Living with HIV during COVID-19: Wikinews talks to HIV-positive sex workers about how pandemic has affected their lives

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The spread of coronavirus led to a global pandemic, affecting various daily activities. Originated in Wuhan, China, the virus spread globally, and by March, drastic measures were taken by the Indian government. Some branches of the South Western Railway of India had started taking precautions by distributing masks to ticket collectors and guards from as early as March 8. Some colleges were suspended by March 13, their exams post-poned as the government introduced lockdown and enforced social distancing.

Announced in the evening, Indian Prime Minister asked the countrymen to get the essential products and avoid going out as much as possible. Long queues outside the grocery shops, people in masks, some in N-95 masks, and hand sanitisers at the gates of megamarts were a common sight. There were reduced items in the shops, and some stores had a limit of number of customers allowed in the store at any given time. Food delivery services, and taxi services were on haitus — workers who dependent on the profession for their daily income, while software engineers were working from home. Physical classes in schools and colleges were replaced by online lectures to prevent social gatherings.

While many relied on technology for continuing their work and earn their livelihood, Wikinews reached out to sex workers in Mysore in June who unlike others can’t maintain social distancing for their work. Two sex-workers, Akram Pasha, and Jaya (a pseudonym), who were a part of sex-worker’s group called “Ashodaya Samithi” discussed how their lives had been affected by the coronavirus, the lockdown and the restrictions they had faced.

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Peter Andren, Australian MP dies aged 61

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Australian federal member of Calare, Peter Andren died on Saturday after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was aged 61.

Mr Andren who had held the seat since being elected in 1996 had previously announced his intention to run for the senate after his electorate was changed for the 2007 federal election. After Mr Andren was diagnosed with cancer in July, he announced that he would be retiring from politics at the election.

Mr Andren’s 1996 campaign platform was based upon retaining services in regional Australia, particularly banking, health and telecommunications. Over the next 11 years, Mr Andren’s primary vote grew and at the 2001 and 2004 elections was elected without preferences, achieving a majority primary vote.

In 2001, Mr Andren disagreed with his electorate on refugees. The electorate supported the government’s tough stance but Mr Andren could not support the government’s border protection measures. Following this, a vicious letter-box campaign rose up saying “you might like Peter Andren … but you won’t like what he’s got to say about keeping our borders safe”.

Fellow NSW independent member, Tony Windsor said Mr Andren’s stance on asylum seekers was just one sign of his compassion and strong belief in human rights.

Mr Windsor described Mr Andren as the “conscience” of parliament. “Peter Andren was a true representative of the people of the Calare electorate, a man of the highest integrity and the conscience of the Parliament,” he said.

“He was subjected to vitriol from time to time within the Parliament over issues, but if he believed in something he stuck to it. He didn’t compromise and I think that’s a lasting legacy that Peter will leave.”

Prime Minister John Howard said despite having a difference of opinion with Mr Andren on many issues, he had a lot of respect for him.

“I respected his skills as a local member,” he said.

“Mr Andren and I frequently disagreed on major issues and he made no bones about that and I made no bones about it either but that didn’t stop me respecting him and acknowledging the tremendous work he did for his electorate.”

Labor leader Kevin Rudd described Mr Andren as a true independent.

“Peter Andren will be a great loss to the Australian parliament,” he said.

“He was a man of principle, a man of commitment, a man who was an absolute independent.”

Leader of the Greens, Bob Brown said Mr Andren was an example of how a politician should be.

“He was an exemplar of representative politics for his electorate and the people of Calare kept returning him with a bigger and bigger majority,” he said.

“[If] anybody ever asks me how a politician should be, I am going to say, ‘Look at the record of Peter Andren'”

“He was a great Australian representative and he is a great loss to this country.”

During his political career, Mr Andren fought the sale of Telstra, introduced a bill to allow MPs to opt-out of their generous superannuation schemes, opposed the Iraq war and campaigned on environmental issues.

Mr Andren was born at Gulargambone, near Dubbo in Western NSW in 1946. Before he entered politics Mr Andren worked as a teacher before moving into journalism. Mr Andren worked as a news producer in Sydney for the Seven and Nine networks, before moving back to regional NSW where he worked as the news editor for both Radio 2GZ and Prime Television.

