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Cialis blog controversy is major war of words

Friday, February 3, 2006

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company is currently engaged in a war of words with John Mack, editor of the monthly newsletter Pharma Marketing News. Mack and Eli Lilly are debating the origin of the Cialis Blog, a long-running Web site containing information about the popular anti-impotence medication Cialis. The Web site features information about Cialis’ clinical trials and commentary from Lilly ICOS executives.

Mack has suggested that Eli Lilly and Company sponsors the Cialis Blog. However, Lilly ICOS has asserted that it has nothing to do with the Web site.

Mack disputed Eli Lilly’s version of events calling the Cialis Blog “too far-fetched to be believed” and an example of Lilly’s “incredible incompetence.” Another blog, Envisioning 2.0, notes that the “Cialis blog is not endorsed by the powers that be at Lilly ICOS, according to Lilly spokesperson Kindra Strupp.”

Pharmaceutical Executive first mentioned the Cialis blog in an October 2004 article about pharmaceutical blogging. The author of the story assigned responsibility for the blog to Lilly ICOS without attribution.

Other bloggers have posted comments on Envisioning 2.0 and Mack’s Pharma Marketing Blog suggesting that the Cialis Web site may be unofficial. They cite evidence from a WHOIS search indicating that Mircea Piturca of Romania apparently registered the blog.

Mack and bloggers commenting on the debate have all urged Eli Lilly to take action against the site. They all believe it is in the company’s best interest to have the site shuttered.



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Cargo ship Arctic Sea may be found

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A cargo ship spotted off the African island nation of Cape Verde could be the missing MV Arctic Sea.

The Maltese flagged MV Arctic Sea disappeared off the French coast sometime after July 29. Owned by the Russian Arctic Sea company she was operated by the Finnish Solchart Management company and had a Russian crew.

French intelligence sources have found a ship matching the Arctic Sea’s description about 400 Nautical miles north of São Vicente.

The Arctic Sea was on a scheduled route from the Finnish seaport of Pietarsaari to the Algerian seaport of Béjaïa with a cargo of timber when it was boarded in Swedish waters between the islands Öland and Gotland on the night of July 24. The alleged boarders left the ship the same day according to its crew and the ship continued her voyage although it would have been expected to anchor at the nearest port.

The last official contact with the ship was with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Britain on July 28. Viktor Matveyev, the director of Solchart Management says the ship radioed that it was off the coast of Portugal on July 31. The 98-meter-long ship has so far not reached the Straits of Gibraltar and is now being sought by the Portuguese Navy and Russian Navy.

If proven this could be the first case of piracy in Europe in the modern era. There is speculation as to the reason for the ship’s hijacking, as its cargo of wood, valued at 1.3 million euros, is not especially valuable. Suggestions include possible contraband, and the possibility of a commercial dispute between the crew or some other party and the ship’s owners.



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Chicago Metra considers selling naming rights for train lines, stations

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicago’s Metra is currently considering the possibility of selling the naming rights to its train stations, rail lines, and even bridges to generate more revenue. 

The regional rail system for Chicago and its surrounding suburbs has been experiencing revenue shortfalls, along with other public transportation agencies such as the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace. They all rely on sales taxes and fares to fund their services, but the recent recession has reduced sales tax revenues, and unemployment has caused ridership to fall. Compared to 86.8 million trips in 2008, Metra reported that only 82.3 million trips were provided in 2009. As spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said, “We’re looking at any opportunity to increase non-fare revenue.”

A law approved by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in 2008 granted free rides to all seniors regardless of income, adding to the decreasing fare revenues as well. State lawmakers are trying to restrict the free rides to low-income seniors; Metra has not yet commented on the issue, however. 

New designs put on the agency’s website last September has attracted more traffic, and Metra is considering selling advertising space online. In addition, advertising space could be sold on the outside of train cars as well. As for the naming rights to stations and routes, Metra plans to hire a consultant that would figure out the details of such a proposal. Spokesperson Meg Reihle did not know how much money Metra could gain from the sale or which organizations would be interested in buying. 

According to Ms. Reihle, public transit agencies in other cities have sold naming rights as well, such as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland and Long Island Rail Road in Long Island. TECO Energy sponsors a rail line in Tampa’s Hillsborough Area Regional Transit for US$1 million over ten years. 

