North Korea just claimed a huge terrifying missile milestone

first_imgExperts are divided on whether North Korea has passed another worrying missile milestone, with the clandestine and controversial country claiming to have successfully tested its first ICBM. The Hwasong-14 missile test was confirmed on North Korean television today, July 4th, along with claims about the details of its flight. While the missile traveled further in altitude than it did in horizontal distance, it’s the implications of that which have many concerned. According to local reports, Hwasong-14 flew approximately 579 miles from its launch site. However, it also is said to have reached an altitude of 1,741 miles. The US military – which initially described it as “an intermediate range missile” and thus not in the same category as an ICBM or Intercontinental Ballistic Missile – say that it was airborne for a duration of 37 minutes. However, it’s the potential for what that altitude and period of time might mean if angled more aggressively that has triggered a new round of fears. According to physicist and missile expert David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “if the reports are correct, that same missile could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km (4,160 miles) on a standard trajectory.” Though Hwasong-14 landed in the ocean waters off Japan, with a different trajectory it could have reached at least part of the US. “That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii,” Wright pointed out, “but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.”The South Korean government quickly condemned the test, the latest in North Korea’s escalating trials of long-range ballistics. President Moon Jae-in claims it was a clear violation of resolutions set down by the UN Security Council, and accused North Korea of flouting repeated warnings by the international community at large, Chinese news site Shanghai Daily reports. Moon also said that assessments were underway to decide whether the missile was indeed an ICBM.“As a full-fledged nuclear power that has been possessed of the most powerful inter-continental ballistic rocket capable of hitting any part of the world, along with nuclear weapons, the DPRK will fundamentally put an end to the U.S. nuclear war threat and blackmail and reliably defend the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the region,” local North Korean media reported Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un as saying of the trial, according to KCNA Watch. In the US, President Trump took to Twitter to make his criticisms public. “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” the president tweeted. “Hard to believe that South Korea … and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!” Story Timeline360-degree Video Tour of North KoreaNorth Korea setting back clocks over Japanese ruleNorth Korea’s Red Star OS targets illegal foreign mediaNorth Korea may be hacking banks across the world North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017center_img ….and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017 His comments come shortly after he and South Korea’s Moon met during a summit in Washington, D.C. at the end of June. There, among other topics, the process of removing nuclear forces from the Korean Peninsula was discussed. The two politicians also made statements urging North Korea to avoid potentially provocative military testing.Those warnings come as North Korea steps up its missile testing. Hwasong-14’s successful flight is the latest of a series of trials, each believed to be improving on range and stamina. However, even with its success, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said today “that the missile launch from North Korea did not post a threat to North America.” last_img read more

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5G standard ratified six months early with industry push

first_imgIt’s not that the group ratified the non-standalone 5G NR (new radio) standard that’s impressive. It’s the fact that they were able to do so nearly half a year in advance. Earlier this year, the 3GPP considered the discussion and the debates that will be involved and estimated that it would take them up to summer of 2018 to reach this point.But companies rallying behind 5G were more than eager to get started. After all, they were already starting to test networks and hardware in public. They just needed an industry standard to invoke. The companies, which included the likes of Nokia, Samsung, LG, Ericsson, AT&T, T-Mobile, China Mobile, and NTT DoCoMo, among others, wanted to fast track the process. And so by March, they resolved to do whatever it takes to get the standard approved before the year ends. And so they did, with some ays to spare.It’s not the end of the road yet as far as the 5G standard is concerned, however. There were items that the 3GPP agreed to put on hold to meet the December deadline, and those need to be taken up immediately after the holidays. And then there’s the Standalone (SA) version of 5G NR that’s scheduled to be completed by June next year. But even without those, companies and industry members will be able to forge ahead to also fast track the adoption of 5G in the market, whether you’re ready for it or not.AdChoices广告VIA: Fierce Wireless 4G is dead, long live 5G! Or something to that extent. While the rest of the world is still trying to settle on the current 4G technology, the industry is already trying to push the next generation 5G forward. And while it might take years before it reaches the same reach that 4G has now, there’s really no reason not to get the ball rolling as early as possible. That’s why the standards body known as the 3GPP has just ratified a major part of the 5G standard, months earlier than it projected earlier this year.last_img read more

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WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum quits following alleged Facebook tiff

first_imgREAD: WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton calls for deleting FacebookIn late March, the other WhatsApp co-founder, Brian Acton, published a tweet featuring the tag #deletefacebook. Acton isn’t involved with WhatsApp anymore, having left it in November to later join Signal Foundation.Koum, however, remained to serve as WhatsApp’s CEO, a role he will be stepping down from, according to a post he published on Facebook.AdChoices广告The post, below, doesn’t express any problems with Facebook or betray any issues that may be taking place behind closed doors. Koum doesn’t reveal any future career ambitions, either, instead saying he’ll focus on relaxing for a while:It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on. I’ve been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things. I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.Immediately following the post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a comment thinly disguised as praise that mostly drives home the company’s apparent role in helping decentralize power. The comment reads:Jan: I will miss working so closely with you. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.Despite Koum’s chummy tone, sources speaking to WaPo claim he’s leaving the company due to “clashing” with Facebook. Koum reportedly takes issue with the company’s attempts to “weaken [WhatsApp’s] encryption” and “use its personal data.” SOURCE: Facebook WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum has announced plans to leave the company, saying he will take time off to focus on personal non-tech things. The announcement comes one day ahead of the F8 developers conference and follows a string of privacy-related controversies growing at parent company Facebook.last_img read more

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Attack of the zombie apps unmaintained and rotting in stores