Mr Andren is survived by his partner and two sons.

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Hype In Online Business

Submitted by: Rami Doleh

Once upon a time when Earth did not commercialize the internet invention, someone published an ad in a national newspaper saying “Send Me $1 and I will show you how to become a millionaire”

People from all the over the place sent their $1 dollar bills waiting to get the secret recipe to become millionaires. A few weeks later they received the following note “Repeat what I have done and you will become a millionaire. I have just become one from the same ad you responded to”

I believe that this person has set the ground for most of today’s business ideas that we find on the internet. The idea includes all the usual hype that we read in many sales letters today:

1 – A simple task that does not require much of your daily time.

2 – A simple system to copy.

3 -No sales

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4 – No phone calls

5 – No sponsorships

6 – Takes 30 minutes to implement.

7 – You can repeat it as many times as you want

8 – Start earning thousands within a couple of weeks

9 – A minimum investment

As you can see that the idea and the copy did not make a single lie, yet do you think that the ones who received the note appreciated the clever business idea?

I am sure that their disappointed was great although their loss was one single dollar. Now that person was lucky since he did not want to make a business out of this idea. It was a hit and run operation.

The online business world today acknowledges the fact that such an activity is completely unacceptable. But the contradiction between what is known to be as unacceptable and what we are seeing actually happening even from some of the prominent names in the industry is very evident.

We are still seeing messages such as “Start earning immediately,” “Start cashing within a couple of weeks.” I know that many will have examples of people who actually hit gold within days of their experience, but can we actually take those experiences and make the audience expect such results for any person who ventures into online business.

Today e-mail inboxes are full of messages regarding the importance of building lists. We all know that this activity alone does not happen either over night or in a couple weeks. So how can we start suggesting to a new person that he/she should be expecting to earn money within days?

The funny thing regarding the List Building sales letters is that they are now promising that their systems would help generate massive lists within days as well.

The Mortar and Brick business world is struggling today to become customer centric organizations. Yet all they do is concentrate their resources on developing efficient processes for cost cutting purposes without any consideration to the customer. The dilemma that the offline business world is living today with regard their truthfulness in becoming customer centric organizations is manifested in the online business arena through the wish of avoiding hype.

What I cannot understand is that every single person who is involved in online business is aware of the negative bottom line effects that hype has, still they cannot avoid being involved at least partially in providing hyped promises.

Whether selling to the end user or encouraging affiliates to sell products, a hyped message will dramatically affect business continuity. Therefore, the online business today has a void for a combined offering that has both a solid product/program and realistic and hype-free promises and claims. The first to fill this void will reap huge benefits in the online marketplace.

A well established name in online business will have a better opportunity at filling this void and reaping the benefits than a new person who is still starting in this marketplace. Yet the challenge for those who are well established to change their ways from partially hyped messages to a complete hype-free environment is tremendous. Accordingly, someone who is new to the industry but committed to providing a consistent and continuous hype-free messages, might be able to surprise the well established.

I hope that this article does not come across as an accusation to prominent online business people that they are promoting hype, yet it comes as a red flag to all involved in online business who are shaping the environment and culture of this marketplace.

About the Author: To find the best home based business ideas and opportunities so you can work at home visit:

BusinessFountains.com

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US to sell precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Bush administration officially notified Congress Monday of its intention to sell sophisticated precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia. The action, coinciding with President Bush’s visit to Saudi Arabia, is part of a broader U.S. effort to bolster Gulf allies in the face of a more assertive Iran. VOA’s David Gollust reports from the State Department.

The Bush administration has already briefed Congress on its arms sales plans for Saudi Arabia. Monday’s announcement sets in motion a 30-day period in which the House and Senate can block the plan with a joint resolution – an action that appears highly unlikely.

Under the proposed deal, worth more than $120 million, the United States would provide Saudi Arabia with 900 kits and associated equipment to convert conventional gravity bombs into GPS-guided smart-bombs, known as JDAMs.

The weapons are a mainstay of the U.S. military arsenal and their accuracy would vastly enhance the capability of the Saudi Air Force, which has top-of-the-line U.S.-made fighter-bomber aircraft.

