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Monday, July 21, 2014

Johns Hopkins to Pay $190 Million to Victims of Secretly Recorded Exams

Johns Hopkins to Pay $190 Million to Victims of Secretly Recorded Exams


Johns Hopkins to Pay $190 Million to Victims of Secretly Recorded Exams

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:51 AM PDT

Johns Hopkins Hospital announced on Monday that it reached a $190 million settlement with patients whose exams were secretly recorded by a gynecologist.

The class-action lawsuit involved more than 8,000 former patients of Dr. Nikita Levy, the Associated Press reports, and the deal marks one of the largest involving sexual misconduct by a doctor. Most of the discovered videos and photographs—about 1,200 videos and 140 photos—did not include the women’s faces and were taken with a pen-like camera he wore around his neck.

The case never led to criminal charges but essentially argued that Johns Hopkins should have been aware of what the doctor was doing. Levy committed suicide 10 days after he was fired in February 2013, which occurred after an employee came forward with suspicions.

Johns Hopkins released a statement in October on the discovery of Levy’s “misconduct and breach of trust,” writing: “We have redoubled our efforts to ensure that all of us in the Johns Hopkins community understand our responsibility, and we want to encourage you to speak up if you have any concerns about patient care or privacy.”

In a statement sent to reporters, Jonathan Schochor, the lawsuit’s lead attorney, said: “When learning of Dr. Levy’s behavior, our clients were extremely distraught. They felt a great breach of faith and trust. They felt betrayed. Now, with this proposed settlement, we can begin the process of healing our community.”

The settlement still needs final approval by a judge, the AP reports.

“We assure you that one individual does not define Johns Hopkins,” the hospital system said on Monday, acknowledging the settlement. “Johns Hopkins is defined by the tens of thousands of employees who come to work determined to provide world-class care for our patients and their families.”

It’s Time for Europe to Get Tough With Russia

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:47 AM PDT

Europe has a history of coming together in good times but not in bad. Think about the creation of the Eurozone, and the launch of the single currency, juxtaposed with the piecemeal policy reaction over the last few years to the Eurozone financial crisis. This tendency has been on tragic display recently, with the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines jet that carried numerous European passengers. This event should have strengthened European resolve to put more and tougher sanctions on Russia. Instead, it's led to half-hearted measures doled out on a country-by-country basis. France is even going ahead with big deal to supply warships to Russia.

The key issue, of course, is that Europe is in very deep with the Russians economically, much deeper than the U.S. Or China, for that matter; The recent Russia-China gas deal was small potatoes compared to the business that the Europeans do. Europeans get about 30 percent of their gas from Russia, and are dependent on other natural resources, like oil and minerals, from Russia too. Indeed, the Netherlands, which lost more people than any European country in the crash, took in the largest share of those exports from Russia last year. They aren't alone—German banks and multinationals do lots of business with Russia, and countries like the UK are a big destination for oligarchs looking to stash cash outside their home country.

That's why it's so crucial that European foreign ministers come together at their meeting over the Ukraine situation and Russian sanctions in Brussels. Until they are on board with more serious sanctions, particularly in the energy sector, it's unlikely that the current rounds are going to make a serious dent in the Russian economy, which, as a recently Capital Economics report pointed out, still has a strong international investment position.

The bottom line is that Europe needs a much smarter and less Russia-centric energy strategy. As I've explained before, that's a need that's unlikely to filled by the gas rich US anytime soon. Rather it's something that will have to be driven internally within Europe. It's an opportunity not only for Europe to become more secure, but to prove to the rest of the world that it can work together and live up to the promise of the EU itself—in both good times and bad.

Good News for Fans of Good TV: FX Picks Up New Seasons of Louie and Fargo

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:42 AM PDT

It’s not a huge surprise, but FX announced today that Louie and Fargo will both be returning to your televisions sometime in 2015. Louie, which wrapped its fourth season in mid-June, will have just seven episodes (down from 13 or 14 in each of the first four seasons), but any Louie is better than no Louie at all.

