Egypt Independent: Science-Main news en Apple brings clarity to iPad offer <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Apple&#39;s latest iPad &ndash; replacing the iPad Air 2 &ndash; is a relatively inexpensive 9.7in tablet that bridges the gap between the compact iPad mini and the high-end iPad Pro. Splitting the iPad offer into three distinct categories makes Apple&#39;s tablet offer clearer and easier for consumers to understand, which hasn&#39;t always been the case.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The original iPad launched in 2010, riding high on the success of Apple&#39;s iPhone smartphone. This 9.7in (1,024 x 768 pixels) touchscreen tablet was essentially based on the same principle as the phone but came without call capabilities.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It ran the same operating system (iOS) and offered users the same selection of applications, although many weren&#39;t initially compatible with the new format.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The iPad was released in the USA on April 3, in WiFi and Wi-Fi/3G versions, before progressively conquering the rest of the world. In 2012, the third-generation iPad brought a high-resolution &quot;Retina&quot; display, which is now the norm across the brand&#39;s tablet range.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In November 2012, Apple presented the iPad mini, a more compact and affordable take on the touchscreen tablet. This 7.9in slate brought Apple in line with tough new competitors like Google (Nexus 7) and Amazon (Kindle Fire), in the increasingly popular market for small-format devices. The iPad mini also came with a more affordable price tag, starting at US$329 (RM1,455).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Then in 2015 came the iPad Pro, with a larger screen size (12.9in), boosted performances and an accompanying stylus. Thanks to the A9X processor, Apple billed the tablet as a head-on rival for certain PCs, especially when paired with its various accessories (a keyboard and a stylus, sold separately). The iPad Pro also now comes in a 9.7in version, still promising more powerful performances than the newest standard iPad model.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As always with Apple, price is above all determined by internal storage capacity. The cheapest model in the firm&#39;s current tablet range is the new iPad, in its 32GB Wi-Fi version, starting at RM1,549. At the top-end, 32GB versions of the iPad Pro start at RM2,699 for the 9.7in model and RM3,499 for the 12.9in model. The iPad mini 4 is now only available with 128GB of storage, which explains its slightly higher retail price &ndash; from RM1,899 &ndash; over the new iPad. All models are available in WiFi or WiFi + cellular versions.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Although global tablet sales have been declining since 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook is still highly optimistic about the future of the iPad. He hopes to continue positioning high-end models as credible alternatives to PCs.&nbsp;</div> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:17:00 +0000 AFP 2477486 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/03/07/504802/apple_logo.jpg Pharmacy executive convicted in US deadly meningitis outbreak <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The former head of a Massachusetts pharmacy was acquitted Wednesday of murder allegations but convicted of racketeering and other crimes in a meningitis outbreak that was traced to fungus-contaminated drugs and killed 64 people across the country.<br /><br />Prosecutors said Barry Cadden, 50, ran the business in an &quot;extraordinarily dangerous&quot; way by disregarding unsanitary conditions to boost production and make more money.<br /><br />Cadden, president and co-founder of the now-closed New England Compounding Center, was charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder, conspiracy and other offenses under federal racketeering law.<br /><br />After five days of deliberations, the jury refused to hold Cadden responsible for the deaths and cleared him on the murder counts. He was found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud and could get a long prison term at sentencing June 21.<br /><br />The 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections in 20 states was traced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contaminated injections of medical steroids, given mostly to people with back pain. In addition to those who died, 700 people fell ill. Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee were hit hardest.<br /><br />Joan Peay, 76, of Nashville, Tennessee, suffered two bouts of meningitis after receiving a shot for back pain. She wept upon learning the verdict.<br /><br />&quot;He killed people and he&#39;s getting away with murder. I am furious,&quot; she said. She said that she got so sick from meningitis &quot;I didn&#39;t care if I died,&quot; and that she still suffers from hearing loss, memory problems, a stiff neck and low energy.