first_imgMobile app stores kicked off the most recent digital gold rush. It was a market that was almost easy to break into and, if you’re lucky, profit from. But as the dust slowly settled and the market stabilized, some developers were left disillusioned, penniless, or simply bored. Many just walked away towards the next big thing (like VR), abandoning their once carefully crafted apps. And now we’re left with a growing pile of unmaintained apps that both pose a threat and, at the same time, still hold some nuggets of gold we need to mine. The bite of 64 bitsApple had an almost ingenious way to separate the chaff from the wheat. It announced that its 64-bit iOS running on 64-bit processors would no longer support 32-bit apps. This had two-fold effect. What Apple really wanted was to wake up developers and make the dust off their old apps and prepare it for the future. But it was also a strategy to see which apps were already completely abandoned and needed to be pruned.The effects didn’t go unnoticed. App store insight website Appfigures reported last March that for the first time since 2014, the number of apps in the iOS app store declined last year. It was a very small decline, mind, but when you pride yourself of having the best app store around, even a fraction of a difference becomes a big deal.Fragmented historyUnsurprisingly, Android’s Google Play Store continued to grow during that period. In fact, it had one of its biggest growth spurts since 2014. Android, however, has a different problem when it comes to unmaintained apps. They are true zombies in that they refuse to die.AdChoices广告Unlike Apple, Google doesn’t have the capability to enforce an upgrade. On the contrary, it actually has committed itself to supporting old versions of Android until their market share drops to almost zero. And even then, there will be other sources of Android apps that could install unmaintained apps on whatever version of Android users want, as long as API compatibility is there. It is one of the double-edged effects of Android’s fragmented beauty.Old wood on a new shipOld apps, however, don’t just make app stores statistically ugly. Yes, they can give an illusion of large numbers, but when a good chunk of that are rotting corpses, you have more than just a numbers problem. You have security holes in what should be a tight ship.Old, unmaintained apps use old code that may have contained vulnerabilities that were fixed in newer versions. That is why it’s so important for both apps and the platforms they run on to be kept up to date. Apps that have also been truly abandoned by their authors run the risk of being hijacked by hackers and being used as vehicles for malware. This, of course, is a bigger problem on Android than iOS but the latter will eventually reach that point until its next big culling (what comes after 64-bit?).Classic jewelsThat’s not to say Apple’s strategy did not have its drawbacks. By cutting off apps that have not been updated to the 64-bit age, it may have also thrown out a good number of apps that generations of IOS users may never see again. That includes some old but good games and apps that may have been abandoned by their creators for one reason or another, with the reason often being revenues.Of course, it’s not really Apple’s fault but it’s still a shame nonetheless. Mobile platforms so far have had a short but already rich history, both good and bad, but we may no longer have access to that aside from Internet articles that could eventually disappear as well. We have so far been terrible at curating our digital history, as can be seen in video games and older PC software. And mobile platforms seem to have finally come of age to have that same problem.Call to action: Health checkBut while platform makers and app developers try to figure out how to best approach the zombie army, users should also make sure they’re well protected. That means making sure that you are installing app that have at least been updated in the last two years. There’s no better sign of life and comes with the assumption of using more up-to-date and, hopefully, more hardened APIs. That doesn’t mean they’re bug free, of course, but at least they’re not security time bombs either.That’s not to say old apps are bad, unless you can’t install them in the first place. Some apps have not been updated because they’re developers may have thought them to be perfect already (a delusion). In that case, it definitely pays to see what other users have left in reviews and comments or if the developer even responds to those. While you shouldn’t believe everything you read, you can at least get a feel of how safe an oldie but goodie app still is.last_img read more

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Mercedes teases AMG Project One its 1000HP hybrid F1 supercar

first_imgWith the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show just over a week away, Mercedes-Benz has taken to teasing its new Mercedes-AMG Project One, a street-legal, Formula 1-inspired hybrid supercar. While the car maker has already shown off the high-tech powertrain, it’s kept the body design tightly under wraps. But it’s starting to draw the curtain back, with a new image that hints at a low-riding, angular shape. Story Timeline2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 First Drive: AMG for allMercedes-AMG GT Concept is a hybrid for hooligansMercedes’ 2018 S-Class gets a huge semi-autonomous upgrade2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 First Drive: Fiercely relaxingFirst new Mercedes in AMG 53 Series to be Mercedes-AMG CLS53This is Mercedes’ EQ compact city EV concept Aside from the Project One’s GT-style silhouette, the few details that can be recognized include an air scoop on the roof, narrow, rectangular headlights, and Mercedes’ three-pointed star lying flat against the hood. It’s certainly different from Mercedes’ standard look, with large, round headlights and a wide grille up front, but its overall shape seems to resemble the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR.Under the body, however, will be a hybrid powertrain that includes a F1-based 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 and four electric motors, resulting in revs up to 11,000rpm and over 1,000 horsepower. Mercedes says it has a top speed of 217mph, and has an all-electric range of 15.5 miles. Unfortunately, all that race car performance means the engine will need to be rebuilt every 31,000 miles.The Mercedes-AMG Project One will see a limited production of just 275 units, each with a sticker price of $2.54 million. In other words, don’t expect to get your hands on one. The car is scheduled to be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 14th.AdChoices广告SOURCE Mercedes-Benzlast_img read more

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Twitter drops the vowels for a new experimental app

first_imgOur prototype app, twttr, launches to the first group of participants today. #LetsHaveAConvo about new features to build a better Twitter together.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) March 11, 2019 It isn’t really a secret that Twitter would like to change the way conversations happen on its platform, and today, it’s launching a new app that might help it accomplish that goal. The new app is named Twttr, and it’ll be used to test experimental features before they go live. Unfortunately, this new app isn’t freely accessible, and instead is available only by invite. For now, the primary objective of Twttr is to test new conversation formats, with the goal of making discussions on Twitter easier to read and join. TechCrunch notes that Twttr may eventually expand to test other experimental features, and says that the number of users included in this first round of invites only numbers in the thousands between both the US and Japan. It also sounds like this test is limited to iOS at this time, though it’s hard to imagine Twttr being exclusive to Apple’s devices for long.If you applied to join the Twitter Prototype Program last month, keep an eye on your inbox over the next couple of days. Should an invite from Twitter land in your inbox, you’ll need to click the link inside and then you’ll need to wait on a TestFlight invite from Apple. Once you get that, you’ll be able to download the Twttr app and begin putting it through its paces.AdChoices广告Twitter says that the people who get into the program aren’t restricted by any type of NDA, so we’ll probably be hearing plenty about Twttr over the coming days and weeks. Applications to the Twitter Prototype Program are still open, so if you’d like to take these experimental features for a spin yourself, you can apply and see if you get an invite. We’ll see if any of these features are eventually integrated into the core Twitter experience, so stay tuned. Story TimelineTwitter caught storing DMs years after being deletedTwitter can soon hide replies to moderate conversationsTwitter makes it easier to report tweets that dox you Twitter first started talking about Twttr last month when it announced the Twitter Prototype Program. At the time, it invited interested users to apply to the program, and today, it launched the Twttr app for the first batch of participants. There’s no official word on how many applicants were invited to download the app, but Twitter makes it sound like invites will be going out in waves.last_img read more

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2019 Lexus UX crossover gives new hybrid an urban edge

