Go back to the enewsletter Waldorf Astoria Hotels

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterWaldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, the top-of-the-line hotel brand within the Hilton portfolio, has officially opened the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok within the 60-storey Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard.The 171-room and suite hotel exudes a sense of Thai spirit, perfected with True Waldorf Service. A wealth of amenities include a rooftop restaurant and two bars, a wellness spa, outdoor infinity pool and elegant meeting and wedding venues.“With Asia Pacific enjoying a golden age of travel, we are witnessing unprecedented demand for our brands and are creating some of the world’s greatest luxury hotels,” said Alan Watts, president, Hilton, Asia Pacific.“As the first Waldorf Astoria in Southeast Asia, the opening of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok adds a much-anticipated chapter to the brand’s story in Asia. It builds on our series of iconic Waldorf Astoria hotels in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, while prefacing the arrival of additional unforgettable Waldorf Astoria hotels in the near future.”© Waldorf Astoria Bangkok Deluxe BedroomFrom bronze accents to the soaring ceilings, the hotel has been thoughtfully designed by architect André Fu to be a visual journey.Hotel luxuries to discover during a stay:Sumptuous guest rooms, starting at 50 square metres, with floor-to-ceiling windowsSix restaurants and bars, including rooftop dining 55 floors up and a signature Nordic–Thai RestaurantA pampering experience at Waldorf Astoria Spa with its exclusive treatmentsOpen-air infinity pool with private cabanas, plus a 24-hour fitness centreDiverse settings with natural light for corporate meetings, social events and weddingsPersonal Concierge for the entirety of the stay, providing anticipatory yet unobtrusive service© Waldorf Astoria Bangkok Upper LobbyWaldorf Astoria Bangkok is enviably located in the CBD, just a short walk from renowned shopping precincts. It’s a two-minute walk to both routes of the BTS Skytrain to easily connect with this dynamic city.The hotel’s crown jewel spans the top three floors from levels 55 to 57, comprising three distinctive, artistically curated dining outlets by world-renowned design and concept firm AvroKO. Exuding glamour and luxury, the opulent interiors of Bull & Bear, The Loft and Champagne Bar showcase a nod towards the Waldorf Astoria legacy, all accompanied by sweeping views of the city.© Waldorf Astoria Bangkok Royal Suite Bathroom“We are thrilled to be adding Waldorf Astoria Bangkok to our rapidly expanding luxury portfolio here in Asia Pacific,” said Dino Michael, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.The property features three unique restaurant concepts, a lounge and two bars, including:Front Room, the hotel’s signature restaurant, helmed by acclaimed Chef Fae Rungthiwa Chummongkhon, who brings her experience of working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe to present an elegant blend of “new Nordic” and Thai flavours in a relaxed setting.The Brasserie, located on the upper lobby, is a lively destination that offers stunning views of the city. Using locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant serves traditional French brasserie fare daily from breakfast through dinner.Peacock Alley, which sits on the same level as The Brasserie, is an ideal lounge for picturesque afternoon teas and light meals. Modelled after the New York original, Peacock Alley presents a menu of delectable homemade pastries and refreshments throughout the day.Bull & Bear on level 55 specialises in grilled meats and seafood, and features a live raw bar along with a custom-made grill designed for smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Eye-catching Art Deco-inspired interiors, upbeat vibes and dazzling views make Bull & Bear the perfect place to socialise, celebrate and indulge.The Loft on level 56 is a glamorous, New York-inspired bar, steeped in the romance of Art Nouveau. Taking inspiration from the original 1935 Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, artisanal spirits and forgotten cocktails are crafted to the modern palate using a great collection of house-made ingredients, accompanied by gourmet bar bites.© Waldorf Astoria Bangkok The LoftThe Champagne Bar, located at the hotel’s peak on level 57, offers an intimate and inspirational environment, designed with meticulous attention to detail. An exquisite list of fine champagnes, hand-crafted cocktails and one of the best views of Bangkok combine to create the ultimate setting for a spectacular evening out. Accessible only to the most discerning of guests, the exclusive bar is primed to be one of the most desirable spots in the city.Arguably the most striking feature of the property is the 730-square-metre Magnolia Ballroom on level 10, which offers a stunning and sophisticated setting for weddings and social events. A statement sweeping staircase provides an unforgettable photography backdrop and an impactful arrival experience. With an impressive 8-metre-high ceiling, the ballroom accommodates up to 700 guests standing or 330 guests seated, and it is set to be one of Bangkok’s most sought-after event venues.© Waldorf Astoria Bangkok Grand StaircaseGo back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

Continue reading

When I hear about strategies that purport to legal

first_imgWhen I hear about strategies that purport to legally allow US citizens to avoid having to pay income taxes, the first thing that usually comes to mind is that it is some sort of dodgy cockamamie scheme. This is because the US government is no slouch when it comes to shaking down its citizens for every penny it can get away with. The mind-boggling spending on welfare and warfare policies necessitates this. It would be dangerously foolish in the extreme to think you could slip one past them. There really was no sure way to legally escape the suffocating grip of US taxes besides death and renouncing your US citizenship… until recently. Every other country in the world (besides the US and Eritrea) practices a system of residence-based taxation. This means that citizens are not liable for paying income taxes to their home country if they become a legal resident of another country and earn their income there. Take, for example, an American expat and a Canadian expat who both live and earn income in Singapore. The Canadian would only be responsible for paying the much lower Singapore income taxes, while the American would be responsible for paying Singapore income taxes AND American income taxes (though the IRS does allow for around $100k of foreign earned income to be excluded from income taxes if certain conditions are met). This is because the US taxes its citizens by virtue of their citizenship (citizenship-based taxation), regardless of where they live and earn their money. Even leaving the US permanently does not absolve you from paying US income taxes. Though Eritrea also practices citizenship-based taxation, it is an impoverished African country and has no ability to effectively enforce it. That’s the key difference. The US government can effectively enforce its citizenship-based taxation policies thanks to its massive economic, political, and military weight and the fact that it does not recognize any limit to its jurisdiction (consider FATCA and Edward Snowden). American expats are therefore in the uniquely unfavorable position of having arguably the worst tax policies and a government that can effectively enforce them. For many, it is a tight and suffocating tax leash. It is no wonder, then, that a record number of Americans gave up their citizenship last quarter to escape these onerous requirements. (You can find more about citizenship-based taxation versus residence-based taxation in this article.) There is, however, another way besides death and renunciation to legally escape US income taxes, thanks to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Of course, the US government could always pressure Puerto Rico to change its policies, but people in the know view that as unlikely. For now, Puerto Rico and its special tax situation definitely deserve consideration for Americans. Puerto Rico may be the best internationalization option for Americans at present, but its conditions may be unworkable for many. Fortunately, many other options exist for internationalizing at least part of your wealth—and your life, should you want to leave your home country and live elsewhere. And honestly, with the global economy in the state it’s in, just about everyone would benefit from internationalizing… it isn’t just for Americans. But how to get started? What are the best ways to move wealth offshore, and what are the best destinations for it? Should you internationalize in the same countries that you move your wealth to? All these questions, and many more, can be answered in one convenient, trustworthy resource. This resource has its roots deeply intertwined with the original “International Man”—legendary contrarian and speculator Doug Casey himself. So you can be confident that every detail has been thoroughly vetted, to not just maintain your wealth and lifestyle… but in many cases, to improve them. Get all the details and get started on your path to internationalization right now. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory (commonwealth) of the US, and this allows it to have a special tax arrangement. Namely, legal residents of Puerto Rico who earn their income in Puerto Rico do not pay US federal income taxes (though they still have to file a federal tax return). All Puerto Ricans are already US citizens, and since it is a commonwealth of the US, Americans are generally free to stay on the island without restriction and do not even need a passport to travel there. In order to obtain legal residency status in Puerto Rico and the associated tax benefits, one would have to be physically present on the island for at least 183 days a year. While US citizens who become legal Puerto Rican residents do not have to pay US federal income taxes on income earned on the island, they still have to pay local Puerto Rican taxes. This only amounts to 4% in certain cases, a pittance in comparison to combined US federal, state, and sometimes city income taxes. This low 4% rate only applies if the services are performed in Puerto Rico for clients outside of Puerto Rico—otherwise a local income tax of as much as 33% is applicable. For example, an investment manager based in Puerto Rico who performs services for US-based clients would be eligible for the lower income tax rate. Consult a tax expert to discuss individual cases and circumstances. In addition, Puerto Rico recently slashed its taxes on dividends and interest to ZERO, and capital gains taxes to as low as zero (maximum of 10%).This is part of a recent program over the past year or so in which Puerto Rico has been promoting itself as a tax-friendly jurisdiction open to Americans, in order to compete with its better-known Caribbean neighbors like the Cayman Islands. Taken together, Puerto Rico is an attractive destination for American companies and individuals who have portable incomes, such as software developers, writers, Internet businesses, and especially those dealing with investments, like hedge funds, in which the majority of the earnings are derived from investment income like dividends, interest, or capital gains. Spending half the year in Puerto Rico, with its beautiful white sand beaches, Caribbean climate, and close proximity to the US is not a bad proposition.center_img In short, thanks to a system of citizenship-based taxation, becoming a legal resident of Puerto Rico is the only way for Americans to keep their US citizenship and legally avoid US federal income taxes. There have been at least 40 Americans who have taken advantage of this special arrangement with Puerto Rico and moved there during the past year. Earlier this year billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson was said to have been exploring this option. Check out the short clip below from Bloomberg about an American who has moved to Puerto Rico for exactly these reasons.last_img read more

