Weighing the benefits

first_imgAn analysis of data from the Framingham Offspring Study — a long-term study that follows children of participants in the original Framingham Heart Study — may have answered a question that has troubled individuals considering stopping smoking: Do the health effects of any weight gained after quitting outweigh the known cardiovascular benefits of smoking cessation? The report in the March 13 issue of JAMA concludes that the benefits of stopping smoking far exceed the risks from any associated weight gain.“Among people without diabetes, those who stopped smoking had a 50 percent reduction in the risk for heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death, and accounting for any weight increase didn’t change that risk reduction,” said Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Medicine James Meigs of the General Medicine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).“In patients with diabetes — among whom weight gain is a particular concern — we saw the same pattern of a large risk reduction regardless of weight gained,” noted Meigs, the senior author of the JAMA report.No study has previously investigated whether weight gain associated with smoking cessation increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. One did look at the effects on risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid levels, but none have analyzed the actual occurrence of cardiovascular events. Participants in the Framingham Offspring Study, which began in 1971, undergo a comprehensive medical exam and history every four to six years. The current investigation analyzed data from participant visits conducted from the mid-1980s into the mid-2000s, which covered the third to eighth visits for the overall study. The number of participants at each exam cycle ranged from almost 2,400 to about 3,250, for a total of 11,148 individual person-exams.Based on information gathered at each exam, participants were categorized as never smokers, current smokers, recent quitters — people who had stopped smoking since their last exam — and long-term quitters. At the third study visit, 31 percent of participants were current smokers, and by the eighth visit only 13 percent continued to smoke. A general trend toward weight gain was seen across all study participants. Smokers, never smokers, and long-term quitters gained an average of 1 to 2 pounds between study visits, while recent quitters gained an average of 5 to 10 pounds. But no matter how much weight they gained, the risk of cardiovascular events in the six years after quitting dropped in half for participants without diabetes. (A similar drop in the incidence of cardiovascular events was seen in participants with diabetes but did not reach statistical significance, probably because less than 15 percent of the overall group was known to have diabetes.)“We now can say without question that stopping smoking has a very positive effect on cardiovascular risk for patients with and without diabetes, even if they experience the moderate weight gain seen in this study, which matches post-cessation weight increase reported in other studies,” said Meigs.last_img read more

