Reports that some diplomats suffered brain trauma also undermine the acoustic attack hypothesis. In medical procedures, ultrasound is used to destroy brain tumors, but it attenuates rapidly with distance. The Cubans also concluded that the reported symptoms imply more serious brain injuries than anyone is alleging—and some U.S. researchers agree. “The combination of sudden onset of hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches, vertigo, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and memory problems would have to be related to multiple lesions in both brain hemispheres,” says neurologist Alberto Espay of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, who has read the Cuban report. Based on what little the State Department has revealed, he says, that “wasn’t the case here.”The Cuban panel evaluated other possible causes of the symptoms. For instance, U.S. officials questioned whether aerial fumigation to kill mosquitoes could be the culprit. The insecticide of choice in Cuba is permethrin, which in acute doses can cause nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. The Cuban team found no evidence of excessive use of the fumigant, Kuscevic says.“We have devoted months to this work, but we have not found any evidence that could substantiate [the U.S.] claims,” says panel member Antonio Paz Cordovéz, president of the Cuban Society of Otorhinolaryngology here. He and his colleagues kept circling back to the idea of mass stress. Around the time the first diplomats here fell ill, the U.S. embassy was bracing for a downturn in relations. President Donald Trump had just won the election, and he had vowed to slow or reverse the rapprochement that his predecessor had begun.“That kind of situation leads you to feel threatened,” says panelist Dionisio Zaldívar Pérez, a psychologist at Havana University. He believes the U.S. government fueled anxiety by labeling the illnesses an attack. In the “very closed community of English-speaking diplomats who have few connections with the Cuban population,” Valdés-Sosa adds, stress could quickly escalate. “U.S. neurologists provided with the evidence given to the Cuban committee would have arrived at the same conclusion,” Espay says.Valdés-Sosa, a neurophysiologist, emphasizes that the panel’s findings are provisional. “If any evidence were available, we would be willing to revise our conclusions,” he says. And they are eager to team up with U.S. scientists. That’s unlikely, in the present climate. But Rasenick says joint research “would bring benefit to both diplomacy and to those diplomats reporting health problems.” ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI/REUTERS/NEWSCOM Diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Havana suffered a range of unexplained symptoms. By Richard StoneDec. 5, 2017 , 3:20 PM Stressful conditions, not ‘sonic weapon,’ sickened U.S diplomats, Cuba panel asserts The baffling episode has added to the growing ill will between the two countries, which has chilled scientific cooperation. The State Department has taken pains not to blame Cuba for the alleged attacks. But it has accused the Cuban government of failing to protect U.S. diplomats, and in September it evacuated family members and non-emergency personnel. The United States also ordered Cuba to drastically pare down staff at its embassy in Washington, D.C.U.S. diplomats first reported symptoms that could not be easily explained in November 2016. “We have never seen this anyplace in the world before,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in Washington, D.C., declared this September. At last count, 22 U.S. diplomats and, reportedly, five Canadian families said they had been harmed at their residences or at two hotels here. A few diplomats reportedly showed signs of brain trauma.“When I first heard about the attacks, it sounded like an X-Files episode,” says Manuel Jorge Villar Kuscevic, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Enrique Cabrera Hospital here. In March, he was tapped to chair a committee of 20 physicians, neurologists, acoustic scientists, physicists, and psychologists to probe the mystery.“We started with the assumption that something happened—that this was not a pure fabrication,” says panel member Mitchell Valdés-Sosa, director of the Cuban Neuroscience Center here. But the team had little to go on. U.S. officials would not share detailed medical data, explaining that they wanted to protect diplomats’ privacy. That’s unfortunate, says Mark Rasenick, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. “The refusal to share data has prevented progress” in solving the puzzle.With no access to the diplomats, the Cubans conducted audiometric tests on diplomats’ neighbors and domestic workers in the diplomats’ homes, who might also have been exposed to harmful acoustic waves. Three of 20 people tested had abnormalities in the eardrum, inner ear, and cochlea, but all had preexisting hearing deficits.A search for environmental sounds near the sites of the alleged attacks could not identify any loud enough to inflict hearing loss. “To harm someone from outside a room, a sonic weapon