The academic publishing industry has been rocked by scandals in recent years, most of them uncovered by outsiders. But the latest comes from an internal probe: A 14-month investigation by the publisher SAGE has uncovered a fake peer-review scam involving hundreds of fraudulent and assumed identities. A total of 60 research articles published over the past 4 years in the Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC) are being retracted. SAGE concludes that the scam was orchestrated—possibly alone—by one physicist, Peter Chen, at the National Pingtung University of Education (NPUE) in Taiwan. But what ultimately made the scam possible, ScienceInsider has learned, was a lax editorial policy at the journal.The story broke 8 July at Retraction Watch, but the first hint of a conspiracy emerged in May of last year, says Daniel Sherman, head of public affairs at SAGE. “An author (later confirmed to be an innocent party) contacted SAGE after receiving two suspicious e-mails from individuals related to a paper he had submitted to JVC.” The senders claimed to be university-based scientists but were using Google Gmail accounts. By directly contacting the scientists via their official university e-mail accounts, SAGE investigators discovered that the identity of at least one of the scientists had been stolen—that researcher did not have a Gmail account. 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They discovered that the assumed identity and Gmail accounts had been used many other times in ScholarOne, SAGE’s online manuscript submission system, and the reviewers and co-authors for those papers were also attached to suspicious e-mail addresses. Sherman says. “We also checked the wording of reviews written by those individuals, as well as the time it took to complete the review,” he says, which in some cases amounted to “a few minutes.”The network of JVC papers that emerged was incestuous, with the same small group of authors reviewing each other’s work and appearing together as co-authors. By the end of the year, the investigators had a list of 130 e-mail addresses associated with 60 papers, with one scientist as co-author on all of them: Chen-Yuan Chen of NPUE, who goes by “Peter.” When SAGE sent an e-mail to all 130 e-mail addresses requesting that the authors confirm their identity, none responded. “The authors were contacted again by SAGE in May 2014 to inform them that their papers would be retracted in the July 2014 issue,” says Sherman, but again none responded. According to SAGE’s official statement, Chen resigned from NPUE in February. Neither Chen nor officials at NPUE responded to e-mails from ScienceInsiderHow was it possible for a scientist to become the sole reviewer on dozens of his own papers? The answer appears to be that Chen was allowed to nominate his own reviewers, who were not vetted by JVC, a journal long led by Editor-in-Chief Ali Nayfeh, a professor emeritus of physics at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. “In the majority of these papers ‘preferred reviewers’ only were used,” Sherman says, referring to an option made available to SAGE authors when they submit papers. “It is a very common practice across the industry for peer-reviewed journals to allow authors to nominate suggested reviewers. … Editors often find the recommendations helpful, especially for submissions on specialized and niche areas of research.” The lack of vetting, however, meant that JVC violated SAGE’s editorial guidelines, Sherman says. (Like SAGE, the editorial policy at Science is to allow authors to recommend reviewers but to never rely solely upon them. “Editors at Science journals generally use author suggestions as reviewers only if they have independent info that the reviewer is appropriate and likely to give an unbiased review,” according to a statement issued by the journal’s editors.)“In order to ensure that we continue to be compliant with the highest standards of peer-review and publication across the board, SAGE is currently conducting an additional review of our guidance to editors and authors to ensure that it is clear,” Sherman says. The practice of allowing authors to submit preferred reviewers will continue at SAGE’s 700 journals, he said. Nayfeh has resigned as editor of JVC, which is now being run by a group of 30 editors, most of whom were associate or advisory editors. Nayfeh did not respond to e-mails. The secretary of his university department told Science that he had moved to Jordan.*Update, 14 July, 6:04 p.m.: The fallout continues. As reported by Retraction Watch, Taiwan’s minister of education, Chiang Wei-ling, has now resigned. His name appeared on five of the 60 retracted papers from the Journal of Vibration and Control. Chiang claims to not be involved with the conspiracy, but is resigning “to uphold his own reputation and avoid unnecessary disturbance of the work of the education ministry.”
