Van Dyken-Rouen heading home ‘1,000 times better’

first_imgENGLEWOOD, Colo. | Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is leaving the hospital feeling “1,000 times better” after two months of rehabilitation.She’s even become the self-described “wheelie queen” in her specially designed wheelchair. She rolled out the hospital door Thursday — the same one she was brought in through on a stretcher in June.At Craig Hospital, Van Dyken-Rouen learned how to drive with hand controls, dress herself and pick things off the floor. She also went boating and visited the zoo.All part of the recovery for Van Dyken-Rouen, who was left paralyzed just below the waist in an all-terrain vehicle crash on June 6 in Arizona. She’s ready to return home to Arizona, but will remain in Colorado until September.Her immediate plans include visits to friends, some sailing and more rehab.last_img read more

Rockets riding momentum of state championship win

first_img Raritan The Raritan High School wrestling team defeated Delsea (Franklinville) in the NJSIAA Group II final on Sunday, propelling the team into the District 22 championships this weekend with a state title already in the books.The Rockets first took care of High Point, 31-18, in their semifinal match in the afternoon at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, advancing to the final of the Group II championships. Raritan then beat a state powerhouse in Delsea, 30-28, for the program’s first state championship.It was a thrilling day for Raritan, a team that won its second sectional title and first since 2004 when it defeated Delaware Valley on Feb. 10. In the championship match on Sunday, Nick Rice, Dylan Seidenberg, Matt Lindo, Anthony Scarcella, Nick Liguori, Devin Holmes and Tyler Sookdeo registered victories for Raritan, who defeated Delsea twice this season — in the season’s opening match and then the state championship. Raritan High School’s Matt Lindo (top) tries to finish High Point’s John Torppey by pinning him during their 113- pound match in the NJSIAA Group II team championship semifinal held at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River on Feb. 12. Lindo didn’t get the pin, but he won the match by a 7-1 decision. The Rockets won the match, 31-18, advancing to the Group II final, where they captured the school’s first state wrestling championship by defeating Delsea Regional High School, 30-28. PHOTOS BY JEFF GRANIT staff “It was just absolutely amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of my guys,” head coach Rob Nucci said, adding that Raritan’s demanding schedule prepared the Rockets for what the group championships brought on Sunday.“All three teams there on Sunday, we beat already this season. It shows you how our schedule during the course of the season really set us up for the state tournament,” he said. Raritan High School’s Nick Rice (bottom) and High Point’s Christopher Epperly struggle to gain control during their 220-pound match in the NJSIAA Group II team championship semifinal. Rice went on to win the match, 10-5. “It was a complete team effort. It was something we stressed this season, embracing the grind,” he added. “And Delsea has only two losses, both of them to Raritan.”For Nucci, who is coaching his 11th season as Raritan’s head coach, the state championship brings his tenure with the Rockets full circle.“I remember seeing some of [Raritan’s wrestlers] as little boys sitting in the stands watching their older brothers,” he said. “As a coach, that is absolutely awesome.”The state championship gives the Rockets considerable momentum going into the District 22 tournament, which will be held at Red Bank Regional on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18. In addition to Raritan and Red Bank, the championships will feature Christian Brothers Academy, Keansburg, Keyport, Long Branch, Middletown North, Middletown South, Ocean Township, Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven.Raritan (24-6) will be looking to defend its District 22 title from last season, when it topped second-place Ocean Township, 196-168. CBA finished third with 155 points.“It’s going to be another circus,” Nucci said of the district tournament. “At the group championships, Ocean was at the mat to our right and CBA was to our left. District 22 is up for grabs.”Ocean Township (22-2) will enter the district tournament as a contender for the top spot. After defeating Paramus, 48-15, in the Group III semifinals, Ocean fell to South Plainfield, 30-27, in the title match-up. Jason DaCruz and Colton Bigelow were district champions in 2011. Ocean’s 12 District 22 titles is a record. The Spartans won five consecutive championships from 2004 to 2008.In the Shore Conference Tournament, the Spartans beat the Rockets, 34-24. CBA (18-6) fell to Bergen Catholic in the Non-Public A championship match on Sunday, a 36-16 loss that followed a sectional victory for the Colts against St. Augustine. It was CBA’s first sectional title since 2002 and only the second in the program’s history. Erik Beshada, Christian Casselli, Vin Favia and Hayden Hrymack each won championship bouts at last year’s District 22 tournament, giving the Colts more returning champions than any of the other contenders.Long Branch lost to Raritan, 34-16, in the Central Jersey Group II semifinals on Feb. 8. The Green Wave, which won its first District 22 title in 2010, placed fourth in last season’s district championships with 151.5 points.Middletown South senior Nick Herring returns this week after winning a District 22 title last season. Herring’s championship helped the Eagles score 72 points for a fifthplace finish in 2011. The District 22 championships at Red Bank Regional will begin with the first round on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The tournament continues Saturday at 10 a.m., and title and consolation matches are slated to begin at 2 p.m. Headed to District 22 tourney at Red Bank Regional, Raritan is defending champion BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent last_img read more