Initially, Fargo was intended to simply be a one-off, but the critical acclaim garnered by the show’s initial ten-episode run likely inspired FX to change that plan. The new season will feature a new story, a new setting and all new actors — most crucially, however, showrunner Noah Hawley will return to steer the ship. It’s a little sad imagining a Fargo without Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) or Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), but there’s no reason to believe that Hawley won’t have as much success crafting Fargo‘s second season as he did its first.

REVIEW: Alvvays Make Sunny Guitar-Pop Gold on Self-Titled Debut

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:40 AM PDT

From laconic, wise-cracking slackers like Stephen Malkmus and Bethany Cosentino to starry-eyed romantics like Stuart Murdoch and Tracyanne Campbell, the history of left-field, literate indie pop is littered with idiosyncratic, effortlessly charming vocalists. Molly Rankin, the woman who leads Canadian five-piece Alvvays, is a descendent of both lines; she’s a madcap schemer and a bleeding heart, equally likely to scamper away after tripping over her own feet and to plead a male pal to reconsider his disdain for the institution of marriage. Her actual genealogy is just as impressive as her musical ancestry: Rankin is a member of the Rankin Family, Canadian folk luminaries who have written and toured across the country for decades. She cut her teeth as part of the family’s band before striking out on her own with a 2010 EP; that solo project gradually picked up friends and nearby musicians and morphed into Alvvays. The band’s eponymous debut full-length is smart, sharp guitar pop, with songs shaped by lyrical playfulness, chiming, melodic leads, and Rankin’s bell-clear, yearning voice.

The band’s songwriting is possessed of both an impressive ear for structure and a remarkable generosity. Songs build in discrete steps to emotional crescendos, then hang there or ascend to an even higher level, rewarding listeners with a new melody or another round of a potent chorus; crisp, clean lines like the ones that mark “Adult Diversion” and “Archie, Marry Me” return for curtain calls, unfurling over top of simple, metronomic rhythms. The high level of execution is a necessity: many bands have written songs like this before, and well, so each new track requires a certain indelibility in order to stand out. The band is also differentiated by lesser peers by the strength of Rankin’s character. She’s immediately familiar and relatable, fully realized in a way that’s quite impressive given this is Alvvays’ debut; she could be the girl sitting across from you in a seminar, speeding with intent down a bike lane, relaxing in a park with a wide-brimmed hat. She spends a lot of time singing about love, and navigates that fraught terrain with an exuberance and palpable anxiety that belies her youth. It’s a perspective that equally suits jangling, up-tempo cuts like “Adult Diversion” and “Atop a Cake” and dreamier, more wistful songs like highlights “Ones Who Love You” and “The Agency Group.” Her voice, pure as spring water and able to easily reach lofty, piercing notes, is best served by the latter pair of tracks; she has a deft hand with heartbreak.

In the moments when listeners are able to tear themselves away from the band’s sticky, simple guitar lines, they’re rewarded with a lyrical wit and intelligence that nicely complements Rankin’s erudite persona. Spend enough time around smart people and you’ll meet characters who clearly derive personal satisfaction from putting together exquisite sentences and dropping ten-dollar words; it’s a precious source of joy, sure, but it’s infectious all the same. The members of Alvvays fit that mold: when Rankin tries to convince a romantic partner to stick around on “Party Police” by telling him that “we can find comfort in debauchery,” it’s easy to imagine the sparkle in her eye and the half-grin plastered on her face. It’s to the band’s credit that their toying with vocabulary and phrasing feels inclusive, rather than smug, and those aforementioned melodies act like gateways into their wordy world. It’s those two strengths, and Rankin’s innate likeability, that separate Alvvays from their peers in a genre that’s always ripe with aspiring stars.

School Administrators: Kids Like Healthy Lunches Just Fine

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:40 AM PDT

As the battle rages on over whether or not to scrap healthier options in public school lunch, a new survey suggests students actually like the nutritional meals they're being offered. Well, at least they like it enough to keep from complaining to school administrators about it.

Last school year, administrators reported students started off complaining about the healthier take on lunch, after the USDA introduced new standards in 2012 that called for a reduction in sugar, sodium and fat in meals and the addition of more whole grains, vegetables, and fruit in an effort to confront childhood obesity.

