BYU’s Whittni Orton Places Second At Piane Notre Dame Invitational

first_img Tags: BYU Women’s Cross Country/Erica Birk/Furman Paladins/Notre Dame/Reeder Invitational/Utah State University/Whittni Orton Brad James FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailSOUTH BEND, Ind.-Friday, as Brigham Young University’s men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Piane Notre Dame cross country invitational, both Cougars teams swept team titles.The Cougar women posted 37 points, easily routing second-place Furman as the Paladins netted 80 points.Instrumental in the success for the BYU women was former Panguitch High star Whittni Orton who ran a time of 16:16.02, placing second overall. The only woman to beat her was another former small-town Utah high school star in Erica Birk, a North Summit high alum, who ran a 16:19.53 in the women’s 5-K.Orton and her teammates are next in action Friday at the Reeder Invitational hosted by Utah State University in Logan. Written by September 29, 2018 /Sports News – Local BYU’s Whittni Orton Places Second At Piane Notre Dame Invitationallast_img read more

Machines to go

first_imgA cheaper 2-group traditional espresso machine and grinder will cost you about £2,500-£3,500, with more premium models going up to about £6,000. This is quite an investment for a bakery wanting to add coffee to its offer, but it would allow you to sell the most popular drinks, such as cappuccino and latte. However, there are cheaper ways into the coffee market and filter machines start from as low as £190.== What’s on the market ==What’s new?Bezzera is launching the new 2-group Bezzera Bistro Compact espresso machines in semi or fully-automatic modelsConvince meAs an introductory package, all models are supplied with enough free coffee or Espressopots to pay for the machine outright, when sold at £1.50 per cupGo on, persuade me some moreThere is also a host of free extras including water filters and bean grinders and an open invitation for buyers to attend a ’Coffee by Numbers’ training day for themselves and their staff (normally charged at £55 per attendee)I like to plug and playGood – the range operates from a standard 13-amp socket and features all stainless steel working surfaces and high-quality copper boilersHow do I get one?Hand-built in Milan, they are available in ’Espressopot’ or Coffee Bean packages via Maidaid-Halcyon’s UK distributorsPrice: From £1,995www.maidaid.co.ukWhat’s new?Rancilio has extended its range of Classe 6 espresso machines with a new 1-group modelErm, I don’t actually sell much coffeePerfect! This new model is aimed at outlets with a modest demand for coffee and it’s compact, measuring just 360mm in widthSo it’s small but is it beautiful?It’s manufactured in stainless steel with an all-metal body and is available in three tantalising models: the E1 fully-automatic plumbed-in version; the S1 semi-automatic plumbed model; and the ST1, which is a tank-top machineBut will it suit my colour scheme?Well, it’s available in any colour you like, so long as it’s blackHow do I get one?The machines are made in Milan and distributed exclusively in the UK by The Coffee Machine Company, based in LondonPrices: E1 £2,525; S1 £2025; ST1 £1,625www. coffeemachinecompany.co.ukWhat’s new?The fully automatic “Special” from La Spaziale, available as a 2-group machine, which has a 10-litre capacity boiler, and a 3-group with a 15-litre boilerNot another Euro-sapping Italian machine!While the weakness of sterling against the euro has caused headaches for operators looking to re-equip with Italian-built espresso machines, supplier Café du Monde says it can offer a cheaper optionHow come?The Special is a basic machine with none of the bells and whistles associated with top-end machines and “ensures that the the quality of coffee produced is on a par with any La Spaziale model”, says the company.So why bother buying the top-end version?Beats us. Café du Monde estimates the Special could save customers as much as £1,000 on comparable machinesPrices: £2,570 for the 2-group and £3,125 for the 3-group; fully-inclusive lease deals are available for £23.71 per week for a 2-group and £33 per week for a 3-groupwww.cafedumonde.co.ukWhat’s new?The Filtro Mini Jug, a small batch filter coffee brewer that prepares coffee directly into a 1.6-litre thermal jugHow does it work?The unit is manually filled with cold water, using the flask itself and operates on the ’flash’ boiler principle. Hot water is sprayed over a bed of ground coffee in the filter basket, with the brewed coffee pouring directly into the thermal jug. Once the brew is ready, a light comes onDon’t you get horrible stewed coffee with filters?The benefit of brewing directly into a thermal jug is that coffee is not left on a hotplate for long periods. The insulated jug keeps coffee hot without stewing for a period in excess of an hour – suitable for a modest demandBut I want something bigger and higher volume…Marco also has machines such as the Mini Jug model, which fills a niche between the pour-over on the one hand and the larger 2.2-litre thermal flask or the Shuttle on the other. For larger volumes, there’s the Qwikbrew and Maxibrew bulk filter brewersPrice: The Mini Jug costs £189www.marco-bev.co.uklast_img read more

