An explosion of cases in which greedy relatives

first_imgAn “explosion” of cases in which greedy relatives commit fraud by targeting members of their own family provides further evidence of why assisted suicide should not be legalised, say disabled activists.One of the strongest arguments for opposing legalisation is the risk that it will lead to some family members pressurising terminally-ill relatives to end their lives early in order to benefit from an inheritance.Research published this week by accountancy giant KPMG reveals an “explosion of cases in which individuals, betraying the trust of those closest to them, targeted their own relatives”. The KPMG Fraud Barometer measures fraud cases heard in the UK’s crown courts that involve losses of more than £100,000.The latest survey, which looked at January to June 2015, found that fraud within families grew by 384 per cent compared to the same period last year. Hitesh Patel, UK forensic partner at KPMG, said: “People are living longer, and we are seeing examples of people who are choosing to remove uncertainties about when or if they will get their inheritance by fraudulent means. “It’s also likely these cases are just the tip of the iceberg – frauds of this nature often go unreported as embarrassed victims seek to ‘keep it in the family’ and ‘forgive and forget’.”The latest attempt by the euthanasia lobby to persuade parliament to legalise assisted suicide will reach its next key stage on 11 September, when the assisted dying bill, proposed by Labour MP Rob Marris, is debated and voted on in the Commons.Sir Bert Massie (pictured), former chair of the Disability Rights Commission, said the “objective” KPMG report has “strong implications” for the battle to avoid legalisation, and “needs feeding into the debate”.He said the survey highlights how a percentage of relatives are not “wonderful” and caring, but have “other motives”, which could put “enormous pressure” on many disabled people if assisted suicide was legalised.He said: “Not everybody is a saint. This story is related to people trying to protect their inheritance and that could be a big issue for may disabled people.”He pointed out that Lord Falconer, the most prominent cheerleader for legalisation, has admitted that he believes the real reason the law needs changing is to help people who cannot tolerate the idea of losing their independence.Sir Bert said: “These are exactly the sort of people who come under severe pressure from their families.“It is not only that they are likely to be living longer, but they could be spending the family income. If you’ve got more than 20-odd grand, you pay for your social care, so the strain on disabled people… is going to be enormous as they get older.“You can see how families are going to say, ‘Well, we don’t want you to suffer, mum,’ thinking that what they don’t want to suffer is the bank account.“What the KPMG report does, albeit with very small numbers – but you can extrapolate – is show that this is a real issue.”Juliet Marlow, a postgraduate researcher and a member of the user-led network Not Dead Yet UK, which leads disabled people’s opposition to the Marris bill, said she had witnessed an older woman she had befriended being bullied by her son and social worker while on a specialist arthritis ward in hospital.The woman wanted to stay in her own flat with the help of 24-hour personal assistants, but Marlow heard the social worker and the woman’s son telling her there was not enough funding for that and that it was best for her to sell her flat and move into residential care.Marlow visited the woman in the care home about a month after discharge from the ward, and found her stuck upstairs in a tiny room, with a bath she couldn’t use.She said: “She said she only saw people when they brought her laundry in or plonked food on her bedside table. She had lost a significant amount of weight and died shortly afterwards.“I believe the care home’s lack of support brought on her death earlier than if she had been in her own home. Leaving a larger amount of money in her estate to pass on to her son, presumably.“But in reality I suspect it was just that he couldn’t be bothered to take care of her himself.“I think the problem is very few people are open about the fact they don’t want to ‘waste’ their parents’ money on care.“Their coercion comes in the form of ‘we only want what’s best for you’ conversations, which puts a huge amount of pressure on elderly folk to succumb and do what their children want, even though it often brings on an earlier death.”last_img read more