Emanuel Ax guides listeners from Beethoven to Brahms

first_imgImitation, they say, is the highest form of flattery. Had he been alive, Ludwig van Beethoven would have surely felt the love from 19th-century composer Johannes Brahms, who mimicked his German predecessor’s flair and ingenuity with the concerto.“You can’t have a conversation about Brahms without talking about Beethoven,” said Suzannah Clark, chair of the Harvard Music Department, during a discussion at Radcliffe on Monday focused on Brahms’ monumental Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat. Throughout the 2018 Rita E. Hauser Forum for the Arts, Clark had an expert guide in pianist Emanuel Ax, who punctuated the discussion by playing selections by both classical giants.A concerto typically consists of three movements for a solo instrument and an accompanying orchestra, explained Clark. In the first movement, the orchestra introduces the themes of the piece, later echoed by the soloist. Mozart was the first to disrupt the order, said Ax, But Beethoven, in his Piano Concerto No. 4, upended tradition, putting the soloist firmly at the center of the opening.Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Brahms, and others followed suit. “What happens after Beethoven is that because of this kind of breaking of the concerto procedure, it becomes a free-for-all,” said Ax.Paul Buttenwieser ’60, M.D. ’64, former president of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and a Harvard Overseer from 2001 to 2007, moderated the discussion with Clark, Marc Mandel, director of program publications for the BSO, and Ax, who admitted to feeling stressed, yet seemed just the opposite onstage.“As nervous as I am about playing the B-flat this week in Boston, I am much more nervous now,” said the pianist. “Certain pieces you shouldn’t neglect — this is one of them. If I don’t play it for a year, I am never going to be able to do it again.” — Emanuel Ax, discussing Brahms B-flat The timing of the Radcliffe talk coincided with Ax’s appearance in an all-Brahms program concluding the BSO’s regular season. The B-flat concerto, which opened the BSO program, requires regular engagement, noted the Grammy-winning pianist.“Certain pieces you shouldn’t neglect — this is one of them,” said Ax. “If I don’t play it for a year, I am never going to be able to do it again. And of course age has something to do with it. I think I am pretty well near the end of the Brahms B-flat.”Born in Poland, Ax moved with his family to Canada as a boy. He studied at the famed Juilliard School in New York, but the concert hall provided his greatest musical lessons, he told the Harvard crowd. From Sviatoslav Richter to Vladimir Horowitz, he “got to hear pretty much every great pianist of the generation that preceded ours … haunting Carnegie Hall was the way to learn about piano playing.”“It’s the amalgam of influences that makes you who you are,” he added. “You take them all in somehow, and that forms you.”Knowing that Ax would be in town made the thought of bringing him to Harvard “irresistible,” said Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities and director of the Mahindra Humanities Center, before the event. “We underestimate how important the arts and humanities are in defining what we do as citizens and who we are as citizens,” he added.,The Rita E. Hauser Forum for the Arts is an annual lecture conceived to address arts across the globe. Sponsored by the Mahindra Humanities Center, the series, inaugurated in 2012, has brought a range of artists and experts to campus to engage with the Harvard community, including actor Anna Deavere Smith, writer David Grossman, and filmmaker Mira Nair.“The academic and intellectual breadth that the Hausers inspire is in keeping with the Mahindra Humanities Center’s mission to be a curricular crossroads that insists on the significance of interdisciplinary conversations in grasping the crucial role of intercultural and cross-cultural creativity,” said Bhabha in his opening remarks.Mandel told the audience that Brahms, himself an extraordinary pianist, wrote the demanding B-flat concerto so that he could premiere and play it himself, which he did to rave reviews in 1881. The difficult cadenza in the first movement, a section for piano alone that tradition would have placed later in the piece, was both a testament to Brahms’ skill at the keyboard as well as a signal to the audience that “something big is in store for us.”,Ax called the difficult section “sadistic.”“It’s an outrageous cadenza. To make anybody play this at the beginning of a concerto is really cruel and unusual punishment,” said Ax.In addition to giving the soloists the lead, Brahms borrowed again from Beethoven for the dramatic transition from second to third movement, said Ax. He also added a fourth movement, starting it in an entirely different key — a move Ax considers another Beethoven “steal.” Brahms also ensured the entire work was impossibly hard to play.“Everything’s hard,” said Ax. “I don’t know why he wrote it that way.”It was so hard, in fact, that even Brahms didn’t always get it right, noted Clark. Yet the mistakes barely seemed to register with the composer or his audience. One critic, who heard Brahms play the piece in Hamburg, wrote that “the wrong notes did not really matter. They did not disturb his hearers any more than himself. He took it for granted that the public knew he had written the right notes and did not worry himself over little trifles as hitting the wrong ones.”Music to the ears of Ax, who called the judgment “one of the most comforting reviews.”last_img read more

Big Brother Bromance! Frankie J. Grande Swoons Over Zach Rance at 54 Below

first_imgRock of Ages alum Frankie J. Grande and his Big Brother buddy Zach Rance couldn’t keep their hands off each other during season 16 of the hit CBS series. So of course, Rance was front and center at Frankie J. Grande’s solo show Livin’ La Vida Grande at 54 Below on January 20—and he couldn’t resist ripping his shirt off and joining Grande on stage. Grande’s former Rock co-star, American Idol favorite Constantine Maroulis, was also on hand to cheer him on. Check out these Hot Shots of Frankie’s big night! View Commentslast_img read more

Pork, Beef Prices

first_imgShifting meat prices may give consumers a bargain on pork this year while beef prices rise slightly, said a University of Georgia economist. “Increasing pork supplies and decreasing beef supplies will affect both meats at the supermarket,” said John McKissick, an extension agricultural economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Through 1998, we’ll probably see a slight drop, about 3 percent, in retail pork prices and about a 2 percent rise in retail beef prices,” he said. Though shoppers may find bargains in the meat case, McKissick said the price changes probably won’t appear at restaurants. “When you pay for service, too, you probably won’t see a change in menu prices, even at fast-food restaurants,” he said. “It takes a really substantial change to see price differences at restaurants.” Meat prices are cyclical, McKissick said. Pork prices fluctuate over a four-year cycle, beef over eight to 10 years. Whatever the meat, the cycle is the same. Supply increases, so prices to farmers drop. As prices drop, farmers sell more animals, further decreasing the price. Finally, the price drops below the cost to raise the animal, and producers stop selling and begin increasing the number of animals they raise. At that point, the supply decreases, and prices begin to rise again. “During the cycle, prices to farmers and the retail price of meat are roughly in concert,” he said. “When prices are low to farmers, the price at the grocery store drops, too, because of the increased supply.” Because of high hog prices in 1996 and 1997 and lower feed prices in 1997, McKissick expects farmers to produce at least 8 percent more pork this year. That increased supply will make retail prices drop. “Even efficient producers will have a hard time making money in 1998,” he said, “and that’s if feed prices remain at the current levels.” For beef producers, the situation is almost the reverse. Decreasing supplies will boost prices to farmers and at the grocery store. “I expect 1998 will be an improved year over 1997 for beef producers,” McKissick said. “Again, lower feed grain costs and a change in supply have made the difference. But for beef farmers, it’s a good change.” For both meats, McKissick said shoppers will notice the most change in more expensive muscle cuts — steaks and roasts. “Ground products will probably not reflect as much change,” he said. Price changes will affect competition at the meat counter, too. “If the price of pork and poultry are down, shoppers may choose those instead of pricier beef,” McKissick said. “The market has its way of putting a lid on increasing prices. “When consumers aren’t buying beef at increased prices,” he said, “the market will balance it out, and prices will drop back to where people are willing to buy the product.”last_img read more

