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RAAF to acquire eight new aircraft

2019年5月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Australia is to acquire eight new Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, able to watch over a vast area of ocean and if necessary attack enemy ships and submarines.


But Prime Minister Tony Abbott doubts they will have a role in stopping the flow of asylum seeker boats.

“We expect the first one to be in operational service by 2017 and I think the boats will be stopped by then,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Under the $4 billion deal, the RAAF will replace its 19 elderly Lockheed AP-3C Orion aircraft with the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, a design based on the widely used Boeing 737-800 airliner. There’s an option for four more.

Poseidons are now entering service with the US and Indian navies.

They can be equipped with Harpoon missiles to attack ships and torpedoes and depth charges to attack submarines. They can also conduct search and rescue missions. Onboard systems will give Poseidon a very advanced electronic surveillance and intelligence-gathering capability.

After inspecting a US Navy Poseidon at Canberra airport, Mr Abbott acknowledged these were a long time coming.

In 2007, the former coalition government gave initial approval to acquire Poseidon. Australia subsequently contributed $150 million to join the P-8A development program, later adding a further $100 million.

In Australian service, the new Poseidons will eventually operate in conjunction with proposed Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft in a $7 billion upgrade to maritime surveillance capabilities.

As a new aircraft, the Poseidon has experienced problems, with the Pentagon last month deeming US Navy Poseidons ineffective at their primary jobs of reconnaissance and submarine hunting because of problems with the radar and other systems.

However, Mr Abbott said he understood these difficulties had been resolved and the aircraft would be further upgraded.

He said these advanced aircraft were needed because Australia’s economic zone comprised four per cent of the world’s oceans and the search and rescue zone 11 per cent.

“It’s an enormous part of the Earth that we are required to supervise and if necessary control and these aircraft are going to be a very important part of our capacity to do that in the decades to come,” he said.

Defence Minister David Johnston said this was a cutting edge capability which would replace Orions which had been in RAAF service since the late 1960s.

“This a phenomenal strategic capability for Australia,” he said.

RAAF chief Air Marshal Geoff Brown said this was the world’s most advanced maritime surveillance aircraft and a worthy successor to the Orions.

“The P-8 gives us an unprecedented capability to find, fix and track both surface ships and submarines,” he said.

Heart attack stem cell trial starts

2019年5月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Doctors at a London hospital have started treating heart attack patients with their own stem cells in the largest trial of its kind ever undertaken.


The patients at the London Chest Hospital are among the first of 3000 participants in a Europe-wide study looking at the life-prolonging potential of stem cell therapy.

All will be treated within five days of suffering a heart attack. Stem cells taken from bone marrow will be injected into their hearts in the hope of increasing survival rates by a quarter.

The European Commission has contributed STG4.8 million ($A8.91 million) to the BAMI trial taking place in 10 European countries.

It follows the “Regenerate” series of three smaller charity-funded studies led by Barts Health NHS Trust consultant cardiologist Professor Anthony Mathur.

“The BAMI study is the biggest and most comprehensive trial of its kind in the world and follows the successful Regenerate trials,” said chief trial co-ordinator Prof Mathur.

“It has taken two years to get to the point where we are ready to accept patients, but we have now reached that stage and we are all very excited.

“Our studies will tell us if adult stem cells from bone marrow can repair damaged hearts and, if so, how these cells should be administered to patients.”

Co-researcher Professor John Martin, from University College London, said: “This trial brings together a powerful partnership of European doctors and scientists to solve a fundamental problem of importance to all people. It will give an answer about whether adult multi-potential stem cells in their natural environment can treat human disease.”

Stem cells are immature “mother” cells capable of developing into different tissue types.

Bone marrow contains two kinds of adult stem cells that can differentiate into a range of cell types including heart muscle cells and blood cells.

Today’s birthday, February 25

2019年5月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

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Today’s Birthday February 25: Beatle George Harrison (1943-2001).