The “troubles”…

first_img…of Jan 12, 1998Today is “Chinese Arrival Day” – as declared by President Granger last year. Guyana, of course, is a land of immigrants; brought here to join the Indigenous Peoples – but more specifically, to work on the sugar plantations after the abolition of slavery in 1834. The first batch of Chinese were dropped off on January 12, 1853, and because they were all male, soon they developed liaisons with freed Africans. By that time, the Portuguese (1835), West Indian freed Africans (1835); intercepted slave ships Africans (1835) and Indians (1838) had already formed a “polyglot society”.The Portuguese quickly decamped the plantations and within a couple of decades, established themselves as the premier immigrant entrepreneurs. That led to tensions between them and the freed slaves and there were at least two riots in which Africans assaulted them and torched their shops. The Chinese never precipitated that kind of hostility – most likely because of their high rate of intermarriage.By and large, there were no major outbreaks of violence between Indians and Africans – and most folks figure this might be due to the former remaining stubbornly rural and the latter, gravitating to the towns. This, of course, also led them into different non-competitive occupations. The beginning of the modern period saw the equation change dramatically – and more dangerously – ironically, with the spread of democracy and the universal franchise.Now, the question wasn’t only who pushed ahead economically, but also who’d take over the Government when the British departed. This was now a question of “when”, not “if”. Democracy means counting noses and the leaders with the most noses become the head honchos of the state. With the descendants of African slaves and Indian indentureds being the two largest groups, their noses counted the most (pun intended!) and set the seeds of political competition.That competition lead to ethnic/racial disturbances in the 1960’s – with more than a little help from the anti-communist USA and their CIA – and with the genie out of the bottle, relations were never quite the same again. Politics literally became “war by other means”. And we arrive at the period of “troubles” (as labelled by President Granger) following ethnic riots on January 12, 1998 in Georgetown. Then, hundreds of Indian-Guyanese were beaten and assaulted by fellow African-Guyanese citizens, following PNC protests over the 1997 elections.The following decade can be described as nothing less than political madness as armed gunmen challenged the State by attacking Policemen and Indian-Guyanese, and “vigilante” squads became judge, jury and executioners  of “bandits” – generally African-Guyanese youths.There have been several calls to investigate our political violence. Let’s begin with January 12, 1998.…being incitedImran Khan, the Director of Public Information (DPI) is Prime Minister Nagamootoo’s “shill” and “water boy”. As a creature of the PM, he doesn’t even purr, much less bark unless he gets Nagamootoo’s instruction. Not “permission” – instruction. And it’s against this background, you, dear reader, have to evaluate Khan’s petulant and incendiary incitement against the Indian High Commissioner.Khan (really Nagamootoo) is peeved the Indian Government only invited MP’s – but no Minister of Government on their all-expense paid trip to India. Nagamootoo knows how extravagantly the Indians pamper their guests – he’s been there at least six times before! And he’s upset the delegation’s packed with PPP MPs. His “mouth water” is leaking copiously for some Indian pampering!But he could have changed all that. Since he was given absolutely no PM’s responsibilities – as was promised by the Cummingsburg Accord,  why didn’t  he revert to what he really is? Just another MP. And fly off to India – all expenses paid!!But then he would lose that pension! Decisions, Decisions!!…for sugar workersAfter sugar workers marched in silence – Police permission for loudspeakers was denied – they’re going to be paid HALF of their severance.Imagine if they’d blocked a bridge and stopped trucks from crossing – like in Linden – what they’d have gotten!!last_img read more