first_imgLexus is calling it “Urban Explorer” and it basically means plenty of crease lines and unusual angles. The front and rear fenders have bold, oversized fenders, while the spindle grille gets a new, block-shape mesh pattern. That gives it a more three-dimensional appearance depending on the angle at which you view it, Lexus suggests. Daytime running lights are arranged in an arrowhead shape, while at the rear there are full-width tail-lamps which comprise 120 LEDs. They taper toward the center, with the bar just 3mm thick at its narrowest point. 17- and 18-inch wheels will be available, including a special, aerodynamically-modeled 17-inch set which cool the brakes by pulling in air like turbines. Inside, it’s a familiar cabin for anybody who has been inside the NX or RX lately. The upper dashboard has been extended, rising up so that it looks as though it extends beyond the windshield. Meanwhile the A-pillars have been slimmed down for improved visibility. Lexus’ seats have been specially designed so that they make entry and egress more straightforward despite the ride height. The usual cabin controls have been reorganized to focus on the driver, too: the audio switches have been integrated into a palm rest in the center console, for example. The vent controls have been streamlined, integrating both airflow direction and volume; more unusual still, they’re illuminated wirelessly, using electromagnetic resonance coils that leave the assemblies looking like they’re floating. Lexus has two interior finishes, one a Japanese quilting-inspired leather with perforations. Two different grain patterns for the dash trim are joined by four colors. One new trim is inspired by Japanese paper grain, which Lexus says is made with a slush-molding process. Leather grain, as in the LC coupe and LS sedan, is also available. Two engines will be available. The 2019 UX 200 gets a new, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder with 168 horsepower, paired with a Direct Shift-CVT that adds a gearset specifically to make the UX feel perkier from a standstill. The 2019 UX 250h, meanwhile, is Lexus’ new hybrid drive, with an expected 176 horsepower. It still uses NiMH batteries, eschewing the Li-Ion many rivals have embraced, but mounts them lower underneath the rear seat to maximize cabin and cargo space. Predictive Efficient Drive promises to analyze driver habits and – in combination with the expected road and traffic conditions ahead – decide how best to charge and discharge the battery. The more the UX 250h is driven, Lexus says, the better it will get at optimizing fuel consumption.Meanwhile, Predictive Deceleration Support uses the same driver behavior tracking to predict when the car will slow or stop. If you’re nearing that point, and release the accelerator, the UX 250h will automatically increase its regenerative braking, up to around 1,000 feet ahead of the vehicle. Finally, Predictive State of Charge kicks in on downhill roads and in congested traffic. It can look ahead up to around six miles when a navigation route has been programmed. The UX 250h also gets E-Four all-wheel drive, with an electric motor on the rear axle providing drive there. The UX automatically shifts power forward and back depending on traction; it can push traction to the rear wheels if there’s a loss of grip by 80-percent, at speeds up to 43 mph. Both models will be offered in F SPORT variants, with suspension tuning and rear performance dampers. A UX-tailored version of Lexus’s Adaptive Variable Suspension system, borrowed from the LC coupe, can be added too. That increases damping force in corners to minimize roll, while dialing it back on straight roads for better ride quality. F SPORT cars also get a mesh grille, large fog light bezels with chrome detailing, and exclusive rear bumpers. They also add special 18-inch wheels and jet-black front and rear trim. Inside, there are sports seats in the front and moving instrumentation gages from the LFA. An F SPORT steering wheel, leather wrapped like the gear shift knob, and 8-inch color display are also included. Active Sound Control adds a fake upshift and downshift soundtrack to the CVT, for better or worse. Lexus says the 2019 UX 200 and 2019 UX 250h will go on sale in the US in December 2018. Pricing will be announced closer to that point. It’s actually the first Lexus to be built on the new GA-C “Global Architecture – Compact” platform, and the automaker says that comes with some big advantages. For a start, it promises to be more engaging to drive than many crossovers manage, with a lower center of gravity and more rigid structure. With its 177-inch length – almost 104 inches of which is wheelbase – it should be easier to maneuver in cities, too. Indeed, Lexus says the 2019 UX has a 34-foot turning circle, which bests the rest of the crossovers in its compact class. The style, however, disguises the size. 2019 Lexus UX Gallerycenter_img Drivers can’t get enough of crossovers, and Lexus isn’t going to disappoint them, with the 2019 Lexus UX making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2018 today. The automaker’s first compact luxury crossover, it’s the smallest model in the Lexus SUV line-up, slotting in beneath the NX with a surprisingly small footprint. last_img read more

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2004 Ford GT Confirmation Prototype CP4 heads to auction

first_imgFord has made some very cool and desirable cars over the years and among the most desirable of them are the Ford GT cars that were remade in the early 2000s. the car you see here is a 2004 Ford GT confirmation prototype. This is a car that was built before official production to allow engineers to test car systems and ensure that everything works as expected. The auction site, Worldwide Auctioneers, claims that there are as few as four confirmation prototype or CP cars in existence and claims that this is the only of those cars not speed limited to 15mph and licensed for driving on the road. This specific car was used to test ride, handling, steering and climate control.It has working AC and has been serviced by a Ford Certified Master GT Technician. Recent work on the car includes a rewired electrical system, new clutch, and new tires. The car is licensed and currently registered in Florida to be street driven.This Ford GT packs a 5.4L 32V DOHC V8 engine with a supercharger that makes 550hp and uses a Ricardo 6-speed manual gearbox in the rear transaxle. Ford made a total of 4,038 of these Ford GT cars and they were and still are hard to get. One cool difference between this car and the production units is that this ride has a carbon fiber formed inner clamshell skin that wasn’t available on production units. Other tidbits on this car not offered on production cars is a black powder-coated supercharger and valve covers. It also has a teardrop shift knob inside, radio, and a subwoofer. The odd 626 sticker on the bumper was placed there at the factory. This was the Ford GT that hit 200mph in testing. The auction site offers no indication of what it expects the car to bring but points out another Ford GT CP car that was governed to 15mph sold for $750,000 at auction.SOURCE: Worldwide Auctioneerslast_img read more

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Lamborghini Huracan EVO packs allwheel drive allwheel steering and 640hp

first_imgA couple of days ago Lamborghini was teasing the refreshed Lamborghini Huracan for 2020. That refreshed Lambo is now official with details on the Huracan EVO going live, and the car looks fantastic. The EVO sports a V10 engine that makes 640hp and 600 Nm of torque. Lambo says the EVO weighs 1,422 kg and has a power to weight ratio of 2.22 kg/hp and is good for 0-100km/h acceleration in 2.9 seconds. Top speed is over 325 km/h, and Lambo says the brakes will haul the car from 100 km/h to 0 in 31.9 meters. The performance is thanks in part to a focus on aerodynamics. Lambo also fits the EVO with a sports exhaust system with exits high up in the rear bumper. The Huracan EVO will sell for $261,274 in the US and will launch this spring. The big change for the Huracan EVO that Lambo is bragging about is the next-gen vehicle dynamic control and aerodynamics. Those features include Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI) which is a CPU that controls all aspects of the dynamic behavior of the car. That allows full integration of the car dynamic systems and set up to anticipate the driver’s next move. Lamborghini Piattaforma Inerziale (LPI) is a set of accelerators and gyroscope sensors placed in the center of gravity for the car. This monitors real-time dynamic vehicle attitude no matter the lateral, longitudinal, and vertical accelerations while measuring roll, pitch, and yaw rate. Using that data the magneto rheological suspension adjusts damping of the car.Another key modification to this car is the Enhanced Lamborghini Dynamic Steering system. It gives drivers higher responsiveness in corners with the lowest steering angles and is paired with rear-wheel steering in the car. All those systems are utilized in different driving modes including Strada, Sport, or Corsa.last_img read more

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USAFs new THOR weapon can instantly take down drone swarms

first_imgThough we still lack a single effective, standardized method for taking down drones, a number of systems and concepts have been developed ranging from wireless disruption fields to net launchers and even trained eagles. The US Air Force isn’t bothering with any of those systems and has instead developed a weapon that blasts drones with an electromagnetic wave.THOR stands for Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder, and it is designed to send unwanted drones spiraling to the ground nearly instantly. Officials described the weapon as operating in a manner similar to a flashlight beam — that is, when THOR is turned on, the electromagnetic wave is spread outward from the weapon. Any drone that flies within the “beam” will instantly fall from the sky.AdChoices广告This particular weapon system was designed to protect military bases from drone swarms that may be used by enemies to remotely attack the facilities. Unlike other systems, which are designed to target individual drones at once, THOR can take down dozens of drones at the same time by hitting them with a large electromagnetic wave. The United States Air Force has rapidly developed a new microwave weapon called THOR that can take down swarms of drones, officials have announced. The weapon was unveiled on June 20 by the Air Force Research Laboratory to local reporters who were given a demonstration of THOR in action. The weapon system cost $15 million and was developed in only 18 months. The drone market has experienced explosive growth only a few years, presenting both new potential benefits and dangers. Commercial airspace concerns aside, drones present a possible national security issue — they could potentially be used to carry small explosives or to conduct surveillance on critical infrastructure, for example.center_img Story TimelineRelativity Space wins USAF contract to launch from Cape CanaveralUSAF seeks autonomous aerial rescue vehicle for combat missionsUSAF’s first AGM-183A hypersonic weapon flight test was a successlast_img read more

