LYNPARZA Phase III SOLO1 results show improved outcome for patients with advanced

first_img Source:https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2018/solo-1-phase-III-trial-demonstrates-lynparza-maintenance-therapy-cut-risk-of-disease-progression-or-death-by-70-percent-in-patients-with-newly-diagnosed-advanced-brca-mutated-ovarian-cancer.html Oct 22 2018AstraZeneca and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., (Merck: known as MSD outside the US and Canada) today announced detailed results from the Phase III SOLO-1 trial testing LYNPARZA® (olaparib) 300 mg tablets twice-daily as a maintenance treatment for patients with newly diagnosed advanced BRCA-mutated (BRCAm) ovarian cancer who were in complete or partial response following 1st-line standard platinum-based chemotherapy.Results of the trial confirm the statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for LYNPARZA compared to placebo, reducing the risk of disease progression or death by 70% (HR 0.30 [95% CI 0.23-0.41], P<0.001). With median 41 months of follow-up, the median PFS for patients treated with LYNPARZA was not reached compared to 13.8 months for patients treated with placebo. Of those receiving LYNPARZA, 60% remained progression-free at 36 months, compared to 27% of women in the placebo arm. The data were presented at the Presidential Symposium of the ESMO 2018 Congress (European Society for Medical Oncology) in Munich, Germany, and published simultaneously online in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).Sean Bohen, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer, AstraZeneca said: "There is currently a significant unmet need in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer because 70% of women relapse within the first three years after their initial treatment. The remarkable results of the SOLO-1 trial, which showed that 60% of women with newly diagnosed, advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer remained progression-free at three years, highlight the potential of LYNPARZA as a maintenance therapy in the 1st-line setting."Roy Baynes, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Clinical Development, Chief Medical Officer, Merck Research Laboratories, said: "Our collective goal in oncology research is to improve long-term outcomes for people living with cancer. Based on the SOLO-1 trial results, LYNPARZA is the only PARP inhibitor to have demonstrated a significant and clinically meaningful improvement in reducing the risk of progression for newly diagnosed patients with advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer following platinum-based chemotherapy. We are working with regulatory authorities as quickly as possible to seek approval of LYNPARZA for these patients."Kathleen Moore, Co-Principal Investigator of the SOLO-1 trial and Associate Director for Clinical Research, Stephenson Cancer Center at The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, said: "Women with ovarian cancer are often diagnosed with advanced disease, which unfortunately is associated with poor long-term survival rates. The newly diagnosed setting is our best opportunity to achieve a sustained remission, since once a patient's ovarian cancer recurs, it is typically incurable. The SOLO-1 results demonstrate the potential of LYNPARZA maintenance therapy earlier in the treatment pathway and reinforce the importance of identifying a patient's BRCA mutation status at the time of diagnosis—these results could change the way we treat women with advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer."Related StoriesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyThe SOLO-1 safety profile was in line with that observed in prior clinical trials. The most common adverse events (AEs) ≥20% in patients taking LYNPARZA in the trial were nausea (77%), fatigue/asthenia (63%), vomiting (40%), anemia (39%), diarrhea (34%), constipation (28%), dysgeusia (26%), arthralgia (25%), abdominal pain (25%), neutropenia (23%), headache (23%), dizziness (20%) and decreased appetite (20%). The most common Grade ≥3 adverse reactions were anemia (22%) and neutropenia (9%). Seventy-two percent of patients on LYNPARZA remained on the recommended starting dose. Additionally, 88% of patients on LYNPARZA continued treatment without an AE-related discontinuation. Further, 48% of patients on LYNPARZA did not have a dose interruption as a result of an AE.Per SOLO-1 protocol guidelines, patients who demonstrated a complete response (no radiological evidence of disease) at 2 years stopped treatment with LYNPARZA; patients who demonstrated a partial response and who in the opinion of the treating physician can derive further benefit from continuous treatment, were treated beyond 2 years.AstraZeneca and Merck are exploring additional trials in ovarian cancer, including the ongoing GINECO/ENGOTov25 Phase III trial, PAOLA-1. This trial is testing the effect of LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab as a maintenance treatment for patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer, regardless of their BRCA status. Results are expected during the second half of 2019.LYNPARZA is a first-in-class poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor approved in the US since 2014. LYNPARZA has a broad clinical-development program and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to deliver LYNPARZA as quickly as possible to more patients across multiple cancer types, including prostate and pancreatic cancers.LYNPARZA is not currently FDA-approved for advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer treatment in the first-line maintenance setting. LYNPARZA is indicated for the maintenance treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer in response to platinum-based chemotherapy regardless of BRCA mutation status, and for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer patients with a germline BRCA-mutation previously treated with three or more lines of chemotherapy. Physicians should select advanced ovarian cancer patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic. Please see complete indications below.last_img read more