Neanderthal economics

first_imgOne of the most perplexing characteristics of the present regime is while the President, the present leader of the PNC, vowed to complete the “legacy” of Forbes Burnham, he studiously avoids Burnham’s articulated pronouncements for an overarching vision grounded on an ideological framework. For instance, Burnham never veered from his insistence that he was a “socialist” and that the tenets of that ideology would guide his efforts towards creating an egalitarian society encompassed in the slogan: “The small man will be the real man”.Obviously, one accepts that times, circumstances and contexts change and so also, might ideology: but governments must have some guiding principles that, even very thinly, constitutes an ideology. Back in 1989, when then PNC leader Desmond Hoyte accepted the tenets of neo-liberalism dubbed “The Washington Consensus”, as a quid pro quo for the IMF loans, because he let it be known he was not a socialist. He therefore went along with their recommendations presumably because he accepted such tenets like a “night watchman state” and launched a traumatic downsizing of the Civil Service. He also launched the wave of privatization of the 80% of the economy that had been nationalized.Dr Cheddi Jagan, on the other hand, while accepting the new global realities, made a strong case for the stabilization of the Public Service (for which he has never been given credit) and for GuySuCo not to be privatized. He offered cogent social and political reasons why the neo-liberal dogmas had to be modified for Guyana’s reality. His successors in the PPP also had to dance pragmatically between the raindrops as they reoriented the economy and stimulated modest but consistent economic growth during their terms of office so that the lives of the “working class” could improve.What might have helped them to become more “pro-people” in their economic plans, which included subsidizing the depressed bauxite community of Linden even as they retained the sugar levy, was that the anti-people premises of the neo-liberal paradigm were beginning to unravel. Its edifice, of course, all came crashing down in 2007/2008. The US, for instance, was forced to intervene massively and directly into the private sector through their bailouts of the banking industry and the recapitalization of the manufacturing sector such as in the car industry. The interventory state was back.The changed outlook towards the neo-liberal model of “development” went as far as accepting that “market fundamentalism” – which advocated that all decisions, even moral ones implicit in the levels of employment and poverty were to be made by the “impartial, utility-maximising” market – had to be jettisoned. The Brexit and Trump phenomena in Europe and the US respectively, are symptoms of large masses of citizen rejecting decisions being made by the market”.Interestingly, early last December speaking at a high level forum on “Combating Pollution in the Extractive Industries” at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, President Granger offered hope he might have realized the direction from which the new economic wind was blowing and had rejected the neo-liberal dogmatism of ignoring that man had to be the centre of all development. He declared: “People, therefore, must be at the heart of the development of our natural resources. People must come before profits. The pursuit of profits has been accompanied, over the past century, by an exponential increase in extractive industries.” But he flattered to deceive.Even as he spoke, his government announced the closure of three other sugar estates –Skeldon, Enmore and Rose Hall, in addition to Wales which had been closed a year earlier. Four thousands sugar-workers joined the 1700 already on the breadlines and the 2000 that worked with now redundant private cane farmers. President Granger and his PNC have evidently embraced the failed Neanderthal neo-liberal economic model, even as it is being abandoned elsewhere. The irony is that as far back as 1979, when the medicine was suggested to him by the IMF, Burnham dismissed them as an “International Mother F*****”.How would he describe Granger?last_img read more

Doctors donate blood to patient

first_imgAlthough the patient did not survive, two doctors at the New Amsterdam Public Hospital are being hailed “heroes of the night” for going out of their way to at least provide a 43-year-old accident victim with a fighting chance at life by voluntarily donating their blood.The two young doctors; Loinel Henry and Nyron Sugrim, made themselves readilyDr Loinel Henry and Dr Nyron Sugrim donating blood at the New Amsterdam Hospitalavailable on Monday evening and donated one unit of blood each to a complete stranger who was moments earlier involved in vehicular accident. Henry, who is attached to the paediatric department of the medical institution, said he was at the time doing an admission when he saw the man whom he learnt was in a critical condition. Doctors were conducting Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the Cuba trained doctor went to render assistance.The young doctor also has an “O” negative blood type, which allows him to offer such assistance in any emergency situation. He said he was “a bit scared” as he had never before given blood. He said he however did not give much thought to it, since he realised that the patient was in a critical state.“He died eventually in the theatre. But there wasn’t any blood and I know that if I did not give, I probably would have felt bad,” the doctor said.Asked about his feelings having gone the extra mile, Henry said he “felt good”, as he serves in a profession that allows him to be compassionate to others.Meanwhile, Dr Nyron Sugrim said he was handling the case when the patient arrived. He said he was trying to console the man, telling him that “everything would be fine.”He said, however, the man’s condition worsened and with his rapid loss of blood and the inadequate supply at the blood bank, he also made a decision to give his blood.“His family members weren’t around… So realising the man was O positive and I am O positive… right away myself and Dr Henry was there and we decided to donate,” he said. (Alexis Rodney)last_img read more