would have to emit a sound above 130 decibels,” says Kuscevic, who equates that to the roar of four jet engines on the street outside a house.U.S. officials did provide sound recordings—possibly made by diplomats or family members in and around their homes—to the Cuban team. For comparison, Carlos Barcelo Pérez, an environmental physicist at the National Institute of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology here, recorded evening sounds around the residences. The biggest noisemakers were insects. Pérez found that the Jamaican field cricket (Gryllus assimilis) chirps at a frequency matching the grating sound on the recordings, which topped out at 74.6 decibels—not loud enough to damage hearing, he says. HAVANA—After a 9-month probe hampered by lack of access to medical records, a panel of Cuban scientists today declared that U.S. diplomats here likely suffered a “collective psychogenic disorder” earlier this year, not the deliberate “health attack” that the U.S. Department of State has claimed.Based on media reports about the mysterious symptoms, including hearing loss, nausea, vertigo, and memory lapses, some U.S. scientists had already reached similar conclusions. Stanley Fahn, a neurologist at Columbia University who has seen a summary of the Cuban report, agrees that “it could certainly all be psychogenic.” That a panel appointed by the Cuban government dismisses the U.S. claims may not be surprising, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is still leading what State Department officials have described as a “vigorous” multiagency investigation. But the Cuban report summary, obtained by ScienceInsider, reveals intriguing details. For instance, a high-frequency noise that some had identified as a possible “sonic weapon” may have been crickets chirping.The State Department declined to comment on the Cuban findings. “We continue to cooperate with the Cubans in this regard within appropriate channels,” a spokesperson told ScienceInsider. 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To the most important man in my lifeMy father just finished writing a book in Bengali. Since he is not keen on translating it in English but wouldn’t have minded an English version, I offered my services as a translator, knowing that the book is very dear to him and if translated by a professional translator, the finer nuances of the book might be lost in translation. So, my gift to him is patience and time – I will listen to his demands (endless!) for the English version, stay calm through the repeated calls that’ll be made and gift the translated manuscript to him! Here’s another gift that works for him (and for me!): He likes his drinks and is a connoisseur of wine, so I often pick up Cabernet Sauvignon for him when he is visiting my sister and me in Delhi. Then we spend the evening together, having wine and nibbling at cheese, olives and crackers and chatting. We also play the music of his choice. He feels pampered at such times, with both his daughters taking time out for him. – Aparajita Mukherjee Dads just refuse to indulge themselves, simply because they’ve always been so involved in “providing” for their children. I’ve seen my father struggling with his old camera – the flash wouldn’t work, or the photographs, when they finally came, would have a strange dark shadow. So on his last birthday, just before an impending trip to Leh, my sister and I got him a digital camera. He was overjoyed and couldn’t stop clicking throughout the trip. He continues to boast that his daughters gifted him “special moments”, which makes us feel really good in turn! Think a little – your Dad may already have a cellphone but may have a secret fetish for a fancy new model; or he may be fascinated by your son’s iPod? these are signals for you to pick up. On Father’s Day, drive him to a shop that he would be comfortable in and insist he pick up what he likes. Last year, I took my dad shopping and he picked three shirts and was overjoyed! – Neharika MathurFor the “pest” you loveWhat do you give a brother who has everything? Especially if he loves collecting watches, pens and art? If I stretch my budget, I can indulge my elder brother Ajit with a really special gift – something he’s had an eye on for a while, a Baume & Mercier watch from the Riviera collection for men. It’ll set me back by a cool Rs 90,000 but the look on his face would be worth it! Ajit is car-obsessed: Not only does he drive a mean machine himself, he knows the year and make of nearly every automobile that’s been rolled out since the 1960s. To fuel his obsession, I would love to gift him a two-year subscription to either Top Gear or AutoCar magazine – both of which he tends to pick up on his weekend market runs. But the icing on the cake would be season tickets to the Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Every week, Ajit dutifully watches his speeding heroes burn the racing tracks around the world. It’s been his greatest wish to watch F1 live, so what better present than a three-day pass to the Yas Marina circuit (around Rs 31,500 ), booked online from India. My brother’s also always loved animals; in fact, his