Daily Archives: March 17, 2015

Device manufacturer sued again in 'superbug' outbreak at L.A. hospital

(Reuters) – A 76-year-old man infected with a drug-resistant “superbug” at a Los Angeles hospital has sued the manufacturer of a medical device that caused the illness in the fifth lawsuit related to the bacterial outbreak at the facility, his attorney said on Tuesday.

Plaintiff Domingo Gomez, who was infected by a contaminated device during an endoscopy at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, suffered significant harm from the infection, according to his lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Gomez’ attorney, Peter Kaufman, declined in a phone interview to release more information about the man’s condition or say why he initially went to the large teaching hospital.

UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center officials have acknowledged that seven people were infected with carbapenem-resistant enterobacteria, or CRE, during endoscopies at the hospital between Oct. 3 and Jan. 28 and that two of them later died.

Kaufman said his firm has filed lawsuits against Olympus Medical Systems Corp, the manufacturer of the endoscope device, in five of those cases, including on behalf of Gomez. He said he was unaware of any other suits tied to the outbreak at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center.

The complex design of the endoscopes, which are used to examine a patient’s digestive tract, linked to the California outbreak may hinder proper cleaning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned.

Hospital officials have said that, aside from the seven cases of confirmed infections, 172 former patients were informed they may have been exposed to the superbug and they were offered home test kits.

No new infections have been discovered among that group but four former patients were determined to be carriers of the disease, which does not put them at immediate risk, said Dale Tate, a spokeswoman for UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center.

A spokesman for Olympus declined to comment on the lawsuit.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bill Trott)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

California judge dismisses gang conspiracy case against rapper

Rapper Brandon Duncan, also known as Tiny Doo, leaves court during a lunch- hour break in the motion to dismiss charges against him in San Diego, California March 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake


(Reuters) – A San Diego judge has dismissed gang conspiracy charges against a rapper whose music prosecutors said encouraged gun violence against rival gangs, in a ruling his lawyer characterized as a victory for free speech.

Rapper Brandon Duncan, who uses the stage name Tiny Doo, was one of seven people charged last June in a 16-count indictment that centered on nine shootings that took place in 2013 and 2014 involving the so-called Lincoln Park gang.

Duncan was charged with nine counts of conspiracy to participate in a criminal street gang by prosecutors who said his music and social media presence encouraged the violence, although he was not accused of taking part in the shootings.

On Monday afternoon, San Diego Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian threw out charges against Duncan and co-defendant Aaron Harvey, ruling there was no evidence that the two defendants had participated in the crimes or benefited from them.

Hanoian also expressed concern that the actual shooter or shooters had not been identified or charged.

“This is a First Amendment victory,” said Brian Watkins, who represents Duncan. “Brandon had no knowledge of and no part in the shootings but he was charged as though he did because he is in gangster rap. It’s entertainment, not crime.”

The case has drawn local and national attention, with hundreds of people participating in local rallies against what critics have said was overly broad use of conspiracy charges against members of minority communities.

The San Diego District Attorney’s office said on Tuesday in a statement it was reviewing the judge’s decision and considering whether or not to appeal.

“It’s unfortunate that in spite of the evidence transparently available in the court record and court’s rulings that clearly establish active gang membership during the time of the shootings, the media and community has allowed itself to be manipulated by individuals who are misrepresenting their true level of gang involvement,” the statement said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)


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Apple TV entices networks with promise of mobile viewers

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:08am IST

A general view of an Apple store in the Manhattan borough of New York September 7, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A general view of an Apple store in the Manhattan borough of New York September 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) planned video streaming service may not be a tough sell for media companies who could be enticed by the company’s ubiquitous iPhones and iPads, which represent a new stream of growth for an industry losing viewers.

Rising mobile viewership, and faster and more reliable mobile networks are paving the way for online TV subscription services to go mainstream in the near future. Add in a gradual decline in cable users in general and it offers a compelling opportunity for media firms to take notice.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that some broadcasters are in talks to sign on to a new Apple service. Such talks have been reported for years, but the Journal said that Apple hoped to launch in the fall. Apple and the networks declined to comment.

Viewers have grown comfortable with online streaming because of Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) Prime, and traditional media is following suit with Sony Corp (6758.T) preparing a Web TV service, and satellite operator Dish (DISH.O) launching its own version, called Sling TV.

But an Apple offering may be able to provide viewers something traditional cable and satellite distributors cannot: a huge user base and the ability to work in concert with smartphones and tablets.