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Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

first_img Editors’ Recommendations AdobeWith deepfake videos making headlines recently and campaigns against the over-Photoshopping of models picking up steam in the last few years, people are more aware than ever of how images can be digitally manipulated. Now the company that created Photoshop, Adobe, wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images themselves.“While we are proud of the impact that Photoshop and Adobe’s other creative tools have made on the world, we also recognize the ethical implications of our technology,” Adobe wrote in a blog post. That’s why it has developed a method for identifying edits made to an image using tools like Photoshop’s Face Aware Liquify feature. This particular feature was chosen because it is frequently used to change facial expressions, making it a useful test case for identifying image manipulation.A team of researchers used deep learning to train A.I. to recognize images of faces that had been altered. It was trained by showing pairs of images, one original and one altered, so the system could learn the telltale signs of manipulation. By the end of the training, the tool was able to identify manipulated images up to 99% of the time, as compared to the 53% identification rate of humans.It was even possible for the tool to revert images which had been altered back to how they had looked before. “It might sound impossible because there are so many variations of facial geometry possible,” Professor Alexei A. Efros of UC Berkeley said in the statement. “But, in this case, because deep learning can look at a combination of low-level image data, such as warping artifacts, as well as higher level cues such as layout, it seems to work.”The tool isn’t ready for the mainstream yet, however. The researchers say they will need more time before they can offer customers a direct way to identify faked images for themselves. “The idea of a magic universal ‘undo’ button to revert image edits is still far from reality,” Adobe researcher Richard Zhang said. “But we live in a world where it’s becoming harder to trust the digital information we consume, and I look forward to further exploring this area of research.” Samsung’s new A.I. software makes generating fake videos even easier Adobe concocts an A.I. that can detect — and reverse — manipulated photos Photorealistic A.I. tool can fill in gaps in images, including faces MIT and IBM’s new A.I. image-editing tool lets you paint with neurons The best A.I.-based photo apps for iOS and Androidlast_img read more

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Viewpoints Creating An HIVFree Generation Postal Services Struggle Over Retiree Health Benefits

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Politico Pro: The Next Steps To An HIV-Free GenerationHIV forces us to deal with so much: sex, drugs, poverty, racism, homelessness, homophobia, sexism, illness and death. While our nation’s response has been imperfect, we have gotten a lot right. And we are now at a pivotal moment where science has led us to imagine the possibility of an HIV-free generation. But how do we turn hope into reality? There is no easy path to ending HIV. Here at home, however, a rare convergence of factors is making more progress possible than ever before (Jeffrey S. Crowley, 7/20).Politico: Does Homophobia Impact AIDS Funding? HIV/AIDS remains one of the biggest health issues that the U.S. is confronting today. Hundreds of millions of dollars in private and public funding go to combat the disease each year. But to be effective, far more must be allocated to the specific populations at greatest risk. One reason we are falling short is that homophobia still channels HIV prevention funding away from the group that most needs it: gay men (Sean Cahill, 7/20.) Politico: U.S. Indispensable In AIDS Fight The good news is that the fight against AIDS has shifted radically in the past two decades. Thanks largely to support from Americans of all stripes – Democrats, Republicans, religious leaders, college students, public health officials and the business community – 8 million HIV-positive people around the world now have access to life-saving treatment. Before Bush’s historic commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS through the creation of The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – and Obama’s support and expansion of the program – that number was just 300,000 a decade ago (Tom Hart, 7/20). The Washington Post: The Postal Service Is Struggling, But Not Because Of The Mail There is indeed red ink, but the reasons are unrelated to the mail. In 2006 Congress required that, within the next decade, the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years — a burden no other agency or company faces. That accounts for 85 percent of all of the agency’s red ink since — and more than 90 percent of the $6.46 billion shortfall from the first half of fiscal 2012. Before pre-funding began in 2007, the Postal Service had annual profits in the low billions. It’s this unaffordable payment that the Postal Service is “simply not capable of making” next month, a spokesman said this week (Fredric Rolando, 7/19). Philadelphia Inquirer: Merger’s Failure Is Good MedicineThe decision by Abington Health and Holy Redeemer Health System to call off their short-lived plans for a merger is positive news for women’s health care in the Philadelphia region. … But what was most striking about the merger … was that it held out the prospect of immediately reducing vital services for women (7/20).The New York Times: Abortion In D.C. House Republicans didn’t do away with purely symbolic legislation all together, however. Bills with absolutely no chance of becoming law, introduced only to express ideology (as opposed to appreciation), are rampant. Take, for instance, a bill the House Judiciary Committee approved today that would ban abortion in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with no health exception. It will advance to the full House for a vote, but will never pass the Democratic-controlled Senate (Juliet Lapidos, 7/19).Los Angeles Times: CVS Should Require Signatures For Automatic Prescription Refills All businesses want people as repeat customers. And when it comes to drugstores, that means they want you to keep refilling prescriptions. But you’d think they’d ask first before signing you up for automatic refills and billing your insurer. In the case of CVS Pharmacy, the country’s second-largest drugstore chain, after Walgreens, the official policy is that customers’ approval is always sought before people are enrolled in the company’s ReadyFill program. But B.G. Stine, 52, of Torrance had a decidedly different experience (David Lazarus, 7/20). Baltimore Sun: The Hidden Health Risks Of FrackingImagine you are a nurse working in an emergency room, and a worker on a gas fracking well comes in covered in chemicals used in the drilling process. You call the gas company to find out what chemicals are being used to help in your assessment of possible health risks to your patient, and even yourself, but find out they don’t have to disclose this information. … As nurses, we strongly support our right to know in order to protect the health of our communities and the environment. That’s why the American Nurses Association House of Delegates last month passed a resolution highlighting the important role nurses play in advocating for the health of their patients and communities when faced with fracking (Kate Huffling, 7/19). Viewpoints: Creating An HIV-Free Generation; Postal Service’s Struggle Over Retiree Health Benefitslast_img read more

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Viewpoints The Lesson From Floridas Special Election Hospital Deaths Costs Of Treating