Gardener’s palette

first_imgMany Georgians, she said, don’t realize they live in a state with a long growing season.“Depending where you live, it starts at the end of March or early April,” she said. “We can enjoy these plants until the first frost, which may be way into December. These plants have great potential for use both in the ground and in containers.”Container gardening is growing in popularity, Randolph said. She will be teaching conference attendees how to contain the unusual as she discusses foliage and flower combinations.“With shortened time and shortened schedules, container gardening is a real quick, easy way for people to get their gardening in,” she said.Randolph runs a greenhouse operation with her husband Hamp McCall. She said the most common question they get in regard to flowers is “does it come back?”“Perennials have a huge growth potential in container gardening,” she said, “especially when it looks good all year round.”And when it comes to mixing plants in containers, “I always think of some kind of texture,” she said.Burns will show gardeners how to brighten their landscapes with annuals. He emphasized using these plants creatively.“We’ll look at the top 10 annuals, the ones that are tried and true,” he said. “What I want them to do is to use the plants that perform best, especially in drought and heat. These flowers are easier to grow, and I want to teach them to use them creatively.”For more information, go to www.ggia.org/gdnpal.htm or call the Georgia Green Industry Association at (706) 632-0100 or (888) 438-4442 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Registration is $25 before and $35 after Jan. 14.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) By Stephanie SchupskaUniversity ofGeorgiaColor often goes missing in January. Trees are bare, the grass is brown and most annuals are housed somewhere warmer. But that doesn’t stop floriculture experts from talking about the beauty of tropical plants, container gardens and annuals.On Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006, the Georgia Green Industry Association will present “A Gardener’s Palette: Saturday with the Pros” in Athens. The conference will feature University of Georgia Cooperative Extension floriculture specialist Bodie Pennisi, garden writer and nursery owner Rita Randolph, and Color Burst owner and landscape artist Joe Burns.Geared toward homeowners, registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends with an opportunity to browse booths from noon to 1 p.m.Pennisi, from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences campus in Griffin, Ga., will speak on tropicals for landscape accents. She says that over the past two years the Research and Education Garden in Griffin has been “wonderful, just taking your breath away. The plants are so beautiful. Those tropical plants, they look good from the moment you put them in the ground until the end.”Tropical plants are typically annuals, although in warmer parts of Georgia, some may be perennials. “There is an untapped potential for this material that we thought of previously only as houseplants,” she said of tropicals.last_img read more