Continue reading

And what about their greatgrandparents who were s

first_imgAnd what about their great-grandparents who were slaves? They were militarily protected, after all. And their local oppressors operated fully under the rule of law. The  Supreme Court approved. Did that make them free? On one side of this “xenophobia coin,” we have outsiders whom we need to keep beneath us. The people of Eastern Europe were protected by a Soviet arsenal that included thousands of atomic bombs. They were further protected by constitutions and courts, all of which were locally administered. Were they free? I could go on, but I think the point is made: The vast majority of human oppression comes at the hands of locals, not foreigners. That’s a fact, whether or not it works as a movie plot. I know that many good men and women have spent time in various military capacities, but the fact is this: Foreign invaders abuse far, far fewer people than do local bosses. And here’s another fact: Once a foreign invader takes control of a new place, he usually tries very hard to keep the populace happy. The foreigner does not murder civilians by the millions… but local rulers do. (Think of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc. They each killed millions of locals.) The Flip Side of Xenophobia Xenophobia is fear of the foreigner and usually applies to things like hating immigrants. But it’s not always “fear.” It’s more often a need to keep the foreigner beneath us. In any case, classic expressions of xenophobia involve punishing immigrants, Jews, or some other outsiders (justified by whatever facts can be conveniently assembled). It seems to me that the myth we mentioned above, “military power equals freedom,” is the flip side of this xenophobia phenomenon: On the other side, we have outsiders whom we must prevent from putting us beneath them. No people suffered more to defeat Hitler than the Russians. So did killing the foreign invader make them free? Hardly – it kept Stalin, who killed far more people than Hitler ever did, in power.center_img Both of these fears come from a dominance instinct: We must allow no one above us. As I was finishing up my liberty entertainment article a few weeks ago, I checked lists that other people had made, just to see if I had forgotten something. As I did, I was dismayed to find that in most of these lists, pro-liberty really meant pro-military. So I think it’s time to take a quick look at the myth that military power gives us liberty. The Fantasy of the Foreign Oppressor There is a plot that lies behind this “military power equals freedom” belief. It says that the enemy of liberty is a foreign invader. So, if the outsider is afraid to approach, we are free. It implies that “local rule equals freedom.” This is simply a lie. But it’s a lie that works very well in fiction. Back in the real world, the hometown of an oppressor – whether it be near or far – makes him no better or worse. Are we free because the people who rule us reside within local borders? Does that remain true even when it’s the “inside our lines” people who oppress us? May only foreigners be oppressors? Consider these recent cases: What about Southern blacks in 1950? Almost everything done to them was “under the law,” and they were protected by a massive military and a nuclear arsenal capable of reducing any invader to ashes. Were they free? We must keep those below us in place. Both of these impulses are irrational, and they tend to travel together. Perhaps I’m missing something, but my experience tells me this: The people who love the “military equals freedom” fantasy are the same people who oppose immigrants. That’s not just an American thing, by the way. You see it more or less everywhere. I know that there are many exceptions to this statement (we’re talking about millions of individuals, after all, many of whom DO analyze their own minds), but I think this statement holds up: “Military equals freedom” grows from the same impulse as xenophobia.The Case of America Since the majority of my readers seem to be Americans, I’ll devote a minute to the US’s fear of the “foreign devil.” Should Americans really take an “alien invasion” seriously? Even when surrounded by two huge oceans and friendly people to the north and south? (The trouble in Mexico exists largely because the US government created it.) There is no potential invader who takes invasion seriously. Here’s what Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto said during the hostilities of World War II: You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass. No foreign power would seriously consider invading America, where there are 270 million guns in the hands of ordinary people. Everyone, not just boys in uniforms, would be a deadly threat. The US can be taken by stealth, but not by an open invasion. If the American people ever paid attention to what was being done to them, no oppressor would survive it. To close this discussion, here’s a quote from General Douglas MacArthur, who knew something about America and war: Our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. We need to let go of fear and think rationally. Very seldom do foreigners oppress us. The vast majority of oppression comes from within. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.comlast_img read more