CCTV celebrates 25 years of public access TV

first_imgCCTV Center for Media and Democracy,CCTV Center for Media & Democracy celebrates 25 years of public access television with a gala event at the Burlington Boathouse on June 13 at 6 p.m.  CCTV first aired in 1984 on Vermont’s first public access cable channels.  Since then, CCTV has supported the development of access across the state (23 centers operate 42 channels), launched and operates Channel 17/ Town Meeting TV in Chittenden County, and delivers communications strategies and services for Vermont nonprofits.  Looking back, founder Lauren-Glenn Davitian points to major changes of the past 25 years:  “Ronald Reagan was President, Dick Snelling was Governor, and Burlington was barely a three-party city.  We were squarely in the analog age and the World Wide Web wasn’t invented!”  Since then,  CCTV has secured public access for much of the state and also produced 15,000 hours of programs that cover media makers, decisions makers, regular people, and visiting dignitaries.CCTV’s 25th anniversary celebration will take place on Saturday, June 13 at the Burlington Boathouse on the Waterfront from 6-9 p.m. with the recognition of free speech champions and live music by “Flood in the Fizzy Factory”.  A $10 minimum donation is requested.  For more info, please check www.cctv.org(link is external) or call Megan Humphrey at 864-7528last_img read more

Save the Date for GO Fest

first_imgThe Anthem Go Outside Festival is connecting outdoor enthusiasts to the things they love.The festival, scheduled for Oct. 14-16 in Roanoke, VA, includes more activities than you can do in three days – camping, biking, boating, races, geocaching, and more. The festival is along the Roanoke River Greenway, the perfect location for testing a new bike, pair of shoes, or even a kayak.mhp_4541editWhat’s unique about Go Fest, now in its sixth year, is that it is not an ordinary sit-in-your-seat kind of event; it is designed to encourage participation and involvement. Festival-goers walk around in the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, touch and try out gear, sample food and drink, listen and dance to live music, and have fun. It’s the type of event where you can come for the day, or bring the tent and stay all weekend.mhp_8434editAnd best of all, admission and demos are free. Plus there will be plenty of live music (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is headlining Saturday night) and food, beverage and craft beer vendors.cricket-trailerGo Fest is an easy opportunity to try new activities or test new gear. With a rich mix of outdoor amenities including to 600 miles of trails, 22 miles of urban greenways, 24 rivers and creeks, and 300,000 acres of national forest in the Roanoke Region, there is something for everyone.The event includes some fan favorites such as the Walkabout Outfitter Wild Gear Chase, Ultimate Air Dogs Dock Diving, Giant Pro Bike Rider Jeff Lenosky, the Keen Lumberjack Show, and Sprint BMX Stunt Pros.Plus, there are a few new things for 2016 including a “VIP glamping” option, silent disco dance party, a children’s strider bike race, and a gran fondo with 28, 66, and 100 mile options.Some of the biggest names in the outdoors industry will be on site with gear for you to test out. Grab a bike, sit in a kayak, or try on a new pair of shoes. And this is top-notch gear. You can take out a bike that retails for $5,000 and ride it out on Mill Mountain or test a pair of new shoes during a group trail run.slackline-joshPick the brains of experts in hiking, biking, backpacking for the best tips and techniques to make the most of your next outing. If you have been thinking about trying something new, this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity to learn. There will be plenty of experts on hand to help you learn to do everything from cast a fly rod to cook over an open flame, or roll a kayak.mhp_7933editWhen you need a break from the action, you’ll have ample opportunity to wind down with plenty of other outdoors-loving people just like you. There’s something for every family member to do with a Kid’s Zone full of activities and leashed dogs are welcome.mhpgofest_200While the focus of GO Fest is fun, it is a good time to stop and think about the Roanoke Region’s natural assets and how to preserve them for future generations. Learn about outdoor initiatives happening your community, conservation groups, trail building workshops, and opportunities to get involved.Learn more and make plans to come to Go Fest, Oct. 14-16, at www.roanokegofest.com.last_img read more

