A student’s job is to learn, not walk out

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe job of a Niskayuna student, who is receiving an education paid for by someone else, is to work hard doing the best they can to justify the sacrifice that that person makes every September when they write a check to the Board of Education.I understand the safety concerns of the students and the need to remember and honor those who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. What I don’t understand is the need for a get-out-of-class-free pass for them to do so.What they all should do is meet at the flag pole in front of the high school after school, remain silent for 17 minutes and reflect on those who died on Saint Valentine’s Day. They should also reflect on how fortunate they are to live in a place called Niskayuna where they are safe, where people love them and want only the best for them.Joseph J. HehirNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Puccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over Bethlehemlast_img read more

Lowering BAC level is a proven life saver

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I applaud Sara Foss for her June column, “Lowering the BAC a Good Idea.” She raises awareness on a bill (A2302) that would significantly lower the DWI fatalities. Yet, this important issue haslargely been ignored by the media.Foss accurately framed the arguments by the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) and the Academics of Engineering, Medicine and Science to lower the legal blood-alcohol content threshold for DWI to 0.05 percent. Over 10,000 deaths occur annually due to DWI crashes. This statistic has remained a stubborn blight on our society.Powerful resistance to A2302 is led by the restaurant and alcohol industries, which argue that reducing the BAC level would adversely effect profits for restaurants and bars. According to the NTSB, most of the countries that have a 0.05 or lower BAC standard also have higher alcohol consumption per capita than the U.S., and changing the law hasn’t impacted their alcohol sales. Remove Intoxicated Drivers [RID] has been advocating to lower the BAC threshold ever since Surgeon General C. Everett Koop recommended the change in 1984.  Now, finally, there’s evidence that refutes that claim. Also, the availability of Lyft and Uber in New York allows patrons to enjoy a few drinks while avoiding getting behind the wheel.Two major studies have reached the same conclusion; lowering the BAC would save hundreds of lives. Contact your representatives in Albany to support A2302. We should never accept the deaths of fellow citizens as a side-effect of doing business in New York state.William AikenSchenectadyThe writer is vice president of Remove Intoxicated Drivers.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcylast_img read more

Chairman prepares to bid farewell in typically pugnacious mood

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Two more planes evacuate Americans from virus-hit Wuhan

first_imgThe United States is preparing one or two additional planes to evacuate Americans on Thursday, after which it does not intend further flights, the official said.The United States has been placing passengers under mandatory quarantine, the first time that the federal government has taken such a major step since the 1960s.As stated in a travel advisory issued last week, “US citizens currently in China should attempt to depart by commercial means,” the official said.The United States has offered seats on the government planes as they becomes available, with the US citizens asked to reimburse the government.Washington declared a public health emergency over the pathogen and has banned the entry of foreign nationals who have travelled to China, where 490 people have died.Eleven cases of infection have been confirmed in the United States.Topics : The United States evacuated more than 300 more people on two new flights out of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the fast-spreading new coronavirus, the State Department said Tuesday.The two flights left Wuhan on Tuesday US time after the passengers were screened, a State Department official said.The official said that the United States has now brought home more than 500 passengers on three fights. A first flight, with 195 Americans on board, left Wuhan last week and landed in California.last_img read more

Investigators seek motive after car rammed into German carnival parade

first_imgBild and other media reported that the German man, arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide, was not in a fit state to be questioned on Monday. He was suffering from a head injury, some German media reports said.”There are so far no indications of politically-motivated criminality,” Bild cited an investigator as saying.”But we think that the perpetrator acted with intent, and that psychological problems may have played a role,” the investigator added.Several German media outlets, including public broadcaster ZDF, reported that the man was believed to have been under the influence of alcohol or possibly drugs but investigators have so far declined to confirm this.Spokespeople for the police and state prosecutors also declined to comment on media reports that a second person had been arrested in connection with the incident. Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio reported the second person had filmed the incident, but it was unclear how they were involved.Rose Monday is the height of the carnival season in Catholic areas of Germany, especially in the Rhineland where tens of thousands of people dress up, drink alcohol and line the streets to watch parades and satirical floats.Topics : Investigators were hoping on Tuesday to question a 29-year-old man suspected of ploughing a silver Mercedes car into a carnival parade in the western German town of Volksmarsen, injuring 30 people including children.The incident on Monday shook Germans still struggling to take in last week’s racist gun attack in the town of Hanau which left 11 people dead.”What is happening in our country?” asked top-selling Bild newspaper on its front page.last_img read more