Throughout its 26-year history, Metra has named several of its locomotives and renamed two stations: Ogilvie Transportation Center, which was previously named North Western Station, and Millennium Terminal, which was previously called Randolph Street. No transactions were made in renaming those two stations, however. There is also a Station named after the candy maker Mars, but that station was named before Metra took it over, and the company doesn’t pay Metra for any naming rights. 

I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit

Execuive Director Phil Pagano sees the proposal as a way for businesses to advertise themselves. “I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit,” said Mr. Pagano at a board meeting. In addition to businesses, hospitals located near the train stations could purchase naming rights as well. However, Mr. Pagano has also stated that “the agency would be selective about the type of businesses it partners with.”

Metra has said that it will be sensitive to the wishes of the communities near the stops, and town names will not be removed from station names. Rather, both the municipality and the sponsoring organization would share the naming rights, such as in renaming Naperville Station to “Naperville Boeing Station”. “I’m not sure whether [the old name] is first or second, but definitely it’s going to have to be there,” said Mr. Pagano.



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Gambian President Yahya Jammeh concedes electoral defeat

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh yesterday conceded defeat to now-President Elect Adama Barrow.

Jammeh, 51, took power 22 years ago in a bloodless coup. He had claimed a billion-year mandate. Barrow, 51, is a property developer without political experience. According to the electoral commission yesterday, he won 263,515 votes, equating to 45.5%, while Jammeh won 36.7%, 212,099 votes. A third candidate accounted for 17.8%.

Jammeh is the nation’s second president since independence in 1965. In a public broadcast he hailed “the most transparent election in the whole world,” and congratulated Barrow on “a clear victory[…] You Gambians have decided.”

Born in Basse in 1965, Barrow spent several years working as a security guard in London. He returned home in 2006 and began property development, which he still does. He expressed disappointment he did not win by a larger margin.

Barrow represents a coalition of parties in an unprecedented co-operation. He said his first priority is to pick his cabinet, and has proposed a presidential two-term limit and promised financial stimulation. “It’s the people who have spoken. He cannot hang on,” he said. “We won the election clearly so there’s nothing he can do about it.”

Jammeh refused international observations of the election, banned protests following the result, and switched off the nation’s Internet access on the day of the vote. He pledged to work with Barrow and hand over power in January.



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Four children among seven killed after police chase ends in crash in US

Sunday, August 9, 2009

At least four children are among seven killed in Dinuba, California after a police chase ended in a crash.

Reports say the crash happened around 2:45 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday in a rural area of Tulare County. Police were pursuing a suspect who, after refusing to stop, slammed into a GMC Sierra pickup truck carrying two adults and five children. Four of the children were ejected from the truck and died at the scene. The two adults and one child were taken to Community Regional Medical Center located in Fresno where they are being treated for minor to severe injuries.According to KFSN-TV, after the suspect slammed into the car, both vehicles landed against trees in a lemon tree orchard at the intersection of Avenue 424 and Road 120. Three people, including the suspect, were in the pursued car and died at the scene.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident.



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Australian Treasurer told to ‘try harder on welfare’

Saturday, April 2, 2005

A professor from Australia’s most prestigious university said yesterday that Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello, “must try harder on welfare.” Professor Bob Gregory of the Australian National University and leading economist said, “If people could not hide on disability and sole parent pensions then [Mr Costello] couldn’t claim credit for the fall in unemployment.”

“In my view, the Treasurer has to come out openly and say that he has not been able to produce full-time jobs at a sufficient rate to get people off welfare. Either he has to wait until the economy generates unskilled jobs or he has to play around with the wage system.”

Another report relating to the Australian Social Security system was released yesterday by researchers at the University of Melbourne. It found that care-givers who look after mentally ill dependents claim significantly less stress when they engaged in work outside the home.



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Deadly flooding in Pakistan kills hundreds

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The worst flooding in 80 years in Pakistan has left at least 800 people dead, and affected over a million more. The floods were caused by heavy monsoon rains and have destroyed homes in the country, especially in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department said that twelve inches of rain fell over a 36 hour period. Sohail Rahman, reporting for Al Jazeera from Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad, said that Islamabad experienced a “deluge of water” flowing south from Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. He went on to say that “floods have really affected the infrastructure in and around the province. The people in the affected areas were quite critical in the first 24 hours, saying that the authorities were not doing enough.”

