first_img Posted by LONDON — Cruise Critic, the world’s leading cruise review site and online cruise community, has announced the winners of the inaugural Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards. The awards name the best cruise destinations of the year – across 15 regions around the world – based entirely on reviews posted to the Cruise Critic website.Popular ports include the Caribbean’s St. Maarten, which receives visits from lines including P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises, and Alaska’s Glacier Bay which is visited by a number of cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line.For the British Isles and Western Europe awards, Amsterdam, which sees calls from the likes of Regent Seven Seas and Azamara Club Cruises was rated top, while Cork’s Cobh and Glasgow’s Greenock ranked second and third respectively.UK travellers rated Baltic destinations in their top three, with Stockholm first, followed by Tallinn and Copenhagen.Here’s a list of First Place Cruise Destinations:More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedTop-Rated British Isles and Western Europe Port: AmsterdamTop-Rated Alaska Port: Glacier BayTop-Rated Asia & South Pacific Port: Mystery IslandTop-Rated Australia & New Zealand Port: SydneyTop-Rated Private Islands Port: Castaway CayTop-Rated Baltic & Scandinavia Port: St. PetersburgTop-Rated Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda Port: St. MaartenTop-Rated Southern Caribbean Port: BonaireTop-Rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Port: CozumelTop-Rated Eastern Mediterranean Port: VeniceTop Rated European River Port: ParisTop Rated Western Mediterranean Port: BarcelonaTop-Rated Hawaii Port: KauaiTop-Rated Mexican Riviera & South America Port:  Puerto VallartaTop-Rated US & Canada Port: San FranciscoFor the full list of winners, go to cruisecritic.co.uk/memberreviews/destination-awards/. Wednesday, September 14, 2016 What are the world’s top cruise destinations? Cruise Critic says Amsterdam, St. Maarten & more << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Michael Smith last_img read more

first_imgTags: Sunwing, Wedding Vacations TORONTO — The latest edition of Sunwing’s popular Wedding Vacations magazine is now available in travel agencies across the country.Providing couples with destination wedding inspiration ideas together with details on all the latest resorts and wedding package options, the magazine also features a number of offers and perks for wedding groups.Couples who book their destination wedding before Dec. 10, 2019 for travel between June 1 and Dec. 10, 2020 will receive a $500 future travel voucher when they book a minimum of ten rooms and a 10% discount on wedding planning services.Additional perks include complimentary access to Plaza Premium airport lounges, located in airports across Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as free excess baggage allowance and a Wedding Couple Attire Care Program.The wedding couple and their guests can also benefit from instant group savings of up to $400 per couple. Wedding groups that book during this promotion can take advantage of complimentary upgrades to Elite Plus on Sunwing Airlines and private transfers to their selected resort.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaSunwing is offering additional savings at an array of its top-rated resorts. Groups that book their destination wedding at Royalton Suites Cancun, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica or CHIC Punta Cana before Aug. 31, 2019, can get an exclusive offer where the sixth adult travels free on departures between Nov. 1, 2019 to Nov. 30, 2020.At Hard Rock Hotel, groups can look forward to complimentary travel for the 11 passenger with unlimited concessions when they book their vacation by Aug. 30 for travel between Nov. 1, 2019 and Dec. 22, 2020.With another idea option for wedding groups, RIU Hotels and Resorts, the eighth adult travels free on bookings made by Jan. 21, 2020 for travel between Nov. 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020.See SunwingAgents.ca for more details. Thursday, July 25, 2019 Share Posted bycenter_img Generous group perks as Sunwing launches Wedding Vacations winter edition << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group last_img read more

first_imgOther winners from the night included:Cruise Champion, Australasia: Tim Faircloth, I Love CruisingAUSTRALIAAgency Promotion of the Year: MyCruisesNetwork Promotion of the Year: helloworld New ZealandMedia Award: Andrew Conway for “The New Wave”#ChooseCruise Promotion of the Year: Bon Voyage Travel & CruiseRising Star: Peter Fontinis, Clean CruisingHome-Based Agent of the Year: Nicole Edgar, TravelManagers AustraliaOnline Cruise Agency of the Year: CleanCruisingNEW ZEALANDAgency Promotion of the Year: Bon Voyage Cruises & TravelBroker of the Year: Denise Fowler, The Travel BrokerRising Star: Shelly Williams, Clevedon TravelOnline Cruise Agency of the Year: HOOT CruisesGo back to the enewsletter Go back to the enewsletterThe big achievers of the Australasian cruising world have been named at this year’s annual Cruise Industry Awards, the biggest night of the year for the Australian and New Zealand cruise community.Held by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, the gala dinner and awards night attracted more than 500 guests to Sydney’s Star Event Centre on Saturday and helped mark another successful year in the thriving cruise sector. A total of 20 honours were presented in an evening hosted by actor and singer Tim Campbell, including awards for travel agencies and individuals from across both countries.CLIA Australasia Managing Director, Joel Katz, said this year’s awards had been among the most successful of the event’s 18-year history.“We had a record number of submissions this year which made for a heightened level of competition,” Katz said. “It proves that travel agents are more engaged than ever and more dedicated to developing their cruise business, which makes them a key driver of the ongoing growth in the cruise industry.”itravel Carlingford’s Sue Todorovski and Emily KadinskiTop winners on the night included Australia’s Cruise Consultant of the Year, Gail Chapman of Dreamlines Australia, and New Zealand’s Cruise Consultant of the Year, Kiri Martin of YOU Travel Orewa.Phil Hoffmann Travel was named Australia’s Large Cruise Agency of the Year, while helloworld Milford & Browns Bay was chosen as New Zealand’s Large Cruise Agency of the Year. Australia’s Small Cruise Agency of the Year was itravel Carlingford, while New Zealand’s Small Cruise Agency of the Year was tied between House of Travel Kapiti Coast and helloworld Rotorua.CLIA Australasia MD Joel Katz with Hall of Fame inductee, Crystal MD & SVP ANZ, Karen Christensen. A highlight honour was the induction of Crystal Cruises Managing Director & Senior Vice President Australia & New Zealand, Karen Christensen, into the CLIA Hall of Fame, recognising her for more than 30 years in the Australasian cruise industry and her long association with CLIA.last_img read more