Continue reading

Another huge corporation just went bankrupt It wa

first_imgAnother huge corporation just went bankrupt.It was one of the biggest bankruptcies of the year. But it certainly won’t be the last. In fact, we think this is a trend that could soon level the global economy…Some folks will call us alarmists for saying this. But, as you’ll discover by the end of today’s Dispatch, this prediction isn’t as bold as it sounds.Today, we’ll take a deeper look into this growing crisis…and we’ll show you what you can do today to protect your wealth.•  On Monday, Brazilian telecom giant Oi SA filed bankruptcy…The company went bankrupt after its $19.3 billion debt became too much to bear. It was the largest bankruptcy in Brazil’s history.Like many companies these days, it borrowed too much money. MarketWatch reported yesterday:Since 2009, Brazil’s fourth-largest telecom company has accumulated a huge amount of debt to complete two mergers, first with Brasil Telecom and later with Portuguese company Portugal Telecom. Those deals failed to generate enough cash flow to fund the company’s investment needs.Last week, the company said it was burning through cash. It warned that it desperately needed to restructure its debt. But, according to Fortune, it “ran out of time.”•  Many folks thought Oi SA would become one of the world’s top telecom companies…That’s because Brazil was a rising star of the global economy not that long ago.From 2000 to 2011, its economy more than quadrupled in size. Brazil was even the “B” in “BRICS,” a Wall Street acronym for five emerging markets with big growth potential.It didn’t live up to the promise.•  Brazil is in its worst downturn since the Great Depression…Its economy has been shrinking for two straight years.Unemployment and inflation are both at their highest levels in years and climbing. The country’s main stock market index, the Bovespa, has plunged 70% since 2010. And Brazil’s currency, the real, has lost 34% of its value over the past two years.•  Thousands of Brazilian companies have failed…Last year, 1,287 Brazilian companies went bankrupt. That was a record high, but it might not stand long.According to Reuters, 571 Brazilian companies filed bankruptcy between January and April. That’s twice as many filings as there were over the first four months of last year.•  Brazil’s government is a big reason why the country’s economy is unraveling…This won’t surprise longtime readers. As we’ve shown you countless times, almost every major financial crisis begins because of bad government policies. That’s because governments don’t create economic value. They only steal, hurt, and destroy it.Brazil’s socialist president, Dilma Rousseff, has destroyed the economy. She took the country from a 2.3% government surplus to a 10.3% deficit in just five years.Rousseff is still running the show right now. But she may not be for long. She’s currently standing trial for impeachment. Many folks believe a new government could turn things around.•  Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, is watching Brazil’s economic crisis closely…Nick says it will take more than a new government to fix Brazil. In the April issue of Crisis Investing, he said things will get worse in Brazil before they get better:Replacing one corrupt government with another is not going to fix these problems. The worst is yet to come in Brazil. It’s shaping up to be a lovely train wreck.I believe soon, one (or a combination) of these things will trigger a full-blown crisis in Brazil. It will thrust Brazil onto the front pages of First World newspapers…and get Wall Street to say, “Sell anything Brazilian.”•  Nick thinks Brazil’s currency will collapse…Brazil’s had five currency crises over the past 75 years. That’s one every 15 years. Its last one was in 1994.If Brazil’s currency collapses, its stock market will collapse too…Nick says this would create one of the best buying opportunities in years.You see, most folks don’t realize that a crisis is actually an opportunity. In some cases, a crisis will give you the chance to buy a dollar’s worth of assets for a dime. That’s why we’ve called buying during crises “the world’s most powerful wealth-building secret.”Legendary investors like Warren Buffett and Sir John Templeton used it to become some of the richest men on the planet. Casey Research founder Doug Casey also used this strategy to make millions.Nick is an experienced crisis investor. In 2013, he made huge gains crisis investing in the tiny European island of Cyprus. The country just had a horrible banking crisis. Its stock market was down 98%. It was one of the world’s most hated markets.Nick recommended eight dirt-cheap Cyprus stocks to his readers. Three of those stocks more than doubled in under two years. Another gained 97%. Just one of the eight picks lost money, and the loss was small.•  Nick says Brazil’s economic crisis presents a similar opportunity…But he’s not ready to buy Brazilian stocks yet. He’s waiting for the crisis to become the front-page story on newspapers around the world.That’s when he’ll invest in the world-class Brazilian company he’s been “stalking.”This company dominates its industry. It’s highly efficient. And it’s been steadily growing its profits despite Brazil’s economic struggles. Nick will let his Crisis Investing readers know when it’s time to pull the trigger.You can learn how to access Nick’s best investing ideas by watching this free presentation. We encourage you to watch this video even if you don’t plan on investing in Brazil. That’s because you’ll learn about a much bigger crisis that will affect you no matter where you live in the world…•  The global financial system is more fragile today than it was in 2008…International Business Times reported last month:Corporate debt across the world has reached extreme levels, warned the Institute of International Finance (IIF), a trade group of financial institutions. The global banking watchdog added that it far exceeded the pre-Lehman financial bubble.According to International Business Times, it’s not just countries like Brazil that you need to be worried about. The entire global economy is drowning in debt:It said there was a double threat. While emerging markets had seen a five-fold increase in corporate debt to $25tn (£17.32tn, €21.91tn) over the last 10 years, developed markets such as the US and Europe were seeing record junk bond issuance.Referring to the US, the IIF said companies were borrowing as if there was no tomorrow even though their profits began to decline in 2014. It said the ratio of net debt to earnings (EBITDA) for companies was at 1.4. This had doubled since the 2007 subprime bubble.A rising debt-to-EBITDA ratio is a serious problem. It means companies have borrowed more money than they’re making.•  If you’re nervous about the global financial system, we encourage you to take action today…We recommend you start by owning physical gold.As we often say, gold is real money. It’s held its value for centuries because it has a rare set of qualities: It’s durable, easy to transport, and easily divisible. No matter where you go in the world, folks recognize its intrinsic value.Unlike many paper currencies, gold has survived every stock market meltdown, economic depression, and currency collapse in history. During many periods of economic turmoil, gold’s value skyrocketed.You can learn other ways to protect your wealth by watching this short presentation. We encourage all Casey readers to watch it.As you’ll see, an implosion of the debt market will likely spark a crisis that could impact every person on the planet. It won’t matter where you’ve put your money.You’ll also learn how to turn the global debt crisis into a money-making opportunity. Click here to watch this free video.Chart of the DayU.S. corporations are light on cash and high on debt…Today’s chart shows the cash-to-debt ratio for 2,000 nonfinancial U.S. corporations. A cash-to-debt ratio measures how much cash a company has compared to its debt. The higher the ratio, the better.You can see this key ratio has been plunging since 2013. It’s now at the lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.It only gets worse when you dive into the details. As we recently explained, U.S. corporations have a record $1.84 trillion cash on their books. But more than half of that cash belongs to just 25 companies, or 1% of Corporate America.When you remove these cash-rich companies from the equation, the cash-to-debt ratio plunges to 12%. In other words, the bottom 99% of U.S. corporations have just $0.12 of cash for every dollar of debt.U.S. corporate balance sheets are weaker today than they were before the last financial crisis. And they continue to weaken.Again, you can learn how to protect yourself by watching this free presentation.Regards,Justin SpittlerDelray Beach, FloridaJune 22, 2016last_img read more

