JEM Hospitality we were told those deposits wouldn’t be returned and they were working on finding new venues for their clients.In the fine print the contract states if the facility has been changed for whatever reasons “the caterer reserves the right to substitute an alternate facility for the event at its sole discretion.” read more

Its Been the Americas World Cup

Before the World Cup began, FiveThirtyEight’s projections, which are based on ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), were higher for teams from South America and lower for teams from Europe than other ratings systems’.So far, that’s looked like a reasonably sharp assessment. And if we extend the analysis from continents to hemispheres — with teams from North America and South America in one group, and those from Europe, Africa and Asia in the other — it looks like we may even have underestimated teams from the Americas.First, let’s look at the results by continental confederation. The table below evaluates each confederation’s results so far and compares them with the FiveThirtyEight/SPI forecast before the tournament. It includes results through Friday afternoon’s game between Costa Rica and Italy, and excludes games (such as the France-Switzerland match that I’m watching now) between teams from the same confederation.Before the tournament, our projections expected South American teams to have compiled 5.7 wins, 2.0 losses and 2.3 draws through this point in the World Cup. In fact, their record is 7-2-1. Not a huge difference, but the South American teams have more than held up their side of the bargain.Teams from Europe, by contrast, are 5-6-2 in games played against other confederations, compared with an expected record of 5.1 wins, 4.6 losses and 3.3 draws. Pretty close, although a pinch worse than expected.It’s teams from North America’s CONCACAF federation, instead, that have produced the largest discrepancy. They’re 4-1-1 so far, much better than their meager expected record of 1.4 wins, 3.1 losses and 1.5 draws. Meanwhile, teams from Asia and Africa, although not expected to be much good, are struggling with a combined record of just 1-8-4 so far.A still more striking result comes when you combine the continents into hemispheres (counting Europe along with Asia and Africa in one hemisphere and the Americas in another). In inter-hemisphere matches so far, the Americas have 10 wins against just two losses. The rest of the world has the opposite record: 2-10-0.What accounts for the differences? The least sexy explanation might be luck: We’re not talking about all that large a sample of matches. We’ll have to see whether the pattern holds through the rest of the tournament.But travel distance could also play a role. The FiveThirtyEight match projections include a very modest adjustment for east-to-west travel distance (north-to-south distance seems to matter much less, perhaps because it doesn’t produce as much jet lag). The adjustment is calibrated based on the results of highly competitive soccer matches since 2006. However, there’s evidence that the home-continent advantage had been higher in the past. No European team has ever won a World Cup played in the Americas.It’s also possible that the effect has something to do with the stadium atmosphere. Teams such as Chile and Colombia have received raucous support in their matches so far; in the game I attended at Estádio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, perhaps 90 percent of the crowd was pulling for the Chileans. Because partisan crowds seem to affect officiating decisions in soccer, that could mean these teams are getting a bit more slack from the officials. Chile, for example, spent much of the second half of its win against Spain lying on the pitch with exaggerated injuries but received no sanction for time-wasting.A final theory might be that teams from the Americas are fresher. The major European leagues just completed play in mid-May after beginning their season last August. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, played in 51 matches for Real Madrid since the start of last summer, including the Champions League final a few weeks ago. The best teams from the Americas, like Brazil and Argentina, also have plenty of stars in the major European leagues. But others, such as Costa Rica and Mexico, are less reliant on such players. That could serve to mitigate the talent advantage that the European teams might have and reward the countries with disciplined and tactical team play. read more