“The time is right,” said BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk. “Holding the screen in front of you is an experience that a new generation is growing up with.”

And cable “operators by not developing their own technology fast enough have really left the door open for Apple not only to provide a lower-cost solution that has greater functionality, but that’s easier to use when on the sofa looking at the 50-inch.”

Apple offers roughly 100 million active iPhone users in the United States alone, by some estimates. Although there is certainly overlap, that’s roughly the same size as the U.S. pay television market.

By comparison, there are only 10 million broadband subscribers in the country who do not have pay television said Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi. That smaller group, often seen as the prime target for Web TV, may not be seen as significant enough for some content companies.

“Risking revenues on the former group to attract the latter is likely bad business, unless the content providers believe that the former will inevitably decay,” he said.

“These issues are real and likely the biggest stumbling blocks to an Apple television service.”

However, analyst Craig Moffett says that broadcasters and cable channels see the writing on the wall, since pay TV subscription growth has been stalling for years.

“There is now real economic pressure on the model. The old way of doing business isn’t working any more. For the first time the media companies feel compelled to experiment,” said Moffett, of MoffettNathanson Research.

(Editing by Peter Henderson and Bernard Orr)

Source: Newsjyoti India Technology

Quicksilver Resources files for Chapter 11 protection

(Reuters) – Quicksilver Resources Inc and
its U.S. units filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on
Tuesday, adding to a list of oil and gas producers who have
folded amid low oil prices.

The company listed assets of $1.21 billion and liabilities
of $1.35 billion in its bankruptcy petition in a Delaware court.

Quicksilver said its Canadian units were not included in the
chapter 11 filing.

Quicksilver Resources Canada Inc has signed an agreement
with its lenders for forbearance until June 16, 2015, of any
default under the agreement arising from the chapter 11 filing.

Master limited partnership Crestwood Midstream Partners LP
, which supplies Quicksilver’s operations in the Barnett
shale, expects to actively participate in the bankruptcy
proceedings.

Crestwood estimates it had not invoiced about $2.2 million
of pre-petition services at the time of the filing.

The company plans to continue providing services to
Quicksilver related to existing deals.

Oil prices have slid some 50 percent since June because of
excessive supply, weighing down oil and gas companies’ cash
levels and raising debt.

BPZ Resources Inc , a Texas-based oil
producer filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, March 9. Oil
and gas contractor Cal Dive also filed for bankruptcy
protection earlier this month.

The case is In Re: Quicksilver Resources Inc, Delaware
Court, District of Delaware, Case No: 15-bk-10585.

(Reporting by Kanika Sikka in Bengaluru. Editing by Andre
Grenon)


Source: Newsjyoti Bankruptcy News

A mother’s quest to cure her son

Nashville, Tennessee – At 55-years-old, Terry Jo Bichell is a couple of months away from earning a PHD in neuroscience. She says it puts her one step closer to achieving a goal she set out for herself 16 years ago – to cure her son Louis from a debilitating genetic disorder.

A mother of five, Terry Jo had spent her life dedicated to helping woman and children, first as a documentary film maker in Africa and then as a nurse and midwife.

“When I had my fifth kid and he turned out to be diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome I stopped caring about other woman children and other woman’s problems and that is really true.

Terry Jo shifted her entire focus to Louis.

Angelman Syndrome, or AS, is a neuro-genetic disorder characterized by intellectual and developmental disabilities. It occurs when the maternal gene, UBE3A, is either missing or damaged. That gene regulates the concentration of a protein important to development in the brain.

For more than a decade, Terry Jo sought out researchers and helped fund experiments and clinical trials in the hopes of finding treatments for AS. Over time, she came to the realization that in order to really make a difference in the world of doctors and scientists, she needed to become one herself.

During that time, research toward experimental treatments for AS progressed, revolving around ways to activate the paternal copy of UBE3A in the brain. The experiments proved promising in mouse models. The problem is that even if a drug is successful in activating the paternal gene, the researchers had no viable way to gauge if it is actually working as changes could take months or years to manifest. They needed a litmus test of sorts.

Terry Jo found one.

As part of her studies, she started working with Carl Johnson, a professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University. They discovered a link between AS and circadian rhythms with mice models showing that the disorder effects the biological clock.

“Our piece of the puzzle could be to use this biological clock phenomenon to see if the therapeutic treatment changes the biological clock which would suggest that, yes, that treatment is really working.”

