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Novartis ‘Bullied’ Doctors To B...

The possibility of a £100m savings a year for the NHS is not so far off, only if Novartis prioritised consumers over profit. According to the British...

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Miliband Denies SNP Partnership Wit...

According to Labour Leader Ed Miliband, A Labour-SNP Coalition in Parliament is impossible. He said that there will be no SNP ministers in a governmen...

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MPs Demand Sex Education To Be Mand...

MPs have condemned UK ministers who failed to address shortcomings in UK sex education and said that there was little done to address the personal, so...

SanDisk-Connectd-Cars-780x520

SanDisk to Produce “Automotive Gr...

SanDisk is a well-known brand for SD memory cards widely used in smartphone storage devices and DSLRs, has announced it would create an automotive sto...

Novartis ‘Bullied’ Doctors To Block Passage of Cheaper Sight-Loss Treatment

The possibility of a £100m savings a year for the NHS is not so far off, only if Novartis prioritised consumers over profit. According to the British Medical Journal, Novartis has ‘bullied’ doctors and blocked trials of Avastin, a cheaper medical treatment for cancer that can be used to treat blindness.

The BMJ said the product is cheaper than Novartis-manufactured Lucentis.

Lucentis is used to treat wet aged-related macular degeneration for £740 an injection. Meanwhile, Avastin only costs £70 per treatment.

Novartis is accused of ‘doing everything’ in its power to stop trials of the cancer drug. The BMJ’s investigation uncovered emails through a freedom of information request that clinicians approached by Novartis were urged to pull out Avastin trials.

Queen’s Medical Centre Opthalmologist and the trial’s Chief Investigator Alex Foss said that during the planning stage, a Novartis representative tried incessantly to divert him to Novartis funded work. They even offered him future funds for personal research projects.

“Novartis did everything in its power to stop the trial and challenge its ethics. He said the challenge comes from the RNIB not Novartis.

Dr. Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor in chief, said evidence now raise questions about the legal and regulatory positions affecting medical and clinical practices directly.

“Doctors and academics have carried out clinical trials despite threats and intimidation – and doctors leaders should follow suit and not allow themselves to be bullied either.

“Doctors’ leaders also need to sort out the web of misinformation about drug prescribing that has been generated behind closed doors and is costing the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds a year by scaring doctors from using cheap and effective medicines.”

Miliband Denies SNP Partnership With Labour Due To “Differences”

According to Labour Leader Ed Miliband, A Labour-SNP Coalition in Parliament is impossible. He said that there will be no SNP ministers in a government that he leads. He said this was all “scare-mongering” by the Conservative party.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron said it was “despicable” that Ed Miliband did not immediately state that Labour has no intention to united with SNP

“Not ruling out a deal, or a pact, or support from the Scottish National Party means that the Labour Party is effectively saying, ‘We’re trying to ride to power on the back of a party that wants to break up our country,” said the Prime Minister.

SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon said that the Labour leader “ruled out something that no-one was proposing.” Sturgeon said all parties could still reach an informal arrangement to keep out the Tories.

Analysts see that Ed Miliband had not ruled out an informal arrangement with the SNP. The SNP could offer Labour minority governmetn support through a vote-by-vote basis with “confidence-and-supply.”

Miliband made it clear that Labour was striving for a “100% majority” to bring major change in the United Kingdom. While he blamed Cameron for scare-mongering, he had stated that a coalition between the Conservative Party and UKIP would be devastating for the country.

MPs Demand Sex Education To Be Mandatory in All Schools

MPs have condemned UK ministers who failed to address shortcomings in UK sex education and said that there was little done to address the personal, social and health education (PSHE) and the sex and relationships education (SRE).

Sources show that the latest official government advice on SRE is just 14 years old. The advice will not address new issues arising from technological developments, such as easy access to pornographic materials and cyberbullying.

The Commons Education Select Committee urged the Department for Education to create a new plan for the new age. Chairman Graham Stuart said there’s a very large demand from teachers, parents and young people to improve and upgrade the UK’s sex education programme.

MPs plan to make sex education compulsory in all primary and secondary schools.

According to an Ofsted report in 2013, PSHE and SRE programmes were inadequate in 40% of schools and the situation had continually worsened.

A DfE Spokesperson said:

“High-quality PSHE teaching has a vital role to play in this. That’s why we are working with schools and experts to ensure the PSHE and relationships education that young people receive is appropriate and of a high standard.