<br /><br />Alfred Rye, 77, of Maybee, Michigan, said: &quot;I wish I could give him the same shot he gave me. I think they should pay for their crime.&quot;<br /><br />Rye fell ill after getting an injection in his lower back 4&frac12; years ago. He said he continues to suffer from a loss of balance and other ill effects. &quot;Life has been totally hell,&quot; he said.<br /><br />The racketeering charge and the 52 counts of fraud carry up to 20 years in prison each, but federal sentencing guidelines typically call for far less than the maximum.<br /><br />Companies charged with selling contaminated drugs often reach settlements with the federal government and agree to pay large fines. The case against the New England Compounding Center stands apart because of the large number of deaths and serious illnesses and because of evidence that Cadden was aware of the unsanitary conditions, said Eric Christofferson, a former federal prosecutor in Boston.<br /><br />The scandal threw a spotlight on compounding pharmacies, which differ from ordinary drugstores in that they custom-mix medications and supply them directly to hospitals and doctors. In 2013, in reaction to the outbreak, Congress increased federal oversight of such pharmacies.<br /><br />Federal prosecutor Amanda Strachan told the jury during the two-month trial that the deaths and illnesses happened because Cadden &quot;decided to put profits before patients.&quot;<br /><br />NECC used expired ingredients and falsified logs to make it look as if the so-called clean rooms had been disinfected, prosecutors said. After the outbreak, regulators found multiple potential sources of contamination, including standing water and mold and bacteria in the air and on workers&#39; gloved fingertips.<br /><br />Cadden&#39;s lawyer, Bruce Singal, told the jury Cadden was not responsible for the deaths and pointed the finger at Glenn Chin, a supervisory pharmacist who ran the clean rooms where drugs were made. Chin has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.<br /><br />After the verdict, Singal said it was a &quot;disgrace&quot; that prosecutors brought murder allegations against Cadden.<br /><br />&quot;We&#39;re very pleased that the jury acquitted Barry on all 25 of the murder charges and that he can now go home and tell his children that he&#39;s not a murderer,&quot; Singal said. &quot;At the same time, it is Barry&#39;s fervent wish ... that people still remember the victims of this terrible public health outbreak.&quot;<br /><br />NECC filed for bankruptcy after getting hit with hundreds of lawsuits. NECC and several related companies reached a $200 million settlement with victims and their families.<br /><br />The son of Kentucky Judge Eddie C. Lovelace, who died after receiving injections to treat neck and back pain, said the outcome had shaken his family&#39;s faith in the medical and legal systems.<br /><br />&quot;Dad always ensured that the defendants were treated justly and fairly. He did that in life, and in death, I feel like he wasn&#39;t afforded either justice or fairness,&quot; Chris Lovelace said.<br /><br />&quot;As of today, criminally no one has been held responsible or held accountable for my father&#39;s death,&quot; he added. &quot;The only mistake, if you want to call it a mistake, that my father made was he sought out relief from back pain from the medical profession and the consequence of that decision for him was death.&quot;</p><p><br /><em>Report by Denise Lavoie (AP); Associated Press writers Chris Ehrmann in Lansing, Michigan; Sheila Burke in Nashville, Tennessee; and Bruce Schreiner in Frankfort, Kentucky, contributed to this report.</em></p> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:59:00 +0000 AP 2477452 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/03/23/507556/pharm.jpg Egypt to take part in Earth Hour Saturday <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Egypt has announced it will take part in the Earth Hour campaign on Saturday March 25 by turning off lights at archeological sites and touristic areas from 8:30pm to 9:30pm, in order to help spread awareness of the risks of climate change.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The event is marked annually by millions of people throughout 5,000 cities in 135 countries around the world.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt started to part in the campaign in 2009 when it first turned the lights off at pivotal tourist and cultural venues like the Pyramids, the Sphinx, Salah Al-Din Citadel, Cairo Tower; in addition to several hotels and other tourist places, during the Earth Hour.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The campaign is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and targets: saving energy; raising awareness of global warming; and engaging people in positive action for environmental protection, through turning off lights and non-essential electronics during one specific hour agreed upon within the context of the campaign.