Rescue operations have been hampered by the weather; while seventeen helicopters are operating, with more to come, they cannot operate in all areas due to the weather, and just 48 boats are available for use by rescue crews.

Earlier this week, bad weather shrouded Islamabad when a passenger plane crashed, killing all 152 on board.



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Public disclosure made of final report on deaths of nine in Finnish school shooting

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation yesterday released 600 pages of the 2,000 page final report into the Jokela school shooting. 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen opened fire at Jokela High School, killing eight before turning his gun on himself, receiving fatal wounds.

The remaining 1,400 pages of the report are to remain confidential. The public section reveals a number of problems that may have impacted on Auvinen’s decision to conduct the attack, but says that police failed to find any conclusive motive. Also released was an animation depicting events at the school.

The report says Auvinen had been bullied since the age of ten and concludes the extent of this problem was greater than previously thought. Auvinen suffered from anxiety and blushing, especially in lessons, and had been diagnosed with a panic disorder, for which he had been prescribed medication. Auvinen also suffered from sleep disorders and loneliness, and had few friends, although one former bully did go on to become a good friend of Auvinen’s. His mother said inability to settle on a suitable ideology contributed to Auvinen’s depression.

His parents had noticed and reacted to the bullying problem, but their intervention only served to worsen the situation. According to entries in Auvinen’s diary, he first began planning the shooting – which he gave the English name “Operation Main Strike” – about eight months prior to actually conducting the shooting.

Auvinen had told his mother that under certain circumstances he could approve of violence. He had often viewed web sites promoting violence and had a number of online contacts whom he discussed his ideas with. One of these was a United States teen arrested for planning a similar attack, and two others discussed the Columbine High School Massacre with him and traded videos they found online. However, there is no evidence he informed anyone of his plans until immediately prior to the attack.

The report called Auvinen a moderately good student, but noted his mental problems had impacted his performance at school. He had been interested in politics from an early age, being involved with the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Left Alliance, and the Finnish Communist Party.

“In the best case, this (attack) would create massive destruction and chaos, or even a revolution,” read one diary entry. “In any case, I want this to be remembered forever. Maybe I’ll even have a follower; after all, I am a super-person, almost God.” Another revealed he intended to “kill as many of you bastards as possible”. His diary also reveals he was aware he would be dead by the end of the attack.

He obtained a .22 calliber handgun which he named Catherine, having been denied a license for a 9mm gun, and submitted his plans online – including to YouTube – just 14 minutes prior to firing his first shots, having cycled to school. It was determined that, given the time-frame, there was little that could have been done by anyone who saw the material to prevent the attack. He fired 75 shots, 50 of which struck his eight fatally wounded victims, who were apparently chosen at random. Thirteen others were injured in the event.

The deceased were six students, the school headmistress and the school nurse. Auvinen shot at each several times in the region of the head and upper torso. He ultimately shot himself in the school toilet, and died in hospital from head wounds ten hours later, having never regained consciousness.

Police could not determine why he chose the date he did, although it was noted his online relationship with a foreign girl had ended just days before. It was also determined little could be done to predict and prevent future incidents, although one measure being sought is to require medical checks for gun licences and parental consent for prospective owners under 18.

The confidential section of the report discusses causes of death and police operations.



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FOX to produce new ‘Futurama’ episodes

Friday, June 23, 2006

20th Century Fox will produce at least 13 new episodes of the animated series Futurama, scheduled to air on Comedy Central in 2008. Futurama, an animation from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, was canceled by FOX in 2003.

Comedy Central has recently acquired the rights to the back catalogue of 72 Futurama episodes and any eventual new episodes.

“We are thrilled that Matt Groening and 20th Century Fox Television have decided to produce new episodes of ‘Futurama’ and that Comedy Central will be the first to air them,” announces Comedy Central senior vice president for programming David Bernath.

Voice actors Billy West (Fry, Professor Farnsworth), Katey Sagal (Leela) and John DiMaggio (Bender) are all contracted to return.



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