Netflix UnitedHealth and Edwards climb Wells Fargo dips

first_imgNEW YORK — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Tuesday:Netflix Inc., up $21.70 to $354.64The video streaming company said it will raise prices for its U.S. subscribers.Microsoft Corp., up $2.96 to $105.01Technology stocks got a boost from news that China is moving to stimulate economic growth.Wells Fargo & Co., down 75 cents to $47.67The consumer bank’s revenue fell short of expectations as its business remains restrained by federal regulators.Sherwin-Williams Co., down $16.36 to $381.44The paint and coatings maker gave disappointing forecasts and said its sales weakened in October and November.CVS Health Corp., down $1.60 to $63.74The company said Walmart is leaving its Caremark pharmacy benefits management business.UnitedHealth Group Inc., up $8.81 to $256.87The largest U.S. health insurer had a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter.Edwards Lifesciences Corp., up $12.60 to $162.09The medical device company said it paid $180 million to settle a series of patent disputes with Boston Scientific.First Republic Bank, up $9.99 to $94.33The bank’s profit was better than analysts expected and its revenue was far higher than anticipated.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for the BC Peace

first_img A map showing forecasted weather systems at 5:00 p.m. Friday. Photo by Avalanche Canada/Environment Canada A map showing forecasted weather systems at 5:00 p.m. Friday. Photo by Avalanche Canada/Environment Canada Earlier today, Environment Canada upgraded a special weather statement for the Peace Region to a rainfall warning, which remains in effect.Bands of moisture wrapping around the area of low pressure will produce heavy rain beginning later Thursday afternoon, particularly along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains across Williston Lake and the Peace Country.Widespread rainfall totals of between 50 and 70 mm are expected by Friday night with the higher amounts likely near Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.Recreational locations in higher terrain and Highway 97 through the Pine Pass could see total rainfall amounts exceed 70 mm.Additional rainfall amounts are expected Friday night followed by a clearing trend on Saturday as the weather system departs into the Prairies. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the B.C. Peace Region today.Environment Canada says that conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms, which may be capable of producing heavy rain, high winds, and hail.According to meteorologists, the thunderstorms could cause rainfall rates of up to 25 millimetres per hour, hail of up to two centimetres in diameter, and wind gusts of up to 90 km/h. There is some uncertainty regarding rainfall amounts for urban areas over the Plains such as Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. A slight shift in the storm track could shift heavy precipitation north or south of the populated centres.Thunderstorms will also play a large role in the weather this weekend with locally intense downpours, gusty winds and lightning.last_img read more

Council wants to create a Community Foundation to help fund the community

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – City Council directed city staff to request a proposal to engage a consultant for a community foundation for Fort St. John.The foundation, a philanthropic organization would be focused on building permanent endowments to tackle long-term community challenges, shares Ryan Harvey Communications Coordinator for the City of Fort St. John.Harvey goes on to share, that as part of the Site C dam, there is the Regional Legacy Benefits agreement (found as part of the BC Hydro Community Measures Agreement; CLICK HERE ) that will provide funding of approximately $58 million over 70 years following completion. Mayor Lori Ackerman shared, right now the city spends a significant amount on ‘Grants in Aid’ and permissive tax exemptions.  When the community foundation (CF) is established, the funding could come from the CF rather than our operating budget.As the community grows, so too are the requests for assistance.  A CF can determine its ability to fund based on its revenues from the fund’s investments and accommodate the decisions year round rather than a once a year budget, shared Mayor AckermanTo view more; CLICK HERElast_img read more