first_imgLos Angeles Times: Are The Democrats Doomed? But in recent months, the political landscape has grown bleaker [for Democrats] …. The question, of course, is why so many Republicans turned out [in the Florida special election last week] and why so few Democrats did. The answer among strategists on both sides was: Obamacare. But not in the sense that the healthcare law is so unpopular that Democrats are doomed; in fact, as more people sign up for health coverage, polls suggest that Obamacare is a little less toxic now than it was last fall. Instead, the problem is that a high-decibel debate over Obamacare has the effect of prompting conservatives to come out and vote, but not liberals (Doyle McManus, 3/16). Reuters: Democrats: Beware The Ides Of March For Democrats, the Ides of March came early this year. On March 11, to be precise, in a special election in a swing congressional district in Florida. A mostly unknown Republican knocked off a much better known Democrat, just like Roman conspirators knocked off Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Caesar’s killers used a knife. The Republicans’ deadly weapon? Obamacare. Three-quarters of Republican TV spots mentioned Obamacare. Democrats need to practice saying, “Just wait until next time.” Because while 2014 is looking worse and worse for Democrats, 2016 is looking better and better (Bill Schneider, 3/14). The Wall Street Journal: The ‘Doc Fix’ Follies The Greek tragedy of bipartisan Medicare reform is entering its third strophe, or the part where everything really bad happens. We’ll play the chorus and try to explain the mix of politics that is about to kill a bill that would permanently repeal a Medicare price-control ploy that disguises federal health-care spending (3/14).Los Angeles Times: Will Delaying Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Break The Doc Fix? House Republicans have teed up a bill that would make a crucial change in Medicare, preventing a deep cut in doctors’ fees scheduled to go into effect April 1. But it would pay for it by postponing Obamacare’s requirement that all adult Americans buy health insurance until 2019 — a move that, perversely, could drive up premiums in the individual market and leave even more people without coverage (Jon Healey, 3/14).The Washington Post: The GOP Plays Chicken With Virginians’ Health Virginia Republicans who are blocking expanded health coverage for the poor and disabled aren’t just at war with Obamacare. They’re also engaged in a crusade against hospitals, hospital executives and the ability of the state’s medical establishment to provide sustainable health care (3/15). The New York Times: That Old-Time Whistle We are told, for example, that conservatives are against big government and high spending. Yet even as Republican governors and state legislatures block the expansion of Medicaid, the G.O.P. angrily denounces modest cost-saving measures for Medicare. How can this contradiction be explained? Well, what do many Medicaid recipients look like — and I’m talking about the color of their skin, not the content of their character — and how does that compare with the typical Medicare beneficiary? Mystery solved (Paul Krugman, 3/16). The New York Times’ The Strip: Healthcare.gov Goes Viral (Brian McFadden, 3/16).And on other health issues -Los Angeles Times: When Medical Errors Kill American hospitals have a big problem with unnecessary deaths from medical errors. Estimates of the numbers vary widely, but extrapolating from the best studies, a conservative estimate would be that well over 100,000 people a year die unnecessarily because of errors made by their healthcare teams. And the numbers have remained high despite concerted efforts to bring them down. Why? Because we’ve embraced a so-called solution that doesn’t address the problem (Philip Levitt, 3/15). The New York Times: How Much Should Hepatitis C Treatment Cost? A new pill to treat hepatitis C raises difficult questions about fair pricing, not only in the United States and other affluent nations but in developing countries around the world. Hepatitis C, which afflicts some 150 million people globally, often without symptoms for years, can cause fatigue and fever, cirrhosis or liver cancer. The pill, known as Sovaldi, or generically as sofosbuvir, costs $84,000 for a standard 12-week course of treatment. That breaks down to $1,000 for each pill, taken daily (3/15). The Wall Street Journal: Alzheimer’s And Its Uncounted Victims It’s well known that President Ronald Reagan died in 2004 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Yet his death certificate listed pneumonia as the official cause of death. Attributing Alzheimer deaths to other diseases is all too common—and highlights the complicated nature of Alzheimer’s contribution to deaths in the U.S. each year. It also suggests that Alzheimer’s might be a bigger problem than previously thought (George Vradenburg and Stanley Prusiner, 3/16). WBUR: Lesson Of The $446 Ear Rinse: Medical Bills That Make You Say ‘What?!’ Get your attention, all those upper-case, bold-face letters? They certainly got mine, when they came in the mail recently. It was a virginity-losing moment: My first debt-collection letter in more than a half century of financial clean living. And of course, it was a medical bill that did it — just as it’s medical care that causes more American personal bankruptcies than any other bills (Carey Goldberg, 3/14). The Journal of the American Medical Association: Integrating Care At The End of Life: Should Medicare Advantage Include Hospice? Since its creation in 1983, the Medicare hospice benefit has been “carved out” of Medicare’s managed care program, commonly known as Medicare Advantage. When a Medicare Advantage enrollee elects hospice, payments for both hospice and other services unrelated to the individual’s terminal condition revert to fee-for-service Medicare, and health plans remain liable only for the Part D or supplemental benefits they provide. … Integrating hospice into the Medicare Advantage program has a number of potential advantages and tradeoffs …. Moreover, should such a change move forward, important safeguards must be in place to ensure optimal end-of-life care for Medicare beneficiaries (David G. Stevenson and Haiden A. Huskamp, 3/14). Viewpoints: The Lesson From Florida’s Special Election; Hospital Deaths; Costs Of Treating Hep C This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Longer Looks TechSavvy Health Care Ads Cautions About Hospital Data

first_imgLonger Looks: Tech-Savvy Health Care Ads; Cautions About Hospital Data This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Every week KHN reporter Marissa Evans finds interesting reads from around the web. WBUR: Troubled Future For Young Adults On Autism Spectrum”Mom, Dad, what’s wrong with me?” Michael Moscariello was a smart, thoughtful 10-year-old when that question burst out one evening before dinner. … May Moscariello, Michael’s mom, had taken him to Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston three years earlier, in 1988. “They evaluated him and came up with Asperger’s syndrome. It was their first case,” May says. … Today, Asperger’s is folded into the broad diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This includes people like Michael who are bright and articulate. … Their lives, as adults with autism, raise troubling questions about whether the flood of children receiving this diagnosis will find meaningful work, safe housing and networks that will help them become happy and productive adults (Martha Bebinger, 6/9).New York Magazine: Does Oscar Sound Cooler Than Aetna?For a very long time, health-­insurance advertisements, like health-­insurance companies, were stolid and -­relatively predictable things. … Then, last October, a new breed of health-care ad began cropping up on the subway. The tone was Nickelodeon meets Manhattan Mini Storage—cuddly cartoon avatars and exceedingly clever copy, intended to make New Yorkers feel good about cottoning on to the in-jokes. In one, a man bear-hugged by an overaffectionate grizzly seeks help for a broken pelvis. Another reads: “Get a bright, articulate doctor to call you without having to join a dating site.” The campaign was the work of Oscar, which bills itself as the first new health insurer in New York in 15 years and the only “tech-driven” insurance company in the country (Matthew Shaer, 6/11). The New York Times: The T.M.I. PregnancyBecoming a mother was so simple when I became a mother. Pregnancy was treated as a natural experience. You peed in a cup, and then once a month the obstetrician pressed his stethoscope against your belly and you watched his face for a smile. “We’re going to have a baby,” my son, Peter, calls. I think about being a grandma and the grand continuum. I think about the wondrous ways my boy’s life is going to change. I do not think about sonograms, DNA testing and preeclampsia. I do not think about the endless forbidding stream of fetal data (Patricia Volk, 6/4). The Wall Street Journal: The Experts BlogIt’s Time for Doctors to Be Honest About Their Stress … Baby Boomers Aren’t Prepared Financially for a Long Life … The Limits of Current Health-Care Data … Beware Bad Data About Hospitals … What Doctors Are Doing When They Aren’t Seeing Patients … The Gaps in Health-Care Data … Doctors Should Be Role Models … Why Doctors Should Follow Their Own Advice (6/11).The New Statesman: How Mistakes Can Save Lives: One Man’s Mission To Revolutionise The NHSMartin Bromiley is a modest man with an immodest ambition: to change the way medicine is practised in the UK. … Naturally, we respect and admire doctors. We believe that health care is scientific. We think of hospitals as places of safety. For all these reasons, it comes as something of a shock to realise that errors still play such a significant role in whether we leave a hospital better or worse, alive or dead (Ian Leslie, 6/4). The New York Times: How To Beat Malaria, Once And For AllMalaria is a seasonal disease; with tropical rains come the fevers. In the news media, malaria is also seasonal. Every spring around World Malaria Day we hear about its devastating effects, including deaths in the hundreds of thousands. This year the reports were encouraging: Infections have been reduced and many lives saved. In May, researchers reported in Science that yet another potential malaria vaccine may be around the corner. Malaria seems to be on the retreat. But is it really? (Francois H. Nosten, 6/7). last_img read more

