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October 17, 2019
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Quebec university criticized for intrusive questionnaire sent to job candidates

first_imgMONTREAL – A Quebec City university is being criticized for a questionnaire that required job candidates to reveal whether they’ve been tested for HIV, the date they last menstruated and whether they’ve been treated for cancer.Universite Laval’s vice-rector for human resources said the questionnaire was used to find out whether candidates would need workplace accommodation.“It’s a standard practice in human resources to verify if a person has particular conditions that mean we need to adapt their work environment,” Lyne Bouchard told The Canadian Press.Bouchard confirmed the university stopped using the questionnaire after Jan. 10, when local media began to ask questions.She added that no applicant was ever removed from the job pool on the basis of their answers and that the university had not received any complaints about the form.The 40-question, four-page form had been given out to people applying for jobs at the university since 2009.Among other questions, respondents were asked to list the cause of death of close family members and answer whether they’d consulted a psychologist or made a claim to Quebec’s workplace health and safety board.In a section reserved for women, applicants were asked to jot down the date of their last menstruation and gynecology exam, and declare whether they’d ever been pregnant or had an abortion.Bouchard said she couldn’t explain why some of these last questions had been included, admitting they “contravened the values” of the university.According to human rights lawyer Stephanie Fournier, the questionnaire is clearly discriminatory and violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.“The principle is clear: the mere fact of asking, in a selection process, questions on the state of health or any ground of protected discrimination, be it civil status, religion, sexual orientation, constitutes discrimination,” she said in an interview.Fournier said that in the case of pre-employment contracts the burden of proof is on the employer to prove that the questions are relevant to a candidate’s ability to do the job in question.Employers may not, for example, use such questionnaires to rule out candidates with a greater risk of absenteeism or who might become pregnant, she added.Bouchard insisted the information in the questionnaire was kept confidential and was sent directly to a doctor.She said the hiring process was currently undergoing a review that would likely lead to the creation of a new questionnaire.last_img read more

October 17, 2019
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Scathing suicide inquiry finds gaps shortcomings at Royal Military College

first_imgOTTAWA – Members of a board of inquiry into three suicides at the Royal Military College of Canada have reported facing troubling delays and obstacles in obtaining key information and evidence during their nearly year-long internal investigation.A censored copy of the board of inquiry’s final report was provided to reporters this week and confirmed that officer cadets Harrison Kelertas, Brett Cameron and Matthew Sullivan took their own lives in separate incidents in 2016.The scathing report also uncovered numerous gaps, shortcomings and worrying practices at the 142-year-old college in Kingston, Ont., where future generations of military officers are groomed, when it came to suicide prevention.Those included the use of “suicide watches” with other students — even though studies showed such watches raised the risk of suicide among the watchers and had been previously flagged as a concern by the military’s medical branch.In an interview with The Canadian Press, the military’s chief of personnel acknowledged that there were shortcomings at the university and said senior commanders were committed to fixing them as quickly as possible.But Lt.-Gen. Charles Lamarre rejected suggestions that officials at the college in Kingston, Ont., could have done more earlier to keep Kelertas, Cameron or Sullivan from taking their own lives.“Folks were doing their best with what they knew at the time, and they thought they were doing the best that they could,” Lamarre said during a telephone call from National Defence headquarters.“That’s why it’s so important to actually go through and do this critical self-examination and to put in place the changes that can prevent reoccurrence and that’s what’s taken place.”The board of inquiry report had been eagerly anticipated by the families of the three young men, who had expected it last year and expressed frustration and anger that its release was delayed, thereby depriving them of closure.Some had worried that the report was being delayed because officials were trying to whitewash the findings to hide any wrongdoing or negligence at the college or within the military chain of command.Military officials have rejected such allegations, saying the investigation was extremely complex, involving dozens of witnesses and tens of thousands of pages of documents — all of which needed to go through a final legal review.The three families have been briefed separately on the inquiry’s findings over the past week, but have so far declined to comment.The report reveals that the board of inquiry faced challenges accessing information and evidence, particularly from the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which investigates major crimes in the military.“Despite early indication(s) by the CFNIS that the deaths were suicides,” the report reads, “and that suicides are not investigated by the CFNIS, it took over six months for the board to access critical evidence held by the CFNIS.”It was also told at one point to file an access to information request and given blacked-out material “despite the authority of the board to receive unredacted evidence.”Despite previously defending the lengthy delay in releasing the report, Lamarre acknowledged the board’s challenges getting information were “wrong” and promised officials were committed to preventing future problems.While the exact circumstances around the three suicides were blacked out in the report provided to the media, for privacy reasons, the board identified a number concerns when it came to the risk of suicide among RMC students.Those included stigma, specifically student fears that asking for help would affect their future careers, which has also been identified as a concern within the overall military population.The board was also particularly concerned that RMC commanders regularly ordered students to act as a “suicide watch” or “buddy watch” when fellow officer cadets were deemed at risk of trying to take their own lives.Two such suicide watches were ordered at RMC in the first half of 2016, even though studies had shown they increased the risk of suicide among the watchers and the military’s medical branch recommended against their use.Asked about the suicide watches, Lamarre said: “It says right there in the board of inquiry that there’s a recognition that best practices and standards were not well understood throughout the cadet wing or the college itself.“And again, that’s one of the key recommendations: to standardize these things to make sure they understand what they are.”RMC was also found to be missing an overarching suicide-prevention strategy, which exist in other universities given that suicide is the leading cause of death among young Canadians. The absence of such a strategy was found to make it more difficult for students to access support services.Officials also didn’t know what constituted a suicide attempt or how many there had been and, “unlike Queen’s University,” didn’t have procedures for to help students during their arrival at the college and other “transitions.Finally, the report raised concerns about how college staff dealt with suicides after they occurred, saying there was an “underestimation and misunderstanding of the effect of suicide on staff, friends and survivors of suicide loss.”It was unclear from the report how many, if any, of the issues raised by the board of inquiry related to Kelertas, Cameron and Sullivan, as the sections related to their time at RMC were largely blacked out.All told, the board made 78 recommendations to address the many issues raised in the report.But Lamarre said the vast majority were already being addressed following a special review of the college that was order by defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance last year and through the military’s new suicide-prevention strategy.“There is a desire to make sure that all those things are being addressed,” he said.“The fact that three different initiatives are speaking to the same thing … I think it’s a good indicator that folks are paying attention and trying to correct things where they can.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.last_img read more

