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Better Health Comes From Government...

Faculty of Public Health Outgoing President Professor John Ashton said the government should support programs that educate parents on being parents. ...

University Lecturers Launch Strike ...

An increase of 1.1 per cent is smaller than the vice-chancellor's wage increase of 5.1 per cent according to UK university lecturers. Members o...

China is Now The World’s Deve...

A study conducted by Boston University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences showed that in the last 10 years, China has developed a lead in fina...

UK Business Confidence At Very Low ...

Several reasons for UK business confidence drop include the Brexit, budget fallout, China's impending slowdown and UK consumer activity levels. The hi...

Better Health Comes From Government Teaching About Parenting

Faculty of Public Health Outgoing President Professor John Ashton said the government should support programs that educate parents on being parents.

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He said teaching British parents to raise children and families could minimise the risk of families growing fears including anxiety, anorexia and obesity.

Mr Ashton said today’s children are neglected by schools and bad parents. He said the government needs to do something to stop it.

According to research, Mr Ashton said about one in 10 children have a mental health problem and most of it comes from his or her poor relationship with parents. He said the government must step in or give initiative to prevent irreparable damage.

He said: “We’ve done remarkably well in terms of producing live, healthy babies over the last 60, 70 years, but, by the time children are leaving school, between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of them are in trouble emotionally or mentally, and (suffer from) things like obesity, eating disorders, anxiety and stress.

“So having produced healthy babies we then set about neglecting them. I can’t imagine a sensible farmer doing this with livestock.”

Mr Ashton also warned that parents should openly discuss sex and sexual relations to their children as online pornography can affect a child’s mental health and thinking upon exposure.

“By answering children’s questions while they’re small and by not treating sex as taboo, you build blocks for mature conversations later on,” said Mr Ashton.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had himself declared that parenting classes should be mandatory for parents to raise their children. He said that every family needs help in improving their behaviour and discipline.

University Lecturers Launch Strike Over Pay Rise

An increase of 1.1 per cent is smaller than the vice-chancellor’s wage increase of 5.1 per cent according to UK university lecturers.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) launch their 48-hour protest against the minimal increase in their wages.

The union said if the government and employers do not increase the wages of educators properly, their strike could disrupt upcoming graduation ceremonies, open days and university clearing procedures. The UCU also plans to boycott the setting and marking of students’ work to begin in autumn.

According to university employers, they expect minimal to no disruption from the walkouts.

“Our HE institutions tell us that they anticipate minor impact and minimal student disruption from UCU’s planned strike days this week,” said a UCEA spokesperson. “They know that the vast majority of their staff understand the current funding environment and can see that the final offer, with substantial extra for the lower paid, endeavours to be fair without putting additional jobs at risk.

The UCU said the value of university staff pay has never increased. They indicated that it had fallen by 14.5 per cent since 2009.

The Union also said that there is no employment security for teachers. The UCU estimates that about 75,000 are on contracts. They also indicated a huge inequality in pay according to gender. Male members of staff earn an average of 12,6 per cent than females.

China is Now The World’s Development Finance Leader

A study conducted by Boston University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences showed that in the last 10 years, China has developed a lead in financing international development. Overseas lending showed it surpassed six international multilateral institutions.

The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China have oustanding loans to overseas borrowers amounting to more than $684billion by the end of 2015.

This is short of the $700bn outstanding loans of six western-backed multilateral development institutions.

China also plans to set up two new banks focused on development including the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank.

China’s CDB had taken over the World Bank in providing international development finance.

CDB currently has assets of $375bn by the end of 2015, according to bank annual reports, which has surpassed the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

“In terms of scale, Chinese finance is a major foot forward,” said Prof Gallagher. “All the talk in the development world is of the need to move from ‘billions to trillions’ in order to transition to a more low-carbon and equitable world economy.”

“China is emerging as the global leader in development finance,” said the study, which was authored jointly by Kevin Gallagher, professor at Boston University and co-director at the Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI), Rohini Kamal of GEGI and Wang Yongzhong at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

UK Business Confidence At Very Low Levels

Several reasons for UK business confidence drop include the Brexit, budget fallout, China’s impending slowdown and UK consumer activity levels. The high level of uncertainty shows business confidence dropping due to disparity for future and maintenance plans for corporations and businesses.

