DSWD Bicol donates P1.5M worth of food packs for Taal eruption evacuees Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano PLAY LIST 01:04Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown The coach even admitted that he “used to do it” himself but hasn’t done so since 2001.Jones, who was in charge of his native Wallabies when they lost the 2003 World Cup final to England, was appointed to the England job shortly after the team’s miserable first-round exit on home soil in 2015.They now face an All Blacks side bidding to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time in a row, and the fourth in New Zealand’s history.– ‘No one thinks we can win’ –The title-holders were hugely impressive in a 46-14 quarter-final thrashing of Ireland, while England reached the last four with an almost-as-emphatic 40-16 victory over Australia.Nevertheless, Jones insisted the team was not under any pressure, asking the press-conference crowd to put up their hand if they thought England could win.ADVERTISEMENT “There you go, so no one. No one thinks we can win,” he said.Jones, the coach of the Japan side that enjoyed a huge upset win over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup, joked that “there are 120 million Japanese people out there whose second team are the All Blacks. So there’s no pressure on us.”Meanwhile he was adamant that New Zealand were in a very different situation.“They’ve got to be thinking about how they’re looking for their third World Cup (in a row) and so that brings some pressure,” said Jones.The coach has long had a reputation for pre-match ‘mind games’ in the build-up to a Test.When asked if he was making these comments in the expectation they would be read by All Blacks players, Jones laid into the New Zealand media for the supposed partisan nature of their rugby coverage.“Well someone has to ask them (the All Blacks) a question because the New Zealand media doesn’t –- you guys are just fans with a keyboard,” he said.“The English media –- a week ago I was going to get sacked, we couldn’t play — we deal with a completely different situation.” Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 2 village execs nabbed in Bohol buy-bust England’s players take part in a training session at the Arcs Urayasu Park in Urayasu on October 22,2019 during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)England’s training session ahead of their upcoming Rugby World Cup semifinal was covertly filmed by an unknown sleuth, coach Eddie Jones said Tuesday.Most leading nations including England keep their practice secret, with strict limits on who is allowed into the ground to ensure opponents can’t spy on them ahead of a game.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES MOST READ 400 evacuees from Taal eruption take refuge in Mt. Banahaw Phivolcs: Cloud seeding in ashfall affected areas needs study Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Roger Federer praises Andy Murray’s Antwerp comeback success No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist ‘People evacuated on their own’ “There was definitely someone in the apartment block filming but it might have been a Japanese fan,” said Jones, whose men face reigning champions New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday.Access to training sessions is typically only given to accredited journalists, photographers and broadcast cameras.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4But the Australian appeared to shrug off the suspected infringement, saying that his team “don’t care” and that it “doesn’t change anything” due to the modern media ecosystem.“You can watch everyone’s training on YouTube. There’s no value in doing that sort of thing, absolutely zero,” Jones said. LOOK: Taal Volcano island 2 days after eruption ‘Gago’ View comments
Share This!Welcome to the September installment of our monthly Disney Vacation Club preview. This month, we discuss an extension for the Epcot member lounge and, in the Resort Spotlight, we’ll take a look at Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House. Last month, we had news about DVC members being able to enter the Halloween party earlier than other guests (2 p.m. to be exact), and a DVC Explainer on banking, borrowing, and transferring points. You can view last month’s preview here.Booking WindowsThis month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in September, you will be able to book for dates in August 2019. For all other DVC resorts (seven-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in April 2019.Saratoga Springs Resort is your best bet for last-minute availability, whether you’re using your own points or renting points. Two-bedroom and three-bedroom villas have the most availability, and on certain dates you can still find Treehouse Villa openings. (If you rent points through the affiliate link to David’s DVC rentals, TouringPlans receives a commission.) If you can manage the airfare to Hawaii, Aulani still has limited dates at DVC’s last-minute resort availability page.DVC NewsEpcot’s DVC member lounge.If you’re a fan of the member lounge at the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World, good news: It’s returning for another year. It’s a great place to cool off during the heat of the day, with places to sit down, plug in your phone, and enjoy the complimentary snacks and drinks from Coke Freestyle machines. And for kids that need a technology fix, there are gaming stations and tablets available to use.If you blinked, you might have missed it, but a limited-time pop-up shop for DVC members opened within the Marketplace Co-op at Disney Springs. DVC announced the shop, featuring a variety of DVC merchandise and apparel, on August 13 and it closed on September 3. New patterns for Dooney & Bourke handbags and new designs for Member MagicBands were among the items on sale. If you missed it, many items from the collection are available online anytime at ShopDisney.com/DVC, as well as at select merchandise locations at Disney Vacation Club Resorts.Sabrina