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Friday, 20 March 2015

ICC slams own president for criticising match officials

ICC President Mustafa Kamal
[FILE PHOTO] 
Adelaide: The International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive David Richardson has expressed disappointment following President Mustafa Kamal’s comments about the match officials in the Cricket World Cup 2015 quarter-final between Bangladesh and India in Melbourne on Thursday.

“The ICC has noted Mr Mustafa Kamal’s comments, which are very unfortunate but made in his personal capacity. As an ICC President, he should have been more considerate in his criticism of ICC match officials, whose integrity cannot be questioned,” Richardson said in a media statement.

“The no-ball decision was a 50-50 call. The spirit of the game dictates that the umpire’s decision is final and must be respected. Any suggestion that the match officials had “an agenda” or did anything other than perform to the best of their ability are baseless and are refuted in the strongest possible terms,” the statement stressed.

“We now look forward to an exciting last few matches of what has been a very successful and interesting ICC Cricket World Cup 2015,” Richardson concluded.

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'SOFIA' finds missing link between supernovae, planet formation

SOFIA data reveal warm dust (white) surviving inside a supernova remnant. The SNR Sgr A East cloud is traced in X-rays (blue). Radio emission (red) shows expanding shock waves colliding with surrounding interstellar clouds (green).
[Image Credit: NASA/CXO/Herschel/VLA/Lau et al] 
Washington: Using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an international scientific team discovered that supernovae are capable of producing a substantial amount of the material from which planets like Earth can form.

These findings are published in the March 19 online issue of Science magazine.

"Our observations reveal a particular cloud produced by a supernova explosion 10,000 years ago contains enough dust to make 7,000 Earths," said Ryan Lau of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
The research team, headed by Lau, used SOFIA's airborne telescope and the Faint Object InfraRed Camera for the SOFIA Telescope, FORCAST, to take detailed infrared images of an interstellar dust cloud known as Supernova Remnant Sagittarius A East, or SNR Sgr A East.

The team used SOFIA data to estimate the total mass of dust in the cloud from the intensity of its emission. The investigation required measurements at long infrared wavelengths in order to peer through intervening interstellar clouds and detect the radiation emitted by the supernova dust.

Astronomers already had evidence that a supernova’s outward-moving shock wave can produce significant amounts of dust. Until now, a key question was whether the new soot- and sand-like dust particles would survive the subsequent inward “rebound” shock wave generated when the first, outward-moving shock wave collides with surrounding interstellar gas and dust.

"The dust survived the later onslaught of shock waves from the supernova explosion, and is now flowing into the interstellar medium where it can become part of the 'seed material' for new stars and planets," Lau explained.

These results also reveal the possibility that the vast amount of dust observed in distant young galaxies may have been made by supernova explosions of early massive stars, as no other known mechanism could have produced nearly as much dust.

"This discovery is a special feather in the cap for SOFIA, demonstrating how observations made within our own Milky Way galaxy can bear directly on our understanding of the evolution of galaxies billions of light years away," said Pamela Marcum, a SOFIA project scientist at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
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NY pharmacist charged with $5mn medicare fraud

[PHOTO: epSos.de/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
New York: A twenty-four-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging Andrew Barrett, a licensed pharmacist, with health care fraud, filing false claims, unlawful monetary transactions, filing false personal tax returns, and the filing of and assisting in the preparation of false corporate tax returns.1 Barrett will be arraigned at 2:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Scott Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI).

“As alleged in the indictment, instead of using his pharmacist license to provide valid relief to those in need, Andrew Barrett used it as a license to steal from publicly-funded health care programs and then lied about it on his tax returns,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Today’s indictment makes clear that this Office will hold accountable corrupt pharmacists who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of tax-payer funded programs.

“Defrauding Medicare and Medicaid is a serious crime that has consequences for the entire U.S. economy. As alleged, Barrett stole more than $5 million from Medicare and Medicaid for his own personal gain. As evidenced by today’s indictment, the FBI and its partners will vigorously pursue those who seek to steal from taxpayer-funded programs,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.

“The alleged actions by Andrew Barrett diverted scarce taxpayer funds from the Medicare and Medicaid prescription drug programs just for personal enrichment,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Lampert. “The HHS Office of Inspector General, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously pursue those who steal from government health programs in such greed-fueled schemes.”

IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Kitchen stated, “Individuals who steal from government programs often take the added risk of committing tax crimes in the process, exposing themselves to further criminal sanctions. As the federal agency responsible for investigating criminal tax violations, IRS-Criminal Investigation works with our law enforcement partners on complex financial fraud investigations, with the goals of protecting the American taxpayer and seeing that everyone pays their fair share.”

As alleged in the indictment, from January 2011 to December 2012, Barrett operated pharmacies in Bronx, Rockland, and Queens counties in New York State. From his Queens pharmacy, Barrett fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $5 million for prescription medications that he never dispensed to patients. Barrett used more than $4 million of his ill-gotten gains to buy drugs for his pharmacies in the Bronx and Rockland counties. Barrett also siphoned off for personal expenses more than $2.5 million from the Bronx and Rockland pharmacy accounts while falsely claiming those funds as business expenses on his personal and corporate tax returns. The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William P. Campos and Karen Orenstein.
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World Bank approves $200mn interest-free loan for Bangladesh

[PHOTO: Rakib Hasan Sumon/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Washington: The World Bank’s  Board of  Directors has approved $200 million in interest-free credit to improve livelihoods of approximately 5 million poor people in the rural areas of Bangladesh. The Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project will benefit the rural poor in the poorest Upazilas in 21 districts, building on the activities supported by the predecessor Social Investment Program Project.

The project will empower rural communities by providing support for livelihoods and access to market through business partnerships. The project will also offer funding for small rural infrastructures. The project will mobilize the poor and extreme poor people, who often remain left out from micro credit schemes, by building and strengthening community institutions including Nuton Jibon Community Societies - second generation institutions. Further, the project will raise nutrition awareness, share agricultural knowledge and continue focusing on creating youth employment opportunities. 

“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty. Sixteen million people came out of poverty in the last decade. Still poverty remains a daunting development challenge, with around 47 million poor people – most of whom live in rural area,” said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh “The Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project will consolidate and scale-up the activities of its predecessor programs to improve livelihoods, quality of lives and resiliencies of the poorest and vulnerable households.”

The project will promote a community-driven approach that will allow beneficiaries to collectively identify, prioritize, plan, and implement their development needs. The project will cover around 2,500 new villages in 12 districts in addition to the around 3,200 villages supported under the Social Investment Program Project-II.

“We have seen that when poor people, and particularly women, are given the chance, they successfully prioritize needs, manage resources and engage in livelihood activities that help them to transform their lives,” said Frauke Jungbluth, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project.

The project builds on the success and lessons of the Social Investment Program Project that started as a small-scale pilot in two of the poorest districts of Bangladesh in 2003 and gradually expanded to 14 more districts.

The credits are provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional lending arm, with 38 years to maturity, a 6 year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent. 
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