Shujaa to face Hamilton champs Fiji in Vegas

first_imgShujaa finished sixth in Hamilton and collected an improved 12 points despite losing the fifth place final to a resilient Samoa who laid revenge for a 19-14 loss to the Kenyans in the group face ties.The Kenyans were punished for glaring handling mistakes and despite an improved second half performance, they couldn’t bridge the gap with the Samoans coached by legendary New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens managed to knick home the win.Shujaa’s gremlins showed as early as the opening 30 seconds when Samoa broke the deadlock straight from kick off. Sammy Oliech’s attempt to pick the ball failed and Neria FOmai picked up, strolling over the chalk for a 5-0 lead.Fomai struck once again and To Losefo added a third try for the match both converted, giving the Samoans a healthy 19-0 lead.A resilient Kenya however managed to squeeze in a try after the hooter had gone, Eden Agero dotting down at the far left after some sustained pressure which bore fruit.An improved performance from Innocent Simiyu’s charges saw Kenya push further with Arthur Owira and Sam Ng’ethe both dotting down but the conversions went wide.It was a little push too late as Kenya went down by a four point margin.The side had started the day on a poor footing, losing 33-12 to Sidney Sevens champions Australia in the Cup quarters, but managed to bounce off with a neat 33-19 win over Scotland in the fifth place semi-final.With the 12 points picked, Shujaa have climbed one spot up on the World Sevens Series rankings to eighth with 35 points, just one shy of seventh placed United States who collected 10 points after winning the Challenge Trophy.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Australia’s Ben O’Donnell shakes off the Kenya defense on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Hamilton on 4th February, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World RugbyNAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4- Kenya will face New Zealand Sevens champions Fiji in Group A of the Las Vegas leg of the World Sevens Series in the United States next month after the completion of an exciting fourth leg in Hamilton on Sunday.Shujaa will also tackle perennial competitors France and Russia as they look to continue their upward trajectory that started in the Sidney Sevens where they picked 10 points.last_img read more