Hilary Benn says he would only consider supporting

first_imgHilary Benn says he would only consider supporting revoking Article 50 to avoid a no-deal Brexit if, in three weeks, the EU does not give the UK an extension #Ridge— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) March 24, 2019The Andrew Marr ShowKeir Starmer, Shadow Brexit Secretary:Confirmed he wasn’t on the ‘Put it to the People’ march.On another referendum being implemented by a Labour government: “We had a commitment in 2017 setting out the deal we would negotiate and we supplemented with our conference policy that said in the event of an impasse we’d have a public vote. I would expect our manifesto to build on those commitments.” Shadow Cabinet Minister Jon Trickett says he would vote to “remain and reform” if there was a second referendum #Ridge.Read more about yesterday’s #PeoplesVoteMarch here:— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) March 24, 2019Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central:On revoking Article 50 as an option: “If they refused to give us an extension, then parliament would be faced with a choice about whether to use [Article 50 revocation].” Tags:Philip Hammond /Jon Trickett /Sunday shows / #Marr: Can you guarantee another referendum on a #Brexit deal under Labour?Shadow Brexit Sec Sir Keir Starmer: “That’s a question for the manifesto”— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 24, 2019 Ridge on SundayChancellor Philip Hammond caused controversy within the Conservative Party as he described another EU referendum as a “coherent proposition” that “deserves to be considered”.Jon Trickett, MP for Hemsworth and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office:On why Theresa May’s deal isn’t acceptable: “There are obvious reasons why, the most obvious one is the problem with the land border in Ireland.”On why Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t at the march for another referendum: “It was a lovely crowd but the job of an alternative government is to try to find a way of bringing all the sides together in our country, rather than dividing it in the way that the government has, on a Brexit but a Brexit that works for everybody.”Would you vote for the Prime Minister’s deal plus a customs union? “No. That view simply doesn’t work and the main problem we have is we have got a long term relationship and a backstop from which there is no exit.” (“But the backstop is the customs union.” “The backstop is a customs union but there is no way out of it into a permanent relationship.”)How would you vote if there was a second referendum? “I’d vote to remain and reform but we’d have to see what other options were on the table.”last_img read more

SF Trans Celebration Boos Pols and Says No to More Police

first_imgFriday’s event was the 13th trans march in San Francisco. The theme this year was “Embracing our Legacy, We are Still Here.”The celebration left the park for a march to Civic Center where the city unveiled a new street sign at Turk and Taylor named for the Gene Compton’s Cafeteria Riot of August 1966 when police tried to prevent transgender people from gathering at the Compton cafe in the Tenderloin.Photo by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. Chavez Tags: Pride Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Pride Weekend began Friday afternoon with more than a 1,000 or or so revelers gathered in Dolores Park to celebrate with a Trans March that included signing, poetry and politics.Mayor Ed Lee and Scott Wiener arrived and they and other political leaders were were promptly booed off the stage before being able to speak to the crowd.Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Scott Weiner booed off stage. Photo by Lola M. ChavezAshley Love, a transexual journalist, was one of the many to speak out against Supervisor Wiener. 0% “I’m tired of people using our community as a prop.  A political prop,” Love said. “I’m tired of politicians coming here for five minutes and doing a sound bite and running off.  But do they really care about us?  Weiner is against homelessness.  A lot of trans are suffering from being homeless.Ashley Love. Photo by Lola M. ChavezLove continued to press on about this year’s increased levels of police at Pride.  “The police have taken over Pride.  Trans people of color are at high risk of police brutality.  I’m not going to go on Sunday.  Why would I want to go and be subject to harm and discrimination?”Love pretty much summed up the feeling of many at the march where “Police out of Pride,” was a popular sign.  SF Gate reported that some organizations including “Black Lives Matter, the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project and St. James Infirmary” dropped out of the parade to protest the police presence.Gary McCoy, a reader, pointed out that State Senator Mark Leno and others were also booed off the platform. He included the video below in his comment.last_img read more

How to Help the Homeless A Bay Area Guide

first_imgThis week, Mission Local is participating in a Bay-Area-wide push to cover homelessness. You may remember this project from a similar effort in June, in which we produced stories about where homeless people’s property goes, a couple displaced by a fire who lived in their car for months, and a homeless family.This week we have brought you responses to Proposition Q from those living on the streets and an update from the ongoing saga over whether or not a group of nuns will open a soup kitchen on Mission Street.You can see a collection of work being produced by more than 80 local news outlets here and read the Chronicle’s letter to readers on the project here.For many readers, stories about homelessness inspire them to help, but it can be difficult to figure out the best way to do so. The San Francisco Chronicle, in collaboration with the other SF Homeless Project news organizations, put together this list of organizations and the non-monetary needs they have if you are interested in donating your time or goods. You can view the formatted table here. Tags: homeless • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%last_img read more