Brain scanning could improve dementia diagnosis for two thirds of patients study

first_imgThousands of people are misdiagnosed because the NHS does not carry out routine brain scanning for people with suspected dementia  Routine brain scanning could improve dementia diagnosis for two thirds of patients, ending years of misdiagnosis, a study has found. Currently the only way to determine whether Alzheimer’s is present is to look at the brain of a patient after death.For patients who are still alive, doctors usually use special cognitive tests which monitor memory and everyday skills such as washing and dressing, but the results are often be misleading or inaccurate. Now new findings presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London show that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans altered the diagnoses for more than two thirds people.Currently people with early stage Alzheimer’s can wait up to four years to receive a correct diagnosis because PET scans are rarely carried out on the NHS as they cost up to £3,000 a time.But PET scans show the build-up of sticky amyloid plaques in the brain which prevent neurons from communicating and eventually kill areas, wiping out memories and can help with a definitive diagnosis. “A negative brain PET scan indicating sparse to no amyloid plaques rules out Alzheimer’s disease as the cause of dementia symptoms,” said Dr James Hendrix, Alzheimer’s Association Director of Global Science Initiatives.“This makes it a valuable tool to clarify an uncertain or difficult diagnosis. Misdiagnosis is costly to health systems, and expensive and distressing to persons with dementia and their families.” Thousands of people are misdiagnosed because the NHS does not carry out routine brain scanning for people with suspected dementia Credit:Paula Solloway/Alamy  Dr David Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Diagnosing dementia is a complex challenge, and doctors have to gather a range of clues to create a picture of what is going on in the brain.“This new research highlights that value that amyloid brain scans can bring in helping doctors make a more informed diagnosis, either by indicating or ruling out Alzheimer’s as the possible cause of someone’s dementia symptoms.“The current drive for life-changing dementia treatments means that in the future, the use of amyloid PET scans or other innovative diagnostic methods will be important to ensure that new medicines reach the right people at the right time.”center_img Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans work by picking up how good parts of the brain are at sucking up glucose, which is injected into the body bound to a radioactive tracer which can be seen on screen. Parts of the brain that are clogged up and not functioning will not light up. The new study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden involving 135 people who had been referred for memory problems found that 68 per cent had a change in diagnosis, following the scans.A separate study led by GE Healthcare in the UK analysed data from four previous studies looking at the use of brain amyloid PET scans in the process of dementia diagnosis, combining information from 1106 people, found the use of brain amyloid PET scans led to a change in diagnosis in 20 per cent of people. Not only do scans pick up problems early, when drugs or lifestyle changes could make a difference, but they could also help reassure people who are suffering mild memory problems that they do not have the disease. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

New mining services from tyre manufacturer and engineer

first_imgTitan International has formed a new company, Titan Mining Services. This new group will offer complete tyre, wheel and track services for end users. The company’s first location will be Fort MacKay, Alberta, Canada. Chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor, Jr: “Titan is the only company worldwide who has the engineering expertise on wheels, tyres and track components and we will be training many new technicians.” Titan chose the oil sands to begin these services because of the great amount of equipment used in the region. Titan is partnering with Saskatoon Wholesale Tire who has been in the area for a number of years and also represents Titan Tire.Taylor states that Titan has been approached by a number of mines to offer this service and Titan plans to rapidly expand the business globally. “As we expand, Titan will be working with local businesses in all areas of the world.” Titan will announce shortly who will be heading Titan Mining Services. In the meantime, it will be operating out of corporate offices in Quincy, Illinois.Titan International, a holding company, owns subsidiaries that supply wheels, tyres and assemblies for off-highway equipment.last_img read more

Simulators from Immersive Technologies increasing opportunities for the female workforce at Freeport

first_imgTrainees are given 10 hours of classroom training, followed by 20 hours in the LHD R1600G IN360 simulator. After completion, they conduct a further 20 hours of training within the Immersive Technologies’ Command for Underground simulator where they advance to practical training and evaluation.Hendra Sukoco, Freeport’s Underground Training Superintendent, acknowledges that female operators tend to be more consistent in following detailed instructions and, as a result, the level of machine abuse is lower when compared to male operators.After successfully passing the training requirements, this first group of women are successfully operating LHDs remotely and producing 300 buckets each per day (if location allows) which is equivalent to experienced operators with previous in-field LHD experience.“Due to the success, there are plans to increase the number of female operators going through training on the Immersive simulators and eventually into production.Simulation based training has been proven to dramatically reduce risk, cost and unscheduled maintenance, increasing trainer effectiveness and efficiency while maximising productivity. Female operators are the focus of a new initiative at PT Freeport Indonesia (part of FMI in Grasberg) where IM360 simulators from Immersive Technologies are used to train operators to remotely operate Caterpillar’s Semi-Autonomous Underground Load Haul Dumps (LHDs) using Cat Command for Underground.Historically, only operators with previous in-field experience in operating LHDs were permitted to operate them via Command for Underground. However, after implementing simulators from Immersive Technologies into the new female workforce program, PT Freeport Indonesia has created opportunities for women without prior in-field experience to take on operational roles.PT Freeport Indonesia has a long-standing commitment to employee diversity and continually seeks ways to recruit and foster career development for women. Investing in training solutions for remote operations has enabled PT Freeport Indonesia to increase opportunities for women in operational roles.last_img read more