The Role of the Venezuelan Armed Forces in Politics and State Building Throughout History

first_imgBy Brian Fonseca* and Marcos Ommati August 01, 2019 The origin of the military in Venezuela dates back to the colonial militia organized by Spain in the 18th century in what was then the Capitanía General de Venezuela.The wars of independence (1810-1823) produced a proud military tradition. Beginning with the presidency of José Antonio Páez (1830-1835), armed men directly or indirectly held political power in Venezuela through most of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries.Venezuela has a longstanding tradition of military participation in politics. Until Julián Castro’s military regime in 1858, most post-independence leaders in the 19th century were ex-military officers who represented the Liberal and Conservative political parties. Alternation between active and retired military officers holding political power ended definitively with the Revolución Liberal Restauradora (Liberal Restoration Revolution), the 1899 coup d’état and civil war perpetrated by Cipriano Castro and other armed men from Venezuela’s Táchira State.A professional militaryBetween 1899 and 1945, a succession of military officers from Táchira ruled the country. During this period, the military transformed itself, becoming a professional institution with the founding of a modern military academy in 1910 under the tutelage of German-influenced Chilean military instructors. It became one of the most important state institutions, with military officers respected and admired by society.With political power and in the absence of interstate conflict, the armed forces saw themselves as the key institution in fostering internal development and modernization. Upon Venezuela’s return to democracy in 1958, the military returned to the barracks. After the Marcos Pérez Jiménez dictatorship (1952-1958), political leaders signed a formal agreement known as the Pact of Punto Fijo, which called for mutual acceptance of the results of the 1958 presidential elections and the preservation of the rising democratic regime.The military’s role in the state changed dramatically during this period, shifting from modernization and governance to combatting left-wing insurgencies during the 1960s, namely the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria, (Revolutionary Left Movement, MIR) and the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN).Although it remained largely subordinate to civilian control in the subsequent decades, the military increased its participation in development once again in the mid-1970s under a new national security doctrine that called for the integration of development and security. Conditions changed again at the end of the 1980s. Buffeted by low prices for its principal export — oil and its derivatives — and rising interest rates on its international debt, the Venezuelan government struggled financially.CaracazoThe Caracazo, a wave of protests, riots, and looting on February 27, 1989, followed the implementation of President Carlos Andrés Pérez’s neoliberal economic reforms, and the government called on the military to contain the riots. The resulting loss of civilian lives divided junior and senior officers. The radical left-wing conspiracy Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionario 200 (Revolutionary Bolivarian 200 Movement, MBR-200) within the Army, led by Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez, accelerated its planning for a coup d’état, which it attempted in February 1992.This coup attempt was unsuccessful, but it marked the beginning of the end of the democracy consolidated under the aegis of the Pact of Punto Fijo. A deep institutional crisis followed during the 1990s with the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1993 and a major financial and economic crisis during the Rafael Caldera administration (1994-1999).The most important factor influencing the changing role of the Venezuelan military during this period was the emergence of Hugo Chávez as a political figure. He was a military officer, a charismatic outsider, and a radical populist leader. His brief televised appearance at the end of the February 1992 coup, where he stated that he was laying down arms “por ahora” (for now), galvanized political support among traditionally excluded and marginalized sectors of the population, particularly poor and working class Venezuelans.A new role for the militaryChávez won the presidency via electoral means in December 1998, and the formal and informal role of the armed forces changed again, with the promulgation of a new political constitution in 1999. Article 328 of the 1999 Constitution broadened the military’s mission. It states: “The National Armed Forces constitutes an essentially professional institution, without political militancy, organized by the State to guarantee the independence and sovereignty of the Nation and ensure the integrity of the