Continue reading

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The impact of the “migration” of hundreds of thousands of disabled people onto universal credit from next year could prove disastrous because of the “hoops” the government will force claimants to leap through, according to a disabled MP.Stephen Lloyd, work and pensions spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said the migration process was set to be “a disaster” for those disabled people currently claiming employment and support allowance (ESA), including many people with learning difficulties and mental health conditions.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is set to start testing the process of moving hundreds of thousands of existing ESA claimants – its estimates suggest it will eventually need to “migrate” 750,000 – onto universal credit from January, and intends to “increase volumes” by July and complete the process in 2023.ESA claimants will be among those receiving a letter telling them that their existing benefits are about to stop and that they will need to make a new claim for universal credit.They will have to fill out an online application, and then make at least one and possibly two, or even three, visits to their local job centre in the space of just one month, to validate their claim.If they fail to do this, said Lloyd (pictured) – who was speaking to Disability News Service at his party’s annual conference in Brighton – they will get “kicked out” and be left with no benefits, as their ESA claim will have ended.A DWP memo, produced in June, said the department would give claimants at least one month to make their claim, although there will be “flexibility for this period to be extended” to up to three months.But Lloyd said: “What on earth is going to happen? You have got to do all this in a month, otherwise you’re going to be kicked off. That’s going to be catastrophic.“We have got to stop this, it’s ridiculous. It’s not going to work.”He has written to work and pensions secretary Esther McVey to seek clarification on what claimants will be asked to do.Lloyd said: “I have to get the minister to understand you have to give them more time, otherwise there is going to be a car crash.”His hope is that pressure on McVey through parliamentary questions and an early day motion will force her to back down and ease the conditions imposed on claimants before regulations are laid before parliament in October.Concerns about the migration have also been raised by the mental health charity Mind, which said: “Many people experiencing mental health problems have told us they are extremely worried about what these proposals will mean for them.“As people begin to move over to universal credit, we are concerned people will fall through the cracks, and see their benefits stopped entirely.“It’s appalling to place all the responsibility on unwell people to reapply for a new benefit and risk losing their income in the process.“The government should change their plans so that no-one faces having their benefits stopped before they move to universal credit.”A DWP spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with stakeholders and other parties to design the best possible process for the migration of our customers to universal credit.“Our focus will be on safeguarding claimants and ensuring a smooth transition with uninterrupted support.“Based on early planning there is no evidence to indicate that claimants would need to come into the jobcentre so frequently and therefore we do not recognise this claim.“We plan to have a comprehensive and well-supported preparation period for claimants which will include a variety of communication formats, including face-to-face, internet and postal notification, to ensure claimants are aware of the managed migration process.“There is flexibility to extend that period if necessary; and a process to ensure that, before the existing benefits are stopped, our staff will check for evidence of complex needs or vulnerability or disability and act accordingly to support the claimant.“Additionally, if a claimant misses their deadline to claim there are provisions in the draft regulations that will allow DWP to back-date their claim.”Lloyd said he has already tried locally to ensure that the impact of universal credit and other welfare reforms would not be as serious as it has been in other constituencies.He brought food banks, housing association representatives, Citizen’s Advice and his own staff together in advance of the rollout of universal credit in his Eastbourne constituency last October, which he said helped ensure there was much less of a spike in the use of food banks in the town than in other similar constituencies.Lloyd also believes that he is the only MP in the country who allocates a member of staff to attend regular benefit appeal tribunals on behalf of constituents.So far this year, the staff member has attended about 70 tribunals (with a success rate of about 70 per cent).During Lloyd’s previous stint as an MP, between 2010 and 2015, the same member of staff attended about 150 tribunals in four years.He said: “As far as I know, no other MP’s office in the country sends one of their staff [so] regularly to tribunals.“I basically lose him for three-quarters of a day a week, but it is the right thing to do.”Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to the co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association (LDDA), Robert Adamson, who died just days before the conference began.Born in Doncaster, and a retired civil servant, he was a former parliamentary candidate for the party and also stood in European and local elections, and was a former chair of the party’s Yorkshire and Humber region.Baroness [Sal] Brinton, the party’s president, told the conference: “Robert never let his very disabling condition get in the way of campaigning locally and nationally.”And Gemma Roulston, previously LDDA co-chair and now the association’s chair, said: “He wanted to improve the lives of people with or without disabilities, and anyone who was impacted by disability.“He was always there for you, and was a good person to go to for advice and support.“Conference hasn’t felt the same without him. He made a difference to people.”last_img read more

