BREAKING NEWS FROM CHANNEL 44: CROUCH SELECTED AS HOLCOMB RUNNING MATE

first_imgSUZANNE CROUCH IS SELECTED AS HOLCOMB RUNNING MATEGubernatorial candidate Eric Holcomb picked his running mate as he seeks the Governor’s office. And she is an Evansville native.According to his Facebook page, this morning Holcomb announced that he has asked State Auditor Suzanne Crouch to run on his ticket in the Indiana Governor’s race.Holcomb describes Crouch’s record as strong with an impressive resume. He states her experience as valuable “in four separate and important roles in local and state government, both at legislative and executive levels”.Earlier this week, the Republican party chose Holcomb to replace Governor Mike Pence on the ticket.Crouch served as State Auditor since January 2014. She previously served as a State Representative, Vanderburgh County Commissioner, and Vanderburgh County Auditor. She also graduated from Purdue University.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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CCO OBSERVATION Of CITY COUNCIL ELECTION

first_imgWe always believe that voting is important, but the City Election this Tuesday, November 3 may be one of the most important ones we have held in years. Evansville is at a crossroads and what happens in the next four years may dictate whether or not we remain a functioning and financially solvent entity. For that reason, the City-County Observer is offering our observations about the candidates you will choose from in a pivotal election for our great city.In the City Council-At-Large race, we can vote for three candidates out of the six who are listed on the ballot. The first is Democrat Dr. H. Dan Adams, who we expect to cruise to reelection. Dr. Adams is the current President of City Council and was instrumental in bringing the IU Medical School to Old Downtown. He has done a credible job in representing our interests and is worth your consideration.The second name to appear on the At-Large ballot is that of another Democrat, Alex Burton. Mr. Burton has run an energetic campaign and is a breath of fresh air as a candidate for the City Council. For someone so young, he brings more experience to the job than many candidates twice his age. He has worked on the staff of two (2) United States Congressmen and was intern for Mayor Jonathan Winezapfel and understands the nuances of the job of being an elected official. Mr. Burton’s educational background is extremely impressive,  he has Bachelor degree in Public Relations and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Alex has publicly made a firm commitment to building consensus and finding compromise with other members of council. If elected, we predict that Alex will be a positive force on City Council.Republican Michelle Mercer is the third name on the At-Large ballot. No newcomer to politics, she has unsuccessfully sought public office several times before.  She has stated publicly that she is committed to the tax and spend agenda of our current Mayor.  She has ran an aggressive but positive campaign.  She is likable and If elected we hope she will be her own person.We wish we had seen more of the Libertarian candidate, Robert Myers. While third-party candidates have a tough battle most of the time to be elected, we wonder if his presence on City Council might make more of the community feel as if they have a independent thinking representative in the Civic Center.When it was revealed that Republican Jack Schriber has admitted engaging in a 2 year sexual relationship with an underaged male student during his years as a teacher, he withdrew his candidacy. However, it’s too late to remove his name from the ballot, so if he is one of the top three vote-getters, it will be up to the Republican caucus to elect a replacement for him.  We highly recommend that you bypass his name on the ballot.The final name on the At-Large ballot is Democrat Jonathan Weaver. During his first four-year term, Mr. Weaver has conducted his personal life in such a way that causes us to doubt that he’s worthy of being re-elected to Council.  Councilman Weaver has also stated that he would vote to increase the Local Option Income Tax if re-elected to Council. The Republicans chose not to run a third At-Large candidate, as Mr. Weaver is totally dedicated (rubber stamp) to the current Mayor’s tax and spend agenda for the City.The First Ward is a contested race, and we again wish we had seen more of the Libertarian candidate, Bart Gadau. He is challenging incumbent and liberal Republican, Dan McGinn. Traditionally the First Ward has been strongly Republican, and the Democrats often fail to field a challenger there. We believe that the newly-drawn boundaries make the First Ward winnable for a conservative Democrat, but one is not running. We wouldn’t be upset if Mr. Gadau was elected  to this seat simply because we believe McGinn’s condescension to constituents is not good for the First Ward or the City in general. Also McGinn has publicly stated if elected to a second term he is going to propose to increase our local Option Income Tax which causes us major concern because too many Evansvillians are already struggling to get by.There is no contest in the Second Ward because of a back room political deal between the Democrats and Republicans. Democrat Missy Mosby will retain the seat she now holds after barely squeaking past Steve Davis in the primary by fifteen votes. It’s obvious that if Ms. Mosby had an anti-tax and spend Republican running against her she would have been in bone fide re-election battle of her political career.  Like her close friend and business associate (both work at Tucker Realty),  Jonathan Weaver,  she has been “on board” with Lloyd Winnecke’s tax and spend agenda from day one.In the Third Ward, the Republican Anna Hargis-CPA  has waged a very energetic campaign.  She is smart and personable.  However, we are concerned that she is totally committed to the Winnecke future tax and spend vision for Evansville. We hope this doesn’t mean that Hargis will be a rubber stamp for the Mayors tax and spend agenda . The 3rd Ward boundaries have been redrawn in such a way that it has added some traditionally Republican areas. The Democrat in the race is Mrs. Anna Melcher, who is a very independent, intelligent and extremely outspoken candidate. We will be interested to see if changes in the 3rd Ward boundaries will have an effect on the traditionally Democrat ward’s election outcomes. We believe that either of the “two Annas” would do a fine job in representing the concerns that are brought to them by constituents.The Fourth Ward’s four term Democratic incumbent, Connie Robinson, is being challenged by Independent Henrietta Jenkins. We believe the hardworking and effective Central City advocate Connie Robinson will have no difficulty soundly defeating her challenger. Ms. Jenkins has waged a non-issue campaign based on bitter personal attacks about Mrs. Robinson’s hard-earned financial success in life, and we have no reason to believe that Ms. Jenkins has any potential to do a job for the Fourth Ward that compares to the one Connie continually does for her constituents.The Fifth Ward is shaping up to be a close contest, although it is a heavily Republican area. Democrat Tom Shoulders and Republican Justin Elpers both have strong backing among members of their parties. Mr. Shoulders is a firefighter at the airport and Mr. Elpers is a teacher at Harrison. Either of the men, in our opinion, will do a good job on City Council.The Democrat in the Sixth Ward, James Brinkmeyer, is unopposed as the result of the same behind-the-scenes deal making between the parties that gave Missy Mosby an uncontested race. We hope that the untested Mr. Brinkmeyer will represent the Sixth Ward well.We believe that the voters are being shortchanged by back room deals between the parties that allow so many “uncontested” seats. We also want to remind those who would ordinarily vote a “single punch” straight Republican ticket, that unless they want to vote for Jack Schriber, they must go through the ballot and punch individual candidates’ names.FOOTNOTE: We have shared our thoughts with you,  we are inviting you to take part in our unscientific poll but trendy “Readers Poll”  tell us who do you “endorse” as the next Mayor of Evansville.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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NORTH BERGEN BRIEFS