geographic space through military defense, cooperation in the maintenance of internal order, and the active participation in national development, in accordance with this Constitution and the law.”The right to voteChávez appointed active-duty and retired military officers to political and bureaucratic positions throughout the civilian ministries and agencies of the state. Officers occupied up to a third of cabinet portfolios, with the military becoming one of the principal executors of government programs and policy, clearly moving from a restricted domestic role to an active one. Meanwhile, Article 330 gave military personnel the right to vote — something that had been prohibited throughout the democratic period of the Fourth Republic in an effort to minimize partisanship in the armed forces.The military’s role in politics, economics, and society became more entrenched after the failed coup against Chávez in April 2002. Its function was formalized in a number of ways. On November 28, 2002, the National Assembly passed the Ley Orgánica de Seguridad de la Nación (Organic Law of National Security), introducing the idea of “seguridad y defensa integral” (security and integral defense). This law reaffirmed the military’s salient role in society and deepened the institution’s commitment to development and security. In 2005, the Assembly passed the Ley Orgánica de la Fuerza Armada Nacional (Organic Law of the National Armed Forces), reiterating the participation of the military in development tasks and the maintenance of internal order.The indoctrination  The government has also attempted to indoctrinate and dictate the political beliefs of the officer corps, and to a lesser extent, non-officers. A 2007 reform adopted the use of the motto “¡Patria, socialismo o muerte! ¡Venceremos!” (Fatherland, socialism, or death. We will prevail!) as part of military salutes. This is a clear example of privileging ideology over nonpartisanship.In addition, the 2008 Ley Orgánica de la Fuerza Armada Bolivariana, (Organic Law of the Bolivarian Armed Forces, LOFANB) changed the formal title of the military from the National Armed Forces (FAN) to the “Bolivarian” National Armed Forces (FANB), directly implying the defense of a specific political project — that of Bolivarianism — rather than the nation as a whole. This law and subsequent reforms reinforced Chávez’s tendency to create a military structure that would respond directly to him and his political-ideological project rather than remain apolitical, as called for in the constitution.Venezuelan military identity The Venezuelan FANB draws on three legacies to shape its identity. The first is that of Venezuela’s liberator and founding father, Simón Bolívar. His battlefield exploits and political accomplishments during Venezuela’s war of independence from Spain are the cornerstone of Venezuelan military identity. The second draws on Venezuela’s democratic traditions, particularly from the 1958-1998 period. The third more contemporary source of Venezuelan military identity lies in the legacy of Chávez and his efforts to build socialismo del siglo XXI (21st century socialism) in Venezuela.Although these three identities are not always compatible, Chávez and his successors have gone to extraordinary lengths to connect a modern ideologically centered military identity with an organic and historically based traditional identity. Every member of the Venezuelan military must confront the contradictions posed by these identities, as they are present to a different degree in every soldier.Simón Bolívar, whose legacy includes the liberation of five nations in South America between 1810 and 1825, is exalted within traditional Venezuelan military values. The armed forces see themselves as the institution that bears the legacy of this incomparable — in their view —achievement, unmatched by the founding fathers of any other South American state (although perhaps the Argentines might dispute that given the accomplishments of their own General José de San Martín). Therefore, a core identity for the Venezuelan Armed Forces is as liberators, captured in the army’s motto, “Forjador de Libertades” (forger of liberties).Also drawn from the wars of independence is the notion of resistance against great odds and at all costs, in this case against the Spanish Empire. It is worth noting that Simón Bolivar went to extremes during Venezuela’s independence war, declaring “guerra a muerte” (war to the death) against the Spanish, recognizing no limits to the violence that could be employed in the defense of the nation.Another influence on Venezuelan military identity drawn from this period is of the armed forces as the founders of the nation and defenders of territorial and popular sovereignty. It is important to remember that Venezuela had an army before it had a state, with the military taking a proprietary interest in political, economic, and social outcomes in Venezuela. It sees itself as the