Tactile and proprioceptive stimulation improves effects of perinatal brain injuries in mice

first_img Source:https://www.uab.cat/web/newsroom/news-detail/sensory-stimuli-improves-brain-damage-in-mouse-models-of-preterm-birth-1345668003610.html?noticiaid=1345783627431 Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 5 2019A research conducted by the INc-UAB shows that the same perinatal brain injury caused by hypoxia and ischemia have differentiated effects on each gender, but can be improved through tactile and proprioceptive stimuli. Petting and massaging the mice in the first stages of their life provided neurological protection in their adult life, especially in male mice in which the injury was reduced by half.Perinatal brain injuries hinder neurological capabilities throughout life, causing anything from fine motor problems to severe cognitive limitations. At the same time, therapy treatments currently available are very limited. That is why other types of interventions to help counter these effects are being explored.Now, a new study by researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (INc-UAB), led by Dr Lydia Giménez-Llort, demonstrates that tactile and proprioceptive stimulation -related to the tactile perception and that of the body’s own position, muscle bone, balance and coordination of movements- improves the effects of perinatal hypoxic and ischemic brain injuries throughout the life of the mice. This improvement mainly benefits male mice, in which the neurological damage is reduced by half.The study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, was conducted with mouse models of preterm birth. “We currently know that the immature brain of preterm infants, equivalent to that of mice when born, is at a larger risk for hypoxic-ischemic damage, and male newborns are more susceptible and respond worse to protective and therapeutic interventions”, co-author of the study Mireia Recasens points out. “Our work provides important information on this serious health problem with a damage of 1-3.5 and 6 of every thousand births in developed and developing countries, respectively”.Sensory stimulation was applied from before the injury occurred until the final stages of infancy, a period in preterm infants equivalent to being born at seven months until two years. The manipulation consisted in tactile and propioceptive stroking and massaging of the mice three times within an eight-minute period, twice a day.The results revealed that this intervention had a notable neurological protection on both genders throughout their lives, but researchers highlight that the effects were especially positive among males. The histopathological analysis in males demonstrated 50% less brain damage compared to the non-stimulated mice. There was a 30% decrease among female mice. The neurological protection in both genders was correlated to the improvement of functional capacities, reflexes, and an improvement in memory results.In relation to brain areas, the region involved with motor control and learning and memory (caudate/putamen) was the one to register the largest difference in males, with 80% less damage. In females, the main improvement was a 66% reduction in atrophy to the corpus callosum, a nerve tract connecting the left and right brain hemispheres.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to help”The study illustrates the preventive and therapeutic potential of these types of stimulations in newborns with brain injuries, in a short yet very intense period at levels of brain development and plasticity. It also gives support to the different scientific approaches advocating for the transcendence of perinatal conditions – from sensory stimulation to maternal contact and a warm and protective environment – and its role as an adjuvant to current therapies”, highlights Dr Giménez-Llort, who is also a member of the International Gender Medicine (IGM) and the ISNA, an international association of sensory stimulation and snoezelen, which studies its effects.One same injury with different effects according to genderThe research also analyzed for the first time the impact of perinatal hypoxic and ischemic brain injuries, demonstrating that although the same degree of neuropathological severity exists, the damage affects each gender’s functional, neurological, cognitive and emotional capacities differently depending on the stage of life and task undertaken.”During the infant stage, the damage affects balance, particularly among females, and prehension in males, but both aspects improve as they grow and only reflexes remain damaged. Male mice showed to have infantile hyperactivity, which normalizes as they became adults. In contrast, the anxiety and emotional traits of these injuries lasted throughout their lives. Both genders showed poorer learning processes at short and long terms, but there was more damage to memory among the males”, explains Aida Muntsant, PhD student at the INc-UAB and first