ICE reportedly failed in conditions at child detention centers

An inspector general report released this week reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does an unsatisfactory job of inspecting its facilities and correcting poor practices, according to a report by The Hill on Saturday.

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general said in the report that most ICE detention centers do not comply with agency standards, and cited a lack of follow-up on problems identified during examinations at its roughly 200 facilities.

The Hill reports that the department watch-dog was also critical of the Nakamoto Group, a company that is contracted to perform inspections at about 100 facilities each year. The IG report called the company’s inspection process “too broad,” and “not always thorough.”

In some cases, Nakamoto inspectors spoke only English when interviewing detainees who did not speak English, according to The Hill.

“In some instances, Nakamoto’s reports misrepresented the level of assurance or the work performed in evaluating the actual conditions of the facility and the information in the reports was inconsistent with what we observed during inspections,” the inspector general said.

The inspector general issued five recommendations in the report for improving ICE detention facilities, according to The Hill.

It called for revising the scope of inspections, reinstating a quality assurance program, developing a specific plan for facilities with numerous problems, updating procedures and implementing plans to verify and correct recurring issues.

In response to the report, The Hill reported, ICE agreed with the recommendations and to implement each one.



Eagles’ Nigel Bradham suspended for violating conduct policy

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham has been suspended for the first game of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, the NFL Network reported.

The suspension reportedly stems from an incident in July of 2016 in which Bradham was arrested in Miami Beach on suspicion of battery/aggravated assault. Bradham was subsequently enrolled in the the deferred prosecution program, which he completed in January, per per Miami-Dade County Court records. The case was closed days later.

“We have been in contact with Nigel and the NFL regarding his suspension,” the Eagles said in a statement. “We respect the league’s decision on this matter and we are disappointed that Nigel put himself in this position. Nigel has taken responsibility and expressed to us through his words and actions that he has learned from his mistake. We will continue to be supportive of him throughout this process.”

The suspension means Bradham, who just inked a 5-year, $40 million contract in April, will leave the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles without their best linebacker for the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

I would like to apologize to my fans, coaches, teammates and the entire eagles organization for the 1 game suspension,” Bradham wrote on Twitter. “This stems from a July 2016 incident and the matter is now resolved. I look forward to giving it my all this season and helping the team win another Championship.”

NWT_Climate NWT_Environment SCI

Climate change predictions not including CO2 impacts, study says

A new study suggests that climate change predications are not properly accounting for the possible effects of rising carbon dioxide levels.

Scientists current use climate models where warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius coincides with atmospheric carbon dioxide in the range of 425 and 520 parts per million (ppm). But the new study suggests that if the climate warms at a slower rate, 1.5 degree Celsius warming could be delaying until heightened carbon dioxide levels are reached.

“As well as being a major cause of global warming, CO2 also affects life directly,” said Richard Betts, first author on the study. “Higher CO2 concentrations cause increased growth in many plant species. This causes a general ‘greening’ of vegetation, but also changes the makeup of ecosystems—some species do better than others. Slower-growing large tree species can lose out to faster-growing competitors.”

“It can also reduce the effects of drought to some extent, because many plants use less water when CO2 is higher,” he continued.

Betts said that the new study conducted its calculations “in reverse”

“Instead of calculating the probability of a particular amount of warming if CO2 doubles, we calculated the probability of a particular amount of CO2 rise for a particular level of warming (1.5°C and 2°C),” he said.

“This lets us estimate what the range of CO2 concentrations would be when global warming passes those levels, if CO2 were the only thing in the atmosphere that we are changing.”

The findings were published in Nature Climate Change.


BBC apologises to Carrie Gracie over pay

BBC has apologized to news presenter Carrie Gracie for underpaying her and says it “has now put this right” by giving her back pay. Gracie is donating the full, undisclosed amount to the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights.

She said: “I am glad to have been able to resolve this. It shows that we can make progress.” The corporation said it had “reached an agreement to resolve their differences”.