ultimate guarantor of Venezuela’s independence.A new way of thinking  Under Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro, there have been attempts to link traditional sources of military identity to the ideological precepts of the governing party. Specifically, Chávez posited the need for a new way of thinking for the Venezuelan military. The role of the armed forces as the forgers of liberties was reinterpreted to emphasize the defense of social liberties, the poor, and the marginalized. The experience of Venezuela’s wars of independence was reinterpreted to emphasize the role of indigenous and Afro-Venezuelan resistance to Spanish imperialism.Chávez made comparisons between modern experiences of prolonged popular war (China, Cuba, Vietnam, and Nicaragua) and Venezuela’s long war of independence (1810-1823). Chávez also drew an analogy between Spanish imperialism and U.S. imperialism, emphasizing prolonged popular war integrating civilian and military combatants as the only way to defeat a technologically and economically superior adversary. From his view, this necessitated a “civil-military” union that transformed the entire population into a source of resistance to the enemy. These views were incorporated into Venezuelan military thinking through the four service academies, eventually integrated under the aegis of the Universidad Militar Bolivariana de Venezuela (Venezuelan Bolivarian Military University) in 2010.Although the FANB share many values with armed forces around the world, a more recent layer of values emphasizes the socialist dimension of Chávez’s thinking and its implications for the armed forces. However, the Venezuelan military is also a pragmatic institution that prizes unity above all else, and it will attempt to avoid roles or engage in operations that would put its internal cohesion at risk. Even in times of extreme crisis, such as the 1958 and 2002 coup attempts, or the 1989 urban uprising known as the Caracazo, the officer corps rapidly resolved differences and rallied around their corporate military identity. The officer corps prefers to support constitutional continuity above all, and it will go to some lengths to avoid being placed in situations that would lead it to order the use of force against other elements of the Venezuelan military or against the people.The Venezuelan military education system is a foundation for transmitting norms and values to officers. During the Chávez period, the military educational system emphasized the following values for members of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces: Love of country; Honor; Discipline; Obedience and subordination; Leadership by example; Loyalty; Justice; Moderation; and Heroism.Bolivarian ideasChávez’s Plan for Bolivarian Socialist Management for 2013-2019 added an emphasis on Bolivarian ideals, integrated defense of the nation executed on all battlefronts, and civil-military union — every citizen a soldier and every soldier a citizen. This has been translated concretely into the expansion of military reserves, the creation of a national Bolivarian militia (at times termed the territorial guard), and the creation of committees on integrated security and defense within the Communal Councils that constitute the basic neighborhood based building blocks of local governance.The FANB plays an extensive role in Venezuelan society, politics, and economics. Using Harold Trinkunas’ theoretical framework for understanding civilian control of the military through an examination of the military’s jurisdictional boundaries — external defense, internal security, public policy, and leadership selection — it is clear that the FANB is publicly active in the first three jurisdictions, and possibly even aspects of leadership selection.This is the product of a politically engaged officer class that came of age under the Plan Andrés Bello, the 1999 Political Constitution that formalized the FANB’s large role in the state and encouraged a civil-military union, and subsequent legal changes to fortify the military’s role in society. Since 1999, the armed forces have been a protagonist in policy implementation and politics and played an increasingly large role in society.Although constitutionally bound to be apolitical, the military is nonetheless highly politicized and often functions as a de facto branch of Chavismo. The politicization process began shortly after Chávez assumed power in 1999. However, it increased substantially after the 2002 coup d’état that temporarily removed Chávez from power and led him to identify and penalize coup supporters. The fallout from the coup led the Chávez administration to tighten its circle of trusted supporters; it also meant that many influential government positions or lucrative contract opportunities were given to loyalists within the military. In 2016, around 200 hardcore Chavista military officers were in control of the armed forces’ most sensitive positions.The officer selection