October 13, 2019
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Canadian online pharmacy fined 34 million by US court for illegal imports

first_imgHELENA, Mont. – An online pharmacy that bills itself as Canada’s largest was fined $34 million Friday for importing counterfeit cancer drugs and other unapproved pharmaceuticals into the United States, a sentence that one advocacy group called too light for such a heinous crime.Canada Drugs has filled millions of prescriptions by offering itself as a safe alternative for patients to save money on expensive drugs, and its founder, Kristian Thorkelson, has been hailed as an industry pioneer for starting the company in 2001.But U.S. prosecutors say Canada Drugs’ business model is based entirely on illegally importing unapproved and misbranded drugs not just from Canada, but from all over the world. The company has made at least $78 million through illegal imports, including two that were counterfeit versions of the cancer drugs Avastin and Altuzan that had no active ingredient, prosecutors said.After more than two years of struggling to get the international company to appear in U.S. court to face the felony charges, Canada Drugs and Thorkelson, struck a plea deal with prosecutors late last year.On Friday, a judge in Missoula, Mont., approved federal prosecutors’ recommended sentences that include $29 million forfeited, $5 million in fines and five years’ probation for Canada Drugs.U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen also sentenced Thorkelson to six months’ house arrest, five years’ probation and a $250,000 fine.Canada Drugs also will permanently cease the sale of all unapproved, misbranded and counterfeit drugs and will surrender all of the domain names for the myriad websites it used to sell the drugs, under the deal.An advocacy group had urged the judge to impose harsher penalties to deter future crimes.“Counterfeiting oncology medications is a nearly untraceable and heinous health-care crime,” Shabbir Imber Safdar, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, wrote in a letter to the judge. “You put saline in a bottle, and when the cancer patient takes it, there is no evidence in the patient of the crime.”Safdar said Thorkelson should receive prison time and that Thorkelson’s and Canada Drugs’ pharmacy licenses should be surrendered. The group also wants Canada Drugs to give up all of it internet domain names, including ones not named in the plea deal, to prevent the company from continuing to sell misbranded and counterfeit medicine.“We feel that being a part of a scheme to sell Americans fake cancer drugs while you profit from it should be sufficient grounds for a long-term revocation of a pharmacist’s license,” Safdar wrote.Neither Safdar nor two of Canada Drugs’ and Thorkelson’s lawyers returned messages seeking comment.Federal prosecutors wrote in court documents that the recommended sentence is appropriate.“The United States believes that the above-referenced sentence in an appropriate one reflecting the seriousness of Thorkelson’s conduct, the need for just punishment and adequate deterrence to future criminal conduct,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Spraker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Joseph wrote.The case is being handled in the U.S. state of Montana, where Canada Drugs bought another company for its drug inventory and customer list when it was expanding in 2009. Canada Drugs continued to deposit money into that company’s Montana bank account from doctors’ purchase of the illegally imported drugs before the proceeds were shipped to offshore accounts in the Caribbean, prosecutors said.The company and two overseas subsidiaries pleaded guilty to introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, and the subsidiaries also agreed to plead guilty to selling counterfeit drugs.Thorkelson pleaded guilty to knowing about and concealing a felony crime.last_img read more

October 12, 2019
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Stakes high for BJP litmus test for SPBSP in sevenphase UP LS

first_imgLucknow: With the Election Commission Sunday announcing the Lok Sabha poll schedule, the ball was set rolling in Uttar Pradesh where the stakes of the ruling BJP is high as the state sends the highest number of 80 MPs to the lower house of Parliament.With a major part of the gruelling exercise falling in the hot summer months of April and May, the fierce battle of ballots in all likelihood will scorch the electoral arena across the state. The keenly watched contest will test the popularity of the fledging opposition alliance of once bitter rivals Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, who have joined hands to take on the BJP, which had scooped a massive 73 seats in the 2014 election along with its ally, the Apna Dal. The state will have seven-phase polling on April 11, 18, 23 and 29 and May 6, 12 and 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23. With the announcement of the poll schedule, the Model Code of Conduct came into force with immediate effect Sunday. Interestingly, hours ahead of the Model Code coming into effect, the Uttar Pradesh government hurriedly announced the names of top office bearers of certain commissions, councils and corporations by nominating people owing allegiance to the ruling BJP or its ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP). A UP government spokesperson said names of 72 people have been announced for various posts in 22 commissions, councils and corporations in the state. A notable appointment was of Arvind Rajbhar, who has been made the chairman of UP Small Industries Corporation Ltd, apparently to soothe the ruffled feathers of his father and UP Cabinet minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, whose SBSP has often embarrassed the ruling BJP despite being an ally of the NDA. Another office bearer of SBSP Rana Ajit Pratap Singh has been made the chairman of UP Beej Vikas Nigam (UP Seeds Development Corporation). In a similar fast-paced development, the UP Raj Bhawan gave its nod to a hurriedly brought ordinance on UP revenue code pertaining to lease of agricultural land and succession of land owners. Realising that the route to power at the Centre is through Uttar Pradesh, political parties have been wooing voters even before the dates were announced, with the BJP trying to retain its grand performance in 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 assembly polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the 71 BJP lawmakers who won in UP. The Samajwadi party won five, the Congress two and Mayawati’s BSP failed to open account. The BJP followed up its Lok Sabha feat by ousting the Samajwadi Party in the state election in 2017. But, this time, the BJP faces a resurgent opposition that has scripted back-to-back victories in last year’s Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls. Two of those wins were particularly sweet for the opposition the BJP lost Gorakhpur, the base of its star campaigner Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Phulpur, held by his deputy Keshav Maurya. Political observers will like to keenly watch how the alliance of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party performs. The Congress too is into the fray more seriously this time with the grand old party for decades an also-ran in UP announcing the debut of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as its campaign in-charge for the eastern parts of the state, along with Jyotiraditya Scindia in the western belt. Priyanka Gandhi, sister of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, has so far confined herself to Amethi and Rae Bareli, the constituencies of her brother and her mother Sonia Gandhi, respectively. The Congress is banking on Priyanka Gandhi’s charisma and connect and her striking resemblance to her grandmother Indira Gandhi to improve its score in Uttar Pradesh. It managed to retain only the Gandhis’ seats in 2014 and anything more than that will be an improvement. Confronting an aggressive opposition, the BJP has pulled up its socks with party president Amit Shah claiming that the party will win at least 74 this time one more than last time. Over the past few months, Prime Minister Modi has focused on UP and his constituency Varanasi.last_img read more

October 12, 2019
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Omahas Eppley Airfield could get 500M rebuild

OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha Airport Authority is preparing to move forward with a $500 million reconstruction of Eppley Airfield.The project to rebuild the terminal within five years would overhaul its concourse, airline gates, security checkpoints, ticket counters and baggage claim, the Omaha World-Herald reported.The Airport Authority is working with contractors to create a preliminary design for the terminal by this fall.The plans come as Eppley Airfield sees steady passenger growth and airline investments. Airlines scheduled a record of more than 6 million seats to fly through Eppley last year. They also have doubled the number of nonstop flights from the airport since 2013.“It’s really an exciting time for Omaha,” said Dave Roth, the authority’s executive director.Officials are planning to issue long-term revenue bonds to fund the reconstruction. The bonds will be paid back through the airport’s revenue and a federal passenger facility fee.Though plans for the terminal’s new layout haven’t been settled, officials have discussed removing the split concourses and dual security checkpoints to unify the flow of travellers through one linear terminal. Travelers would access their gates by passing through a consolidated security checkpoint through the centre of the airport.The layout could present an opportunity for Eppley to improve its concessions and retail areas.The project would occur in stages, beginning with an initial renovation and expansion. The north and south concourses would be extended once the airport reaches 7 million passengers.Roth said officials have prepared ways to abandon the project before construction, should the economy or passenger activity not be as strong as anticipated.___Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.comThe Associated Press read more

October 8, 2019
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Request to discuss arrest of Gamanpila in Parliament rejected

However Adaikalanathan announced that while Gunawardena could make the statement, the matter cannot be discussed. Joint opposition member Dinesh Gunawardena had requested to make a statement on the arrest and to discuss the matter in Parliament. A heated exchange took place between the opposition and the Government benches when Gunawardena demanded that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe make a statement on the arrest.The Prime Minister had refused to comment and allowed Minister Sarath Fonseka to speak on his behalf. A request to discuss in Parliament the arrest of Parliamentarian Udaya Gamanpila was rejected today.Deputy Chairman of committees Selvam Adaikalanathan said that since the matter is before court it cannot be discussed in Parliament. When Fonseka began making a statement the opposition exchanged heated words with the Government forcing Adaikalanathan to urge Gunawardena to control the joint opposition members.After bringing the House to order Adaikalanathan said that the matter on the arrest of Udaya Gamanpila will not be discussed. (Colombo Gazette) read more

October 7, 2019
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Trudeau Tusk open talks at EU summit on CanadaEU trade agreement

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Council President Donald Tusk have begun their formal talks that will centre on the comprehensive trade agreement between the European Union.Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU trade commissioner, is joining them today in Montreal after the leaders of the 28-country bloc toured Montreal’s bustling port on Wednesday.Trudeau and Tusk are talking up the merits of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, which gives Canadian businesses preferred access to 500 million European consumers and a $24-trillion market.Canada’s Parliament has already ratified the pact with the support of the Liberals and the Conservatives, but seven Canadian and Quebec politicians sent a letter to French lawmakers this week urging them not to follow suit.Canadian business groups and International Trade Minister Jim Carr have branded that letter as disappointing and disturbing given the previous approval of the deal by the House of Commons.So far, 13 EU countries have ratified the deal, but almost all of CETA — more than 90 per cent — went into force in September 2017 under what is known as provisional application.The Canadian Press read more

October 2, 2019
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September vehicle production figures

72.5% 75,324 Total vehicles  6,512 -43.8% 567,809 YTD 2009 761,056 67.0% -61.6% 119,616 Total Source: 63.3% 9,716 -43.8% 175,047 -31.7% -16.1% -20.8% -54.2% -41.2% -73.0% Sep-09 Commercial vehicle production“The UK economy is slowly emerging from recession, but businesses remain reluctant to commit to large capital investments and this is reflected in low demand for commercial vehicles,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. 25.4% 37.0% Sep-09 48,087 3,204 -63.5% -43.8% SMMT Ltd 81,836 74.6% 66,287 Car production“The rate of decline in new car production slowed to its lowest level in a year with the volume of vehicles being produced for the UK market comparatively high,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “Demand is clearly being underpinned by the scrappage incentive scheme and the extension to the scheme will ensure that demand continues into 2010.” 27.5% 694,769 74.8% -53.0% 18,200 Sep-09 DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) YTD 2009 -36.7% 44,292 -42.5% 15.7% 47,496 YTD 2009 Commercial Vehicles  37.2% -45.3% % of total Home Export % of total 519,722 Cars 63.0% -33.0% 36.7% 193,247 129,332 33.0% For more detailed graphs, please see the attached document. 25.2% read more

October 2, 2019
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Nursing students to offer mental health help

A new student-run initiative is set to offer additional support for mental wellness on campus.Starting Monday, Sept. 17, fourth-year Nursing students will spend Monday and Tuesday evenings facilitating Open Door, a project that provides free and confidential preventive mental health support and referrals to Brock students. An official opening for the program is planned for Sept. 24.Held at the Kenmore Centre, the initiative aims to complement other existing services and fill the gap for in-person evening hours support, while also contributing to better overall outcomes for students who are dealing with mental health challenges.One of the student facilitators, Jessica Thomson, said providing support from a student perspective adds a helpful new dimension to the existing avenues of mental health care offered by the University.“It’s an interesting and open experience when students are able to speak about mental health with their peers,” she said. “We can try to relate and understand what our peers are dealing with.”Along with Thomson, students Shaelyn Fitzpatrick, Olivia Janus and Brooke Doherty will facilitate Open Door as part of the clinical practicum portion of the Nursing Department’s fourth-year Community Health Nursing course.However, unlike other placements in the course, the four co-facilitators were also tasked with introducing the initiative, which will see them working directly with students who are dealing with daily stresses and transitional concerns as well as providing appropriate referrals to those who need or want more intensive assistance with mental health.“It’s unique because we are starting it from the ground up,” said Thomson. “We are taking on the marketing aspects and we plan to raise awareness through social media platforms. We want students to know that Open Door is a safe area where they can meet with us and feel respected.”To ensure the practices of the team are in accordance with the highest standards, a clinical instructor will supervise the four Nursing students while they work with those in attendance. To further prepare, the students have completed additional distress training to complement their knowledge in mental health acquired in the third year of their program.For Thomson, the initiative hits close to home.“I have a lot of people in my life who have experienced mental health challenges,” she said. “Being there for others and providing resources that can help means a lot to me on a personal level, and it’s humbling to know that I can make a difference in my own community.”Joyce Engel, Chair of Brock’s Department of Nursing, emphasized Open Door’s dual ability to help students and the course’s facilitators.“It provides a very meaningful opportunity to help others while also offering leadership and organization experience, and developing the skills of students to support those with mental health concerns going forward,” she said.Bringing the initiative from concept to reality was made possible through the entire Brock community’s efforts, Engel said, with help from the Nursing Department, Student Wellness and Accessibility Services, Student Life and Community Experience, Campus Security, the Office of the University Secretariat and other units across campus.“It’s very exciting to work with everyone to roll out something that will immediately contribute to the health and wellness of our students on campus,” she said.As the inaugural Open Door session quickly approaches, Thomson hopes all students will feel welcome to come out and talk about their mental wellness.“We want to provide a safe environment where people can speak about what’s on their mind,” she said. “We have an array of different types of resources and references available and a variety of support services to offer.”The Open Door initiative will run drop-in sessions from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday night until the end of November, with the exception of Reading Week, Oct. 8 to 12.Those wishing to learn more about Open Door can contact nursing@brocku.caTo learn more about the many other mental health resources available at Brock, visit brockmentalhealth.ca or brocku.ca/swac read more