“We have already set up a new expert subject group on PSHE to identify key areas where teachers need further support. However, we are aware that more needs to be done to raise the quality of teaching in this area and we will consider the findings of this report carefully.”

SanDisk to Produce “Automotive Grade” Flash Storage for Cars

SanDisk is a well-known brand for SD memory cards widely used in smartphone storage devices and DSLRs, has announced it would create an automotive storage that is optimized to provide storage functions while not impeding the user’s driving experience.

According to SanDisk: “SanDisk Automotive storage solutions are optimized to bring reliable, high-performance storage to a wide range of in-vehicle applications, including 3D mapping and advanced augmented reality in navigation systems, entertainment systems, intuitive driver assist technology, data event recorders, and more. By providing the responsiveness and capacity of SanDisk flash storage technology, SanDisk Automotive solutions offer the potential for car manufacturers to continue to push the boundaries of connected car application experience.”

The new Automotive line features the following specifics

  • Up to 64GB
  • Works in temperatures from -40C to 85C
  • Enhanced power immunity
  • Up to 2 boot/2 user partitions
  • Meets AEC-Q100 specifications

SanDisk explained further “the SanDisk Automotive portfolio of storage solutions includes an automotive grade SanDisk SD card and iNAND embedded flash drive (EFD), which are available to automotive manufacturers in capacities up to 64GB. Leveraging SanDisk’s innovative proprietary flash storage architectures, these solutions bring superior experiences to data-intensive automotive infotainment and connected car applications, enabling maps to load fast, improving touch-screen responsiveness, and reducing potential interference from driving on uneven or rough roadways”.

However, many speculate that the first few products could be rocky and buggy. They may meet the AEC-Q100 specifications, but certain cars have certain requirements, which SanDisk will have to address.

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Chesterfield Could Transform With £400m Leisure Complex

The £400m-worth Chesterfield Peak planned to be built on the outskirts of Chesterfield will radically transform the town’s economy. According to business leaders, the new complex could bring 1,300 jobs. UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to announce its development during his tour of America this week.

Peak Resorts, as it would be called, provides leisure, health, sport and education destinations on the edge of the 550 square miles Peak District National Park. The exact location for the development has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to be at Unstone.

In 2008, Birchall Estates obtained the permissions to build the first phase of the project for a major development at the site. In 2014, an order diverted the public bridleway and public footpaths crossing the sight of the resort. The walkways are to run around the perimeter of the site.

According to Chief Executive of the East Midlands Chamber George Cowcher: “This is fantastic news and will totally transform both the economy and the tourism offer of Chesterfield and the Peak District.

“This scheme has been in development for many years, so it’s great to see it has finally secured the funding to bring it to fruition, along with the green light to make it happen.

“The visitor economy, particularly in this part of the region, is a key driver of economic growth and this new development will further enhance the offering, draw more visitors to the area and make Chesterfield and the Peak District an even stronger proposition for potential investors.”

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Thames Fireworks Welcome the New Year In London

New Year revellers lined up in Thames. While fewer than last year’s numbers because of new ticketing fees for 2015, the crowd was ecstatic to see the fireworks coupled with an electronic soundtrack. It was then followed by Auld Lang Syne.

A large display showed the 10-minute digital countdown on The Shard’s western face. Lighting comprised of searchlights, strobes and a 2015 numeric graphic were strewn in the sky.

Meanwhile, The Metropolitan Police made 90 arrests on New Year’s eve celebration. Around 27 were arrested for drunkenness and disorderly behaviour, 22 for assault, seven for sexual offences, six for drugs and two for possession of offensive weaponry.

The London Ambulance Service faced huge demand during the night. It tweeted: “It’s been an incredibly busy night. During peak times we were taking around 450 calls an hour.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Tonight’s dazzling celebrations have shown London at its best.

“I hope everyone who attended and watched from home, here in the UK and across the globe, were as impressed with this fabulous showcase for our great city. The success of this huge event is down to the hard work of all those involved, including the Met Police, emergency services, TfL, local authorities and many others that made sure everyone enjoyed their evening and got home safely.

“A great start to 2015, I’d like to thank everyone involved and wish you all a very happy new year.”