Terry Jo feels her life has gone full circle, back to the days of helping others.

“So all of this has been a push to cure my kid and then in the end, I am going to cure other woman’s kids and you know what? And that is so great. I met this baby just a couple of months ago. I was looking at that baby and I was thinking, we are going to cure that baby, we are going to cure that baby.”

Terry Jo says she will not rest until that day comes.


Source: Newsjyoti Health

Nektar drug fails late-stage study in breast cancer patients

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n”>(Reuters) – Nektar Therapeutics said its experimental drug failed to meet the main goal in previously treated patients with advanced breast cancer in a late-stage study.

The drug, NKTR-102, provided a 2.1 month improvement in median overall survival over patients on chemotherapy in the trial, but the effect was not statistically significant, the company said.

Patients in the study either received the drug or a single chemotherapy agent.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. This year, an estimated 207,000 women will be diagnosed with the cancer and over 39,000 women will die from the disease in the United States.

Nektar is exploring potential paths forward for NKTR-102 in metastatic breast cancer with regulatory agencies, it said on Tuesday.

The drug is also being tested in several other cancers.

Nektar shares were halted prior to the announcement. They closed at $14.13 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

Netanyahu draws even with main rival in Israeli election: exit polls

Likud party supporters react after hearing exit poll results in Tel Aviv
(Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu closed a gap with center-left rival Isaac Herzog in a hard-fought Israeli election on Tuesday, exit polls showed, leaving both men with a chance to rule but Netanyahu with the clearer path to forming a coalition.

 

A new centrist party, Kulanu, led by a former member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, seemed destined to emerge the kingmaker in possibly weeks of coalition negotiations.

Two television polls, for Channel 10 and Channel 1, said Likud and Herzog’s Zionist Union had each secured 27 seats each in the 120-member Knesset. Channel 2 gave Netanyahu a narrow edge, with 28 to 27 for his challenger.

Final results are not expected until early on Wednesday morning.

In the final days of the campaign, opinion polls had given Zionist Union a lead of three to four seats over Likud, a margin that appeared to give Herzog a fighting chance to score an upset over the prime minister.

The election had turned into a referendum on whether Israelis had grown tired of the leader they call “Bibi” after nine years in power spread over three terms.

Netanyahu took extraordinary steps to drum up support from right-wing voters, reversing policy on the eve of the election with an announcement that he would never allow a Palestinian state.

On election day he accused left-wing groups of trying to remove him from power by busing Arab Israeli voters to polling stations, a statement that drew a sharp rebuke from Washington.

If the exit polls prove accurate, Netanyahu could have smoother path towards a coalition, with right-wing and religious parties his traditional allies.

But Herzog also could prevail, should Kulanu and a bloc of Arab Israelis – which the polls predicted would be Israel’s third largest party – throw their support behind him.

A national unity government grouping both major parties is also possible. Before the vote, Netanyahu rejected such a coalition.

PRICKLY RELATIONSHIP

A fourth Netanyahu term would probably also prolong his prickly relationship with Israel’s main ally, the United States, at least as long as Barack Obama is in the White House.

Netanyahu has focused on the threat from Iran’s nuclear program and militant Islam. But many Israelis say they are tiring of the message, and the center-left’s campaign on social and economic issues, especially the high cost of housing and everyday living in Israel, appears to have won support.

In a possible sign of edginess, Netanyahu took to Facebook to denounce what he said was an effort by left-wing non-profit groups to get Arab-Israelis out to sway the election against him. “The right-wing government is in danger,” he wrote. “Arab voters are going to vote in droves. Left-wing NGOs are bringing them in buses.”

That drew a rebuke from Washington, where the Obama administration is already angry with Netanyahu for delivering a speech to Congress opposing its nuclear talks with Iran.

“We’re always concerned, broadly speaking, about any statements that may be aimed at marginalizing certain communities,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Some political rivals even accused Netanyahu of racism over the remarks.

In the last days of campaigning, Netanyahu has fought to shore up his Likud base and lure voters from other right-wing, nationalist parties, promising more building of Jewish settlements and saying the Palestinians would not get their own state if he were re-elected.

Those sweeping promises, if carried out, would further isolate Israel from the United States and the European Union, which believe a peace deal must accommodate Palestinian demands for a state in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

When Netanyahu called the election in December, two years early, he looked set for an easy victory. But in the final weeks there has been a sense that change could be in the air. Some voters have talked of Netanyahu fatigue.