September 20, 2019
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Déforestation les autochtones tentent de se faire entendre à Cancun

first_imgDéforestation : les autochtones tentent de se faire entendre à CancunJusqu’au 10 décembre, les délégations de 192 Etats sont réunies à Cancun, au Mexique, dans le cadre du sommet sur le changement climatique. Le rôle des forêts étant un facteur clé dans la lutte contre le réchauffement de la planète, un accord visant à les protéger apparait comme indispensable. Premières victimes de la déforestation, les autochtones élèvent la voix, craignant de ne pas être entendus lors des négociations.Si l’optimisme n’est pas de mise, un an après l’échec du sommet de Copenhague, le mécanisme REDD + (Réduction des émissions dues à la déforestation et à la dégradation des forêts), pourrait être l’un des seuls à conduire vers un accord international. Ce système vise à offrir des compensations financières au pays abritant des forêts tropicales, tels que le Brésil, l’Indonésie ou les pays du bassin du Congo. Des compensations pour les encourager à protéger leurs forêts, en adoptant une gestion durable de leur exploitation.À lire aussiLa migration de millions de crabes rouges filmée sur l’île de ChristmasAlors que la déforestation est à l’origine de 20% des émissions gaz à effet de serre, les populations craignent d’être oubliées par ce dispositif, elles qui ne possèdent légalement que 9% des forêts. Ces peuples redoutent que leurs intérêts vitaux soient ignorés, en se voyant imposer une monoculture dans le cadre du reboisement, ou priver de chasse dans des zones protégées. Certains estiment même qu’ils pourraient être expulsés de leurs terres ancestrales.Ainsi, chaque matin à Cancun, une assemblée de représentants de peuples autochtones, venues d’Amérique latine, d’Asie et d’Afrique, se réunit pour tenter de se faire entendre. Ils réclament auprès des délégations de leurs pays, comme de l’Union européenne, l’intégration au sein de REDD+ d’une clause de sauvegarde imposant “le consentement libre, préalable, et informé” des communautés autochtones, avant la mise en oeuvre d’un plan de lutte contre la déforestation. Ils demandent également que soit joint au texte la déclaration de l’Onu sur les droits des peuples autochtones.Mais ces demandes sont accueillies avec méfiance au sein des délégations. “Ce que nous voyons, c’est qu’ils ne veulent pas accepter la Déclaration (de l’Onu) parce qu’elle implique de prendre des engagements auprès de nos communautés, les consulter et les informer de toutes les initiatives au lieu de simplement les leur imposer”, explique Onel Masardule, chef de la communauté kuna du Panama, cité par l’AFP. Les peuples autochtones bénéficient toutefois du soutien de la Bolivie, leur principal allié.Le 6 décembre 2010 à 16:31 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

September 14, 2019
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Primary Election Day Today

first_imgFor Senate District O, incumbent Peter Micciche is up against challenger Ron Gillham, both of Soldotna. Voters will also select a Republican to move on to what’s expected to be a closely watched Governor and Lt. Governor race this fall and choose the latest contender to try to unseat the longest-serving member of the U.S. House. Here are the candidates for Kenai Peninsula voters… In District 31, incumbent Paul Seaton is running a nonpartisan candidate in the Democratic primary. In District 30, incumbent Republican representative Gary Knopp is running unopposed. In House District 29, Republicans will choose between Wayne Ogle and Ben Carpenter, both of Nikiski. Democrats have a single candidate, Shawn Butler of Hope.center_img Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Polls open today for the State of Alaska’s Primary Election and KSRM News will have updates tonight as the results filter in. Polls will be open 7am-8pm. Republicans will choose between three primary candidates, Sarah Vance of Homer, John Cox of Anchor Point and Henry Kroll of Anchor Point. Former state Senator Mike Dunleavy and former Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell are seeking the Republican nomination for governor. The winner advances to the November general election. Governor Bill Walker, an independent, is skipping Tuesday’s primaries, while former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Libertarian William “Billy” Toien also is running.last_img read more

September 11, 2019
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OBITUARY Glenn C McKenzie 56

first_imgHAVERHILL, MA — Glenn C. McKenzie, 56, of Haverhill and formerlyly of Beverly Farms, passed away on Monday peacefully at his home.Glenn was born February 4, 1962, son of Paul C. and Ellen (Frost) McKenzie.Glenn attended St. Margaret’s and Beverly Public Schools. He had a long career in the trucking and construction industry, most recently employed by the Benevento Companies of Wilmington, Mass.He is survived by Maryanne Dimento of Haverhill and her children, a brother and his wife, Scott and Pamela McKenzie of Rowley, John McKenzie of Beverly Farms and Robert and Kathy McKenzie of Stuart, Florida.Services will be private.Glenn C. McKenzieLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington OBITUARIES (Week of May 27, 2018)In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Elizabeth J. “Betty” (Kilpatrick) Valente, 75In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Peter C. Carlson, 76In “Obituaries”last_img read more

September 9, 2019
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The potential for future energy development

first_imgAn Armstrong rig in the Pikka Unit on the North Slope. (Photo courtesy Armstrong Oil and Gas)Walker administration officials say the future is bright for resource development with new oil discoveries on the North Slope, potential mining opportunities and the prospect of opening ANWR. They also say the long awaited gas line deal is coming together. How much of this message is an economic wish list and how much is reality?Listen HereHOST: Lori TownsendGUESTS:Kara Moriarty – President/CEO- AK Oil and Gas AssociationLois Epstein – Arctic Program Director-Wilderness SocietyStatewide callers Participate:Call 550-8422 (Anchorage) or 1-800-478-8255 (statewide) during the live broadcastPost your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).Send email to talk@alaskapublic.org (comments may be read on air)LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.SUBSCRIBE: Get Talk of Alaska updates automatically by email, RSS or podcast.last_img read more