It has been a roller-coaster ride for Suresh Raina during his six years in international cricket.But if he gets a chance in the playing XI, the talented batsman wants to get his mojo back after an indifferent last few months with the willow.Going by indications, Raina probably will find it difficult to make the cut in the playing XI, except for injuries to any regular batsman.After Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan almost cemented their places in the XI with impressive performances in the five-match One-Day series in South Africa, it will be tough decision for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to accomodate the talented UP southpaw.”It is good that we have a healthy competition in the team between me, Virat (Kohli) and Yusuf (Pathan) but whenever I am on field, my main focus always is to win matches and contribute for the team,” Raina said during an open media session here.”I generally bat at No 6 and No 7 and whenever you bat these positions you have to play big shots. I am scoring 25-30 but I know I can do more. I know I can deliver. I am looking forward to score big runs (in the World Cup).”Raina who has been found out susceptible against the short pitched stuff dismissed popular notion that South African quicks sorted him out with rising deliveries.”In South Africa, I was not getting out on short balls. I was getting runs but not big scores. I am working on game, trying to focus on my batting and do the basics right,” Raina defended himself.advertisementWith the World Cup being held in the sub-continent, there is huge pressure on Dhoni and his men to lift the trophy after a hiatus of 28 years, but Raina said the only thing which is presently in his mind is his own performance.”Playing any series in India is always pressure but I don’t think there is additional pressure on me. As a player, it is important to ignore pressure and concentrate on your job in hand.”He didn’t hide that playing World Cup will be a huge opportunity.”It is a big opportunity for me. It is a dream for any cricketer to play in the World Cup,” he said.Asked about his role in the team as a part-time spinner, he said: “As a bowler, I am required to chip in with couple of overs and if possible get a few wickets.”The cash-rich Indian Premier League brought about a lot of instant fame, money and adulation for the young Indian cricketers and Raina said it is important to remain grounded and emulate the likes of Sachin Tendular and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who handled these things with humility.”It is important to remain pretty humble, stay focused and learn from Sachin (Tendulkar), (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. It is important to be disciplined and pay respect to the seniors and the game,” he said.Even though he was not part of the 2007 World Cup team, Raina feels that the they have learnt a lot from that disastrous experience.”We learnt a lot from that World Cup. We have learnt that we can’t take small teams lightly. We are playing our first game against Bangladesh and it is important for us to get the intensity going.”India will start their World Cup campaign against Bangladesh on February 19 in Dhaka and the Dhoni-led side would look to avenge their loss four years ago in the West Indies which put paid to their title dreams.With inputs from PTI
Kochi opener Brendon McCullum scored a quick-fire 47 to help Kochi beat Chennai by 7 wickets in a rain-truncated match at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Monday. Score | Photos Chasing 135 (D/L method), Kochi batsmen Hrad Hodge and Ravindra Jadeja scored the victory run on the last ball of the 15th over.Eventhough the Duckworth Lewis method was applied into the match and Chennai were given a revised target of 135 runs in 17 overs, three runs more than the original target, Kochi batsmen found the target rather easy to get and they chased it that way.Brendon McCullum and Captain Mahela Jayawardene got off to a fine start putting 39 runs in 4.3 overs, before the latter fell to an R Ashwin turner on 16.But McCullum remained and along with new man Parthiv Patel charged away at the opposition bowlers. McCullum was especially brutal, hitting four fours and three over the fence shots in his 47-run innings that came off just 33 balls. He too fell to offie R Ashwin, but not before doing maximum damage and helping Kochi to 90/2 on board.Parthiv Patel was the last wicket to fall for Kochi as Brad Hodge and Ravindra Jadeja scored the winnig run for the team in the 15th over.Chennai inningsSuresh Raina scored a fine 50 as Chennai put 131/4 in 17 overs against Kochi in the rain-truncated IPL match.Put to bat, Chennai had to face early set back, when Kochi paceman RP Singh got the better of their in-form opener Michael Hussey in the third over of the innings. The ball was moving away from him and it took the top edge of his bat to land in keeper Parthiv gloves for 8. Chennai lost him on 11/1 in 2.2 overs.advertisementPost that wicket, south-paw Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay got on with a partnership to negate the effects of an early loss. But just when the two were looking good and in rhythm, Kochi’s Sri Lankan import Thissara Perera trapped Vijay leg-before on 28 and Chennai lost their second wicket on 48/2 in 7.2 overs.But as soon as the ninth over ended, the match was stopped and pitch covered on account of showers. Chennai were 65/2 with Suresh Raina and S. Badrinath at the crease when covers were brought in.After more than one-and-a-half hour of rains the match resumed with three overs being cut from both innings.Boundaries were hard to come by in the wet outfield. So Badrinath decided to take the aerial route off Raiphi Gomes. He made room and wanted to play it on the leg-side, but failed to connect and ended up getting trapped leg-before on 19. Chennai were 96/3 in the 14th over.Suresh Raina was still at the crease and he went on to complete his half-century with skipper MS Dhoni by his side. But as soon as reached the milestone, he ended up throwing his wicket by getting run out in Perera’s over. A direct hit from Perera saw him short of crease. He was out on 50 and Chennai were down to 109/4.Finally, skipper Dhoni and Ablie Morkel helped Chennai put 131/4 on board in 17 overs.