‘Super Spreader’ NBA players test positive for coronavirus

first_img“All players and members of the Lakers staff are being asked to continue to observe self-quarantine and shelter at home guidelines, closely monitor their health, consult with their personal physicians and maintain constant communication with the team.”The Sixers said the positive cases were uncovered after health authorities warned that certain players, coaches and support staff may have been exposed to COVID-19. Like the Sixers, the Lakers declined to name the players who tested positive.Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets also announced positive tests on Thursday for COVID-19. On Wednesday, commissioner Adam Silver said NBA players should be considered “super spreaders” of the disease. Silver’s comments came amid criticism that wealthy athletes are getting tested for the virus ahead of critically ill patients in American hospitals.The Sixers said their three individuals were in self-isolation while being monitored by medical professionals.”Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19,” the Sixers said. “All other tests results are currently negative. We have reported this information to state and local health authorities as required.””The health of our players, staff, fans and community is paramount, and we continue to be guided by medical experts at this time,” the team said.Also, the Celtics said Thursday at least one player tested positive as part of a series of tests they are conducting on their team. Immediately after the Celtics announcement, guard Smart revealed he had tested positive.Smart said he was tested five days ago and got the results back on Thursday night.”What’s up everyone,” said Smart in a video on his Twitter account. “So I just found out I tested positive for the coronavirus. I am OK. I feel fine. I don’t feel any of the symptoms.”Help protect others by protecting yourself.” Two members of the Los Angeles Lakers have tested positive for the new coronavirus on Thursday as the Philadelphia 76ers also confirmed that three of their players had contracted the disease.The Lakers said they tested their players because on March 10 they played the Brooklyn Nets, who had four players previously test positive for the virus. The Lakers said team doctors are closely monitoring the two players.”We learned today that two Lakers players have tested positive,” said Lakers spokesperson Alison Bogli in a news release. “Both players are currently asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of the team’s physician.  More tests coming The Celtics said Smart would continue to be isolated.”The testing was initiated because of exposure to a known positive case,” a Celtics spokesman said. “The team is awaiting further testing results and will communicate them as appropriate.” Earlier, the Denver Nuggets said one member of the organization had tested positive, but did not specify whether the person was a player.”The person, who was tested after experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 on March 16th, is currently under the care of team medical staff and in self-isolation,” the team said.These are just the latest NBA players to test positive for COVID-19 since Utah’s Rudy Gobert was confirmed to have contracted the disease last week, prompting the league to impose an indefinite suspension on play. Topics :last_img read more

BREAKING: Jokowi bans ‘mudik’ as Ramadan approaches

first_imgHe said the government would prepare the necessary measures to enforce the ban. The decision is an about-face from the Jokowi administration’s previous policy of merely advising the public not to participate in the mudik. The government previously issued regulations prohibiting civil servants, military personnel and police officers from returning to their hometowns but stopped short of banning the practice altogether, citing economic considerations.Annually, some 20 million people from Greater Jakarta, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia, travel to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri.The tradition, public health experts say, could lead to the further spread of COVID-19 on Java, an island of 141 million people, where many regions have far worse healthcare systems than Jakarta. (nal) President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo announced his decision to ban the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) to curb the spread of COVID-19 ahead of Ramadan.”Based on field research and a survey conducted by the Transportation Ministry, we found that 68 percent of people had decided to not participate in the annual exodus,  while 24 percent still insisted on leaving and 7 percent had already left,” Jokowi said in a teleconferenced limited Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.”It means we still have a very big percentage [of people who will participate in the mudik],” he continued. “So I want to announce that we will ban the mudik altogether.” Topics :last_img read more

