Patenting genes: Justices tackle big health issue

first_imgWASHINGTON | The Supreme Court seemed worried Monday about the idea of companies patenting human genes in a case that could profoundly reshape the multibillion-dollar biomedical industry and U.S. research in the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer.Justices argued not only about snipping DNA strands but also about chewing the leaves of Amazonian jungle plants, the shaping of baseball bats and the ingredients of chocolate chip cookies as they tried to figure out whether companies can gain government protection — and profits — for their work with human genes.The ability to claim control of genetic information found inside every American could hang on the nine justices’ decision later this summer, a ruling that could affect the intersection of science and the law for years to come.“The issue here is a very difficult one,” Justice Samuel Alito said.Abstract ideas, natural phenomena and laws of nature cannot be awarded patents, the legal protection that gives inventors the right to prevent others from making, using or selling a novel device, process or application. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been awarding patents on human genes for almost 30 years, but opponents of Myriad Genetics Inc.’s patents on two genes linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer say such protection should not be given to something that can be found inside the human body.“Finding a new use for a product of nature, if you don’t change the product of nature, is not patentable,” said lawyer Christopher Hansen, arguing against the patents. “If I find a new way of taking gold and making earrings out of it, that doesn’t entitle me to a patent on gold. If I find a new way of using lead, it doesn’t entitle me to a patent on lead.”Several organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Association for Molecular Pathology, a number of doctors and researchers and some people at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, have challenged the patents.But Myriad argues — and the patent office and a federal appeals court have agreed — that the company’s genes can be patented because the DNA that Myriad isolated from the body has a “markedly different chemical structure” from DNA within the body.“What was ‘merely snipped’ out of the body here is fundamentally different in kind from what was in the body,” Myriad lawyer Gregory A. Castanias said. “The most important reason it’s different in kind is that it cannot be used in the body to detect the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.”The company has used its patent to come up with its BRACAnalysis test, which looks for mutations on the breast cancer predisposition gene, or BRCA. Those mutations are associated with much greater risks of breast and ovarian cancer. Women with a faulty gene have a three to seven times greater risk of developing breast cancer and also a higher risk of ovarian cancer.Myriad sells the only BRCA gene test. Opponents of its patents say the company can use its patents to keep other researchers from working with the BRCA gene to develop other tests.In such matters, companies can have billions of dollars of investment and years of research on the line. Their advocates argue that without the ability to recoup their investment through the profits that patents bring, breakthrough scientific discoveries to combat all kinds of medical maladies wouldn’t happen. That concerned several justices.“Why shouldn’t we worry that Myriad or companies like it will just say, ‘Well, you know, we’re not going to do this work anymore?’” Justice Elena Kagan asked.Hansen said that a company could get recognition for its work and that money for research would always be available, a statement that Justice Anthony Kennedy said wasn’t sufficient.“I don’t think we can decide the case on, ‘Don’t worry about investment. It’ll come,’” Kennedy said.Justices attempted to break the argument down to an everyday level by discussing things like chocolate chip cookies, baseball bats and jungle plants.Castanias, the Myriad lawyer, argued that the justices could think about the gene question like a baseball bat. “A baseball bat doesn’t exist until it’s isolated from a tree. But that’s still the product of human invention to decide where to begin the bat and where to end the bat,” he said.That didn’t work for Chief Justice John Roberts.“The baseball bat is quite different. You don’t look at a tree and say, well, I’ve cut the branch here and cut it here and all of a sudden I’ve got a baseball bat. You have to invent it, if you will,” Roberts said. “You don’t have to invent the particular segment of the strand. You just have to cut it off.”The court moved on to body parts. Said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “If you cut off a piece of the whole in the kidney or liver, you’re saying that’s not patentable, but you take a gene and snip off a piece, that is? What’s the difference between the two?”Castanias tried again, comparing the company’s patented genes to medicine.“It’s important to note that molecules have been patented for a very long time. That’s what drugs are. And drugs are often made by taking one molecule and another molecule, both of which are known, reacting them in a test tube,” he said. “Reactions have been around 100 years just like snipping has been, but they make something new and useful and lifesaving from that.”Roberts still wasn’t convinced. “Well, I don’t understand how this is at all like that, because there you’re obviously combining things and getting something new. Here you’re just snipping, and you don’t have anything new, you have something that is a part of something that has existed previous to your intervention,” he said.That was the ruling of the original judge who looked at Myriad’s patents after they were challenged by the ACLU in 2009. U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet said he invalidated the patents because DNA’s existence in an isolated form does not alter the fundamental quality of DNA as it exists in the body or the information it encodes. But the federal appeals court reversed him in 2011, saying Myriad’s genes can be patented because the isolated DNA has a “markedly different chemical structure” from DNA within the body.The Supreme Court threw out that decision and sent the case back to the lower courts for rehearing. That came after the high court unanimously threw out patents on a Prometheus Laboratories Inc. test that could help doctors set drug doses for autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease. The justices said the laws of nature are unpatentable.But the federal circuit upheld Myriad’s patents again in August, leading to the current review.The court will rule before the end of the summer.The case is 12-398, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.last_img read more