But most had come around by the spring, they reported in a new study backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Now, around 70% of elementary school students "generally like the new lunch," they said. Middle and high school administrators reported similar reactions, with 70% and 63% of students "generally" liking the new lunches, respectively.

Schools also report few drop-offs in school lunch participation with the advent of the new standards. About 64.6% of elementary schools said "about the same" number of students purchased school lunches last school year, compared to the year before.

"The updated meals standards are resulting in healthier meals for tens of millions of kids," said Lindsey Turner, lead author of the first study, and co-investigator for Bridging the Gap, a research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which funded the study in a statement. "Our studies show that kids are okay with these changes, and that there have not been widespread challenges with kids not buying or eating the meals."

Yet, according to the new survey to be published in an upcoming issue of the Childhood Obesity journal, high school students and students in rural schools have been more reluctant to accept the changes. About 25% of middle and high school administrators reported noticing "a little more" plate waste during the 2012-2013 school year, while 16% of middle schools and 20% of high schools reported noticing "much more" waste.

Administrators at rural schools also reported more plate waste and more complaints than their urban counterparts, which is troubling given the higher rates of obesity among youth in rural areas. But among poor urban youth, the researchers found higher rates of consumption and more meal purchases—suggesting those kids opting out of the school lunch program are those who can afford to eat elsewhere.

"It is possible that widespread implementation of national policy has been effective for improving the diets of socioeconomically disadvantaged children,” said the study’s authors, “but more research is needed to understand the effect of changes in the meal standards on children's participation and dietary intake."

There has been much debate over the Department of Agriculture's updated school nutrition standards this year. In fact, Monday's survey results stand in contrast to a recent USDA report that showed about 1 million fewer students chose to eat school meals every day during the 2012-2013 school year. The School Nutrition Association, a long time supporter of healthy options for kids, rolled back some of its support earlier this year due to the burden the standards place on already cash-strapped schools.

In May, House Republicans ok’d a spending bill that would allow schools to opt out of following the healthy school rules, which pump up the amount of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains served to kids at school while reducing fat, sugar, and sodium. But champions of the standards, including First Lady Michelle Obama, argue rolling back the standards would be a bad choice for kids.

In a statement Monday, the School Nutrition Association said the survey’s “perceptions about school meals do not reflect reality.”

"More kids aren't buying lunches," Diane Pratt-Heavner, spokesperson for the School Nutrition Association, tells TIME.

Sheriff Replaces Jail’s Orange Jumpsuits Because Orange Is The New Black Made Them Too “Cool”

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:37 AM PDT

A local Michigan sheriff is afraid that Orange Is The New Black, the hit Netflix series about female prisoners, has made orange jumpsuits a popular fashion statement. So now inmates at Saginaw County Jail have to wear black-and-white striped jumpsuits instead of orange ones, according to The Saginaw News and MLive.com.

“Some people think it’s cool to look like an inmate of the Saginaw County Jail with wearing all orange jumpsuits out at the mall or in public,” Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel told The Saginaw News and MLive.com. “We do have our inmates out sometimes doing work in the public, and I don’t want anyone to confuse them or have them walk away.”

MORE: Princesses in Prison: Watch a Very Entertaining Mashup of Frozen and Orange Is the New Black

MORE: REVIEW: The Dark Optimism of Orange Is the New Black Season Two

Ron Paul Says U.S. May Share Responsibility for Malaysia Airlines Plane Crash

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:33 AM PDT

Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul claimed Sunday that the U.S. and European Union may share responsibility for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last week.

“While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report,” Paul, a former Republican congressman from Texas, wrote on his website. “They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when the EU and U.S. overthrew the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Without U.S.-sponsored ‘regime change,’ it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened.”

Paul is the father of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is ahead in polls of likely candidates running for the GOP nomination for president in 2016. The younger Paul has come under attack in recent weeks from Republicans such as former Vice President Dick Cheney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a potential rival, for being too isolationist on his foreign policy.

Ron Paul, who ran for president in 2008 and 2012, and his son Rand both hail from the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, which advocates less intervention abroad, though Rand Paul has in recent months tried to distance his himself from his father. Rand Paul’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his father’s editorial.

