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Belgium says transparency explains high virus toll

first_img“In Europe, no country counts like the others. We have the most detailed method,” Health Minister Maggie De Block told the television news channel LN24.She said the ministry might in future adopt a way of counting that would let Belgium compare its results with other countries, but provided no details. ‘Social, ethical human tragedy’ Some doctors have complained that deaths caused by hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular pathologies and other causes have been lumped into the COVID-19 category, but Emmanuel Andre, a spokesman for national health authorities, insisted the broad Belgian method of counting “is necessary.”The virus specialist explained that “the accepted practice is to take suspected cases into account” when tracking the spread of an epidemic.COVID-19 deaths that were confirmed by a positive test have represented only around five percent of those reported by retirement homes up to now, but Andre said that increased testing in those facilities would push the rate much higher in coming days.It would also allow authorities to better measure the extent of COVID-19’s spread, he added. Sociologist Geoffrey Pleyers said “a social and ethical human tragedy” had played out “unseen, behind the walls” of retirement homes as Belgian officials focused on whether hospitals had intensive care capacity to deal with the pandemic.”What proportion of deaths could have been avoided if people had received hospital care” for other pathologies, Pleyers asked in commentary published by the newspaper Le Soir.The government plans to multiply by 10 the number of coronavirus tests provided to retirement homes.But the target of 210,000 kits “is not enough to test everyone,” said Vincent Fredericq, general secretary of Femarbel, the leading federation for the sector in French-speaking Belgium.He said it cared for 160,000 residents across the country and employed 110,000 staff who were also potential vectors of the virus.”In the Brussels region, 95 percent of the personnel use public transport, either the metro, trams or buses, which are unfortunately good places to become contaminated,” Fredericq noted. Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes had to explain why that was the case on Wednesday, and said the government “made the choice of full transparency when communicating deaths linked to COVID-19,” even if it resulted in “numbers that are sometimes overestimated.”Most official tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections, because many countries are testing only the most serious cases.Unlike some countries, Belgium takes fully into account the dramatic situation in retirement homes.In the country’s more than 1,500 such facilities, the numbers include deaths that are considered linked to the coronavirus even if it has not been proven by tests, a choice not taken by many others. Belgium now has the highest death rate from COVID-19 in the European Union but officials insist it is because they have been totally transparent with the data.With more than 11.5 million inhabitants, Belgium has more than 4,800 deaths and an average of around 419 per one million inhabitants, now ahead of Spain at 409 per one million, the second highest in the EU.Belgium’s neighbors Britain and France have averages of 202 and 274 per one million respectively, with total reported deaths on the order of 14,000 and 18,000 for populations that are six times bigger. Topics :last_img read more

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Wiltshire snatch victory by half a point

first_img25 Aug 2016 Wiltshire snatch victory by half a point Wiltshire successfully defended their title in the English Boys’ County Championship, winning by just a half point from Yorkshire after a tense day of thrilling golf.Jake Bolton scored the winning point for Wiltshire after playing round in five-under par and closing out his game 3/2. “It is an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “We work great as a team, we’ve got such good team spirit.“We knew Yorkshire were still in it this afternoon but we just focussed on our own game and didn’t worry about them.”The teams had tied at the end of the championship with two match wins apiece after Wiltshire beat Northamptonshire 5.5-3.5 today and Yorkshire defeated Hertfordshire 6.5-2.5. But Wiltshire snatched the victory with 16 points from games won, while Yorkshire fell just short with 15.5.At the start of the day, when all four teams were still in with a chance of taking the title, it was Yorkshire who made the first move. They won their foursomes against Hertfordshire 2-1, while Wiltshire and Northamptonshire shared the points.In the afternoon Yorkshire were again quick off the mark. Barclay Brown and Charlie Thornton both completed their 100 per cent scoring record of six wins from six matches with sub-par golf as they sped to wins of 5/3 and 7/6 respectively. Sam Bairstow soon followed them, winning 3/2.Then the tension began to mount as players and spectators concentrated on the calculations. How many more could Yorkshire win? What were Wiltshire doing?The quality of the afternoon’s play was underlined when Charlie Daughtrey – who had been down all through his round – managed to win the last for a half, having scored around seven-under par. Finally Tom North holed a testing six-footer on the last to win his game 1up and complete Yorkshire’s score. Would it be enough?Wiltshire, though, had all the answers when it counted. James Cooper led the way with a solid 3/2 win and was quickly followed by Tom Stagg, who was seven-under par for the 12 holes required to defeat his opponent.The next game to finish was critical. Jamie Cooper had been locked in a tight battle with Northamptonshire’s Fergus Robinson and for most of the round there was never more than one hole between them. They came up the last all square after Robinson birdied 17, watched closely by the Yorkshire team who had calculated this was the make or break game.Cooper played textbook golf, hitting the green in two, while Robinson found sand with his tee shot and overshot the green with his second. Soon, the point was Cooper’s and he declared after his round of 18 straight pars: “I didn’t feel the pressure. I just thought hit another green and see what happens. I’m happy to do my part for the team.”There was just time for the team to dash to the 16th green to cheer in Bolton as he completed their victory. He’d been in control for most of his match, moving ahead on the seventh and steadily increasing his lead.Team manager Ian Welding was in tears as he told his side: “Brilliant, I knew you could do it!”Afterwards he laughed: “We don’t do things the easy way! This has been absolutely unbelievable and the whole team has been brilliant. Their team spirit has been fantastic and they have pulled for each other and supported each other.“We had the belief that we could do it, even when it was nip and tuck and we were looking like we might come up short.”The team included four members of last year’s winning side: Jake Bolton, James Cooper, Dom Burgess and Tom Stagg.For Yorkshire there was disappointment, but team coach Steve Robinson said: “I’m really proud of the way they performed and of their fighting spirit. None of the lads gave in and they believed they could do it and they have fallen just a half point short. But congratulations to Wiltshire, they are deserving winners.”Click here for full scoresImage © Leaderboard Photography.last_img read more