Woods improves in final round at Masters, welcomes break

first_imgAUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods nearly aced a hole and made his lone eagle of the week.The four-time Masters champion somewhat returned to form at Augusta National. It was just a few days too late to be more than an afterthought at golf’s first major.Woods closed with a flurry, recording a 3-under 69 in the final round at the Masters. He finished 1 over for the tournament, 16 strokes behind winner Patrick Reed and in a four-way tie for 32nd.It was far from what the 42-year-old Woods wanted, but he left the hallowed grounds feeling better about his game than he did a few days before and more encouraged than his last few trips to Augusta National.Woods last played the event in 2015. He returned the last two years for the champions’ dinner, but didn’t get on the course. The hiatus left him feeling nostalgic during his walk to the 18th green.“This is one of the greatest walks in all of golf,” Woods said afterward. “And I had missed it for the last couple of years. I hadn’t been able to play in it, so now I’m glad I’m competing in this tournament. And to face the challenges out there, I missed it. I really did. I missed playing out here. I missed competing against these guys. Such a great event. Best (event) in all of our sport.”Woods started the weekend more than a dozen shots out of the lead and knew he would need something special to happen to get back in contention. It never happened. Never even came close, either.But there were some glimpses Sunday in his traditional red shirt.Woods had two birdies and an eagle on the back and looked like he would get to even par for the event. He lamented his iron play for the fourth straight day and loathed two three-putts, including one for bogey on No. 18.“Another loose day with the irons,” he said. “And I putted awful. It was possibly the highest score I could have shot today. All in all, a bittersweet ending.”He still drew one of the round’s largest galleries, giving spectators a reason to get to the course long before the leaders arrived at the practice range. They simply wanted to catch a glimpse of one of golf’s greatest players.Woods is assured of moving back into the top 100 in the world, notable only because he was at No. 1,199 just over four months ago when he returned from yet another long layoff following a fourth back surgery.“I think things are progressing,” he said. “It was a little bit disappointing I didn’t hit my irons as well as I needed to for this particular week. You miss it just a touch here it gets magnified. And I just didn’t do a good enough job this week in that regard. But overall I’m five or six tournaments into it, to be able to compete out here and to score like I did, it feels good.”Woods plans to take some time off in April, maybe even putting the clubs in the closet for a few weeks to “kind of get away for a while.”“The run up to this event is pretty hard and pretty grueling,” said Woods, who finished 12th, tied for second and tied for fifth in three tournaments on the Florida Swing. “I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready. And I peaked at it four times over the course of my career, and it’s tiring.”He can take some solace in making six birdies or better in the final round — nearly as many as he made in the first three rounds combined.The best one came early Sunday. Woods nearly aced the 240-yard, par-3 fourth. His tee shot landed a few feet short of the flag, bounced a couple of times and then skirted by the left edge of the hole. He was left with a left-to-right-breaking 10-footer that he dropped in the left side of the cup.His eagle putt at the par-5 15th was even better. He drained a sweeping 30-footer after reaching the green in two.Those shots provided a brief snippet of what might have been at Augusta National had Woods had better control with his irons.Woods missed greens right and left, never really getting approach shots in the precise spots on treacherous greens. His errant ways left him starting a lot sooner than expected Sunday and finishing shortly after the leaders teed off.“My swing is slightly off,” he said. “I was pleased with the way I was able to drive it, but I just could not convert with my irons. I struggled with obviously controlling the shape. Can’t control the shape. Can’t control the distance. And it was one of those weeks in that regard.”___For more AP golf coverage: and Tiger Woods hits a drive on the third hole during the fourth round at the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)last_img read more