The sale is part of a broader $20-billion arms package for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates last August on a mission to the Gulf, aimed at shoring up U.S. allies concerned about Iranian influence in the region.

Several elements of the broader package including sales of Patriot anti-missile systems to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, and upgrades for Saudi Arabia’s AWACS airborne command and control planes, have already gotten congressional assent. Officials here say they also expect the Saudi J-DAMS sale to proceed despite concerns expressed by some congressional supporters of Israel.

At the time the Gulf weapons sales package was announced last year, the Bush administration also committed to a 10-year, $30-billion arms package for Israel, representing a 25 per cent increase in annual U.S. arms aid to that country.

Briefing reporters, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the administration has assured Congress it would do nothing to upset Israel’s military edge over potential enemies in the region.

“We’ve spent a lot of time assuring that we abide by our commitments to a qualitative military edge for Israel,” said Sean McCormack. “This is something that President Reagan first talked about and it’s been reiterated and reconfirmed by each successive president after that. We’re committed to maintaining that qualitative military edge for Israel.”

Israel itself has not protested the pending sale. Israeli officials have said they anticipate being provided with a new-generation U.S. smart bomb more capable than J-DAMS, which have been in service for more than a decade.

A spokesman for House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, a prominent advocate for Israel in Congress, said he does not intend to push a resolution of disapproval.

However one House member, New York Democrat Anthony Weiner, said he would introduce such a measure and already has more than 30 co-sponsors.

Critics of the package have faulted Saudi Arabia’s record in combating terrorism and advancing political reform. Under questioning here, Spokesman McCormack said the Saudi government has made “quantum leaps” in action against terrorist cells and financing in recent years and has begun the process of reform, though not necessarily at a pace that would please some critics.

Two-thirds majorities of the members in both houses would be required to block the sale and officials here say chances for that appear nil.

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On the campaign trail in the USA, October 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The following is the sixth and final edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the Free & Equal Foundation holds a presidential debate with three little-known candidates; three additional candidates give their final pleas to voters; and past Wikinews interviewees provide their electoral predictions ahead of the November 8 election.

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Attention drawn to high suicide rates in Scotland, Russia, Australia

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Three nations in three continents have seen attention focused on high suicide rates this week. A study found Scotland’s suicide rate to be increasing away from neighbouring England, Russian press and politicians are examining the world’s third-highest teen suicide rate, and new figures showed increasing Aboriginal children’s suicides in Australia’s Northern Territory.

“Until the highest authorities see suicide as a problem, our joint efforts will be unlikely to yield any results,” Boris Polozhy of Moscow’s Serbsky psychiatric center said yesterday. Only fellow ex-USSR nations Belarus and Kazakhstan have higher teen suicide rates than Russia, which is at around 20 per 100,000 nationally. Tuva, Siberia and nearby Buryatiya have rates of 120 and 77 per 100,000 respectively. Thursday saw national children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov say 4,000 youths kill themselves each year.

I have seen websites that offer a thousand ways of killing oneself

Top Health Ministry psychologist Zurab Kekelidze yesterday responded to expert calls for action, promising to “very soon… start implementing” a plan of action to tackle the issue. He said Russian schools, which are criticised for understaffing and perceived inattention to bullying, should teach psychology.

Kekelidze asked the Russian Orthodox Church to help the suicidal, and severely criticised popular online forums dedicated to suicide, where methods are compared. “I have seen websites that offer a thousand ways of killing oneself,” he claimed. Astakhov wanted schools to offer assistance via a social networking presence and tackle online bullying.

The overall national suicide rate is decreasing — down from 42 per 100,000 in 1995 to 23.5 two years ago. The high rate amongst teens is attributed to both school problems and violence at home. Recent high-profile cases include yesterday’s death of a twelve-year-old who hung himself at home in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, and two fourteen-year-olds who jumped hand-in-hand to their ends from a building in Lobnya, Moscow.

Researchers from the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Manchester in England, have been looking at data from 1960 to 2008. Although Scotland had the lower rate until 1968, England and Wales has had the lower rate since. Both areas had increasing rates until the southern side started to fall in the ’90s, and in recent years the gap has significantly increased.