September 5, 2019
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Set up committee to look into PSU banks writeoffs SC asks govt

first_imgOn concerns surrounding bad loans and huge write-offs by state-owned banks, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to set up a committee to look into it, reported the Business Standard. The bench was examining a public interest litigation (PIL) on adequacy of promoter guarantee, safeguards against bank-shopping and evergreening of loans, alongside bad loans and write-offs.”We (the bench) are not financial experts,” Chief Justice TS Thakur said, and added: “You propose a committee to look into it. We will accept the proposal.”The court also directed the central government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to respond to the issues mentioned in the PIL.In a right to information query by the Indian Express, the RBI had revealed that in the last three years stressed assets worth Rs.1.14 lakh crore were written off by state-owned banks (public sector banks). However, Prashanth Bhushan, the legal counsel for the PIL, highlighted huge differences in the write-offs reported by banks individually and the RBI.Citing an example for the discrepancy, he noted that the RBI information revealed that Punjab National Bank (PNB) wrote off over Rs. 8,500 crore in last two years, while PNB held that not a single paisa was written off in the said period. Similarly, Bank of India’s write-offs stood at Rs. 17,700 crore over two years, while the RBI reported Rs. 2,567 crore.The daily reported that the bench in a warm gesture asked the government not to treat the directions ‘adversarial,’ as both the government and the RBI counsels had reasoned out. Solicitor general said some amendments are in the offing, while the RBI’s counsel said the systems were in place for most issues raised in the PIL.”Something is missing (in the present system). That is why it is not working. We are looking at suggestions to reform the system and prevent the huge write offs,” said Justice Thakur.last_img read more

September 3, 2019
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Britains antiBrexit voters face tough choice

first_imgA combination of pictures created in London shows Britain’s prime minister Theresa May (L) and Britain’s main opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn ®. AFP file photoFor the 48 percent of British voters who backed staying in the European Union in last year’s referendum, choosing a candidate to represent them in the upcoming election is proving extremely difficult.Some, like 45-year-old Tom Glover, are planning to vote for the centrist Liberal Democrats-a minor opposition party that is very pro-European.“I’ve never voted for the Lib Dems in my life, but I will this time,” the computer engineer and staunch Europhile told AFP in the City, London’s business hub.Glover was seduced by the Liberal Democrats’ promise to hold a second referendum at the end of Brexit negotiations on whether to accept the terms of the deal, or reject them and stay in the bloc.“The leader (Tim Farron) isn’t the most charismatic in my opinion but the idea that they would try their best to stay in Europe is enough for me to vote for them,” he added.But few think like Glover and, despite unexpectedly receiving the backing of the respected weekly magazine The Economist, the Liberal Democrats continue to languish in the polls.The party only has seven percent of voting intentions in a recent poll by YouGov-which interviewed 1,875 people on 30 and 31 May.That was well behind the ruling Conservative Party on 42 per cent and the main opposition Labour Party on 39 per cent.‘Best for the UK’Long-time supporter Benjamin, 31, said he would not vote for the Lib Dems despite being anxious over Brexit as his partner is European and his industry is dependent on business with Europe.“It’s just that they are not going to win. There is no point,” he told AFP.For the pension fund employee, it is crucial to block Prime Minister Theresa May from leading the Brexit negotiations.“I don’t believe she or the Conservatives are doing what is best for the UK,” he said, arguing that “it would be better to have a Labour government.”According to YouGov, 53 per cent of “Remainers”-those who voted to stay in the bloc-intend to vote for the main opposition party led by Jeremy Corbyn, even though his campaign to stay in the EU was lacklustre and he is now promising Brexit.But the party’s pledge to respect the outcome of the referendum while also negotiating a “close relationship” with the EU resonates well with “Remainers”.Forty-eight percent of them believe “the government has a duty to carry out” Brexit, according to a YouGov poll from 8 May.“People voted, so at the end of the day, if you go back on this referendum, why would you abide by any other referendum?” Natasha, a human resource professional told AFP.Describing herself as “unrepresented” on the campaign trail, Natasha argued that the referendum’s close result “gives credence to the fact that there should be a soft Brexit” where Britain would remain inside the European single market and allow immigration.Tactical votingIt is for these undecided voters that Gina Miller launched her “Best for Britain” initiative within hours of May taking the country by surprise in April by announcing a snap election.Her crowd-funding appeal promised to put Brexit at the heart of the campaign and collected more than £400,000 ($514,000, 457,000 euros).The investment fund manager has distributed the money to 25 candidates from either Labour, Lib Dems, the Green Party or independent.All pledged to fight against the tougher Brexit advocated by the prime minister.For Miller, this “progressive alliance” may be the answer to what she see as a “vacuum” in British politics.“The most effective thing to do is tactical voting,” she told AFP.Voters, she argued, should cast their ballot “for the character of the individual, not the character of the party”.last_img read more

September 2, 2019
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Texas School Finance Panel Approves Final Report To Lawmakers

