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Pressure on Monti over EdF

first_imgThe commissioner is expected to decide soon whether to launch a probe, thereby suspending part or all of the voting rights of bidding consortium Italenergia. Monti is under political pressure from EU governments and fellow commissioners who want to suspend EdF’s acquisitions until France acts to break its protected near-monopoly at home by liberalising markets.His services are being lobbied by the Italian energy conglomerate to scrutinise the Italenergia consortium. Established by EdF, motor giant Fiat and three Italian banks, Italenergia already holds 52% of Montedison.The group is optimistic that the Commission will intervene. “We’re convinced there’s at the very least good reason to investigate the nature and effect of the tender offer,” said a source close to Montedison. EdF and Fiat claim the Italenergia bid is not subject to Brussels clearance since neither the consortium nor any majority shareholder has a turnover above the 5 billion euro EU review threshold.But Montedison’s lawyers say they now have evidence to support their suspicion that the consortium is acting as an EdF take-over vehicle. They maintain the exchange of half of EdF’s 20% Montedison stake for small energy firm Fenice greatly overvalued the Fiat asset.The deal was not notified to the EU executive despite EdF’s statement on 2 July that it would be “subject to European regulatory procedures”. The suspension of voting rights triggered automatically by Commission intervention could enable Montedison to fight off the hostile bid at a crucial shareholders’ meeting on 9 August – or to win support for any friendly counter-bid that materialises.EdF said it would cooperate fully with any investigation. “Whatever happens will be of greater concern to Italenergia than to us,” said company number-two Gérard Wolf. “We’re only a minority stakeholder.”last_img read more

Members of The Grateful Dead To Appear On New Sammy Hagar Show

first_imgAXS TV is premiering a new television program next year that features Sammy Hagar, also known as ‘The Red Rocker’ and former lead singer of Van Halen. The television series, Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar, plots around a tour-like scenario, following Hagar as he travels the United States to interview and perform with musical legacies.There will be six episodes in the first season, with the second episode featuring members of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir. The trio will converse about their roles and experiences of the psychedelic 60s, and discuss their musical influences. Following the interview, Sammy and Bob will collaborate on GD tune “Loose Lucy,” followed by a jam between Hagar and Hart.This isn’t the first time Sammy Hagar and Bob Weir have jammed together. Residents of California, Hagar has jammed with Dead members on multiple occasions. Watch the 2013 video of “Loose Lucy” to get a feel for what to expect on the upcoming television show.[H/T ABC News Radio]last_img read more

Jazz Foundation Livestream Shares Lineup: Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Jon Batiste, More

first_imgOn Thursday, May 14th, The Jazz Foundation of America will livestream an event, titled #TheNewGig, in support of artists through its COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund.The event will feature artists such as Sheryl Crow, Jon Batiste, Elvis Costello, Angelique Kidjo, Robert Cray, Milton Nascimento, Stanley Jordan, Davell Crawford, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kim Wilson, and Ivan Neville, among others.Related: Sheryl Crow Covers George Harrison’s “Beware of Darkness” On ‘Colbert’ [Watch]#TheNewGig will also air “memorable archival performances from the organization’s annual fundraiser, A Great Night In Harlem,” according to a press release. Additionally, actor/comedian Keegan-Michael Key, best known from his show Key & Peele, will host the 2-hour event.Proceeds from the event will go towards the COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund, which the JFA established back in March to help affected musicians and families navigate the coronavirus crises.“An entire community of artists who live gig to gig has gone from standstill to freefall, financially speaking, but their music has continued to give us solace and comfort in quarantine,” said JFA executive director Joe Petrucelli in a statement to Rolling Stone. He continued, “Support for #TheNewGig and the COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund offers them direct assistance and creates a sense of solidarity and hope in a time of despair and uncertainty.”The event will be broadcasted live on the Relix YouTube page starting at 8:00 p.m. ET, with a rebroadcast immediately following at 10:00 p.m. ET. Fans will be able to rewatch the event for a full 24-hours. For more information regarding the Jazz Foundation of America and its COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund, visit the organization’s website.[H/T Relix]last_img read more