Suspended Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was forced to plead guilty of breaching PCB code of conduct after he was threatened to hand harsher punishment and withhold no-objection certificate to play abroad, according to sources.Reliable sources said that Afridi was given an ultimatum by the Pakistan Cricket Board and its disciplinary committee that he should admit he had breached the code of conduct or face harsh punishment.The sources said that Afridi refused to plead guilty twice in the day but finally relented to the threat, resulting to the 4.5 million rupees fine and the grant of NOC to play for Hampshire in English Twenty20 tournament.”It was not smooth at all. In fact, Afridi appeared before the disciplinary committee thrice before he agreed to admit his guilt and mistakes in breaching the code of conduct,” one source said.He said at the first hearing in the afternoon, Afridi was aggressive with the committee members and made it clear he would neither apologise nor admit his guilt as he had not done anything wrong.”The first hearing ended in a stalemate in 15 minutes time. Afridi was than called in again after an hour and told he would have to apologise or admit his guilt as part of his deal to seek a NOC from the Board and close the case.”He again refused pointing out that if he apologise or regret his actions he would lose face in the eyes of the public,” the source disclosed.The source said that it was after the second hearing that the Board’s legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi, who was assisting the disciplinary committee, clearly told the all-rounder that he would have to apologise or admit his guilt if he does not want a harsher punishment.advertisement”Afridi was told in clear terms that the process could not move forward unless he apologised or admitted to breaching the code of conduct and if he couldn’t do this he should go home,” the source said.”Afridi was told the Board would follow whatever process was applicable and he would not get any NOC to play abroad,” the source said.The source said it was after this warning that Afridi returned before the disciplinary committee and admitted he was guilty of breaching the code of conduct and also regretted his actions.”It was after this that the committee decided to take the mitigating circumstances into consideration and just fine him half of the maximum fine possible for his offence,” the source said.The source also revealed that Afridi had been told clearly he would have to apply again for a NOC if he wants to play in the Sri Lankan Premier League next month.”The disciplinary committee also did not discuss his retirement or future plans for Pakistan,” the source added.He said Afridi, during the hearing, had told the committee members that the Board had removed him as captain without listening to his grievances and acting on the reports of the team manager and coach, which was “grossly unfair”.”Afridi also said that being a senior player the board should have discussed the captaincy issue with him before removing him. He also insisted that coach Waqar Younis was causing lot of problems in the team,” said the source.- With inputs from PTI
Subhankar Pramanik, Sambhaji Patil and a team Gold meant that India bagged three Gold medals on the opening day of the International Shooting Sport Federations (ISSF) Junior World Cup here on Sunday. (Latest Sports stories)Bengal’s Pramanik marked his best ever performance at the international level to shoot a 205.5 over 20 shots to edge out Filip Nepejchal of the Czech Republic, who managed a score of 205.2 to settle for the silver in the 50-metre Rifle Prone event. The bronze medal went to Dragomir Iordache of Romania.Pramanik earlier scored 613.8 in the qualifying phase to be sixth for the eight-man finals.Subhankar, along with teammates Fateh Singh Dhillon and Ajaey Nithish, also helped India to a Team Silver in the event.Sambhaji then bagged India’s second gold of the day when he won the 25 metres Standard Pistol event when he shot 562 to easily beat Australians Sergei Evglevski and James Ashmore to silver and bronze respectively.Sambhaji also added the team Gold in the event along with compatriots Gurmeet and Rituraj Singh to take India atop the medal tally with three gold medals in the day to add to the silver won in the team Rifle Prone and two bronze medals.