first_img Share Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneTexas Commission on Public School Finance member Todd Williams of Dallas, left, speaks with Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath and state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, on Jan. 23, 2018.After hours of discussion Wednesday, a state panel studying school finance stripped its final report of language that blamed the state for inadequate education spending — and that added urgency to a need for more money to improve student performance.The original version of the report, unveiled last Tuesday, included stronger language that held the state accountable for the lack of education funding and urged lawmakers to immediately inject more than a billion dollars of new funding into public schools. Scott Brister, the panel’s chairman and a former Texas Supreme Court justice, led the charge to make those changes, which he said would be more palatable to lawmakers and keep Texas from being sued in the future.“I do have a problem several places where it says our school system has failed. I do think that’s asking for trouble,” he said.Some lawmakers and educators on the panel pushed back before agreeing to compromise.“I think we have failed our schools and we haven’t funded them, in my view, adequately or equitably,” responded state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, who chairs the House Public Education Committee.Despite the conflict, the 13-member commission unanimously approved more than 30 recommendations on Wednesday aimed at boosting public education funding, improving student performance, cleaning up a messy funding distribution system — and providing property tax relief for Texans.A final report will be sent to lawmakers, who are convening next month amid calls from state leadership to overhaul a long-embattled school finance system. Gov. Greg Abbott supported the panel’s vote in a statement Wednesday afternoon: “Today’s school finance commission report made clear that the state must reform the broken Robin Hood system and allocate more state funding to education. This session, we will do just that.”The vote was the culmination of nearly a year of meetings and hours of testimony from school superintendents, education advocates and policy experts.Panel members have bickered for months about basic foundational concepts, including whether the state had been underfunding public schools and whether they actually need more money in order to improve. The report takes a middle ground approach, promising more money to school districts that meet certain criteria or agree to offer specific programs such as dual language or merit pay for teachers.Many of the debates among panel members Wednesday reflected their political divisions, with Brister — a conservative and Abbott appointee — arguing against citing a specific amount lawmakers should infuse into the public school funding system and school officials saying the panel should take an explicit stand based on its research.An earlier version of the report said lawmakers should take the “important first step” of approving more than $1.73 billion in “new funding” for “the vast majority (if not all)” of the proposed programs.The recommendation the commission approved Wednesday dropped that dollar figure.Brister said he was uncomfortable sending a report to lawmakers that pressured them into making specific financial decisions.“I am willing to say we will have to add new money to do these things. I am not willing to say, ‘And the first step is, every dime has to come from new money,” he said.Nicole Conley-Johnson, chief financial officer of the Austin Independent School District, unsuccessfully argued to keep the paragraph in its original form.“The spirit by which we were convened is to establish the changes and make recommendations,” she said. “I feel like we need to have the foresight to put in the estimated cost.”Education advocacy groups criticized Brister’s decision. “There can be no real school finance reform that fails to address adequacy,” said Shannon Holmes, executive director of the Association of Texas Public Educators, in a statement after Wednesday’s vote. “ATPE is disheartened that some members on the commission were unwilling to acknowledge the reality of the limitation of our state’s current funding levels out of fears of sparking litigation.”The report still includes cost estimates for recommended programs and changes to how funding is divvied up among schools. But it no longer implores state lawmakers to pay for them.Among the recommendations the commission plans to send to lawmakers are:$100 million a year to school districts that want to develop their own teacher evaluation metrics and tie pay to performance. The total amount available should increase $100 million each year until it reaches $1 billion.Up to $150 million to incentivize school districts to offer dual language programs, which instruct students in both English and Spanish, and to improve their dyslexia programs.$800 million to incentivize school districts to improve students’ reading level in early grades and to succeed in college or a career after graduating high school.$1.1 billion to improve education for low-income students, with school districts that have a higher share of needy students getting more money.Create a new goal of having 60 percent of third-grade students reading on or above grade level and 60 percent of high school seniors graduating with a technical certificate, military inscription, or college enrollment without the need for remedial classes.Cap local school district tax rates in order to offer property tax relief and a small amount of funding for schools —a proposal from Abbott.No extra funding for special education programs until the state has completed overhauling those programs in line with a federal mandate.last_img read more

August 31, 2019
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Jinni Semantic Search for Movies

first_img Citation: Jinni: Semantic Search for Movies (2009, July 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-07-jinni-semantic-movies.html (PhysOrg.com) — One of the most interesting things I have come across over the Internet is the movie search engine Jinni. Can’t think of anything to watch tonight? Type in a phrase, and dozens of moves appear in an attractive visual search result. Of course, if you want to see movies that match your tastes and preferences, you will have to set up a profile and become a part of the The Movie Genome. Jinni has been called “the Pandora of music” for good reason. Because of the ability to compare tastes to others and rank movies according to your preference, Jinni seems like a social network at first glance. However, the people behind Jinni make it clear that it is an “Internet application designed to fit how people relate to movies and TV.” As with all applications of this nature, the more you use it, the more accurate your results will become over time. I compared Jinni to the recommendation I get from Netflix, and found that Jinni offers something much more sophisticated. There’s a reason that CNET thinks that Jinni is hands down the best movie recommendation engine available.The real cool feature, though, is the semantic search. Type in searches according to plots, genre and/or actors. You can even search using your mood as a guide. You can type in nearly any search phrase and something will come up. If you are confused about the connections between some of the movies that appear, you can click on a button that will tell why the movies are “related”. Jinni uses a proprietary algorithms to do a lot of the work, but the staff has done a great deal of manual tagging. Automatic tagging continues as Jinni “learns” more about different movies.My favorite thing about Jinni, though, is the fact that it reminds me of old favorites not thought of in years — and introduces me to interesting new movie possibilities.© 2009 PhysOrg.com Jinni offers semantic search for movies. Explore further Study: ‘Chick flicks’ also enjoyed by men This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

August 31, 2019
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Swimming upstream Flux flow reverses for lattice bosons in a magnetic field