NEW season new PodcastA new Saints InTouch Podca

first_imgNEW season, new Podcast!A new Saints InTouch Podcast is now available to download.We catch up with new signings Luke Walsh and Richard Beaumont as well as gaining the thoughts of Lance Hohaia, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Jonny Lomax.And Head Coach Nathan Brown speaks about his excitement of the season ahead.To listen click here or search for St Helens RFC on iTunes. You can also hear past episodes there too.Remember if you want a question answering on the Podcast drop us a line @saints1890 on twitter or email podcast@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

SAINTS host London Broncos this Thursday aiming to

first_imgSAINTS host London Broncos this Thursday aiming to return to the top of the First Utility Super League.Two defeats have left them a point behind Leeds in the race for the minor premiership but they could return to the summit with two-points this week.Whilst London are yet to win a game this season, they have been competitive pushing both Wigan and Catalan close in recent weeks.Former Saint Scott Moore won’t play in the fixture after being suspended but the Broncos have had extra time to prepare for the clash.And Mason Caton-Brown (left) is in a rich vein of form.Tickets are on sale for the game, which kicks off at 8pm, from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.last_img read more

We kick off our Betfred Super League campaign at t

first_imgWe kick off our Betfred Super League campaign at the Totally Wicked Stadium with a mouth-watering clash against the Tigers on Friday February 2 (7.45pm).Last time the two sides met they produced an epic in the Playoff Semi Final, and there’s no doubt Justin Holbrook’s men will want to exact a small amount of revenge and get their season off to a cracker.A bumper crowd is expected and tickets are already in hot demand.To buy yours call into the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, call 01744 455 052 or log on here.,We kick off our Betfred Super League campaign at the Totally Wicked Stadium with a mouth-watering clash against the Tigers on Friday February 2 (7.45pm).Last time the two sides met they produced an epic in the Playoff Semi Final, and there’s no doubt Justin Holbrook’s men will want to exact a small amount of revenge and get their season off to a cracker.A bumper crowd is expected and tickets are already in hot demand.To buy yours call into the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, call 01744 455 052 or log on here.last_img read more

I think the first half was the fastest we have pl

first_img“I think the first half was the fastest we have played in all year,” he said. “It was a really tough game and Cas game out firing which we knew they would do. It is a tough place to come and play so to go in 12-0 up was a real big effort from us.“We kicked away a little in the second half too so I was really happy.“The Cup is a high priority for us but that is no different from every other team that is still in it. We have a few more games to play in this competition though but I was definitely happy to get a good win here today.”He continued: “Ben Barba was very good today. He has been playing fantastic and he did it again. It was great to watch.“Great players lift those around them and he is having a great influence on our team. He is a very intelligent guy with his rugby league and is great to work with. I can’t rap him enough.”last_img read more

Azalea Garden Tour gives back thousands of dollars

first_img “Over the past 25 years, we are closing in on 2,000,000 dollars given back to our community. We are very proud of the work by members of this garden club and by the support,” Kimberly Exum, the disbursement committee chairman, says.Some of the grants renewed for this year are for Cape Fear Community College, UNCW and North Carolina Audubon Society for Battery Island. The Cape Fear Garden Club raised more than $70,000 and gave the money to various organizations in the community on October 24, 2017. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hundreds of hours put in during the 2017 Azalea Garden Tour to raise thousands of dollars. So, now it’s the time of year the Garden Club gives back to different community organizations.The Cape Fear Garden Club distributed more than $72,000 at the Cape Fear Country Club to different non-profits and agencies. The money goes to groups which focus on aspects like education, beautification and conservation. This is all in an effort to better the community for the future.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Former Bladenboro town manager indicted

first_img A SBI spokeswoman says Jackson is accused of taking money from the Town of Bladenboro.Bladen Online reports the SBI probe involved a company called Cygnus, which the town paid to do wastewater treatment work when Jackson was manager.Jackson resigned from the town in 2013. Delane Jackson when he was Bladenboro town manager in 2010. (Ramon Herrera/WWAY) BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — State investigators say Bladenboro’s former town manager was expected to turn himself into them this afternoon after a grand jury indicted him this morning.Delane Jackson is charged with felony obtaining property by false pretense in excess of $100,000.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Jonathan Cooper signs oneyear deal with 49ers

first_imgJonathan Cooper agreed to a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers March 20, 2018. (Photo: Dallas Cowboys) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After starting for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2017 season, offensive guard and former Hoggard Viking Jonathan Cooper has signed with the San Francisco 49ers on a one-year contract.Cooper, a former first-round pick for the Arizona Cardinals, spent years on New England and Cleveland before heading to Dallas during the playoffs of the 2016 season.- Advertisement – “Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line,” 49ers General Manager John Lynch said. “We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team.”The Wilmington-native appeared in 13 games for the Cowboys during their 9-7 season.last_img read more

Many come out to remember importance of Independence Day

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Fourth of July is a day filled with hot dogs, burgers and fireworks. But for some people in Wilmington, it’s important to remember the original meaning of Independence Day.“The meaning of what this is for the United States of America,” Navy veteran and local historian Captain Wilbur Jones said.- Advertisement – 242 years of independence, celebrated at Wilmington National Cemetery. Many people were silent during the event as more than 50 American flags waved in the air.“Seeing all the flags, all the people who are honoring the people who have gone before us and of course the current people. But it is such a great feeling and I will share that with my family and my neighbors,” Judy LaBor said.New Hanover County Veterans Council Chairman, Frank Roberts says even though fireworks and barbecues are great, it’s important to remember the reason for the holiday.Related Article: 4th of July celebration wraps up along Wilmington riverfront“What is one of the reasons why we do it is so that we don’t forget about it, because if all we do is the barbecues and the swimming and the boating and everything, we’ll forget what Independence Day is. So, when you have a little ceremony like this you’re bringing it back and letting people know that there’s a reason why we get off on July 4th, and why we celebrate July 4th,” Roberts said.Many other people, including the guest speaker Captain Wilbur Jones, encourage others in the community to still come out to the cemetery and take a few minutes to remember the importance of the holiday.“Our nation has a lot of holidays, and very few are more important. Probably none more important than how we got started 242 years ago,” Jones said.Many of the people who came out encourage others to come out next year to start of their next Independence Day.last_img read more

New business park proposed for Pender County

first_imgHAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — A construction project has been proposed in Hampstead and could bring new business to the area.Dominion Land Corp proposed the Highlands Business Park, which would include 12 new commercial or industrial units.- Advertisement – If approved, the business park would be built along Highway 17 in Hampstead.The land is almost 13 acres, and across from Whitebridge Rd.last_img

Newsbook on the ball with special programming on Newsbookcommt

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint In the election weekend, will be updating the readers in real time with developments from the balloting stations, the counting hall and delivering the results of the elections, both for the MEP elections and also for the Local Council elections.The Team of journalists and technical staff have pooled their abilities to be able to convey the latest news from the Naxxar Counting Hall.Election DaySaturday is E-day and will be linking directly to various localities in Malta and Gozo, to give a LIVE UPDATE on the voting situation. The updates will start at 7am and will continue until 11pm. At that time, the ballot boxes will start to be openedNewsline, at 9am will be conducted as usual by Fr Joe Borg.The Counting ProcessOn Sunday, will start with a special program on the counting process which will start in earnest at 7am. At that point, a Special Program conducted by Fr Joe Borg and Sylvana Debono will keep the listeners abreast of developments. The opinions of several movers and shakers in the Maltese mediascape will be included on the program. There will also be LIVE links from the counting hall and the first results will be broadcast on this program.In the evening, another special program, also conducted by Fr Joe Borg and Sylvana Debono will round up the activities of the day and the elected MEPs will, most likely be announced on this program.Read Also : Is-soltu joħroġ fi 3 ijiem; issa f’inqas minn 3 minutiWhatsApplast_img read more

Motorcyclist dies after collision with truck in Birkirkara

first_img SharePrint CMRUCMRU A motorcyclist has died after hitting a truck in the early hours of this morning in Birkirkara.The collision is understood to have occurred at around 4AM with the rider believed to have lost control to their bike and slamming into a parked truck Valley Road Msida.An ambulance rushed the 41 year old male to Mater Dei Hospital, but he was certified dead on arrival.An inquiry has been opened under the leadership of Dr Ian Farrugia and a set of appointed experts.Police investigations are on-going.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Life is a boxing bout you must rise to the occasion –

first_imgHow does boxing compare to other sports? What makes it so appealing?Boxing is the quintessential individual sport. It is not like most team sports – there are no teammates who can cover your back or share the burden when the going gets tough. Apart from being physically and mentally demanding, athletes participating in this contact sport must reach specific weight categories for them to compete. That means strict dieting and discipline. Whoever wants to become a boxer must put in a lot of hard work and patience, which often translates into less time with family and loved ones. <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> What about the current crop of young boxers? Are there any local athletes who have the will and talent to make it on the big stage?I believe that in Malta there is a considerable amount of promising youngsters who can compete at an international level if they focus on developing their technique and increase their strength. At the same time, there are coaches who are diligent and genuinely in love with the sport. As stated earlier, boxing is an individual sport but if we want to improve our current crop of boxers, coaches need to work as a team and share ideas. Collaboration, sweat, and sacrifices will provide our boxers with the right platform to qualify for international competitions and hopefully represent Malta at the Olympic gamesWhatsApp Nowadays you are a well-known trainer at Good Vibes Boxing & Fitness, a gym that you founded. How did this venture start?Those who know me are well aware that I am obsessed with this sport and that I follow with great attention all that happens within the boxing world. Unfortunately, I never made it as a boxer for a number of reasons and when I returned to Malta from Australia I was obviously upset. I felt completely lost and downhearted. I then started helping out friends during training sessions and it was thanks to these instances that I acknowledged my potential as a dedicated trainer who had, and still has, a lot of knowledge to share. Money was scarce but the desire to open my own gym kept lingering at the back of mind. Through perseverance and determination I managed to open my boxing and fitness club and everyday I wake up with the desire to help others in their careers and lives. What helped you develop a keen interest in boxing? I developed an interest in this sport from a very young age and would wake up at night to watch the renowned “Iron” Mike Tyson take on one opponent after another in Las Vegas. Boxing turned into an even bigger passion at the age of 16 when I decided to lose weight and improve my fitness levels.  My mother introduced me to a boxing coach who could provide some much-needed guidance and expertise. After following a strict training regime for some months, I got my first taste of amateur boxing and competed in some boxing bouts that were held sporadically either in Malta or in England.My love for the sport kept growing with the passage of time and a move to Australia in 2012 helped me gain a huge amount of knowledge on boxing in general. I was exposed to a more serious and advanced fighting culture and immediately realized that the technical and physical level of the fighters was much higher than what one could find back home. Some people are wary of boxing and perceive it as being dangerous and crude. However this combat sport, which dates back to ancient Greeks, is more than just a sequence of punches.  We interviewed Roland Sammut, a young trainer who spends his days nurturing aspiring boxers and fitness enthusiasts, and asked him about his personal experience and dreams as an advocate of pugilism. SharePrintlast_img read more

