Pennsylvania prisons: Breeding grounds for coronavirus

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this PhiladelphiaWhen the coronavirus first became a global pandemic in the spring of 2020, there were widespread demands, met with promises from state officials, to release particularly vulnerable incarcerated workers. Some states and municipalities did release people, but never in the numbers the situation warranted.In April, protesters in Philadelphia called for prisoners to be released due to COVID-19 surge.In April, protesters in Philadelphia called for prisoners to be released due to COVID-19 upsurge.Credit: Joe PietteInstead of broad releases, prison officials in Pennsylvania instituted draconian lockdowns where prisoners daily spent 23 hours in cells and were given only 45 minutes per day to shower, make phone calls or get fresh air. In person visits were stopped, and access to libraries, commissaries and other programs were strictly curtailed. Exercise and hot meals ended.While until recently, only 160 cases of COVID-19 were reported among the incarcerated workers, these restrictive measures never applied to the guards and prison staff, who appear to be the ones bringing COVID-19 into the prisons.Fast forward six months, and prisons, including those in Pennsylvania, are facing a deadly full-blown resurgence of COVID-19 among those incarcerated as well as staff. The result has been outbreaks of COVID-19 in 21 of the 23 state prisons. As of Nov. 12, there have been 17 reported deaths of incarcerated people. At least 442 prisoners and 244 staff have tested positive. According to the Department of Corrections, when staff have requested testing, more than half are positive for the coronavirus. Testing of staff is not mandatory. (, Nov. 12)Rather than release more people or make staff testing mandatory, PADOC officials have responded by moving prisoners who test positive to other prisons or isolation units within a prison. The lockdown policies have been kept in place for over seven months now, amounting to mass torture for the over 46,000 incarcerated workers.The DOC is also limiting testing for incarcerated workers to those facilities with larger outbreaks. In State Correctional Institution Chester just outside Philadelphia, as of Nov. 10, half of prisoners’ test results and 90% of staff tests were positive. Incarcerated workers there are reporting that prison officials are passing out power of attorney and property release forms in anticipation of more deaths. The 943 men in Chester are only tested if they have a fever, even when many are experiencing other classic COVID-19 symptoms.The crisis is not limited to state prisons. A recent court filing by U.S. attorneys reported 80 prisoners and eight staff tested positive at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia. At the Federal Corrections Institution at Fort Dix, in nearby New Jersey, 150 men out of 220 in one unit tested positive.As far as numbers in county jails, Claire Shubik-Richards, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society said: “We don’t know, because our county governments aren’t telling us, and that is astounding.” (, Nov. 12)The consistent refusal by prison officials to release at-risk incarcerated workers, and to even provide basic PPE and other preventative items, amounts to the cruel and unusual punishment expressly forbidden by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is turning every sentence into a death sentence with no chance of appeal.last_img read more

Strategies to boost profitability with effective risk management

first_img 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » With a long list of tasks to accomplish and a constant pressure to succeed, some credit union managers might regard risk-management procedures as taking time away from projects that could contribute more to overall profitability. Though it’s conceivable someone could focus too much on risk management, when performed correctly the process is a critical element to long-term success.Some credit unions have a higher tolerance for risk than others. Usually, accepting more interest-rate risk is seen as a way to generate higher returns; it’s true that risk avoidance could cause lower profitability. Still, excessive interest-rate risk can put a credit union in jeopardy if the market takes an unexpected turn.It’s difficult, of course, to forecast interest rates accurately; even experienced analysts are often surprised by changes in the market. If one were to “know” what was going to happen, protecting assets would be easy and there would be minimal risk involved – and far less reward. The job of the asset/liability management (ALM) function is to protect the viability of the credit union’s business model. This is done by reducing the inherent risks of financial intermediation, allowing for scalability and growth in a safe and sound manner.last_img read more

Mariappa shocked at being COVID-19 positive

first_img(REUTERS) – WATFORD defender Adrian Mariappa said he was shocked at testing positive for the coronavirus, having strictly followed Britain’s social distancing guidelines and not shown any symptoms.The Premier League said on Tuesday that six people from three different clubs had tested positive for COVID-19 out of a sample of 748 and Watford had confirmed three positive cases.“Ever since I got my positive result back on Tuesday, I’ve been scratching my head to try to work out how I might have got coronavirus,” Mariappa, 33, told the Telegraph.“It was a big surprise because I haven’t really left the house, apart from some exercise and the odd walk with the kids. I’ve mainly just been homeschooling and keeping fit.“My lifestyle is very quiet, so I really don’t know how I got it. Like most people, we’ve been having more deliveries of food and things, so maybe that’s one way, and my partner has been to the supermarket a few times.”Mariappa, who will have to self-isolate for seven days in line with Premier League guidelines, said he was in the best shape of his career and looking forward to returning to training.“I’ve felt as fit as ever, probably fitter because I’ve been working really hard. I’ve been following my training programme and I’ve not felt out of breath or ill, or anything.”The Premier League hopes to restart its season in June, having been suspended since mid-March. Watford are due to return to training this week but skipper Troy Deeney has said he will not be present out of concern for his son’s health.last_img read more

Ramjattan stands by decision to shut down beachfront parties

first_imgNoise nuisance crackdownPublic Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said he stands by the recent move to bar the hosting of social events at the Marriott beachfront, Kingston.He explained to reporters on Wednesday that this decision was taken because of the negative effect activities hosted on the beachfront have on nearby businesses.“You cannot… do activities that will hurt other people and that is what happens there… They injured them with the noise level so high and they don’t even want, although I told them, get some decibel meters because the range is 100 decibel but they range about 300,” Ramjattan stated.He went on to highlight how recent activities held at the beachfront affected visitors at the Marriott Hotel.“The New Zealand cricket team, and couple of the [other] cricket teams that came for the [ICC Women’s T20] Cricket World Cup, they said they couldn’t sleep. And IMarriott Beachfront in Kingston, Georgetowncame around here and I heard them. It was extraordinarily loud. They do not care one thing about other people’s rights,” the Public Security Minister posited.Earlier this week, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson disclosed that the Government was forced to take this step after the Marriott Hotel filed a lawsuit for noise nuisance.This gave effect to the ban, which prohibits activities that could generate noise above permissible levels between Fort Groyne and Camp Street, Kingston. In a statement issued by the Public Infrastructure Ministry, it was noted that the area will not be used as a venue for entertainment and/or social and other events which involve the use of loud audio and video systems, including those installed in motor vehicles; and for events “characterised by crowd generated noise”.this move, Government related, is in keeping with the recent campaign to clamp down on operators and business owners who facilitate sounds that exceed the provisions stated in the guidelines for noise emission into the environment, much to the annoyance of others nearby.As such, organisers seeking approval for hosting events at the beachfront have since been advised to use alternative venues and to also operate with the relevant regulations for use in public spaces.This, however, has not gone down well with sections of society, especially the business community, which sponsors and hosts the very events that are being curtailed.But Minister Ramjattan is adamant about the ban, saying that they cannot allow these activities to affect surrounding businesses.“Are you gonna affect a big hotel that has made a big investment like this? You want me to give them the authority to come in front of your house to come and play that loud music? We must understand, as responsible citizens, assuming they were to make the application to Ramjattan to come in front of your house, do you want me to give them it because they want to make a living,” the Public Security Minister asked rhetorically before storming off.Guyana Times was told by sources at the Marriott Hotel that visitors staying at the hotel would often leave during the hosting of any event on the beachfront, due to the noise levels.The reliable source noted that the five-star hotel is on the losing end when this happens, since guests will have to be compensated.Last month, Government kick-started a noise nuisance campaign. As part of a training exercise, which some 50 Police ranks undertook, the Environmental Protection Agency together with the Guyana Police Force carried out an exercise on Station Street, Kitty, where they tested the noise level at several popular nightspots using the decibel meters before shutting down a few popular nightspots.Moreover, last week, the Public Security Ministry has re-enforced the ‘2am curfew’ for night spots and other places of entertainment.last_img read more

Sharks’ Tomas Hertl shines in Game 5 win over Golden Knights

first_imgSAN JOSE — This was the moment that had everyone inside SAP Center holding their breath.The Sharks, holding a two-goal lead in the third period of Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights, just saw Jon Marchessault score a power play goal to cut the difference to one. The Golden Knights are a team that knows how to capitalize on opportunities, and the Sharks knew their opponents would work to create more.Less than a minute later, William Karlsson picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and …last_img

This week in the ‘Woods: Women’s soccer wins big, Football edged out on the road

first_imgFootball: Contra Costa 35 Redwoods 33Roberto Ortiz made two 40-plus yard field goals on the day but missed a 33-yard try as time expired in a 35-33 loss for College of the Redwoods, Saturday afternoon on the road at Contra Costa in what was the American-Pacific 7 Conference opener for both teams.Redwoods quarterback Brody Lucero passed for three touchdowns, two to Jamari Sweet and the other to Marcus Finney.Zachary Mahoney blocked a punt on special teams and returned it for a touchdown for …last_img

What Are Human Genes Doing in a Sea Anemone?

first_imgThe genome of a sea anemone has been published, and of all things, this lowly animal has genes common to vertebrates, even humans.  Science Daily began with a conundrum, “The first analysis of the genome of the sea anemone shows it to be nearly as complex as the human genome, providing major insights into the common ancestor of not only humans and sea anemones, but of nearly all multi-celled animals.”  UC Berkeley’s Center for Integrative Genomics deciphered the genome and published the results in Science.1  “Surprisingly, the team found that the genome of the starlet sea anemone, which is lumped with jellyfish and corals into the earliest diverging eumetazoan phylum, Cnidaria, resembles the human and other vertebrate genomes more than it resembles the genomes of such well-studied ‘lab rats’ as fruit flies and nematode worms.”    The starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, is just a few inches in diameter and has about 16 to 20 tentacles.  It lives in brackish lagoons and marshes and feeds on passing nutrients.  It’s not just that this creature’s genome is as complex as that of humans that was surprising.  It has a comparable gene number, and, “Many of the anemone’s genes lie on its 30 chromosomes in patterns similar to the patterns of related genes on the 46 chromosomes of humans.”  Nicholas Putnam of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) of the Department of Energy said, “Many genes close together in the sea anemone are still close together in humans, even after six or seven hundred million years.”    A story entitled, “Surprises in the sea anemone genome,” from The Scientist, added another anemone-human connection: “The researchers also discovered that exon-intron structure is very similar between modern vertebrates and sea anemones.  Both have intron-rich genomes and about 80% of intron locations are conserved between humans and anemones.”  Insects, by contrast, have a 50 to 80% dissimilarity from humans in their intron patterns.  Science Daily added, “This similarity is present in the sea anemone and human genomes, despite the obvious differences between the two species.”  The original paper commented on the “extensive” amount of conserved linkage with muted astonishment, “This is a notable total, given that any chromosomal fusions and subsequent gene order scrambling on either the human or Nematostella lineage during their ~700 million years of independent evolution would attenuate the signal for linkage.”  The team also found that the sea anemone possesses about 1500 novel genes, unique to this animal compared with other eukaryotic groups.    A consequence of the study for evolutionists is that complexity must be assumed to have been present farther back in time, back in the Cambrian when the basic body plans of animals are first seen in the fossil record.  According to the team’s analysis, “The ancestral eumetazoan already had the genetic ‘toolkit’ to conduct basic animal biochemistry, development and nerve and muscular function,” Science Daily said.  Putnam explained, “Basically, the sea anemone has all the basic mechanisms of interacting with the outside world seen in more morphologically complex creatures.”  These traits appeared abruptly and have persisted ever since.  Not only that, the exon-intron structure, chromosome positions and other similarities not usually associated with natural selection would have been conserved (i.e., unevolved) since the beginning of metazoan animal life.    As could be expected, evolutionists are trying to make the most of these surprises and claiming they are “shedding light on evolution”.  Elisabeth Pennisi used that line, titling her commentary in the same issue of Science, “Sea Anemone Provides a New View of Animal Evolution.”2  Daniel Rokhsar (UC Berkeley) said, “Anything the sea anemone has that also is found in humans, flies, snails or any other eumetazoans must already have been present in the common ancestor of eumetazoans.”  Why, then, did more advanced organisms like flies and nematodes lack many of these genes?  It’s “because both the anemone and vertebrate genomes have retained many ancestral genes that flies and nematode worms apparently lost over time,” Putnam said.  “The genes of flies and worms also have been jumbled up among the chromosomes, making it hard to track genes through evolution.”  This does not explain, however, why over much longer periods of time these genes did not get lost or jumbled in the sea anemone for 600 million years – and in the vertebrates, who presumably use the same genetic toolkit as fruit flies and nematodes (e.g., genes for muscles, nerves, senses, reproduction and digestion).    Science Daily also used the word “apparently” based on the assumption of common descent: “The anemone genome, on the other hand, has apparently changed less through time and makes a good reference for comparison with human and other vertebrate genomes in order to discover the genes of our common ancestor and how they were organized on chromosomes.”  Nevertheless, Eugene Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland, was surprised at the complexity of this supposed primitive creature.  He told The Scientist that this implies that the common ancestor of all animals “was already extremely highly complex, at least in terms of its genomic organization and regulatory and signal transduction circuits, if not necessarily morphologically.”  The article said this pattern contradicts “the widely held belief that organisms become more complex through evolution.”    The original paper concluded by attempting to put the genetic surprises into an evolutionary context that would allow for both extreme “tinkering” and extreme stasis.  The tension is palpable:Some are the result of domain shuffling, bringing together on the animal stem new combinations of domains that are shared with other eukaryotes.  But many animal-specific genes contain sequences with no readily recognizable counterparts outside of animals; these may have arisen by sequence divergence from ancient eukaryotic genes, but the trail is obscured by deep time.  Although we can crudely assign the origins of these genes to the eumetazoan stem, this remains somewhat unsatisfying.  The forthcoming genomes of sponges, placozoans, and choanoflagellates will allow more precise dating of the origins and diversification of modern eumetazoan gene families, but this will not directly reveal the mechanisms for new gene creation.  Presumably, many of these novelties will ultimately be traced back, through deep sequence or structural comparisons, to ancient genes that underwent extreme “tinkering”.They ended by reminding everyone that genes have to do something.  Finding that part out, and tracing it back through misty trails of evolutionary ancestry, is easier said than done:The eumetazoan progenitor was more than just a collection of genes.  How did these genes function together within the ancestor?  Unfortunately, we cannot read from the genome the nature of its gene- and protein-regulatory interactions and networks.  This is particularly vexing as it is becoming clear—especially given the apparent universality of the eumetazoan toolkit—that gene regulatory changes can also play a central role in generating novelties, allowing co-option of ancestral genes and network stonew [sic] functions.  Of particular interest are the processes that give rise to body axes, germ layers, and differentiated cell types such as nerve and muscle, as well as the mechanisms that maintain these cells and their interactions through the growth and repair of the organism.  Nematostella and its genome provide a platform for testing hypotheses about the nature of ancestral eumetazoan pathways and interactions, with the use of the basic principle of evolutionary developmental biology: Processes that are conserved between living species were likely functional in their common ancestor.1Putnam et al, “Sea Anemone Genome Reveals Ancestral Eumetazoan Gene Repertoire and Genomic Organization,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 86-94, DOI: 10.1126/science.1139158.2Elisabeth Pennisi, “Genomics: Sea Anemone Provides a New View of Animal Evolution,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, p. 27, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5834.27.“Extreme tinkering” – you saw it again right there: the evolutionists bowing to Tinker Bell, their goddess of novelty.  Now, however, they can’t figure out how she could also be the goddess of conservation.    Creation is full of booby traps for those who deny it was purposefully and intelligently designed.  Picture a group of blind men walking barefoot through a minefield of mousetraps in the wrong direction.  It is a measure of fallen man’s stubbornness when every surprise, no matter how painful, assures them that they are making progress.  Each ouch, they confidently claim, is shedding light on their way (whatever “light” means to a blind man).  The way is hard for those who walk by pain, not by sight (Proverbs 4:19), especially when light is readily available to all who choose to see (Psalm 119:130, John 1:1-14).(Visited 512 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Filipinos fail to finish Gilas stint on a high note despite win over Iran

first_imgFEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo “Overall, it was a good tournament for us,” he said. “Not only did we leave a good impression (to the fans and foes) here considering that this team has been together for just three weeks. It speaks well of the program.“Unfortunately, it could have ended better for us.”Gilas lost to Canada, South Korea and Lithuania, but those were games that the players impressed Reyes the most.“Against Korea, we shot poorly but defended very well,” Reyes said. “It was the same thing against Canada and Lithuania. I was very happy with (the defensive effort the players showed in) those games.”Christian Standhardinger was the third and plast player in twin digits for Gilas with 13 as Reyes opted to play Jio Jalalon just over 13 minutes.ADVERTISEMENT The team planes back to Manila on Monday morning after which Reyes meets with fellow coaches and the leadership of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to come up with the final 12-man roster for the Fiba Asia Championship slated in Lebanon starting August 8.Members of the team that played the Jones Cup, most of them anyway, are already slated to see action in Kuala Lumpur where the country shoots for an 18th gold medal. Troy Rosario and Baser Amer are listed to join the team.The Scores:GILAS PILIPINAS 90 – Myers 21, Wright 20, Standhardinger 13, Pogoy 9, Ravena 8, Cruz 5, Parks 5, Ferrer 3, Jose 2, Tolomia 2, Pessumal 2, Jalalon 0.IRAN 82 – Pazrofteh 21, Soleymani 21, Khajehzadeh 12, Mozafarivanani 11, Rezaeifar 11, Beigiharchegani 3, Falahat 2, Shaharian Nasl 1, Mohammadi 0, Rezaei 0, Reaei 0.Quarters: 26-22; 50-42; 70-62; 90-82.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PBA: Hotshots pound Elite in fourth quarter for first win CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/JIM CHOUTAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas played with control practically all game on Sunday night and clipped a young Iran squad, 90-82, but it wasn’t exactly the high note finish to the Filipinos’ Jones Cup Invitational campaign that coach Chot Reyes was shooting for.In fact, he saw the victory by the Filipinos in an entirely different light.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gamescenter_img MOST READ View comments National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet “I thought this was the worst game we played here,” Reyes said after the Filipinos closed out with a 6-3 record to finish fourth and out of the medal. “We played a lot, lot better in the games we lost.”Mike Myers scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds and Matthew Wright tossed in 20 for the Filipinos, who were dragged into a see-sawing game by this Iranian team whose stars stayed home to prepare for bigger tournaments ahead.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“Maybe the players were tired already,” Reyes said after their ninth game in the same number of days. “Or, they may have overlooked Iran. I really thought we played well below our potential in this game.”Still, Reyes believes that this Gilas squad, the core of which will be representing the country in the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia late next month, represented the national program well and was able to provide the feeling of home to the thousands of OFWs who went to see the games at Taipei Peace Basketball Hall here. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’last_img read more