Nelson Cyswog’n’Fun Sprint Distance Results

first_img34th Annual Nelson Cyswog ‘N’ Fun            Sprint Distance Individual Results      (0.5 Km Swim – 22 Km Bike – 5 Km Run)     ——-FINAL—- ———————– ————- ——————- —-                                                                 Category                  –      Pos     Time    Name                    City          Plc/Total Category       ——– ——- ———————– ————- ——————-          1     1:07:20 Solen WOOD              Lethbridge     1/2   Men 16-17              2     1:11:38 Michael OGLOFF          Salmon Arm     1/3   Men 30-34              3     1:18:41 Charlie STEWART         Hong Kong      2/2   Men 16-17              4     1:19:32 D. STEVENSON-WADE  Kelowna   1/5   Women 40-44             5     1:20:20 Timothy OLSON           Plains         1/9   Men 50-59               6     1:23:07 Lisa BARNES             Cranbrook      1/4   Women 30-34             7     1:23:16 Curtis SCHREIBER        Kelowna        2/9   Men 50-59              8     1:23:24 Scott CARR              Burnaby        1/6   Men 40-49              9     1:23:52 Jason DOSDALL           Calgary        2/6   Men 40-49             10     1:25:51 Lauren KOCH     Salmon Arm     2/4   Women 30-34           11     1:26:39 Alanna MACDONALD   P. George   1/2   Women 20-24           12     1:26:56 Kim JOLLYMORE       Kelowna        1/7   Women 55-59            13     1:27:23 Danita SCHREIBER     Kelowna        1/3   Women 50-54           14     1:27:32 Laura DAVIS             Calgary        1/6   Women 25-29           15     1:28:30 Wally COUSINS           South Slocan   3/6   Men 40-49             16     1:29:34 Rob PORTERFIELD         Calgary        1/2   Men 35-39            17     1:29:39 Rheannon BROOKS         Kitimat        3/4   Women 30-34         18     1:30:17 Dave HRABCHUK           Vernon         4/6   Men 40-49              19     1:30:34 Jim WERNHAM             Winnipeg       3/9   Men 50-59              20     1:30:41 Darren BEUTEL           Nelson         4/9   Men 50-59               21     1:30:57 Evan CESCON             Rossland       1/1   Men 25-29              22     1:31:59 Shane PEARSALL          Calgary        5/9   Men 50-59             23     1:32:40 Robert SIMMERLING       Nelson         1/3   Men 60-64            24     1:32:49 Brent RUNNETT           Didsbury       6/9   Men 50-59             25     1:32:53 Shannon PRICE           Trail          1/5   Women 35-39          26     1:34:06 Tony BEUTEL             Nelson         5/6   Men 40-49             27     1:34:51 Kim IRVING              Nelson         2/7   Women 55-59            28     1:35:22 James STEWART           Hong Kong      2/3   Men 60-64          29     1:35:43 Jason HENDREN           Kelowna        6/6   Men 40-49             30     1:36:15 Alison ROSSEL           North Van   2/5   Women 40-44         31     1:36:27 Paul MCCREEDY           Nelson         7/9   Men 50-59             32     1:37:05 Mark SCHMUTZ            Fruitvale      8/9   Men 50-59             33     1:37:57 Larry OTTEWELL          Calgary        2/3   Men 30-34             34     1:38:21 Kate BRADLEY            Salmo          2/5   Women 35-39           35     1:38:36 Tyler RICE              Nelson         2/2   Men 35-39             36     1:38:39 Kristen SPEARMAN        Nelson         2/6   Women 25-29         37     1:40:08 Erendira SILVA          Vancouver      3/6   Women 25-29           38     1:40:45 Cheryl MUELLER          Nelson         3/7   Women 55-59           39     1:40:50 Dale FROMBERG    Kelowna        4/7   Women 55-59           40     1:42:01 Laura HALEY             Kitimat        3/5   Women 35-39        Sprint Distance Team Results     ——-FINAL—- —————————————center_img      Pos     Time    Team Name                               Place/Total Category              ——– ——- ————————————— ————————–          1     1:28:58 Splash, Flash, and Dash                   1/9   Open Team                 2     1:34:25 Paris-HK Connection                       2/9   Open Team                  3     1:36:41 The young and the tasteless        3/9   Open Team                   4     1:41:15 CD Fitz                                   4/9   Open Team                   5     1:41:18 The 2 relics                              5/9   Open Team                   6     1:43:28 The Molnar’s                              6/9   Open Team                   7     1:49:34 Hazel’s Team                              7/9   Open Team                   8     2:00:03 David and Daniel racing together          8/9   Open Teamlast_img read more