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First Edition June 26 2014

first_imgFirst Edition: June 26, 2014 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about the effects of lower health spending on the economy.Kaiser Health News: Health Care System Needs To Prepare For Global WarmingKaiser Health News’ reporter Lisa Gillespie writes: “Climate change is happening, and with that will come more deaths from heat-related illness and disease, according to a report released Tuesday. ‘One of the most striking findings in our analysis is that increasing heat and humidity in some parts of the country could lead to outside conditions that are literally unbearable to humans, who must maintain a skin temperature below 95°F in order to effectively cool down and avoid fatal heat stroke,’ the report’s authors wrote. … Dr. Al Sommer, the dean emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, was on the committee that oversaw the development of the report. He says that often overlooked in the current debate about greenhouse gases and climate change is the effect of global warming on individuals and hospitals” (Gillespie, 6/26).The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Economy Shrinks By Most In Five YearsGross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, fell at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said in its third reading of the data Wednesday. … One factor in the government’s revision of first-quarter output was difficulty in estimating the impact of the Affordable Care Act on health-care expenditures. Actual health spending came in substantially lower than expected based on ACA enrollments and Medicaid data, declining at a 1.4% annualized pace in the period compared with an earlier estimate of a 9.1% increase (House, 6/25).The New York Times: Economy In First Quarter Was Worse Than Everybody ThoughtThe Commerce Department revised its estimates of first-quarter gross domestic product Wednesday to show that the economy contracted at a 2.9 percent annual rate. A combination of shrinking business inventories, terrible winter weather and a surprise contraction in health care spending drove the first-quarter decline, which is the worst since the first quarter of 2009, when the economy shrank at a 5.4 percent rate. … The new report now finds that health care spending actually subtracted 0.16 of a percentage point from the growth rate. The health care spending data in G.D.P. is a measure of how much President Obama’s health reform law is reshaping health care spending patterns, and it is now showing opposite results from those reported two months ago, when the first-quarter data was initially released (Irwin, 6/25).The Washington Post: The Economy Just Had Its Worst Quarter Since The Great Recession. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry.It turns out that, at an annual rate, the economy shrank 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014, mostly due to weak exports, weak inventories, unexpectedly weak health-care spending and the harsh winter. … the first couple GDP estimates looked at how many more people were getting health-care insurance from Obamacare, and assumed that health-care spending would go up quite a bit. It didn’t. Health-care spending actually subtracted 0.16 percentage points from GDP. That’s because health-care prices and utilization haven’t increased much despite the increase in health-care customers — which is good news for our long-term budget, but bad news for our short-term growth (O’Brien, 6/25).The New York Times: 2 V.A. Officials To Leave Posts As Agency Seeks To Remake Itself And Rebuild TrustThe Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday that two senior officials would be leaving their posts as the department’s acting secretary moved to remake the agency and rebuild trust amid a scandal over falsified waiting lists that were used at many hospitals to hide delays faced by veterans. The two officials are Dr. Robert L. Jesse, who has been serving as the department’s acting under secretary for health, and Will A. Gunn, the department’s general counsel (Oppel, 6/25).The Wall Street Journal: Two More Top Officials Depart Beleaguered VAThe Department of Veterans Affairs announced the departures of two top officials Wednesday, leaving more leadership holes at the beleaguered department. Sloan Gibson, acting VA secretary, accepted the resignation of Will Gunn, the department’s general counsel, the VA said in a news release. Meanwhile, Robert Jesse, currently in charge of health care, finished his four-year term at the VA and is leaving the department, the VA said. Mr. Gunn’s departure comes a little more than a month after members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs questioned why the general counsel took more than a week to order employees to preserve records that might be involved in a then-brewing scandal surrounding VA health care (Kesling, 6/25).The Associated Press: Va. House GOP Lays Out Medicaid Legal StrategyVirginia House Republicans have retained a former U.S. solicitor general in preparation for a potential legal showdown with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe over the governor’s ability to expand Medicaid eligibility. House Speaker William J. Howell and other Republican leaders announced Wednesday they’d retained Paul Clement, who was solicitor general to former President George W. Bush and has frequently argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (Suderman, 6/25).The Washington Post: In Virginia, Medicaid Expansion Fight Escalates[Gov. Terry] McAuliffe is pushing ahead with plans to defy the GOP-led General Assembly and expand the health-care program for the poor under the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are determined to block him. On Wednesday, the fight escalated again: House Republicans announced that one of the nation’s most prominent lawyers had found that the governor lacked the authority to expand the program unilaterally. Former U.S. solicitor general Paul D. Clement said on a conference call with reporters that McAuliffe does not have that power in a state where all spending, even pass-through money from Washington, must be appropriated by the General Assembly. The House paid Clement a flat fee of $25,000 for his opinion (Vozzella and Portnoy, 6/25).USA Today: Cost Of Not Caring: Stigma Set In StoneStigma against the mentally ill is so powerful that it’s been codified for 50 years into federal law, and few outside the mental health system even realize it. This systemic discrimination, embedded in Medicaid and Medicare laws, has accelerated the emptying of state psychiatric hospitals, leaving many of the sickest and most vulnerable patients with nowhere to turn. Advocates and experts who spoke with USA TODAY describe a system in shambles, starved of funding while neglecting millions of people across the country each year (Szabo, 6/25).USA Today/The Tennessean: Study: Tax Refunds Could Boost Health CoverageFew Americans, given the choice, would buy health insurance over a Christmas present. And yet, the open enrollment period for federal Marketplace plans on Healthcare.gov coincides with the winter holidays, one of the most financially stressful times of the year. That’s why researchers suggest switching the open enrollment period to line up with a less stressful time. Namely, in spring, just after people have received their tax return (DuBois, 6/25).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.last_img read more