first_img ×Mayor Nicholas Sacco, with members of the New Jersey Chapter Head of American Muslims for Palestine, attended a recent Palestinian flag raising ceremony at Town Hall. Join the town’s Easter Egg HuntMayor Nicholas Sacco and the North Bergen Free Public Library invite all kids to an Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny on Saturday, April 15 at 1 p.m. at the main library, 8411 Bergenline Ave. Mayor Nicholas Sacco, with members of the New Jersey Chapter Head of American Muslims for Palestine, attended a recent Palestinian flag raising ceremony at Town Hall.center_img Bring hard-boiled eggs to decorate. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit www.nbpl.org.North Bergen Police Department to hold community meetings through AprilThe North Bergen Police Department is hosting four community meetings throughout the township in April. These informal sessions are a great forum for North Bergen residents to voice any concerns and discuss issues in person with members of the police department.The program, known as N.B. TAPS (North Bergen Township Alternative Policing Strategy), was initiated last year by Chief of Police Robert Dowd in order to enhance police-community relations. Residents get to meet the officers who patrol their neighborhoods, and the officers learn about any matters of concern directly from the residents.All meetings will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. The dates and locations are as follows:·   Wednesday, April 19: Uptown Public Library, 8411 Bergenline Ave.·   Thursday, April 20: Our Lady of Fatima Church, Lower Level, 8101 Kennedy Blvd.·   Wednesday, April 26: Downtown Public Library, 2123 Kennedy Blvd.·   Thursday, April 27: North Bergen Town Hall Chambers, Lower Level, 4233 Kennedy Blvd.Seasonal park patrol job openingsThe county of Hudson is now hiring for seasonal park patrol positions. Mayor Nicholas Sacco would like to thank Freeholder Anthony Vainieri for opening these new jobs to provide public safety.Salary is $14.25 per hour. Must be 18 years old or older, have a valid N.J. driver’s license, and have a high school diploma or equivalent.For more information contact Karen Defazio, Hudson County Parks, Lincoln Park Admin. Bldg., Jersey City, NJ 07304. Phone number (201) 915-1388. Email: [email protected] County CASA is seeking volunteersLearn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be at Little City Books at 100 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, NJ on Tuesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures. For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.North Bergen Library receives major grant awardThe North Bergen Free Public Library has announced that it has been selected as a winner of the 2017 American Dream Literacy Grant, sponsored by the American Library Association and Dollar General. This grant is awarded to libraries to improve literacy services for adult English language learners. The library has been awarded a grant of $10,000 which will be used to purchase extra materials for English language learners and to coordinate the launch of a volunteer ESL conversational class.The library has already designated a new “ESL” section and has begun to purchase new books; new books and materials will also be purchased for various pre-existing ESL classes. The library has also appointed a new ESL volunteer coordinator. This coordinator will organize and launch a new volunteer-run ESL conversational class.Those interested in improving their English by holding conversations with a native English speaker will be able to contact the library and be paired with a volunteer. Those interested in volunteering for the program, should please contact the library or come in to fill out a volunteer form.Report: Meadowlands Hospital may be sold to Long Island business ownerMeadowlands Hospital is set to be sold to a multimillionaire real-estate developer, according to a report on NorthJersey.com. Yan Moshe, based in Long Island, owns multiple surgery centers in Bergen County, per the report. He will only pay $5 million of the $12.2 million bid he placed for the hospital last year, provided the state approves the sale, the website added. At that time, he had filed an application with the state Department of Health, reportedly pledging $3 million in upgrades at the hospital.However, the report said that Moshe doesn’t have experience running a hospital and noted various problems Meadowlands has been having.If Moshe’s purchase receives approval, the hospital’s owners will lend him the remaining balance, the report said. He would also have to pay another $26 million for the hospital’s land, NorthJersey said.Regulators have also reportedly questioned the deal, asking if Moshe has the assets to run Meadowlands, and if the hospital even serves a purpose. Four other hospitals are located within seven miles of Meadowlands, with a combined total of 293 empty, staffed beds.“Please explain, in detail, why Meadowlands should remain open as an acute-care hospital,” one of the state’s reviewers reportedly asked in their questions about Moshe’s application, according to NorthJersey.com.last_img read more

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Counter View: with Georgi Gyton

first_imgGeorgi Gyton, associate editor of British Baker, joined the magazine back in 2008. She has written extensively about all sectors of the industry, and also forms part of the team behind National Cupcake Week and the National Cupcake Championships.last_img

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Eric Clapton Announces 3-Night Royal Albert Hall Run

first_imgEric Clapton has announced his first dates of 2019 and only U.K. shows of the upcoming year, with a three-night run at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Taking place May 13th, 15th, and 16th of 2019, Clapton has rounded up longtime collaborators, including guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, keyboardist Chris Stainton, bassist Nathan East, and drummer Sonny Emory.Tickets for Slowhand’s 2019 U.K. run go on sale this Friday, October 26th at 10 a.m. local time. Tickets are limited to 6 per household and are available from the venue box office, by phone and online (no counter sales), BookingsDirect.com and select authorized agents.Earlier this year, Eric Clapton announced that his final North American shows of 2018 would take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 6th and 7th. In discussion with BBC Radio, he also discussed that he is losing his hearing and suffering from tinnitus, a ringing inside the ear that is often caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise.In that same interview, Clapton noted, “I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year. It started with lower back pain, and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy,” he added. “[It’s] hard work to play the guitar and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that it will not improve.” Clapton went on to tell BBC’s Stephen Wright that he would be limiting the number of plays going forward, explaining, “‘What I’ll allow myself to do, within reason, is carry on recording in the studio. I don’t want to go off the boil to the point where I’m embarrassing myself.”For more information on tickets and the upcoming Royal Albert Hall shows, head to Eric Clapton’s website here.[H/T Jambase]last_img read more

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New program shows young people how to use broadband and serve the community

first_imgComcast and One Economy will be joined by elected officials and community leaders on Friday, June 4 at 2:30 PM at the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington to kick off a major digital learning and service initiative that teaches teens and young adults from diverse, low-income backgrounds how to use broadband technologies and put that knowledge to work to increase digital literacy in the greater community.WHO:  U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Jim Douglas, Mary Alice McKenzie, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation, Doug Guthrie, Senior Vice President, Comcast’s Western New England Region, Pam Mackenzie, Area Vice President, Comcast Vermont, Karla Ballard, Vice President of Social Innovations for One Economy,  20 Burlington-area teens enrolled in Digital Connectors program.WHEN:                       Friday, June 4 at 2:30 PMWHERE:                     Boys & Girls Club of Burlington62 Oak Street, Burlington, VT  05401BACKGROUND:The Comcast Digital Connectors program trains young people on digital literacy skills, such as how to network computer labs, connect wireless access points and create video documentaries.  The students then volunteer their time at various organizations to help improve digital literacy in their larger communities, teaching them leadership skills and the importance of giving back.  Burlington is the fifth city in the nation to launch the Comcast Digital Connectors program and the first in Vermont.  In addition to Burlington, the Comcast Digital Connectors program has launched in Washington, D.C.; Houston, Texas; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Morgantown, West Virginia.  Other sites expected to kick off by the end of 2010 include:  Miami, Florida; Hanford, California; Dearborn, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Tallahassee, Florida; West Palm Beach, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Tacoma, Washington; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; and others to be determined.Source: Comcast. 6.2.2010last_img read more

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April 1, 2005 News and Notes

first_imgApril 1, 2005 News and Notes April 1, 2005 News & Notes News and Notes Jonathan R. Friedland of Jonathan R. Friedland, P.A., in Miami was inducted as president of the Dade County Trial Lawyers Association. Michael Andrew Haggard of Haggard, Parks, Haggard & Lewis in Coral Gables served as guest speaker at a Dade County Bar Association seminar and spoke on the topic of, “Damages in Record Verdicts — Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages.” Additionally, Haggard served as guest speaker at the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers’ fall convention on advanced trial skills where he spoke on the topic of closing arguments. Thomas A. Dye of Carlton Fields in Tampa spoke at the American Intellectual Property Law Association Mid-Winter Institute in Lake Buena Vista. Eric A. Gordon of Arnstein & Lehr in Boca Raton has published an article in the South Palm Beach County Bar Association’s winter issue of The South County Advocate. The article is titled, “How to Get Sued in Business Without Really Trying: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Additionally, Gordon presented a seminar titled, “You’re Hired! How to Legally and Artfully Find and Qualify Applicants and Grow Your Company in 2005.” Jack A. Weiss of Fowler White Boggs Banker in St. Petersburg was elected to the board of directors of The Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. R. Terry Rigsby of Carlton Fields in Tampa was named vice chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Bruce C. Crawford of Crawford, Owen & Hines in St. Petersburg was named chair of the Pinellas Association for Retarded Children. Paul Steven Singerman and Thomas O. Wells of Berger Singerman in Miami were featured speakers at the Northern Trust Annual Bankers’ Sales Conference. Their topic was, “Asset Planning for Physicians and the Defensive Rabbi Trust Loan.” William W. Corry of Tallahassee received the 2004 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Tallahassee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.Legal Services of Greater Miami honored John Little, Barbara Lanshe, and Lashan Fagan. Little was honored for 20 years of service. Lanshe was honored for 15 years of service. Fagan received the Alfred Feinberg Memorial Award for her aggressive advocacy on behalf of the low income community. Toni L. Wortherly of Jacksonville started a publishing company, Artistic Esquire Publishing, LLC and published her first book, Pray While You’re Prey. Steven Jaffe of Aronovitz Trial Lawyers in Miami was named to the executive board of the Broward County Trial Lawyers. Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese was recognized by the ABA for “Outstanding Community Service During National Health Care Decisions Week.” Christina McKinnon of the Law Office of Christina A. McKinnon was named the “Newcomer of the Year” by the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr., Bar Association in Miami. Morrie I. Levine of Hollywood was elected chair of the recently formed Gold Coast Region B’nai B’rith Youth Organization Adult Commission. Levine was also installed as vice-president of membership for B’nai B’rith Justice Unit #5207. Richard M. Benrubi of Liggio, Benrubi & Williams was elected treasurer of the 2005 Palm Beach County Trial Lawyers Association. Michael G. Whelan of Ogletree Deakins presented, “The Dark Side v. The Force” at the Florida Public Employer Labor Relations Association’s 31st Annual Training Conference. Julie A. Horstkamp of Kirk-Pinkerton was appointed chair for the Sarasota Realtor Attorney Joint Committee of the Sarasota Association of Realtors/Sarasota County Bar Association for a term of one year. Richard Doran of Ausley & McMullen P.A. in Tallahassee co-presented about the unique ethical obligations and challenges faced by a state attorney general at the winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General in Ft. Lauderdale. J.B. Harris of Motley Rice addressed the Trial Lawyers Marketing Roundtable in Palm Springs, CA, about marketing opportunities in emerging areas of liability, including tax resolution fraud, port crane accidents, vehicle defects, and Vioxx litigation. H. Steven Vogel was the featured speaker at a continuing education program for the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s and also at Florida International University, the lecture was titled, “Selected Topics in Accounting Malpractice.” Kevin E. Packman of Nelson & Levine in North Miami Beach spoke at the Aventura Roundtable Luncheon hosted by Northern Trust Bank. Packman spoke on, “The Florida Homestead Exemption.” A. Brian Phillips of Ruden McClosky in Orlando presented at the annual Louisiana State Bar Association Retreat. Phillips presentation was titled, “The Rigors of the Interdisciplinary Practice.” Karen Plunkett of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed in Orlando was elected to the board of directors for the Southeast Legal Marketing Association. Pamela Beckham of Beckham & Beckham in Miami was elected to serve a three-year term on the Council of ABA Trial, Tort, and Insurance Practice section. Jason Gonzalez of Ausley & McMullen in Tallahassee was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to a four- year term on the First District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission. David C. Prather of Lytal, Reiter, Clark, Fountain & Williams in West Palm Beach was elected president of the Palm Beach County Trial Lawyers Association for 2005. Michael S. Bender of Robert Kaye & Associates in Ft. Lauderdale was elected president of the Southeast Florida Chapter of Community Association Institute. Coralee G. Penabad of Meland, Russin, Hellinger & Budwick in Miami will speak at a one day Lorman seminar on the subject of bankruptcy in Florida.last_img read more

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NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies

first_imgNewly disclosed National Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between American companies and the spy agency than has been previously disclosed.The documents, published last week by The Intercept, describe “contractual relationships” between the NSA and U.S. companies, as well as the fact that the NSA has “under cover” spies working at or with some U.S. companies.While not conclusive, the material includes some clear suggestions that at least some American companies are quite willing to help the agency conduct its massive surveillance programs.The precise role of U.S. companies in the NSA’s global surveillance operations remains unclear. Documents obtained by Edward Snowden and published by various news organizations show that companies have turned over their customers’ email, phone calling records and other data under court orders. But the level of cooperation beyond those court orders has been an open question, with several leading companies, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, asserting that they only turn over customer information that is “targeted and specific” in response to legal demands.The documents do not identify any specific companies as collaborating with the NSA. The references are part of an inventory of operations, of which the very “fact that” they exist is classified information. These include the:“SIGINT” in NSA jargon is signals intelligence, the intercepting of data and voice communications. According to the document, “contractual relationships” can mean that U.S. companies deliberately insert “backdoors” or other vulnerabilities that the NSA then uses to access communications. The existence of deals to build these backdoors is secret:The NSA’s efforts to break encryption and establish backdoors were disclosed last year, but left open the possibility that the companies didn’t know about the activities. This new disclosure makes clear that some of those relationships are cooperative.The documents also describe a program codenamed Whipgenie. Its purpose is to safeguard one of the NSA’s most important secrets, the “relationships” between “U.S. Corporate partners” and the agency division that taps fiber optic cables. It refers to the dealings with U.S. companies as ECI 2014 exceptionally controlled information: It says:The Whipgenie document details one company’s involvement in “domestic wire access collection” 2013 an apparent reference to eavesdropping inside the United States. Under current law, such surveillance is only allowed after the government obtains a court order. But the document said that at least one “Corporate Partner” was involved in a “cooperative effort” to break into U.S. communications. This information, it says, is itself classified and should be closely guarded:The Whipgenie document makes clear that the program being shielded from public view involves data that moves through the United States. (Emails and other information from one foreign address to another frequently hopscotch across international borders as companies use the cheapest routing for traffic.) The document tells NSA officials that they should protect:In 2008, Congress authorized the agency to collect information that traveled through the United States. But the agency is supposed to discard entirely domestic communications that it picks up “incidentally.”A draft document indicates that the NSA targets U.S. manufacturers of commercial equipment used for communications. The document obliquely refers to covert operations by NSA agents aimed at what is termed “specific commercial entities.” Those companies are identified in the document only by the letters: A, B, and C.Sentry Owl, the program that protects this particular bit of spying, is among the most closely guarded secrets in the intelligence community. Documents describe it as “Exceptionally Controlled Information” that can only be disclosed to “a very few select” people in government.Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers, who head the congressional intelligence oversight committees, did not respond to requests for comment on whether they had been briefed on the program. Sen. Ron Wyden, an outspoken critic of NSA activities that impact U.S. residents, also declined to comment.In a statement, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said NSA surveillance is authorized by law and subject to multiple layers of oversight. She added: “It should come as no surprise that NSA conducts targeted operations to counter increasingly agile adversaries.”For more coverage, read ProPublica’s previous reporting on the NSA’s efforts to break encryption, our NSA Programs Chart and the agency’s spying operations on cell phone apps.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York last_img read more

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FDA clears single test for 12 respiratory viruses

first_imgEditor’s note: This story was revised Jan 8 to correct information about the location of the test’s manufacturer. Jan 7, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A single test that can identify up to 12 different respiratory viruses, including three kinds of influenza, from one sample has won the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval.The test, called the xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel (RVP), is the first that can detect and distinguish influenza A subtypes H1 and H3 and also detect influenza B, the FDA said in announcing the approval on Jan 3. Influenza A is the most severe type of flu in humans and has been the cause of pandemics, the agency noted.The new test panel is also the first test for human metapneumovirus (hMPV), which was first identified in 2001, the FDA said.The test is made by Toronto-based Luminex Molecular Diagnostics, part of Luminex Corp, headquartered in Austin, Tex. In a news release, the company called the xTAG RVP “a ground breaking test that, with a single patient sample, can assess the presence or absence of 12 viral targets and provide qualitative results in a few hours.”Conventional testing for the same viruses requires a number of separate tests and can take several days, the company said. The new product will help physicians provide appropriate treatment and prevent inappropriate antibiotic use that has helped spawn resistant microbes, the statement said.The FDA said, “The xTAG panel is the first FDA-cleared test for infectious respiratory disease viruses that uses a multiplex platform, allowing several tests to be processed using the same sample.”The test uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify viral genetic material in samples from patients, according to Jeremy Bridge-Cook, vice president of Luminex Molecular Diagnostics. The FDA said the test uses secretions from the back of the throat.The test uses tiny color-coded beads, or microspheres, that are coated with reagents specific to material from particular viruses, according to information on the Luminex Web site.”There’s a different color-coded bead for each virus in the test,” Bridge-Cook told CIDRAP News. “The Luminex instrument can identify the different color-coded beads and whether the viral target was amplified. If any of the beads is positive, that indicates whether the viral target was present in the sample.”The use of PCR to reproduce viral material “speeds up the usual process of detecting and identifying respiratory viruses, which can take up to a week,” Daniel D. Schultz, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the news release.The FDA said viruses identified by the xTAG RVP, in addition to the three forms of influenza and human metapneumovirus, include:Respiratory syncytial virus subtypes A and B, both of which are leading causes of infant pneumonia and bronchiolitis and often contribute to the development of long-term lung diseaseParainfluenza 1, 2, and 3—all leading factors in croup and the common coldRhinovirus, the most common viral infective agent in humans and another cause of the common coldAdenovirus, a cause of respiratory tract infections often similar to strep throat or tonsillitisThe 12 viruses covered by the test account for more than 85% of respiratory viral infections, the Luminex statement said.The company said the test’s ability to identify influenza subtypes H1 and H3 will be important in efforts to detect quickly any emerging pandemic flu virus. The test will make it possible to sort H1 and H3 viruses, which make up the vast majority of influenza A subtypes, from rare forms of influenza A. “This way, the few samples that do test positive for influenza A but cannot be identified as H1 or H3 subtypes can be flagged for further investigation by the CDC or local public health labs,” the company said.Bridge-Cook said the time needed to run the test will vary, but “I’d say maybe 6 hours might be a typical time.”As for the cost, he said he couldn’t give a specific figure, but added, “From a ballpark standpoint, basically the number is in the low hundreds [of dollars], as opposed to thousands of dollars, with respect to what it costs the healthcare system as a whole when the test is run.”Bridge-Cook said the test requires specially trained personnel, so it’s likely to be used mainly in hospital laboratories. But he said many hospital labs take samples from outpatient clinics, so the test would not be limited to use on inpatients.The FDA said that because the test is specific to the 12 viruses listed, it should be used with other diagnostic information, such as patient data, bacterial or viral cultures, and x-rays.See also: Jan 3 FDA news releasehttp://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01770.htmlJan 3 Luminex news releasehttp://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=79403&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1091216&highlight=last_img read more

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