favourite television channels (when he’s not watching golf or F1) are National Geographic and Discovery. He’s been to safaris in Africa, as well as Ranthambore, Corbett and the jungles of Assam and Kerala. What he really needs is a good pair of binoculars to catch his favourite fauna up close. Pentax and Nikon have some good models (around Rs 5,000). In fact, not only does Ajit enjoy watching animals, he also enjoys shooting them, and no, this doesn’t involve any bullets. Ajit’s a keen photographer, so I’d like to nudge him to enter a photography contest (either an online one, or one in Photography magazine). I’d also persuade him to hold a photo exhibition (he’s particularly good with portraits) in a cosy gallery (the India Habitat Centre, Delhi, has a couple of nice exhibition areas), with a wine and cheese party. – Priya Kumari RanaMy brother Pierre, loves to travel and he is fortunate that his job requires him to visit some really interesting and fun places all year round. While out shopping with friends one afternoon, I came across this nice black, casual jacket in a store. At first it just seemed like any other jacket, but on closer inspection I found it had an inner fleece layer that could be detached from the top, depending on how cold the climate was. It also had huge pockets that would come in handy whilst travelling. My brother loved it and has used it on all his travels abroad in winter, ever since. What makes a gift special and valuable is the thought and the consideration that goes behind it, not the price tag attached. Something else he really treasures is my handmade card with a letter inside for his 18th birthday, when he was away from home, at his first year in university. He still has it and treasures it for the “cute” gesture (or so he says!). – Vanessa FitterMy son, my friend (almost)A gift for my teenage son? I’ve decided to give him Patient & Logical Responses for his teenage years. I think he appreciates it. For example, he wanted a tattoo on his forearm. My first instinct was to recoil in horror. But then I kept quiet and thought it over. A tattoo is not on the lines of irresponsible sex and alcohol abuse, which should I get to know of, I’ll have to clam down on violently. Also, I wanted to show appreciation for the fact that he didn’t just go and get the tattoo, but asked me first. After a day, I told him that I’m okay with it, but with a few (rational) conditions: I would check out the clinic for hygiene purposes personally; we’d choose the tattoo together because it has to be on a budget; and I needed him to think through once more – the tattoo would be with him for life. He agreed. He’s got his tattoo and I don’t have a battle at hand? So here the principle becomes the gift. (I hope to “continue” this gift for the next few years, in part to make him happy, but also to ensure my own peace of mind.) – Manjira DuttaA spouse for all seasonsMy husband is not a man of indulgences; so deciding on a gift for him is a tough one. Some years ago, after much thought, I hit upon an idea and decided to action it. Had I checked with him, he would have been outraged and refused because he doesn’t like doing anything “unconventional” – and for him a holiday by himself, without family, would be unthinkable, even though he enjoys being by himself, and doesn’t feel the need to talk and discuss everything and anything always, as I do! I booked him for a weekend – one night at a hotel in Rishikesh, near the Ganga, with its own stretch of beach; and another night at Ananda in the Himalayas, the wellness resort. He went with some reluctance but had a wonderful time, just being by himself and came back totally delighted! I think it’s a good idea to spend some time thinking hard on what the person would really like, even though he or she may never ever do it for themselves. Sometimes you have to force the “gift”. Do it but take a little care not to go wrong. A friend once bought a new flat for her parents and thought they would be over the moon as it was much better than the house they were living in. The elderly couple appreciated her effort but, as they confided in her friend, would have been happier in the old house with their friends, family and familiar vendors around them… Kindness, like gifting, has to work for the person who receives it, not vice versa. – Manjira DuttaThoughtfulness for an in-lawMy husband and I teamed up with his brother and wife to purchase a medical policy when my father-in-law retired. It was a lumpsum amount that provided coverage for him and my mother-in-law. Apart from hospitalisation, it includes the purchase of daily medicines as well. My in-laws find it a boon, and we feel good about the fact that we’ve taken care of such a major expense for them at a time when they have to manage the house on a pension. You can check for such schemes with any insurance company?For in-laws, the other good thing is to try a hobby-related gift. If he’s fond of yoga, gift him a set of instrumental music CDs (adding a mat can be a nice touch). If he’s into gardening, get him a set of implements, some seeds, saplings and a few pots? – Madhu Rai & Neharika MathurMy nephew, my “son”My 12-year-old nephew Karnavir, like a lot of boys his age, loves computer games. His mother gifted him a PlayStation Portable (PSP) last year – a handheld video game console with a built-in web browser. To satisfy his ever-growing appetite for games, I would gift him the latest FIFA World Cup Football 2010 game, Guitar Hits, Buzz! Brain Bender or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (each game costs around Rs 1,000-1,500). If I’m feeling extra generous on his milestone birthday (his upcoming 13th, the first year of his “teen” years), I’ll encourage him to excel in his chosen sport, golf, by presenting him with a brand-new golf set (split with his parents, total cost Rs 70,000).But all said and done, golf is an expensive game; a cheaper option is to give him a Wilson K-Factor tennis racket, which costs around Rs 9,000. And if I’m feeling broke, but big on ideas, I’ll encourage him in the way only an aunt can: I’ll give him a good book to read, to improve his vocabulary and writing skills! I particularly like tomes from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony or Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox). But ours is a land rich with stories and excellent storytellers. So maybe I’ll present him with the Malgudi Days collection of stories by RK Narayan or Tales from the Panchatantra, that are cheeky and fun. Since he loves sketching, simple paints and brushes make for a great gift as well! – Priya K RanaIdentify desiresDr Rachna Singh, a psychologist and lifestyle management expert, talks about how a woman can gift happiness to the man in her life?Gifting happiness begins with identifying that relationships are special and need you to pay attention to small details. Says Dr Singh, ‘Give priority to the man in your life – make him feel all-important. Always make your father/husband/brother feel that they are cherished. Men are supposed to be the more practical sex, less in need of emotional gratification. This perception results in our not paying enough attention to their smaller needs. Think about it – we tend to pore in great detail over what to gift our mothers; when it comes to our fathers, we just pick up from the stock gift ideas – a pen, a shirt, a kurta or a scotch bottle. Be creative and caring in your thought. Look away from their “provider” act and figure out what it is that they want or need. They don’t show their desire to be cherished or pampered but may need it all the same. As a gift to your favourite man, add value to his life.’While the softer side of the man should be explored, don’t go overboard with “soppy” gifts. Their way of being pampered is different from that of a woman. So while a candy box might not be an appropriate gift for your husband or your brother, a ticket to a cricket match and the box makes for a great gesture! A Father’s Day card, proclaiming that you love your father, is not the only way to tell your dad that he is important. Drive him to a spa and get him a head or body massage. Use the gift of perception (that comes naturally to women) to identify what he desires.’- As told to Aparajita Mukherjeeadvertisementadvertisementadvertisement
After months of delay and a controversial cancelling of bids, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee today awarded contracts for the catering services to four different companies, asserting that the lowest bidders have clinched the deal.”The catering for the lounges has been divided into total of eight clusters. Two clusters have been awarded to Graviss Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. for Rs 5.94 crore, while IRCTC has got the contract for Rs 1.70 crore for one cluster and remaining five have been awarded to Seven Seas Pvt. Ltd. for Rs 6.29 crore,” the OC said in a statement.”Food packets for Organising Committee workforce, volunteers and security personnel will be taken care of by AFP Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd. at a cost of Rs 8.75 crores,” it added.For the 17 venues divided into clusters for catering contracts, seven firms, including a few of Delhi’s fast food outlets had submitted their bids.The tendering process had suffered delays in the past two months after the OC cancelled the bids that it had received earlier to reissue the tender for better rates.The OC said it has also roped in a firm to oversee the quality of food at the venues.”To ensure high quality and hygiene, the Organising Committee has proactively engaged TQS Global Manufacturing Systems and TUVSUD, South Asia for Food Safety and Audit.”The firm will supervise and ensure safety audit checks for the entire food, production and distribution process including the kitchen distribution mechanism. This contract was worth Rs 88.24 lakh,” the OC statement said.”All the catering contracts have been awarded to the lowest bidder in respective categories,” the OC insisted.advertisementThe catering for the Games Village has already been awarded to an Australian firm Delaware North, which has the Taj SATS as its consortium partner.”The kitchen at the Village is under installation and will be functional by the first week of September,” the OC said.