Data was sorted by age, gender, and method; marked increases were seen among Scotsmen aged from 25 to 54 with hanging increasing in popularity. The female rate has remained largely static.

“This study adds to our understanding about patterns of suicide in Great Britain by producing sound evidence on divergences in long-term trends in Scotland compared to England and Wales,” said Professor Stephen Platt, a lead researcher from Edinburgh University’s Centre for Population Health Sciences. “In a future companion paper we will suggest explanations for the persisting higher rate of suicide in Scotland.”

Fellow joint lead researcher Roger Webb of the Centre for Suicide Prevention of Manchester University said the high Scottish hanging rate was “of particular concern as hanging has high case-fatality and is difficult to prevent, except within institutional settings.” He noted “a public information campaign about hanging” could be one way of reducing the rate. Paid for by the Scottish taxpayer, the results appeared in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

In an incident with parallels to the recent Moscow deaths, in 2009 Scottish and British media publicised a high-profile case in which two teenagers leap together from the Erskine Bridge, a famed suicide spot over the River Clyde where an estimated fifteen people kill themselves each year.

We now have a situation in the territory where there are almost as many female as male suicides

This week also saw Howard Bath, Children’s Commissioner for Australia’s Northern Territory, suggest the area had the highest proportion of Aborignal girl suicides in the West. There has been a significant increase since an emergency intervention five years ago in response to a report titled Little Children are Sacred which documented widespread sexual abuse of Northern Territory children and failures by authorities to adequately respond.

A national government-backed Northern Territory suicide inquiry is ongoing and due to report next month. The inquiry has heard clusters of deaths occurred around East and West Arnhem, Katherine, and the vicinity of Alice Springs. The Tiwi Islands had a very high rate from 2000 to 2005, but has now not had a suicide for a year.

Female suicide rates have greatly increased to account for 40% of Northern Territory suicides amongst those aged less than eighteen. “We now have a situation in the territory where there are almost as many female as male suicides,” said Bath. Lack of information is a problem; the all-party inquiry has heard evidence of much under-reporting and poor data collection. The Menzies School of Health’s Gary Robinson called for a Queensland-style register of suicides.

Robinson suggests cannabis-induced psychosis to be a contributing factor but laments “The big problem is nobody keeps any data. Everything is based on impressions.” He also suggested bullying, as in Russia, is a problem while Bath notes violence against women may also take a role. “Aboriginal women are being hospitalised for assault at 80 times the rate of other women… Exposure to violence greatly increases the risk of a person taking their life.” He also notes “I am concerned, as the commissioner, about children who are frequently exposed to violence in the home or in the immediate family.”

As with Scotland, hanging is a popular choice. “The method chosen is usually hanging and it is a particularly lethal method, far more than an overdose,” said Bath. New South Wales, with the nation’s largest indigenous population, has a suicide rate of one per 100,000 but the Northern Territory rate is over 30 per 100,000.

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Understanding The Art Of Buying A Good Horse

Submitted by: Phil Wiskell

Anyone looking through a list of horses for sale needs to have a strong sense of what they are looking to buy. When buying horses in Texas, or anywhere else, most people are going to find right off the bat that they are not just looking for “a brown horse,” they are going to be looking for horses that will serve a particular purpose.

Cattle Horses

When some people look to buy horses, it is because they have a ranch and they need to have a horse that will allow them to keep up with a herd of cattle. Other people still view horses as an inexpensive mode of transportation that will enable them to move from one place to another with relative ease, despite the surrounding terrain. In other cases, people will be shopping for horses that will be workers – that will help to keep the herd together, move supplies, or even help pull the truck out of the mud.

In most cases, ranchers looking for a new horse will turn to American Quarter Horses, because they are well suited to the work. With strong hind legs, athletic bodies, speed and flexibility, American Quarter horses allow ranchers to get the job done every time, quickly and efficiently.

Rodeo Horses

Many people who are looking to buy horses are doing so because they are drawn to the competitive rodeo arena. Whether their goals include calf roping, barrel racing or steer wrestling, they know that the horses that they select need to be able to sustain fast speeds, be maneuverable and responsive to the rider.