Continue reading

20 Tech Habits to Improve Your Life

first_img 20 Tech Habits to Improve Your Life (Continued) 20 Tech Habits to Improve Your Life A few new habits can make the difference between staying on task, finding what you need, and getting things done–or having a tech meltdown. –shares 10. Create Your Own Price-Protection SystemDeal search engines such as RetailMeNot.com or SearchAllDeals.com and social sites like BeatThat are great at finding the best prices before you buy, but PriceProtectr.com and similar services will save you money afterward by monitoring over 130 stores that have price-protection policies. If the price goes down after your purchase, that store might owe you money, but knowing whether the price went down is the trick. You can take advantage of Amazon’s 30-day price guarantee by going to RefundPlease.com, or by using the free Amazon Price Watch software. Travel sites like Farecast and Orbitz also have price-protection systems and e-mail alerts for when prices reach a certain low point.11. Consolidate Multiple E-Mail Addresses With GmailYou have more e-mail addresses than you do pairs of socks–so it makes sense to keep them all in one drawer. If you have mail coming to your ISP’s account, your work address, your school address, and your throwaway Yahoo account from 1998, and you’re having difficulty juggling everything, it’s time to consolidate all those messages into one inbox. Google’s free Web-based Gmail service is both an e-mail host and an e-mail client. Use Gmail’s built-in Mail Fetcher to retrieve messages from up to five external e-mail accounts using the POP3 standard. In Gmail’s Settings area, visit the Accounts tab to set up your external e-mail addresses, and you’ll then receive all your mail in one roomy inbox. You can even send mail from your non-Gmail addresses via Gmail’s Compose screen, too.12. Never Forget a Birthday, Teeth Cleaning, or Oil Change AgainWhen you’re tired of scrambling to send Mom flowers at the last minute every year, set up a scheduled e-mail reminder for her birthday–and for any other long-term recurring tasks. Google Calendar can send upcoming-event alerts via SMS (“Pick up the dry cleaning at 3 p.m. today”) or e-mail (“Schedule a hair appointment; it’s been six weeks!”). Most Web-based calendars (like Google Calendar) and task managers (like Remember the Milk), as well as Web sites such as HassleMe and Sandy, support e-mail alerts.13. Never Forget a Password AgainYour Web browser can save your user name and password for sites you log in to often, but you still have lots of other passwords to remember–Wi-Fi network names and passwords, computer log-ins, PINs and passphrases, even security questions and answers. Instead of writing everything down on a sticky note tacked onto your computer monitor, lock up your store of sensitive passwords in a secure, encrypted password database. The free KeePass works in Windows, Mac, and Linux, and assigns one master password to your database. Park your passwords, PINs, and software serial numbers in your personal secure database, and save yourself the hassle of having to call the IT department the umpteenth time to reset your password.14. Encrypt Your Private FilesEveryone has a folder or two of private files that thieves, children, competitors, coworkers, or casual passersby should never see. Whether you want to secure your stealth startup’s business plan or some personal photos, the free, cross-platform TrueCrypt encryption software (review; download) is ideal for storing sensitive files in a password-protected virtual container. Only someone with the master password can open that container and read or write the files within; to everyone else, it’s a nondescript single file full of jumbled-up junk. TrueCrypt can secure a single folder on your hard drive, or an entire disk–it’s great for a thumb drive carrying precious data that could be exposed if the drive is lost or stolen.15. Stream Content From Your PC to Your Tivo, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or WiiYou don’t need yet another box under your TV in the living room to enjoy your digital music and videos. If you own a game console or TiVo box, you’re ready to start streaming media from your PC today–no Apple TV or set-top media box needed. Find out how to get started.Microsoft also recently announced that, by this holiday season, Xbox 360 owners who are also Netflix subscribers will be able to stream “thousands of movies” using just their game console. In the meantime, you can stream Netflix movies from your PC to your Xbox 360 with the vmcNetFlix plug-in.16. Get Your TV and Music Fix OnlineForget basic cable–there’s plenty of free TV available to watch online. If you don’t want to catch your favorite shows at the networks’ own Web sites, hit up sites such as Hulu, Joost, and Comcast’s Fancast to get your full-episode TV fix. Also: Stream music for free to your computer from Last.fm, Pandora (both available on the iPhone), Deezer, or Slacker.If you’re on the road and missing your TiVo, use a place-shifting device such as the Sling Media Slingbox or Sony LocationFree to watch your own DVR content online.17. Reach Favorite Sites and Searches Faster With Firefox KeywordsYou probably hit the same Web sites and search engines several times a day. Why not get to those pages as quickly as possible? Instead of typing out long URLs by hand or hunting down the right search box, use Firefox keyword bookmarks to navigate to your favorite Web haunts instantly (here’s how to set them up).To search Wikipedia for George Washington, for example, you could key up to Firefox’s address bar (Ctrl-L), type w George Washington, and press Enter to go directly to that topic page. You can use the same technique for Web pages that don’t involve searches, too–for example, try setting the compose keyword to open a new Gmail message. To associate a keyword to a bookmark, enter a short, easy-to-remember keyword in the bookmark’s Properties dialog box. Once you’ve set up a few keywords, you can use your Firefox address bar as a powerful, customized command line.Bonus tip: Sync your Firefox bookmarks from home to the office to the laptop using the Foxmarks extension; it will keep your keyword vocabulary up-to-date wherever you’re working.18. Tweak, Monitor, and Extend Your Wi-Fi Network With a Firmware Upgrade (or Aluminum Foil)Extend your router’s signal, throttle your bandwidth, review usage charts, and more with an open-source router-firmware upgrade. The free DD-WRT and Tomato firmware each offer advanced features for managing your wireless network, including bandwidth monitors, quality-of-service graphs, and even router overclocking to extend your signal.Want to make your Wi-Fi router’s signal reach the attic and the basement the low-tech way? Some sites say they’ve achieved gains by fashioning a foil “windsurfer” parabola and attaching it to the router antenna.19. Master Search Techniques to Pinpoint Files or Web SitesDrill down through millions of search results for popular Google search terms by mastering advanced search operators. Enclose phrases and proper names in quotes (as in “Don’t tase me bro” or “Michael Phelps”) to get exact-phrase matches. Use the + and – signs to specify meaning, especially for words that have more than one definition (for example, salsa -dance), and use the filetype: operator to find certain kinds of documents (as in budget filetype:xls).You can even search for all the ingredients in your fridge with the word recipe to figure out what to have for dinner tonight.Then, take your search chops to your desktop, where organizing files in an elaborate folder scheme is no longer necessary. Use Windows Vista’s Saved Search folders to build a dynamic store of all the files that contain the term “NYC,” for instance, or all the digital photos taken on your birthday.Gmail’s built-in e-mail search capabilities are also killer. Use the from:, to:, and subject: operators to find specific messages, as in from:”Bill Gates” subject:”dinner date”.20. Print Smart to Reduce CostsYou’ve already paid an arm and a leg to refill your home printer, so get into some smart printing habits to save money on ink and paper. Wherever possible, preview your document before you print, and shrink the selection down to fewer pages, or print only the pages you need in the document. Set your printer to the lowest quality (draft mode) when possible, and opt for double-sided printing or print several pages per physical page (when you’re printing out PowerPoint slides, for example). When you’re printing Web pages, use the Aardvark Firefox add-on to delete big colorful advertisements and other unwanted elements before you print. When you don’t really need a hard copy, opt to print to a PDF document instead. Mac users can do this by default; Windows users can download the free CutePDF to print any document to PDF.Gina Trapani is the lead editor of Lifehacker.com and the author of Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better (Wiley, 2008). Add to Queue Brought to you by PCWorld Gina Trapani Technology is supposed to make life easier, but it doesn’t seem that way when you’re struggling to wrangle 289 new e-mail messages, dealing with a hard-drive crash, or suddenly realizing that you left an important file on the office computer. Thankfully, plenty of tools can help. We’ll tell you which ones are worth trying, and we’ll also suggest some practices that you can incorporate into your workday to use tech tools more effectively and efficiently.1. Telecommute by Remotely Controlling Your Office ComputerYou can work from home–but use the computer in your office–through remote control software such as LogMeIn (free version available) or TightVNC (free). You can view the remote computer full screen, launch and close programs, read e-mail, copy and paste text between PCs, and access any files you left behind. Save money on gas, claim home equipment on your taxes, and convince your boss that you’ll be more productive without leaving your house. Even the iPhone has some VNC clients, such as Mocha VNC and Teleport.If you don’t need full remote control but you do require access to your office or home files, set up Microsoft’s free file-syncing tool, FolderShare. Your files will always be up-to-date, no matter where you’re working or where you last updated them.2. Schedule Automatic Hard-Drive Backups, Locally and RemotelyBacking up your critical files is as exciting as purchasing home insurance, but just as important, too. Don’t risk losing your irreplaceable digital photos by making empty promises to yourself to burn a couple of DVDs every few months. Instead, set up software and services to do the job for you while you concentrate on more-exciting projects. First, save yourself from an “OMG my hard drive crashed!” catastrophe with a top backup program. Or get started now with a free copy of SyncBackSE, and schedule regular backup jobs to your external FireWire drive, thumb drive, or network drive. (If you have FTP-server access, SyncBack can back up to that as well.)Of course, local backup isn’t enough. To protect your data against fire, lightning, theft, or other disasters, you want to back up your data to a remote server over the Internet. Both Carbonite and Mozy Home offer affordable unlimited server space and utilities that quietly back up your data in the background while you work.3. Work Faster and More Efficiently Without a MouseStreamline your computer work by teaching yourself keyboard shortcuts for your common actions, such as Ctrl-S to save, Ctrl-T to open a new tab in Firefox, and Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V to copy and paste (see our list of additional shortcuts). Then, become a keyboard master with the help of a keyboard launcher such as the free Launchy (Windows) or Quicksilver (Mac). You can start programs, open documents, and even do advanced actions such as resizing images and moving files without moving your hands from the keyboard.You can also assign key combinations that automatically type out common phrases–such as user names, passwords, addresses, and e-mail signatures–with utilities like TypeItIn (Windows) or TypeIt4Me (Mac OS X).4. Lose Weight, Get Fit, Save Money, and Increase Your Mileage OnlineA new crop of social self-improvement sites help you monitor how much you’ve eaten, exercised, and spent, to motivate you and keep you on track.Web services such as FitDay and Weight Watchers log and guide your diet and fitness regimen.If Quicken or Microsoft Money has become too complicated to update, you can track your spending, balance your checkbook, and run charts on expenditures versus income at personal-finance sites Mint.com and Wesabe.As for your car, avoid online gas scams. Additionally, you can squeeze the last bit of mileage out of every expensive tank of gas with a miles-per-gallon tracker like Fuelly or MyMileMarker. Entering your information into such sites gets you personalized suggestions, comparisons, and a community of like-minded people who can offer support and suggestions.5. Clear Out Your Inbox Every DayBeat e-mail overload once and for all by emptying your inbox completely–and keeping it that way. The “Inbox Zero” philosophy says that e-mail messages are just calls to action–not clutter that we need to hang on to. Create three folders or labels in your e-mail client: Action, Later, and Archive. Each day when you check your e-mail, make a decision and do something with every new message you’ve received until you’ve moved them all out of your inbox and reduced your message count down to zero. Ruthlessly delete the messages you don’t need, on the spot. Respond to the ones that will take under 2 minutes. File messages that you want to keep for future reference in the Archive folder, those that will take longer than 2 minutes to reply to in Action (and add those to-do items to your list), and messages you need to follow up on at a subsequent date (such as Amazon shipment notifications) in Later. Then breathe a sigh of relief when you see that glorious declaration: ‘You have no new mail.’6. Get Your Cables Under ControlWhen you have a tangled mess of dust-coated cords knotted into a bundle under your desk, disconnecting a laptop or setting up a new printer can be impossible. The cords for power, USB, speakers, and FireWire all look the same. Simple labels can help you avoid accidentally killing your entire rig by pulling one wrong plug. Print out your own with a label maker, or buy a prefab pack of Pilot ID labels to stick on your home-office or living-room plugs. When the cat knocks one out or it’s time to rearrange, you’ll be glad you did. Then, get cords up off the dusty floor with an under-the-desk cable tray such as this $10 Ikea model. To keep gadget and laptop cords from falling off the back of your desk when they’re not plugged in, affix a simple cable catcher (or a binder clip) to the edge of your desk to hold them. Finally, plug your workstation and your collection of peripherals into a single power strip or UPS to shut down the energy hogs with a single switch when you’re not using them.7. Stay on Task With the Right To-Do ListThe key to staying on track with the stuff you need to get done is writing it down and checking it off–whether you do so online, on your desktop, on your smart phone, or in a plain text file. PC World has tried a number of online task manager sites, and our pick is Remember the Milk. It provides all the bells and whistles you’ll ever need in a to-do list online, on your desktop, and on your phone. RTM offers task categories (such as Work and Home), file attachments, notes, priorities, tags, due dates, and even “honey do” items (you can send tasks to other RTM users, such as your spouse or assistant). RTM also offers a Firefox extension that integrates the service with your Gmail inbox, so you can turn e-mail into tasks. Of course, no matter how good your software is, nothing can replace the visceral satisfaction of crossing off a line on your paper to-do list with the stroke of a regular old ballpoint pen.8. Replace Your Laptop With a Thumb Drive or iPodInstead of lugging a laptop on your next trip, save your aching back by taking your computer’s desktop with you on a thumb drive or iPod. Portable Windows software offerings such as MojoPac and U3 put a full desktop on your USB thumb drive (or disk-use-enabled iPod), letting you run applications like Microsoft Outlook and save documents all on that drive. All you need is a host computer: You can plug the MojoPac drive into your in-laws’ PC or a coffee-shop workstation, for instance, to access your documents and applications without leaving a trace behind. Alternatively, you can save and run free portable applications–like the Firefox browser, Pidgin IM client, and Sumatra PDF reader–from your thumb drive. Download those and other programs for free at PortableApps.com.9. Use Your Camera Phone as Your Digital Photographic MemoryAlmost every cell phone model now includes a built-in camera, and they’re good for more than just snapping pics of your buddies’ bar shenanigans to blackmail them with later. Use your phone’s camera and memory card to capture the spot where you parked, the label on a bottle of wine your spouse loved, the price on a new gadget to look up online, or an amazing meal you’d like to try to cook at home. A new crop of Web services can turn digital photos of whiteboards and documents into searchable PDF documents, too. E-mail your camera-phone shot of a whiteboard or document to Qipit, and the service will recognize the text and e-mail you the resulting searchable PDF. center_img August 27, 2008 15 min read Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » Next Article Technologylast_img read more