Your neighbourhood may make you obese

first_imgMoving to a neighbourhood with a high obesity rate is likely to make a person become overweight, say researchers who suggest that your social circles can inadvertently influence your weight. “Social contagion in obesity means that if more people around you are obese, then that may increase your own chances of becoming obese,” said Ashlesha Datar, a senior economist at University of Southern California in the US. “In other words, living in a community where obesity is more common can make sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating and overweight or obesity more socially acceptable,” said Datar, one of the authors of the study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainObesity is linked to many factors, including eating and exercise habits, genetics and the environment. Research shows that living in certain communities carries a higher risk of obesity than living in other communities, but this association has been challenging for scientists to explain. Researchers studied military families to assess whether living in communities with greater obesity increased their own risk of being overweight or obese. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardMilitary families, they reasoned, cannot choose where they live –rather, they are assigned to installations. Some of those installations are in counties with higher rates of obesity. “We found that the families assigned to installations in counties with higher obesity rates were more likely to be overweight or obese than those assigned to installations in counties with lower rates of obesity,” Datar said. The researchers recruited families of US Army personnel at 38 military installations in the country to participate in surveys and measurements. In all, 1,314 parents and 1,111 children participated. Three-fourths of the parents and about one-fourth of the children were overweight or obese – reflective of the national rates. Researchers found that the family’s risk of obesity may increase or decrease, depending on the county obesity rate where they live. Moving to a county with a lower rate decreases the family’s chances of becoming overweight or obese. To assess whether shared environments could explain these results, the study accounted for extensive data on the food and activity opportunities in the county and neighbourhood, such as gyms and grocery stores.last_img read more

Cheating case against BJP leader Muralidhar Rao 8 others

first_imgHyderabad: An FIR was filed against BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao and eight others for allegedly cheating a man here of Rs 2.17 crore by promising him a nominated post in the central government, police said Wednesday. However, Muralidhar Rao refuted the allegations and said he has nothing to do with the case. Based on a court-referred complaint lodged by the man’s wife, a case was registered Tuesday against Muralidhar Rao and eight others on charges of cheating, forgery, criminal intimidation and other relevant IPC sections, they said. The complainant alleged that she and her husband were induced by Muralidhar Rao and others by showing a purported letter with forged signature of Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She alleged they took Rs 2.17 crore after promising that her husband would be appointed chairperson of Pharma Exil, police said. Denying the allegations, Muralidhar Rao in a series of tweets said, “Regarding the FIR filed – have nothing to do with the present dispute. The FIR involving me reportedly is sequel to a private complaint in a court by those who actually are facing criminal charges in the same matter.” “The timing of the private complaint which has no base is mischievous to say the least. Hope police will act quickly to nail the lies. My lawyers will initiate appropriate steps to bring the culprits to justice,” he said in another tweet. In November 2015, Eswar Reddy, who claimed to be closely associated with prominent personalities in the BJP, approached the woman and her husband. Eswar Reddy had said he knew one A Krishna Kishore, the “shadow” of Muralidhar Rao, who was capable of getting a nominated post in any department of the central government, the woman said in her complaint. The complainant said she and her husband were reluctant to acquire the post by spending a huge amount. “Later, Eswar Reddy and others again approached us and put pressure on us to accept their proposal by making false promises that they would be able to procure a nominated membership of Pharma Exil which functions under the control of Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India,” the complainant alleged. She also alleged that Eswar Reddy and others with the active connivance of Muralidhar Rao showed a photocopy of an appointment letter of her husband as chairperson of Pharma Exil, which was purportedly signed by Nirmala Sitharaman, and took Rs 2.17 crore for the post. When the complainant and her husband approached Eswar Reddy and others over the appointment they dragged the matter and when they sought return of the money there was no response, police said based on the complaint. The woman alleged that Muralidhar Rao also started to threaten them. Reacting to the FIR, BJP Telangana chief spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao in a statement said, “The frivolous FIR filed against our National General Secretary Muralidhar Rao by few detractors is with a clear motive to tarnish his image and the party’s.” Muralidhar Rao’s lawyers will take appropriate legal action, he said, adding that “we are very certain that our leader has done no wrong”. The BJP also warned of dire legal consequences if anyone conspired against the party.last_img read more