According to BBC,  Gracie, at her request, will take up to six months of unpaid leave and will take on writing and speaking engagements about both China and gender equality.

Gracie added that she is “delighted to donate all the backdated pay from the BBC to help women striving for equality at work”.

BBC’s director general Tony Hall said: “I am pleased that we have been able to move past our differences and work through things together; we can now look to the future.”

He added he was “glad” that she is contributing to a BBC project “to make the BBC a great place for women to work. That really matters to me, and I want us to lead the way.”

When she resigned as China editor, Gracie said she had been dismayed to discover that two of BBC’s male international editors earned “at least 50% more” than their two female counterparts.



Bacteria in female bladders can help cure UTI’s

New research revealed that bacteria in female stomachs is similar to the ones in the vagina, it can help with diagnosing and curing UTI’s, according to ScienceDaily.

A study published in Nature Communications has found that the bladder not only contains bacteria, but also that the microbes are similar to those found in the vagina. Corresponding authors of the study are Loyola University Chicago microbiologist Alan J. Wolfe, PhD, and Trevor D. Lawley, PhD, of the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom.

Researchers sequenced the genes of 149 bacterial strains from 77 women. While the microbiota found in the bladder and vagina were similar, they were markedly distinct from the microbiota found in the gastrointestinal tract. The microbiota of the bladder and vagina are similar since these organs are connected by the urethra. It appears that bacteria travel between the bladder and the vagina, effectively creating one microbiota niche. Urination provides an obvious way to explain how bacteria travel from the bladder to the vagina. That said it’s a mystery how bacteria could travel from the vagina to the bladder, since most of the bacteria examined in the study lack features such as flagella or pili (grappling hooks) that would enable them to move.

For more than 60 years, medical students had been taught that urine is sterile in healthy women and that bacteria were found in the bladder only when there were infections. The new study makes this belief no longer accurate.



Russell Simmons faces new rape accusation from former Def Jam assistant

Russell Simmons has now been accused by 17 women of sexual misconduct. This time, a former Def Jam assistant who is now an author and domestic violence awareness activist, says Simmons raped her during her sleep in 1994.

According to XXL, Sil Lai Abrams says she met Simmons in 1989 while working as a hostess at a nightclub in New York. Later, they began an intermittent consensual sexual relationship. After working as an executive assistant at Def Jam Recordings in 1992, Abrams briefly moved to Florida with her infant son but moved back to New York in 1994.

That year, while staying with a friend, she made plans to reunite with Simmons and spend an afternoon and evening together. The two partied for most of the night and Abrams drank heavily, she says, but Simmons stuck to sparkling water. Around 3 a.m., she asked Simmons to order her a ride home, but instead, he took her to his penthouse.

While drifting in and out of sleep, she says, Simmons approached, naked except for a condom and raped her in spite of her protests. Simmons then told Abrams to spend the rest of the night back at her friend’s place, where she woke up.

Abrams attempted suicide the following morning and checked into the Bellevue Hospital emergency room with the help of her host’s then-husband, Emmanuel, whom she told about the rape.


HOUNDS_Entertainment Movies

Pixar was a ‘sexist club’ under Lasseter, says former designer

Along with a legacy of hugely successful films including Frozen, Finding Nemo, and Toy Story, Pixar co-founder John Lasseter is leaving behind a culture of abuse toward women, a former employee for the company in Emeryville has claimed.

According to East Bay Times, Pixar’s parent, Disney announced earlier this month that Lasseter-who was Disney’s animation chief-would be leaving the company in December after allegations that his physical behavior toward women in the workplace made female employees uncomfortable.

This week, a former graphic designer for Pixar in Emeryville wrote a blog post and an op-ed claiming that problems went beyond the “lecherous” Lasseter, whom she blames for creating an environment hostile to female workers.