Continue reading

6 MustHave iPad Business Apps

first_imgTechnology 6 Must-Have iPad Business Apps The ascent of Apple’s iPad has introduced a bevy of opportunities for road warriors hungry for productivity-enhancing apps. Here are our votes for some of the latest and greatest.WebEx for iPad Features:Webcast and teleconferencing brought to an iPad near you What it’s good for:Conferencing on the go Price:Free LogMeIn Ignition Features:Gain remote control of your office desktop directly from your iPad What it’s good for:Remote logins to other systems Price:$29.99 Salesforce Mobile Features:Taps you into your Salesforce database when you need it most–while on site with customers What it’s good for:Customer management for road warriors Price:Free for Salesforce.com customers Instapaper Pro Features:Records web articles and sites for easy offline readingWhat it’s good for:Catching up on web reading on planes and trains Price:$4.99 Bento Features:Database app lets you track mileage, expenses and billable hours What it’s good for:Keep track of details in the field without Post-its or paper Price:$4.99 OmniGraph- Sketcher Features:Plot data and draw graphs for presentations or informal meetings What it’s good for:Replacing drink napkins to sketch out business graphs Price:$14.99 17:Average number of applications downloaded per iPad sold, said Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his June keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Here are our votes for some of the latest and greatest productivity-enhancing apps. Next Article Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Ericka Chickowski Add to Queue 2 min read This story appears in the August 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. –shares July 19, 2010 Enroll Now for $5 Magazine Contributorlast_img read more

Continue reading

Uber Cars Have Overtaken Yellow Taxis in New York City

first_img Nina Zipkin Uber Apply Now » The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. –shares Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. 2 min read March 18, 2015 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Add to Queue Entrepreneur Staff If you’re in New York City, you’re more likely to come across an Uber black car than your traditional “I’m walkin’ here!” yellow medallion cab.While the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) permits 13,587 taxis to be out and about at any given time, there are now reportedly a total of 14,088 Uber cars in the city. That’s no small feat for the embattled startup, which was founded in 2009 and made its way to NYC in 2011.Related: Uber Competitor Makes Aggressive Push in NYC With $10 Flat FaresWorth noting, however, is that traditional yellow taxis still make 10 times the number of trips Uber cars do in the city, the New York Post reports.  Uber owes its popularity to the ease of its application: users can request a car using the app and choose from options that include getting a ride in a black car from licensed livery drivers. Yellow taxis can be hired through an option called Uber Taxi, but in this breakdown, they aren’t considered Uber cars. In other cities, the company’s UberX service allows for everyday licensed drivers to make pickups. However, in New York, all drivers and vehicles must be certified through the TLC.Related: Uber Just Bought Mapping Startup deCartaUber, never a stranger to controversy, has been in the news lately for its handling of user data and in some instances, passenger safety. The company’s Paris office was raided by authorities this week as part of an investigation into its carpooling service UberPop, which was also just banned in Germany. Yesterday, it was revealed that Uber CFO Brent Callinicos would be leaving the company after just two years on the job.The company also recently rolled out an initiative to hire 1 million female drivers around the world by 2020.Related: Uber Pledges to Enlist a Million Female Drivers by 2020 Image credit: Reuters | Kai Pfaffenbach Uber Cars Have Overtaken Yellow Taxis in New York City Next Article last_img read more