and promotion process produces senior officers that tend to view the PSUV favorably and the MUD coalition unfavorably. Accordingly, the country’s top political leadership is intolerant of opposition voices within the officer ranks.Since 2002, the government has punished any perceived support for the political opposition from the senior officer ranks, removing them from office. Significant purges have continued ever since that time, even against officers who had been prominent PSUV allies, suggesting that Chávez and now Maduro remain preoccupied about the loyalty of the high command.Rooting out critics from the militaryIn one striking example in 2007, Chávez denounced retired General Raúl Isaías Baduel, a one-time supporter who had helped the president regain power in 2002. However, Baduel publicly opposed Chávez’s proposed constitutional reforms, leading the president to accuse Baduel of abuse of power, misappropriation of funds, and violation of the military code while he was an officer. Baduel was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison. By rooting out critics from the military, and through frequent turnovers within the officer corps, Chávez and Maduro have minimized the danger that military leadership might pose to the presidency, while politicizing the military high command and empowering officers who can also be counted on to protect the president from rivals.Venezuelan military culture should be understood as consisting of multiple layers. The deepest layer draws on the myths of the war of independence and the Army’s role in liberating Venezuela and four other countries. The historical role of the armed forces and of military presidents in Venezuela’s first 150 years of independence reinforces the military’s self-perception as essential to the survival of Venezuela as a nation-state and as a defender of the Venezuelan people. Layered on top of this is the role of the Venezuelan military as a professional institution, as an apolitical guarantor of democracy, and as a contributor to national development during the democratic period that began in 1958.In addition, the Chavista regime has added an ideological dimension that commits the armed forces to a partisan defense of 21st century socialism and the legacy of Chávez. The Chavista regime has actively tried to influence Venezuelan military culture to accept an ideological commitment to Bolivarianism through use of carrots and sticks.The incentives to comply include an outsized role in state policy, great increases in material resources, and access to corruption and participation in the illicit economy, particularly drug trafficking. This has produced a generation of military officers that have only known the rule of Chavismo. Many are complicit with the regime, both in its (now dwindling) achievements and in its crimes. For the rest, the threat of being denounced to the intelligence services and dismissed enforces at least lip service to Bolivarian ideals. The distribution of particular elements of Venezuelan military culture is uneven across services, generations, and social origins.Those closest to Chávez, those who participated in the 1992 coups, and those who have served in senior leadership position in the Chavista regime have gained greatly and have the most to lose from a change in the status quo. The Army and the National Guard have gained the most under Chavismo, and they have the most to lose if an opposition government takes power.The most junior generation of officers has been the most highly ideologized by the military education system and more likely to contain at least some true believers. Senior officers are selected for their ideological support for the Revolution rather than on merit. Yet there are also many officers who understand that the system is in crisis, that current policies are untenable, and for whom the traditional ideals associated with Venezuela’s military history and its democracy are more salient.Venezuelan society’s views of the military are complex.There has long been a positive view of the military in Venezuelan society. However, societal views are changing as the military has become increasingly associated with the survival of the Chavista regime and the execution of its policies. Those most closely associated with the opposition and those who benefit least from the present regime are most likely to view the armed forces skeptically.In addition, the growing evidence of military complicity with corruption and with the illicit economy further erodes social trust in the armed forces. Yet even for broader society, the bedrock role of the armed forces in Venezuela’s independence and in its democracy is likely to be an enduring legacy, available to future generations if they choose to restructure the civil-military compact.*Brian Fonseca is the director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University’s (FIU) Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairslast_img read more