West Indies captain Jason Holder has conceded that “inexperience” has led to their failure to win the last two matches of the current tri-series, which went to the final over.Holder was speaking to reporters after the West Indies lost to Sri Lanka by one run in a nail-biting fifth game at Queen’s Club on Wednesday.Chasing a stiff target of 331 runs, the West Indies managed 329/9 riding on Evin Lewis’ 148. (Tri-series: Sri Lanka snatch thrilling one-run victory over West Indies)The Caribbean side panicked in a nerve-racking final over to concede the match on the final ball of the innings after a similar tense encounter against Zimbabwe which ended in a tie on Saturday.Lewis, playing in just his fourth One-Day International (ODI), hit his maiden century to leave the West Indies well positioned at 177 for three.He dominated two half-century partnerships that powered the West Indies’ run chase.”I think it’s inexperience. These are obviously situations that we’re not accustomed to being in. We’re still a relatively young side,” said Holder.”Everybody’s trying to make their mark. And I think it boils down to inexperience, and having that know-how at the end to get us across the line.””We had set up the game nicely, and Evin Lewis played an exceptional knock to put us in the situation that we were in,” added Holder.”He’s one of those guys that like the ball coming on, so we just felt that with 330 on the board we needed to get off well in the Powerplay and make use of that first up.”advertisementThe West Indies must beat Zimbabwe on Friday if they are to reach the final.Opening fast bowler Shannon Gabriel may be forced to miss the game after bowling just five overs because of discomfort in his hamstring.”We’re managing some niggles, and Shannon wasn’t able to finish his overs today, so we’re waiting to see if he’s good to go for the next game,” Holder said.”We’ll see in the next few days.”
(Eds: Updating with more quotes and other details)New Delhi, Dec 29 (PTI) Double Olympic-medallist Sushil Kumars qualification for next years Commonwealth Games ended in ugly scenes after his supporters clashed with those of rival wrestler Parveen Rana, resulting in an unprecedented brawl after the trials here today.The selection trial for the Gold Coast Games, to be held in April next year, was organised at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, and was attended by, among others, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Singh Sharan.The proceedings ended on a stormy note at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here when supporters of both the wrestlers came to blows.Sushil, who returned to the international arena after three years with a Commonwealth Championships gold, won all his bouts in the 74kg category.But things took an ugly turn when Rana, after losing to Sushil in the semifinal clash, claimed that the decorated wrestlers supporters beat him and his elder brother “for daring to take the ring” against him.Sushil, on the other hand, claimed that he was bitten by Rana during the bout.”…he bit me but no problem, it might be his tactics to stop me from performing well. All this is a part of sports,” Sushil told reporters after the bouts.”Whatever happened here was wrong. I condemn it. There was mutual respect after the fight ended,” he added.Incidentally, the 34-year-old Sushil had beaten Rana in the Commonwealth Championships final in South Africa a few weeks back.advertisementAlso, Rana was among the three wrestlers who gave a walkover to Sushil in the National Championships last month owing to the “respect” they had for the veteran.Today, Rana alleged that Sushils supporters gave death threats to him and dared him to participate in the upcoming Pro Wrestling League.WFI President Sharan said the fracas took place outside the wrestling arena and he had not witnessed the drama. However, he promised action if a formal complaint is lodged with the federation.”The incident didnt happen in front of us, it happened outside, in the warm-up area. It was instigated from just one side,” Sharan told PTI without specifying the camp he was referring to.”I have feared such an incident since last year and that is why the trials have been postponed. We had written to Delhi Police to provide security but it was not adequate,” he said.”We at WFI can take any action only when somebody comes forward and lodges a complaint to us. So far nobody, neither Sushil or Rana, has lodged any complaint. As and when anyone does, we will investigate and take strict action as per our jurisdiction area,” he assured.With his selection for the quadrennial games, Sushil would be aiming for a third successive gold at the Commonwealth Games. PTI SSC PM PM
Graeme is the founder of Touch Football Specialised which gives participants with special needs the opportunity to play Touch Football.The countless amount of volunteer hours Graeme has contributed has seen substantial growth in Touch Football Specialised and the programs now available for participants.The QLD Special Education Championships were held for the third successive year in 2016 with seven new schools attending, an additional thirteen teams and ninety six new participants.Graeme has also created a prototype competition for special needs athletes which will see athletes compete in a regular form of competition over multiple weeks. These competitions will be held at difference affiliated associations in South Queensland for the first time in season two of this year.He has also developed resources and modified equipment to allow the game to be accessed and played by numerous participants. These resources and aids have allowed schools and all ability organisations to self-deliver programs of their own.The countless hours Graeme has continued to put in has seen the organisation create a new partnership with the Gold Coast Titans and a continually growing ambassador group which now includes Olympic Athlete Michelle Jenneke.Queensland Touch could not be prouder of the contributions Graeme has made to the special needs and Touch Football communities through his initiative. He has single handily given children and adults with special needs opportunities through our sport which have never been there before.