author of the paper. The functional evaluations were correlated with the degree of severity of the affected brain areas: hippocampus, caudate/putamen, thalamus, neocortex and corpus callosum.Rehabilitation targets”As a whole, the study shows the different neuronal substrates needed to satisfy functional demands and points to the most resilient neuroanatomical targets to repair these functions through postnatal stimulation”, points out Dr Kalpana Shrisvastava, specialist in neuroimmunology and co-first author of the paper.”Despite the obvious differences between rodents and humans, the study shows the complex relationship between different regions of the brain, risk factors, vulnerability and resilience, and all dependant on gender and age. It also provides new data on behavioral neuroscience within the field of neonatology and the area of pediatric functional rehabilitation, defining a translational scenario in which to study the underlying mechanisms of the functional and neuropathological correlates found”, concludes Dr Lydia Giménez-Llort.last_img read more

Escalating workplace violence rocks hospitals

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 21 2019Across the country, many doctors, nurses and other health care workers have remained silent about what is being called an epidemic of violence against them.The violent outbursts come from patients and patients’ families. And for years, it has been considered part of the job.When you visit the Cleveland Clinic emergency department — whether as a patient, family member or friend — a large sign directs you toward a metal detector.An officer inspects all bags and then instructs you to walk through the metal detector. In some cases, a metal wand is used — even on patients who come in on stretchers. Cleveland Clinic officials say they confiscate thousands of weapons like knives, pepper spray and guns each year. The metal detectors were installed in response to what CEO Tom Mihaljevic calls an epidemic.“There is a very fundamental problem in U.S. health care that very few people speak about,” he said, “and that’s the violence against health care workers. Daily — literally, daily — we are exposed to violent outbursts, in particular in emergency rooms.”Many health care workers say the physical and verbal abuse come primarily from patients, some of whom are disoriented because of illness or from medication. Sometimes nurses and doctors are abused by family members who are on edge because their loved one is so ill.Cleveland Clinic has introduced other safety measures — such as wireless panic buttons incorporated into ID badges and more safety cameras and plainclothes officers in ERs.But these incidents aren’t limited to emergency rooms.Allysha Shin works as a registered nurse in neuroscience intensive care at the University of Southern California’s Keck Hospital in Los Angeles. One of the most violent incidents she has experienced happened when she was caring for a patient who was bleeding inside her brain.The woman had already lashed out at other staff, so she had been tied to the bed, Shin said. She broke free of the restraints and then kicked and punched Shin in the chest — before throwing a punch at her face.“There was this one point where she swung, and she had just glanced off the side of my chin. If I hadn’t dodged that punch, she could have knocked me out,” Shin said. “And she very well could have killed me.”The encounter left Shin shaken and anxious when she returned to work days later. She still has flashbacks.She used to be afraid to speak about these types of attacks, she said, because of what she calls a culture of accepting violence in most hospitals. “It is expected that you are going to get beat up from time to time,” Shin said.According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, incidents of serious workplace violence are four times more common in health care than in private industry. And a poll conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians in August found nearly half of emergency physician respondents reported having been physically assaulted. More than 60% of them said the assault occurred within the previous year.Related StoriesHome-based support network helps stroke patients adjust after hospital dischargeStudy: Two-thirds of pneumonia patients receive more antibiotics than they probably need’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesGroups representing doctors and nurses say that, while the voluntary safety improvements that some hospitals have enacted are a good first step, more needs to be done.There is still a code of silence in health care, said Michelle Mahon, a representative of the labor group National Nurses United. “What happens if they do report it?” she said. “In some cases, unfortunately, they are treated as if they are the ones who don’t know how to do their job. Or that it’s their fault that this happened.”“There’s a lot of focus on de-escalation techniques,” Mahon added. “Those are helpful tools, but oftentimes they are used to blame workers.”In California, the nurses’ labor union pushed for a law giving OSHA more authority to monitor hospital safety. The group is now backing a national effort to do the same thing. “The standard that we are recommending federally holds the employer responsible,” Mahon said. “It mandates reporting of incidents and transparency.”The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, introduced last fall in Congress, would require hospitals to implement plans to prevent violence. And any hospital could face fines for not reporting incidents to OSHA, Mahon said.The goal of the legislation — and of the union — is to hold administrators more accountable for acts of violence in their hospitals.This story is part of a partnership that includes Ideastream, NPR and Kaiser Health News. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Rush University Medical Center offers new FDAapproved treatment for brain aneurysms