Raritan softball still fighting to make state playoffs

first_imgRockets play Marlboro this afternoon, Barnegat tomorrow With the qualification deadline for the NJISAA Central Jersey Group II and Shore Conference tournaments looming on Friday, the Raritan High School softball team needs two victories in its three games this week to get into both tourneys.The Rockets opened the season with four wins in their first five games, including a 2- 0 win over St. John Vianney. Since the triumph over Vianney, however, Raritan has won just three games and now stands at 7-7 on the year, following a 1-0 loss to Red Bank Regional on Saturday.”We just haven’t played as well as we can since the Vianney game,” coach Janet Citro said. “Still, this is a very good team and I’m confident that we’ll get it back together. There are a lot of games to be played.”The Rockets were set to visitHolmdel on Monday andMarlboro this afternoon, before traveling to Barnegat tomorrow. The prospect of three away games in such a big week does not face the coach.”It’s been one of those seasons where our team actually plays better on the road,” she said. “I’m not sure why that is, but we’re a good road team.”The pitching, thanks to junior Kerrilyn Svenson, has been fine. The junior has tossed 101 innings permitting 14 earned runs for an ERA of 0.97, while limiting opponents to 57 hits. She has 108 strikeouts and has issued 24 free passes. Svenson is also the Rockets leading hitter with a .419 batting average to go with a home run and eight RBIs and a .479 on base percentage.Alyssa Mautone is batting .297 with a homer and six RBIs and has drawn a teamleading seven bases on balls.Outfielder Sam “Goose” Helmstetter follows with a .278 mark and three RBIs.”We’re not as consistent at the plate as I’d like to be,” saidCitro,whose teamhas struck out 103 times.”Our goal is to put the ball in play and make the other team have to get us out.”Raritan has played pretty well in the field. Mancuso and first baseman Genna Pensabene,who has recorded 104 putouts at first base, have been flawless with the glove. Svenson has made one error and shortstop Shelia Sim has made only two errors.”This team is good enough to win games and do well in the tournaments,” Citro said. “We just have to fight out of it. I know they can do it, and once we get a few wins we can build on that momentum.” BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer last_img read more