Chemistry and biochemistry professor receives award for diabetic wound research

first_imgAccording to a University of Notre Dame press release, the Accelerator Award is a $1.6 million research grant that will fund Chang’s project, “A Strategy to Accelerate Diabetic Wound Repair,” over the course of five years.Chang’s project investigates the causes and molecular inhibitors of chronic wounds in diabetic patients. Chang said traditional treatments such as debridement remain ineffective for many diabetic patients.“There are 73,000 amputations of lower limbs in diabetic patients in the U.S every year,” Chang said. “We’ve been trying to understand why the chronic wounds in diabetic patients do not heal.”Chang said a key focus of the project is identifying and isolating MMP8 and MMP9 enzymes, also known as matrix metalloproteinase enzymes. She said one of these biological agents is critical to the healing process of diabetic wounds. Chang said a challenge the team will face is detecting and differentiating the three enzymes.“It turns out that these enzymes are involved in the pathology and the effort of the body to heal the wounds … The challenge is how to distinguish between the three enzymes. Current methods cannot differentiate between the three, and only one is involved in the pathology of the disease. ”The team will also focus on activating and deactivating specific MMP8 and MMP9 enzymes, Chang said, since deactivating the MMP9 enzymes while leaving the MMP8 enzyme intact ensures faster recovery for chronic wounds. Chang said the project has primarily used mouse models (diabetic mice) to analyze the MMP8 and MMP9 proteins, but she hopes the project can take further steps to determine whether or not these proteins are found in human patients.“Right now we have identified that an enzyme called MMP9 is involved in the pathology of the disease,” Chang said. “We have identified that MMP8 is what the body uses to heal. Our strategy would be to inhibit the bad enzyme [MMP9] and leave the good enzyme [MMP8] untouched.”Chang said activating and deactivating the enzymes would be facilitated by a set of inhibitors her team has been able to identify. Chang said these inhibitors are “small molecular compounds that selectively inhibit the bad enzyme and do not inhibit MMP8.”There is a lack of research and pharmaceutical interest in diabetic wounds, Chang said, despite the chronic health problems these present. She said she hopes her research will be able to translate to human trials.“We do want to see our work translated into a therapeutic tool that will help patients with diabetic wounds,” Chang said. “We want to analyze the [diabetic] tissue to see if we see the enzymes that are present in animals are present in humans. If we find them, this will give us more confidence that whatever will cure the wounds in mice will translate to humans.”Tags: Acelerator Award, American Diabetes Assocaition, diabetes, diabetic wound, Mayland Changlast_img read more