Known as the quiet Beatle, George Harrison spent his life avoiding the media glare.

Born on February 25, 1943 into a close-knit working-class family in Liverpool, Harrison took up the guitar as a teenager and in 1958 joined a local band called The Quarrymen with school friend Paul McCartney.

Despite the reservations of group founder John Lennon, the young Harrison became a fully fledged member of the group.

By 1961, and after a number of name changes, The Quarrymen had become The Beatles, with Harrison on lead guitar.

He went to write the hit Beatles songs Something, Taxman, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes the Sun.

In 1968, Harrison’s fascination with sitar music led to Wonderwall Music, the first solo album by a Beatles member.

Following the release of Abbey Road in the autumn of 1969, Harrison performed in Europe.

In 1970, the year The Beatles disbanded, Harrison released All Things Must Pass, which featured appearances by Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Ringo Starr. The triple album became a No 1 hit.

The following year Harrison took a break from recording his own work, contributing to John Lennon’s Imagine.

Two years later he was back on the circuit, releasing Living In The Material World and the No 1 hit Give Me Love.

Harrison’s Gone Troppo in 1982 was a commercial failure and the star took time out before returning to the music scene in 1987 with Cloud Nine, which did well internationally.

Harrison was also a film producer, co-founding HandMade Films to finance the Monty Python project Life Of Brian.

In 1988 he formed the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, although all performed under pseudonyms.

In 1999, Harrison was stabbed multiple times at his home near Henley-on-Thames by a mentally unstable intruder.

Harrison began work on a new album in 2000 but died from lung cancer a year later, aged 58.

He is survived by his second wife, Olivia Arias Harrison, and his son Dhani.

Gene defects are cancer markers

2019年5月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

A collection of 13 gene defects can be used to identify men most at risk from life-threatening prostate cancer, scientists have shown.


The discovery raises the prospect of screening men for the first time to single out those predisposed to developing aggressive and potentially deadly tumours.

Scientists tested blood samples from 191 British men with prostate cancer who had at least three relatives affected by the disease.

Fourteen carried “loss of function” mutations in their DNA that completely stopped a gene working. Having any one of these flaws dramatically boosted the chances of developing invasive, spreading prostate cancer.

In future, men could be tested for the variants in the same way that women are currently screened for breast cancer genes, the researchers believe. This would herald a revolution in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Professor Ros Eeles, from London’s Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our study shows the potential benefit of putting prostate cancer on a par with cancers such as breast cancer when it comes to genetic testing.

“Although ours was a small, first-stage study, we proved that testing for known cancer mutations can pick out men who are destined to have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer.

“We already have the technical capabilities to assess men for multiple mutations at once, so all that remains is for us to do further work to prove that picking up dangerous mutations early can save lives.

“If so, then in the future genetic testing may be needed as part of the prostate cancer care pathway.”

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer are routinely tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene defects, both of which greatly increase their chances of developing the disease.

But the picture is much more complicated for prostate cancer, which seems to be linked to a multiplicity of different genetic mutations.

Currently there is no way of screening men who might be at risk from ferocious “tiger” prostate cancers that could cut short their lives.

Many diagnosed prostate cancers, known as “pussycats”, are slow-growing and can safely be left untreated while their progress is monitored.

An effective screening test would make it possible to step in early and treat men with developing dangerous cancers before they progress too far.

Despite big advances in treatment in the last 10 – 20 years, around 11,000 of the 40,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK die from the disease.

The ICR scientists used cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology to assess 22 known cancer genes at the same time.

Each of the 14 carriers had a mutation affecting one of eight DNA repair genes – genes whose job is to fix damage to DNA that can lead to cancer.

Two men had the same mutation in the BRIP1 gene. The others all had different variants, some of which shared the same genes. All were serious enough to shut a gene down and prevent it producing a working protein.