N.Korean leader’s sister to visit S.Korea for winter Olympics

first_imgNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s 28-year-old sister will make her debut on the world stage when she visits South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.Pyongyang notified Seoul that Kim Yo Jong would be accompanying Kim Yong Nam, North Korea‘s nominal head of state, along with Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and RI Son Gwon, who led inter-Korean talks last week, according to the ministry.The inclusion of Kim Yo Jong in the delegation is “meaningful” as she is not only the sister of the country’s leader but a senior official at the ruling Workers’ Party, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.But the trip could provide a source of contention between Seoul and Washington, as she was blacklisted last year by the US Treasury Department over human rights abuses and censorship, while Choe is subject to a travel ban under UN Security Council sanctions.Kim Yo Jong is vice director of the party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, which handles ideological messaging through the media, arts and culture. Choe had previously worked for the same organisation.Kim Yo Jong was seen in state media on Tuesday greeting a North Korean art troupe that has since departed for the South to stage performances during the Olympics.“One of the positives of her visit is that she is someone able to deliver a direct message on behalf of Kim Jong Un”, said Shin Beom-chul, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul.“What is problematic is that she’s coming with Choe Hwi. … This raises worries that North Korea likely intends to use this Olympics as a propaganda tool rather than a possible opening to meaningful dialogue with South Korea“.North Korean cheering squads wave upon their arrival at the Korean-transit office near the Demilitarised Zone in PajuA group of 280 North Koreans arrived in South Korea on Wednesday, one of the largest peacetime crossings of the inter-Korean border, to spur on athletes from the two Koreas at the Winter Olympics starting Friday.The delegation, made up mostly of a 229-member cheer squad, reached a border checkpoint by bus at around 0030 GMT, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.In addition to the cheering squad, there were 26 taekwondo performers, 21 journalists and four North Korean Olympics committee members, including Sports Minister Kim Il-guk, the Unification Ministry said.After security controls the group left for the Olympics venue in the alpine resort town of Pyeongchang.At a rest stop along the way, female members of the cheer squad, all donning black fur caps, red coats and ankle boots, waved and smiled at reporters who were trailing them.“Hello, hello!” one said, giggling shyly before getting back on her bus.When one reporter asked whether they were fully prepared, another member quipped: “You’ll know once you see. It’s no fun if I tell you everything now,” according to the South’s Yonhap news agency.Their arrival comes a day after a North Korean ferry crossed the border carrying a 140-strong orchestra to perform during the Games.Members of the orchestra were seen leaving the vessel for rehearsals at Gangneung Arts Center early on Wednesday, wearing the same outfits members of the cheer squad were seen in.The orchestra is scheduled to perform at Gangneung, near Pyeongchang, on Thursday and in Seoul on Sunday.Aside from the sports officials, the group will be housed at Inje Speedium Hotel & Resort, a four-star luxury hotel roughly two-hours drive from the Olympic venue in Pyeongchang.Days before the group’s arrival, workers at Inje Speedium had placed banners around the premises welcoming the North Koreans, reading “We are one” and “welcome”.Police have been deployed to enforce safety at the resort.The taekwondo performance team is scheduled to hold four shows during their stay in SouthKorea. Two demonstrations will be held near Pyeongchang, while the team will travel to the capital Seoul for the remaining two.OIL REQUESTAfter the art troupe arrived on Tuesday in a ferry, which is also being used as accommodation, North Korea has asked South Korea to provide oil to refuel the vessel, the Unification Ministry said on Wednesday.Oil is a sensitive item and has taken centre stage in global efforts to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes, with Washington calling for a drastic cut in energy supplies to the isolated country.North Korea has virtually no domestic oil production, and has traditionally imported its fuel demand from China and Russia.In December, the UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on the North, seeking to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to the country by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.“There was a request for oil support during our discussions with the North after the ship arrived, and we’re reviewing it now”, ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a news briefing in Seoul.Asked about concerns that South Korea was making exceptions to the sanctions, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it was important not to let up pressure.“We must not be fooled by North Korea‘s ‘smile diplomacy,” he told a news conference in Tokyo.last_img read more