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Big Brothers Big Sisters to Hold Open House

first_imgASBURY PARK – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties is hosting an open house and book signing Saturday, Nov. 3 at the agency’s new location at 305 Bond St.The festivities begin at 4 p.m. and kick off with a ribbon-tying ceremony to articulate the message that the organization is about strengthening bonds and not breaking ties. Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson and other community leaders and members will be in attendance.“We are hosting this event to welcome families, the community, and our Bigs and Littles to our new home in Asbury Park,” said Executive Director William Salcedo. “We are also very excited to launch the newly published book written by a group of our Littles titled No Rules…Just Writing.”The organization partnered with Story Tellers and words! bookstore, both of Asbury Park, to offer a summer creative writing program. The program offered participating Littles the opportunity to write their own stories that were compiled into a published anthology. The Little authors will be on hand to sign the books, which will be available for a suggested donation of $10.Light refreshments will be served and attendees will have a chance to win a Monmouth Mall Gift Card if they RSVP and attend the event. To RSVP or for more information call 732-544-2224, Ext. 0 or email [email protected] Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties is a donor and volunteer supported non-profit organization that has been matching children facing adversity with volunteer positive role models for one-to-one mentoring since 1976.last_img read more

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Bonacci, McLean key a pair of Kootenay comebacks

first_imgBy The Nelson Daily SportsThe teams played 120 minutes and settled nothing.Kootenay Wildcats and Fraser Valley Phantom played to a pair of ties during B.C. Female AAA Midget Hockey League play this past weekend in Nelson.Sunday, Christina Bonacci of Trail scored with four minutes remaining in the game to pull the Cats to a 2-2 draw at the NDCC Arena.Saturday, it was Hailey McLean of Castlegar scoring with just over five minutes left in the game to allow Kootenay to tie the Phantom 3-3.The pair of single points allowed the Cats to overtake the Vancouver Fusion for third spot in BCFMHL standings and set up a rematch with the Phantom March 18-20 in the Fraser Valley in the first round of the playoffs.Saturday, Stephanie Digness scored a shorthanded tally with time running out in the second period to give Fraser Valley a 3-2 lead.But McLean combined with Midway’s Shannon Hall and Kiana Strand of Invermere to allow the 9-14-2 Cats to grab the single point.Nelson’s Aimee DiBella, fresh off her trip to the Canada Winter Games as a member of Team B.C. in Halifax, and Bonacci also scored for Kootenay.Sunday, the teams played to a scoreless first period before unleashing the offence. Fraser Valley opened the scoring with a goal by Katherine Kovacs before Strands tied the contest.Seven minutes into the second the Caitlyn Younger restored the lead for Fraser Valley before Bonacci evened the score for the Wildcats.Prince George Cougars travel to Vancouver to meet the Fusion in a best-of-three quarter final round playoff. The winner meets Okanagan Rockets in semi final [email protected]last_img read more

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NYS hosts Terry Walgren Rep Soccer Tournament

first_imgSaturday teams play round robin before concluding Sunday with divisional finals.All action is set for the Lakeside playing fields.The tournament is in honour of Terry Walgren, a longtime coach in Nelson — who skippered teams in Nelson Youth Soccer as well as men’s and women’s teams.Walgren, a graduate of Nelson Youth Soccer, played high school and men’s league soccer before going off to university where played for Simon Fraser and University of Alberta in Edmonton.Walgren, who returned to coach in the NYS rep program along with playing men’s league for the Heritage Innkeepers, died of cancer. The Lakeside Pitches will be filled with excitement as the Nelson Youth Soccer hosts the annual Terry Walgren Tournament beginning Saturday.Teams from Penticton, Montana, Trail-Castlegar, Cranbrook and Fernie join the host Nelson Selects during two days of roundball action in U12 Jamboree and Rep Tournament.last_img read more