APTN National NewsAssembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo says the energy and mining industries represent the “new fur trade” for First Nations communities, according to a report in New Brunswick’s Telegraph-Journal.“There are about 120 different First Nations agreements with the mining sector, there’s an explosion in the area of the green economy by First Nations with different forms of alternative energy. But First Nations are also involved in traditional, non-renewable resources as well in energy and mining,” said Atleo, according to the newspaper.Atleo was speaking in Fredericton as part of the “Big Thinking” speeches to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.The congress is co-hosted by the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University.Atleo said there was over $300 billion worth of natural resource projects on Indigenous territories, according to the newspaper.“We will have a say,” said Atleo. “We have to get organized about what that looks like. There is a real opportunity to help shape a vision for the future of energy and mining in this country and at the same time, create jobs in our communities.”Atleo’s speech comes in the lead up to the AFN’s Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining in Niagara Falls, Ont., from June 27 to 29.The summit is being held in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians from the United States and the British Columbia First Nations Energy and Mining Council.The summit will have workshops on clean energy projects, carbon credits and the impact of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.A summit brochure says that there will be presentations from South American Indigenous representatives along with Chinese and German trade officials.
APTN National News13 years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, Canada’s military contribution to that effort officially came to an end today.In Ottawa, thousands of people took to parliament hill to honour the 158 men and women who died in Afghanistan and the 40,000 who served.But not everyone was able to make the trip to the nation’s capital for the ceremony.APTN’s Kent Driscoll has one vets story in Iqaluit.
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s highest court hasn’t fallen under the spell of Dutch witches’ cheese.The European Court of Justice said Tuesday that “the taste of a food product cannot be identified with precision of objectivity” and ruled that it is “not eligible for copyright protection.”It was asked for a ruling by a Dutch court seeking advice in a case where Levola, the producer of “Heksenkaas,” or witches’ cheese, wanted its spreadable dip protected from copycats.A competitor had brought “Witte Wievenkaas,” or white women’s cheese, on the market four years ago, and Levola said that cheese dip was a reproduction.Unlike books, movies, songs and the like, the EU’s highest court said the taste of food depends on sensations and experiences, “which are subjective and variable.”The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Students at North Peace Secondary School have been getting involved with social change projects as part of the Senior Alternate Program.Personal and Social Development teacher Brenda Birley got her students involved in social change projects as a way of improving the community.Senior Alternate student Chantelle Waughtal says her and another classmate started with an idea to grow a fruit orchard on the school grounds but then realized that the idea of having an orchard could be something larger and more meaningful as a tribute to First Nations culture. “Another classmate and I decided to grow an orchard on our school ground. Our original idea was to have a patch of fruit trees but over time it grew into something much larger and much more meaningful. Now we have a group of people who are going to be growing two garden boxes as a tribute to First Nations culture, as well as the fruit trees.”According to Waughtal, the orchard will contain traditional healing plants, berry bushes, apple trees, cherry trees, and a few other species of plants.The orchard project is made possible by grants from Tree Canada and Pembina Pipelines and is in association with the local First Nations.A tree planting event will be taking place this Wednesday, June 5, at 10:00 a.m. at North Peace Secondary School, with a grand opening of the orchard on Wednesday, June 12 at 11:30 a.m.