In the post Sunday, Ron Paul goes on to write that Ukraine separatists would have everything to lose if they shot down the plane, and nothing to gain, suggesting Ukrainian culpability. “They will not report that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia, and that the Ukrainian prime minister has already expressed his pleasure that Russia is being blamed for the attack,” Paul said. “They will not report that the missile that apparently shot down the plane was from a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system that requires a good deal of training that the separatists do not have.”

President Obama suggested Friday that blame for the crash lay with Russian-backed separatists, and Ukraine has released audio-recordings allegedly documenting conversations about the missile strike among separatists. “Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine,” he said.

Ron Paul compared the incident to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people last summer. “Assad was also gaining the upper hand in his struggle with U.S.-backed rebels and the U.S. claimed that the attack came from Syrian government positions,” Paul said. “Then, US claims led us to the brink of another war in the Middle East.”

At the end of the post, Ron Paul says it is entirely possible that Russia is responsible for the crash, just as the Obama administration has suggested. “Of course it is entirely possible that the Obama administration and the US media has it right this time, and Russia or the separatists in eastern Ukraine either purposely or inadvertently shot down this aircraft,” he writes. “The real point is, it’s very difficult to get accurate information so everybody engages in propaganda.”

 

Eat Umami, Eat Less

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:30 AM PDT

If you’re feeling unsatisfied after a meal, perhaps wasn’t flavorful enough. A new study suggests that the taste umami may actually make you feel more full and satisfied.

Umami, a hard-to-describe flavor that tilts toward the savory, is considered the “fifth taste” after salty, sweet, sour and bitter. Long used in Japanese cooking, umami is actually glutamate, once it’s broken down by cooking a steak, for example, or by fermenting things like cheese and soy. For a quick dash of umami, cooks have turned to monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer that’s added to soups and other foods. Now a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that MSG can make food more appetizing and therefore help diners feel more full.

The researchers asked 27 participants to eat the same breakfast, then some ate a high-protein soup with an MSG-enzyme combination while other had soup without the pairing. Everyone then sat down for an identical lunch, and the scientists tracked how much the volunteers ate as well as asked them questions about their appetite and how full they felt. The diners who ate the MSG-laced soup consumed less of their lunch, but still say they felt satisfied, suggesting that umami may have a role in regulating eating.

It’s not the first taste linked to appetite — peppers and spicy foods, for example, have been associated with eating less. It’s not exactly clear how the flavors affect appetite — they may work in different ways — but the growing research suggests that how much you eat may be affected by which taste buds the food activates.

Malaysian Prime Minister Strikes Deal With Rebel Leader to Return Bodies

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:14 AM PDT

Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak announced Monday that he had reached an agreement with the leader of a pro-Russian separatist group to return bodies, hand over black boxes, and let independent international investigators access the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down last week.

Razak said he and Alexander Borodei, the self-appointed “Prime Minister” of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”, had reached a consensus on the three major priorities in the aftermath of the deadly crash, which he described as “securing evidence from the aircraft, launching an independent investigation and above all recovering the remains of those who lost their lives.”

According to their agreement, representatives from the Netherlands and Malaysia will accompany the bodies of the passengers as they’re recovered from the site and moved by train to the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, and then flown to Amsterdam. Remains of Malaysian citizens will then be flown home to Malaysia, Razak said.

In addition, Razak said Borodei had agreed to let a Malaysian team of investigators take custody of the plane’s two black boxes, and would guarantee independent international investigators access to the crash site.

Razak said that despite the tentative agreement, “there is work still to be done … which relies on continual communication in good faith.” He called on all parties to “continue to work together to make sure this agreement will be honored,” adding that “only then can victims be afforded the respect they deserve.”

“For the families, nothing can undo this damage,” said the Prime Minister, who reportedly lost a relative in the crash. “The lives taken cannot be given back. The dignity lost can’t be regained. My heart reaches out to those whose loved ones were taken on MH17.”

Kim Kardashian’s Genius New Game Is Basically Dante’s Inferno

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:07 AM PDT

“In order to win at life, you need some Kim K skills,” Kanye West told GQ in a recent interview. But how do you get that life-winning ability to pose, network and maneuver your way to fame? By playing her gaming app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, of course. Forbes estimates Kardashian herself could make $85 million from the game, and it’s been a blockbuster ever since its release almost a month ago.