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In most cases, those individuals who are looking for rodeo horses are also going to be turning towards the American Quarter Horse, when they are shopping for a good horse. The reason for this is very much the same as the reasons that motivate buyers looking for ranch horses: American Quarter Horses have the necessary speed and athleticism to excel.

Horses for the Family

While those who have ranches and those who ride in rodeo events often have kids, they know that their horses may not be the most suitable horses for young, inexperienced riders. Therefore, plenty of riders look for horses that will be good for casual rides and for all members of the family.

Not surprisingly, many of them also gravitate towards the American Quarter Horse; however in this case, they often look towards older horses and those who have not been trained to participate in more competitive events.

Characteristics Of A Good Horse

In all cases, however, those who are looking for horses recognize that there are some characteristics that they absolutely do not want in a horse. They do not want to purchase a bad tempered horse that tends to bite or kick. They don’t want to make an investment in horses that have not been broken – especially when buying a horse for the family.

Most importantly, when looking for horses anywhere in the world, even in Texas or Oklahoma, the most crucial element that they are looking for a horse that is in good health. The horse’s hooves should be healthy. Its legs should be muscular and strong and should be free from scars and bulges. Similarly, the horse’s hearing and eyesight, teeth and heart should be in great condition.

Finally, people who are shopping for horses will want to find a horse that is a good fit for them. In part, this is a measure of the height and weight of the horse. In part it’s simply a determination that the horse is responsive, and is comfortable when you ride.

Texans Know Their Horses

It may be a common belief that everyone in Texas is familiar with horses, but those who are looking for horses in Texas know that this simply isn’t true. Like everywhere else, people have different experiences with horses. The horses for sale that they see listed will also have different experiences. Some will have training for particular tasks; others will be better suited for kids. Some will be athletes, born and bred, while others will be geared for work, or standing around in a pasture all day long.

When buying horses in Texas, or anywhere else, it is important to take the time to ask questions about the horse’s lineage – particularly if you are looking for a horse that can enable you to participate in rodeo competition. Understand that the look of the horse is less important than the horse’s demeanor and strength, and make a wise and educated choice.

About the Author: Phil Wiskell is a writer for HorseClicks.com, popular classifieds of

horses for sale

,

horse farms

and

horse trailers for sale

.

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Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA, on animal rights and the film about her life

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last night HBO premiered I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA. Since its inception, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made headlines and raised eyebrows. They are almost single-handedly responsible for the movement against animal testing and their efforts have raised the suffering animals experience in a broad spectrum of consumer goods production and food processing into a cause célèbre.

PETA first made headlines in the Silver Spring monkeys case, when Alex Pacheco, then a student at George Washington University, volunteered at a lab run by Edward Taub, who was testing neuroplasticity on live monkeys. Taub had cut sensory ganglia that supplied nerves to the monkeys’ fingers, hands, arms, legs; with some of the monkeys, he had severed the entire spinal column. He then tried to force the monkeys to use their limbs by exposing them to persistent electric shock, prolonged physical restraint of an intact arm or leg, and by withholding food. With footage obtained by Pacheco, Taub was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty—largely as a result of the monkeys’ reported living conditions—making them “the most famous lab animals in history,” according to psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Taub’s conviction was later overturned on appeal and the monkeys were eventually euthanized.

PETA was born.

In the subsequent decades they ran the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty against Europe’s largest animal-testing facility (footage showed staff punching beagle puppies in the face, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples); against Covance, the United State’s largest importer of primates for laboratory research (evidence was found that they were dissecting monkeys at its Vienna, Virginia laboratory while the animals were still alive); against General Motors for using live animals in crash tests; against L’Oreal for testing cosmetics on animals; against the use of fur for fashion and fur farms; against Smithfield Foods for torturing Butterball turkeys; and against fast food chains, most recently against KFC through the launch of their website kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.

