Surging flu cases may herald tough season in England

first_imgDec 24, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – While the US influenza season has started slowly, cases are surging in England, raising concern that the country could have its toughest season since 1999-2000.In England and Wales last week, about 68.5 people per 100,000 saw a general practitioner for influenza-like illness (ILI), a 73% increase over the 39.5 per 100,000 the week before, according to the latest weekly report from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). A BBC News report said the number also is73% higher than the same week a year ago.Dr. Douglas Fleming, director of the RCGP Research Unit in Birmingham, said the increase was significant, according to BBC News. “In the past 10 years, the only substantial outbreak was in 1999-2000,” he said. “I think we could be looking at something that approaches that this year.”The RCGP report says ILI visit rates of 30 to 100 per 100,000 population per week are “usual when influenza viruses are circulating,” rates above 100 are above average, and rates exceeding 200 are “exceptional.” The RCGP data are drawn from about 85 general practitioner clinics around the country, representing an at-risk population of about 840,000.ILI rates rose in all age-groups and regions in the week of Dec 15 to 21, the RCGP report says. The highest rates were seen among 15- to 44-year-olds, with 79.7 cases per 100,000, and 45- to 64-year-olds, with 75.6 cases. The 65-and-older group had 44.7 cases per 100,000, which was more than double the 18 cases seen the week before.The BBC report said experts believe the unusually cold weather might have contributed to the surge in cases.British public health officials define a flu epidemic as an ILI rate of 200 per 100,000, according to the BBC story. The last time that happened in England was in 1989-90, the report said.”That one caught everyone a bit off guard but there’s been a big push on flu vaccination since then,” virologist John Oxford of Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London told the BBC.Oxford and others quoted in the story urged people to get a flu shot if they haven’t done so yet.David Salisbury, director of immunization at the UK Department of Health, told the BBC, “We have had a very unusual run of winters with almost no flu, so we should not be surprised that here is a winter with more flu. It is very difficult to predict what makes the change winter to winter.”In contrast to the situation in England, flu activity in the United States has remained low so far this season, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued Dec 19. The report, for the week that ended Dec 13, said only three states—Texas, Virginia, and Hawaii—were reporting local flu activity. Thirty-six states reported sporadic cases and 11 states were reporting none.Google Flu Trends, a Web site that estimates US flu activity from the volume of Internet searches for flu information, currently shows “moderate” activity only in Hawaii, Maryland, and Virginia, with the rest of the country having low activity.See also: CDC flu surveillance updatehttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/Google Flu Trendshttp://www.google.org/flutrends/last_img read more

Denmark’s PKA to expand pioneering ‘risk-premia’ strategies

first_imgPKA, the DKK195bn (€26.1bn) administrator for five Danish pension funds, is to expand a pioneering equity investment management strategy put in place in 2012 to a range of other asset classes during 2014.The funds began to adopt a strategy designed to get exposure to specific risk-premia and ‘market effects’ in equities two years ago, in collaboration with a number of investment bank and asset management advisers that included Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and AQR.Instead of simply allocating long-only to traditional global, regional or sector equity portfolios, PKA’s strategy combines developed, emerging, frontier and small-cap mandates with around 15 alternative sources of risk and return.These include premia extractable from dividends risk, merger risk and implied volatility risk, factor exposures such as value and momentum, and other market ‘effects’ such as the low-volatility anomaly, and they are implemented using long/short strategies and derivatives. Implementation of the new strategy was completed towards the end of 2012.During 2013, the traditional equity risks returned 22%; the alternative risks, 13%.The funds’ investment portfolios (excluding liability-hedging) returned 9% overall in 2013.Now Jannik Teigen Hjelmsted, a senior portfolio manager at PKA, has revealed to IPE that the funds are set to expand some aspects of this approach into rates, currencies and commodity markets.“Last year, we did a big study internally to see if it is possible to get exposure to value, carry, momentum, volatility arbitrage and the low-volatility effect in other asset classes,” he said.“The high-level conclusion was that we do see those return sources outside equities, and we are now working on ways of getting exposure to them, building on the experience we have working with equities to create an even more robust portfolio.“With the same overall risk budget, we think we can earn a higher return for the total portfolio by having exposure to these new return sources.”He added: “We have some strategies in commodities and currencies already, but, on the back of this study, we will expand those and ramp them up for a more meaningful contribution to the returns of the fund.”In many ways, these new markets lend themselves naturally to the strategies PKA has been applying to equities.Most have deep and liquid derivative markets, and, as Teigen Hjelmsted pointed out, most are also risk-management markets.Unconstrained investors can be well-compensated by other market participants looking to lay-off their risks, and those risks often have low correlation to traditional return sources, he said.The same risk-transfer concept underlies several of the premia PKA seeks out in its equity portfolio, such as dividends and volatility risk premia.“PKA’s investment committee has approved a re-allocation of risk budget to these new strategies, and we expect that, by the end of 2014, we will have most of the strategies in place, as we complete the due diligence on each of them,” Teigen Hjelmsted said.“As with the equity risk premium project, we expect implementation to take about a year.”last_img read more

Tough games ahead for Tipp Ladies Football

first_imgAfter going through 2017 unbeaten, Tipperary’s Ladies Footballers get back into action this weekend.They won the All Ireland Intermediate title as well as promotion in the League last year.The Premier Ladies begin their Division 2 campaign against Armagh this Saturday. Photo © @LadiesFootball Aisling McCarthy – the Intermediate players Player of the Year – admits it will be tough to repeat the successes of last year:last_img