When Will We Know Election Results

first_imgMichiganMr. Biden took a slim lead in the state early Wednesday, and some of the state’s major population centers had large numbers of ballots yet to be counted as of midday. And these could easily tip the state to Mr. Biden, as Democrats have said they expect.Polls taken before the election had shown the former vice president considerably ahead, outside the margin of error. Senator Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat, said, “I’m confident Joe Biden will carry the state because of the margins we’ll get in those counties.”Though Mr. Trump had a roughly 470,000-vote advantage in Pennsylvania, Democrats in the state were confident that they could make up the margins with votes from Philadelphia and the “collar counties” surrounding it still to be counted.The delays in results in Pennsylvania, however, might extend beyond the simple challenge of counting the outstanding ballots. Republicans filed multiple lawsuits in the state on Tuesday, including one regarding provisional ballots for voters who had their absentee ballots rejected.Early Wednesday, national Democrats filed a motion intervening in Montgomery County. Hearings were scheduled in both state and federal court on Republican lawsuits, and lawyers on both sides were anticipating further litigation in Pennsylvania. PennsylvaniaPerhaps no state is staring down a longer counting period than Pennsylvania. As of midday Wednesday, 5.7 million votes had been counted in Pennsylvania, which represented roughly 80 percent of the estimated vote total in the state.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – In all three states, the numbers did not include votes from some of the largest and most heavily Democratic areas. The so-called blue wall states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — were long expected to play a pivotal role in the 2020 election, and that is indeed coming to pass.By midday on Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr. held narrow leads in Michigan and Wisconsin. In Pennsylvania, President Trump had a slight edge, but a larger share of the vote remained uncounted.- Advertisement – Here is a look at where things stand as the counting continues and each state remains too close to call. WisconsinEarly returns had been inconclusive on Tuesday evening, with the key population center of Milwaukee yet to report vote tallies. But early Wednesday, a large vote count from that city was announced, and Mr. Biden edged ahead of Mr. Trump based on roughly 97 percent of estimated votes statewide.center_img An earlier edge for Mr. Trump reflected his advantage in the Election Day vote — not the early vote, which was a larger share of the overall ballots cast in the state and favored Mr. Biden.In Detroit, the city clerk had counted only about half of what was expected. The clerk’s office reported having 125,000 votes tallied just after 2 a.m.For comparison purposes, Detroiters cast 248,000 ballots in 2016, when turnout was low. This year, election officials have said they expect turnout to easily surpass that, potentially exceeding 2008 and 2012, when President Barack Obama was on the ballot.Mr. Biden is expected to easily get 90 percent of the vote in Detroit.In Michigan’s bellwether Macomb County, which voted twice for Mr. Obama and then for Mr. Trump in 2016, the president was ahead because of a large advantage with voters who went to the polls on Tuesday. But only around half of the precincts had fully counted their early and Election Day ballots, leaving Mr. Biden considerable opportunity to close that gap.And in Oakland County, the state’s second-largest, what began as a significant lead for Mr. Trump on Tuesday evening vanished into an advantage for Mr. Biden by Wednesday as more and more precincts reported their early votes.Democrats have won Oakland County in every recent presidential election. Hillary Clinton carried it by eight points in 2016, and Mr. Biden appeared on track to surpass that margin of victory. Updated Nov. 4, 2020, 1:23 p.m. ET Senator Tammy Baldwin, the Democrat who won in 2018 by energizing her party’s constituencies while limiting losses in the suburbs and rural regions, said in an interview on Election Day that she believed Mr. Biden would be successful.“They figured out a way to be here virtually, even if they weren’t here in person,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot of lessons about how we conducted 2016, from the party all the way on down.” The state legislature refused to allow election officials to begin processing absentee ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day, and officials across the state were laboring through the tedious process of counting ballots.In Philadelphia, only 76,000 absentee ballots out of more than 350,000 were processed in the first 14 hours that officials were allowed to count ballots. Though Philadelphia election officials were working around the clock on the absentee ballots, the pace indicated that the count could last into Thursday.Other major counties, like Chester, Montgomery and Delaware, suburban counties outside of Philadelphia and a growing source of strength for Democrats, also had not reported the majority of their mail-in ballots. Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh and another Democratic base of support, still had a large share of ballots to count. There are several reasons Democrats remain confident in Wisconsin. The state saw increased turnout in Madison, reaching more than 80 percent, according to election officials. In Milwaukee, another of the state’s liberal strongholds, turnout seemed better than four years ago but below the expectations of the state’s left wing.Mr. Biden built a political campaign focused on Midwestern voters, aimed at clawing back many of the ideological moderates who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. For all the talk about winning states like Florida, Iowa or Texas, Democrats in Wisconsin say the campaign will be decided as it began — with Mr. Biden betting his political future on the region of the country that he is most associated with. – Advertisement –last_img read more

IFly will soon introduce flights from Sochi to Zagreb

first_imgCroatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are becoming increasingly popular among Russian tourists. Last year, over 135 Russian tourists visited Croatia, ie more than 932 overnight stays were recorded, and this year an increase of about 20 percent is expected. These data indicate that Russia is a significant emitting market for Croatia. “The daily consumption of Russian tourists is 50 percent higher than the average. It is important for us to continue good tourism cooperation and strengthen our visibility in this market”, Said Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, for Dnevnik.hr. “Russian tourists spend the most nights in Croatia in Istria, Split-Dalmatia County and Kvarner. In addition to the growth of tourist traffic, our goal is to approach and position the Croatian continental offer in this large and potent market.”, Concluded Kristjan Staničić, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board. The Zagreb-Sochi airline should increase the already quite good numbers of visits and overnight stays of Russian tourists in Croatia. Especially because this line would connect the southwestern region of Russia, whose residents certainly want to experience the charms of new destinations. Serbia was visited by approximately 50 Russian tourists, and Bosnia and Herzegovina by 6. The Serbian government recently approved funds to subsidize tour operators who bring Russian tourists to the country. A total of twenty euros per guest is intended, or thirty euros for stays longer than five nights. Last week, the Russian company iFly Airlines received a permit from the airline of the Russian Federation for flights from Sochi to Zagreb, Belgrade and Sarajevo, the B92.net portal reveals. iFly Airlines is a private charter airline that operates flights for several travel agencies. It was founded in 2009 and is co-owned by Alexander Burtin, also the director of the travel company Tez Tour. The company carried 2018 million passengers in 1,1, and their fleet consists of nine Airbus aircraft.center_img Zagreb, Belgrade and Sarajevo do not have direct flights to Sochi, but Aeroflot offers flights between Moscow and Zagreb. The airline has applied for a four-week flight from an Olympic resort and summer resort to the capitals of Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although the Russian Federation has approved the flights, the company must now obtain permission from the relevant regulatory authorities of the three countries. Source / photo: B92.net; Dnevnik.hr; Facebook: iflyltdlast_img read more

Requests for residence and work of foreigners are now possible electronically

first_imgFrom April 15, 2019, employers will be able to submit applications for residence and work permits from the quota and by e-mail to specially formed e-mail addresses of all police administrations. Attachment: All about applications for residence and work permits for foreigners in the Republic of Croatia ZAGREB CATERERS ASSOCIATION: THE PROCESS FOR EMPLOYING FOREIGN WORKERS TAKES ABSURDLY TOO LONG According to the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia, taking into account the needs of the labor market in the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of the Interior has been undertaking various activities in the last year to speed up the process of issuing residence and work permits. In order to relieve employers, but also to reduce congestion in the premises of police administrations or stations, from 15 April 2019 it is possible to submit applications for residence and work permits from the quota and by e-mail to specially formed e-mail addresses of all police administrations and individual police stations identified on the basis of an increased number of applications for residence and work permits. You can still apply for residence and work permits in person at all police administrations or police stations. center_img INCREASED NUMBER OF PERMITS FOR EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGNERS IN TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY RELATED NEWS: More detailed information on e-mail addresses to which you can apply for residence and work permits, as well as all other documentation, forms, etc.… can be found in the attachment. Otherwise, the tourism and hospitality sector accordingly decisions on determining the annual quota of permits for employment of foreigners for the calendar year 2019, has a total of 10.611 permits. last_img read more

Price of land doubled over decade and it’s expected to get worse fast

If you waited a decade to buy land in SEQ, you will have found prices have doubled.THE price of land in this part of South East Queensland has doubled in the past decade with experts warning the situation is expected to get worse amid limited new supply coming on-stream.Latest data from property research firm Oliver Hume found the price per square metre for vacant land sales, on the Gold Coast corridor especially, went from $312 per square metre in 2007 to $620 in 2017.It found that land sales prices had increased for four consecutive years, while lot sizes had been decreasing two years in a row.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home4 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor4 hours ago“Over the last 10 years, from March 2007 to March 2017, median prices have grown 22 per cent, however average lot size has decreased 38.5 per cent during this period while price paid per sqm has increased from $312/sqm in 2007 to $620/sqm in 2017,” the research found. “The average price per square metre ($/sqm) has increased at a significantly higher rate of 98.7 per cent over the last 10 years.” The corridor between the Gold Coast and Brisbane has seen rapid growth in demand including Coomera.Oliver Hume Queensland managing director Brinton Keath said “prices have and will continue to rise while there is such a shortage of new land coming on to the market”.He said the surge was driven by the search for affordability in master planned communities that were still close to services and facilities.“Several unique factors are combining to spark strong activity in the southeast Queensland residential land market, particularly in the Gold Coast region,” he said. “Demand from offshore buyers, strong population growth, and a strong construction sector all contribute to the demand for new house and land.“These factors combined with a lack of land stock are generating strong buyer activity from both ‘warm’ and ‘hot’ buyers who have identified infrastructure activity as a hallmark of growth, and are rushing to capitalise on the potential growth.” read more

CWind Resolution Arrives in Taiwan

first_imgThe crew transfer vessel (CTV) CWind Resolution has arrived in Taiwan where she will join CWind Taiwan’s fleet.Source: CWind TaiwanCWind Resolution was transported from Europe to Taiwan via Evergreen’s mega containership Ever Glory.The CTV is expected to start serving the Taiwanese market early next month, following the re-flagging process, CWind Taiwan said.CWind Taiwan is a joint venture between the UK-based CWind and Taiwan’s International Ocean Vessel Technical Consultant (IOVTEC).The company was established to provide offshore wind farm training and best practice, as well as support services to Taiwanese offshore wind farm developers and owners.Most recently, CWind Taiwan won two CTV charters for the Formosa 1 offshore wind farm in Taiwan.last_img read more