They have launched campaigns and engaged in stunts that are designed for media attention. In 1996, PETA activists famously threw a dead raccoon onto the table of Anna Wintour, the fur supporting editor-in-chief of Vogue, while she was dining at the Four Seasons in New York, and left bloody paw prints and the words “Fur Hag” on the steps of her home. They ran a campaign entitled Holocaust on your Plate that consisted of eight 60-square-foot panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory farming. Photographs of concentration camp inmates in wooden bunks were shown next to photographs of caged chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. In 2003 in Jerusalem, after a donkey was loaded with explosives and blown up in a terrorist attack, Newkirk sent a letter to then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict. As the film shows, they also took over Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s Paris boutique and smeared blood on the windows to protest his use of fur in his clothing.

The group’s tactics have been criticized. Co-founder Pacheco, who is no longer with PETA, called them “stupid human tricks.” Some feminists criticize their campaigns featuring the Lettuce Ladies and “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads as objectifying women. Of their Holocaust on a Plate campaign, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman said “The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent.” (Newkirk later issued an apology for any hurt it caused). Perhaps most controversial amongst politicians, the public and even other animal rights organizations is PETA’s refusal to condemn the actions of the Animal Liberation Front, which in January 2005 was named as a terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

David Shankbone attended the pre-release screening of I Am An Animal at HBO’s offices in New York City on November 12, and the following day he sat down with Ingrid Newkirk to discuss her perspectives on PETA, animal rights, her responses to criticism lodged against her and to discuss her on-going life’s work to raise human awareness of animal suffering. Below is her interview.

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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Marussia F1 test driver Maria de Villota seriously injured in testing accident

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Marussia F1 team’s test driver, Spaniard María de Villota, was taken to hospital by air ambulance today after a collision in testing at Duxford Aerodrome.

At the end of her first installation run, the car she was driving had a low-speed collision with the loading ramp of the team’s support truck. According to BBC Cambridgeshire presenter Chris Mann, the car “suddenly accelerated” into the rear of the vehicle. The Marussia team released a statement an hour and a half after the accident, stating that she had been transferred to hospital, and a further statement would be issued once her condition had been assessed.

A spokesman for the East of England ambulance service, Gary Sanderson, said de Villota had “[…] sustained life-threatening injuries and following treatment at the scene by paramedics, she has been taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for further care.” According to witnesses, she was motionless for about fifteen minutes as medical teams attended to her, but did move her hands before being taken away from the test track. Medical charity Magpas, whose volunteer paramedics attended the accident, reported she had sustained injuries to her head and face, and was in a ‘stable condition’ when she reached the hospital.

Marussia reported her as conscious later in the afternoon: “Since Maria’s arrival at the hospital at approximately 10.45am this morning, she has been receiving the best medical attention possible at the hospital, which is the region’s major trauma centre. Maria is conscious and medical assessments are ongoing. The team will await the outcome of these assessments before providing further comment. The team’s first priority at this time is Maria and her family.”

De Villota was announced as Marussia’s test driver in March, having prior experience driving for Alan Docking Racing in Superleague Formula in Spain.

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University of Southern California spit test predicts cavities

Monday, February 21, 2005

Los Angeles, California —A simple saliva test can predict whether children will get cavities, how many cavities they will get and which teeth are most vulnerable.

Developed by researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the test quantifies the genetic component of tooth decay, spotting the risk when something can be done about it.

“When we apply this to young children, it allows us to predict what might be their future caries history—the number of cavities that they’ll get by, say, their late 20s or early 30s,” says researcher Paul Denny.

Called the Caries Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) test, the test measures the relative proportions in saliva of different types of sugar chains called oligosaccharides. The same sugar chains are present on tooth surfaces.

The effect of sugar chains on teeth’s resistance to disease is analogous to the effect of “good” and “bad” cholesterol on blood vessels. “Good” sugar chains tend to repel bacteria that cause cavities while “bad” allow bacteria to bond to teeth and start the decay process. Unlike cholesterol, however, sugar chain makeup in humans is 100% genetically determined.

Denny and colleagues have found that the sugar chain makeup in saliva can predict a child’s future cavity history to plus or minus one cavity with greater than 98% confidence.

The findings suggest that in developed areas of the modern era genes play a more significant role in tooth decay than in former times or third world nations where gross malnutrition and negligent oral hygiene held the greatest impact on dental health.

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