Committee chairs have serious concerns over workload and say they need more

first_img“In particular, the WGCC has concerns over the increasing workloads and the capacity of the current staffing, research, and consultancy supports to sectoral committees to maintain the qualitative standards already achieved,” the letter states.Stanton writes that the committee chairs are agreed on the need for additional staffing and more funding for research and consultancy support in 2014. The letter says it is essential that the Oireachtas’ annual resource plan include “the necessary additional staffing resources to enable sectoral committees to properly meet the challenges of the latest Dáil Reform package”.One committee chairperson, who declined to be named, said that changes brought about by the Fiscal Treaty referendum mean that there is a greater process of budgetary scrutiny that the Oireachtas is legally compelled to do.“That demand has to have resources going into it,” they said.The Oireachtas Commission said that Barrett, as chair of the Committee on Procedures and Privileges, received the letter and “in his role as chairperson of the Commission referred it to the Commission” but declined to comment further, saying the letter is being “actively dealt with”.Government chief whip Paul Kehoe, who the letter is copied to, said that committee chairs have been told to consult with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Oireachtas and said they should receive more resources.“If they’ve more work they have to get more resources, more staff, whatever it is,” he said.Pre-legislative scrutinyUnder reforms announced in September, every non-emergency bill going through the Oireachtas will be subject to a pre-legislative stage where committees will examine the bill in detail and take submissions from interest groups as happened with the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill last year.But in addition to this, Stanton’s letter notes the various changes implemented by government since it came to office such as scrutiny of EU legislative proposals, enhanced scrutiny of government department budgets, and engagement with the incoming chairpersons of public bodies.He says this increased workload has “placed a major increasing burden on staffing and research resources” which will be added to as a result of the pre-legislative stage.The letter says: “In undertaking this ambitious volume of ongoing work, individual sectoral committees are consistently meeting more frequently than was the norm in previous Dáileanna.”Concern is also raised in the letter about the budget for committee consultancy being reduced from €240,000 in 2013 to just €50,000 for the year ahead and warns that this reduced budget will mean committees can only be expected to “partially deliver”.Outside consultants are usually employed by Oireachtas committees to help with writing committee reports providing the necessary academic expertise.“Without an increase in the budgetary provision, as and when required during 2014, as a well as the assignment of additional researchers, it is not envisaged that the capacity exists to deliver on expected demands throughout 2014,” Stanton writes.The committee chairs recommend that the Oireachtas make greater use of newly-recruited administrative officers, draw down expertise from the consultancy budgetary provision and increase the resources of the Library and Research Service in the Oireachtas.The Oireachtas Commission is due to consider its annual resource plan at its next meeting which is likely to be held at some stage before the end of the month.Read: Political standards watchdog cannot fulfill duties because of appointments delayRead: Overhaul sees number of Oireachtas committees increasedLeo Varadkar: The government has too much control over the Dáil THE CHAIRPERSONS OF Oireachtas committees have “serious concerns” about the increase in the amount of work their members and staff face this year as a result the government’s Dáil reforms and have called for extra staff to be provided, TheJournal.ie has learned.The new pre-legislative stage, where committees examine draft legislation before it goes before the Dáil, is likely to result in a “fourfold” increase in the workload of the various Oireachtas committees, according to a cross-party group made up of the chairpersons of all of these committees.The Working Group of Committee Chairman (WGCC) wrote a letter to the Dáil Ceann Comhairle and Oireachtas Commission chairman, Seán Barrett, before Christmas outlining their concerns.The letter from WGCC chair Fine Gael TD David Stanton, seen by this website, notes “serious concerns” among members about the increase in workload in 2014 as a result of the reforms and calls for more staff to be allocated to committees in order to meet the workload demand.last_img read more

Guardiola hails incredible Phil Foden

first_imgManchester City manager Pep Guardiola has lauded youngster Phil Foden after he scored his first goal for the club in their 7-0 win against Rotherham.18-year old Phil Foden was among the goals when City ran riot at the Etihad on Sunday with a 7-0 emphatic victory against Championship side Rotherham.Speaking after the game, City manager Pep Guardiola spoke highly of the teenager and why he picks him in games.“Today he was there and his movement was incredible,” Guardiola told the club’s website.“Of course the pass from Gundogan (for Foden’s goal) was incredible but these kind of balls are so difficult to defend.Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“The 90 mins for his experience and self-confidence, but of course he must improve.“He lost three or four balls but that’s normal, he is 18-years-old! He will learn in the future and play better!“If he plays it’s because we believe he can play, not because he’s a City fan or a nice guy – we believe he can play!”last_img read more

EY and UK Power Networks recognised among 2018s most inclusive employers in

first_imgProfessional services firm EY, telecommunications and media business Sky, utilities provider UK Power Networks (pictured) and banking organisation HSBC are among the organisations recognised on The inclusive top 50 UK employers 2018-2019 list, compiled by national diversity network Inclusive Companies.The list is a definitive ranking of UK employers that promote inclusion and diversity within their organisations across age, disability, gender, sexuality, race, faith and religion.Focusing on diverse representation at management, senior, executive and board level, as well as on inclusive workplace cultures, organisations that feature have to provide sufficient evidence of their inclusivity practices in areas such as recruitment and training. The top 50 organisations are then decided by a panel of judges from Inclusive Companies.The list, which is designed to celebrate employers and reinforce their commitment to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, was announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday 15 November 2018, held at The Midland Hotel in Manchester.Touchstone ranked first in 2018-2019’s list, followed by the West Midlands Fire Service in second place and Sky in third. Other organisations featured in the list include car dealership Auto Trader UK, facilities management organisation Mitie, the House of Lords, Northumbria Police and law firm Blake Morgan.The top 10 organisations featured on The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers 2018-2019 list are:TouchstoneWest Midlands Fire ServiceSkyEYMott MacDonaldCommunity LinksUniversity Hospitals of Morecombe Bay NHS TrustWest Yorkshire PoliceSandwell and West Birmingham NHS TrustTyne and Wear Fire and Rescue ServiceAndrew Pace, HR director at UK Power Networks, which ranked at number 16 on the final list, said: “Diversity and inclusiveness is one of our key values as [an organisation], so we are very proud to receive this national recognition. Encouraging inclusiveness starts from the first stage of recruitment where we strive to build teams from different backgrounds, experience and skill sets.“We work on the basis that the future of our business rests with the people we employ. An engaged and diverse workforce delivers better business performance, so we strive to provide the best benefits, training and opportunities to develop. For example, we’ve spent £20 million on training including supported studies over the past two years, putting us in [the] top 12% of UK employers for training spend, and recently added electric cars to our company car list to support employees who want to lead clean, green lifestyles.”last_img read more

Study Branded Content Remains Strong as Marketers Shift Money Into Custom Media

first_imgSpending on branded content, or custom publishing, is at its second-highest level ever, at an average of $1.3 million per marketer, and nearly 100 percent over spending levels from 2008, according to a study from the Custom Content Council in conjunction with the newsletter ContentWise.The study also indicates that many marketers are continuing to shift their money to branded content and at the same time, increase their spending. “This is good news for us all. Although we are coming out of the recession, our industry has held its own,” said Keith Sedlak, chairman of the Custom Content Council and Chief Marketing Officer with Meredith Integrated Marketing. Some other highlights from the report, whose findings were released this week:• 66 percent of marketers think branded content is superior to direct mail and 63 percent think it is superior to public relations. • The primary reason to deploy branded content initiatives is to educate customers, according to 54 percent of the companies surveyed, followed by customer retention at 23 percent. • The leading secondary reasons were customer retention (35 percent) and educating customers (27 percent), though brand loyalty factored in at 26 percent.• 29 percent of the average overall marketing, advertising and communications budget funds were dedicated to branded content. This is the second greatest ever (first was 32 percent in 2009). • Print represented 43 percent of the total spending, while electronic and other accounted for 35 percent and 12 percent, respectively. • The average spending for print forms of branded content is $256,655 on personnel, $214,874 on production, and $125,343 on distribution. • The average spending for electronic forms is $267,632 on personnel, $81,246 on production, $62,129 on distribution, and $66,908 on programming.• The average spending for other forms is $169,255 on personnel, $81,709 on production and $40,855 on distribution. • The use of services of external agencies (such as custom publishers, PR/marketing firms, design firms, video production companies or interactive agencies) to handle some aspect of branded content initiatives remains consistent at around 50 percent.• Outsourcing was more prevalent among print forms (45 percent) of branded content, than it was among electronic (19 percent) or other (23 percent) forms. Of all the branded content initiatives, some portion of these initiatives was outsourced 31 percent of the time. • The average spent among those companies that did outsource (thus excluding those who did not outsource) was $583,500, versus a previous high of $885,646 in 2009. • A total of 68 percent of companies indicate that their organization are shifting from traditional forms of advertising and marketing to new forms (i.e. branded content, content marketing, custom publishing, or custom media. • The majority of companies (61 percent) have experience a moderate shift in their spending while 7 percent report an aggressive shift. The study was conducted via online and mailed surveys targeting a random sample of marketers across all industries. Among the responding companies were: Allstate Insurance, ASPCA, Hoosier Energy, Honda Financial Services, Lockheed Martin, MS Department of Transportation, Proskauer Rose LLP, SiriusXM Radio, State Farm Insurance, World Vision, YMCA and Zale Corporation. More than five thousand invitations were distributed and approximately 200 surveys were completed and returned. The results have an accuracy level of plus or minus 6 percent.last_img read more

Mens Journal More Than Doubles Its Audience Under New Ownership

first_imgAmerican Media Inc. may be getting more than it bargained for when it acquired Men’s Journal from the now-defunct Wenner Media in August last summer. Today, the company announced the brand increased its audience from three million to eight million since the acquisition.Men’s Journal’s CRO, Jay Gallagher, credits much of this growth to integrating shared content assets from AMI brother brand—Men’s Fitness—to include more health and lifestyle topics, along with other relevant content that’s endemic to the Men’s Journal affluent male readership.Gallagher also suggests the company is highly invested in growing the brand more through search than social to maximize its scale.“We want to be the relevant link,” Gallagher says. “Our position is Google based. We participate on Facebook but we don’t want to depend on it. So instead what we did is build is an authoritative position that’s search based.  And as Google changes, we try to change lockstep with them.”For instance, Gallagher notes that when internet users are looking for the best whiskies, Men’s Journal holds the first non-native search result. And likewise, the brand is near the top with other passion points its intended audience will engage with, whether it’s spirits, travel or luxury goods and gadgets.Digital growth is not the only bright spot right now. Gallagher purports that since Men’s Fitness eliminated it’s print product, Men’s Journal’s ad page sales have increased considerably YoY, and the same is true on the newsstand, where sales are up 119 percent in aggregate. While Gallagher is proud of these print metrics, he’s clearly more excited about the momentum on the digital side because he sees it as a promising path to scale and new business opportunities.“Many of our current categories live in silos,” he says. “But we haven’t been a player in other areas like entertainment. Take Netflix for example, which has over 200 original releases this year. With the scale we have now, we can finally give meaningful support to that kind of community of advertisers. And the same goes for other major categories.”last_img read more

Confirmed Nipah virus returns to Kerala 23yearold student tests positive

first_imgAnimal Husbandry department and Forest officials deposit a bat into a container after catching it inside a well at Changaroth in Kozhikode in the Indian state of Kerala on May 21, 2018.-/AFP/Getty Images [Representational Image]The deadly Nipah virus has once again infested the state of Kerala. After a 23-year-old college student was admitted to a hospital in Kochi with suspected symptoms of Nipah, Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja confirmed on Tuesday (June 4) that the Nipah virus is back.Along with the infected youth, four other people, including two nurses who were attending to him, are also believed to be infected with the virus. The Kerala government confirmed that the youth was infected with Nipah virus after a confirmatory report came from Pune’s National Institute of Virology (NIV).Even though the symptoms pointed at nipah infection, the doctors were waiting for an official confirmation from the department. The health minister has asked all the people who have felt the symptoms like high fever, headache and severe body pain to take proper treatment.Minister Shailaja said that medicines bought from Australia are available at NIV Pune. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has also promised to give all available assistance to the state in fighting the infection. A control room has also been set up by the state government to provide assistance. The public can get guidance by calling the toll-free numbers 1077 and 1056.Nearly 86 people who had come in contact with the youth have been placed under observation. A team of 6 experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences consisting of epidemiologists, scientists and other experts has arrived at Kochi to look into the situation. Doctors and relatives wearing protective gear carry the body of a victim, who lost his battle against the brain-damaging Nipah virus, during his funeral at a burial ground in Kozhikode, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, India, May 24, 2018.Reuters file [Representational Image]Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the government has taken precautionary measures and is closely monitoring the situation. He has also asked the public not to indulge in any fake campaigns and to steer away from creating fake news that will create panic among the people.Isolation wards have been opened the medical colleges in Kochi, Kalamassery, Thrissur and Kozhikode.Nipah virus was first identified in a Malaysian village Sungai Nipah. It came to Kerala in 2018 and claimed 17 lives, 14 from Kozhikode and 3 from the neighbouring Malappuram district. This virus can be transferred from the flying foxes (fruit bats) to both animals and humans.last_img read more

Suspect Atlarge in Southeast Homicide

first_imgA Maryland man has died after being injured in a Southeast shooting in the 3500 block of Stanton Road that left another victim in critical condition.Homicide victim Michael Derricote, Jr.. (Courtesy Photo/Metropolitan Police Department flyer)On April 30, Michael Derricote, 26, from Upper Marlboro, Md., died after being seriously wounded in a Southeast shooting on April 14, according to D.C. police.Around 8:05 p.m., authorities arrived to the 3500 block of Stanton Road, SE after receiving reports of sounds of gunshots in the area, police said. Police said two men were found lying on the ground in front of a residence in the area suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. A vehicle parked nearby was also struck and damaged, police said.The two victims were transported to local hospitals. Derricote was admitted into the hospital with life threatening injuries, while the other man was admitted in critical, but stable condition, according to police.Officials said Derricote died from his injuries on April 30, and on May 1 the case was classified a homicide. “There are not any updates and it is still an active investigation,” said Sean Hickman, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department, told the AFRO May 8. Police said they are still searching for suspects involved in the slaying.Paul Trantham, an ANC Commissioner for Ward 8, said he was at the scene of the crime. “It’s normal in Southeast, they come and they spray the block and they shoot,” Trantham told the AFRO May 9. “People here are immune to it, and numbed to it. They are used to the violence.”Trantham said one of his main concerns for Ward 8 is the constant gun violence. He said residents don’t feel safe, and there are too many guns available on the street. “It seems like the more guns that come off the street, the more [guns] come right back,” he continued. Trantham said the gun recovery task forces are working to remove weapons from the area, but the guns seem to end up back in the neighborhood.On May 9 Mayor Muriel Bowser led a public safety walk throughout Ward 8 to hear and address the concerns of residents in the Douglas Knoll and Congress Heights neighborhoods. “She got a breath of some of the concerns,” Trantham said, who explained that he was pleased Bowser visited businesses and stores in the area because the community had been asking for the mayor to visit Ward 8.Bowser talked about the progress in city-wide crime at the event, even though homicides in Ward 8 have increased 58 percent as of May 9, according to D.C. police data. There have been a total of 40 homicides in 2017, which is equal to the amount of homicides in 2016 during the same period of time.last_img read more