Five Ronaldo strops, including the Manchester derby, for Juventus and Portugal

first_img stalemate Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship 7 Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ Ronaldo heads down the tunnel after being taken off 7 Embarrassed at his reaction or still in disbelief at being taken off? LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS 7 Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta targets And at the age of 34 it’s testament to his ability and brilliant work-ethic that he’s still playing at the highest level, currently plying his trade at Serie A giants Juventus.But we don’t always see Ronaldo the football genius. Every so often he shows he’s human with flaws like the rest of us.During Juve’s match at home to AC Milan, Ronaldo was surprisingly hooked in the 55th minute with the game goalless.It turned out to be a good call from manager Maurizio Sarri as Ronaldo’s replacement Paulo Dybala scored in the 77th minute to give Juve a 1-0 win.However, Ronaldo was reportedly so unhappy about being substituted he left the stadium early.Ronaldo has not been fined by the club but some furious team-mates of his are understood to be demanding an apology from him.It’s not the first time he’s been guilty of throwing his toys out the pram either. latest Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman 7 rookie error appointed SerieA Below you can see five occasions where Ronaldo has lost his rag.Manchester United vs Manchester City – Premier League, May 2009The Red Devils were on the verge of sealing a third successive Premier League title when they took on neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford.Goals from Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez gave them a 2-0 lead at half time and they were cruising.With the game basically won, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to take off his star player in the 58th minute but this did not sit well with Ronaldo as he was also chasing the Golden Boot award.And to vent his anger, Ronaldo swiped away a tracksuit top handed to him by one of United’s coaching staff as he trudged off the pitch.Ronaldo lost out on the Golden Boot to Nicolas Anelka, who scored 19 league goals in 2008/09, one more than Ronaldo. 7 7 Chelsea fan arrested for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son Ronaldo can’t believe what his team-mate has done 7 Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Ronaldo couldn’t even look at Ferguson when he was taken off on target Valencia vs Juventus – Champions League, September 2018Ronaldo was reduced to tears after he was sent off for pulling the hair of Jeison Murillo last season. It was a harsh decision as he barely touched the defender.It’s not clear why Ronaldo was this upset but it may have been because Juve were due to face his old club Manchester United later in the Champions League group stages which meant he was facing the prospect of being suspended for both games.However, his red card was rescinded so he was able to play against his old club both home and away. Liverpool transfer news live: Mbappe latest, Lille star wants to join Reds in future Portugal vs Spain – International friendly, November 2010We’ve all been there when you’re doing all the hard graft before you so-called mate smashes the ball in on the goal-line so they’re the one that gets awarded with the goal.But it’s even worse when your team-mate knocks in your goalbound effort and it doesn’t get awarded because they’re offside. This is exactly what happened to Ronaldo.He found himself in space and brilliantly chipped Iker Casillas before Nani, who was stood in an offside position, helped it in. The goal was not given because of Nani’s intervention.And Ronaldo went apoplectic, throwing his arms about, shouting at Nani and also at the ground. Fortunately for Ronaldo and even more fortunately for Nani, it didn’t cost them the game as they ran out 4-0 winners against the recently crowed world champions. The tracksuit top went flying statement Nani denied Ronaldo a truly outstanding goal Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti update Angry would be an understatement Journalist’s microphone gets it, June 2016Tournament football can be times of high stress for top footballers as there are millions of fans expecting them to produce brilliance at the right moment.Ronaldo got off to a shaky start in Euro 2016, with Portugal drawing 1-1 to Iceland in their opening group game before drawing 0-0 against Austria, a game where Ronaldo missed a penalty.And going into their final match against Hungary, where they were at risk of getting knocked out of the tournament, Ronaldo lost his cool when asked a question by Portuguese TV journalist Diogo Torres on the morning of the game.Ronaldo didn’t like Torres’ line of questioning and preceded to throw the reporter’s microphone into a nearby lake.Portugal vs Hungary – European Championships, June 2016His anger continued into the game, losing his head when Hungary went 3-2 up as Portugal were at huge risk of being knocked out.It was similar to his outburst at Nani but Ronaldo’s fit of rage was not aimed at anyone in particular this time.But to his credit, Ronaldo scored twice in the game and assisted one to earn his side a 3-3 draw and Portugal made it through the group stage by the skin of their teeth.He was brilliant from then on, showing fantastic leadership to get drag Portugal to the final where they beat host nation France so Euro 2016 had a very happy ending for Ronaldo. 7 There’s no doubt Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s best players and is maybe the best to have ever played the game.The Portugal international has countless honours to his name, both with the teams he’s played for and personally.last_img read more

Another Blow to Polio Eradication in Pakistan

first_imgJust as Pakistan’s polio program was making significant progress in its fight to eradicate the disease, it has been hit by a devastating bout of violence. Six vaccination campaign workers were shot and killed yesterday and today, and two others were injured, in attacks in Karachi and Peshawar, in the northwestern part of the country. Health officials have suspended the country’s 3-day mass vaccination campaign in greater Karachi as they investigate the attacks and beef up security to protect health workers. Authorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is located, plan to go ahead with the vaccinations because they think the attack is not related to polio activities. The attacks come 5 months after two incidents in which two polio workers were shot and wounded and another was killed in Karachi. In mid-October, another polio worker was shot and killed in Quetta, in Balochistan province. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Yesterday, a male polio worker was fatally shot, and today four women were killed within about 20 minutes of each other in three apparently coordinated attacks in poor Karachi neighborhoods, including Gadap, where the July shootings occurred. Another woman was killed in Peshawar. Taliban insurgents have repeatedly threatened campaign workers, but so far no one has claimed responsibility for the current or previous attacks. Pakistani officials and international groups supporting the polio campaign are still trying to piece together what happened, says Bruce Aylward, who heads the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. “The implications [of the attacks] run way beyond polio,” Aylward says, because targeting health workers will deprive Pakistani children from receiving other basic health services as well. Local leaders and community authorities have “got to assume responsibility and assure that the message gets out that this is not acceptable,” Aylward says. Pakistan is one of the world’s three remaining polio hotspots. After cases skyrocketed in 2011, the country stepped up its eradication efforts, and there have been just 56 cases so far this year, down from 173 this time last year. The worst reaction to these “horrible, awful” events would be to let this opportunity be squandered, Aylward says. Planning is already under way for the January vaccination campaigns in the so-called low transmission season, when the “virus is at its weakest,” he says, and GPEI will continue to support Pakistan’s antipolio drive after that. “We will get this done.”last_img read more