The game is an immersion into the glamorous Kardashian world, complete with photo shoots, club openings and feuds with wannabe celebrities. It’s the fame game, and it’s addictive; you simply can’t stop checking your makeup, posing and attending club openings. More than 100,000 users have given Kim Kardashian: Hollywood a perfect rating in Apple’s App Store, driving up shares of Glu Mobile, the company behind the game, 24% since it was released June 25. In-app purchases — in the game, things like clothes, energy, cash and star-power can be purchased with real-world money — could generate an annual revenue of $200 million.

But ever since I started playing the game, I’ve felt a nagging sense of deja vu. I have never been a Hollywood fashionista, but something about the game felt eerily familiar. Slowly, it dawned on me: I’ve heard this story before, in 11th grade English class. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood reminds me of that super long 14th-century poem about the circles of hell that canonized the Italian language. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is Dante’s Inferno.

It’s basically the same idea, except you (Dante) can dress up in customizable hair and outfits that get increasingly elaborate as you get richer/closer to the mouth of hell. Kim is like Virgil, but she traded in her black robe for a sparkly silver dress because shrouds are so 14th century. The circles of hell are levels of fame, natch.

But what’s so hellish about an addictive game that makes boatloads of cash? Um, everything. In the Kim Kardashian universe, your character can’t sleep, eat or see any friends who aren’t “contacts” to help you get more famous. You have no family (Kim has family, but you don’t) and nobody to love. Your only human contact is with other hell-walkers game characters with whom you can either choose to “network” or “flirt.” You’re not allowed to do anything but go to club openings, photo-shoots or red carpet premieres. You can’t read.

The only good thing about this world is that a flight from LA to Miami costs $15.

It’s no coincidence that you enter this inferno by committing one of the seven deadly sins: Greed. When the game starts, you’re a lowly boutique clerk, and you’ve just closed up the aptly-named “So-Chic” store, when you’re approached by the one and only Kim Kardashian. "Hi! Is this your store? Are you open? I could really use your help,” her character says. Your options are “still open,” “just closing,” and, in a terrifying premonition of your name-dropping future, “Kim Kardashian.”

If you have any respect for order in the universe, you pick “just closing,” because you did just close the store, and no celebrity will make you break the rules. But if you do that, Kim Kardashian says, ” Oh no! I'm having a fashion emergency. The back of my top is ripped, and I'm on my way to a shoot with Garrett St. Clair, THE Garrett St. Clair.” Because you’re supposed to know who that is.

“I don't want him to see me like THIS,” she whines. “But I don't know of any boutiques around here.” She’s in downtown L.A., mind you.

Here, the game gives you no option. The only possible choice is “I can help!” If you try to leave and return to an ordered universe, Kim Kardashian says “I love fashion and I love to shop!” The game forbids you from exiting, and you can feel the devil’s icy claws clutch your ankles.

At this point, you are already doomed, your soul has already become too blackened for absolution. For when Kim Kardashian asks how much the outfit is, the game’s only option is “no charge.” When she says “No, really? I can’t!,” the game’s only option is “(insist.)” Later, when your boss asks you to work on a night when Kim has invited you to a party, your only options are “use your charm” and “mention Kim.” Blowing off the party and going to work is not a possibility. You’re in Kim’s world now.

There’s no way to get through the game without committing one of the seven deadly sins at almost every possible junction. You go out of your way to humiliate your enemy, Willow Pape (Wrath.) You’re always trying to be as famous as Kim (Envy) and you’ve got an eye on your next big publicity stunt (Pride.) After the first level, you never go back to work at “So Chic,” (Sloth) and dollar bills appear every time you check your makeup (Greed.) We all know what your manager means when he tells you to "keep your head down – or up…or wherever the photographers want it!” (Lust.) The only sin you don’t commit on the long journey from D-list tag-along to A-list star is Gluttony, because this is Los Angeles, after all.

It’s been nearly a month since the game came out, and I’m still in Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood, checking my makeup, changing my outfit, flirting and networking and promoting brands and slowly spinning deeper and deeper into darker circles of hell. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

 

 

 

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