Nintendo finally brings pure ecstasy to customers in the form of illici

first_imgFor what feels like the millionth time in its life, Nintendo is once again quickly waning in popularity, with the news cycle churning out article after article discussing whether or not the company can be saved. The Big N’s brand may induce shrugs and eye rolls around most of the gaming world right now, but in Belgium, Nintendo is as hot as ever — just not in the way the company likely hoped. Rather than buying up Wii U consoles and dumping mounds of money into the Nintendo 3DS eShop, Belgians are experiencing Nintendo in the form of an ecstasy pill.Though there are likely some intrepid marketers over at Nintendo that have already thought of a handful of creative slogans regarding Nintendo’s products being as addictive as a drug, there’s no way Nintendo — a company built on a reputation of wholesome family fun — is pleased.The news comes from the Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs (BEWSD), and reports an XTC pill that contains a high amount of MDMA, the active ingredient within ecstasy. The pills have been discovered around Brussels, thanks to the Modus Vivendi project, which allows people to anonymously bring in their drugs to be screened for quality in order to minimize risks of foreign or unidentified ingredients.A quick Google search shows that drugs marked with a Nintendo logo aren’t a new occurrence, but BEWSD has discovered that these specific pills are on the upswing. Drugs can obviously be dangerous, but little pills branded with a Nintendo logo can be more dangerous than your standard pill, as children might think they’re just Dr. Mario themed candies. That one intrepid creative marketing director is probably quite irritated that this synergy has to be left alone.The ecstasy news comes right around the same time Nintendo’s stock took a dive and the company admitted the Wii U is failing. So, cue the jokes about the company’s new business structure.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter During this years Virt

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterDuring this years Virtuoso Week, Virtuoso revealed research that indicates certain steps lead to indisputable success for its travel agency members and their frontline advisors, particularly new entrants into the business.Additionally, Virtuoso shared some recent data and findings that show exactly why the industry is bullish when it comes to travel advisors.Virtuoso’s analysis on the state of affair for travel advisors:Virtuoso saw a 26 per cent increase in advisors in 2015; 57 per cent of that growth came from existing Virtuoso members.Growth has been consistent over the past five years. Virtuoso reports an 85 per cent jump in network advisors between 2010 and 2015.Growth will continue: 79 per cent of agency owners expect sales to grow this year and 68 per cent of them intend to staff up. Following an analysis of proprietary research on advisors who were new to the profession as well as its network, Virtuoso surmised which practices led them to become million-dollar producers in record time, as compared to their counterparts who did not participate at the same levels.Here, then, the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Travel Advisors”:Engage in networking: Virtuoso says this group of advisors is twice as likely to attend its famed Virtuoso Travel Week conference, where travel advisor “speed-dating” results in hundreds of thousands of meetings with preferred suppliers, all in the name of relationship building.Participate in professional development: Virtuoso’s research shows that this group took 75 per cent more training classes than the average advisor.Utilise marketing: 83 per cent of them participate in Virtuoso’s marketing initiatives, ensuring that over 70 per cent of their clients receive customised marketing vehicles that direct consumers back to their Virtuoso advisor.Connect through social media: Over 90 per cent of this group are active on multiple social media channels, using it as a means to communicate and inspire their clients.Present themselves as professionals: 80 per cent have created a bio that includes their areas of specialisation, the countries they have visited and when, and a professional headshot. This detailed information lives on Virtuoso’s Advisor Catalogue on the network’s website, and creates a way to engage prospects who may be seeking their services.Encourage feedback: Over 40 per cent of these advisors have clients who have submitted reviews and recommendations for their profile page. This is nearly four times the network average. These advisors thrive on the feedback, which is routinely glowing.They follow-up: This group knows that follow-up, particularly after the trip, is essential to building the foundation of a successful advisor-client relationship. It is no surprise that these advisors average 26.2 reviews per person versus the network average of 14.5.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more