NSF proposes changes in use of costly rotators for senior positions

first_img Credits: (Graphic) J. You/Science; (Data) NSF Office of Inspector General At a hearing last year before the science committee he chairs, Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX) warned that “if NSF is not capable of handling this type of program, then maybe we should consider legislation that limits the use of rotators.” And Representative Don Beyer (D–VA), whose district includes NSF’s headquarters and thousands of federal employees, noted that rotators “can cause problems among the rank and file employees [because] they are not necessarily trained managers.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)NSF officials hope to blunt such criticism by becoming less reliant on rotators at the uppermost levels. In particular, NSF is thinking about asking Congress for special hiring authority, a mechanism that would allow the agency to bring in senior scientists at salaries above what they can typically offer federal workers. Other research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), already have such hiring authority.At a 9 August meeting of NSF’s oversight body, the National Science Board, NSF Director France Córdova said special hiring authority would allow NSF to keep top managers for longer than the 4 years allowed under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) that governs their service. That longer tenure, she explained, would alleviate concerns about program instability and inexperienced administrators.Rotators are rare at most other federal agencies and don’t hold executive positions, an NSF survey found. The exception is DARPA, which touts its extensive use of “limited-term” employees as a major reason for its success in developing new technology for the military.NSF’s apparent preference for rotators in senior management—for example, all six directorate heads are rotators—has attracted the attention of its inspector general (IG), an independent watchdog over agency practices. A new IG report notes that the salary gap between rotators and regular employees is widest at NSF’s executive level. For example, the highest paid executive rotator earned $440,000 last year, and three more topped $300,000. Some 22 of 27 executive-level rotators exceeded the $183,000 maximum salary for permanent federal employees—which is also what the NSF director earns.The disparity is putting a growing strain on NSF’s budget, IG notes. The extra salaries and benefits cost NSF $8.9 million in 2015, up 37% from 2012, when only 21 rotators held executive positions.The IG report also questioned NSF’s commitment to recouping costs. Universities often pay faculty a 9-month salary, with the expectation that federal grants will provide so-called “summer” salaries. So when rotators take a job at NSF, the agency is supposed to use the maximum federal pay rate to calculate what they are owed for the additional 3 months. Instead, NSF uses a straight extrapolation based on their current salaries. Using the right formula, says IG, would have saved NSF $222,000 last year.Universities are also supposed to pick up at least 15% of the rotator’s salary and fringe benefits. That cost sharing is based on the idea that an institution benefits from having a faculty member temporarily at NSF, both because of the added prestige and the knowledge and connections they bring when they return. But 17 of the universities didn’t chip in a dime, IG found, and only five paid the suggested 15%. “There’s room for a better cost share,” Joanne Tornow, a senior NSF manager who heads an internal task group looking at the IPA issue, told board members.Having special hiring authority would not necessarily save NSF money because the new hires would still be earning higher salaries than regular government managers, Tornow acknowledges. But NSF officials see the new hiring authority as expanding their management toolbox. “It’s not an either/or situation,” Tornow says. “I think NSF has been pretty successful in attracting the best talent. But we want to have multiple options.”Getting Congress to change the rules, says Córdova, “is a long process, but we have a defensible argument.” And after board member Geri Richmond urged the agency to be more aggressive in selling the idea to legislators, Córdova said she’s ready to lead the charge.“One of the main goals is to get the narrative straight and have everybody at NSF on board with the importance of this,” Córdova told the board. “Then I think a next step is to put front and center [the value] of having a mix of rotators and federal staff.” In June, the head of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) engineering directorate left the agency to return to academia. Next winter the agency will bid adieu to the assistant NSF directors who run its math/physical sciences and geosciences programs. But the departures of Pramod Khargonekar, Fleming Crim, and Roger Wakimoto, respectively, after only a few years at NSF are not some kind of mass protest against government service. In fact, these academic scientists agreed to be short-termers before coming to the agency’s Arlington, Virginia, headquarters in 2013.NSF believes that having academics spend anywhere from 2 to 4 years at the agency before returning to campus helps it identify and fund cutting-edge research. Last year 176 scientists, about 28% of NSF’s scientific workforce, were on such temporary assignments.But NSF’s heavy use of these so-called rotators is unique among government research agencies. And some members of Congress are worried that the government is paying too steep a price for that management strategy.Rotators are much pricier than regular federal workers because they retain their academic salaries—which are usually higher—when they join the government. In 2012 the average surcharge was $36,500 per rotator, and those in executive positions — the heads of divisions, offices, and directorates, including the trio that left this summer — earn 50% more than their federal counterparts. Legislators also fear that the constant churn weakens institutional memory and program oversight.last_img read more