first_imgAn aneurysm is an enlarged, weakened area of an artery that is bulging or ballooned. If left untreated, it may rupture, often resulting in severe disability, cognitive loss or death.An estimated six million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm.Wide-necked bifurcation aneurysms occur at a point in an artery where it branches into two arteries and account for 35 percent of all brain aneurysms.The WEB device is made from ultra-fine wires braided together to form a flexible, self-expanding mesh that effectively plugs the aneurysm.During the WEB system procedure, a small catheter is threaded through a tiny incision in the groin area and threaded through the patient’s arteries to the aneurysm site.Using fluoroscopy imaging, the surgeon deploys the WEB device into the sac of the aneurysm where the flexible mesh conforms to the aneurysm walls, minimizing blood flow inside the aneurysm. In comparison to the current mainstay of endovascular treatment in which multiple coils are placed inside the aneurysm, only one WEB is required for an aneurysm.Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpStudy offers clues about how to prevent brain inflammation in Alzheimer’sIn most cases, over time, the body seals off the neck of the aneurysm, essentially curing it.”If we can fix the aneurysm before it ruptures, then the threat of this aneurysm bursting and the patient dying from it essentially goes away,” said Crowley.The WEB device allows doctors to treat wide-necked aneurysms without the need for placing stents in the brain, which keeps patients off of post-procedure blood thinning medications, such as Plavix, that are used for stents. The new device also shortens endovascular procedure time in treating aneurysms compared to alternative therapies.In clinical testing, the WEB system was shown to be highly effective and safer than other options.The minimally invasive nature of the procedure means most patients are able to go home the next day.In addition to unruptured aneurysms, the WEB system may be used in some cases in which the aneurysm has already ruptured, potentially providing more desirable options for treatment.”Before this device was available, ruptured wide-necked aneurysms often required open-brain surgery to clip the aneurysm as a stent is not ideal in those patients because of the need for blood thinners,” said Crowley. “This device will let us endovascularly treat a much larger number of aneurysms than we ever have before, and fewer patients may need surgical clipping of their aneurysm”. Source:Rush University Medical Center This new device is a game changer for patients with complex brain aneurysms. Prior to this major advent in endovascular therapy, treatment was often more risky and difficult for a substantial number of those patients.”Dr. Webster Crowley, chief of cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery at Rush Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 12 2019Rush University Medical Center is offering a newly FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysms that is safer for patients and has a shorter recovery period than other treatments.Rush is the first academic medical center in Illinois and the first comprehensive stroke center in the state to offer the Woven EndoBridge (WEB) Aneurysm Embolization System, a minimally invasive option for treating wide-neck bifurcation aneurysms in certain areas of the brain.last_img read more

Maker of fearsome animal robots slowly emerges from stealth

first_img Walking robots, a YouTube sensation, get ready for market The firm’s previous military projects included a four-legged robotic pack mule that could haul supplies across deserts or mountains—but which sounded like a lawnmower and was reportedly deemed too noisy by the U.S. Marines.The bigger question of just what Boston Dynamics hopes to accomplish remains murky—and that may be by design. Interviews with eight former Boston Dynamics employees and some of Raibert’s former academic collaborators suggest that that the company has long brushed aside commercial demands, not to mention outsiders’ moral or ethical concerns, in single-minded pursuit of machines that mimic animal locomotion.Former employees say the company has operated more as a well-funded research lab than a business. Raibert’s vision was kept alive for years through military contracts, especially from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA. A federal contracting database lists more than $150 million in defense funding to Boston Dynamics since 1994.Boston Dynamics said only it believes a quarter-century of work on robots will “unlock a very high commercial value.” It did not answer when asked if it ever entertained proposals to weaponize them.Building robots that can jump, gallop or prowl like animals was a fringe field of engineering when Raibert and his colleagues began studying kangaroo and ostrich videos in their Carnegie Mellon University research lab nearly 40 years ago. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert shows the SpotMini robot during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. For nine years, the secretive firm, which got its start with U.S. military funding, has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. For nine years, the secretive firm—which got its start with U.S. military funding—has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators.In one, a life-size robotic wildcat sprints across a parking lot at almost 20 miles an hour. In another, a small wheeled rover nicknamed SandFlea abruptly flings itself onto rooftops—and back down again. A more recent effort features a slender dog-like robot that climbs stairs, holds its own in a tug-of-war with a human and opens a door to let another robot pass.These glimpses into a possible future of fast, strong and sometimes intimidating robots raise several questions. How do these robots work? What does Boston Dynamics intend to do with them? And do these videos—some viewed almost 30 million times—fairly represent their capabilities?Boston Dynamics has demonstrated little interest in elaborating. For months, the company and its parent, SoftBank, rebuffed numerous requests seeking information about its work. When a reporter visited company headquarters in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Massachusetts, he was turned away.But after The Associated Press spoke with 10 people who have worked with Boston Dynamics or its 68-year-old founder, Marc Raibert, the CEO agreed to a brief interview at a robotics conference in late May. Raibert had just demonstrated the machine that will be the company’s first commercial robot in its 26-year history: the dog-like, door-opening SpotMini, which Boston Dynamics plans to sell to businesses as a camera-equipped security guard next year.The company hasn’t announced a price for the battery-powered robots, which weigh about the same as a Labrador retriever. Raibert said it plans to manufacture 1,000 SpotMinis annually. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, Boston Dynamics founder and CEO Marc Raibert smiles as he responds to a question during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. For nine years, the secretive firm, which got its start with U.S. military funding, has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, a Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot is walks through a conference room during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. But the secretive firm, which for nine years has unnerved viewers with YouTube videos of robots that jump, gallop or prowl like animal predators, is starting to emerge from a quarter-century of stealth. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Citation: Maker of fearsome animal robots slowly emerges from stealth (2018, June 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-maker-fearsome-animal-robots-slowly.html But agile robots aren’t so sci-fi anymore, even if they can still seem that way. Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, for instance, is a hulking humanoid machine that can be seen hiking across broken ground, jumping onto pedestals, and even performing an ungainly backflip . (The company’s robot videos have not been independently verified.)In videos, the company’s robots wander through a variety of locales—in and around the company’s single-story headquarters, a New Hampshire ski lodge and across the secluded meadows and woodlands near Raibert’s home. In some videos, humans kick the robots or jab them with hockey sticks to test their balance.Michael Cheponis, who worked with Raibert at CMU’s pioneering robot laboratory in the 1980s, calls his former colleague an “American hero” for sticking with a vision that could prove useful to the world. “Marc doesn’t have the slightest Dr. Evil in him,” Cheponis said.The defense contracts began winding down in 2013 when Google bought Boston Dynamics and made clear it wanted no part in defense work. Andy Rubin, then Google’s chief robotics executive and architect of the acquisition, swept into the firm’s lunchroom to give a pep talk to employees shortly after the deal was announced in December 2013.Attendees later said they felt a sense of relief and cautious optimism. “He was talking about really ambitious goals,” said one former employee, who asked not to be identified because of concerns it could hurt career opportunities in the small and tight-knit U.S. robotics community. “A robot that might be able to help the elderly and infirm. Robots that work in grocery stores. Robots that deliver packages.”But the Google honeymoon soon soured. Rubin left the company the following year and his replacements overseeing Boston Dynamics grew increasingly frustrated with Raibert’s approach, according to several people familiar with the transition. Among the concerns: Boston Dynamics’ lack of focus on building a sellable product.Google also grew concerned that “negative threads” on social media about the firm’s “terrifying” robot videos could hurt its image, according to leaked emails from its public relations division obtained by Bloomberg in 2016. Inside the company, the idea that its robots could be turned into weapons occasionally inspired casual workplace chatter, chuckles or discomfort, several former employees said. But few took it seriously.”They’re definitely aware that people are frightened by them,” said Andrew String, a former Boston Dynamics engineer. “The company regularly gets hate mail and other weird stuff.” But he said Raibert never felt a need to explain himself, and instead wanted the technology to speak for itself.By 2016, Google was looking to sell the firm—eventually finding an interested buyer in Japanese tech giant SoftBank, which already has a robotics portfolio that