Mahadeo Panchu of KSM Investments: Revolutionising the concrete products sector

first_imgThey crumble under the pressure of a finger, and sometimes disintegrate after heavy rainfall, as building owners and renters alike rage over the poor quality. Disgust over poor-quality concrete blocks that are more sand than concrete is a feeling that many Guyanese, including Mahadeo Panchu, know well, having wasted their money on shoddily made products. But Panchu with his KSM Investments Inc is aiming to change all that.“My business is a very unique one,” he says, “simply because there is none otherMahadeo Panchulike mine in Guyana or the Region. We have embarked on a mission to “revolutionise the concrete products sector in Guyana”. And, we are underway with that ‘revolution’. In this, the 21st Century, we see buildings being constructed with hollow blocks with as much as 97 per cent sand. This, I believe, is criminal. On the other hand, we have fellow Caricom nations trying to `recolonise’ us with their products, better than what we have been accustomed to in Guyana, but still very poor…“The fact is that I have spent many years in rice export and shipping, but took a leap into an area of business which was alien to me. I took the calculated risk of investing in my concrete products plant, because I saw a dire need for the type of world-class products we currently manufacture.”From its aptly chosen logo to its products, KSM Investments exudes an aura of solidity, strength, and permanence. And its lifetime guarantee makes that explicit. The concrete products manufacturing, import and distribution company offers cement, pavers, and vent and hollow blocks, all with the exception of the first engineered and proudly made in Guyana.Its brightly lit, beautifully designed sign and display rise boldly above the East Coast Demerara Highway drawing the eye to the huge factory at Plot “MP”, 8 Good Hope. Inside the modern, state-of-the-art factory – the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, fully-automated machines turn sifting, stone, industrial grade cement and white sand into Rock Solid Hollow Blocks, DuraLast Vent Blocks and EverLast Pavers, in a wide variety of designs and colours, for the wholesale and retail markets. They also produce curbstone and foundation blocks.As KSM’s satisfied customers have attested, the quality of the products is outstanding. These are no ‘sandcrete’ blocks. The company adds that there is no need to fill-in or plaster its blocks, which are four times as strong as machine blocks and won’t break or crumble easily while costing less. That’s good news for both home owners and contractors.Panchu, the Chairman and CEO of KSM Investments, started on his journey to provide the best concrete products in Guyana in 2013, pouring long hours and much investment into the company, which was officially launched on April 15, 2017, with actual production starting in November 2015.It was a long and rocky road, beset with labour challenges, power supply issues and a lack of Government support, for the veteran businessman, who initially wanted to start a state-of-the art rice mill. However, a business trip to Germany opened his eyes to the possibilities of a local concrete products plant.“On that trip, I saw the technology… I realised there and then that we needed to have such a facility in Guyana to raise the bar on concrete products in our country. I recognised then, that such a facility will be critical if we are to modernise and move our country forward.”After he visited several similar plants in Germany, China and Brazil, Panchu and his wife, Shanta, decided to go ahead and establish the company.In highlighting his main challenge, the entrepreneur stressed that “the Private Sector cannot operate its businesses in isolation of the State. If the Government (the chief spender in the economy) is not willing and committed to supporting initiatives such as mine, then does it make any sense investing in my country?”Seeing his blocks used throughout the country and on Government projects are among the many goals of this patriotic Guyanese, who pointed out that a few days ago, a $97 million monument project in Berbice came tumbling down owing to the poor quality of the “sand block”.The father of one posed some hard questions about the engineering and quality control shortfalls that continue to cost the country money.“When are we going to learn?” Panchu, who is very passionate about getting value for money, asked. The former student of Bygeval Secondary School and the University of Guyana, who grew up in De Hoop, Mahaica, ECD, learnt early the importance of discipline, hard work, and education.“We were poor, but … we had great parents and grandparents, whose collective focus was our education as the vehicle for poverty alleviation and for us to be independent.”Panchu’s English Literature teacher at Bygeval Secondary, Ms Audrey Payne from Buxton (now deceased), also played an important role in his destiny and his son, Arvind, whom he described as a great kid, continues to provide inspiration.Panchu, who said independence and self-alleviation from poverty were the other reasons why he started a business, advised budding entrepreneurs: If you are not prepared to make sacrifices, do not start your own business, as owning a business means working 24/7; the ladder of success can be the most difficult of all ladders to climb, so be prepared for sleepless nights and less family time, sometimes; and, you must be able to deal with stress.He added: “Guyana is on the threshold of a takeoff. This takeoff has been slowed done due to local economic pressures. This is not a long-term problem and I believe that in the not-too-distant future, economic progress will once again be accelerated in Guyana.”Like the company says: Think…Strength…Think…Value…Think…Quality…Think…Beauty.Contact: Plot “MP”, 8 Good Hope Public Road, East Coast Demerara; 220-7329; 691-1723;673-2297;