Tottenham boss Pochettino: I won’t run away like a kidby Paul Vegas20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says he won’t walk out on the club.Poch is under fire after Tuesday’s 7-2 thrashing at home to Bayern Munich.But he claims when he told his players to “man- up” afterwards he was referring to himself.He said: “I am responsible for the situation of the team. I cannot escape or run away like a kid.“You need to behave like a man, face the problems and stick to your ideas. Be the leader the team need.”Poch added: “This is a moment to stay all together.“I accept the opinions when you don’t win. In the end, all that happened is that we lost a game.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Mumbai: Weeks after Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Milind Deora tendered his resignation from his post, former Lok Sabha MP and senior Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad took charge as the working president of the MRCC on Sunday. He was felicitated by Deora. The senior leadership of Congress in Delhi appointed Gaikwad as the working president of the Mumbai party wing on Saturday. Hours after the appointment of Gaikwad as the working president, senior party leader and AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters that Milind Deora’s resignation was rejected by the party and that both Gaikwad and Deora would work together. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”We’ve appointed a Working President for Mumbai (Eknath Gaikwad), Milind Deora ji and he will work together. There was a confusion that since Milind Deora ji submitted his resignation, he is not working. It is incorrect. His resignation hasn’t been accepted,” a news agency quoted Kharge as saying. Deora resigned from his post on July 7, saying he was looking forward to playing a role at the national level to help stabilise the party. “I had accepted MRCC presidentship in the interest of uniting the party. I felt I should also resign after meeting Rahul Gandhi,” Deora had said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KWhile tendering his resignation, Deora also recommended setting up of a provisional collective leadership consisting of three senior party leaders to oversee the party unit until Maharashtra assembly polls which are due later this year. Days after his resignation, a section of Mumbai Congress leaders, including Gaikwad, wrote to Kharge, requesting him not to accept Deora’s resignation. Deora, who had contested elections from Mumbai-South constituency, lost to Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant.
Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Thursday, July 27 and Friday, July 28, 1:00-4:00pmSoprano C Room, Hyatt Regency MontrealWard & Al LiveWard and Al are comedians Ward Anderson and Allison Dore. Their show, brilliantly named “Ward and Al”, is a combination of news and topical analysis, entertainment talk, pop culture, and more. Thank god, their show is at 1 pm and not 8 am as they might actually have comedians that are awake and have shared (and that goes for both sexes!) Wednesday, July 26, 6:00-8:00pmSoprano C Room, Hyatt Regency MontrealThe BonfireBring your folding chair, a couple of logs and some marshmallows! Hosted by comedians Big Jay Oakerson and Dan Soder, The Bonfire invites you to come and hang out by the radio bonfire as the blunt and candid duo talk about… what else but comedy, sharing their funniest stories from the road and giving fans a chance to call in and get their opinions on the topics of the day. Thursday, July 27 and Friday, July 28, 8:00-11:00amSoprano C Room, Hyatt Regency MontrealJim Norton & Sam RobertsComedian Jim Norton and host Sam Roberts discuss current news topics, social trends, life, talking with listeners and celebrities guests culled from the Just For Laughs Festival talent pool. And that’s a lot of big fish… Saturday, July 29,TBCSoprano C Room, Hyatt Regency MontrealUnmasked with Ron BenningtonUnmasked is an hour-long in-depth interview, focused on the creative process and the lives and work of comedians, hosted by Ron Bennington. Be part of the audience as Ron sits down with the biggest talents in the business to talk about their craft — and their creativity.All SiriusXM LIVE at Just For Laughs programming is included with your ComedyPRO Industry, Industry Plus or Express Pass. Pass on sale now through July 24th. After that you’re out of luck. Visit Eventbrite to purchase.Sirius XM will also be our sponsoring partner for this year’s Just For Laughs Awards Show and our eye on the Awards Show red carpet. Stay tuned for an upcoming communiqué announcing this year’s honourees! Twitter Login/Register With: Are you a serious comedy fan? Then you’ll enjoy the special programming that SiriusXM and Just For Laughs ComedyPRO have lined-up for you, including top shows from SiriusXM and SiriusXM Canada. It’s all LIVE and it’s all right here at Just For Laughs ComedyPRO.From the heat of The Bonfire to the coolness of Ron Bennington’s Unmasked, here’s a glimpse of what you can expect from SiriusXM LIVE at Just For Laughs ComedyPRO. Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Friday, July 28, 11:00pm-12:30amMainline TheatreComedy 101It’s Tell a Joke or Be a Joke as a crop of inexperienced comedy rookies take to the stage for the first time in front of a large audience, while a panel of brutal comedy headliners sit in judgment. See Montreal’s own go up against a panel of comedy’s toughest critics. Crass. Confrontational. And an absolute blast! SiriusXM’s Ron and Gail Bennington host. Thursday, July 27 and Friday, July 28, 4:00-6:00pmSoprano C Room, Hyatt Regency MontrealTodd Shapiro ShowThe Todd Shapiro Show is a daily live talk show featuring one of Canada’s most hilarious, original and beloved radio personalities. A lively gab fest featuring some of the best Canadian and international comics (Gore Met lids not included…)
Rabat – Three Lebanese singers, Diana Haddad, Myriam Fares and Yara, will perform at the 2016 Mawazine Festival: Rhythms of the World, according to a March 8 statement released by Maroc Cultures, the cultural foundation responsible for organizing the event.The 15th annual festival will mark the return of three prominent singers from the Middle East.Dianna Haddad—whose fan base includes millions of Moroccans—will perform at the opening of the eight-day event at the Nahda stage on Friday, May 20. Nicknamed “the princess of Arab music,” Haddad released her debut single entitled “Saken” in 1997. She is considered one of the most popular singers in the Arab world. Her widespread success is often attributed to her fluency in several Arab dialects.In 2013, Haddad released a song in Darija, or Moroccan Arabic Dialect, entitled “La Fiesta” as a tribute to her Moroccan fans. Her debut performance at Mawazine occurred during the festival’s 8th year in 2009.“The Queen of Lebanon,” Myriam Fares, will perform on Sunday, May 22 at Nahda stage.The 33-year-old singer has released several albums, including “Myriam” in 2003 and “Nadini” in 2005. She is known for her unique style, a blend of traditional music and pop.Fares gained famed by posting video clips of her music on YouTube, where her uploads became popular among listeners from all over the Arab world.Yara will appear on the Nahda stage on Tuesday, May 24.After Yara won Kass El Nojoum, a musical competition broadcast on LBC, she released her debut track “Hob Kabeer” in 2005. She quickly rose to fame following a successful duet with Palestinian singer Fadel Shaker.The 15th annual Mawazine Festival is scheduled to take place in Rabat May 20–28. The festival will also include performances by French rapper Maitre Gims, Samia Tawil, Kadim Al Saher and Christina Aguilera.Edited by Kelsey Fish
The latest figures from the UN human rights office, OHCHR, and the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), paint a stark picture of the reality on the ground for millions of people living in the regions directly affected by the conflict, such as Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk, where hundreds of thousands of IDPs remain trapped.From mid-April to 12 December, at least 4,707 people were killed and 10,322 wounded by fighting. Since the tenuous ceasefire began, at least 1,357 fatalities were recorded. Moreover, the UN has recently reported that since March 2014, more than one million people have been displaced from the conflict-affected areas, including nearly 530,000 people within Ukraine, of who at least 130,000 are children. Through its latest efforts, which will kick-off in January, UNDP will target the elderly, orphans, pregnant women, families with children and people with disabilities with some 30,000 food packages to supplement the more than 25,000 already distributed to IDPs across the country. In addition to the food packages, the UN agency announced it would also distribute sets of warm clothing for adults and children as well as sets of bed linen and blankets in an effort to help mitigate the harsh Ukrainian winter. “Supporting internally displaced persons and early recovery of critical social infrastructure in Eastern Ukraine is a priority for the United Nations Development Programme,” Inita Paulovica, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP in Ukraine, said in a news release. “Our main task is to ensure that no one is left behind.”In late February 2014, the situation in Ukraine transcended what was initially seen as an internal Ukrainian political crisis into violent clashes in parts of the country, later reaching full- scale conflict in the east. A cease-fire and peace plan for eastern Ukraine was signed in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on 5 September, but remains fragile. The situation has since continuously deteriorated, with serious consequences for the country’s unity, territorial integrity and stability.