Social media and elections

first_img“Is this India’s first social media election?” asked BBC on its website in April 2014, during India’s last general elections. That time the country had just 20 crore (200 million) people with access to the internet. Such was the engagement of the then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on social media platforms that everybody feted him as a moderniser and a powerful campaigner who could only be compared to Barack Obama. The former president of the United States of America was considered as the most social-media friendly candidate who reaped the benefit of interacting on these platforms. India is once again in the process of its general elections. In the last five years, the novelty of social media has not wavered. Rather, it has become a natural part of election campaigns with all political parties and leaders marking their presence. Also Read – A special kind of bondIndia now has 560 million people with access to the internet. It is also the largest market for Facebook and WhatsApp in the world, while Twitter treats the country as one of its crucial and expanding markets. News reports indicate huge advertising budgets being earmarked by political parties for social media.But there are cautions this time. The threat of fake news looms large. Starting from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to the respective companies, there is a seemingly deliberate effort to curb misuse of these platforms. But, the social media platforms have also been used by civil society and advocacy groups for disseminating development news. Also Read – Insider threat managementA casual Google search with the keywords “social media”, “impact” and “development news” shows up close to 215 million results. It is not humanly possible to verify all the results, but it gives a peep into how big the virtual world is and how vigorously people are sharing content. We are certainly making a transition from a “searching” to a “dissemination” mode in the virtual world. And the social media has emerged as the clear driver of this transition. This is particularly true for development news. The pertinent question is whether development news influence voters this election season? This question takes credence because polarisation on communal lines, through social media, is turning out to be effective. To change the narrative of elections, can social media be effective in replacing this with development news? Or, to simply put, can a development agenda be brought into focus using social media? The social media is unique as it is highly informal, yet, is the most organised congregation of people. Users are immediately organised based on their choices, trends they are following, and also by their geographical locations. This is what is fuelling the rise of social media as a powerful platform for dissemination as well as the organisation of opinion around social issues. Whether it is about a small movement to save a patch of forest in Peru or a jalsamadhi campaign against a big dam project in a remote district in India, social media is not only the first place to break news but is also a powerful platform to build a campaign. For a journalist like me, it has become almost a necessity to refer to Facebook as frequently as to television channels that supposedly break news first! It is the new common pool resource that is being aggressively pursued. The flipside The social media has its share of problems that may impact the very cause it is promoting. First, it has emerged as the biggest strategic decision that has yielded results in terms of achieving fast dissemination and seeking immediate reactions for a social cause. This means that even before an issue emerges in its entirety, it is open for public opinions. Second, many campaigns around development issues are exclusively targeted at social media. There may be logical reasons for this but the strategy seems to be dominantly focused on certain sections of the society that utilise it. The threat is that by default, social media has become a polarising factor, even though most debates are not well-informed. It has become a free space to throw personal biases and park opinions without any restraint. Therefore, any cause disseminated on social media immediately polarises the debate. This is particularly true for campaigns having political overtones. Social media played a decisive role in generating the perception that the government is “anti-farmer” or “pro-business”. But in the passionate debates that colonised the virtual world, the debate simply got polarised into “pro and anti-government rhetoric”. Such situations have forced political parties to deploy substantial resources to intervene in such debates. The third threat is from the social media itself: Will it disconnect the people and the groups from those self-mandated to fight the battle on their behalf? If there is a disconnect, then the strategic leadership of a campaign shifts to the latter. This is not an ideal situation for public advocacy where the subject concerned doesn’t get active participation. Development campaigns in India involve people who are very poor and the least advantaged in terms of access to communication. A mobile phone might have become a bigger necessity than a toilet in rural areas, but this doesn’t mean that the instrument is being used to directly involve them in campaigns that talk about them. Researchers are currently studying the impact of social media on social causes. Though the trends are positive in terms of garnering attention for such causes, we are not sure whether it has impacted positively on the outcome of the campaigns. In the meantime, we should continue to “reset” the virtual world but with caution. (The author is Managing Editor, Down To Earth and writes on rural affairs and development matters. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more