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Copyright 2011 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Sebastian D. Huber in the Department of Condensed Matter Physics at Weizmann, working with Netanel H. Lindner at CalTech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Department of Physics, describes the obstacles encountered in conducting their research. “The Hall conductivity of continuum bosons is directly dictated by the density of particles,” says Huber. “Interesting lattice effects leading to a deviation from this elementary rule are only at work for strong inter-particle interactions. In short, the existence of holes is crucial to our work.” Citation: Swimming upstream: Flux flow reverses for lattice bosons in a magnetic field (2011, December 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-upstream-flux-reverses-lattice-bosons.html Forces acting on a vortex. (a) The classical Magnus force due to the interaction of the velocity field of the vortex and the external flow vs acts perpendicular to vs. (b) Vortex motion leads to a change in the momentum of the system due to its phase singularity, which is perpendicular to its velocity vv. (c) Moving a vortex around a lattice site yields a Berry phase of 2πα = 2π(nb + p). Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110813108 (PhysOrg.com) — Matter in the subatomic realm is, well, a different matter. In the case of strongly correlated phases of matter, one of the most surprising findings has to do with a phenomenon known as the Hall response – an important theoretical and experimental tool for describing emergent charge carriers in strongly correlated systems, examples of which include high temperature superconductors and the quantum Hall effect. At Weizmann Institute of Science and California Institute of Technology, recent theoretical physics research into bosons interacting in a magnetic field has shown that, among other surprising effects, Hall conductivity – and therefore flux flow – undergo reversal. The scientists have concluded that their findings are immediately applicable to a wide range of phenomena in the realm of condensed matter physics. Concerning the surprising effects they found (e.g., sign reversal) of topological transitions between different integer values, Huber stresses that while it has been well-known since the discovery of the quantum Hall state that topology can have an important influence on solid state systems, there has recently been tremendous interest in topologically non-trivial states in the form of topological insulators. “However,” he adds, “all these systems are characterized by a gap to excitations in the bulk. Our results show that such topological transitions, and consequently the sign-reversals, are possible also in a gapless superfluid.”While these findings are new, they are actually based on a very old theorem by von Neumann and Wigner regarding level crossings. “So,” Huber concludes, “in a sense we only brought existing knowledge on the structure of energy levels into the fascinating new world of topology in condensed matter systems.”center_img Recognizing blood poisoning quickly Explore further While for fermions the band theory of solids together with the Pauli principle provides the notion of holes, for bosons they needed an interaction-driven Mott insulator – a material that should conduct electricity according to conventional band theories, but due to particle-particle interactions is an insulator when measured, particularly at low temperatures – for holes to arise. “Hence, our main challenge was to study a lattice effect in the presence of strong interactions.”Huber and Lindner addressed the question of the Hall conductivity by using concepts of topology like the Chern number and the effective magnetic monopoles which constitute sources of the Chern density. “While these concepts are well known,” Huber explains, “their application to gapless interacting systems is novel. The realization that gapless systems can also have topological transitions like the ones we found between different values of the Chern number, or equivalently, the Hall conductivity, is certainly an exciting new discovery. The actual question we resolved – the value of the Hall coefficient of lattice bosons – has been a longstanding problem motivated by high-temperature superconductivity. In this sense, our work contributes to a deeper understanding of lattice systems in general.”Huber describes the next steps being considered, given that their work has shown that sign reversals of the Hall conductivity are possible in clean systems with no disorder, as well as in a purely bosonic model. “In high-temperature superconductors such reversals are experimentally observed,” Huber notes. ”The common wisdom is that the underlying Fermi surface is undergoing a structural change due to a competing instability of strip-formation. Our work suggests that this might not be the only source of such sign-reversals and no fermionic mechanism needs to be invoked. As the exact nature of these systems is highly controversial, we plan to extend our work to be able to directly access this problem.” More information: Topological transitions for lattice bosons in a magnetic field, Published online before print November 22, PNAS December 13, 2011, vol. 108 no. 50, 19925-19930, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110813108 Topological transitions in the Bose-Hubbard phase diagram. The Galilean invariant regime denotes the region where σxy is proportional to the particle density nb divided by the magnetic field strength B. Mott insulator lobes are indicated in gray. The yellow and green lines exhibit an emergent particle hole symmetry, where σxy = 0. They are divided into two types: (i) Lines emanating from the tip of the Mott lobe at integer boson filling where σxy has a smooth zero crossing (green). (ii) Transition lines (yellow), through which Bσxy exhibits integer jumps. The latter continue into the phase diagram, with σxy > 0, as indicated by the dashed lines. The blue region corresponds to regions where the Hall conductivity is negative. Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1110813108last_img read more

August 27, 2019
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Explaining the Mammography Quality Standards Act

first_img News | Mammography | August 14, 2019 Imago Systems Announces Collaboration With Mayo Clinic for Breast Imaging Image visualization company Imago Systems announced it has signed a know-how license with Mayo Clinic. The multi-year… read more Image courtesy of Imago Systems FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more IBM collected a dataset of 52,936 images from 13,234 women who underwent at least one mammogram between 2013 and 2017, and who had health records for at least one year prior to the mammogram. The algorithm was trained on 9,611 mammograms. Image courtesy of Radiology. Qlarity Imaging’s software is used to assist radiologists in the assessment and characterization of breast lesions. Imaging features are synthesized by an artificial intelligence algorithm into a single value, the QI score, which is analyzed relative to a database of reference abnormalities with known ground truth. Image courtesy of Business Wire. News | Mammography Reporting Software | July 26, 2019 Ikonopedia Releases Automated Combined Reporting Package at AHRA Ikonopedia showcased its recently released Automated Combined Reporting package and its entire suite of structured… read more Technology | Breast Biopsy Systems | July 24, 2019 Fujifilm Releases Tomosynthesis Biopsy Option for Aspire Cristalle Mammography System Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. recently expanded its breast imaging solutions with the launch of its… read more News | Breast Imaging | August 02, 2019 Volpara to Distribute Screenpoint Medical’s Transpara AI Solution Volpara Solutions and ScreenPoint Medical BV signed an agreement under which Volpara will sell ScreenPoint’s Transpara… read more Feature | Artificial Intelligence | July 19, 2019 | Michal Chorev AI Models Predict Breast Cancer With Radiologist-level Accuracy Breast cancer is the global leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, and the most commonly diagnosed cancer… read more center_img Technology | Mammography Reporting Software | July 25, 2019 Hologic Partners With MagView to Develop Unifi EQUIP Solution Hologic announced a partnership with mammography information solutions provider MagView to develop Unifi EQUIP, an… read more News | PACS | August 09, 2019 Lake Medical Imaging Selects Infinitt for Multi-site RIS/PACS Infinitt North America will be implementing Infinitt RIS (radiology information system)/PACS (picture archiving and… read more read more Feature | Mammography | October 16, 2018 Explaining the Mammography Quality Standards Act The MQSA act, regulations, alternative standards and guidance all work together to ensure mammography exams and reporting meet high quality standards News | Ultrasound Women’s Health | July 11, 2019 FDA Clears Koios DS Breast 2.0 AI-based Software Koios Medical announced its second 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Technology | Artificial Intelligence | July 18, 2019 Paragon Biosciences Launches Qlarity Imaging to Advance FDA-cleared AI Breast Cancer Diagnosis System Paragon Biosciences LLC announced the launch of its seventh portfolio company, Qlarity Imaging LLC, which was founded… read more Related Content October 16, 2018 — The Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) was enacted to improve the quality of mammography and ensure that all women across the country can count on receiving a mammogram that meets quality standards. The MQSA program has many components, and here the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains how they all fit together:The MQSA Statute and its implementing Regulations together shape the MQSA program. The program was established through the legislative process, with the passage of a statute (or Act) by Congress, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, and then the publication of implementing Regulations by the FDA, later supplemented with explanatory Guidance.The MQSA Statute, in Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), sets the broad outlines of the requirements. The statute can be found here:http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/MammographyQualityStandardsActandProgram/Regulations/ucm110823.htmThe Act directed the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to promulgate regulations to carry out the Act. The FDA was the agency delegated by the Secretary to do this. The implementing Regulations of the MQSA Statute are in Title 21 of the CFR, part 900, and can be found here:http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/MammographyQualityStandardsActandProgram/Regulations/ucm110906.htm#s90012The Regulations also contain a mechanism for the approval of Alternative Standards when the proposed new standard is determined to be “at least as effective in assuring quality mammography as the standard it proposes to replace.” Different parties, including federal agencies, state governments, accreditation bodies, mammography facilities and equipment manufacturers are qualified to apply for alternatives to various parts of the MQSA standards, respectively, as detailed in in Sec. 900.18 of the Regulations. The 24 currently approved Alternative Standards are listed here:https://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/MammographyQualityStandardsActandProgram/Regulations/ucm110880.htmThe MQSA Policy Guidance Help System (PGHS) is a set of informational pages, including citations of regulations, explanatory discussions and tables, and answers to frequently asked questions. They are all intended to help clarify the FDA’s current thinking on various ways to meet the requirements of the regulations. The PGHS contents themselves (except for the citations of regulations) do not have the force of law. Here is a link to the PGHS:http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/MammographyQualityStandardsActandProgram/Guidance/PolicyGuidanceHelpSystem/In addition to meeting the MQSA requirements, some aspects of medical practice and radiation protection may also have to meet other state and local requirements, so facility owners, administrators and personnel should make sure they familiarize themselves with all applicable requirements.There are also clinical practice guidelines for mammography published by various professional organizations. These are not requirements which must be met, but recommendations which may be helpful in maintaining quality practice.The relationship between the Act, Regulations, PGHS, Alternative Standards and clinical practice guidelines, can best be explained using this example regarding the communication of mammography results:The Act (or Statute): In order to promote clear communication of mammography results, the Act requires (among other things) that a certified facility “must assure the preparation of a written report of the results of any mammography examination,” and provide that written report to the patient’s referring physician (if any). The regulations also specify the timeframe for issuing the written report.The Regulations: These list specific items that must be included in the mammography report, including (among others) an “[o]verall final assessment of findings, classified in one of [a specified list of] categories.” (Note that MQSA does not regulate what findings make a mammogram Negative, Benign, Suspicious, etc. – it only requires that, after the exam is interpreted, one of these approved assessments must be used in the report, to promote clear communication of the results.)The PGHS: This lists acceptable slight variations in the wording of the final assessment categories listed in the Regulations.MQSA Alternative Standards: Two of the approved Alternative Standards, No. 11 and No. 12, address the assessment categories in mammography reports. These standards add two new approved assessments: one for cases which require comparison to prior mammograms, and one for cases in which a post-procedure mammogram was performed to assess the placement of a tissue marker. These assessments may be used by any facility but are not required to be used.Practice guidelines: These may be issued by various professional societies, academic and health organizations. They may contain recommendations for good practice regarding communication and the contents of mammography reports, but the MQSA regulations do not require that these recommendations be followed.Thus, the MQSA Act, Regulations (and approved Alternative Standards), and PGHS all help to gain an understanding of the requirements for certified mammography facilities. Practice guidelines may further help to enhance the quality of mammography, though they are not part of the MQSA program.For more information: www.fda.govRelated MQSA ContentWhat It Takes to Remain an MQSA-Qualified InspectorFDA Article Underscores Benefits of Adequate Breast Compression for Mammography Image Qualitylast_img read more