A poll of 1,000 chartered accountants represented by the ICAEW showed fragile consumer and business confidence similar to a time in 2012 when the economy was contracting.

Accordingto ICAEW Chief Executive Michael Izza:

“Business confidence is fragile and there is an absence of resilience in the UK economy at the moment. A combination of factors has led to this negativity and includes the EU referendum, slowing domestic sales, Chinese growth slackening and the recent budget.

“Businesses cannot plan with confidence and this applies regardless of sector, ownership or size of company. Weakening growth will also mean lower tax receipts for the chancellor, making it even harder for him to meet his deficit goal.”

The group said the latest drop in confidence suggested GDP will expand just 0.3% in the second April-to-June quarter. That chimes with a recent Bank of England prediction that growth will likely falter as companies defer spending decisions until after the 23 June referendum, which polls suggest will be close run.

The survey of chartered accountants found companies’ export sales had improved thanks to a weaker pound, which makes UK goods cheaper for overseas buyers. But it said sales growth in the UK had “slowed significantly”.

Hayfever Drugs “Accelerate Alzheimer’s and Dementia Risk”

Research from the Indiana University School of Medicine had used brain-imaging techniques and cognitive tests using 451 participants.

The results of their studies of individuals who used Hayfever Drugs and other widely-used drugs sold over-the-counter and some on prescription have resulted to accelerating Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

These include incontinence treatments, hayfever, sleeping tablets and anti-depressants.

The tests showed that these drugs have shrunk the brain due to their chemicals blocking electrical impulses between nerves.

The blocking has resulted to lower metabolism, larger ventricles and cavities inside the brain.

Assistant professor of Radiology and Imaging Sciences in the University Dr Shannon Risacher said:

“These findings provide us with a much better understanding of how this class of drugs may act upon the brain in ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

“Given all the research evidence, physicians might want to consider alternatives to anticholinergic medications if available when working with their older patients.”

Before their study, several older studies have linked the drugs to the cognitive impairment and increased dementia among the elderly.

However, the study makes use of the underlying biology by measuring brain metabolism and atrophy using neuroimaging.

Labour Suggests Immense Shortfall in Tories’ “Academisation” Plan

Plans for the government’s plan for all state-funded schools to become academies can cost about £1.3 billion according to the Labour Party.

According to the party’s calculations it would leave a massive debt of a billion pounds in the education budget, allowing austerity to plow through them.

During the Budget speech in March, Chancellor George Osborne said state schools would become academies by 2020. State schools must also express plans for academisation, including proposition, by 2022.

Labour said the government’s plan would mean the DfE repeating its figures from April 2010 to January 2016.

During the time frame, the Department had spent about £323 million as it converted about 4,897 schools into academies. Each conversion would mean spending £66,000 per school.

The UK still has about 16,800 schools to convert including special schools and pupil referral units and this would incur the total of £1.1 billion for total conversion.

Labour’s argument indicates the money spent for unnecessary education would only face huge restrictions caused by possible future austerities.

Labour Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell said the government had not presented a school improvement argument as part of the academisation procedures.

She said:

“It is not about school improvement and it’s not, either, about autonomy for schools. If it was about autonomy for schools, then schools could – as they can now – choose to become an academy if that’s what they so wish to do.

“This is about forcing upon all schools in the country a costly reorganisation which, when they are facing budget cuts over the next few years as they are… I think this money could be much better spent on improving standards in schools and on extra teachers and on extra-curricular activities.”

Private-Hire Vehicles Facing Huge Regulation Challenge

The UK’s growing number of private-hire vehicles including Uber drivers will now undergo extra validation and aptitude examinations for insurance before being licensed to provide services.

The UK’s increasing number of private hire drivers has grown from 59,000 in April 2010 to double at 100,000 this year.

The increasing number of PVHs has caused trouble with traffic congestion increasing in London. Black cab companies also blame Uber and PVHs for pushing it to the brink of closure.

Ride-sharing service Uber alone makes up for the 25,000 of 100,000 private hire vehicles in the city.

London City Mayor Boris Johnson, giving in to pressure, had placed new guidelines that would filter the number of drivers allowed for private-hire vehicles.