includes the cute humanoid Pepper. The deal closed earlier this year.SoftBank declined to say anything about its plans, but Boston Dynamics’ latest job postings reveal a heightened emphasis on finding something that sells. One posting seeks a “robot evangelist” to help find “market-driven” applications for the machines in logistics, construction and commercial security.Raibert credited Google for pushing the firm forward to perform the “best work we ever did,” but said under SoftBank his team is acting as a “standalone company” again.”We have a very strong plan,” he said. “We’re all digging in and working hard on it.” In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo a Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot is walks through a conference room during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. But the secretive firm, which for nine years has unnerved viewers with YouTube videos of robots that jump, gallop or prowl like animal predators, is starting to emerge from a quarter-century of stealth. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Speculation about Boston Dynamics’ intentions—weapons or servants?—spikes every time it releases a new video. The SpotMini straddles that divide, and Raibert told the AP that he doesn’t rule out future military applications. But he played down popular fears that his company’s robots could one day be used to kill.”We think about that, but that’s also true for cars, airplanes, computers, lasers,” Raibert said, wearing his omnipresent Hawaiian shirt as younger robotics engineers lined up to speak with him. “Every technology you can imagine has multiple ways of using it. If there’s a scary part, it’s just that people are scary. I don’t think the robots by themselves are scary.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Maharashtra plastic ban Industry stares at loss of ₹15000 cr and 3

first_img Tamil Nadu to ban use of plastic items from 2019 Plastics ban in Gujarat may kill over 2000 SMEs: GPMA RELATED environmental pollution Plastic ban comes into effect in Maharashtra COMMENT June 24, 2018 plastics and syntheticscenter_img  The state-wide plastic ban, including carry-bags and thermocol by the Devendra Fadanvis government, will result in a loss of up to ₹15,000 crore and nearly 3 lakh jobs, says the plastic manufacturing industry.“The ban imposed by Maharashtra from Saturday has hit the industry very hard and the plastic industry is staring at a loss of ₹15,000 crore, leaving nearly 3 lakh people jobless overnight,” Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India general secretary Neemit Punamiya told PTI today.Nearly 2,500 members of the association are left with no option but to shut shop following the ban, he added and termed the ban as “discriminatory“.On March 23, the State announced a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items. The government had given three months time to dispose of the existing stocks, which ended on June 23.Industry insiders have said the job losses from the ban will impact the state’s GDP, and also increase banks’ bad loans from the plastic sector.While retailers across the megapolis have said heavy fines for violating the ban will make them financially unviable and force them to turn away many customers, consumers have complained of inconvenience, and wondered whether the ban makes any sense.The civic authorities have imposed a fine of ₹5,000 for the first-time offenders and ₹10,000 for the second-time offenders. Those who violate the ban for the third time will face a fine of ₹25,000, along with a three-month imprisonment. Published on COMMENTS SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE Retailers across the megapolis have said heavy fines for violating the ban will make them financially unviable and force them to turn away many customers while consumers have complained of inconvenience.last_img read more

Kulbhushan Jadhav case On Day 1 India flays Pakistan for flouting Vienna

first_imgPakistan Published on The first day of oral arguments in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague concluded with India accusing Pakistan of “knowingly, wilfully and brazenly” flouting the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. India also attacked the “farcical” military trial of Jadhav, who was found guilty and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017. It requested the court to annul the verdict of the military court, and direct Pakistan to set Jadhav free on the basis of the “review and reconsideration” process that would be available to him in that country. The hearing took place without former Pakistani Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who was taken ill before the proceedings commenced and before he could be sworn in as an ad hoc ICJ judge. He is expected to take part in proceedings on Tuesday. Speaking outside the court following the proceedings, Harish Salve, India’s Counsel on the case, expressed his optimism that “justice will be done,” at the ICJ. However, Pakistan’s lead counsel Khawar Qureshi QC said he had been “disappointed” by India’s arguments, insisting there was “nothing new,” in them, and that “fundamental questions” remained unanswered.Domestic propagandaThe case stripped of “irrelevances’ put forward by Pakistan boiled down to these two main issues around the military court proceedings and consular access, Salve told the Monday morning hearing. He said that the 2017 provisional measures introduced by the ICJ that required Pakistan to not execute Jadhav until the full proceedings could take place had