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Clintons Plan To Control Prescription Drug Costs Features Cap On OutOfPocket Expenses

first_img USA Today: Hillary Clinton Unveils Plan To Lower Prescription Drug Costs The Fiscal Times: Clinton Takes Aim At Big Pharma Reuters: Clinton Plan On U.S. Drug Costs Adds To Pressure For Lower Prices In other news from the campaign trail – Politico: Biden Surges In New Bloomberg Poll The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: The One Thing You Need To Know About Clinton’s War On High Drug Prices Clinton’s Plan To Control Prescription Drug Costs Features Cap On Out-Of-Pocket Expenses Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s proposal would also allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs and increase federal scrutiny of pharmaceutical company pricing. The Washington Post: Clinton Proposes Cap On Out-Of-Pocket Costs For Prescription Drugs Hillary Clinton‘s prescription drug proposals are likely to get mixed reactions from the insurance lobby — and drugmakers already have come out swinging. The new head of the America’s Health Insurance Plans industry group said in an interview shortly before Mrs. Clinton’s plans were released that insurers have identified pharmaceutical price surges as a key threat to health costs, and that they plan to continue fighting on the issue. (Radnofsky, 9/22) Hillary Clinton, laying out her health-care agenda, is trying to shift the national debate surrounding the divisive Affordable Care Act to focus squarely on rising out-of-pocket costs of care. In Iowa on Tuesday, the Democratic presidential contender put forth ideas to control prescription-drug spending. On Wednesday, she’ll talk about other consumer costs, such as high copayments and deductibles. (Meckler, 9/22) Hillary Clinton’s campaign promise on Tuesday to cap prescription drug costs for U.S. consumers lends weight to efforts by health insurers, doctors’ groups and consumers to address skyrocketing prices, industry experts said. Clinton, in the lead among Democratic presidential candidates, unveiled a plan that includes a $250 monthly cap on out-of-pocket costs prescription drugs, allowing the Medicare plan for the elderly to negotiate drug pricing and permitting Americans to purchase drugs from other countries at lower cost. (Berkrot, 9/22) With a new poster child for prescription drug price gouging to swing at, Hillary Clinton unveiled a wide-ranging proposal on Tuesday designed to rein in the skyrocketing drug costs that are draining government budgets and the pocketbooks of many Americans. (Pianin, 9/22) Vice President Joe Biden surged in a new national Bloomberg Politics poll of Democratic voters and independent voters leaning toward the Democratic Party released Wednesday morning, even though he has not announced his intentions for the presidency. Hillary Clinton earned a plurality of 33 percent, followed by Biden at 25 percent and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 24 percent. Other candidates are polling within the margin of error. (Gass, 9/23) Clinton’s plan has several moving parts, some aimed at directly curbing profits of pharmaceutical companies and others to give the government a stronger role in constraining drug prices or making lower-priced medicine more available. She would allow Americans to reimport U.S.-made drugs from countries where they tend to be sold at lower prices. She would also allow the Medicare program to negotiate prices with drug manufactures. (Gearan and Goldstein, 9/22) The leading pharmaceutical lobbying group is lashing out against Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-released plan to combat rising drug prices. The head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released a statement Tuesday rebuking her proposals, which he warned would kill jobs, risk patient safety and halt investment in new cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer. (Ferris, 922) It’s almost an afterthought, but the last two bullet points dangling at the end of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s manifesto against high drug prices are its linchpin: She wants to allow the government to flex its muscle and negotiate lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies. (Johnson, 9/22) It looks like John Kasich got himself a new campaign donor last night. The Ohio governor had a tame appearance last night on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” getting a chance to explain his positions on the economy, faith, Medicaid expansion and debate strategy. (Thompson, 9/23) Hillary Clinton on Tuesday unveiled a plan to rein in prescription drug costs by forcing pharmaceutical companies to reinvest their profits into research and allowing for more generic and imported drugs. The proposal, which she outlined in a speech in Iowa on Tuesday, would also allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs and cap out-of-pocket expenses for individuals with chronic health problems. (Przybyla, 9/22) The Wall Street Journal Washington Wire: Health Lobbyists Aren’t Cheering Hillary Clinton’s Prescription Drug Plan The New York Times: Hillary Clinton Proposes Cap On Patients’ Drug Costs As Bernie Sanders Pushes His Plan With voter fury rising over the high cost of prescription drugs, Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed capping out-of-pocket drug expenses at $250 a month on Tuesday while a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, extolled his own plan and long record for pushing to lower drug costs. While Republican candidates for the White House want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and generally oppose interfering with the drug industry, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are competing fiercely with each other to press for greater competition and new regulations to rein in pharmaceutical companies. (Healy and Sanger-Katz, 9/22) The Wall Street Journal: Hillary Clinton Focuses On Middle-Class Concerns About Health-Care Costs The Hill: Big Pharma Attacks Clinton’s Plan To Combat Drug Prices The Cincinnati Enquirer: John Kasich Appears On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Picks Up A New Donor This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Health Laws Third Open Enrollment Season Begins

first_imgHealth Law’s Third Open Enrollment Season Begins Open enrollment for health coverage available on the healthcare.gov and state exchanges kicked off Nov. 1. Though the technology glitches and drama of the first sign-up period appear to be less likely, officials note challenges remain — namely, the reduced number of plan choices and the costs increases for some premiums. Bloomberg: Obamacare Premiums Climb, But Insurers Struggle For Profit Kaiser Health News: It’s Open Enrollment Time: What To Know About Obamacare Costs Less overt drama surrounds this third year’s enrollment season, compared with the inaugural season, when HealthCare.gov and some state-run exchanges suffered massive computer defects, as well as last fall, when a pending Supreme Court case threatened to block federal subsidies that help consumers in more than three dozen states buy ACA coverage. Still, big questions linger: Of the estimated 10.5 million uninsured people who are eligible to get coverage on the exchanges, how many can be persuaded to buy health plans? And how many of nearly 10 million existing customers will renew coverage — and at what price? (Goldstein, 11/1) USA Today: Federal Health Site Premiums, Number Of Insurers Vary Widely By Area The New York Times: Many Need To Shop Around On Healthcare.gov As Prices Jump, U.S. Says Many people shopping for health coverage this weekend on the websites created by Obamacare are going to see double-digit percentage increases in their premiums. That’s still not enough for some insurers. Anthem Inc. says there remain competitors in the government-run marketplace offering premiums that aren’t enough to profitably provide the coverage patients will require. Prices in some areas probably will have to climb in 2017 and even 2018 to reach levels that make sense, according to Chief Financial Officer Wayne Deveydt. Meantime, Anthem will sacrifice market share to keep its plans profitable, he said. (Tracer, 10/30) The Wall Street Journal: Health Law’s Strains Show Consumers shopping on the federal health exchange for 2016 plans will still be able to pick from about five insurance companies, but there will be fewer plans on average to choose from, federal health officials said Friday. About 90% of consumers who return to Healthcare.gov will have plans from three or more insurers to choose from for 2016 coverage, Department of Health and Human Services officials said. (O’Donnell, 10/30) The Washington Post: Third Year Of ACA Sign-Up Starts, On Time But With Muted Fanfare This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Sign-up season started Sunday for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, now in year 3. Premiums are going up an average of 7.5 percent, but they could be much higher depending on where you live. (Duncan, 10/31) [T]he ripple effects of change stemming from the law and its signature marketplaces are being felt in almost every corner of the health-care system. Consumers this week start signing up for new coverage on the marketplaces, one of the most high-profile changes the law has brought to the health-care industry. (Wilde Mathews, 11/1) center_img Real Clear Health: Burwell Kicks Off Marketplace Open Enrollment, Touting Healthcare.gov Improvements The Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment season got under way, with a new array of health plans that show how the law’s influence is starting to transform the insurance industry. Sunday’s kickoff appeared to go relatively smoothly, with little evidence of technical glitches at HealthCare.gov as consumers started to shop for coverage that will take effect in 2016. (Wilde Mathews, 11/1) CBS News: In Year 3, Many Hit With Obamacare Sticker Shock The Wall Street Journal: Businesses, Patients Feel Marketplaces’ Ripple Effect The Obama administration was expecting a slow sign-up pace Sunday because of the weekend timing but is gearing up for brisker enrollment in the weeks to come. Open enrollment for new and returning customers on the federal marketplace HealthCare.gov and most state-run exchanges runs through Jan. 31. (Armour, 11/1) The Wall Street Journal: Next Enrollment Season for Affordable Care Act Kicks Off The Associated Press: Health Law’s 3rd Sign-Up Season Faces Challenges From Prices Those who do shop for insurance on the marketplaces will mostly see higher premium costs for 2016 compared to prices paid this year. According to HHS, premiums for a benchmark insurance plan will rise by an average of 7.5 percent in the 37 healthcare.gov states. But premium changes vary widely from state to state, and even within states, so in many cases consumers will be hit with much higher increases, while in some cases costs will be lower than this year. Furthermore, rising subsidies will protect many lower income shoppers from these price increases. (Eisenhower, 11/2) In Tennessee, the state insurance commissioner approved a 36 percent rate increase for the largest health insurer in the state’s individual marketplace. In Iowa, the commissioner approved rate increases averaging 29 percent for the state’s dominant insurer. Health insurance consumers logging into HealthCare.gov on Sunday for the first day of the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment season may be in for sticker shock, unless they are willing to shop around. Federal officials acknowledged on Friday that many people would need to pick new plans to avoid substantial increases in premiums. (Pear and Goodnough, 10/30) KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey appeared on PBS NewsHour to talk about the impending open enrollment season to buy health insurance coverage on healthcare.gov and online state marketplaces. Watch the video. (10/30) The government’s insurance website is faster and easier to use, but as a third sign-up season gets underway, President Barack Obama’s health care law is approaching limits. Enrollment on the federal and state exchanges began Sunday. While the law’s expanded coverage has reduced the uninsured rate to a historic low of about 9 percent, the gains will be harder in 2016. (Johnson and Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/2) last_img read more

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CMS Chief Puts Blame On The Court For Decision To Freeze Payments

first_imgCMS Chief Puts Blame On The Court For Decision To Freeze Payments To Insurers A federal court ruling in New Mexico found the Trump administration did not properly justify its formula for dispensing the funds. “We’ve been trying to figure out, is there a solution? We understand the impact to the market [but] we have to follow what the courts say,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said. In other health law news — The Star Tribune: Minneapolis-Based Insurer Bright Health Adding Three New States The Trump administration is bound by a federal court decision to suspend billions of dollars in ObamaCare payments, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said Thursday. “We really are in a tough spot,” Verma told reporters. “I think that there’s been a lot of discussion about whether the Trump administration is making a decision. We’re not making a decision. The court has told us what to do here … at the end of the day, we have to abide by the court’s ruling.” (Weixel, 7/12) The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would chip away at ObamaCare, including a measure that would temporarily repeal the law’s employer mandate. The bill sponsored by GOP Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) would suspend penalties for the employer mandate for 2015 through 2019 and delay implementation of the tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans for another year, pushing it back to 2022. (Hellmann, 7/12) Startup insurer Bright Health is doubling the number of states where the Minneapolis-­based health plan competes — an expansion plan that fits with a broader trend of carriers seeing a shot at growth in the individual market. Bright Health, which already competes in parts of Alabama, Arizona and Colorado, announced plans Wednesday to expand into portions of New York, Ohio and Tennessee. (Snowbeck, 7/11) The Hill: Trump Health Chief Defends Suspending ObamaCare Payments This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Hill: House Panel Advances Bill That Would Temporarily Halt ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate last_img read more

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CMS New Primary Care Initiative Relies On The Simple Concept Of Quality

first_imgCMS’ New Primary Care Initiative Relies On The Simple Concept Of Quality Over Quantity. But Will It Work? The proposal, dubbed CMS Primary Cares, has generated cautious optimism among many primary care doctors. But the extent of its impact will be determined by an array of details not fully known–including what exactly the financial benefits look like. The CMS is inviting state Medicaid agencies to pursue new ways of integrating care for patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid—a population that has complex health needs and accounts for a big portion of spending in both public health programs. In a letter dated Wednesday to state Medicaid directors, CMS Administrator Seema Verma described three new ways states can test approaches to integrating care for dual-eligible patients with the goal of improving the quality of their care and reducing costs for federal and state governments. (Livingston, 4/24) Stat: Primary Care Experiment’s Impact Depends On Answers To These Questions Modern Healthcare: CMS Backtracks On Requiring EHRs To Track Prescriptions In 2020 Modern Healthcare: CMS Invites States To Test New Dual-Eligible Care Models The great hope of the primary care initiative unveiled by the Trump administration this week is that it will finally pay doctors to use technology to stay connected to their patients and intervene before — not after — health problems arise. The concept is simple: Front primary care doctors money to provide high-touch care to keep their patients healthy, instead of paying them to jam their calendars with so many in-person office visits that they can’t respond to emergent problems. (Ross, 4/25) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The CMS on Tuesday revised its IT efforts that target the opioid epidemic as part of its annual proposed update for the hospital inpatient prospective payment system. The IPPS proposal would update inpatient hospital reimbursements for federal fiscal 2020, which starts in October. Last year’s proposal included broad changes for hospital IT, overhauling the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, better known as “meaningful use,” to make the programs less burdensome and more patient-centered, according to the agency. Notably, the CMS renamed the programs “Promoting Interoperability” as part of the 2018 announcement. (Cohen, 4/24) In other news from CMS —last_img read more

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Tim Hortons parent RBI plans to expand all three brands globally to

first_img Email What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Restaurant Brands International Inc, the owner of Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, is also aiming to boost its businesses by deploying various initiatives that range from app-based ordering to loyalty programs for its customers.Canadian Press Tim Hortons parent RBI plans to expand all three brands globally to 40,000 outlets That’s almost double the current restaurants Recommended For YouU.S. FDA approves Karyopharm Therapeutics’ blood cancer drugOntario Cannabis Store pulls affected CannTrust products amid Health Canada probeUPDATE 2-FDA approves expanded label for Regeneron/Sanofi’s DupixentTrump pick for Fed seat says doesn’t want to pull rug from under market -CNBCAP Explains: US sanctions on Huawei bite, but who gets hurt? Facebook Join the conversation → May 15, 20197:36 AM EDT Filed under News Retail & Marketing ← Previous Next → Featured Stories Reuters center_img Comment Restaurant Brands International Inc said on Wednesday it plans to expand the global presence of all three of its brands to more than 40,000 restaurants, from the current 26,000, over the next decade.The owner of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is aiming to boost its businesses by deploying various initiatives that range from app-based ordering to loyalty programs for its customers.Restaurant Brands, which is scheduled to hold its investor day later in the day, expects its coffee, burger and chicken markets to grow between 5 per cent and 6 per cent per year over the next 5 years.The company, which has been affected by slowing growth at its three iconic brands, had brought in the head of its Burger King unit, Jose Cil, as its chief executive officer earlier this year.Last month, the company reported a 0.6 per cent drop in comparable sales at Tim Hortons for the quarter ended March 31, while same-store sales at Burger King grew 2.2 per cent, less than 3.8 per cent a year earlier. © Thomson Reuters 2019Related Stories:Redberry Group Remodels Another BURGER KING® Restaurant Twitter Share this storyTim Hortons parent RBI plans to expand all three brands globally to 40,000 outlets Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn More advertisement Sponsored By: Reddit 0 Commentslast_img read more

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