By 8 pm (12.00 p.m. EDT), turnout was running at 66 percent, higher than the last election in 2013.

No party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s 67-year history. It is up to Israel’s president, after consulting with parties that won seats in parliament, to choose a leader to try to form a coalition.

The nominee will have up to 42 days to negotiate a coalition, and it may be mid-May at the earliest before Israel has a new government.

Moshe Kahlon, the leader of Kulanu, a centrist party that broke away from Likud, is seen as perhaps the most important “kingmaker”, with the exit polls giving him 9-10 seats. A former communications minister credited with bringing down mobile phone prices, Kahlon could ally with either Netanyahu or Herzog.

Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, could also ally with either side. According to the exit polls, he will receive 11-12 seats. But he does not sit comfortably with religious parties, making him less flexible in coalition talks.

If the center-left is to assemble a coalition, it will also need the support of ultra-Orthodox parties, which the polls said would win 13-14 seats.

Another factor is the parties from Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority, which for the first time have united under one list that exit polls said would win 12 to 13 seats.

While they are unlikely to join a government, they could give a center-left coalition tacit support and create a block against Netanyahu.

(Additional reporting Dan Williams and Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Peter Graff)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Another four U.S. Ebola aid workers flown back to U.S. for monitoring

(Reuters) – Another four U.S. healthcare workers were flown back to the United States for monitoring for possible exposure to the Ebola virus, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

The return of the four U.S. healthcare workers brings to 16 the number of Americans who have returned to the United States from Sierra Leone since Friday, the CDC said.

That includes a healthcare worker in critical condition who is being treated for Ebola in a Maryland biocontainment unit run by the National Institutes of Health.

Most of the healthcare workers are employed by the aid group Partners in Health.

Only one of the 16 has tested positive for Ebola. The rest are being flown to Atlanta and Maryland, which have special biocontainment units. They are all undergoing monitoring for Ebola in self-imposed isolation as they wait out the remainder of the 21-day Ebola incubation period.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the agency is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the exposures.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

Alibaba investors face lock-up battered but largely unbowed

An employee is seen behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014. REUTERS/Chance Chan

An employee is seen behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company’s headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Chance Chan


(Reuters) – As Alibaba (BABA.N) was preparing to sell shares to U.S. investors for the first time, Jerry Verseput tried to persuade his clients not to throw money at the giant China-based e-commerce company because he thinks IPOs are a gamble, especially those with a lot of hype.

“I said if you want to go play with the money, I will do it for you but understand this is for entertainment purposes and not an investment strategy,” said Verseput, president of Veripax Financial Management in Folsom, California, who manages about $65 million. For the two clients that insisted on buying stock, Verseput made sure they only invested less than one percent of their assets in the IPO.

That was probably good advice. Six months after Alibaba’s IPO, the shares are down more than 29 percent from their November high. Alibaba opened on Sept. 19 at $92.70, ended its first day at $93.89 and reached its peak on November 13, when it hit $120. The stock closed Tuesday at $84.50, about 24 percent above the $68 IPO price.

Alibaba, which already commands 80 percent of the Chinese market and handles more ecommerce than Amazon (AMZN.O) and eBay (EBAY.O) combined, trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of about 30, compared with Seattle-based Amazon, which sports a three-digit P/E.

On Wednesday, a lock-up period expires allowing insiders owning a total of 437 million Alibaba shares sell. A larger lock-up of more than a billion shares held by insiders, including Yahoo! Inc (YHOO.O) expires in September. Some investors are worrying about further drops in the stock as insiders sell.

At TD Ameritrade (AMTD.N), which typically serves retail investors, more than half of those who bought shares of Alibaba at the IPO still own the stock, while 24 percent sold within a month of buying.

“It’s been ugly,” said Alan Haft, a Newport, California-based financial adviser who said he “shamefully went on CNBC touting the stock” before the IPO and talked about a dozen of his clients into buying it. He says he still sees a good long term picture for Alibaba, but not right away. “The stock is probably going to get worse so in the short term it’s a regret.”

While some anticipate a small drop in the stock price Wednesday as a result of the lockup, many analysts believe the end of the lockup has already been priced in.

And given Alibaba’s size, any selling will get absorbed easily, said Gil Luria, managing director of equity research for Wedbush Securities. The 25-day average trading volume for Alibaba is 14.5 million shares.