IPL: Confident Hyderabad look for encore against Pune

first_imgBuoyed by an upset victory over high-flying Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers would play for pride when they clash with Pune Warriors in a battle between low-ranked outfits at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Monday.The 10-run victory in a low-scoring thriller over Sachin Tendulkar’s strong Mumbai franchise has given the Chargers an ideal fillip.The contest is a revenge clash too for the Chargers following the defeat against the Warriors in the first leg in Hyderabad five days ago.Both the teams have eight points in their kitty.The Warriors must be pleased with the way their bowlers and fielders defended the small total of 135 against the formidable Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai and would be looking for an encore.Deccan have shown on occasions that when their batsmen put up a good score, they have variety in their bowling attack, spearheaded by Dale Steyn ( who sat out against Mumbai) and comeback man Ishant Sharma, to put any batting line- up under pressure.Ishant bowled with fire and purpose to pack off two of Mumbai’s top run getters of the season – Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma – cheaply to slow Tendulkar’s team’s progress on Saturday.With Amit Mishra providing good variety with his leg spin, Deccan TV time Pune vs Deccan Live from Navi Mumbai, on Set Max from 8 pm needed a few more players to come good and no one did it better than Anand Rajan, the tall and well built medium pacer from Madhya Pradesh, who picked three wickets in his maiden match. It’s in batting the Chargers have faltered with only captain Kumar Sangakkara performing well.advertisementPune also have been struggling after having started their debut season with a bang – two wins on the trot – and then going off the boil with a string of defeats.Their qualification hopes have been dashed, but Yuvraj Singh and his team, boosted by the late signing of former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, have the batting credentials to put up a big score or chase well.Ganguly, brought into the team after Ashish Nehra was ruled out, provided the spark with an unbeaten 32 against the Chargers on May 10.The good show by the top three batsmen enabled the Warriors to overhaul their rivals’ modest tally with six wickets to spare. Captain Yuvraj and Mitchell Marsh, who took four wickets, were the bowling heroes in that game.Alphonso Thomas had been benched after a poor show in Pune’s last home match against Mumbai, but the South African is expected to get a look- in on a surface on which he has bowled well previously. The Warriors had arrested their losing streak against Kings XI Punjab at Mohali. With back- to- back wins, the Warriors also go into the contest on a high.last_img read more