MTN enables Shell customers to purchase fuel using MTN Mobile Money

first_imgMTN Uganda CEO Brian Gouldie and Vivo Energy’s Managing Director Hans Paulsen. Credit: MTN (Facebook) Advertisement Shell Customers can now purchase fuel and other Shell products using MTN Mobile Money. This follows an agreement between Vivo Energy, the operators of Shell in Uganda, and MTN Uganda that will enable customers purchasing products from Shell stations nationwide to pay for the latter’s services using Mobile Money on their phones.MTN, through its Mobile Money service, has embarked on a series of innovations geared towards transitioning Ugandan’s into a cashless society. With this launch, MTN Mobile Money customers will be able to make transactions for all Shell services at 51 stations countrywide.As MTN Chief Executive Officer Brian Gouldie noted; “It is yet another step in MTN’s intent towards the creation of a cashless society, where lives are improved through the ease, and convenience of MTN Mobile Money.” – Advertisement – Mobile Money will be used to transact at Shell service stations across Uganda, starting with 51 stations.“The Mobile Money experience is simple, easy to use, secure and reliable, affording MTN and Shell customers’ the convenience of paying for their fuel or purchases, without having to worry about carrying enough cash. Our vision for Mobile Money is for a solution that drives efficiency, productivity and enhances the lifestyles of our customers through a cashless way of living” said MTN’s General Manager for Mobile Financial Services, Phrase Lubega.By June 30th 2015, MTN had recorded a 12.8 percent increase in Mobile Money subscribers, from 7.3 million (at the end of 2014) to 8.2 million.[related-posts]“Vivo Energy is currently running 120 services stations in Uganda and operates across 16 African markets, distributing and marketing Shell branded products. This alliance with MTN affirms Vivo Energy’s commitment to continuously bring innovative solutions to our growing number of customers,” noted Hans Paulsen, the Managing Director, Vivo Energy Uganda.To use the service, a customer will simply have to talk to a Shell attendant, who will the guide the customer through the steps to complete the transaction.last_img read more

Ingenico Group deploys a cashless Revenue Collection solution in Kenya

first_imgAdvertisement Ingenico Group, the global leader in seamless payment, deployed, jointly with its local partner Tracom, a Revenue Collection solution in the County of Nyeri in Kenya.This initiative was sponsored by Equity Bank and reinforces the emerging cashless-based culture by collecting County fees such as parking, land rates, business permits, market stall fees through electronic payment.Its benefits include stronger accountability for funds collected and effective cost reduction thanks to a fully electronic process. – Advertisement – People in Nyeri can now save time: instead of waiting in long queues, they can pay the County fees from the area of operations without wasting time commuting. In fact, County agents, equipped with Ingenico wireless smart terminals with a specific Revenue Collection application, can now simply collect payments when arriving at the business premises.“We selected Ingenico Group and its local partner Tracom as they have shown a strong expertise in providing innovative solutions to strengthen cashless payment behaviors,” explained Andrew Wakahiu, General Manager-Agency Banking, Equity Bank.“This Revenue Collection program has been successful because it relies on a technology that is both simple and secure. No more paperwork, complex processes or cash management issues in the agent network; it’s a real game changer for the County administration.”Equity Bank, a leading regional banking institution, has partnered with Ingenico Group and Tracom for the past few years to deploy cashless programs in East Africa. This has been part of a global strategy which aims to deepen Financial Inclusion among the local population. Equity Bank has been a pioneer in Branchless Banking where local merchants became trusted agents, offering the unbanked population a full banking portfolio (including account ownership and management as well as savings and credit) through a simple agency banking application on Ingenico iWL smart terminals.“We are proud to be Equity Bank’s partner on this governmental program,” commented Luciano Cavazzana, Eastern Europe & Africa Managing Director for Ingenico Group.“We are demonstrating that our technology is not limited to traditional payment but is open to a wide range of new opportunities. Through this initiative, Tracom and Ingenico Group addressed administrative challenges by providing a quick and convenient fees collection solution to better anchor cashless habits in Kenyans’ daily lives.”last_img read more