Still, the 437 million shares that go on sale on Wednesday exceed the 368 million it sold in the IPO. And some investors have come back down to earth after seeing its most recent quarterly results. While non-GAAP net income, which strips out exceptional items, rose 25 percent to 13.12 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) in the quarter ended December 2014, investors zeroed in on disappointing sales growth: revenue rose 40 percent from the previous year, down from a 53.7 percent gain in the September quarter.

Alibaba’s underwhelming holiday quarter performance and a public verbal tussle with a powerful Chinese industry regulator helped trigger the stock’s decline. They brought to the fore two major risks to further gains:: politics and the shift to mobile commerce. The lower-than-expected December-quarter revenue underscored how Alibaba earns less on smartphones and tablets as its users shift toward mobile shopping.

As of Feb 27, short interest in the stock came to almost 57 million shares, or 2.3 percent of Alibaba’s outstanding stock (2.488 billion). That’s more than double the 21 million shares as of Sept 30, when the Nasdaq began compiling data.

“Typically there is a lot of pent-up anticipation around the expiration but history shows that a vast majority of times that anticipation doesn’t manifest,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York, who is short Alibaba shares. “When the time comes for expiration you don’t see a big decline in the stock unless if there is something fundamentally wrong or something has happened to change the investment thesis.”

Several of the biggest hedge fund managers, including Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors, David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management and Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners LLC dissolved their stakes in Alibaba at the end of last year, while others reduced their holdings, according to U.S. regulatory filings.

Other money managers, like Haft, expect more rockiness in coming months, but think Alibaba will make them money.

COUNTERFEIT QUESTION

Alibaba’s stock has taken a hit as Chinese regulators stepped up their scrutiny of counterfeit products on its ecommerce sites. In late January China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce issues a now-retracted report accusing Alibaba for allowing the sale of fake products on its sites, among other things.

However, Alibaba has ramped up its focus on identifying and removing counterfeits from its sites.

“I think in the longer term Alibaba is going to be a more credible company in the international market,” Haft said. “It will take another six months to a year for the stock to cycle back, but I think the fundamentals of the company are strong.”

September’s lockup of 1.6 billion shares could have a bigger effect on the stock, but how much will depend on whether Alibaba has made significant progress on dealing with the counterfeiting issue, said Henry Guo, a senior analyst with Greenwich, Connecticut-based JG Capital Corp.

Robert H. Christie, an Alibaba spokesman, declined to comment.

As for Verseput’s two clients, they’re hanging on. “They are thinking it’s a big company and 20 years from now it should be a good investment,” he said.

(Reporting by Jessica Toonkel, Edwin Chan and Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Linda Stern and John Pickering)


Source: Newsjyoti Tech

Republican congressman with ‘Downton Abbey’ office resigns

U.S. Republican lawmakers Lummis and Schock arrive at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave


(Reuters) – U.S. Representative Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois whose Downton Abbey-styled office launched a series of media reports questioning his use of taxpayer dollars, announced on Tuesday that he is resigning from Congress.

 

The 33-year-old congressman from Peoria, Illinois had been a rising star in House Republican circles since he was elected in 2008. But he said in a statement that he was stepping down “with a heavy heart.”

“The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself,” Schock said in a statement.

Schock did not notify any House Republican leaders before making his decision, a House Republican aide said.

“With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first. I appreciate Aaron’s years of service, and I wish him well in the future,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

Schock gained a following for posting flashy photos on social media of himself traveling, surfing and on other adventures. But he was hounded with questions after the Washington Post wrote in February about lavish decorations in his Capitol Hill office based on the television series “Downton Abbey.”

“Bright red walls. A gold-colored wall sconce with black candles. A Federal-style bull’s eye mirror with an eagle perched on top. And this is just the Illinois Republican’s outer office,” the Post wrote at the time.

Although staff told the Post that the interior design work had been done for free, the story prompted more investigations into Schock’s spending habits, with several media outlets reporting that he failed to disclose some expenditures and had to repay others after improperly using taxpayer funds.

The newspaper USA Today called him one of the top travel spenders in the U.S. House, even out-flying the state’s two senators.

Schock will resign as of March 31, his statement said, citing a statement from the lawmaker.

The senior senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, said: “I don’t know what the future holds for Aaron Schock but I was stunned that he resigned.”

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will hold a special election to fill Schock’s seat. “This is a sad day for the people of Illinois and the 18th District,” Rauner said in a statement.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Emily Stephenson, with Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics