Category: Business

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India beats US at cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup

WESTBURY, New York — There was no upset this time for the United States as the home team was easily beaten by cricket heavyweight India at the Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday.

Suryakumar Yadav’s half-century powered India to a seven-wicket win over the U.S., which had shocked Pakistan last week.

With the win, India reached the Super 8 round. The U.S. can advance by beating Ireland on Friday.

In a later match at Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad, Sherfane Rutherford scored an unbeaten 68 from 39 deliveries to help the West Indies in their great escape — the co-hosts beat New Zealand by 13 runs.

The Caribbean lineup, 149-9 in its 20 overs, was 76-7 before its Rutherford-led recovery. Alzarri Joseph snared four New Zealand wickets and Gudakesh Motie took three — including New Zealand captain Kane Williamson for 1 — to restrict the Black Caps to 136-9 in reply.

On Long Island, Yadvav’s 50 runs came off 49 balls and included two boundaries and two sixes. He put on 72 runs off 65 balls in an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand with Shivam Dube, who scored 31 not out as India finished with 111-3 in 18.2 overs in reply to 110-8 by the United States.

Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh returned figures of 4-9 — including two wickets in the first over — to restrict the co-hosts after India had won the toss and opted to field at the Nassau County International Stadium.

India was in early trouble in its chase as Indian-born medium pacer Saurabh Netravalkar continued his golden run for the Americans.

After bowling the co-hosts to the upset over Pakistan, he celebrated the wickets of Indian superstars Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Kohli was caught behind for a golden duck — dismissed off the first delivery he faced — in what surely will become a career highlight for Netravalkar. Sharma (3) fell to a slower delivery as Netravalkar finished with 2-18 in four overs.

Rishabh Pant scored 18 off 20 balls batting at No. 3 before he was bowled by Ali Khan delivery. With India struggling at 39-3 in 7.3 overs, the U.S. team momentarily raised visions of an even bigger shock.

West Indies advanceLeft-hander Rutherford turned the home team’s fortunes around, going to the crease with the West Indies reeling at 22-4 after 5.4 overs. Rutherford scored 18 off the last over that culminated with a six and a boundary.

The loss left New Zealand with a strong possibility it will not make the second round. If Afghanistan beats Papua New Guinea on Thursday, three-time runner-up New Zealand will be out of contention.

For most of the first half of the game, the Black Caps were on top.

But Rutherford went on the attack as the West Indies added 58-2 in the last five overs of their innings.

He was 15 off 14 deliveries when star allrounder Andre Russell was out for 14 in the 13th over, and he accelerated with the lower-order in a counter-attacking, 72-minute innings containing six sixes and two boundaries.

“It’s a good feeling, to help my team. That is what we live for and work hard for,” man-of-the-match Rutherford said during the innings break. “It was a very tough surface to start on. I think 149 is a brilliant score on this wicket.”

After the match, Rutherford had a more optimistic tone: “It is only the start of something big to come and hopefully we can keep winning and momentum going.”

New Zealand started well after winning the toss and fielding, with Trent Boult (3-16) bowling opener Johnson Charles to end the first over.

Tim Southee (2-21), recalled after missing New Zealand’s opening loss to Afghanistan, dismissed dangerman Nicholas Pooran for 12 in the fourth over, trigging a run of three wickets for three runs.

Lockie Ferguson deceived Roston Chase with a slower ball to make it 21-3 and skipper Rovman Powell (1) was caught behind off Southee five balls later.

Russell went on the attack but his dismissal — caught in the deep of Boult’s bowling — appeared to be an insurmountable setback until Rutherford took up the challenge.

“The quality of Sherfane’s innings was high,” New Zealand skipper Williamson said. “The batting depth in their side was beneficial for sure. We cannot make excuses and have to find ways.”


Kenyan group uses old ATMs to dispense free sanitary pads to students

A public-private partnership in Kenya provides female students with free sanitary napkins dispensed from converted ATMs at school. The goal is to provide pads to young women from poor families so they don’t miss school because they are menstruating. Victoria Amunga reports from Nairobi, Kenya.


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Despite war, surrogacy in Ukraine keeps flourishing

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Finland’s Lenin Museum closing as Russia relations chill

Finland’s Lenin Museum, the “most hated” in the country according to its director, is to close its doors at the end of the year for rebranding, as Finland’s historically good relations with Russia sour. Henry Wilkins visited the museum in the Finnish city of Tampere and has that story.


Australian-led study issues food security warning over plant breeding skills shortage

Sydney — Australia’s national science agency warns a lack of scientists specialized in plant breeding could lead to ‘dire’ food security implications around the world. Researchers say plant breeding is a critical science that underpins the global production of food, animal feed and fuel. The finding is among the conclusions of a recently published paper by researchers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.      

A joint paper published earlier this month by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, in collaboration with Lincoln University in New Zealand and McGill University in Canada, warns that highly-skilled plant breeding experts, who are reaching the end of their careers, are not being replaced by sufficient numbers of university graduates, many of whom are choosing other areas of plant science including molecular biology.

Lucy Egan is the study’s lead author and a CSIRO research scientist.  She told VOA Wednesday that new recruits are needed.

“It is really based on developing new plant varieties for future climates.  So, plant breeding is a slow game.  It takes a long time to develop a new crop variety, so you’re looking at least ten years on average to develop a new variety.  When you have a lack of plant breeders coming through to replace the generation that are retiring, it does generate a bit of concern around the succession plan,” she said.

The report said that the implications of a skills shortage “could be dire” and that global food security could be affected. It recommends establishing “dedicated training facilities in different countries”.  

Egan said that plant breeding can help countries adapt to a warming climate.

“I think instead of focusing on, you know, certain countries and the implications, I think if you look at it on a global level plant breeding is really the backbone of the agricultural sector.  Without the development of new varieties with changing climates and all these things that are sort of happening across the world, we need to really build strength and resilience within the agricultural sector and plant breeding is really key to do that,” she said.

The research is published in the journal, Crop Science.  It reports that since the 1960s, global crop production has increased by more than 250%, which is due in large part to plant breeding science.


Jin, oldest member of K-pop’s BTS, finishes army service in South Korea

Seoul — Jin, the oldest member of K-pop phenomenon BTS, was discharged from South Korea’s army on Wednesday after 18 months of duty, the first member of the group to wrap up the mandatory national service that put their music careers on hold.

Jin, 31, wearing uniform and a black beret, appeared emotional as he hugged his colleagues at a military base in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi province, television footage showed.

“I cried during the ceremony,” Jin said later during a livestream which racked up over 3 million views on the Weverse fandom platform.

“But it was so fun for the last year and six months. It’s such a relief I met so many amazing people,” he added, sending regards to his colleagues at the military base.

Shares of HYBE, the label which houses BTS, jumped 1.01% in early trade while the benchmark KOSPI index rose 0.35%.

South Korean media reported several other members of the septet who are currently serving in the military applied for leave to celebrate the occasion.

Among them was rapper RM, who greeted Jin with a saxophone to play the group’s hit single “Dynamite.”

Jin became the first member of the group to enlist in the military in December 2022. The final four members of the group began their service in December 2023, with the band expected to reunite in 2025 after they all complete their duty.

Jin plans to celebrate his discharge with an event in Seoul on Thursday where he will greet fans and stage a performance.

The group debuted on June 13, 2013, and has since become the face of K-pop, one of South Korea’s largest cultural exports.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 28 to serve between 18 to 21 months in the military or social service, but it revised the law in 2020 to let globally recognized K-pop stars delay signing up until age 30.


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LogOn: Washington state tests drones to remove hard-to-reach graffiti

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Australia locks down farms as avian influenza spreads

Sydney — Bird flu continues to spread in the Australian state of Victoria, where more than 500,000 chickens have been euthanized.  Strict quarantine zones restricting the movement of birds and equipment have also been put in place.  Australian health authorities say bird flu spreads mainly among wild water birds.

The highly pathogenic H7N3 strain of avian influenza has been found on four farms, while another virus, H7N9, has been detected at a fifth property over the past seven weeks in Victoria state.  The Australian farms have been put into lockdown.  At least 580,000 birds have been destroyed as part of sweeping biosecurity controls.

Japan and the United States have temporarily banned imports of poultry from Victoria as a precaution.

In Australia, some supermarkets are restricting the number of eggs that consumers can buy because of disruptions to the supply chain.

Avian influenza is a viral disease found across the world. It spreads between birds or when contaminated animal feed and equipment is moved between areas.

Danyel Cucinotta is the vice president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, an industry group.  She told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.  Tuesday that the virus can spread quickly.

“There is very little we can do and no matter how good your biosecurity is you cannot stop wild fowl coming in. This is a particular flight path for migratory birds.  There is housing orders at the moment, which means all birds get locked up.  This is about protecting our birds and protecting the food supply chain,” she said.

The strains of bird flu identified in the states of Victoria and Western Australia can infect people, but experts insist that cases are rare.

The virus can also infect cows.  The United States’ Department of Agriculture has said that avian flu has infected dairy cows in more than 80 herds across several states since late March.

At least three U.S. dairy workers have tested positive for bird flu after exposure to infected cattle.  All three patients are recovering.  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the infections do not change its assessment that bird flu is a low risk to the general community and that it has not seen evidence of human-to-human transmission.

Last month, health authorities in Mexico confirmed a fatal case of human infection with an avian flu virus that had been reported in poultry.


Alzheimer’s drug that slows disease gets backing from FDA advisers

WASHINGTON — A closely watched Alzheimer’s drug from Eli Lilly won the backing of federal health advisers Monday, setting the stage for the treatment’s expected approval for people with mild dementia caused by the brain-robbing disease. 

Food and Drug Administration advisers voted unanimously that the drug’s ability to slow the disease outweighs its risks, including side effects like brain swelling and bleeding that will have to be monitored. 

“I thought the evidence was very strong in the trial showing the effectiveness of the drug,” said panel member Dean Follmann, a National Institutes of Health statistician. 

The FDA will make the final decision on approval later this year. If the agency agrees with the panel’s recommendation, the drug, donanemab, would only be the second Alzheimer’s drug cleared in the U.S. that’s been shown to convincingly slow cognitive decline and memory problems due to Alzheimer’s. The FDA approved a similar infused drug, Leqembi, from Japanese drugmaker Eisai last year. 

The slowdown seen with both drugs amounts to several months and experts disagree on whether patients or their loved ones will be able to detect the difference. 

But Lilly’s approach to studying its once-a-month treatment prompted questions from FDA reviewers. 

Patients in the company’s study were grouped based on their levels of a brain protein,  

called tau, that predicts severity of cognitive problems. That led the FDA to question whether patients might need to be screened via brain scans for tau before getting the drug. But most panelists thought there was enough evidence of the drug’s benefit to prescribe it broadly, without screening for the protein. 

“Imposing a requirement for tau imaging is not necessary and would raise serious practical and access concerns to the treatment,” said Dr. Thomas Montine of Stanford University, who chaired the panel and summarized its opinion. 

At a high level, Lilly’s results mirrored those of Leqembi, with both medications showing a modest slowing of cognitive problems in patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s. The Indianapolis-based company conducted a 1,700-patient study showing patients who received monthly IV infusions of its drug declined about 35% more slowly than those who got a placebo treatment. 

The FDA had been widely expected to approve the drug in March. But instead, the agency said it would ask its panel of neurology experts to publicly review the company’s data, an unexpected delay that surprised analysts and investors. 

Several unusual approaches in how Lilly tested its drug led to the meeting. 

One change was measuring patients’ tau — and excluding patients with very low or no levels of the protein. But panelists said there was enough data from other measures to feel confident that nearly all patients could benefit from the drug, regardless of their levels. 

In another key difference, Lilly studied taking patients off its drug when they reached very low levels of amyloid, a sticky brain plaque that’s a contributor to Alzheimer’s. 

Lilly scientists suggested stopping treatment is a key advantage for its drug, which could reduce side effects and costs. But FDA staff said Lilly provided little data supporting the optimal time to stop or how quickly patients might need to restart treatment. 

Despite those questions, many panelists thought the possibility of stopping doses held promise. 

“It’s a huge cost savings for the society, we’re talking about expensive treatment, expensive surveillance,” said Dr. Tanya Simuni of Northwestern University. She and other experts said patients would need to be tracked and tested to see how they fare and whether they need to resume treatment. 

The main safety issue with donanemab was brain swelling and bleeding, a problem common to all amyloid-targeting drugs. Most cases identified in Lilly’s trial were mild. 

