Ex-Bell Pottinger chief vows to contest potential boardroom ban

first_imgIt comes on the same day that former Cambridge Analytica boss Alexander Nix received a seven-year directorship ban. Accounting firm BDO, who acted as administrators following Bell Pottinger’s collapse, said it was still owed hundreds of thousands of pounds from the PR firm’s executives, after it was “heavily financially impacted” by the scandal. (Via Getty Images) Also Read: Ex-Bell Pottinger chief vows to contest potential boardroom ban whatsapp Bell Pottinger was struck off from the UK’s industry body following the campaign, after a swathe of major clients including HSBC and Investec cut ties with the firm. Poppy Wood Share whatsapp Show Comments ▼ Before the Open: Get the jump on the markets with our early morning newsletter More From Our Partners Police Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgFeds seized 18 devices from Rudy Giuliani and his employees in April raidnypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comConnecticut man dies after crashing Harley into live bearnypost.comSupermodel Anne Vyalitsyna claims income drop, pushes for child supportnypost.comBill Gates reportedly hoped Jeffrey Epstein would help him win a Nobelnypost.com980-foot skyscraper sways in China, prompting panic and evacuationsnypost.comWhy people are finding dryer sheets in their mailboxesnypost.comKiller drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told tonypost.comInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comUK teen died on school trip after teachers allegedly refused her pleasnypost.comPuffer fish snaps a selfie with lucky divernypost.com In a statement, Henderson today said he intends to “fight this matter in court in order to preserve my good name”, adding that he was “confident” the court would rule in his favour. Nix, who ran Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Election, did not contest the ban, which will prevent him from serving as director of a limited company in the UK until 2027. “When legitimate concerns were raised with me about other accounts, I had no hesitation in resigning them irrespective of their value to the firm.” Ex-Bell Pottinger chief vows to contest potential boardroom ban center_img Henderson, who resigned from the company shortly before its collapse, faces a boardroom ban of up to 15 years under the Company Directors Disqualification Act. (Via Getty Images) Former Bell Pottinger chief executive James Henderson has vowed to fight a potential boardroom ban looming over him in the wake of the PR firm’s high-profile collapse in 2017. (Via Getty Images) Also Read: Ex-Bell Pottinger chief vows to contest potential boardroom ban Thursday 24 September 2020 2:40 pm Ad Unmute by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikePast Factory”Waltons” Actress Says Magazine Ended Her CareerPast FactoryUndoDaily FunnyFemale Athlete Fails You Can’t Look Away FromDaily FunnyUndoYourDailyLamaHe Used To Be Handsome In 80s Now It’s Hard To Look At HimYourDailyLamaUndoautooverload.comDeclassified Vietnam War Photos The Public Wasn’t Meant To Seeautooverload.comUndoNoteableyJulia Robert’s Daughter Turns 16 And Looks Just Like Her MomNoteableyUndoThe Chef PickElisabeth Shue, 57, Sends Fans Wild As She Flaunts Age-Defying FigureThe Chef PickUndoJustPerfact USAMan Decides to File for Divorce After Taking a Closer Look at This Photo!   JustPerfact USAUndoDefinitionThe 20 Worst Draft Picks Ever – Ryan Leaf Doesn’t Even Crack The Top 5DefinitionUndoPost Fun25 Worst Movies Ever, According To Rotten TomatoesPost FunUndo The political consultancy collapsed amid an international scandal over its harvesting of personal data during election campaigns and in the run-up to the Brexit vote in 2016. “I simply would never have embarked upon, condoned or ignored any course of action that would have endangered the firm that I proudly led and loved, nor would I have done anything to stir division in South Africa or elsewhere,” he said. Henderson added that he “never had any involvement” in the controversial account, and that “it is also a fact that I was actively misled when I sought to get to the truth”. The public relations firm fell into administration in 2017 after running a racially charged PR campaign for the billionaire Gupta family in South Africa that emphasised the power of white-owned businesses in the country. The PR guru now heads up J&H Communications, a start-up relations firm in London. Henderson faces a director disqualification hearing alongside former Bell Pottinger colleagues Victoria Geoghegan and Nick Lambert, according to court documents.last_img read more