Continue reading

Effects of white meat on cholesterol are identical to red meat

first_imgObservational studies suggest that red meat intake is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, whereas no such association has been observed with regular consumption of poultry. Conversely, plant protein sources and vegetarian dietary patterns appear to be cardioprotective.” When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have a more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat, but we were surprised that this was not the case – their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent.” ‘We were surprised [by the findings]’Dietary guidelines currently recommend eating white meats instead of red meats as a source of protein, as red meat has associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD).Senior author of the study Ronald Krauss, MD, a senior scientist and director of Atherosclerosis Research at CHORI and a UCSF professor of medicine said there had been no comparison between the effects of red meat, white meat, and nonmeat proteins on blood cholesterol, and the results were very different to what he and the research team had expected. The study, named the APPROACH (Animal and Plant Protein and Cardiovascular Health) trial, references the current literature suggesting contrary results this new study’s findings.It notes that saturated fatty acids (SFAs) increase plasma concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and as such there is a widespread belief that “the SFA content of red meat contributes to its association with CVD risk.”Although the study did not include grass-fed beef, fish, or processed meats such as bacon or sausage, the results suggested that restricting dietary intake of red and white meat is better for lowering blood cholesterol levels than it is currently thought. In fact, proteins derived from plant sources were best for lowering blood cholesterol levels, according to Krauss.Concentrations of large cholesterol-enriched LDL particles increased in diets with high levels of saturated fats. Large cholesterol-enriched LDL particles are not as strongly associated with CVD risk as smaller LDL particles, and it was found that levels of large LDL particles also increased with higher intakes of red and white meats. This is in comparison to diets that do not include meat products.“Our results indicate that current advice to restrict red meat and not white meat should be based only on their effects on blood cholesterol. Indeed, other effects of red meat consumption could contribute to heart disease, and these effects should be explored in more detail in an effort to improve health,” said Krauss.The study made the following conclusion: The findings are in keeping with recommendations promoting diets with a high proportion of plant-based food but, based on lipid and lipoprotein effects, do not provide evidence for choosing white or red meat for reducing CVD risk.” By Lois Zoppi, BAJun 7 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has reported that eating red and white meat has equally negative effects on blood cholesterol levels. This is in contrast to popular belief that red meat has a worse effect on blood cholesterol than white meat.Nitr | ShutterstockThe aim of the study was to investigate whether levels of atherogenic lipids and lipoproteins (lipids and lipoproteins that promote the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries) differed in diets rich in red meats compared with diets in which protein is derived from white meat or nonmeat sources.The study was led by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), which is the research department of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.Plant-based protein is bestStudy participants included healthy men and women aged 21 to 65 years old who had a body mass index (BMI) of 20 to 35kg/m2, a blood pressure level of <150/90, and who were not using vitamin supplements or drinking alcohol, amongst other criteria.The participants were given experimental diets that substituted red meat for white meat or non-meat protein sources and were followed for four weeks at a time. In between these experimental diets were breaks of two to seven weeks, during which participants consumed their normal diet.For each experimental diet, blood samples were collected for plasma lipid, lipoprotein particle subfractions, apolipoproteins, and glucose level analysis. Body weight, blood pressure, and hip and waist circumference were also taken.The researchers discovered that consuming high levels of red meat or white poultry caused higher blood cholesterol levels when compared to diets that sourced protein from plant sources.This surprising discovery was also apparent in diets that included a high amount of saturated fats, which increased blood cholesterol to the same extent as red, white, and plant protein sources. Journal Reference:Bergeron, N., et al. (2019). Effects of red meat, white meat, and nonmeat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz035.last_img read more

Continue reading

Going teetotal shown to improve womens mental health

first_imgAbstinence improves sleep, helps weight loss and improves liver healthIn one Dry January study that took place in 2016, nearly all of the 850 British participants reported feeling a sense of achievement as the month ended, with 62% saying their sleep had improved and almost half of them having lost weight.According to Aaron White, senior scientific adviser to the director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, another study conducted in the Netherlands found that even people who drank about two drinks a day had livers that were less stressed after spending one month abstaining from alcohol.White called this finding “surprising,” saying that we all know it’s a bad idea to drink heavily every day or regularly, but this study is among the first to show that the body can do well to have a break from even moderate drinking.Aside from the impact on mental health, many studies have focused on the negative effects that alcohol can have on physical health. Some researchers have suggested that drinking on a daily basis can shorten lifespan, while others believe that moderate drinking can help increase lifespan.However, Garbutt is skeptical: By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jul 10 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong has provided new evidence that women who stop drinking alcohol experience improved mental health.DeepMeaning | ShutterstockMany women drink alcohol as a way to relax and unwind, but the new study suggests that stopping drinking altogether may be a better way to improve mental health.“Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life,” says study author Herbert Pang. “The risks and benefits of moderate drinking are not clear.”Co-author Michael Ni suggests that quitting alcohol altogether may be a better way to relax and feel calm and peaceful.Reporting this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the team writes that although the link between moderate alcohol consumption and certain health problems such as cardiovascular disease and cancer has been well documented, the broader effect on health-related quality of life is less clear.  “Our objective was to examine the association of drinking patterns with changes in physical and mental well-being across populations,” writes the team.For the study, Pang and team examined the association between alcohol drinking patterns and self-reported changes in physical and mental well-being among more than 10,000 people in Hong Kong and 31,000 people in the U.S. The analyses were stratified by gender and heavy drinkers were excluded from the study.In both study populations, men and women who had abstained from drinking any alcohol across their lifetime reported the highest levels of mental well-being.When those who were not abstainers were followed over time, which was around two years for the Hong Kong participants and around 3 years for the U.S group, giving up alcohol was associated with better changes in mental well-being among women, but not among men. The women who stopped drinking even reported levels of mental health that almost reached the levels reported by lifetime abstainers.The team write: The authors say it is not clear why abstinence has this impact, but it is possible that quitting reverses alcohol-related brain injury or decreases stress factors such as family conflict.The sober-curious trendThe finding comes amidst a growing public health concern over the increasing use of alcohol among women in recent years. It also follows the advent of movements such as Dry January and the “sober-curious” trend that have prompted many Americans to try the alcohol-free bars and events that have popped up across the country.Professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, James Garbutt, who was not involved in the study says: “When people get sober, they a lot of times will feel calmer, their anxiety diminishes and there’s less irritability. They just say, ‘Wow, that’s a better place to be.’”Related StoriesParticipation in local food projects may have positive effect on healthOne in five people living in conflict-affected areas has a mental health condition, analysis revealsCombat veterans more likely to exhibit signs of depression, anxiety in later lifeGarbutt has observed this beneficial impact among both men and women. He says that although alcohol can relieve stress initially, it also induces systems in the brain that worsen anxiety at a later stage. This leads to a cycle of “needing” more alcohol to relieve anxiety, which only worsens anxiety still and increases the need for more alcohol to further relieve it.Eventually, alcohol use can lead people to feel depressed and experience difficulty sleeping and stress sensitivity.Garbutt also thinks it is difficult to say exactly why the favorable changes in mental well-being were observed for women in particular. However, he notes that women tend to have higher rates of depression than men and that they tend to have more physical adverse effects from alcohol that happen faster, at lower levels, than men, which could be factors.Many women are now trying sobriety movements such as Dry January or visiting the alcohol-free bars that have popped up as a result of the sober-curious trend, a shift in perspective that Garbutt thinks is very much a positive in heavy drinking cultures. We really want to have more spaces and occasions where being dry is something that’s encouraged and completely casual. Alcohol really does have a monopoly on how we socialize.”Lorelei Bandrovschi, Founder of the alcohol-free Listen Bar in New York The change in mental well-being was more favorable in female quitters, approaching the level of mental well-being of lifetime abstainers within 4 years of quitting in both Chinese and American populations.” The idea that a little alcohol is good for your longevity, that’s not really considered the take-home message now.” Journal reference:Yao, X. I., et al. (2019). Change in moderate alcohol consumption and quality of life: evidence from 2 population-based cohorts. CMAJ. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.181583.last_img read more