Wiggling worms make waves in gene pool

first_img at Rice University looked at 13 points of moving mutant worms when measuring 10 parameters – amplitude, flex, frequency, velocity and wavelength, both forward and backward – to learn about the gene networks that control their locomotion. (Credit: Zhong Lab/Rice University) FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis University biochemist Weiwei Zhong, left, and researcher Boanerges Aleman-Meza led a study of mutant worms to learn about the neural networks that control their movements. (Credit: Zhong Lab/Rice University) Watch the worms in motion at the abstract at Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Zhong Lab: http://wormlab.rice.eduWormLoco database: http://www.wormloco.orgImages for download: ShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJade Boyd713-348-6778jadeboyd@rice.eduWiggling worms make waves in gene poolRice U. lab analyzes mutants’ movements to study gene networks HOUSTON – (July 1, 2013) – The idea that worms can be seen as waveforms allowed scientists at Rice University to find new links in gene networks that control movement.The work led by Rice biochemist Weiwei Zhong, which will appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition, involved analyzing video records of the movement of thousands of mutant worms of the species Caenorhabditis elegans to identify the neuronal pathways that drive locomotion.One result was the discovery of 87 genes that, when inactivated, caused movement defects in worms. Fifty of those genes had never been associated with such defects, and 37 have implications in human diseases, the researchers found.Another discovery was the existence of several network modules among these genes. One module detects environmental conditions. Another resides in all “excitable cells” – those types that respond to electrical signals — in the worm’s neurons, muscles and digestive tracts. Another coordinates signals in the motor neurons.The team also uncovered new details about a protein-signaling pathway found in all animals, Zhong said.Zhong said the study is the first to provide a system-level understanding of how neuronal signaling genes coordinate movement and shows the value of a quantitative approach to genetic studies. She said the approach could be useful in studies of gene-to-drug or drug-to-drug interactions.What made the research possible is the fact that cameras and computers are able to see variations in movement that are too small for eyes and minds to notice, Zhong said. “The idea is that if a gene is required for maintaining normal movement and we pick a mutant, the computer should be able to detect the defects,” she said.“I’m very observant,” she said, “and I thought I could tell the worms with abnormal behaviors. I was surprised to see there were so many things I missed that the computer picked up.”The Rice researchers, with help from associates at the California Institute of Technology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), analyzed 239 mutant C. elegans, a common worm used in studies since the 1970s. Including a set of “wild-type” C. elegans that was used as a baseline, the Rice lab studied more than 4,400 worms. Each type was ordered from the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center and separated by mutation.The worms were filmed one at a time. Each was placed in a petri dish (seeded with E. coli bacteria for food) on a motorized platform and filmed by a computer-controlled camera/microscope. The computer re-centered the camera on the worms any time they moved near the edge of the camera’s field of view.Zhong said the computer tracked 13 points along the length of each worm to analyze 10 parameters of its sine wave-like movement: velocity, flex, frequency, amplitude and wavelength, both forward and backward. “Some moved slower; some moved faster; some had exaggerated body bends. But in our database, it all turns into numbers to describe the abnormalities,” she said. “It gives us a detailed profile of the worm’s movement that’s almost like a fingerprint.”As a practical matter, each worm was filmed for four minutes. Even at that, it took nearly a year to capture all 4,400 mutants in motion.The Rice researchers analyzed at least 10 worms of each mutant type to see if their particular mutations caused the animals to move in similar ways – which, for the most part, they did. Then they analyzed all mutant data to see whether different mutants move in similar ways. “If they have the same symptoms, then we think these genes are probably involved in the same disorder,” Zhong said.To find how gene networks control particular movements, the team cross-matched metrics that were captured by the computer with data about each gene. “Once we knew how many genes were required for maintaining normal locomotion, we then tried to figure out how these genes interact with each other, how they function together as networks,” she said.The computed gene networks showed interesting features, she said. “Some genes are closely connected to each other but loosely connected to others. When we grouped them, we found several communities,” she said. One appears to sense environment via sensory neurons; a second connects neurons, muscles and the digestive tract, “probably encoding some basic machinery in excitable cells.” The third network contains genes in “the motor neurons that we expected,” Zhong said.She was most interested to see that the third network revealed evidence that a protein known as G-alpha-Q that also appears in other species – including humans – has a previously unknown target in a signaling pathway that regulates locomotion. The team conducted further experiments to confirm the existence of the new target gene, PLC-gamma. She said previous studies likely missed this target because they were too coarse to detect the subtle movement abnormalities caused by a defect in PLC-gamma.It’s the kind of revelation that could help prioritize genetic tests in humans. “You don’t have to test 30,000 genes if we can give you one or two candidates,” Zhong said. “At the molecular level, it’s likely a lot of these gene-gene interactions are also conserved in humans.”All of the data, including 300 hours of video, is available to researchers in a public database at authors of the paper are Boanerges Aleman-Meza, a research scientist in Zhong’s lab, and Hui Yu, a former postdoctoral researcher now at Baylor College of Medicine. Co-authors are former Rice postdoctoral researcher Marta Labocha; Shahla Gharib and Christopher Cronin, research technicians at CalTech also associated with HHMI; and Paul Sternberg, the Thomas Hunt Morgan Professor of Biology at CalTech and an HHMI investigator. Zhong is an assistant professor of biochemistry and cell biology.The National Institutes of Health, the Searle Scholar Program and HHMI supported the research.-30-last_img read more