Green Dot PBC to Host Screening of “I Am Jane Doe”…

first_imgMIAMI, Florida – In recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Green Dot Palm Beach County is hosting a screening and discussion of the critically acclaimed documentary “I Am Jane Doe” this Saturday, Jan. 11, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. It will be held in the Allied Health Building Room 101, Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth Campus, 4200 Congress Avenue, Lake Worth.The film chronicles the epic battle that American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters, victims of sex trafficking on Backpage.com, an adult classified advertising website.After the screening, community members and parents are invited to join a discussion and learn how they can put an end to this horrific epidemic. The screening is suggested for ages 12 and older. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.last_img read more

‘There’s a God of football,’ says Gattuso as Napoli win sixth Italian Cup

first_imgNapoli coach Gennaro Gattuso (L) and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis (3rdL holding trophy) celebrate with players after winning the Italian Cup.Rome, Italy | AFP |  Gennaro Gattuso hailed the ‘God of football’ after he lifted his first coaching trophy as Napoli beat Juventus 4-2 on penalties to win the Italian Cup for the sixth time on Wednesday.The final had ended 0-0 in an empty Stadio Olimpico in Rome.Paulo Dybala and Danilo both missed their spot-kicks for record 13-times Italian Cup champions Juventus with Arkadiusz Milik slotting in the winner for Napoli past veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon.It is the first trophy for the southerners since 2014, and also a maiden coaching trophy for Gattuso, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti in December.For former Italy World Cup winner Gattuso his first coaching success comes after the death of his 37-year-old sister Francesca from a rare illness.“In life you cannot accept some things, but football has given me a lot and a great passion,” said the 42-year-old former AC Milan great.“I feel I have a great responsibility. I know I cannot give up and I have never done in my career.“I saw a team tonight that wanted to win, we deserved it.“There’s a God of football, who makes you reap all that you’ve sown.“I am proud of what my lads have done. Now we must continue with this spirit also in the championship, to recover the disadvantage.”Napoli have been reborn under Gattuso and are now sixth in the league table as they target the Champions League places when Serie A returns this weekend after a three-month absence due to the coronavirus.But the defeat was a worrying sign for Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus, who also lost the Italian SuperCup final last December to Lazio. The 61-year-old former Napoli coach had also been chasing his first coaching trophy in Italy, and second in his career after leading Chelsea to the Europa League last season.“There is disappointment for the lads, for the club, for the fans,” said Sarri.“At this moment we lack brilliance to make the game dangerous, and without that brilliance, it becomes more difficult.”– Ronaldo lacking sharpness –The final was played behind closed doors, in the silence of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico which should have hosted Italy versus Switzerland in Euro 2020 on June 17.Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo missed a chance to break the deadlock after five minutes, having also missed a penalty in a goalless semi-final, second leg match against AC Milan last weekend.“It’s unusual two 0-0 draws for us but that just shows the lack of sharpness after such a long break,” said Sarri.“Ronaldo’s in the same shape as the others, like Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa, he is lacking the sharpness to do what works best for him.”Napoli had the best chances of the first half with Lorenzo Insigne’s curling effort denied and Buffon clearing Diego Demme from close range.Buffon pulled off a last-minute save on Nikola Maksimovic to send the game into penalties with extra-time scrapped to minimise injuries after the coronavirus shutdown.Sarri said he hoped the players would now “put the anger and hunger from this disappointment” into their Serie A challenge with the eight-time reigning champions just one point ahead of second-placed Lazio in the table.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Sterling charged, NBA sets June 3 hearing

first_imgIn this Nov. 12, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife Rochelle during the Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. An attorney representing the estranged wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling said Thursday, May 8, 2014, that she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA charged Donald Sterling on Monday with damaging the league and its teams with his racist comments, setting up a June 3 hearing after which owners could vote to terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.The league also said the banned owner has engaged in other conduct that has impaired its relationship with fans and merchandising partners.“All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA constitution and related agreements,” the league said in a statement.Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million by Commissioner Adam Silver after the release of a recording in which he made racist remarks. He has until May 27 to respond to the charge, and the right to appear at the hearing and make a presentation before the board of governors. He has the right to a lawyer at the hearing, but strict courtroom rules of evidence would not apply.Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, the board chairman, will preside over the hearing, which is planned for two days before the start of the NBA Finals. If three-fourths of the other 29 owners vote to sustain the charge, Sterling will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981.Silver has said he is confident he has the votes.Sterling told a female friend, V. Stiviano, not to bring Blacks to Clipper games during their conversation that was recorded. Sterling specifically mentioned Magic Johnson, then criticized the NBA Hall of Famer again as a poor role model during a recent interview with CNN.“Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and ‘minorities’; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities,” the NBA said.The league also charged Sterling with issuing a false and misleading media statement about the matter.Article 13 of the NBA’s constitution, which deals with termination of ownership, states that one of the conditions is if an owner fails or refuses “to fulfill its contractual obligations to the Association, its members, players, or any other third party in such a way as to affect the Association or its members adversely.”A number of sponsors suspended their deals with the Clippers in the wake of Sterling’s remarks, potentially hurting league revenues, and players have said they would consider a boycott next season.“Mr. Sterling’s actions and positions significantly undermine the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA’s relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders,” the league said.If Sterling does not respond to the charge within five business days, or appear at the hearing, it would be deemed an admission of the “total validity of the charges as presented,” according to the constitution.But even the players who want him out believe Sterling will fight, and his attorney sent a letter to the league last week informing it that Sterling wouldn’t be paying the fine.A message on the office voicemail of Sterling’s lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, said he would have no comment now.Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, has said she will fight to keep her 50 percent share of the team even if Donald Sterling is forced to sell, but the league said in its statement that “all ownership interests in the Clippers will be terminated” if the charge is upheld.___Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoneylast_img read more