“Lasseter’s open sexism set the tone from the top, emboldening others to act like frat boys,” Cassandra Smolcic wrote in a Variety op-ed published Wednesday, recalling a time she was cornered in an office kitchen.

Disney films spearheaded by Lasseter reflect his attitude toward women, Smolcic claimed.

“Lasseter set the bar shamefully low for the overall treatment of women in his empire, which also signals troubling themes in the films he’s directed, produced, and overseen throughout the years,” she wrote.

She adds women were not afforded the same opportunities to advance as men.


New therapy can restore hearing

New therapy done in deaf mice restored their hearing, according to Live Sciences. A small molecule has been successfully used to treat an inherited form of hearing loss in lab mice. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This means that a new treatment option could be underway for people with this form of deafness. The results of this preliminary study were published in the latest issue of the journal Cell.

Thomas B. Friedman, chief of the Laboratory of Human Molecular Genetics at the NIDCD and a collaborating author of this study explained that this novel therapy could restore hearing at lower sound frequencies and save some of the “sensory hair cells” within the inner ear. He said that they were hopeful that more small molecules could be used in the future to treat other forms of progressive deafness.

Friedman and Robert J. Morell from NIDCD, previously looked at the genetic basis in an inherited form of deafness. The family members and blood relations of the family called LMG2 carries a dominant gene which when passed on to the children caused progressive hearing loss among them. In the present form of hearing loss the team had found that there was a genetic mutation on chromosome 4 called DFNA27. Alterations to genes there can affect hearing.


New study can help cure larynx diseases

Mount Sinai study is helping doctors cure diseases affecting the larynx, according to Life Sciences.  Mount Sinai researchers used sensory mapping to discover that the posterior part of the larynx is the main area that protects. the airway from potentially dangerous swallowed or inhaled substances. This novel finding can potentially help doctors to better understand and manage diseases affecting the larynx and lead to new targeted treatments. The results of this study have been published in the June online edition of The Laryngoscope.

“The human voice box (‘larynx’) is arguably one of the most life-sustaining organs in the body, yet there is still much we don’t know about its basic functions. This study sheds light on a critical protective function of the larynx that we have not had definite proof of until now,” explained author Catherine Sinclair, MD, FRACS, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Understanding this aspect of basic larynx physiology is essential to help us diagnose laryngeal disease, manage it appropriately, and create new therapies.”

Dr. Sinclair, along with Sedat Ulkatan, MD, Director of Intraoperative Neurophysiology at Mount Sinai West, and Maria Tellez, MD, Neurophysiologist at Mount Sinai West, started this research to find out if different areas of the human larynx had different abilities to elicit a protective airway reflex termed the “laryngeal adductor reflex” (LAR). This is important because many conditions affecting the larynx likely impair or over activate our ability to elicit the LAR.


Meghan Markle, loves garlic but can’t eat it

It is tough sucking up to difficult mothers-in-law but doing the same to grandmothers-in-law is a whole other story. And Meghan Markle, the new royal has been forced to give up one harmless activity that brings her great joy in life: eating garlic.

According to Express, Queen Elizabeth simply cannot stand pungent garlic breath, so she has banned the other royals from consuming it in any way while abroad for state banquets and events. In fact, the 92-year-old isn’t crazy about alliums in general, so she would never dare serve anything like French onion soup or tarte à l’oignon.

“We can never serve anything with garlic or too much onion,” Darren McGrady, the royal chef at Buckingham Palace, told Express. “The Queen would never have garlic on the menu.”

Giving up garlic might be easy for a very small part of the population but is certainly no easy task for Meghan, whose favorite dish is a total garlic bomb. In multiple interviews before she officially became a royal, the Duchess of Sussex waxed poetic about her love of Filipino chicken adobo, which calls for more than a few cloves of the good stuff.

Hopefully, she still sneaks it into her favorite roast chicken recipe. Given that dish was the one that inspired Prince Harry to propose, one can assume they live in a secret pro-garlic household.