He told The Sunday Telegraph that his protege during the 1979 operation is preparing to perform the world’s first pig-to-human kidney transplant “before the end of this year”, which – if successful – would open the door to more complex organs. Sir Terence English, who performed Britain’s first successful heart transplant 40 years ago on Sunday, believes “xenotransplantation” could all but eradicate the donor waiting list. There are currently around 280 patients waiting for a heart transplant in the UK. Suitable donated organs are scarce because… Pig hearts adapted for human use could be available to patients within three years, the surgeon who pioneered heart transplantation in the UK has said.
Few, if any, tech accelerators have a presence in San Juan, Argentina. The province, located in northwest Argentina, is known more for mining than machine learning. But to say there is no tech community in San Juan would be far from true, something Bill Wall, Barrick’s Director of Digital for South America, discovered last September.“It was my understanding that the local community in San Juan didn’t really have any tech companies or technology expertise,” says Wall, who joined Barrick in May 2017. “And I think that’s wrong; that it was kind of a blind spot that we had because we didn’t know where to look, and people that are interested in technology didn’t know how to talk to Barrick.”Barrick is looking to close that gap and, in the process, strengthen digital capacity in San Juan while creating an innovation ecosystem in the province. This will not only benefit the company, which operates the Veladero mine in San Juan together with Shandong Gold Group, but it will also benefit the province for decades to come.he first step in this process was a Barrick-sponsored hackathon that took place last September in Buenos Aires. It was there, ironically, in a city that’s located about 1,000 miles east of San Juan, that Wall was first exposed to the province’s burgeoning technology talent.A hackathon is an event in which large numbers of people come together and leverage their technology skills to develop ideas and solutions to operational challenges. Participants—developers, software engineers, data scientists, and other tech-savvy people—typically split into teams and spend several days developing competing solutions to specific challenges. At the Buenos Aires hackathon, Barrick posed challenges that touched on key priorities for Veladero in areas like processing, maintenance, and community engagement. More than 100 people participated in the event, nearly a third from San Juan. One of those San Juaninos was Santiago Azcona.“The hackathon was a great thing for us,” Azcona says. “It gave us a chance to solve real problems at Veladero, which is here in San Juan, which is where we live.”Azcona, an accountant and data analyst, was part of a five-person team at the hackathon that dubbed itself Federal Group. The team, which included three San Juaninos, the Spanish term for someone born in the province, designed a solution that uses 3D-visualisation technology and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to improve gold recovery rates in the mine processing area at Veladero. “They had a great idea,” Wall says. “Something that no one had really thought of, which is why they won first prize at the hackathon.”One of the judges at the event was Ciro Echesortu, Regional Director of Acceleration Programs for NXTP Labs in Argentina. NXTP is a tech incubation and investment company with operations across Latin America. In early December, NXTP hosted a week-long accelerator program in Buenos Aires for the top four teams from the hackathon. The program included marketing workshops, training in investor pitches, and mentoring opportunities with start-ups in NXTP’s portfolio as well as established businesses like Globant, a software development company with operations around the world.“The challenge after the hackathon ended,” Echesortu says, “was how do you get a hackathon team that came together for a weekend to consolidate its prototype into a viable project that not only helps Barrick with its innovation efforts, but can also evolve into a sustainable and high-impact business.”Barrick’s partnership with NXTP forms part of the answer, and it’s also a key part of the Company’s effort to help build an innovation ecosystem in San Juan that nurtures and expands technology and entrepreneurial knowhow in the province. “Together with NXTP, we have co-created a distinctive program that underscores our commitment to building strong and lasting partnerships,” says Tyler Godoff, Manager of Innovation Partnerships at Barrick. “At Barrick’s core, is the belief that partnerships should be defined by trust, transparency and excellence. Our engagement with NXTP Labs exemplifies this belief.”While the four teams received invaluable training during the weeklong accelerator program, they were also competing for a chance to attend NXTP’s more intensive, four-month accelerator program. Modeled on the iconic Y Combinator program in Silicon Valley, the four-month program provides in-depth training in marketing, sales, finance, accounting, and product development. Only one team could enter the program and that team was Federal Group.