August 26, 2019
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Julia for machine learning Will the new language pick up pace

first_imgMachine learning can be done using many languages, with Python and R being the most popular. But one language has been overlooked for some time—Julia. Why isn’t Julia machine learning a thing? Julia isn’t an obvious choice for machine learning simply because it’s a new language that has only recently hit version 1.0. While Python is well-established, with a large community and many libraries, Julia simply doesn’t have the community to shout about it. And that’s a shame. Right now Julia is used in various fields. From optimizing milk production in dairy farms to parallel supercomputing for astronomy, Julia has a wide range of applications. A common theme here is that these actions all require numerical, scientific, and sometimes parallel computation. Julia is well-suited to the sort of tasks where intensive computation is essential. Viral Shah, CEO of Julia Computing said to Forbes “Amazon, Apple, Disney, Facebook, Ford, Google, Grindr, IBM, Microsoft, NASA, Oracle and Uber are other Julia users, partners and organizations hiring Julia programmers.” Clearly, Julia is powering the analytical nous of some of the most high profile organizations on the planet. Perhaps it just needs more cheerleading to go truly mainstream. Why Julia is a great language for machine learning Julia was originally designed for high-performance numerical analysis. This means that everything that has gone into its design is built for the very things you need to do to build effective machine learning systems. Speed and functionality Julia combines the functionality from various popular languages like Python, R, Matlab, SAS and Stata with the speed of C++ and Java. A lot of the standard LaTeX symbols can be used in Julia, with the syntax usually being the same as LaTeX. This mathematical syntax makes it easy for implementing mathematical formulae in code and make Julia machine learning possible. It also has in-built support for parallelism which allows utilization of multiple cores at once making it fast at computations. Julia’s loops and functions features are pretty fast, fast enough that you would probably notice significant performance differences against other languages. The performance can be almost comparable to C with very little code actually used. With packages like ArrayFire, generic code can be run on GPUs. In Julia, the multiple dispatch feature is very useful for defining number and array-like datatypes. Matrices, data tables work with good compatibility and performance. Julia has automatic garbage collection, a collection of libraries for mathematical calculations, linear algebra, random number generation, and regular expression matching. Libraries and scalability Julia machine learning can be done with powerful tools like MLBase.jl, Flux.jl, Knet.jl, that can be used for machine learning and artificial intelligence systems. It also has a scikit-learn implementation called ScikitLearn.jl. Although ScikitLearn.jl is not an official port, it is a useful additional tool for building machine learning systems with Julia. As if all those weren’t enough, Julia also has TensorFlow.jl and MXNet.jl. So, if you already have experience with these tools, in other implementations, the transition is a little easier than learning everything from scratch. Julia is also incredibly scalable. It can be deployed on large clusters quickly, which is vital if you’re working with big data across a distributed system. Should you consider Julia machine learning? Because it’s fast and possesses a great range of features, Julia could potentially overtake both Python and R to be the choice of language for machine learning in the future. Okay, maybe we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. But with Julia reaching the 1.0 milestone, and the language rising on the TIOBE index, you certainly shouldn’t rule out Julia when it comes to machine learning. Julia is also available to use in the popular tool Jupyter Notebook, paving a path for wider adoption. A note of caution, however, is important. Rather than simply dropping everything for Julia, it will be worth monitoring the growth of the language. Over the next 12 to 24 months we’ll likely see new projects and libraries, and the Julia machine learning community expanding. If you start hearing more noise about the language, it becomes a much safer option to invest your time and energy in learning it. If you are just starting off with machine learning, then you should stick to other popular languages. An experienced engineer, however, who already has a good grip on other languages shouldn’t be scared of experimenting with Julia – it gives you another option, and might just help you to uncover new ways of working and solving problems. Read next Julia 1.0 has just been released What makes functional programming a viable choice for artificial intelligence projects? Best Machine Learning Datasets for beginnerslast_img read more