Private-hire drivers, including minicab drivers, will have to take a basic English language and “knowledge-lite” style geography examinations before driving in London. Drivers also need to comply with insurance requirements to ensure all PVH operators guarantee their passengers in case of accidents.

According to General Secretary of the London Taxi Drivers’ Association Steve McNamara, the changes were welcome but insufficient.

“TfL has wasted a huge opportunity to improve standards within the private hire industry for the benefit of drivers, passengers and other road users.

“The review of private hire regulations was aimed at improving passenger safety, and most of the proposals were sensible and endorsed by the LTDA.

“We are pleased TfL has committed to taking some of them forward, but as result of undue influence, TfL has not gone anywhere far enough.

“Introducing Hire and Reward operator insurance is the only way to categorically ensure that all passengers travelling in a private hire vehicle (PHV) in London are covered in the event of an accident.

“The failure to take this proposal forward means uninsured PHVs will continue to operate in the capital, putting Londoners at risk. The next mayor needs to address this issue as a matter of priority.”

Barclays Set To Exit Africa Market

Observers said that Barclays new Chief Executive is leaning towards the bank’s exit from Africa as part of its ring-fencing efforts. Currently, the bank intends to focus on its UK and US markets.

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The Barclays board had commissioned an African business review. According to sources, the board reached a decision that it was strategically sound to exit the market.

According to the board, a sub-committee examined the right time to sell Barclays Africa and its consequences.

Currently, Barclays Africa is one of the banks’ major lines of business. The sale of the business would mean a $4.83 billion (£3.46 billion) profit for the bank.

Jess Staley, the review chief, said that he recognises Africa being one of Barclays’ genuine growth areas. He said that for the sake of the business, the African Rand’s continuous devaluation and the slowing African economy is not worth the profits from the continent.

Barclays also speculates massive corruption and misconduct risks playing a huge factor.

Aside from Africa, Barclays is set to close down small-scale operations in Asia, Brazil, Europe and Russia.

Jefferies analysts estimate that selling the Barclays African business could mean 0.8 per cent added to Barclay’s capital ratio. This would be significant to the banks 12 per cent core capital ratio target.

T-Cell Therapy Reaches New Heights To Potentially Kill Cancer

Clinical trials yet to be published in the American Association For The Advancement Of Science have exhibited huge advancements in decreasing the number of cancer cells in an afflicted body. According to medical experts, the breakthrough is a “paradigm shift” in the treatment of cancer.

Patients with advanced blood cancers who did not have a life expectancy past 5 months have lived longer and had remissions after 18 months of follow-up checks without any signs of cancer returning.

T-cells can be found in the body. Medical professionals take the T-cells from our blood, engineer it with a targeted antibody that identifies cancer cells, preserved in cold temperatures. Then, chemotherapy would decrease the T-cells in the patient’s body. Once at a sufficient level, medical experts can then transfuse the engineered and preserved T-cells in the patient’s body to combat cancer cells.

One clinical trial showed a patient’s own T-cell engineered in the laboratory to identify and attack tumour cells. About 90 per cent of 35 patients in the trial had shown remission.

In two other clinical trials involving about 40 patients with either non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or chronic lymphocyte leukaemia, more than 80 per cent of patients responded to the treatment. About half of them have been in complete remission for up to 18 months, scientists said.

Zika Outbreak: Where Not To Travel

Mosquito-borne disease Zika had spread to more than 20 countries in the United States. The effects of the disease is generally mild. However, it has become associated with brain defects with newborns.

No travel bans have been announced. However, countries affected by the virus include North, Central and South America excluding Canada and Chile.

Pregnant women travelling to these areas should reconsider their travel plans as microcephaly surges have surged in Brazil and other parts of South America.

The UK National Travel Health Network and Centre said that pregnant women should also seek travel advice from health professionals when travelling to the said locations

According to the CDC, Zika lingers in the blood for a week. It will not cause infections for a conceived baby after the virus is cleared from the blood.

The CDC’s statement said “there is currently no evidence that Zika virus infection poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.”

To avoid infection from the Zika mosquitoes, it is advised that people cover up with long-sleeved shirts and trousers, use insect repellents and apply sunscreen before applying the repellent. It is highly advised to close windows and use air conditioning in any hotel, whenever possible.