Brazil’s Bolsonaro headlines anti-democratic rally amid alarm over handling of coronavirus

first_imgTopics : At the same time, Bolsonaro faces the most serious political crisis of his mandate, after his justice minister, Sergio Moro, quit last week and accused the president of firing the federal police chief in a bid to appoint a personal ally to the post and meddle in sensitive investigations.Brazil’s Supreme Court blocked Bolsonaro’s pick for a new chief on Wednesday, enraging the president.On Saturday, Moro, among Brazil’s most popular public figures due to his tough stance on corruption, presented testimony regarding possible obstruction of justice by Bolsonaro. Hours before, the president called Moro “Judas” on Twitter, referring to the apostle who betrayed Jesus.As Bolsonaro’s relationship with legislators and the courts has cooled, he has become increasingly dependent on a cadre of advisers in his government who are active or former military. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attacked Congress and the courts in a speech to hundreds of supporters on Sunday as the number of coronavirus cases blew past 100,000 in Brazil, underlining the former army captain’s increasing isolation as he downplays the impacts of the pandemic.The right-wing Bolsonaro has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum for dismissing the threat of the virus in Brazil, which has registered 101,147 confirmed cases and 7,025 deaths, according to the most recent data from the Health Ministry.On Sunday, dozens of public figures signed an open letter to the Brazilian government calling on officials to protect the nation’s indigenous people, who often live in remote locations with limited access to healthcare.center_img As in an April rally also attended by Bolsonaro, demonstrators called on Sunday for the closing of the Supreme Court and Congress, and a return to authoritarian measures used during Brazil’s 1964-1985 military government.”We have the armed forces at the people’s side: the side of order, democracy, liberty,” Bolsonaro said in a speech transmitted live on Facebook.”Enough interference. We’re not allowing any more interference. Our patience is over.”Coronavirus hot spot Bolsonaro did not call for a military takeover at the rally in Brasilia, and such an occurrence is widely considered unlikely in Brazil, where Congress, the courts, the press and civil society wield significant power.But political leaders have called Bolsonaro’s participation in anti-democratic rallies irresponsible, especially as he has spoken approvingly of the nation’s former military dictatorship, which was responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial executions.Bolsonaro’s attendance also drew criticism as the nation is a major coronavirus hot spot.Bolsonaro, who did not wear a mask on Sunday, has dismissed the coronavirus as a “little flu,” saying the economic fallout of quarantining measures would be deadlier than the virus itself.The open letter on Sunday, which warned that loggers and ranchers could introduce the virus to indigenous communities in a development tantamount to “genocide,” was signed by celebrities ranging from U.S. television personality Oprah Winfrey to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen.The government has banned people from entering indigenous reserves during the pandemic. It has also cut down, however, on law enforcement against illegal loggers and miners in remote regions as a safety measure.At the Sunday rally, at least three photographers were attacked by demonstrators, according to a Reuters witness – an increasingly routine occurrence in Brazil, where Bolsonaro routinely calls the work of major newspapers “fake news.”The Reuters witness saw one photographer from Sao Paulo newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo pulled off a ladder and repeatedly kicked in the ribs.last_img read more