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The campaign was first launched in 2007 in Sydney, when restaurants replaced lights with candles to mark the occasion. Lights were switched off in houses and buildings throughout the city, including the Sydney Opera House.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Ministry of Tourism called on hotels and officials of tourist attractions to participate in the campaign, in line with its calls for &#39;green evolution&#39; and clean energy uses.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Overall, the event aims to reduce carbon emissions by switching to clean energy use, and to encourage the participation of citizens in environmental protection campaigns.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:24:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2477441 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/11/26/16030/abu_simbel_temple.jpg Stuttgart builds moss-covered wall to fight air pollution <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>&quot;Nitrogen dioxide has put our health at risk for decades.&quot; And for years, Maria Krautzberger, president of Germany&#39;s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has pointed out the culprit: diesel car engines.</p><p>Krautzberger would like to see the polluters banned from city centers with the help of the so-called blue disc &ndash; a blue sticker on every car indicating the level of emissions of fine particulate matter. This environmental disc is very likely to&nbsp;come to German streets - &nbsp;the question is when. The federal government is hesitant, but blue environmental zones are already being planned in most of the country&#39;s big cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden and Munich.</p><p><img alt="Discussion about the blue badge (picture alliance/dpaB. Weißbrod)" src="" style="height: 302px; width: 536px;" /></p><div><p><em>This is what the proposed blue disc could look like</em></p><div><p><strong>First German city to ban diesel cars</strong></p></div></div><p>Stuttgart, known as&nbsp;Germany&#39;s worst city for smog, exceeded the EU&#39;s designated safe levels of fine particulate matter in the air on 66 days in 2016. And it looks like its getting worse. The concentration of fine particulates in the air was higher than 50 micrograms per cubic meter&nbsp;on 30 days in the first two months of 2017 alone.</p><p>Concentrations higher than 40 micrograms per cubic meter are harmful to human health. &nbsp;EU regulations set the limit at 50 micrograms. If the safe levels are exceeded on more than 35 days per year, the EU can impose heavy fines.</p><p>Air pollution in Stuttgart has become so bad that residents have sued the city&#39;s mayor Fritz Kuhn and district president Wolfgang Reimer; both politicians are members of the Green party. The administrative court has also demanded action from the state of Baden-Württemberg, of which Stuttgart is the capital, and asked them to deliver a plan on how the air quality could be sustainably improved.</p><p>The authorities tried &quot;soft&rdquo; appeals to&nbsp;the public and issued the first-ever air pollution alert in January, asking citizens to abstain from driving. The city even offered reduced prices for public transport. But the measures did not&nbsp;result&nbsp;in any improvement.</p><p>Since the voluntary measures didn&#39;t work, Stuttgart was forced to get tough. The government of Baden-Württemberg&nbsp;has decided to introduce a &quot;no drive&rdquo; zone for diesel vehicles&nbsp;emitting more than 80 milligrams of fine particulate matter per kilometer. From 2018, heavy polluters will be banned from entering the city during periods of high pollution.</p><p><strong>Moss wall as air filter</strong></p><p>Another attempt to improve air quality is the installation of a moss wall. Moss usually grows in mountain forests and moors. It storesf water and nutrients from rain and air &ndash; and&nbsp;can &quot;eat up&rdquo; air pollution. Pollutants cling to the sticky surface of the moss and are then, thanks to bacteria, converted into the biomass of the plant.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="Germany: Installation of the Moss Wall (picture alliance/dpa/Lichtgut/A. Zweygarth)" src="" style="height: 302px; width: 536px;" /></p><div><p><em>Workers install the 3-meter-high moss wall</em></p></div><p>In Stuttgart, a moss wall is currently being constructed which will be 100 meters long and three meters high. The two moss species (Ceratodon purpureus and Racomitrium canescens) used for the wall were specifically bred to filter and degrade fine particulate matter. Tests&nbsp;showed perfect results. Now it remains to be seen whether it will also clean the air of the smoggy streets of Stuttgart.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:10:00 +0000 Deutsche Welle 2477408 at sites/default/files/photo/2017/03/22/507555/moss_wall.jpg