Big pensioners not likely to be teachers

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionFor the purposes of clarity, your Feb. 18 article on school employee benefits should have stated that most, if not all, of the persons in your “six-figure pension club” are retired superintendents or other high-level administrators.I know several of them from my years as president of the Saratoga County School Boards Association. To simply refer to them as “educators” can lead some people to conclude that they are typical classroom teacher pensioners. The listed pensions are going to a relatively small number of top-of-the-line employees who worked year-round and received both higher salaries and enhanced benefits. You really should also include the fact that some long-retired teachers are “living” on extremely low pensions as well. Bill ShawBallstonMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Police: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

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Management concessioned

first_imgOn January 1 a joint venture of SNC-Lavalin and Gesproex Inc took over maintenance and operation of the Deux-Montagnes and Rigaud commuter lines from the Montreal Urban Community Transport Commission. The city’s Agence Métropolitaine de Transport, which oversees the two commuter lines, announced award of a three-year contract to SNC-Gesproex on December 16. Responsibility for ticketing, passenger information and marketing functions is transferred for an annual payment of C$992000, saving 31% over the previous Muctc cost. olast_img

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Monkey HIV vaccine ‘effective’, say researchers

first_img 17 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Share Tweet HealthLifestyle Monkey HIV vaccine ‘effective’, say researchers by: – May 12, 2011center_img Share Share A new vaccine can protect macaques against the monkey equivalent of HIV and could provide a fresh approach to an HIV vaccine, a study suggests.US researchers say the vaccine offered protection to 13 of 24 rhesus macaques treated in the experiment.In 12 of the monkeys, the vaccine was still effective 12 months later.They claim the work, published in the journal Nature, could “significantly contribute” to the development of an effective HIV/Aids vaccine.The researchers gave 24 healthy rhesus macaques a vaccine containing a genetically modified form of the virus, rhesus cytomegalovirus (CMV).The vaccine was engineered to produce antigens to attack simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the monkey equivalent of HIV.It was shown to offer complete control against SIV within 13 of the monkeys, with half the monkeys still protected a year on.The vaccine worked by stimulating the production of a particular type of blood cell, called “effector memory T-cells”, which can remain vigilant in the body long after an infection has abated, providing long-term protection.Lead author Professor Louis J Picker, of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute in Oregon, compares these cells to armed soldiers at the ready.“There are soldiers that are back at the base with their rifles in the shed, and then you have the guys out in the field,” he told the BBC.There was also evidence, he said, that the vaccine all but eradicated traces of SIV in the monkeys, something which he said was “unprecedented” in HIV vaccine research.Safety concernsResearchers in the field welcomed the research, but said safety issues would need to be addressed before similar approaches could be tried in humans.“I’m excited by the science because it really does demonstrate that it may be possible to eradicate the HIV virus by a strong immune response,” said Professor Sir Andrew McMichael of Oxford University.“But at the same time I’m scratching my head how to take this approach into humans.”Professor McMichael said HIV arose from a type of SIV found in chimpanzees, so the animal model used in the study was a good one. The problem, he said, was the potential safety and regulatory issues with introducing CMV into humans, even though many of us already carry the virus.“CMV is not totally benign, it does cause a number of diseases. If you’re giving people something you’re not going to be able to get rid of should it cause problems, then that’s quite a difficult risk to manage.”Professor Robin Shattock of Imperial College, London, agreed safety would be key.“The breakthrough here is in using a viral-delivered vaccine that persists – essentially using an engineered virus to thwart a pathogenic virus. The tricky part will be showing it is safe and effective in humans.”Professor Picker responded by saying such issues would be addressed in forthcoming work, pointing out that early forms of the smallpox vaccine also carried health risks to humans.“On one level 99% of people in sub-Saharan Africa are CMV-positive and half the people in the developed world are, so we know at lot about it and it’s mostly non-pathogenic, except in vulnerable populations like pregnant women,” he said.“We’re fully aware to make it available to humans, then the next step is to make a virus which retains or has an enhanced ability to make effector memory cells, but no longer has the capacity to infect vulnerable parts of the population.”Vaccine failureDeveloping an HIV vaccine has so far proved a deeply challenging task, but there have been some promising results.In 2009, researchers in Thailand published in the Lancet the results of an experimental HIV vaccine, which they said reduced by nearly a third the risk of contracting HIV.Then last year, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested a drug used to treat HIV-positive patients may offer gay and bisexual men some protection against contracting the virus.Trials of the combination drug Truvada among nearly 2,500 men suggested it could reduce the chances of male-to-male HIV infection by 44%.But major breakthroughs remain hard to come by. Indeed, the new Nature study comes as a separate paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases reports on the failure of an HIV vaccine trial in South Africa.The MRKAd5 HIV-1 vaccine was trialled in a study involving 801 patients, and no evidence was found that the vaccine was effective.However, the report authors concede that the study’s conclusions may have been compromised by a premature end to the trial.BBC Newslast_img read more

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Alumnus creates USC-exclusive dating app

first_imgThe new app, Dating Trojans, aims to connect past and current students with others affiliated with USC for both dating and networking. (Jonathon Xue | Daily Trojan)After failing to find a partner on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, USC alumnus Sergio Pedroza decided to create his own platform to connect Trojans. Last month, Pedroza founded Dating Trojans, an app for USC students and alumni to connect and form professional, personal and romantic relationships. “People will hopefully find love on our app, and that’s amazing, but it’s also dating professionals or just going out to get coffee with people that you would never have access to outside of your existing network,” Pedroza said. Pedroza said the app is also a way for students and graduates to stay connected.Although users can currently download the app and get screened, the network won’t officially open until December 2018 or January 2019. For the screening process, the app verifies that all users previously attended or are currently attending USC. Pedroza said Dating Trojans will email potential users and ask them various questions such as their major, graduation year and which student organizations they were or are involved. Once the app determines that users are USC students or alumni, Pedroza said they will be given full access to see other users’ profiles and learn about various events on and around campus. Alumna Lindsay Mercadante said she gave Pedroza feedback on the app’s features and layout while he was developing it. Compared to other dating apps, Mercadante said Dating Trojans’ screening process allows users to know certain information before connecting with others on the app.“Everyone is going to be a part of the Trojan network, which means that they’re an actual person and [that] is already something tangible that you have in common,” Mercadante said. “Each of the profiles are vetted and verified … so you’ll have [a guarantee] that you’re actually dealing with a person who has been proven to be exactly who they identify themselves as.”USC alumnus Siddhant Gupta also said he gave Pedroza feedback on the app’s functions and design. He thinks having an app catered to the USC community will strengthen connections between users. “That is part of what makes it so unique and part of what will help make those better connections,” Gupta said. “USC is a very tight-knit community, the alumni association is so strong and the graduates have so much of a network. I think having that mutual connection will make it a little more special than other apps.” While Pedroza has not finalized all of the app’s features, he said users will be able to see multiple profiles at once, including images and personal information. Pedroza said he also plans to promote on-campus events and local restaurants where users can meet. He hopes that once the app officially opens, users will use it to make a variety of connections within the USC community.“We put you in a position to land you that job. We put you in a position to network with someone that will absolutely benefit your career. We put you in a position to meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with and maybe marry one day,” Pedroza said. “That’s our ultimate goal, to be the bridge between people within that network and allow them to accomplish amazing things like we’ve always been told we can do.”last_img read more

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