Lampasas man indicted for shooting eagles

first_imgA Lampasas County grand jury has returned an indictment against a Bend man on two counts of killing bald eagles, a protected non-game animal. Jackie Brister, 82, also faces additional charges alleging he captured and killed numerous other non-game birds, including black vultures and turkey vultures.Texas game wardens launched an initial investigation after responding to a call regarding a wounded bald eagle discovered near Bend on Jan. 11; the bird did not survive. Working in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wardens determined the eagle had been shot by a rifle. Further investigation uncovered evidence of additional taking of protected non-game animals.With help from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Office, cases were made and filed with the Lampasas County District Attorney’s Office.In addition to citations for the taking of a state threatened species and non-game birds, Class C misdemeanors punishable by fines of $25-$500 for each case, Brister also faces a Class A misdemeanor violation for hunting without landowner consent. That charge carries a possible fine of $500-$4,000 and/or up to a one year state jail term. Brister could also face civil restitution for the eagles in an amount to be determined exceeding $10,000 each.•The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries division is launching a scale loaner program to give local tournament organizers the ability to use the catch, weigh and immediate release formats made popular by state and national-level tournaments like the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest (TBTF) and Major League Fishing.“We are trying to promote new tournament formats that are very conservation minded that remove impacts of delayed mortality,” said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research.“They take the extra fish handling, weigh-in and livewell containment process completely out of the tournament.”Typical bass tournaments involve holding up to five bass in livewells, removing them from their catch locations, and taking them through a weigh-in process onstage – a format that studies have shown results in 15-60 percent fish mortality depending on the water temperature.center_img With the catch, weigh and immediate release formats, each angler has a trained judge onboard who uses the scale to weigh the fish and return it to the water immediately after being caught, which significantly lowers fish mortality to a negligible amount – similar to catch and release fishing.Pro Am Bass Trails utilized TPWD’s new scale loaner program for the first time during their inaugural fielding event Aug. 19 at Stillhouse Hollow Lake. Of the 80-fish caught, organizers observed no immediate fish mortality on the boat or shortly after release.Tournament director and competitive angler Linwood Cottner said he decided to organize a tournament of his own after growing concerned with the effects traditional bass tournaments could have on the sustainability of local bass populations. But the biggest barrier to implementing the catch, weigh and immediate release format was the initial cost of the scales, which exceeded $6,000 for a set of 60.“When I saw that number I thought ‘There’s no way I can do this,” Cottner said.“So, when I heard about the scale loaner program I jumped on it — it’s alleviated that upfront cost to help me build up the funds that we need to eventually purchase them.”The 60 loaner scales were originally donated to TPWD for use during the Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), a tournament that pioneered the catch, weigh and immediate release format. After a 10-year run, the TTBC was replaced by the TBTF, which uses a different set of scales provided by tournament organizer B.A.S.S.By using the loaner scales no longer needed for the TTBC, Cottner said Pro Am Bass Trails is one of the first local level organizations in Texas to successfully incorporate a catch, weigh and immediate release format into their tournament.“This cracked the shell of fear as far as putting on a tournament of this format,” Cottner said.“A lot of people are looking at this and saying, ‘This is something that can work in Texas.’ We are laying the foundation and setting the standard as far as how it can be done.”Pro Am Bass Trails uses the same catch, weigh and immediate release format as Major League Fishing, which allows anglers to see how they rank among their competitors as soon as the judges enter the fish weight into a mobile application.Linwood said the portable, certified scales are a vital component to quickly getting the fish back into the water where it came from to reduce the chance of delayed mortality.“Unless bass fishing takes a decline, this catch and release type of tournament format is going to help sustain the health of Texas waterways,” Cottner said.“And the loaner program is going to be a key factor in that.”For more information about the scale loaner program, contact Dave Terre at [email protected]last_img read more

October proclaimed Farm to School Month, new grant opportunities

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today signed a proclamation designating October 2017 Farm to School Month in Vermont. “I’d like to recognize how important the Farm to School program is to Vermont. Farm to school has always been a source of pride for our state, and that pride grows from the program as it gets stronger,” Scott said. “We have $200,000, that’s the most money we have ever had in this program…we continue to lead the nation in this program. Schools and childcare centers should reach out to us to apply for potential money.” said Secretary Anson Tebbetts, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.   This year, with the help of the Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets is pleased to announce the release of two new Farm to School grant opportunities for 2018. New this year, both Farm to School grant opportunities are available to childcare providers as well as schools! Click on the links below for the Requests for Applications.1. Vermont Farm to School & Child Nutrition Grant(link is external):  The VAAFM Farm to School Team is seeking applications from eligible Vermont-based childcare providers and schools to expand and improve food programs and/or to create or expand farm to school programs by integrating the classroom, cafeteria, and community (the 3 C’s of farm to school). Up to six applications will be awarded at $15,000 each, made possible by legislative appropriation and a financial investment of a dedicated partner. The anticipated grant period will be January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019.  2. Vermont Farm to School & Farm to Childcare Equipment Grant(link is external): The VAAFM Farm to School Team is seeking applications from eligible Vermont-based childcare providers and schools to purchase equipment that will improve their food programs and/or farm to school/farm to childcare programs. Up to 23 grants will be awarded at $1,000 each to reimburse schools and childcare providers for these purchases. Equipment purchases must be made by February 28, 2018.NOTE: All Farm to School Grant applications MUST be submitted online through WebGrants(link is external). Paper applications will NOT be accepted. Instructions for using WebGrants can be found in an appendix in the Request for Applications. Source: 10.2.2017. Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets: VAAFM facilitates.  www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov(link is external)last_img read more