Yvonne Nelson Identifies With Down’s Syndrome Children

first_imgTop Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson has identified with children with down syndrome from My Heart Appeal, saying it was not their wish to be born like that, so they needed everyone’s care.“For me I do charity everyday, even when I’m driving on the roadside, I help people who are in need. It is something that is part of me and it is not everything that we do goes in the media,” Yvonne said.“I intend to give them support any time they need my help. I can not just neglect them, under not condition.” The actress added that charity should be part of everyone’s daily life, not waiting to do it once a year, adding that people should not wait for the holiday season before recognizing with these kinds of people in the society, but should rather do so on an occasional basis.“The fact that I could see smiles on their faces means a whole lot to me. It is quite unfortunate that people are born that way, but it is not their fault. They did not make themselves like that. They are human beings like us, and every country needs to give them special support,” she added. She said that the Liberian and Ghanaian governments should build special centers where the kids can be taken for treatment to specialists to help them improve their condition. “When you have such a problem, you are neglected by the society, even sometimes your own parents. But having trained specialists to take care of them, makes it much better,” she said.Commenting on her tally of movies, Yvonne Nelson said among the movies she has made, “If Tomorrow Never Come is the best.”“People who follow me as an actress or who has been following my career will notice something difference from all the movies I acted in.“People have the mindset that I’m how they see me in movie, looking all glamorous. But I decided to put all that aside to nail the character in that movie and I believed I did my best,” the award-winning actress said during a short interview for her movie premier.Yvonne disclosed that the reason she shot If Tomorrow Never Come is that she heard the sad story of a little boy which touched her deeply, leading her to want to share his plight with the world. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Plan would group, reform 44 troubled LAUSD schools

first_imgBy Naush Boghossian STAFF WRITER Aiming to overhaul Los Angeles Unified’s lowest-performing schools, Superintendent David Brewer announced a plan Tuesday to essentially carve out a separate, targeted district for 44 of the neediest schools. Brewer’s senior staff and local superintendents are still developing details, but the new district would be made up of middle and high schools and would have its own rules of governance and separate curriculum and instructional planning. “It sure looks like the start of a breakup, which I think is something that is a long time in coming,” said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, who submitted legislation proposing breaking LAUSD into smaller districts. But Brewer emphasized Tuesday that his plan is not necessarily to create a permanent structure. Instead, after schools improve they would return to governance under the general district. The 17 middle schools and 27 high schools in the special district would have their own superintendent and directors assigned to act as liaisons with central staff, Shiller said. The new district would include a new set of core curriculum at the schools and outline specific training for teachers. It also will address boosted school safety, smaller schools and community and parent partnerships. Under federal No Child Left Behind standards, LAUSD is in its third year of Program Improvement status, requiring LAUSD to develop a plan to help the lowest-performing schools. Brewer said a detailed plan is expected to be finished by Nov. 1 and presented to the board for approval by Nov. 13. Still, the plan drew concern from some that it is creating a fragmented district with even more bureaucracy and challenges. “I am worried the district is getting fragmented, and that does not necessarily mean it’s going to fix the problem,” 20-year school board member Julie Korenstein said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityBrewer hopes to launch the district next fall and said schools in the group would be candidates for drastic reforms such as all-boys’ academies and neighborhood literacy centers for parents. The plan is the latest designed to create separate, smaller groups of schools out of the massive bureaucracy of the LAUSD system. “We’re looking to try to reduce the size of the current local eight districts and bring these middle schools and high schools into one supervisory structure so that focused attention can be placed on these schools for improvement,” said Robert Schiller, a consultant hired by Brewer to help develop the plan. Brewer’s plan comes in addition to a previously announced plan under which Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will manage more than 30,000 students in two groups of schools designated as among the district’s lowest-performing. On top of that plan, Brewer’s proposal would pull at least 105,000 additional students out of the district’s 708,000 population into a separate governance structure. last_img read more

Arsenal now only fourth favourites for title, Man United to finish in top four?

first_imgCoral’s Dave Stevens joins the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to round up the latest sporting odds.Chelsea moved six points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Sunderland on Wednesday night and are 5/6 favourites for the title.Manchester City are 4/1, while Liverpool are 6/1 and Arsenal are now out to 7/1.Manchester United, meanwhile, are not expected to challenge for the title and are 11/8 just to finish in the top four.Coral is the official betting partner of the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfastlast_img