Authors pull study flagging hydroxychloroquine risks

first_imgThree of the four authors behind a study in The Lancet that raised safety fears over the use of a drug favored by President Donald Trump to treat COVID-19 withdrew their research Thursday, blaming a company that supplied the data.It was soon followed by the retraction of another coronavirus paper in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), which was not linked to hydroxychloroquine but used the same healthcare firm’s patient records.The Lancet study claimed to have retrospectively analyzed some 96,000 patient records, finding that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, common anti-malarials, were ineffective against COVID-19 and even increased the risk of death. Topics : Research scandal The research scandal threatens to undermine confidence in the world’s leading medical journals in the midst of a pandemic.The paper in the NEJM investigated whether people who take commonly used blood pressure medicines became more or less likely to get COVID-19.It was released on the same day as two other studies investigating the same topic, with all three finding that these medicines do not heighten susceptibility to infection, or increase the risk of becoming seriously ill.No questions have been raised about the integrity of the other two papers.In their retraction statement, the NEJM paper’s authors also wrote that the data was not made available to a third-party auditor.”We therefore request that the article be retracted.” But Surgisphere, a little-known healthcare analytics firm based in Chicago that provided the data, refused to cooperate.”Due to this unfortunate development, the authors request that the paper be retracted,” the three said.”We deeply apologize to you, the editors, and the journal readership for any embarrassment or inconvenience that this may have caused.”The Lancet, a British journal, offered its own statement, saying “there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study.”Sapan Desai, a vascular surgeon and Surgisphere’s chief executive, did not join the retraction and declined to comment to AFP.Despite the finding apparently vindicating hydroxychloroquine’s safety, there is not yet any proof from a randomized clinical trial (RCT) that the medicine works against COVID-19.One such trial that was published Wednesday found it was not significantly better than a placebo in preventing the disease among people who had been recently exposed to the virus.But scientists broadly agree that more RCTs — considered the gold standard for clinical investigation — are needed, and hydroxychloroquine should not be discounted yet. center_img Heart arrhythmia was flagged as a particular concern.This finding led the World Health Organization to temporarily suspend clinical trials into the medicines. But the paper soon triggered widespread concern among scientists over a lack of information about the countries and hospitals that contributed data.Mandeep Mehra, a professor at Harvard University who led the work, along with Frank Ruschitzka of the University Hospital Zurich and Amit Patel of the University of Utah, said in a statement they had tried to launch a third-party peer review. Sci-fi author and adult modelResearchers began to closely scrutinize The Lancet paper shortly after its publication, highlighting numerous red flags ranging from the huge number of patients to the unusually complete information on their demographics.Internet sleuthing by the Guardian revealed that Surgisphere had a scant online presence, with only a handful of staff listed on LinkedIn including a science fiction author and an adult model.The firm was involved in yet another attention-grabbing study that found the anti-parasite drug ivermectin could be useful against COVID-19.Though this paper had not been peer-reviewed or appeared in a journal, it caused a run on the drug in Latin America where it is widely available.While Desai and Surgisphere have been the focus of most scrutiny, the lead author of all of these papers was Mehra, who is also the medical director at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Heart and Vascular Center in Boston.The lead author is considered responsible for performing due diligence on data and vouching for its integrity.Chris Chambers, a professor of psychology at Cardiff University, added the affair “raises serious questions about the standard of editing at the Lancet and NEJM — ostensibly two of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.” last_img read more

BA, Ryanair, easyJet protest over ‘wholly unjustified’ UK quarantine plan

first_imgThree airlines have written to the British government in protest at its “wholly unjustified and disproportionate” quarantine rules for most international arrivals from Monday, a copy of the letter seen by Reuters showed.With planes around the world grounded since late March, airlines had hoped to start flying from July, but bosses say quarantine measures will hamper that recovery.From June 8, almost everyone arriving in Britain will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and to fill in a contact form with details of their accommodation. Describing itself as a “pre-action protocol letter,” meaning it could be followed by legal action, the letter from British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet said the government had failed to justify the blanket nature of the regulations.“The effect is to establish a wholly unjustified and disproportionate restriction on individuals traveling to England (and questionably the United Kingdom) and will inevitably mean that there is very little increase in the numbers of persons leaving and entering the country,” the letter said.Willie Walsh, the chief executive of BA owner IAG said on Friday the industry had not been consulted and the company was considering a legal challenge.The government has said the new regime will be in place across Britain, although enforcement measures will be set individually by each of the devolved nations. In England, a breach of rules will be punishable with a 1,000 pounds (US$1,266) fine.The airlines say the quarantine measures are more stringent than those imposed on people suspected of being or confirmed to be infected by the novel coronavirus who are asked to isolate and do not face criminal sanctions.Their letter also said it was “illogical and irrational” to impose quarantine on people arriving from European Union countries that have lower infection rates than Britain.Topics :last_img read more