For moderators of a Sitka Facebook group, keeping it civil can feel like a full-time job

first_imgCommunity | SoutheastFor moderators of a Sitka Facebook group, keeping it civil can feel like a full-time jobFebruary 1, 2021 by Erin McKinstry, KCAW – Sitka Share:Sitka Chatters is a Facebook Group with more than 9,000 members. (KCAW)For many small Alaska communities, Facebook groups have become an important way to share information, particularly during the pandemic. But they can also be challenging to moderate, especially as Facebook continues to grapple with how to regulate speech on its site. Keeping divisive rhetoric off of groups like Sitka Chatters can feel like a full-time job.When Kathryn Daum came up with the idea for the Facebook group Sitka Chatters with her friend Sam back in 2013, she never imagined it would grow to an important community forum with over 9,000 members.“It’s pretty incredible,” Daum said. “I mean we were pretty excited when it hit a hundred members. We never thought it would get this big and be one of the main sources to get information from for Sitka.”Over the years, Sitka Chatters has helped people find lost pets and share information about new businesses. It has also connected people in need with resources, like during the 2015 landslides in Sitka. The whole idea behind the group was to create a positive space to bring people together, Daum said. She quit moderating when she moved to Anchorage, but she still uses it to connect to the Sitka community.“We wanted a safe place where there was no discrimination. There was no name-calling,” she said. “We wanted a positive place for businesses where there was no shaming businesses or other people.”But that hasn’t always been easy, especially during a divisive election season and a politicized pandemic.“We were like ‘oh my God,’ this is getting crazy,” former Sitka Chatters moderator Robin Schmid said. “People are snapping. People are acting horrible.”Schmid moderated the group for about eight months before quitting right after the November election. She works as an attorney and said it felt like a second full-time job.“I just can’t have this negativity in my life anymore. It’s giving me the wrong impression of our society,” she said. “It’s showing a side that is a vocal minority when there are still really great people out there.”Facebook isn’t a free-for-all. The platform prohibits hate speech, nudity, excessive violence and spam, for example. Schmid said Facebook would notify them of false information or a threat they considered viable. But the group also has its own rules that they try to enforce. No trolling, no personal attacks and no politics, for example. Discussions about masks were also outlawed following months of divisive conversations that devolved into personal attacks in the comments section.“And we got to the point where we were even giving people like 24-hour cool-off periods, 72 hours, a week,” Schmid said. “You know and then we kept doing that. Trying to give people a chance, you know, knock it off, these are the rules.”Finally, they decided to ban repeat offenders altogether. But is it possible to do that in an unbiased way in such a small town? The moderators hold the power to regulate speech in whatever way they see fit, as long as it aligns with Facebook’s policies.And even Twitter and Facebook have faced backlash in recent months for flagging false information and banning extreme speech from alt-right groups, including booting former President Donald Trump. That prompted many on the far right to flock to less regulated social media sites like Parler, which has since been taken offline.Both Schmid and current moderator Fran Abeyta said they’ve had to ban people from all parts of the political spectrum.“People think we’re judgmental, and it’s just like all three of us have different beliefs and you know we don’t boot somebody without discussing it with all three of us,” Abeyta said. She is one of three current moderators, and she initially got involved through the group’s regular photo contest. Sometimes, she said she doesn’t know why she keeps doing it.“Maybe it’s just the control. Being able to delete people if they get out of hand,” Abeyta said. “Sitka’s my home and I care about it. That and what’s going on in the community.”Abeyta says that in recent weeks, things have calmed down. She knows there will always be people looking to stir the pot but hopes that moving forward, the group can remain a positive space for Sitkans to come together.Share this story:last_img read more

L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival Addresses Lack of Diversity in Hollywood