NEJC Chamber announces nominees for 2015 business awards

first_imgWinners of the Chamber Business Awards in 2014.The Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce has announced the nominees for its annual business awards. Chamber members can now vote for fellow members for each of the awards.Register to continuelast_img

Earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis may be possible with new imaging compound

first_imgShare By the time unambiguous signs of memory loss and cognitive decline appear in people with Alzheimer’s disease, their brains already are significantly damaged, dotted with clumps of a destructive protein known as amyloid beta. For years, scientists have sought methods and clues to help identify brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s earlier in the disease process, so they can try to stop or even reverse the changes before they severely affect people’s lives.Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a chemical compound, named Fluselenamyl, that detects amyloid clumps better than current FDA-approved compounds. If a radioactive atom is incorporated into the compound, its location in a living brain can be monitored using positron emission tomography (PET) scans.The compound, described in a paper published Nov. 2 in Scientific Reports, one of the Nature journals, potentially could be used in brain scans to identify the signs of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or to monitor response to treatment. LinkedIn Pinterest Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter Share on Facebook “Fluselenamyl is both more sensitive and likely more specific than current agents,” said Vijay Sharma, PhD, a professor of radiology, of neurology and of biomedical engineering, and the study’s senior author. “Using this compound, I think we can reduce false negatives, potentially do a better job of identifying people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease and assess the effects of treatments.”Amyloid plaques are one of the most telltale findings in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The neurons near such plaques are often dead or damaged, and this loss of brain cells is thought to account for difficulty with thinking, memory loss and confusion experienced by Alzheimer’s patients.Amyloid plaques can be either diffuse or compact. The compact kind has long been associated with the disease, but conventional wisdom has held that diffuse plaques are benign, since they can be found in the brains of elderly people without any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Sharma believes that diffuse plaques may mark the earliest stages of the disease.“It is a relatively underexplored area in the development of Alzheimer’s pathology,” Sharma said. “Since current approved agents don’t detect diffuse plaques, there is no reliable noninvasive imaging tool to investigate this aspect in animal models or in patients. Our compound could be used to study the role of diffuse plaques.”Using human amyloid beta proteins, Sharma and colleagues showed that Fluselenamyl bound to such proteins two to 10 times better than each of the three FDA-approved imaging agents for detecting amyloid beta. In other words, Fluselenamyl detected much smaller clumps of the protein, indicating that it may be able to detect the brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease earlier.To determine whether Fluselenamyl can detect plaques in the brain, the researchers used the compound to stain brain slices from people who had died of Alzheimer’s disease and, as controls, people of similar ages who had died of other causes. The brain slices from the Alzheimer’s patients, but not the controls, were identified as containing plaques.When a radioactive atom was incorporated into the compound, the researchers found very little interaction between Fluselenamyl and the healthy white matter in the human brain slices.“A huge obstacle with existing state-of-the-art PET agents approved for plaque detection is that they tend to bind indiscriminately to the brain’s white matter, which creates false positives on the scans,” Sharma said. Nonspecific binding to other parts of the brain creates “noise,” which makes it difficult to distinguish samples with plaques from those without.A similar experiment comparing mice genetically predisposed to develop amyloid plaques with normal control mice showed the same pattern of high sensitivity for amyloid beta and low binding to healthy white matter.Furthermore, Sharma and colleagues showed that when Fluselenamyl with the radioactive atom is injected intravenously into mice, the compound can cross the blood-brain barrier, bind to any plaques in their brains and be detected by PET scan. In mice without plaques, the compound is quickly flushed from the brain and then excreted from the body.The next step is to move to testing in patients. Sharma already has submitted an application to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a phase 0 trial, to establish whether Fluselenamyl is safe for use in humans and behaves in the human body the same way it behaves in mice. Phase 0 trials involve a low dose given to a small number of people to learn how a molecule is processed in the body and how it affects the body.“Ideally, we’d like to look at patients with very mild symptoms who are negative for Alzheimer’s by PET scan to see if we can identify them using Fluselenamyl,” Sharma said. “One day, we may be able to use Fluselenamyl as part of a screening test to identify segments of the population that are going to be at risk for development of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s the long-term goal.”last_img read more