Continue reading

Study Nearly a quarter of lowrisk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 11 2019Nearly a million Americans live with thyroid cancer and doctors will diagnose more than 50,000 new cases this year. Fortunately, the survival rate for this kind of cancer is one of the best. Five years after diagnosis, more than 98 percent of patients are survivors.Now a team of researchers led by Alliric Willis, MD, a thyroid surgeon in the Department of Surgery in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and researcher with the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health, finds nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessary. The practice carries potential long-term risk to the patient and added financial costs. The discovery could help to shift how doctors treat thyroid cancer patients.”Just as a patient can be at risk of under treatment, a patient can be at risk of over treatment,” says Dr. Willis, who published the work in the journal Surgical Oncology. “Our research really shines light on the fact that we are not treating all patients the same.”The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits over the airway in the neck. The gland makes hormones that help to control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and how the body uses energy. When cells grow out of control in the thyroid, cancer develops.Typical treatment for thyroid cancers that have not spread to other parts of the body begins with surgical removal of the gland. After completing surgery, patients can then go on to receive a second therapy known as radioactive iodine ablation. Radioactive iodine ablation is therapy taken as a pill. Because iodine is preferentially taken up by the thyroid gland, which relies on iodine to produce hormones, the radiation dose becomes concentrated there. The high amount of radioactivity in the iodine kills off any lingering cancer cells. Historically, patients have had fantastic results with radioactive iodine ablation treatment, Dr. Willis says. But the therapy does not come without costs.Experts estimate the financial cost of radioactive iodine ablation exceeds $9 million dollars per year across the country. Additionally, for several days to weeks after surgery, patients who receive the radioactive iodine treatment must stay away from small children and pets. “They’re virtually in isolation because the radioactivity will be on their clothing and on their sheets,” Dr. Willis says. The dose of radioactivity in the treatment is so high that airport security has picked up radioactivity from patients as well as their spouses.The treatment also carries the risk of permanent long-term side effects such as altering patients’ perception of taste and the development of other cancers, particularly leukemia. Yet patients who have low-risk thyroid cancer-;cancers that are small and have not spread to other parts of the body-;do not benefit from the additional treatment. “Low-risk thyroid cancer patients have a five-year survival rate that is greater than 97 percent, whether they receive radioactive iodine ablation after appropriate surgery or not,” Dr. Willis says.Related StoriesSpecial blood test may predict relapse risk for breast cancer patientsEngineered stem cells offer new treatment for metastatic bone cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskIn 2015, the American Thyroid Association released guidelines for thyroid cancer treatment that indicated radioactive iodine ablation is not always necessary for patients with low-risk thyroid cancer. Based on the guidelines, Dr. Willis and team sought to identify groups of patients that are most at risk of being overly treated for thyroid cancer.”This is really important when we’re talking population health and managing the increasing cost of health care by more effectively and efficiently using our resources,” says Dr. Willis.The researchers analyzed more than 32,000 thyroid cancer cases identified through the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) database. They found more than half of patients were low-risk. About 25 percent of the low-risk patients received radioactive iodine ablation treatment, the researchers report.Patients younger than 65 years old were most at risk of overtreatment, according to the study. Men were also more at risk of over treatment as were Hispanic and Asian patients.”Young healthy patients are certainly going to be willing to receive whatever treatment may benefit them, but again we’re talking about something that’s been demonstrated to be over treatment,” Dr. Willis says.Some low-risk patients had their lymph nodes removed in addition to the thyroid gland, even when the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes. These patients were more likely to go on and have radioactive iodine ablation treatment.”That’s particularly interesting because that tells you they may be in a setting where people are more aggressive in their approach to surgery and subsequent treatments,” Dr. Willis says. “This is where guidelines such as those outlined by the American Thyroid Association, can really help. The guidelines can say this more extensive treatment is unnecessary. You will not have better outcomes because of it.”Dr. Willis hopes that his team’s research will make people more aware of the fact that some patients are at risk of over treatment. “I think it will make people more mindful of following recommended guidelines with all patients so that we can give each patient the most effective treatment and get the best outcomes possible,” he says. Source:Thomas Jefferson UniversityJournal reference:Moten, A.S. et al. (2019) The overuse of radioactive iodine in low-risk papillary thyroid cancer patients. Surgical Oncology. doi.org/10.1016/j.suronc.2019.05.011.last_img read more

Continue reading

Papua New Guinea mulls temporary ban on Facebook

first_img Explore further The proposal, which Communications Minister Sam Basil said could lead to replacing Facebook with a locally developed social networking platform, was ridiculed as ill-timed and unworkable by opponents.Basil floated the idea of a one-month shutdown on Tuesday, saying it would “allow information to be collected” on fake accounts and users who upload pornography and defamatory information so that they could be removed from the platform.”This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly,” he said.Basil also said PNG could create a local alternative to Facebook, which has been rocked by revelations that it improperly shared the personal data of 87 million users with British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.”If there need be then we can gather our local applications developers to create a site that is more conducive for Papua New Guineans to communicate within the country and abroad as well,” he was quoted as saying by local media.No timeframe was given on the potential shutdown, although some reports suggested it could coincide with Port Moresby hosting the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit later this year.A spokesperson for Facebook in Sydney said they had reached out to PNG authorities and were “working to address their concerns”.Basil issued a follow-up statement Wednesday acknowledging that “Facebook use in PNG is not limited to personal chats and blogs” but also serves as a forum for legitimate commercial and information services.But he stood firm on pursuing a study of “the advantages and disadvantages of use of Facebook” and of “vulnerabilities” linked to personal data use and cybercrime. PNG Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker said shutting down Facebook would make a mockery of the nation during the 21-member APEC summit, expected to be attended by US President Donald Trump.”The APEC meeting is all about promoting the digital era to assist business, develop economies, and improve citizen welfare in member countries,” he told the PNG Post Courier newspaper Wednesday.”It would be a travesty if PNG sought to close down Facebook during the APEC month, making PNG seem rather foolish.”Facebook is widely used in PNG to discuss politics and expose corruption and MPs and officials have shown a high degree of sensitivity to posts in the past, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, one of the few foreign media groups based in the country.Basil denied the proposed ban was a threat to freedom of speech.”I don’t think so because MPs are open to criticism,” he said. Opposition MP Bryan Kramer, who has a large following on Facebook, called the proposal ridiculous.”The reason the word dumb comes to mind is because how does one shut down a platform to carry out research on it,” he said Wednesday. “It would be equivalent to saying we are carrying out research on the negative effects of TV so we are turning it off so we can study a blank screen.” © 2018 AFP Communications Minister Sam Basil said Papua New Guinea was mulling a one-month shutdown of Facebook and the possible development of an alternative social networking platform for its citizens UK regulator investigating Facebook over political campaigningcenter_img Citation: Papua New Guinea mulls ‘temporary’ ban on Facebook (2018, May 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-papua-guinea-mulls-temporary-facebook.html Papua New Guinea said Wednesday it was mulling a temporary shutdown of Facebook to uncover false accounts and block fake news in the Pacific nation, which hosts a major global summit later this year. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Continue reading

Uber faces new roadblock in New York on its way to IPO

first_imgUber will have to navigate around a new regulatory pothole in New York on an already bumpy road to its initial public offering of stock next year. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In this March 15, 2017 file photo, a sign marks a pick-up point for the Uber car service at LaGuardia Airport in New York. New York City is imposing a one-year moratorium on new ride-hailing licenses in Uber’s largest U.S. market, raising the specter that other cities may adopt similar crackdowns as they try to ease traffic congestion. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)center_img New York City is imposing a one-year moratorium on new ride-hailing licenses in Uber’s largest U.S. market, raising the specter that other cities may adopt similar crackdowns as they try to ease traffic congestion.If that were to happen, it would be more difficult for Uber to boost its revenue and reverse its history of uninterrupted losses. That, in turn, would affect the price that investors are willing to pay for Uber’s stock in the IPO that the San Francisco company plans to make next year.Uber maintains that New York’s moratorium is a bad idea. Lyft value jumps to $15.1 billion in new funding round Citation: Uber faces new roadblock in New York on its way to IPO (2018, August 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-uber-roadblock-york-ipo.htmllast_img read more

Continue reading

What are the characteristics of pumpkin cake The whole

three hundred and sixty lines, each line has a number of elite brands, each line has a line of brand recommendations, such as baking cake in the square project, can be regarded as the brand is advertised as a pumpkin cake. Dehydrated pumpkin cake is a flower, cake family, sold in 2 years and has become increasingly popular, unique taste, very suitable for young customers are picky, can independent stores, can also increase the variety in the general store. Pumpkin cake quickly in the cake series in talent shows itself is all over the country, all show, set off a new feature of the popular delicacy. read more

Continue reading