Riyadh: OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia said it had stopped pumping crude oil along a major pipeline Tuesday following a drone attack, hours after Yemen’s Huthi rebels said they had targeted vital Saudi installations. Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said two pumping stations on the pipeline from the oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea had been targeted early Tuesday. The vital pipeline has a capacity of at least five million barrels per day. “Saudi Aramco took precautionary measures and temporarily stopped operation of the pipeline, as it is evaluating the situation and working on restoring the operations of the affected pump station and the pipeline,” Falih said in a statement cited by state news agency SPA. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraThe 1,200-kilometre pipeline carries crude from Saudi Arabia’s main eastern oil fields to the Red Sea port city of Yanbu in the west. It was created several decades ago as an alternative for Saudi crude exports if the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf were to be closed. The pumping stations reportedly targeted lie west of the capital Riyadh, at Dawadmi and Afeef. Yemen’s Huthi rebels said Tuesday they had attacked several vital Saudi targets with drones. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysThe reported pipeline attacks came amid spiralling tensions in the Gulf, following a series of mysterious attacks on ships off the coast of the UAE and a major US military deployment to the region. Falih condemned the attacks. “The latest acts of terrorism and sabotage in the Arabian Gulf… not only target the Kingdom but also the security of oil supplies to the world and the global economy,” he said. “These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran.”
Chelsea Striker Michy Batshuayi is heading back to London to start his pre-season training this weekend.The Belgian forward first ended his summer holiday in style with a jet-ski ride. The striker had extra time off after his World Cup exploits with Belgium. And he will be heading to Cobham, Daily Mail reports.Michy Batshuayi was part of the Belgium squad that won the Bronze medal in Russia and then headed stateside to relax before the season starts.He was pictured dancing and driving Lamborghinis, before going on a thrill-seeking jet-ski ride in Los Angeles.‘End of holidays, let’s get back to work’ Michy Batshuayi wrote alongside the picture, in which he was wearing a yellow life-jacket and a matching pair of Spongebob Squarepants shorts.Maurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0.Michy Batshuayi spent the second half of last season on loan at Borussia Dortmund, where he was quite prolific in front of goal. However, it’s yet unclear whether he will be sent out again on loan now that Maurizio Sarri is the Chelsea coach.The Belgian forward has been linked to Valencia and Atletico Madrid. It’s been reported that Sarri will block all loan moves as he plans for the forward to be part of his first-team plans this season.Michy Batshuayi’s first-team chances could be better this season, as his competition is a misfiring Alvaro Morata.
The former Italy national team footballer has asked Roberto Mancini to stop after the Azzurri coach changed nine of his ten outfield playersAfter Italy drew 1-1 with Poland, in the inaugural fixture of the UEFA Nations League, coach Roberto Mancini made lots of changes.He changed nine of his ten outfield players for the match against Portugal.And in Lisbon, the Azzurri lost 1-0 to the Portuguese.The 1982 World Cup winner Alessandro ‘Spillo’ Altobelli asked Mancini to stop with this experiments in an open letter on Instagram.“Ciao Roberto. It’s tougher than you thought. Others had passed up on the job because they wanted to find it all organized, but you turned down more money elsewhere,” he wrote.“However, in these two games with Poland and Portugal, you changed, even transformed, the systems and players, giving off the impression you are struggling and wanted to just see everyone.”Serie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“I remind you of Enzo Bearzot, Azeglio Vicini, who knew the Nazionale had to be a target for everyone, not a chance to make experiments,” Altobelli added.“You asked for clubs to play more Italians, so you set the example! Good luck and always Forza Azzurri!!!”