The brain uses color to help us choose what to eat

first_imgShare on Facebook LinkedIn Share Pinterest Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter Red means “Green light, go for it!” Green means: “hmm, better not!” Like an upside down traffic light in our brain, color helps us decide whether or not to eat something. This, according to a study at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste and recently published in the journal Scientific Reports stating that vision is the main sense we use to guide us in food choices. To evaluate calorie intake, we rely on a “color code.”“According to some theories, our visual system evolved to easily identify particularly nutritious berries, fruits and vegetables from jungle foliage,” says Raffaella Rumiati, SISSA neuroscientist and coordinator of the new study. The human visual system is trichromatic: in the retina, the light-sensitive organ of the eye, there are three classes of photoreceptors (cones) tuned preferentially to three different bands of the visible spectrum. This implies that we can see a large number of colors (more than monochromatic and dichromatic animals, less than those with 4, even 5 types of photoreceptor). “We are particularly efficient at distinguishing red from green,” says Rumiati. This sophistication testifies to the fact that we are “visual animals,” unlike others, dogs, for example, who depend on their sense of smell. “It is mainly the color of food that guides us, and our experiments show how,” explains Rumiati. “To date, only a few studies have been focused on the topic.”What do we look for in food? Nutrition, of course, or calorie-dense content, and high protein. “In natural foods, color is a good predictor of calories,” explains Francesco Foroni, SISSA researcher and first author of the study. “The redder an unprocessed food is, the more likely it is to be nutritious, while green foods tend to be low in calories.” Our visual system is clearly adapted to this regularity. “The participants in our experiments judged foods whose color tended towards red as higher in calories, while the opposite was true for greens,” continues Giulio Pergola, a researcher at the University of Bari, and one of the authors of the study. “This is also true for processed, or cooked foods, where color loses its effectiveness as an indicator of calories.” Actually, the scientific literature shows clearly that cooked foods are favored over natural foods and the phenomenon has been observed even in other species besides humans. “Cooked foods are always preferred because, compared to natural foods, there is more nutrition for the same quantity,” explains Rumiati. “With cooked foods, however, the dominance of red over green no longer provides reliable information, which might lead us to believe that the brain would not apply the rule to processed foods. On the contrary, it does, which hints at the presence of ancient evolutionary mechanisms from before the introduction of cooking.”Another nod in favor of this hypothesis is the fact that the color code in the Rumiati and colleagues experiments does not come into play for items other than food: “The preference for red over green is not observed with non-edible objects,” says Rumiati. “This means that the color code of the visual system activates correctly only with food stimuli.”Inner traffic light for eating healthierOur findings, besides increasing our knowledge of the visual system, offer interesting possibilities on many fronts which could have an important impact on the public health: marketing food, for example, and treating eating disorders.“Much is being done today to encourage healthier eating,” notes Rumiati. “For example, trying to convince the people to eat foods lower in calories.” Some countries propose bans on certain types of products, such as carbonated soft drinks and high fat foods. In some cases, there is a disclaimer on the packaging, as with cigarettes. Perhaps food color could be used to produce significant results, even if artificial. “last_img read more