Rice chemists gain edge in nextgen energy

first_img new material developed at Rice University based on molybdenum disulfide exposes as much of the edge as possible, making it efficient as both a catalyst for hydrogen production and for energy storage. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University) thin, flexible film developed at Rice University shows excellent potential as a hydrogen catalyst or as an energy storage device. The two-dimensional film could be a cost-effective component in such applications as fuel cells. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here. ShareEditor’s note: Links to images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduRice chemists gain edge in next-gen energyRice University scientists create dual-purpose film for energy storage, hydrogen catalysis HOUSTON – (Nov. 4, 2014) – Rice University scientists who want to gain an edge in energy production and storage report they have found it in molybdenum disulfide.The Rice lab of chemist James Tour has turned molybdenum disulfide’s two-dimensional form into a nanoporous film that can catalyze the production of hydrogen or be used for energy storage.The versatile chemical compound classified as a dichalcogenide is inert along its flat sides, but previous studies determined the material’s edges are highly efficient catalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), a process used in fuel cells to pull hydrogen from water.Tour and his colleagues have found a cost-effective way to create flexible films of the material that maximize the amount of exposed edge and have potential for a variety of energy-oriented applications.The Rice research appears in the journal Advanced Materials.Molybdenum disulfide isn’t quite as flat as graphene, the atom-thick form of pure carbon, because it contains both molybdenum and sulfur atoms. When viewed from above, it looks like graphene, with rows of ordered hexagons. But seen from the side, three distinct layers are revealed, with sulfur atoms in their own planes above and below the molybdenum.This crystal structure creates a more robust edge, and the more edge, the better for catalytic reactions or storage, Tour said.“So much of chemistry occurs at the edges of materials,” he said. “A two-dimensional material is like a sheet of paper: a large plain with very little edge. But our material is highly porous. What we see in the images are short, 5- to 6-nanometer planes and a lot of edge, as though the material had bore holes drilled all the way through.”The new film was created by Tour and lead authors Yang Yang, a postdoctoral researcher; Huilong Fei, a graduate student; and their colleagues. It catalyzes the separation of hydrogen from water when exposed to a current. “Its performance as a HER generator is as good as any molybdenum disulfide structure that has ever been seen, and it’s really easy to make,” Tour said.While other researchers have proposed arrays of molybdenum disulfide sheets standing on edge, the Rice group took a different approach. First, they grew a porous molybdenum oxide film onto a molybdenum substrate through room-temperature anodization, an electrochemical process with many uses but traditionally employed to thicken natural oxide layers on metals.The film was then exposed to sulfur vapor at 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit) for one hour. This converted the material to molybdenum disulfide without damage to its nano-porous sponge-like structure, they reported.The films can also serve as supercapacitors, which store energy quickly as static charge and release it in a burst. Though they don’t store as much energy as an electrochemical battery, they have long lifespans and are in wide use because they can deliver far more power than a battery. The Rice lab built supercapacitors with the films; in tests, they retained 90 percent of their capacity after 10,000 charge-discharge cycles and 83 percent after 20,000 cycles.“We see anodization as a route to materials for multiple platforms in the next generation of alternative energy devices,” Tour said. “These could be fuel cells, supercapacitors and batteries. And we’ve demonstrated two of those three are possible with this new material.”Co-authors of the paper are Rice graduate students Gedeng Ruan and Changsheng Xiang. Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of computer science.The Peter M. and Ruth L. Nicholas Postdoctoral Fellowship of Rice’s Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Multidisciplinary University Research program supported the research.-30-Read the abstract at Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Tour Group: http://www.jmtour.comRice Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering: http://msne.rice.eduRichard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology: http://cnst.rice.eduImages for download:center_img AddThislast_img read more