Among the affected genes were BRCA1 and BRCA2, variant forms of which are implicated in both breast and ovarian cancer. Four of the mutations were identified in the BRCA2 gene.

The other genes were ATM, CHEK2, BRIP1, MUTYH, PALB2 and PMS2.

Among the study participants, men with one of the mutations were found to be 13 times more at risk of having high-grade T4 tumours or cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes or travelled beyond the prostate gland to other organs.

Both carriers of the mutations and non-carriers were typically diagnosed at around the age of 59. No significant association was seen with levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen), the most widely used blood marker for prostate cancer.

Nor was a high Gleason score more common in men with the gene variants. The Gleason score is an aggressiveness rating obtained by examining biopsy tumour samples.

The findings are reported in the latest edition of the British Journal of Cancer.

Co-author Dr Zsofia Kote-Jarai, from the Institute of Cancer Research, said: “One of the important messages to come out of our study is that mutations to at least eight genes – and probably many more – greatly increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

“Any future screening program would need to assess as many of these genes as possible – more than we currently look for in women at risk of breast cancer, for example.”

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at the charity Prostate Cancer UK, which partly-funded the study, said: “The minefield of prostate cancer diagnosis is one of the biggest hurdles facing treatment of the disease today.

“Current tests fail to differentiate between aggressive cancers that could go on to kill and cancers that may never cause any harm. This lack of clarity means that too often men and their doctors are left having to make incredibly difficult decisions on whether to treat the disease or not.

“We urgently need to understand more about which men are at risk of developing prostate cancer and in particular aggressive forms of the disease.

“Genetic testing to predict risk could revolutionise how we treat the 40,000 men diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.

“These results are exciting as they add to the growing weight of evidence that men with a family history of prostate cancer who possess certain genes may be at higher risk, providing us with another crucial piece of the jigsaw.”

Ireland boss Schmidt set for England

2019年5月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt insists nothing in his extensive career will have prepared him for the task of trying to guide his adopted country to a Triple Crown away to England in the Six Nations on Saturday.


The New Zealander is in charge of an Irish side currently eyeing a Six Nations Grand Slam after crushing Dublin drubbings of both Scotland (28-6) and defending champions Wales (26-3).

But Ireland will arrive at ‘fortress’ Twickenham looking for their first win over England in four attempts and with the hosts themselves buoyed by a 20-0 thrashing of Scotland at Murrayfield last time out.

At stake for the Irish is the Triple Crown, the prize one of the four Home Nations – England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales – gets for beating all the others in a single Six Nations season.

Twice a European Cup winner when in charge of Irish province Leinster, Schmidt was under no illusions about the difficulty of trying to steer Ireland to their first victory at Twickenham since 2010.

“There have been some challenges that would stand out in my mind but none as tough as this,” said Schmidt.

The coach has been able to name an unchanged side from the team that overpowered Wales thanks to the work of such uncompromising forwards as Ireland captain Paul O’Connell and blindside flanker Peter O’Mahony.

But England, whose pack includes captain Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola and Courtney Lawes, are no slouches up front either.

“In physicality, fitness and mental stakes the step up is huge,” O’Connell said.

Behind the scrum, Ireland boast several more Lions, including halves Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton.

But, as has so often been the case, there will be plenty of attention on Brian O’Driscoll.

The Ireland centre, fit following a stomach bug, will equal former Australia halfback George Gregan’s world record of 139 caps on Saturday in what will be his final international at Twickenham before he retires at the end of the season.

England coach Stuart Lancaster was equally well aware of O’Driscoll’s class but warned against concentrating too much attention on the midfield maestro.

“He’s a key cog in the team, but there are other key cogs, the halfbacks are excellent, Paul O’Connell in the second row, (Jamie) Heaslip at No.8, the list goes on of experienced players who make that team tick.”

Lancaster has been forced into making a change, with the fit-again David Wilson replacing Dan Cole after his fellow tighthead prop suffered a season-ending neck injury.