Anderson accuser testifies

first_imgAnderson frowned at his former prot g as she spoke of the alleged molestation, shaking his head slightly and throwing the girl disappointed looks. His wife Kathryn, former chief of surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, sat quietly outside the courtroom all day, reading a book. Anderson, 69, known as the “father of gene therapy,” is charged with four counts of continuous sexual abuse when the alleged victim was 11 years old and lewd acts when she was ages 11 through 13. He remains free on $600,000 bail since shortly after his arrest in July 2004. If convicted on all counts, he faces more than 20 years in prison. Anderson, who was in charge of the Gene Therapy Laboratories at USC that he helped create, is now on administrative leave. The young woman, a Chinese immigrant who has a twin sister, recounted a time when she was younger in which she claimed Anderson allegedly molested her in the sauna at his San Marino home. LOS ANGELES – The woman accusing prominent USC geneticist William French Anderson of molesting her when she was young said Thursday that Anderson would pretend to conduct examinations of her at his home when she was starting to go through puberty. This included not only weighing her naked and measuring her height, but also spreading apart her legs while she was naked as if he were examining her, said the now 19-year-old from South Pasadena. “He told me he was a doctor and he needed to check my development, because some girls grow right and some girls don’t,” she testified on the third day of the trial. As Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Cathryn Brougham questioned her throughout the day, the young woman, who alleges Anderson molested her from ages 9 to 13, looked slightly uncomfortable, nervously laughing in places. “He, uh, um, moved aside the bottom of my swimsuit” and orally molested her, she testified. “I remember lying there and just trying to let the heat relax me.” Incidents like this continued throughout her preteen years, the girl testified, while Anderson was tutoring her in tae kwon do, taking her to dinners alone, attending her sports practices, taking her to batting cages and letting her drive his car. She claimed Anderson let her drive on the freeway. She said he would buy her things – from soccer equipment to extravagant birthday gifts, such as a hot-air balloon ride for her and her sister on her 16th birthday. “He told me that he loved me, that I had his brain, that I was his prodigy person,” she testified. Throughout the first part of her testimony, the young woman had trouble pinning down her exact age or the time frame in which alleged incidents of molestation happened. The alleged victim spoke of how she tried to keep what was happening to her inside when she was young and how difficult that became as she grew older. “I increasingly felt like a slut, because I let him do things to me,” she said, adding that she cut and burned herself to “release” the pain she was feeling inside. In the spring of 2003, she said she told a counselor at South Pasadena High School a little about what was going on, referring to the man only as her mother’s boss. The girl’s mother was director of research at the USC lab, working under Anderson. While she was only looking for therapy, what the teenager got was South Pasadena police knocking at her door in July 2003 and questioning her. The counselor had reported the molestation, as school officials are legally bound to do. From then on, she said, everything spun out of control. “I didn’t want it to go to trial and everything,” she said. “What I really wanted was help so I wouldn’t feel so horrible. I thought my whole world would collapse.” She admitted that she lied to the police, telling them the molestation did not happen. But in September 2003, the teen wrote her mother a letter, explaining all of the alleged molestation. She said her mother helped her find a therapist. Anderson wrote e-mails to the girl in August of 2003 – presented by the prosecution – offering her everything from new soccer equipment to hair frosting to money. In a Nov. 20, 2003, e-mail, Anderson apologized for “the things I said and did,” adding that he “cannot justify or explain why” he “behaved so badly.” In later e-mails, Anderson begged the teenager not to tell for fear it would ruin his life, her, her family and even the work being done at the gene laboratories. He also threatened suicide. In draft e-mails, allegedly responding to Anderson’s, the girl asked him not to kill himself and demanded he go to therapy. She also asked for a written apology. Anderson told the girl in e-mails from late 2003 and early 2004 of his progress in therapy he claimed he was getting. He also promised the girl letters of recommendation and told her how he was writing grants for her mother, as well as trying to get her a tenured position at USC. The trial continues Monday at 9 a.m. in Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, 210 E. Temple St. in Dept. 107. (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more