saved “the imminent threat of life to an innocent Indian national” and had given “hope” to the whole country. He rejected Pakistan’s contentions that the circumstances of the case — and the fact that Jadhav is accused of espionage and the case relates to national security — made those consular access requirements redundant, and repeatedly accused Pakistan of using the case of Jadhav for domestic propaganda purposes. India also maintains that it is the 1963 Convention on consular relations rather than the 2008 bilateral agreement on consular relations that applies to the case, putting the case firmly in the jurisdiction of the court. The lack of consular access had been the prime focus of the 2017 hearing at which India had successfully sought provisional measures from the court requiring Pakistan to stay the execution of Jadhav pending the main hearings. On Monday, Salve also focussed on the military court system in Pakistan, attacking the increased use of such courts to try civilians, in “opaque and secret” proceedings. 274 civilians — including “possibly children” had been convicted in Pakistan’s military courts over the past couple of years, he said, contrasting it with India which had “never considered amending,” the Army Act to cover civilians. In a detailed account of the events that had unfolded since March 3 2016, when Pakistan said it had arrested Jadhav in Balochistan, Salve noted not only the repeated lack of consular access, despite repeated requests from India but also the lack of information provided to it on the specifics of the trial process and charges against Jadhav. Instead, he accused Pakistan of engaging in repeated propaganda, and of using the case to build a narrative against India. “We have not seen the evidence against Jadhav, we have seen the doctored confession “over and over again,” he said.Unexpected developmentThe high rate of “confessions” from those civilians who had been found guilty by military courts raised questions about the adequacy of safeguards within the military courts, including raising the possibility of torture being used to extract confessions, and the “high risk of mistreatment,” he said.Rather than pushing for the court to order a review of the case in Pakistan, Salve argued that the evidence suggested that the review and relief mechanisms available to Jadhav and India were “highly inadequate.” Pakistan’s “military courts cannot command the confidence of this court and should not be sanctified,” he told the court, during the opening session that took nearly the entire three hours allocated to the proceedings.The proceedings commenced with an unexpected development, as the former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was taken ill ahead of the proceedings and left the court’s grounds by ambulance. He was therefore not sworn in as an ad hoc judge in the case as had been planned. It meant that the proceedings took place before the 15 ICJ judges, including former Indian Supreme Court Judge Dalveer Bhandari. However, at the start of the proceedings the President of the Court, Somalian judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf left open the possibility of him taking part in subsequent proceedings, telling the court at the start of the hearing simply that he “will not be sitting today.”On Tuesday, Pakistan will respond with its opening oral arguments, also set over a three-hour time period. This will be followed by two one and a half hour sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, where India and Pakistan will present their concluding arguments. There is no set time period for a judgement to be made, though typically such cases take around six months to be considered. Judgements are based on a simple majority decision, and in the case of a tie, the President has the casting vote. The decisions of the court are binding, final and non-appealable, though in exceptional circumstances certain recourses are available to parties, including requests for interpretation of the judgement.The ICJ is the main judicial arm of the UN, established in 1945 to deal with “contentious” cases submitted to it by member states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it, but is not a criminal court.The case is only the fourth one involving a death sentence to be heard by the ICJ since the first in 1999, and the first that does not involve the US. (Those involved Germany, Mexico and Paraguay.While the Pulwama terrorist attack on February 14 was not specifically mentioned by India during the proceedings, Salve attacked Pakistan’s “feeble” attempts at tackling cross border terrorism.. Ahead of the proceedings, Pakistan attacked India’s response to the terrorist attack and accusations of Pakistani involvement, alleging a “clear dichotomy” in India’s position by denying “when confronted with voluntary confessions and acceptance of responsibility by its serving Naval commander Jadav for perpetrating terrorist violence in Pakistan.” crime, law and justice SHARE RELATED SHARE SHARE EMAIL India urges ICJ to annul Pakistan military court verdictcenter_img India slams Pakistan for making charges on Jadhav’s wife’s shoes India February 18, 2019 COMMENT Indian Lawyer Harish Salve, Dr. V. D. Sharma and Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretaries, Indian Ministry of External Affairs at the International Court of Justice during the final hearing of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in The Hague, Netherlands.   –  REUTERS COMMENTSlast_img read more

Karnataka crisis SC verdict on pleas of rebel MLAs tomorrow