Three deaths in the donanemab study were linked to the drug, according to the FDA, all involving brain swelling or bleeding. One of the deaths was caused by a stroke, a life-threatening complication that occurs more frequently among Alzheimer’s patients. 

The FDA’s panel agreed those risks could be addressed by warning labels and education for doctors and medical scans to identify patients at greater risk of stroke.


South Africa holds off Bangladesh, remains unbeaten in cricket’s T20 World Cup  

WESTBURY, New York — Spinner Keshav Maharaj bowled a six-run, two-wicket final over and South Africa held off Bangladesh by four runs to stay unbeaten in cricket’s T20 World Cup on Monday.

Bangladesh needed 11 from the last six deliveries to register a famous win, then needed a six off the last ball. Taskin Ahmed came to the crease after Bangladesh’s seventh wicket, and faced the last ball, a full toss by Maharaj. Ahmed swung and managed only one run.

On a typically tough batting pitch at Nassau County Stadium, South Africa successfully defended its lowly total of 113-6 and restricted Bangladesh to 109-7.

It was the lowest target — 114 — ever defended in a T20 World Cup, trumping India’s defense of 120 runs just the day before.

“That was not nice on the heart, but feels good that we got over the line,” said top-scorer Heinrich Klaasen, the player of the match. “This wicket is not great for stroke play. We got some information from the last game and applied it today. I think we got a decent total on the board. 

“We have had three pressure games now and I think we are through [to the next round].” 

Maharaj finished with 3-27 in four overs, while Kagiso Rabada (2-19) and Anrich Nortje (2-17) also bowled well.

South Africa firmed the top spot in Group D with three from three and was in pole position to secure a Super Eight spot. Bangladesh’s first loss in two matches kept it in second place.

South Africa chased down Sri Lanka and the Netherlands in its previous two matches at the ground and was made to bat first this time.

But it still fumbled another start. Pace bowler Tanzim Sakib trapped opener Reeza Hendricks for a golden duck and had Tristan Stubbs caught for a five-ball duck. 

Aiden Markram was bowled for 4. In between, Sakib bowled Quinton de Kock for 18 as the Proteas slumped to 23-4 in 4.2 overs.

David Miller came up with another rescue job after his half-century against the Netherlands. He scored 29 off 38 balls and put on 79 runs for the fifth wicket with Klaasen.

Klaasen top-scored with 46 off 44, including two fours and three sixes. The duo pushed South Africa past 100 before falling in the space of six deliveries.

The late strikes left South Africa hanging at just about a par total.

Bangladesh’s chase faltered at the start, too. It was down to 37-3 and then 50-4 at the halfway stage.

Nortje dismissed skipper Nazmul Shanto for 14, and sent back Shakib Al Hasan for just 3, picking up his eighth wicket in three games.

Litton Das was out caught off Maharaj, while Rabada had Tanzid Hasan caught behind for 9.

Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah put on 44 off 45 balls to bring Bangladesh back on track.

At 94-4 in the 18th over, Bangladesh was in the driver’s seat, then lost wickets rapidly to spiral out of control. It went from 94-4 to 108-7 in the space of 17 deliveries. 

Rabada returned to trap Hridoy but Maharaj’s left-arm spin turned the game in the final over.

South Africa completes the group stage against Nepal on Friday. Bangladesh has the Netherlands on Thursday. 


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Thousands turn out for LA Pride Parade, events

LOS ANGELES — Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Hollywood on Sunday for the L.A. Pride Parade, one of the biggest events during a month of celebrations honoring the LGBTQ+ community in and around Los Angeles. 

Rainbow flags ruled the day as revelers cheered the lively procession that featured “Star Trek” star and activist George Takei as the Icon Grand Marshal. 

“As someone who has witnessed the struggles and triumphs of our community over the years, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and inspired to continue the fight for full acceptance and equality for all,” Takei said in a statement. 

The parade’s Community Grand Marshal was L.A. Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley. The department’s first openly gay chief said she was “overjoyed” by the honor. 

Following the parade, the L.A. Pride Block Party offered DJs, live performances, food trucks and a beer garden. 

On Saturday night, Latin pop superstar Ricky Martin headlined a concert dubbed Pride in the Park at Los Angeles State Historic Park. 

Other events scheduled for Pride Month include celebrations at Dodger Stadium and Universal Studios Hollywood. 


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