Military veterans are typecast as agentic but unfeeling — and viewed as less suited for social jobs

first_imgNew research has identified a barrier that military veterans may face when returning to the civilian workforce. According to the study, which was recently published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, veterans are viewed as having a strong ability to plan and act but less of a “mind” when it comes to their ability to feel.“We were presented with the opportunity to study issues related to military veterans and their transition back to civilian society. We thought about how the public often thinks about and how the media often thinks about veterans and those in the military more generally, and how that might feed into some of the issues veterans face when the leave the military,” said study author Steven Shepherd, an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University.“We thought that social psychological theory could actually concisely explain a lot of this quite well, but it turns out that social psychological theory has rarely been applied to veterans’ issues.” Share on Twitter Pinterest Share LinkedIncenter_img Email Share on Facebook In a series of surveys and experiments, the researchers found that veterans are generally typecast as agentic individuals who are relatively lacking in emotion. These stereotypes about veterans are in turn associated with perceptions about career suitability.“Employers can be mindful of how preconceived notions about veterans might shape their perceptions of veterans — from the first read of the resume, to the interview, or the tasks that are assigned to veterans within an organization. Our research also speaks to the importance of employers having a more accurate understanding of veterans,” Shepherd told PsyPost.“For veterans, our research suggests that they may want to take at least some measures to provide counter-stereotypical information. For example, because veterans are stereotyped as being unfeeling, we found that simply signaling this ability (i.e., listing animal shelter experience on one’s resume) could significantly reduce stereotypical judgments.”In a survey of 223 participants, the researchers found that veterans were seen as higher in agentic traits like self-control, memory, planning, and intentional thought — but were seen as having a reduced capacity for feeling. Veterans were also seen as more loyal and trustworthy than non-veterans but also less sensitive and sympathetic. They were also rated as more mechanistic than non-veterans.In a series of follow-up surveys, the researchers found that this held true regardless of whether the service members were described as currently serving or veterans, a member of the Army or Marines, serving in a non-combat role, or male or female.In two additional surveys, with 207 participants in total, the researchers found that people commonly assumed that veterans were better suited for hands-on jobs and organizational jobs than jobs requiring artistic ability and social interaction.Similarly, another survey of 199 participants found that jobs that required the ability to plan and act were viewed as a better fit for veterans than jobs that required the ability to sense and feel different sensations and emotions.Yet another study of 396 participants found that veterans were viewed as better suited for technology-related careers than mental health careers — even when their resume noted they had done humanitarian work. This finding was replicated with another sample of 709 participants who had careers involving management or hiring decisions.In three more experiments, with 1,069 participants in total, the researchers found that veterans were viewed as being more likely to succeed as dishwashers and prep cooks than restaurant servers, compared to non-veterans.Finally, the researchers found evidence that the stereotyping of veterans could be mitigated with information that counters the stereotype. In particular, the experiment with 298 participants found that the negative effect of the stereotype was eliminated by including relevant work experience on a resume, such as working at a humane society where they “effectively managed bonding time with animals.”But the study — like all research — includes some caveats.“While we tested people’s views of different veteran targets, varying their service role and how that information was communicated, these effects might vary based on a number of other factors such as branch of service. These stereotypes about veterans may also interact with other stereotypes (e.g. gender, race/ethnicity) that were not fully explored in our research,” Shepherd explained.“It is also important to note that people who may implicitly or explicitly hold these stereotypes don’t necessarily think negatively about the military. In fact, we posit that these stereotypes if anything stem from seeing veterans are heroic agents who can carry out a plan and get things done, which is a very positive belief to hold about somebody. But based on past work on mind perception, these beliefs may also lead people to see veterans are relatively unfeeling.”The study, “Military veterans are morally typecast as agentic but unfeeling: Implications for veteran employment“, was authored by Steven Shepherd, Aaron C. Kay, and Kurt Gray.last_img read more