first_imgUncategorizedL.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival Addresses Lack of Diversity in HollywoodAt one panel, actors Randall Park, Usman Ally, Joy Osmanski, and Lucille Soong discussed ethnic stereotypes in contemporary cinemaBy Daniel Schindel – May 4, 2015651ShareEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestReddItFew of the movies that showed at the 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival are going to make it big, but that’s not the point. For a week, members of a community that’s drastically underrepresented in Hollywood got to connect and share work made about them, for them.The winds may be shifting in regards to representation, though. At a SAG-AFTRA talk hosted by the Conference for Creative Content (C3), panelists spoke with optimism regarding the new wave of ethnically diverse series that have hit television over the past season. Of course, when audience member Phil Yu (proprietor of the popular blog Angry Asian Man) expressed his fear that this could just be a trend and not a new paradigm, the panel bleakly agreed that such is a possibility. The decision-making power in show business remains mostly in white hands, and those are temperamental ones.The SAG-AFTRA C3 panel consisted of veteran television actors Randall Park (Veep, The Interview, Fresh Off the Boat), Usman Ally (Madame Secretary, Damages), Joy Osmanski (Grey’s Anatomy, Save Me, The Following), Lucille Soong (Desperate Housewives, Freaky Friday, Fresh Off the Boat), casting director/associate Leslie Woo (Silicon Valley, Togetherness, Foxcatcher, Big Eyes), and actor/moderator Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced, A to Z, Transformers: Rescue Bots). The topic of discussion was contemporary casting practice in primetime television.The participants all had their own horror stories that speak to the blithe ignorance of white executives. Cheena actually asked for them as a prompt to kick off discussion. Ally reminisced about how he would purposefully use his real accent (he hails from Swaziland) in casting sessions until a director would give up and ask him to “do it like Apu.” Woo shared a time when she picked only men of color for a role described as “a hot guy,” and her producer responded with a baffled, “I thought I asked you to get a hot guy.” Time and again, they’ve been frustrated by claims of colorblindness. If the higher-ups were truly colorblind, we’d see a media landscape that reflected the diversity of real American life. But that’s not the case. “A lot of people say, ‘I don’t see black or white; I only see green.’ I think, ‘You’re a fuckin’ racist’” Ally said.It’s a comment that probably wouldn’t fare well at a mainstream film festival, but the panel was a safe zone. There were a few non-Asian people present, so it was unlikely that an audience member would pipe up with an “Um, actually…” type of response. Cheena encouraged the irreverent atmosphere, jokingly asking whether there is a developing “Asian Mafia” within showbiz, “And if so, how can we join?”All present agreed that if there were a Hollywood Asian Mafia, Park would probably be its boss. The actor has earned loads of acclaim in recent months for his portrayal of Kim Jong Un in The Interview and his lead role in Fresh Off the Boat, one of the shows leading the aforementioned spike in TV diversity. Park is proud to be “the dad” in the first Asian-American-led sitcom in nearly 20 years, and he talked about how his career has, in part, been a lesson in moderating his expectations. “When I started acting, I was bright-eyed and thought I’d change everything” he said, referring to how he originally vowed that he would never take any stereotypically “Asian” parts. But, as so often is the case in Hollywood, regardless of one’s background, conviction gave way to reality. Specifically, the need to work.That’s another theme that emerged from the discussion: Compromise, like it or not (and no one fully likes it), is how progress happens, though opinions may differ over how much compromise is too much. Osmanski doesn’t believe that actors of one Asian ethnicity being cast as characters of a different one is that big a deal (“Just be glad we’re out there”), and obviously not all will agree with that sentiment.All members of the panel concurred that they’ve done their best to bring humanity and nuance to what may otherwise have been cliched roles. All share the hope that the more colorful television landscape isn’t a “trend,” but the wave of the future. TAGSFresh Off the BoatJoy OsmanskiL.A. Asian Pacific Film FestivalLucille SoongRandall ParkUsman AllyPrevious article3rd Generation Sake Bar Is a Downtown Noodle SanctuaryNext articleToo Pretty to Eat: A Photo Tour of RedbirdDaniel Schindel RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORChelsey Crisp of Fresh Off the Boat Talks Diversity in HollywoodA Lens on the American Characterlast_img read more

Fortnum & Mason reports record profits as it boosts local footfall

first_img whatsapp Fortnum & Mason reports record profits as it boosts local footfall Show Comments ▼ Sunday 23 November 2014 11:54 pm by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May Likezenherald.comMeghan Markle Changed This Major Detail On Archies Birth Certificatezenherald.comMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailPost FunGreat Songs That Artists Are Now Embarrassed OfPost FunMaternity WeekA Letter From The Devil Written By A Possessed Nun In 1676 Has Been TranslatedMaternity WeekLoan Insurance WealthDolly Parton, 74, Takes off Makeup, Leaves Us With No WordsLoan Insurance WealthEquity MirrorThey Drained Niagara Falls — They Weren’t Prepared For This Sickening DiscoveryEquity MirrorPast Factory4 Sisters Take The Same Picture For 40 Years. Don’t Cry When You See The Last One!Past FactoryElite HeraldKate Middleton Just Dropped An Unexpected Baby BombshellElite HeraldTotal PastAfter Céline Dion’s Major Weight Loss, She Confirms What We Suspected All AlongTotal Past Read This Next’A Quiet Place Part II’ Sets Pandemic Record in Debut WeekendFamily ProofHiking Gadgets: Amazon Deals Perfect For Your Next AdventureFamily ProofAmazon roars for MGM’s lion, paying $8.45 billion for studio behind JamesFamily ProofIndian Spiced Vegetable Nuggets: Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofNew England Patriots’ Cam Newton says no extra motivation from Mac Jones’SportsnautBack on the Rails for Summer New York to New Orleans, Savannah and MiamiFamily ProofYoga for Beginners: 3 Different Types of Yoga You Should TryFamily ProofChicken Bao: Delicious Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofCheese Crostini: Delicious Recipes Worth CookingFamily Proof Ollie Gordon center_img whatsapp Iconic food and gift retailer Fortnum & Mason reported record full-year profits today on the back of its strategy to attract more local Londoners into the shop.For the year up to July 2014, the 307-year-old retailer increased sales by 14 per cent to £74.4m and boosted profit before tax to £3.8m – more than double the £1.8m generated last year.Hamper sales increased by 18 per cent, tea sales by 13 per cent and online sales by 25 per cent.Fortnum’s chief executive Ewan Venters told City A.M. the company had profited off the back of its strategy to prioritise local over international customers: “It’s been a historic year, these are the best profit before tax results we’ve ever had. I think the key factor is that we’re appealing to more Londoners. We’ve got more of them coming into the store to use the shop as a regular place to buy their tea, cheese, beef and so forth. “A key part of our focus over the last two years has been about how to re-engage Londoners. For two or three decades Fortnum’s had become somewhere solely for the international visitor. And what we’ve done is remind people that Fortnum’s exists for the local people, and that’s been by improving both quality and range.”Fortnum’s flagship store is at Piccadilly Circus. However, the retailer – owned by Wittington Investments – opened new shops at St Pancras International Station in 2013 and in Dubai in March 2014. Share Tags: NULLlast_img read more

Is China blocking Gmail? Chinese Google users reportedly cut off

first_img Tags: Google whatsapp whatsapp Billy Ehrenberg Is China blocking Gmail? Chinese Google users reportedly cut off Monday 29 December 2014 5:21 amcenter_img Share The Great Firewall could be blocking Gmail. China is famed for its internet censorship; it limits or prevents access to a range of websites and services, including Facebook and Twitter. Now it seems the new superpower is blocking Google’s email service too. On Friday, thousands of Gmail addresses were cut off, according to reports from Chinese group GreatFire.org, which fights for freedom of speech.  A member of the group told the Guardian it could even be an attempt by the Chinese government to pressure Google: I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google’s presence in China and even weaken its market overseas. Imagine if Gmail users might not get through to Chinese clients. Many people outside China might be forced to switch away from Gmail. The Guardian also contacted the Chinese government. A spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said that the Chinese government knew nothing of a block. China has consistently had a welcoming and supportive attitude towards foreign investors doing legitimate business here. We will, as always, provide an open, transparent and good environment for foreign companies in China.  Show Comments ▼last_img read more

UK economic growth slows to 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2015

first_img UK economic growth slows to 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 Jessica Morris The last piece of key economic data spun out ahead of the General Election on May 7 has shown the economy slowed by more than expected in the first quarter.The Office for National Statistics said today the economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the first three months of this year, which was below City economists’ expectations of 0.5 per cent, and down from 0.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2014. The pound fell against the dollar after the release.Three of the main industrial groups decreased, as construction fell by 1.6 per cent, production by 0.1 per cent and agriculture by 0.2 per cent. Meanwhile, the dominant services sector posted growth of just 0.5 per cent.Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Our economy is growing, growing at a rate that many other European countries frankly would give their eye teeth for. These are one quarter’s figures.”But they remind us, a timely reminder, that you cannot take recovery for granted. You take your eye off the ball on reducing the deficit that would be bad for growth, you take your eye off the ball in being pro-business that would damage growth.”(Source: ONS)Commentators have said today’s figure will put pressure of Cameron ahead of the General Election, as the Tories have fought a large proportion of their campaign on their ability to safeguard the economic recovery.”Given the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are hoping that many undecided voters will ultimately decide to vote for them due to their management of the economy, this marked slowdown in growth is particularly unwelcome news coming just over a week before the General Election,” said Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS.It’s worth noting that today’s figure could be revised at a later date, as it’s partly an estimate, and based on half of the data that will ultimately be used by the ONS – for instance, we’re still waiting on official data for net trade as well as business investment.”We should also treat the preliminary reading with caution. It is based on only partial information for the quarter, and in particular a lack of hard data for March, a month in which the Markit/CIPS PMI surveys indicated an upturn in the pace of growth,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said.“The surveys tend to provide a good indication of the underlying pace of economic growth, and have been running at a level consistent with a 0.7% increase in GDP in recent months.””The surveys therefore suggest that the first quarter GDP data are likely to be revised higher, and also that growth should bounce back in the second quarter.” whatsapp Tuesday 28 April 2015 4:42 am Show Comments ▼center_img Tags: NULL whatsapp Sharelast_img read more

Brunswick man David Yelland quits to start on his own with Kitchen Table Partners

first_imgFormer Sun editor turned PR guru David Yelland has left the cosy orbit of global financial PR firm Brunswick, where he was a partner for nine years, to set up his own new venture.Described as a small communications advisory firm which counsels individuals, Yelland’s start-up Kitchen Table Partners (KTP) is one with a personal touch.His advice has guided clients including former BP chief executive Lord Browne, MP Jack Straw during the recent cash for access scandal, and the coming-out of gay footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger. No stranger to controversy himself, Yelland openly admitting he was “drunk every night for nearly 24 years” in 2010 and has even written a book about his painful battle and recovery from alcohol addiction. The move marks his tenth year of sobriety this July. “I know what it is like to be a leader, to have good times and bad, and how it feels to ‘be the story’,” he told The Capitalist. “Being in recovery makes me a very different person from when in newspapers: it has completely changed the way that I advise people and how I view the world.” whatsapp Brunswick man David Yelland quits to start on his own with Kitchen Table Partners Thursday 30 April 2015 8:54 pm Share More From Our Partners Native American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgWhite House Again Downplays Fourth Possible Coronvirus Checkvaluewalk.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgInstitutional Investors Turn To Options to Bet Against AMCvaluewalk.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comcenter_img whatsapp Tags: NULL Express KCS by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailzenherald.comMeghan Markle Changed This Major Detail On Archies Birth Certificatezenherald.comPost FunKate & Meghan Are Very Different Mothers, These Photos Prove ItPost FunMaternity WeekA Letter From The Devil Written By A Possessed Nun In 1676 Has Been TranslatedMaternity WeekComedyAbandoned Submarines Floating Around the WorldComedyGameday NewsNBA Wife Turns Heads Wherever She GoesGameday NewsEquity MirrorThey Drained Niagara Falls — They Weren’t Prepared For This Sickening DiscoveryEquity MirrorOpulent ExpressHer Quadruplets Were Born Without A Hitch. Then Doctors Realized SomethingOpulent ExpressBridesBlushThis Is Why The Royal Family Kept Quiet About Prince Harry’s Sister BridesBlush Show Comments ▼last_img read more

Listen: Congressional paralysis, drug shortages, & biotech’s foul mood

first_img @damiangarde Does impeachment have a pharma angle? Who’s to blame for drug shortages? And why is Wall Street down on biotech?We discuss all that and more on the latest episode of “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, STAT Washington correspondent Nicholas Florko joins us to break down what the impeachment inquiry means for the congressional fight over drug prices and the fate of the FDA. Then, Dr. Ben Davies, a University of Pittsburgh urologist, calls in to discuss what happens when key drugs face dangerous shortages. Later, we dig into biotech’s rough third quarter and discuss how things might change before the year’s out. Finally, Davies sticks around for a lightning round, covering rosé, menswear, and mail-order erectile dysfunction pills.For more on what we talk about, here’s the latest on drug pricing legislation; here’s the news on the possible next FDA commissioner; here’s more on drug shortages; and here’s a preview of the coming quarter in biotech.advertisement Senior Writer, Biotech Adam is STAT’s national biotech columnist, reporting on the intersection of biotech and Wall Street. He’s also a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. Adam Feuerstein About the Authors Reprints We’ll be back next Thursday evening — and every Thursday evening — so be sure to sign up on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.And if you have any feedback for us — topics to cover, guests to invite, vocal tics to cease — you can email [email protected] [email protected] National Biotech Reporter Damian covers biotech, is a co-writer of The Readout newsletter, and a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. [email protected] The Readout LOUDListen: Congressional paralysis, drug shortages, & biotech’s foul mood Damian Garde Tags biotechnologydrug pricingpharmaceuticals Interested in sponsoring a future episode of “The Readout LOUD”? Email us at [email protected]ews.com. By Damian Garde , Rebecca Robbins, and Adam Feuerstein Oct. 3, 2019 Reprints @adamfeuerstein last_img read more

New research examines wastewater to detect community spread of Covid-19

first_img“It was interesting that our estimation was definitely higher than the number of confirmed cases in the area,” said Mariana Matus, CEO and co-founder of Biobot, adding that public health officials had already considered the possibility that the actual case count was much higher than what had been confirmed. By Shraddha Chakradhar April 7, 2020 Reprints Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. About the Author Reprints Related: Related: Adobe The company shared the findings with local health authorities including the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Their response was “extremely positive,” Matus said. “They could believe that [our] numbers could be correct and not out of the realm of possibility.”advertisement Reporter, Morning Rounds Writer, Intern Coordinator Shraddha writes the Morning Rounds newsletter and covers health and medicine. Please enter a valid email address. A series of crucial setbacks in Covid-19 testing has made it difficult to keep up with the virus’ rapid spread, and has inspired some researchers to look to wastewater to help fill in the gap of measuring how prevalent SARS-CoV-2 is in a given community.In a paper posted Tuesday to the preprint server medRxiv, researchers collected samples in late March from a wastewater treatment plant serving a large metropolitan area in Massachusetts and found that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 particles in the sewage samples indicated a far higher number of people likely infected with Covid-19 than the reported cases in that area.Researchers from biotech startup Biobot Analytics, working with a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, estimate there were at least 2,300 people infected with Covid-19 in the area around the treatment facility. But at the time of analysis, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, there were 446 cases officially reported in that area.advertisement Privacy Policycenter_img HealthNew research examines wastewater to detect community spread of Covid-19 [email protected] Test makers are moving fast, but the coronavirus may be moving faster Scientists can track the spread of opioids in sewers. But do cities want to know what lies below? In another preprint, which has also not yet been peer-reviewed and that was posted last week to medRxiv, researchers in the Netherlands similarly described detecting the novel coronavirus in sewage samples — sometimes even before public health officials reported the first diagnosed case of Covid-19 in a given community.“Wastewater carries all [our] chemistry,” said Rolf Halden, an environmental health engineer at Arizona State University, who was not involved in either study. “Now we have evidence from two different geographic locations that the virus is detectable, and that’s good.”The idea to begin testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 emerged after recent research revealed that virus particles could be shed through stool and other bodily fluids. Testing begins with collecting sewage samples from local treatment plants, and running them through a process that creates millions of copies of viral RNA to be able to study the pathogen in detail. Another process then looks for specific markers on SARS-CoV-2, to distinguish this particular virus from all the other possible microbes in wastewater samples.Sewage samples from a Massachusetts treatment plant are awaiting processing in Biobot’s lab. Courtesy Katelyn FoppeWastewater has been used in other ways as a public health surveillance tool. Biobot, which was spun out of MIT, has also been involved in efforts to detect opioids in wastewater, as a way to help communities track patterns of drug use and developing public health threats. European countries have long been involved in surveilling the spread of antibiotic resistance through wastewater. And sewage has been used to look for other emerging and known viruses, including polio.The new research comes at an unprecedented moment in public health: The difficulty and expense of obtaining individual tests for millions of people combined with the virus’ rapid transmission means that public health officials are looking for other ways to grasp the scale of the spread. Clinical testing largely is for those with more severe symptoms, meaning those who are asymptomatic or have milder symptoms — but can still be contagious — often are missed. Shraddha Chakradhar Leave this field empty if you’re human: Still, questions remain on using wastewater-based testing for Covid-19.“We lack critical information on how long people excrete viruses [after being infected], how much virus is being excreted, and over what periods of time,” Halden said. “Every infection also takes a different course and it’s difficult to know exactly how many particles are shed by any given person.”These uncertainties are why Biobot reported a range of possible cases: It estimated that between 2,300 people and 115,000 were infected in the area served by the treatment plant where it tested. “All of this gets better with more data, more sampling [of more people], and different populations [from different wastewater plants],” Matus said, adding that the company is already working toward gathering more data.Biobot recently launched a campaign to provide its wastewater sampling services for free to communities across the country. Matus said the campaign has now enrolled 100 treatment plants across 25 states, with the goal of partnering with 10,000 such plants by the end of next month. Others, including Halden at Arizona State, are also involved in coronavirus tracking efforts. Halden leads the Human Health Observatory at ASU, which has over 250 monitoring locations in the U.S. and 350 locations around the world to test wastewater.“We’re not doing this just because we want to publish papers,” said Matus, adding that the company is working on getting the preprint accepted to a peer-reviewed journal. “We are doing this work because we think the data can be useful in guiding the response to the outbreak.” In these instances, wastewater sampling could offer a community-level picture of how the disease has spread. A high concentration of virus particles in a given treatment facility would signal that Covid-19 is still a problem in the surrounding area. This could inform public health officials on distancing measures to implement and the kind of precautions health care workers ought to take.Gertjan Medema, who led the Netherlands research, had been part of a World Health Organization expert team during the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003, during which patients experienced gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea. As the current pandemic unfolded, Medema kept an eye on similar symptoms among Covid-19 patients.“I was looking into the information that was coming out of China to see if there was any fecal shedding, which turned out to be the case, and if people had diarrhea, which also turned out to be the case,” said Medema, the chief microbiologist at KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein in the Netherlands. And since Covid-19 seemed like it was headed to the Netherlands, he and his team began checking wastewater for the virus.“We saw that the technology works, that you do find the virus, and that it’s quite sensitive [to finding the right virus],” said Medema. And in the case of at least one Dutch city, Amersfoort, Medema and his team detected virus particles in wastewater even before the city had reported any official cases of Covid-19.Experts say wastewater detection of SARS-CoV-2 could act not only as a supplement to medical testing but as an early warning system. If, for instance, the virus’ transmission were to ebb in the coming months, continued wastewater-based monitoring could alert public health officials if and when the virus is circulating in a community again.“What’s been clear is that we are always behind,” said Halden. “The virus is a couple of weeks ahead and with individual testing we’ll never get there.” @scchak Tags Coronavirusinfectious diseaselast_img read more

Pyongyang Desperate to Slip Sanctions Noose

first_img Facebook Twitter SHARE By Chris Green – 2010.01.29 12:17pm AvatarChris Green Analysis & Opinion Pyongyang Desperate to Slip Sanctions Noose RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR [imText1]In the latest Daily NK series of interviews with leading domestic South Korean and international experts, Bruce Klingner explains how international opinion on North Korea has changed in 2009, gives us his view of the future of the Six-Party Talks and hopes for denuclearization, and comments on the possibility of future domestic unrest in North Korea itself. In Klingner’s opinion, North Korea spent much of 2009 harming itself internationally; bluntly rejecting the newly-elected Obama administration’s diplomatic overtures and offering up far more leverage to put pressure on Pyongyang than the outgoing Bush administration ever managed. This, Klingner believes, resulted in a strict sanctions regime and “a telling impact” on the North Korean economy. A believer in the value of sanctions in this case, Klingner hopes that 2010 will see continued pressure on the North through the sanctions regime. In his opinion only that stick, coupled to the carrot of a broad range of assistance should North Korea choose to fully denuclearize, has a chance of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.center_img Analysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke” Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center last_img read more