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Ed Miliband Said He Was Not Responsible For “Coaching” MPs About Immigration

A 33-page document from Labour that advised MPs not to campaign on immigration had become a major disaster for the party. However, Deputy Prime Minister Ed Miliband denies seeing the “leaked” document and claimed he had “no idea” who was responsible for the documents.

The document said that it suggested MPs “move the conversation on” to issues such as pressures on the NHS and housing when voters raise the question. However, MPs should not mention anything about immigration.

Many criticised him and the political party because the document was billed as a major pre-election speech on Labour policy on immigration.

The document was entitled “Campaigning Against Ukip.”

According to Labour’s insiders, some pointed to Lucy Powell, the new Labour Election Campaign chief, for distributing the article without having it checked by senior colleagues. The document highlighted that immigration is the problem “people most often cite” why they back up Nigel Farage. MPs on the campaign are advised to “understand and acknowledge” any concern even if the ideas do not blend with their own.

Senior Labour MPs were furious about the spread of the 33-page document. One had claimed it was “disastrous” and had blamed Lucy Powell. According to another, some bits of the document weren’t well-drafted.

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UK Has Approved a Highly Controversial DNA Test From the United States

California-based medical company 23and Me’s controversial DNA test, which the US Food and Drug Administration believe as an inadequate genetic test, had been cleared by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The 23andMe spit test is designed to give details about the health risks of a person based on DNA gathered from saliva. However, many medical professionals believe the product is not accurate enough.

The UK Department of Health said it supported the idea of using gene tests to guide patient care within the United States. However, they warned that despite the product making the minimum standards needed, no gene test is 100% reliable.

Meanwhile, 23andMe Chief Executive Ann Wojcicki said ”The UK is a world leader in genomics and we are very excited to offer a product specifically for UK customers.” Ann Wojcicki the legal wife of Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. Google has invested millions in the development of 23andMe’s spit test.

However, the US FDA said that the reliability of the examinations were not satisfactory. The FDA also warned that customers may make life decisions based solely on the results they received.

According to Dr. Marcy Danovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society in California, genetic tests are highly valuable medical tools. However, they are quite useless if they are used as a predictor of common complex diseases.

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Comet Lander Detects Organic Molecules

The Philae Lander had sent back evidence of carbon and hydrogen, which could show where life on Earth had originated.

Organic molecules are essential for life. Finding them on a comet may reveal some answers about humanity, and earth life, came from. Scientists are yet to reveal the specific molecules found on Comet 67/P Churyunov-Gersimenko.

Many scientists believe that life on Earth did not grow from the planet itself, but had been carried through an asteroid or comet that hit it during its younger years.

The DLR German Aerospace Centre had confirmed the lander had found organic molecules. The developer of the Philae Lander’s Cosac instrument, they determined their device had “sniffed” the atmosphere and detected the first organic molecules upon landing.

The instrument shortly picked up the compounds from the comet’s thin atmosphere before the lander hibernated to preserve its limited power supplies.

Meanwhile, the lander’s attempt to analyse soil through drilling had not been successful. It had worked on several other experiments for 60 hours before it entered hibernation.

Open University Professor and Scientist Professor John Zarnecki said that the discovery was greatly fascinating. He said “There has long been indirect evidence of organic molecules on comets as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms have been found in comet dust, It has not been possible to see if these are forming complex compounds before and if this is what has been found then it is a tremendous discovery.”

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Christopher Nolan Preferred “Realistic” Effects for “Insterstellar”

The “Dark Knight” Trilogy director Christopher Nolan said he prefers to use practical special effects in ‘Interstellar” instead of making use of too much CGI. Nolan said he prefers to “work from reality.”

He said that he wanted to create a “realistic” atmosphere for the actors on set.

One of his SFX Supervisors, Scotto Fisher, said that:

‘Chris wants us to do as much as you can practical.

”If you can achieve it in camera, that’s always the goal.”

Lynda Obst, the film’s Producer, said ”He takes us to these exotic locations and creates a planetary atmosphere.

”He’s filling the screen with a real image that feels real because it is real.”

John Lithgow, who played Donald in the film, says that Nolan is gifted with creating realistic scenes and recounts a dust cloud scene.

”He loves to work from reality. When we turn around and say: ‘Uh oh, a dust storm, you figure you were just gonna look at an empty landscape and they just put it in later for us so we would have to pretend. No.”

Christopher Nolan said that when you are dealing with the vastness of the universe, it is going to be the most ambitious film you’ve ever done, that takes a number of different forms.”

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