first_img With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passing a recommendation to bomb Syria, including McCain’s amendment to directly support the rebels, we are moving toward a new rise in the war spending trajectory. For a historical perspective, below you see a chart I developed in 2007. It calculates the inflation-adjusted costs of the Vietnam War and estimates that the war with Iraq would cost over $1 trillion or 37% more than the Vietnam War. Expenditures in Vietnam led to a self-reinforcing cycle of higher interest rates and inflation during the 1970s—leading in no small part to Nixon’s decision to remove the $35 per ounce gold exchange rate for the dollar, and to interest rates eventually rising to almost 20%. This article is about why I think interest rates are heading higher, viewed through the context of the politics of the US government’s next war. While I’d prefer to convince the world to change its course toward a more peaceful future, given the futility of trying to do so, I’ll use my time with you today presenting data, analysis, and a few opinions about the economic consequences of the march toward war that US policy is now set upon. The chart below combines defense, veterans benefits, homeland security, the State Department, and defense-related interest payments, to create a more comprehensive picture of our military spending. The chart shows the dollars spent each year; no correction is made for inflation or the relative growth of our economy and population. Such re-jiggering would make World War II and earlier wars appear more dramatic. The key point is that the US is spending a huge amount of money on its international security. With each war, or rumor of war, that came along, military spending increased. Following Iraq, we added another war in Libya and extended the war in Afghanistan far longer than planned. The combined costs, by my calculations, have now reached around $3.4 trillion. My method is simple: I add up the military spending that exceeds the 2002 level for all the years since then. If we hadn’t been facing significant international conflicts, I believe the military spending baseline of $507 billion in 2002 would have remained fairly static. The $3.4 trillion is just the increase over that baseline to date. Using the modest projections from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), my estimate is that by 2018, all future increases combined could easily add up to another $2.5 trillion. It could be much more, and it might even be less, but the most reasonable expectation is that the current crop of politicians will spend at least at that level. Those who want war seem to be able to get war. That is my basic assumption. Along the way, Congress is supposed to deal with its self-imposed ceiling on federal debt, now set at $16.73 trillion. In fact, the operations of government have already exceeded that level, but the federal government is adept at playing Enron-like games. Current Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew says he can hold off hitting the ceiling until mid-October, when the government would hypothetically shut down without Congress’ authorization for a raise. For the record, Newt Gingrich actually forced such a shutdown to happen under the Clinton presidency, which resulted in the government being forced to actually take tangible measures to cut spending at the time. The chart below shows the amount of current outstanding government debt as reported by the Treasury. The flat line at the right of the chart is the suppression of debt financing the government is now undertaking in the attempt to avoid a shutdown. Being completely distracted by the situation in Syria, Congress is not addressing the fiscal issues, and time is running out. The last time this crisis became important was in 2011, when the stock market dropped, our government debt rating was downgraded by S&P, and Congress legislated the sequester on spending that only slowed but certainly didn’t reverse the government’s accumulation of debt. Of course, this debt crisis will be resolved, as it has been in the past, by raising the ceiling. The focus on war probably means that the immigration bill won’t reach final approval, that efforts to derail Obamacare won’t reach political mass, and we already know that gun control has pretty much seen its day and gone away. But war spending and government deficits are here to stay. The attitude of our leaders is clear: they don’t care what the people think, they will be moving ahead with more spending on wars, continuing to worsen the deficit, ultimately leading to further debasement of the currency. That means higher prices, leading to inflation, and higher interest rates. On that last point, as you can see in the chart here, the rate on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury is now just two basis points below 3% and moving higher as I write: There is, of course, much more to this discussion than time and space allow for here. In the next edition of The Casey Report, I’ll go into details on what’s coming and the specific actions you can take to successfully invest in an environment of rising interest rates. As it is standard policy at Casey Research to offer risk-free 3-month trials with money-back guarantee for all our publications, you can sign up to read my deeper research in the next edition of The Casey Report by clicking here.last_img read more

first_imgIt was the first — and only — time Dr. Naveed Khan, a 35-year-old radiologist, ever rode in an all-terrain vehicle.Khan took the wheel from his friend and drove circles in the sand, on a trail along the Red River in Texas.”As soon as I turned to the side where my body weight was, this two-seater vehicle … just tilted toward the side and toppled,” Khan recalled. It landed on his left arm.”I had about a 6-inch-wide exposed flesh gap that I could see below, on my forearm,” he said. “And I could see muscle. I could see the fat. I could see the skin. The blood was pooling around it.”Khan, feeling lightheaded, tied his jacket around his arm like a tourniquet. He and his friend managed to right the ATV, drive back toward the street and call 911.When an ambulance delivered him to the emergency room at United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls, Khan was surprised to hear a doctor murmur that it was the worst arm injury he’d ever seen.Khan needed immediate helicopter transport to a trauma center for surgery in Fort Worth, if there was any hope of saving the arm.Groggy from painkillers, Khan managed to ask the doctors how much the flight would cost and whether it would be covered by his insurer. “I think they told my friend, ‘He needs to stop asking questions. He needs to get on that helicopter. He doesn’t realize how serious this injury is,’ ” Khan recalled.Flown 108 miles to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, the closest Level I trauma center, Khan was whisked into surgery to clean out the wound, repair his shattered bones and get blood flowing to the tissue.He had a total of eight operations to try to save his left forearm before he finally gave up. After weeks in the hospital, he asked the doctors to amputate, so he could get on with his life.And then the bill came.Patient: Naveed Khan, 35, a radiologist and married father of three young children in Southlake, Texas.Total bill: $56,603 for an air ambulance flight. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Khan’s insurer, paid $11,972, after initially refusing altogether; the medevac company billed Khan for the remaining $44,631.Service provider: Air Evac Lifeteam, an air ambulance company that operates 130 bases in 15 states. It’s owned by Air Medical Group Holdings, a holding company that owns four other air ambulance companies and one ground ambulance company. Air Medical, in turn, is owned by the giant private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.Medical service: Khan was flown from the United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls, Texas, to the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.What gives: Khan got his first call from Air Evac Lifeteam just three days after the accident, while he was still lying in the hospital. A company representative told him the helicopter ride would most likely cost more than $50,000 and asked him how he planned to pay.For Khan, rapid transportation to the trauma center was essential since the blood supply to his arm had been cut off, said Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, the medical director for trauma services at JPS Hospital.”If there’s no blood going that means there’s no oxygen,” he said. “It there’s no oxygen, that means those cells are going to die.” Minutes are precious and the helicopter can get from Wichita Falls to Fort Worth in an hour or less, half the time it takes by ground ambulance, he said.But complaints about sky-high bills to patients for air ambulance services are common. Since launching the “Bill of the Month” series in February, NPR and Kaiser Health News have received more than a dozen bills from patients like Khan who were charged tens of thousands of dollars for an air ambulance ride even after insurers’ payments.Air ambulance companies defend their charges.Rick Sherlock, president of the Association of Air Medical Services, a trade group, said air ambulances require a more highly trained crew than a ground ambulance, because only the sickest or most seriously injured patients need air transport.AAMS commissioned a study to determine the actual cost of a medevac ride. The report found it takes about $2.9 million a year to run a single helicopter base. Each base handles about 300 transports a year, and the rides cost about $11,000 each, according to the report.A spokeswoman for Air Evac Lifeteam said the company bills people so much because it is trying to make up for what she said are meager payments from Medicare and Medicaid.”Our real cost per flight is the $10,200 plus the unreimbursed cost on each flight for Medicare, Medicaid and patients without any coverage,” wrote Shelly Schneider, the company spokeswoman.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it pays an average of $4,624 per ride, plus $31.67 a mile, which works out to an average Medicare reimbursement of $6,556 for helicopter ambulance rides for seniors. Medicaid in most states pays less.The industry has been advocating hard to get Medicare to boost its reimbursements, Sherlock said. There are bills pending in both the House and Senate that would do so, but there hasn’t been much movement on them.But others say the industry’s cost estimates are inflated by profit-driven expansion of a lucrative industry. Ground ambulances often carry critically ill patients, too.Too many air ambulances sit idle much of the time, said Dr. Ira Blumen, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Chicago and medical director of the university’s Aeromedical Network.Blumen said the industry — which is dominated by a few companies owned by private equity firms — expanded dramatically in 2002, the last time Medicare boosted its payments. And now there are too many helicopters — 908 as of last year — fighting for patients and profits at the same time.”The number of helicopters is outrageous for the continental United States,” he said. In the 1990s, most helicopters ran more than 500 flights per year on average. At that rate, the cost per flight today would be less than $6,000.A BCBS of Texas spokesman said the insurer does have a contracted rate with an in-network air ambulance company, but it is not Air Evac Lifeteam. After initially refusing to pay anything for an out-of-network claim, it agreed to the $11,972 payment.But in some sense, the reason ambulance companies charge so much is simply that they can: Air ambulances are largely regulated not as health care but as part of the aviation industry. Federal laws prevent states from limiting aviation rates, routes and services.So many people have been hit with shockingly high air ambulance bills that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are trying to do something about it. Legislation to reauthorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration that is moving through Congress now would create a council of industry experts to address balance billing and other issues and set up a complaint line for consumers.Resolution: Khan has allowed Air Evac Lifeteam to negotiate with BCBS of Texas over the remaining $44,000 air ambulance bill. The company has asked him to appeal to the state’s Department of Insurance, and though he first balked at the suggestion, he is now considering doing so. Khan says he doesn’t understand why the helicopter flight, which was an integral part of the emergency medical care he received, is treated differently from his surgeries, nursing care and physical therapy.”I thought that this was another piece of that puzzle,” he said. “It turns out that this was glaringly different.”He is waiting for resolution as he gets accustomed to life with his disability. Holding his baby son, he asked in frustration: “How do I hold him while he’s crying and at the same time heat up his bottle?”Khan, who has had to fight with his insurance company to get coverage for a prosthetic arm, is frustrated when he learns that the air ambulance company expects him to pay far more than the actual cost of his flight.”It’s unfair,” he says. “It’s random; it’s arbitrary. It’s whatever price they want to set. And to put that onto a person who’s already been through what I’ve been through, I hate to say it, but it’s cruel.”The takeaway: Most people with health problems serious enough to require a helicopter flight are in no position to ask whether the medevac company is in-network or there’s a choice. But if you or a family member has time to ask, it could pay off.If you’re faced with a huge bill for a medevac ride, there are a few steps you should take.First, let your insurer’s process play out. BCBS of Texas first denied Khan’s claim altogether. But he looked closely at his policy and saw that the threat of loss of limb was explicitly covered. He appealed, and that’s when the insurer paid $11,972.Second, negotiate! The air ambulance company might be willing to negotiate a settlement for a fraction of the bill to avoid turning to debt collectors, who would pay them pennies on the dollar.Both Sherlock of the Association of Air Medical Services and Schneider of Air Evac Lifeteam said companies will try to determine what a patient can afford. So people with high incomes may find it hard to obtain a substantial reduction for their bill. Still, if patients know the true cost of the service they received, they may be better equipped to negotiate a discount.Many air ambulance companies offer membership plans that can cost less than $100 a year and guarantee that the company will accept whatever payment an insurance company makes without billing the patient for the rest. But buyer, beware: When people need an air ambulance, they are often not in a position to choose which company will respond to the call.Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced investigation by Kaiser Health News and NPR that dissects and explains medical bills. Do you have an interesting medical bill you want to share with us? Tell us about it! Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

first_imgShereese Hickson’s multiple sclerosis was flaring again. Spasms in her legs and other symptoms were getting worse. She could still walk and take care of her son six years after doctors diagnosed the disease, which attacks the central nervous system. Earlier symptoms such as slurred speech and vision problems had resolved with treatment, but others lingered: She was tired and sometimes fell. This summer, a doctor switched her to Ocrevus, a drug approved in 2017 that delayed progression of the disease in clinical trials better than an older medicine did. Genentech, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, makes Ocrevus. The drug is one of several for multiple sclerosis that are delivered intravenously in a hospital or clinic. Such medicines have become increasingly expensive, priced in many cases at well over $80,000 a year. Hospitals delivering the drugs often make money by charging a premium on top of their cost or adding hefty fees for the infusion clinic. Hickson received her first two Ocrevus infusions as an outpatient two weeks apart in July and August. And then the bill came. Patient: Shereese Hickson, 39, single mother who worked as a health aide and trained as a medical coder, living in Girard, Ohio. Because her MS has left her too disabled to work, she is now on Medicare; she also has Medicaid for backup.Total bill: $123,019 for two Ocrevus infusions taken as an outpatient. CareSource, Hickson’s Medicare managed care plan, paid a discounted $28,960. Hickson got a bill for about $3,620, the balance calculated as her share by the hospital after the insurance reimbursement.Medical service: Two Ocrevus infusions, each requiring several hours at the hospital.Service provider: Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit, academic medical center based in Ohio. (Cleveland Clinic has provided financial support for NPR.)What gives: Hickson researched Ocrevus online after her doctor prescribed the new medicine. “I’ve seen people’s testimonies about how great it is” on YouTube, she said. “But I don’t think they really go into what it’s like receiving the bill.” That was particularly shocking because, covered by government insurance for her disability, she had never received a bill for MS medicine before.”I have a 9-year-old son and my income is $770 a month,” said Hickson. “How am I supposed to support him and then you guys are asking me for $3,000?”Even in a world of soaring drug prices, multiple sclerosis medicines stand out. Over two decades ending in 2013, costs for MS medicines rose at annual rates five to seven times higher than those for prescription drugs generally, found a study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University.”There was no competition on price that was occurring,” said Daniel Hartung, the OHSU and Oregon State University professor who led the study. “It appeared to be the opposite. As newer drugs were brought to market, it promoted increased escalation in drug prices.”With Ocrevus, Genentech did come up with a price that was slightly less than for rival drugs, but only after MS medicines were already extremely expensive. The drug launched last year at an annual list price of $65,000, about 25 percent lower than that of other MS drugs, Hartung said. MS drugs cost about $10,000 per year in the 1990s and about $30,000 a decade ago. “We set the price of Ocrevus to reduce price as a barrier to treatment,” said Genentech spokeswoman Amanda Fallon. It was also probably a response to bad publicity about expensive MS drugs, Hartung said. “Now companies are very aware at least of the optics of releasing drugs at higher and higher prices,” he said. Patients starting Ocrevus get two initial infusions of 300 milligrams each and then 600 milligrams twice a year. Cleveland Clinic charged $117,089 for Hickson’s first two doses of Ocrevus — more than three times what hospitals typically pay for the drug, said John Hennessy, chief business development officer at WellRithms, a firm that analyzes medical bills for self-insured employers. As is typical of government programs such as Medicare, the $28,960 reimbursement ultimately collected by the Cleveland Clinic was far less — but still substantial. “We kind of got ourselves in a pickle here,” he said. “We’re more excited about the discount than we are about the actual price.”Hickson’s nearly $3,620 bill represented the portion that Medicare patients often are expected to pay themselves.Last year, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, an independent nonprofit that evaluates medical treatments, completed a detailed study on MS medicines. It found that Ocrevus was one of three or four medicines that were most effective in reducing MS relapses and preventing MS from getting worse. But it also found that patient benefits from MS drugs “come at a high relative cost” to society. At the same time, deciding which MS drug — there are about a dozen — would best suit patients is something of a shot in the dark: The science showing the comparative effectiveness of MS drugs is not as strong as it could be, researchers say.”In general, there’s a real lack of head-to-head studies for many of these drugs,” said Hartung. The [Food and Drug Administration] has no required comparison standard for MS drugs, an agency spokeswoman said. Sometimes they’re rated against placebos. With everyone able to charge a high price, the companies have little incentive to see which works better and which worse.Resolution: After Hickson questioned the charges over the phone, the billing office told her to apply to the hospital for financial assistance. Hickson had to print a form, provide proof of her disabled status, mail it and wait.Hospital officials told her in October she qualified for assistance based on her income through a state program funded by hospital contributions and federal money. Cleveland Clinic wiped out the $3,620 balance.”I’m grateful that they approved me for that, but not everybody’s situation is like that,” she said. She was worried enough about being billed again for her next Ocrevus infusion that she considered switching back to her old medicine. But her doctor wants her to give it more time to gauge its effects.The takeaway: Always ask about charity care or financial assistance programs. Hospitals have different policies and wide discretion about how to apply them, but they often do not even tell patients such programs exist. Because health care costs can be so high, you may be eligible even if you have a decent salary. Cleveland Clinic gives free care to everybody below a certain income, said spokeswoman Heather Phillips. But it wasn’t until Hickson called that the hospital agreed to erase the charge. While there are multiple new drugs to treat serious chronic conditions, they have often not been tested against one another. Moreover, your doctor may have no idea about their prices. But he or she should. For newer drugs, all options may well be very expensive. Keep in mind that drugs that must be infused often come with facility fees and infusion charges, which can leave patients with hefty copayments for outpatient treatment. Ask about oral medicines or those you can self-inject at home. NPR produced and edited the interview with Kaiser Health News’ Elisabeth Rosenthal for broadcast. Marlene Harris-Taylor, from member station Ideastream in Cleveland, provided audio reporting.Do you have an exorbitant or baffling medical bill that you’d like KHN and NPR to look into? You can tell us about it and submit a copy of the bill here. KHN is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that isn’t affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

first_imgLast updated on June 25th, 2019 at 01:44 pmMilwaukee is known for its loyalty to its sports teams, homegrown brands, and charitable areas of need. Though it’s 40th in size as a metropolitan area, Charity Navigator ranks the greater Milwaukee area as the 12th most generous region when compared with other major metros. Generosity and loyalty are part of the fabric of our Midwestern culture.That’s fitting because southeastern Wisconsin has no shortage of worthy causes that need our support to continue their admirable work. And as nearly a dozen multi-million-dollar capital campaigns advance publicly in this area right now, we find ourselves asking: Giving now is necessary, but what are we doing to foster a culture of generosity among the next generation to sustain what we’ve built?Over the past decade, West Bend Mutual Insurance, along with our independent agencies, business partners, and associates, has raised $2.6 million for one of our charities of choice, Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC Fund). Since the inception of this fundraising effort, we’ve grown our contribution an average of 52 percent biennially at a time when, according to Giving USA, charitable giving has increased about three percent annually. To what do we attribute the increase?Leadership starts at the top, but expect engagement at all levels. I have the honor of serving as a director of the MACC Fund. While West Bend supported this great organization before my tenure on the board, having the opportunity to work with the directors and the amazing staff, and to meet the incredible kids, solidified my commitment to the MACC Fund. In order to be fully committed to a cause, you have to learn as much as you can and, more importantly, believe in it. Commitment to the cause doesn’t end with me. Throughout the year, we invite our associates and agents to participate in events through which they have the opportunity to learn more about and support the MACC Fund. It’s paid off. Several departments in our company hold their own fundraisers to benefit the MACC Fund. These include the Dog Jog, hosted by our Legal and Claims Departments, and IT’s Egg Toss.Tap into the loyalty you’ve created. Insurance is a people business and at West Bend, we work hard to develop and nurture strong relationships with our agent partners. At every level of our company, we strive to deliver superior service because that’s what creates loyalty. We’re fortunate that this loyalty comes back to us in spades when we call on our agents, associates, and business partners to support the MACC Fund. They open their hearts and their wallets time after time. The same is true for the dedicated associates who devote so much time, effort, and creativity into planning our MACC Fund fundraisers. Just when I think we can’t do any better, they amaze me.Set an example. West Bend Mutual Insurance has a long history of supporting worthy causes here in West Bend, in southeastern Wisconsin, and throughout the Midwest. One of the things we consistently hear on surveys is that our associates are proud of the company’s philanthropy. They see the good it does in their communities and I believe it accounts, in part, for their generosity to the MACC Fund and dozens of other very worthy organizations.Like all investments, cultivating a new generation of donors takes time, but it’s a critical investment we all must make if we want to create a sustainable future for our treasured non-profits. As leaders, it’s important we communicate with our associates about the impact our support of nonprofits has on our communities, that we foster loyalty for nonprofits through the loyalty we cultivate with our associates and customers, and that we set an example with our own corporate philanthropy. Worthy organizations like the MACC Fund look to us today for that support. And it’s up to us to create that support for the future.Kevin Steiner is the president and chief executive officer of West Bend Mutual Insurance. Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribelast_img read more

first_img This story originally appeared on PCMag NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to depart Earth next summer and make its way to the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, about 4 million miles from its surface. 4 min read NASA NASA Preps to ‘Touch’ the Sun With Parker Solar Probe Add to Queue Chloe Albanesius June 1, 2017 Executive Editor, PCMagcenter_img Image credit: NASA via PC Mag Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. –shares Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Plans are being made to shuttle humans to Mars in the next decade or so, but NASA is also eyeing a much hotter endeavor — touching the sun (sort of).The space agency’s Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to depart Earth next summer and make its way to the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, about 4 million miles from its surface. While that’s not exactly “touching” the sun, NASA explains, it’s more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before, and will hopefully help answer key questions scientists have long had about the sun. “These questions are so simple,” Nicola Fox, mission project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said during a Wednesday event in Chicago. “Why is the corona hotter than the surface of the sun? That defies the laws of nature. It’s like water flowing uphill; it shouldn’t happen. Why in this region does the solar atmosphere suddenly get so energized that it escapes from the pull of the sun and bathes all the planets?”NASA also expects to gather information that will “allow us to better forecast how our Earth’s environment responds to the sun [and] better predict space weather,” Fox said.Today’s event was in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker, a pioneer of solar wind research. When it takes off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center next summer, the solar probe will bear Parker’s name, NASA announced today, the first time the agency has named a spacecraft for someone who is still alive.”The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before,” Parker said in a statement. “It’s very exciting that we’ll finally get a look. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what’s going on in the solar wind. I’m sure that there will be some surprises. There always are.”At this point, the Solar Probe team is building and testing the spacecraft. Several instruments are already integrated and most of them should be attached by the end of the summer, Fox said. By year’s end, it will move to Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where the probe will be put through its paces and make sure it can withstand the type of heat it will encounter in the sun’s corona. It will then move to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Those scorching temperatures are the main reason it’s taken so long for this type of mission to get off the ground. When Parker first started his research nearly 60 years ago, “the materials didn’t exist to allow us to be able to do it,” Fox said.Now, the team has created heat shields that can largely handle the sun’s heat. The corona’s temperatures can soar to a couple million degrees Fahrenheit, and while the Parker Solar Probe won’t get that close, the corona will still be about 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. With the heat shield, though, the instruments tucked in its shadow will be room temperature, according to Fox.The probe will also encounter very cold temperatures as it uses Venus’s gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun. “Getting something that will withstand that kind of thing is really revolutionary,” Fox said.The launch window is currently set for July 31 to Aug. 19, 2018. Register Now » Next Article last_img read more

first_img Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends. March 25, 2016 Add to Queue Next Article Television You may think social-media-obsessed millennials aren’t plunking down to watch television,But in fact, according to Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report, on average, people ages 18 to 34 spent two hours and 45 minutes watching live TV each day and one hour, 23 minutes with TV-connected devices. That’s a total of four hours, eight minutes in front of the small screen.Related: Millennials ‘Are Great Problems to Have’Still, compared to older generations, millennials spent the least amount of time with traditional methods of media consumption, such as cable or satellite.However, as researchers broke down the group into different categories — dependent, independent and starting a family — the numbers changed a bit.For example, for those starting a family, they were more likely to have cable or satellite. Dependents spent less time watching TV and more time outside and independents watched more from streaming services and spent the least amount of time in the great outdoors. The group also had more on-the-go devices.Related: 5 Ways Millennials Are Like No Generation Before ThemOverall, millennials are going to find a way to consume media and watch TV no matter what stage they are in life. But is that really surprising? Besides, what millennial is going to pay for cable when they could watch almost anything online whenever they want for less or free?See the full report at Variety. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Millennials’ TV Habits Contrast Sharply Based on Where They Are in Life Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Lindsay Friedman Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 2 min read Image credit: Shutterstock –shares Register Now »last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 9 2019A clinical trial to evaluate long-acting antiretroviral therapy (ART) for maintaining HIV suppression in people for whom adhering to conventional daily oral ART has been a challenge has begun at research sites across the United States. The study, called Long-Acting Therapy to Improve Treatment Success in Daily Life, or LATITUDE, will help determine whether a combination of two experimental injectable formulations of ART are superior to conventional oral ART in managing HIV infection in this adult population.LATITUDE is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is being conducted by the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), with additional support from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ViiV Healthcare and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.”Antiretroviral therapy has been transformative in the treatment of HIV. Consistently taking these medications as prescribed helps people to live longer, healthier lives and prevents HIV transmission to sexual partners,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID Director. “Unfortunately, for many people who must take any medication regularly, adherence can be difficult. Effective alternative formulations of antiretrovirals, including long-acting injectables, may help people better adapt to HIV treatment.”LATITUDE (also known as ACTG 5359) will test two experimental, long-acting injections of the antiretroviral drugs rilpivirine (RPV) from Janssen and cabotegravir (CAB) from ViiV, which will be administered every four weeks by a health care professional in a research clinic. Throughout the study, investigators will evaluate volunteers’ viral load–the measure virus in the blood–and other indicators of immune health to compare the treatment’s effectiveness to that of conventional oral ART.Up to one quarter of people prescribed conventional ART stop taking the medication for some period. Not taking ART as prescribed is the most common reason people do not achieve durable viral suppression. Many complex factors such as access to health care, economic and housing insecurity and stigma may influence a person’s ability to adhere to a treatment regimen. Long-acting ART formulations may particularly benefit those who cannot or would prefer not to take medication each day or to not keep oral medications in their home or possession.”Monthly injectable antiretroviral therapy may prove more convenient, discreet and appropriate for some people living with HIV,” said Aadia Rana, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for AIDS Research and protocol co-chair of LATITUDE. “Our study aims to help people living with HIV and facing challenges with adherence find a treatment option that meets their health needs and fits into their lives, allowing them to experience the health benefits of becoming durably, virally suppressed.”Related StoriesPatients with HIV DNA in cerebrospinal fluid have high risk of experiencing cognitive deficitsPrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedStudy: HIV patients continue treatments if health care providers are compassionateLATITUDE will enroll approximately 350 volunteers with documented treatment lapses within the past 18 months. All study participants will begin a daily oral ART regimen and individualized adherence and retention support. Volunteers who become virally suppressed by week 24 will then be randomized to either continue standard-of-care therapy for one year or begin an oral regimen consisting of RPV and CAB for 4 weeks, followed by long-acting injectable formulations of those drugs every four weeks for 48 weeks. After this 52-week period, participants originally randomized to the standard-of-care arm may cross over to long-acting therapy, and participants originally randomized to the long-acting therapy arm may remain on that regimen for an additional year.Like many other ART regimens, long-acting CAB and RPV will be delivered in combination to avoid the development of viral resistance against a single drug. This regimen is also under investigation in other clinical trials. Among them, long-acting injectable CAB is currently under investigation as a modality to prevent HIV in the NIAID-supported HPTN 083 and HPTN 084 studies. Since both injectable CAB and RPV can remain in the body for several months, any participant who receives one or more doses of the long-acting injectable medications and needs or wants to discontinue these agents will be included in safety follow-up for an additional year. During this period, they will be prescribed a standard-of-care ART regimen.”Adhering to daily medication remains a major health care challenge for patients with chronic health conditions,” said Jose Castillo-Mancilla, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and protocol co-chair of LATITUDE. “The generous volunteers who enroll in this study will help to ensure that more people living with HIV may have effective treatment regimens that work for them.” Source:https://www.niaid.nih.gov/news-events/nih-trial-evaluates-long-acting-hiv-medication-people-unable-adhere-strict-dailylast_img read more

first_img Explore further His firm behind the project—”The Boring Company”—wants to create tunnels that link up with existing subway lines to “complement the system”.During the presentation in Los Angeles Thursday, Musk showed a video explaining the tunnels. Passengers would embark at ground-level into an 16-person shuttle—an elevator of sorts, which then joins a high-speed, electricity-powered network that travels at up to 125 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour.)The idea is for the vehicles to offer a service somewhere between riding a subway and traveling in a private car—and for just $1, passengers could reach downtown LA from its international airport in under 10 minutes.The Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s long term vision is for the tunnels to also serve his Hyperloop ultra high-speed pod project—which he says would cut the six hour drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles to just 30 minutes.”We’re aiming to go over 300 miles an hour in a vacuum tunnel,” Musk said. Citation: Elon Musk presents underground LA tunnel project (2018, May 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-elon-musk-underground-la-tunnel.html Entrepreneur Elon Musk has given updated details of a project to build high-speed transport tunnels underneath Los Angeles in a bid to combat traffic and said he wanted to work with the city’s subway operator. 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. Elon Musk says LA-area test tunnel almost complete (Update) © 2018 AFPlast_img read more

first_img With voting done in those countries, Facebook confirmed that it will widen its focus to other parts of the world with upcoming elections where the initiative is deemed necessary.”The war room will be operational ahead of major events, and it still stands,” Facebook vice president of product management Guy Rosen said on Twitter.”It was effective for our work in both the Brazil and US elections which is why it’s going to be expanded, not disbanded.”A strategic response team formed earlier this year operates separately, continuously defending against overall efforts to misuse or abuse the social network, according to Facebook.The platform launched its war room at its Menlo Park headquarters in California in October as a nerve center for the fight against misinformation and manipulation by foreign actors trying to influence elections.The measure came after Facebook was accused of doing too little to prevent misinformation efforts by Russia and others in the 2016 US election. Facebook said on Monday a “war room” set up to defend the social network from abuses aimed at influencing elections in Brazil and the US has gone quiet. Citation: Facebook election ‘war room’ goes quiet—for now (2018, November 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-facebook-election-war-room-quietfor.html 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. Facebook purges 251 accounts to thwart deceptioncenter_img © 2018 AFP Explore further Facebook launched its “war room,” pictured in October 2018, at its Menlo Park headquarters in California as a nerve center for the fight against misinformationlast_img read more

first_imgBengal: Congress, BSP mount blistering attack on EC SHARE Published on Will results in West Bengal be a repeat of Tripura for the BJP? RELATED Saradha chit fund scam: SC to pass order on CBI’s plea against Rajeev Kumar tomorrow COMMENT national elections Bengal not Mamata’s personal property, says PM Bengal Home Secretary relieved of duty; EC ends campaigning day early SHARE SHARE EMAIL Lok Sabha elections 2019: PM Modi vows to install new Vidyasagar statue Mamata holds ‘protest march’ against the BJP Preparations are in place for the seventh and final phase of the general elections in West Bengal, where nine Lok Sabha constituencies will go to the polls on Sunday.An electorate of 1,49,63,064 will decide the fate of 111 candidates in these nine seats — Kolkata North and Kolkata South, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Jaynagar (SC) and Mathurapur (SC).Eight seats, barring Jadavpur, will witness a four-cornered contest between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Congress and the Left Front. The Congress has given the Jadavpur seat a miss.Sitting MP Abhishek Banerjee, who is the nephew of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and considered the number two in the party, is seeking re-election from the Diamond Harbour seat, where he is pitted against BJP’s Nilanjan Roy.The CPI(M) has nominated Fuad Halim and the Congress Soumya Aich Roy for the seat.In the Jadavpur seat, TMC’s celebrity candidate Mimi Chakraborty will contest against Anupam Hazra of the BJP. The CPI(M) has fielded senior leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya.Basirhat Lok Sabha seat will see another star TMC candidate Nusrat Jahan locking horns with BJP’s Sayantan Basu. The Congress has nominated Quazi Abdur Rahim and the Left Front constituent CPI, Pallab Sengupta.In the Dum Dum seat, the BJP has fielded Samik Bhattacharya against sitting TMC MP Saugata Ray. Left Front major CPI(M) has nominated Nepaldeb Bhattacharya, while the Congress has announced the name of Saurav Saha.TMC MP Kakoli Ghoshdastidar is contesting against BJP’s Mrinal Kanti Debnath in Barasat, where the Congress has nominated Subrata Dutta and Left Front Constituent All India Forward Bloc, Haripada Biswas.In the Jaynagar (SC) seat, TMC’s Pratima Mondal will contest against Ashok Kandary of the BJP. The Congress has fielded Tapan Mondal and Left Front constituent RSP, Subhas Naskar.Choudhury Mohan Jatua is the TMC candidate from the Mathurapur (SC) constituency against BJP’s Shyama Prasad Halder. The Congress has named Krittibas Sardar and the CPI(M) fielded Sarat Chandra Haldar for the seat.Kolkata South will witness Mala Roy of the TMC battling it out against against BJP’s Chandra Kumar Bose. The CPI(M) has nominated Nandini Mukherjee and the Congress Mita Chakraborty.In Kolkata North, Sudip Bandyopadhyay will contest against Rahul Sinha, the BJP national secretary. The CPI(M) has fielded Kaninika Bose and the Congress, Syed Shahid Imam.A total of 710 companies of central forces are being deployed by the Election Commission to cover 17,042 polling booths to ensure free and fair voting, officials said. The nine constituencies are spread across the three districts of Kolkata, South and North 24 Parganas.The high-voltage campaign for the final phase saw poll meetings by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Congress leader Sachin Pilot and West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.The prime minister held four poll meetings on the last two days of the campaign, while Banerjee took part in several road shows at different places in the metropolis in the run-up to this phase.Shah’s roadshow in the city on Tuesday was marred by violence and destruction of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s bust in a college in north Kolkata.In a first such action in India’s electoral history, the Election Commission ordered campaigning in the nine West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 pm on Thursday, instead of 6 pm on Friday, in the wake of the violence between the BJP and the TMC during Shah’s roadshow.Besides general election observers and expenditure observers, the poll panel has for the first time deployed a special police observer and a special observer.VVPAT will be also be used in all the polling booths along with the EVMs, EC officials said. Mamata on a campaign-spree against BJP May 18, 2019 COMMENTS Mamata rejects PM Modi’s offer to install new bust of Vidyasagar Lok Sabha Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal and chief of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), waves towards her supporters during a road show ahead of the last phase of the general elections in Kolkata on Thursday. REUTERS   –  REUTERS West Bengallast_img read more

first_img Tech News 08 Jul 2019 Electric scooters zip into traffic chaos in Latin America Related News Tech News 19h ago ‘Miss us?’ Twitter hit with hour-long outage World 30 Jun 2019 ‘Here, I feel free’: Mexico City celebrates role as haven for LGBTQ migrants MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A small earthquake struck central Mexico City on Friday morning, jolting office towers and apartment buildings in the sprawling metropolis. A temblor of magnitude 2.5 was registered in the central neighbourhood of Alvaro Obregon at 7:38 am, the National Seismological Service wrote in a post on Twitter. There were no immediate reports of damages. The city’s civil protection authority confirmed the magnitude and said they did not activate the local earthquake alarm due to the small size of the temblor.Situated at the intersection of three tectonic plates, Mexico is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, and the capital is particularly vulnerable due to its location on top of an ancient lake bed.center_img Related News (Reporting by Julia Love and Rebekah F Ward; Editing by Susan Thomas) {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more