FBI issues Wi-Fi warning for travelers & hosts of holiday guests

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The FBI issued a warning for holiday travelers not to use public Wi-Fi while on the road, and for hosts to protect private Wi-Fi when entertaining guests, this holiday season because of cybersecurity concerns.The FBI’s suggestions published on its “Tech Tuesday” post this week included the following:Do not allow your phone, computer, tablet or other devices to auto-connect to a free wireless network while you are away from home. “This is an open invitation for bad actors to access your device. They then can load malware, steal your passwords and PINs, or even take remote control of your contacts and camera.”If you do need to connect to a public hotspot – such as at an airport or hotel – make sure to confirm the name of the network and the exact login procedures. “Your goal is to avoid accidentally connecting to a fraudster’s Wi-Fi that they are trying to make look legit.” continue reading »last_img read more

Preston offices: Small is beautiful

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Rapid antigen tests ‘alternative’ but PCR tests remain key to handling pandemic: Eijkman Institute

first_img“PCR tests are the key to handling COVID-19 because they are aimed not only at providing a diagnosis but also used for contact tracing,” she said.Hera said anyone who showed clinical symptoms of COVID-19 and who had made contact with a COVID-19 patient must be swab tested.“If we stay at home but there is one family member, say, the father, who works at the office, and there is a person in the office who tested positive for COVID-19, it’s highly recommended that everyone who lives in that house undergo a PCR test,” she said during The Jakarta Post’s Instagram Live session Jakpost Special “All About COVID-19 Testing” on Friday.Read also: PCR tests remain gold standard, but many factors affect results The other popular method, the rapid antibody test, Herawati said, was best used for surveillance purposes, or to understand the transmission dynamics of the virus, although it is not suitable for making a diagnosis.Therefore, Herawati said that the use of rapid antibody tests as a requirement for travel or any other situation, such as for pregnant women who were in labor, was ill-advised and should be stopped.“The rapid antibody test does not examine the virus but the anti-virus substance generated by the human body. So when people take this test and get a positive result, that means they have been infected with the virus but we don’t know when. To know whether the virus is still active in the body or not, they must take the PCR test,” she said.However, Indonesia’s PCR testing rate remains low despite the country operating 263 laboratories, with 0.10 tests per 1,000 people over a seven-day average, due to scarcity of well-trained personnel, given the complexity of the PCR testing process.Herawati said the rapid antigen test might fill the gap but only for emergency purposes in places where PCR labs did not exist. The rapid antigen test uses only a paper strip containing coronavirus antibodies that react when touching the virus’ spike protein.“But it’s not that simple,” said Herawati. “Even though it is more accurate than the antibody test, with 100 percent specificity [will not cause cross reaction] and 97 percent sensitivity, as well as faster, cheaper and not requiring sophisticated equipment as with PCR test, it still requires well-trained personnel to conduct the test safely as samples are taken through nasal swab”. (aly) Seven months have passed since Indonesia announced its first COVID-19 case with the crisis continuing unabated as testing remains insufficient. Though people in the country are now familiar with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid antibody tests, and only recently started to learn about rapid antigen tests, many are still confused about the purposes of each test and when they should be used.Eijkman Institute deputy director for fundamental research Herawati Sudoyo said that PCR tests remained “the gold standard” for handling COVID-19 and the government must continue its efforts to make the test accessible for all. Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.Topics : #covid19taskforce #mothermessage #wearmask #keepyourdistance #washyourhand #socialdistance #avoidcrowd #usesoaplast_img read more

Queensland’s next million-dollar suburbs

first_imgBen Ittensohn in high demand Paddington which was the only Brisbane suburb realestate.com.au expected to go back into the million-dollar median list by January.THESE three Queensland suburbs are housing the state’s next property millionaires, according to data crunched by realestate.com.au.According to realestate.com.au analysis of CoreLogic trends over the last three years, the next suburbs to cross the million-dollar median line mark a large triangle stretching from Central Queensland through to the New South Wales border and the capital city.For its sure bets to hit $1m median house prices in the next six months, REA backed Paddington in inner Brisbane, Castle Hill in Townsville and Tallebudgera in the southmost part of the Gold Coast.The first to cross the line to $1m was Townsville’s premier suburb, Castle Hill, which was expected to hit a seven digit median within the next two or so weeks.Its current median price was $950,000 with the forecast that it would be $1,040,105 in November.WEEKEND: Queenslanders galore on auction listBORROWING: Bank tightens loans on 91 suburbsTAX: Developers will be made to pay moreREA chief economist Nerida Conisbee said Townsville was starting to see a recovery from the mining downturn, which was “hitting premium suburbs first”.“This will likely extend to other suburbs over the next few years,” she said.Paddington in inner Brisbane, which was currently sitting on a median price just 2,000 below $1m, was expected to hit $1m in the new year. REA’s forecast was that Paddington would go to $1,000,452 in January.“In Brisbane, a million dollars still means something and you can still buy premium property in inner areas like Paddington,” Ms Conisbee said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus1 day agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market1 day agoThe third area expected to go off – Tallebudgera on the NSW-Queensland border – was currently sitting on $917,750, with a million-dollar date set for January too. REA expected it to go to a median of $1,015,569 in about 10 weeks.“We’re constantly seeing high levels of demand for Gold Coast – more people from Sydney are turning to Gold Coast for affordable lifestyle options.”That’s all good news for Ben Ittensohn, 38, who has lived in Paddington since he was 21 and was now bringing up his children there.“I think it will always be on a trajectory for growth because of its proximity to city,” he said. “Relative to other cities like Melbourne and Sydney, it’s amazing we’re still talking about the million dollar mark.”Mr Ittensohn has two properties in the suburb, both of which he planned to hold on to long term.“The investment property is a unit and units are not doing too well right now but we are looking long term. In the short term though it always rents really easy,” he said.“We’d love to upgrade our house next year or in years to come. Does that mean we can stay in Paddington? I really hope so. Maybe we might have to push out to Bardon and other suburbs. We wouldn’t be able to afford to have three properties in Paddington.”The best thing about the suburb, he said, was the stroll to Suncorp stadium. “I’m a big Broncos fan and being close to Suncorp is great. It’s very handy walking distance to the stadium.”undefinedlast_img read more

Netherlands seeks to implement IORP II Directive

first_imgThe Dutch government is set to introduce a proposal to embed the amended European Pensions Directive – known as IORP II – into local law.EU member states have to implement the changes by January 2019 at the latest.The law amendment was mentioned in a planning letter for 2018, which Minister of Social Affairs Wouter Koolmees and State Secretary Tamara van Ark sent to the Netherlands’ House of Commons last Friday.The Netherlands will have to align the Dutch Pensions Act, its act concerning compulsory membership of occupational pension funds and its Financial Supervision Act (WFT) on several points with the amended IORP Directive. The previous government sent the Commons an overview of articles to be changed in spring last year, before the Netherlands’ general election. According to the list the impact will be minor. The concrete translation into law will follow in the next quarter. The proposal has been sent to the Council of State (RvS) before being put before parliament.There are currently two other legislative proposals waiting to be dealt with at the Dutch House of Commons. The first allows for the merger of mandatory industry-wide pension funds with a ringfenced equity base for each of the merger partners. The Dutch pension industry heavily objected to the proposal in its current form.The second legislative proposal was a draft initiative from MP Martin van Rooijen of 50Plus, the Dutch political party for the elderly, to amend the discount rate for liabilities in order to stop pension funds from having to cut benefits. The parliamentary debate on this is scheduled for this week.The planning letter did not contain a single word on reforms of the pension system, which were a major talking point of last year’s election.The letter did, however, announce various assessments, such as the final evaluation of the Pension Equalisation Act (Wet verevening pensioenrechten) and the evaluation of the amended financial assessment framework (FTK). Both are on the agenda for the first quarter. This also applies to the evaluation of the act to strengthen pension fund governance structures (Wet versterking bestuur pensioenfonds).Later this month another letter is expected regarding pension fund communication. This is expected to clarify how many schemes have published their recovery plan on their website. Dutch Parliament buildings in the Hague, the Netherlandslast_img read more