Research on communication with completely paralyzed patients prompts misconduct investigation

first_imgA device that measures the oxygen levels in different brain regions. Researchers have claimed this technology can allow locked-in patients to communicate. The paper’s first author, Ujwal Chaudhary of the University of Tübingen, says Spüler is applying his statistical tests to their data incorrectly and failing to account for biological and clinical circumstances behind their analyses. “You can’t analyze the data without knowing the way we did the experiment and the neurophysiology behind the data,” he says.The researcher who led the work, Niels Birbaumer of the University of Tübingen and the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, in Geneva, Switzerland, says the disagreement is over statistical methods. He is not worried by the misconduct investigations, which he says “are legally absolutely correct.” He says he was happy to answer the investigators’ questions and acknowledges that the data are difficult to interpret. “My conclusion is of course we have to document the responses of these patients much more carefully in order to avoid such a discussion at all,” he says.Birbaumer’s earlier work has helped severely disabled patients use brainwave devices to choose letters and write messages. He says the paper was a first hint that similar methods might also work with people in a completely locked-in state. “We never said anywhere that we are confident that we can read these people’s thoughts, even their yes or no thoughts. We say this may be a useful first step.” Press coverage of the paper wildly exaggerated the claims, he says. “In the press, it’s completely ridiculous.” Still, he says, at least one patient from the study is still using the device to communicate with his wife.Reinhold Scherer, who studies brain-computer interfaces and neural engineering at the University of Essex in Colchester, U.K., and who wrote a commentary accompanying the critique, says the team’s claim was always inherently tricky to prove, he says. Trials with locked-in patients are extremely expensive and logistically difficult, he notes, so it is hard for other groups to replicate the work. Birbaumer “is the only one in the community who has the access and the funding to do this research,” he says. The hint that there might be a way to communicate with these patients is a welcome message, he says, “but there’s just not enough evidence that we can definitely say it’s working.” Research on communication with completely paralyzed patients prompts misconduct investigation Artinis Medical Systems/Brite center_img A research group’s claimed ability to communicate with completely paralyzed people has come under fire, prompting research misconduct investigations at a German university and at Germany’s main research agency, the German Research Foundation (DFG). Two years ago, researchers in Germany and Switzerland claimed that by analyzing blood flow in different parts of the brain with an electronic skullcap, they could elucidate answers to yes or no questions from completely paralyzed people. The find, published in PLOS Biology in 2017, raised hopes for patients with degenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that ultimately leave them without any voluntary muscle control—not even the ability to blink or move their eyes—a condition called a “completely locked-in state.” Now, a simmering controversy about the paper has erupted into public view.As first reported by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, PLOS Biology yesterday published a critique of the paper that claims the authors’ statistical analysis is incorrect. Martin Spüler, an informatics specialist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Germany, says his analysis of the data shows no support for the authors’ claim that their system could allow patients to answer questions correctly 70% of the time. His critique, first raised in late 2017, has prompted investigations of possible scientific misconduct at both DFG and the University of Tübingen, where the group studying locked-in patients is also based.Spüler says he originally wanted to test whether a different algorithm could make the method even more accurate, but when he analyzed the data he found that the team had averaged its data in a way that ended up always producing a statistically significant result. “With the statistical tests they use, you will always get a positive answer.” He says his attempts to get explanations from the authors were unsuccessful. “It doesn’t add up,” he says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) By Gretchen VogelApr. 9, 2019 , 2:10 PMlast_img read more