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will on Wednesday morning pronounce its order on the pleas of 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs seeking direction for Karnataka speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to accept their resignations from the assembly. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi concluded the hearings of the rebel MLAs, the speaker and Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. Will decide on disqualification, resignation of rebel MLAs by Wednesday: Karnataka Speaker to Supreme CourtSumming up the arguments, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the 15 MLAs, asked the bench to continue with its interim order directing the speaker to maintain status quo on the issue of resignations and disqualification of the MLAs. The counsel for the rebel MLAs also asked the bench that if the House assembles for business, the 15 rebel MLAs be exempted from appearing on the basis of the whip of the ruling coalition which, he said, has been reduced to minority government. Kumaraswamy told the top court that it had no jurisdiction to pass the two interim orders asking the speaker to decide and, later, to maintain the status quo on the resignations and disqualification of the rebel MLAs. Live updates: Karnataka crisis Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Kumaraswamy, told the bench that the speaker cannot be compelled to decide this issue in a time bound manner. “When resignation process is not in order, court cannot direct speaker to decide by 6pm,” Dhavan told the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose. Kumaraswamy also told the court that the rebel MLAs were hunting in a pack to destabilise his government and that the court should not have entertained their petitions. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the speaker, told the bench that no direction was issued to the Karnataka speaker by the court in the midnight hearing when floor test was ordered and B S Yedurappa was invited to form the government last year. He told the bench that the speaker was yet to decide on the resignations and disqualification of rebel MLAs and the court had ample power to punish. Speaker urged the apex court to modify its earlier order directing him to maintain status quo in the ongoing political crisis in the state even as the rebel MLAs accused him of acting in a partisan manner by not deciding on their resignations. Singhvi said the speaker would decide on both disqualifications and resignation of the rebel MLAs by Wednesday but the court should modify its earlier order asking him to maintain status quo. Rohtagi argued that the speaker cannot keep the resignation of these MLAs pending and by doing so he is acting in a partisan manner. Countering his submissions, Singhvi told the bench that speakers cannot be asked to decide the matter in a time-bound manner. “How can the speaker be directed to decide in a particular manner?” Singhvi asked the court. “Such orders are not passed even to a trial court.” He also said that a valid resignation should be submitted to the speaker personally and the MLAs appeared before him only on July 11, five days after they submitted their resignations to his office. The rebel MLAs told the court that the speaker kept their resignation pending just to disqualify them and there was nothing wrong in resigning to escape disqualification. Rohatgi submitted before the bench that the speaker can be directed to decide on the resignation of the MLAs by 2pm and he can take a call on their disqualification later. The bench asked Rohatgi if there was any constitutional obligation on the speaker to decide on the MLAs’ disqualification which was initiated after the resignation. Rohatgi said the rules say to ‘decide now’ on resignation. “How can the speaker keep it pending?” The rebel MLAs told the court that the state government has been reduced to minority and the speaker, by not accepting their resignations, has attempted coercing them to vote for the government in trust vote. Disqualification proceeding is a mini-trial under the Constitution’s 10th Schedule, Rohatgi said, adding that resignation is different and its acceptance is based on a single criterion alone — whether it is voluntary or not. There is nothing to show the rebel MLAs conspired with BJP, the senior advocate said. The disqualification proceeding was nothing but to scuttle resignation of MLAs, he said. He also told the court that the disqualification proceedings were initiated for not being a disciplined soldier of the party and for not attending meetings outside the House. The bench further asked if all the disqualification pleas are on same grounds, to which Rohatgi replied “more or less same”. He had also told the court that the speaker has to only see if the resignations were voluntary or not. “Resignation has to be accepted, there is no other way to deal with it,” Rohatgi told the court. “It is my fundamental right to do whatever I want to do and cannot be bound due to non-acceptance of resignation by speaker,” submitted Rohatgi. There is vote of confidence in assembly and the rebel MLAs may be forced to follow whip despite resigning, he said. Rohatgi told the court that the 10 MLAs resigned on July 6 and disqualification proceedings against two lawmakers were pending. “When was the disqualification proceedings filed against rest eight MLAs,” the top court asked, to which Rohatgi responded that disqualification proceedings started against them on July 10. 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