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The End of Lost Luggage? RFID Slowly Coming to Airports

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… richard macmanus In this latest installment of our ongoing series on the Internet of Things, we look at one of the big advantages of Internet-connected objects: trackability. In other words, knowing precisely where an object is at all times – and even better, its condition. This is important particularly for goods that are perishable, such as food. We recently wrote about IBM’s RFID and sensor solutions to track food and horticultural goods. But tracking objects via the Internet has got very practical uses too for consumers. I can’t think of a better example than the recent case of my lost luggage.The Ed’s Red Suitcase Earlier this year I traveled back from Boston to my home in Wellington, New Zealand. I was traveling on two different airlines, from Boston – Los Angeles on American Airlines, then from Los Angeles to Wellington (by way of Auckland) on my preferred airline Air New Zealand.I arrived at Boston airport one overcast summer morning in late June, entered a disorganized American Airlines queue and walked up to the counter. After a few minutes of being ignored, I managed to wave down a harried-looking staff member. After processing my credit card (twice) for a luggage charge and an extra airfare I had to pay, she grumpily processed my boarding pass. Before I knew it, a boarding pass and luggage ticket had been thrust my way and she’d hastily wrapped a destination label onto my red suitcase. While I checked the boarding pass, a surly looking American Airlines baggage handler hurled my suitcase – upside down – onto the luggage conveyer belt. I got distracted by the rough manner in which my suitcase was thrown, so I neglected to check my luggage ticket…It was only when I landed in Los Angeles and failed to see my trusty red suitcase appear, that I thought to check my luggage ticket. Dismayed, I discovered that it had the name of another person written on it and was labeled destination Chicago! Cursing, I made my way to the American Airlines lost luggage counter in that part of LAX and filed a claim. RFID-tagged luggage from FKI Logistex (sadly not on my red suitcase!)I’ll spare you the rest of my experiences with American Airlines customer service reps (one of whom hung up on me, after I’d phoned them from NZ), but suffice to say that it was a long, frustrating process to get my luggage back. What’s more, this was my second U.S. trip in a row in which my luggage had been lost! (the first time was Air NZ’s fault, it must be said)Where Are Those RFID Tags? The point of that anecdote is that my poor red suitcase had no means of being tracked precisely, as it made its way on various planes back to my home in Wellington – or so I hoped at the time. American Airlines certainly didn’t know where my luggage was, all they could tell me was that it was “probably” on a plane to Australia (they wouldn’t tell me which one) and “hopefully” it would turn up soon.Of course, had my suitcase had an RFID tag, American Airlines – and more importantly I – would’ve have known where it was at all times. I discovered later that it had been put on a plane from Chicago to LA, and from there to Melbourne, and eventually to Wellington (possibly via Auckland). I breathed a big sigh of relief when a courier eventually delivered the battered luggage to my door, but was left wondering when RFID tags would come to the airline industry and make all of our lives easier.11% of Airlines Now Use RFIDA number of airlines are, to their credit, working on RFID solutions to reduce incidences of lost luggage for their customers. However, as we noted in our previous post on RFID, implementing these solutions is easier said than done.A recent article from Airport Business (aside: I do love niche news websites!) stated that RFID was first deployed in 2005 at Hong Kong, Milan Malpensa and Las Vegas McCarran airports. It’s shown “great potential,” according to Airport Business, “with a read rate of over 97% compared with around 80% for conventional bar codes.” RFID is continuing to be deployed at airports, for example United Airlines did a trial earlier this year. According to SITA, 11 percent of airlines now use RFID; up from 2 percent in 2007. However, airports are experiencing the dreaded implementation issues. Lorne Riley from IATA (International Air Transport Association) told Airport Business that “the wide range of RFID tags means that a prospective user [i.e. the airport] has to make several decisions – should the tag be passive, active or semi-active, what memory size should there be, what air protocol should be used and should the information be encrypted?” To address this issue, the IATA has set up a task force to develop an international standard for RFID baggage tags.A company called FKI Logistex (which also designed a material handling system for online shoe retailer Zappos, recently acquired by Amazon) is one of the leaders in creating RFID solutions for airports. Recently it launched the industry’s first combined RFID and barcode unit. The reality is it will take a “coordinated effort,” to use Lorne Riley’s words, to get RFID widely implemented at airports around the world. The main players are airlines, RFID providers and the IATA (with its proposed standard). The main winners will of course be the customers! Although according to a 2008 baggage report by SITA, the aviation industry lost 12.4 billion in 2007 as a result of mishandled baggage. So clearly airlines, and insurance companies too, can make a big cost savings by investing in RFID technology on luggage. Bring it on, please. I don’t want to lose my luggage for the third time in a row on my next trip to the U.S.Image credits: M.V. Jantzen; kkennedy Tags:#Internet of Things#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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