“Federal Group developed an innovative solution that, if successfully developed, is scalable and could generate significant cost savings for companies that adopt it,” Echesortu says. The team members complement each other well, he adds, bringing a mix of technology and business backgrounds. Furthermore, some members already have experience running a business that services the mining industry, which will shorten the learning curve. And finally, Echesortu says, NXTP was impressed with the team’s drive and ambition. “They are 100% committed to their project,” he says. “And they want to go global and use San Juan as their base of operations.”In addition to their work with Federal Group, Azcona, along with team members Alejandro Madcur and Joaquin Sousa, operate a company that uses UAV technology to provide survey data to the mining and construction sectors. They started the business, called DAMS, in 2014 but retained their day jobs while working nights and weekends to grow the business. Azcona worked at an accounting firm and Madcur and Sousa, both civil engineers, worked for construction companies.Buoyed by their recent success and the experience at the NXTP accelerator program, the trio recently left their day jobs to devote all their efforts to growing DAMS and Federal Group. They continue to work closely with Federal Group team members Omar Mrad, a software developer and Michaela Amatti, a geologist. In fact, they plan to merge DAMS and Federal Group and add more people.“The week-long program was great for us because we got to meet people from other companies with similar backgrounds and learn how they managed to succeed,” Azcona says.While Federal Group readies for the four-month accelerator program, which begins in May, the team continues to work closely with Wall. They visited Barrick’s iROC (integrated remote operating center) In Albardon, San Juan, which serves as an innovation hub for Barrick in Argentina. They’ve also refined their prototype and developed new ideas, including a second solution for monitoring gold recoveries at Veladero that could hold as much promise as their initial prototype.“They’ve thrown some interesting technology and ideas at us,” Wall says. “I just had them in here last week, and they’re going to come back in a couple of weeks and pitch a revised concept to the head of processing and the head of operations at Veladero.”This year, Barrick is sponsoring a hackathon in Las Vegas in partnership with Cisco, Unearthed Solutions, and Switch, an information technology services provider whose Las Vegas data center is one of the largest in the world. The event takes place March 9-11. Barrick is partnering with Silicon Foundry, a corporate innovation services provider, to help market the event and to provide the winners with the resources to scale their solution.The company took a similar approach in Argentina and hopes the partnership with Silicon Foundry marks the start of a new innovation hub in southern Nevada. Barrick is also working to integrate its own front-line operators into the company’s innovation process. For the Las Vegas event, the company’s innovation team encouraged and incentivised employees to submit challenges by holding a company-wide challenge contest. A panel of Barrick leaders selected a submission that will be used at the hackathon. The winners, a team of three from Elko, Nevada, received an all-expense paid trip to attend the hackathon and will serve as mentors at the event. The contest generated more than 130 entries, and entries were received from every Barrick mine.“We were thrilled to receive so many entries,” says Nicolas Westgate, Innovation Analyst at Barrick and one of the contest organisers. “Our people understand our problems best and know what’s on their wish list. Their ideas were great and, while we could only pick one for the Las Vegas hackathon, those ideas will be catalogued, shared and discussed around the company.”