Soto hosts DVC’s “Behind The Magic” webcast.Disney Vacation Club is encouraging members to watch their latest webcast by offering the possibility of winning a stay at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. After watching the 24-minute “Behind the Magic” webcast, members are eligible to win a five-night stay in a one-bedroom villa. The prize includes park tickets for four and airfare. The webcast, hosted by HGTV’s Sabrina Soto, features looks at Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Pixar Pier at Disney’s California Adventure, and a preview of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands coming to both coasts. To view the webcast and enter the contest, visit dvcbehindthemagic.com. The webcast is available until September 30.If you missed out on resort guest registration for the Moonlight Magic events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 19, September 26, and October 3, you have another chance to get in on the action. Registration opens to all members at 9 a.m. Eastern time, September 13. Registration goes very quickly, so if you want to attend, plan on being online at 9 a.m. sharp. The final Moonlight Magic event of 2018 will be November 15 at Disney’s California Adventure Park. Registration opens at 11 a.m. Eastern time on October 4.Registration is open for the Disney Vacation Club Halloween Party on October 31 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Inspired by The Haunted Mansion attraction, this event features desserts, snacks, and lemonade; character encounters; face painting; DJ music; a selfie station; games; and a keepsake photo. The two times for the parties are from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Cost is $30 per person (ages 3 and up). Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book.Resort SpotlightThe Animal Kingdom Villas is actually made up of two side-by-side resorts, Jambo House (which is partially DVC) and Kidani Village (which is all DVC). This month, we’ll focus on Jambo House.A view of the lobby from the fifth floor, where most of the Jambo House DVC rooms are.Jambo House is probably what most people think of when they think of Animal Kingdom Lodge, with its soaring lobby and expansive windows leading out to the savanna. The Animal Kingdom Lodge first opened in April 2001 as a conventional Disney resort. The Lodge’s fifth- and sixth-floor rooms were converted into DVC villas with Animal Kingdom Villas contracts going on sale in June 2007 at $104 per point. Kidani Village would open in 2009.Jambo House has 134 DVC units, comprising 216 maximum available rooms if you were to split the lockoffs. The value studios are 316 square feet and other studios are 365 square feet. Value one-bedrooms are 629 square feet with other 0ne-bedrooms 720 square feet. Value two-bedrooms are 945 square feet with other two-bedrooms 1,075 square feet. Three-bedroom grand villas check in at 2,349 square feet.The value units, which come at a lower point level, are some of the tougher-to-get DVC rooms due to the low inventory. Likewise, Club Level units are also low in supply and very difficult to book, even at 11 months out. Jambo House is the only DVC location at Walt Disney World that has Club Level accommodations. The rest of the units are divided by standard view and savanna view.Giraffes on the Arusha Savanna at Jambo House.The savannas, with giraffes, zebra, Ankole cattle, wildebeest, and other African animals are the big draw for the resort. Many guests refuse to stay anywhere but a savanna-view room. If you’re staying in standard-view room, you can still take advantage of the many viewing areas around the resort to do your animal watching. In the evening, you can venture down to the Uzima Savanna near the pool and find a cast member with night-vision goggles to see the animals at night.The Igbo Ijele mask in the Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House.Beyond the animals, you might not be aware of the museum-quality African art and artifacts on display. The resort is home to the largest collection of African art in North America. The centerpiece of their collection is the huge Igbo Ijele mask on display in the lobby. The 16-foot Ijele is created by the Igbo people of Nigeria and used at special celebrations only once every 10 to 25 years. This is the only known Ijele outside of Nigeria.Another great feature of staying at Jambo House is the excellent dining options. Jiko – The Cooking Place is their signature dining location and Boma is their buffet, both offering unique experiences featuring African dishes. The Mara is the quick service location and is where you can grab the popular zebra dome desserts outside of Boma. Victoria Falls is a beautiful lounge located on a mezzanine between the lobby and the lower restaurant level. The resort offers a free culinary tour each afternoon before dinner, where cast members will discuss the decor of Jiko and Boma in relation to their home countries and offer sample tastings.If you’re staying at Jambo House in the fall, you should be aware that the Uzima Springs pool is under refurbishment and is expected to be closed until December. Guests can still use the Samawati Springs pool at Kidani Village.All transportation from Jambo House is by bus, with Animal Kingdom being the closest park. The resort’s distance from the other Walt Disney World parks is a knock against it. There is a van service for transport between Jambo House and Kidani Village or it is a reasonable walk.Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House may not have the prime location of the monorail resorts or the Crescent Lake resorts, but it’s absolutely unique in its theming and features. From the live animals wandering nearby to the cast members from Africa sharing stories from their countries, a stay at Jambo House is an experience onto its own that you can’t get anywhere else on property.Have you stayed at Jambo House recently, or is Animal Kingdom Villas your home resort? We’d love to hear your observations in the comments.
Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material South African mountain biking fans are in for a treat. Pietermaritzburg has been awarded the opening round of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. The announcement was made on Friday after a meeting of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Management Committee, and comes on the back of the successful hosting of the opening round of the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. The report, based on feedback from, among others, technical delegates and riders, was overwhelmingly positive and reflected favourably on the strides made since South Africa first hosted a UCI MTB World Cup event two years ago. There will also be another addition, starting with next year’s 2012 UCI MTB World Cup, which will comprise 10 events in nine countries on three continents, with seven rounds for each of the traditional disciplines: a cross-country eliminator, in which several rounds will go towards a final ranking, will be run over a 2 000 metre short course and add to the action. Those eight days are divided into two: 21 to 25 August and 29 Aug to 1 September. They include trials, which have not yet been held in Pietermaritzburg. The other events are cross country, downhill and four-cross. “The terrain of the region also lends itself to cycling activities,” he added. PerspectivePutting the 2013 event into perspective, Lenferna explained: “The World Champs are about three to four times bigger than the World Cup and take place over eight days.” A report by the UCI on South Africa’s 2011 World Cup event concluded: “In all aspects, the event improved a lot after a first experience in 2009.” Overwhelmingly positive 21 June 2011 “The 2012 World Cup is going to be bigger and will be important as a preparatory event for the 2013 World Championships,” Lenferna said. “Cyclists who haven’t been to Pietermaritzburg before will need to visit in 2012 because it will be their only chance to see the course before the 2013 World Champs.” Rising stars, like Andrew Neethling, who finished tenth in the downhill in the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg this year, bode well for the future of mountain biking in South Africa. Stander is also among the world’s elite, having won on the World Cup circuit, and is a former under-23 world champion as well as this year’s Absa Cape Epic winner alongside Swiss legend Christoph Sauser. HotspotWhy has Pietermaritzburg become such a hotspot for cycling in South Africa, hosting UCI-endorsed mountain biking, BMX and road cycling events in recent years? Lenferna says it’s simple – the KwaZulu-Natal government and the city have put themselves fully behind the events. “They went the events,” he said. Of course, the fact that Minnaar remains one of the world’s elite downhill riders is a huge positive, so too is the fact that the country’s leading cross-country rider, Burry Stander, hails from Port Shepstone on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. ‘Incredibly good advice’“Greg’s always been a strong supporter [of Pietermaritzburg],” he said, “but, more than that, he’s been a point of contact, offering incredibly good advice and ideas of what would work from his experiences at events overseas.” Event organiser Alec Lenferna is the man who was behind the first two World Cup events and will be the man behind the forthcoming competitions in 2012 and 2013. Improvement can be expected every time an event is hosted, he told SAinfo. The fact that Pietermaritzburg has a three-time World Cup overall winner and former World Championship winner in Greg Minnaar has also played a big role in drawing support from local MTB enthusiasts for the UCI MTB World Cup events but, Lenferna let on, Minnaar has done more than be a star for South African mountain bike fans to rally around.
Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#Adidas#Adidas ZONE#IHT#IHT Spirit Related Posts This week sportswear maker adidas debuted a new wearable device, co-developed with Interactive Health Technologies (IHT). Called the adidas ZONE for IHT Spirit, it’s the first wrist-based wearable device developed specifically for physical education class use.Currently, IHT supports 1,500 teachers in 800 schools across the country and during the 2015 school year, 600,000 children were connected to the IHT Spirit System. With the help of the new wearable, IHT is on track to hit their 2016 target of interacting with one million students nationwide on a daily basis.The ZONE is a wrist-worn, heart rate monitoring device that integrates into the existing IHT Spirit System – a cloud-based curriculum for physical education (PE) – that allows teachers to efficiently track each student’s performance in PE class, creating individualized workouts and goals for students based on their personal fitness levels. The product is built to meet the needs of teachers across the country, durable enough for multiple students to wear during PE classes, and can sync quickly, using NFC technology. Heart rate training is accompanied by pedometer data, IHT’s PE 3 project-based curriculum, and the adidas Challenges program which uses cloud-based softwareStacey Burr, VP and general manager of adidas Digital Sports said that “in working with IHT, we found a partner that shared our vision of inspiring the next generation to lead healthy lives by making sport and fitness a life-long pursuit. We’re firm believers that healthy habits are easier to keep the earlier you start, so introducing tools and resources at the school-level offered the perfect place to lay such an important foundation.“Adidas can boost kids’ performance…if they still have PE classesIt’s unclear how the program will help those subject to the alarming trend of PE classes being reduced or eliminated from school curriculums across the US that adidas aims to address. It is, after all, likely that the wearable and curriculum will be more readily adopted by school already invested in sports than those without resources or funding.I also can’t help wondering about the privacy of the data, as adidas asks you to “imagine 12 years from today, when your 1st graders receive their high school diploma and along with it, are handed their entire wellness portfolio correlated to their academic, attendance and fitness success. A legacy created for students and their families while meeting the daily needs of school administration and compliance.” Would such data be attached to college and job applications of the future? What are the consequences for future health insurance?It’s also worthy considering that unless a lifetime warranty is available – that’s unclear at this stage – a device targeting K-12 students is likely to require repeat purchases. The device retails at $139, and is also available for schools to buy for students in PE through package pricing. Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Cate Lawrence
Manchester United Man United’s Young gets three-game ban for elbowing Tadic Joe Wright 03:39 1/1/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Manchester United Premier League Watford v Swansea City Swansea City Watford Everton v Manchester United Everton The absences are piling up for Jose Mourinho, as the suspended Young joins the likes of injured duo Lukaku and Zlatan in missing the next matches Manchester United’s Ashley Young has been given a three-match ban by the Football Association (FA) after he accepted a charge of violent conduct.Young appeared to elbow the Southampton’s Dusan Tadic in the stomach as they jostled at a corner during the second half of the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.The 32-year-old accepted the charge, but his argument that the length of the suspension was excessive was rejected by an FA regulatory commission. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “Ashley Young will be suspended for Manchester United’s next three matches,” the FA confirmed in a statement. “He accepted a violent conduct charge following an off-the-ball incident during yesterday’s game against Southampton, but argued the suspension was excessive. This was rejected by a Regulatory Commission.”Ashley Young will be suspended for Manchester United’s next three matches. He accepted a violent conduct charge following an off-the-ball incident during yesterday’s game against Southampton, but argued the suspension was excessive. This was rejected by a Regulatory Commission.— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) December 31, 2017The FA has also issued a three-game ban to Swansea City’s Kyle Naughton after he was seen apparently stamping on Watford striker Stefano Okaka in their 2-1 win at Vicarage Road.The news on Young is another blow for United manager Jose Mourinho, who is already without full-back Antonio Valencia, club captain Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku due to injury.United face Everton on Monday before they host Derby County in the FA Cup next Friday. They then meet Stoke City on January 15. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Emmanuel Ogbah was notably left off the Rotary Lombardi Award recently, but he is still garnering attention nationally for his big year.The Walter Camp Foundation announced 15 semifinalists on Wednesday to watch for as Player of the Year, including Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.Ogbah is one of only two defensive players on the list, along with Iowa defensive back Desmond King. Here’s a full list of the semifinalists below. You can read the full press release here. AdChoices广告
VANCOUVER — Assessed values of some single family homes in Metro Vancouver’s once red hot housing market dropped between five and 10 per cent in the latest assessments used to determine property taxes in British Columbia.Meanwhile, BC Assessment says some property owners in the rest of the province have seen five to 15 per cent increases in their property values.The agency forecasts condominium values will increase by up to 20 per cent across B.C. this year.Commercial and industrial properties saw an increase of between 10 and 20 per cent across most of the province, with some markets around Metro Vancouver increasing up to 30 per cent. BC Assessment collects, monitors and analyzes property data.Its assessments are based on the estimate of a property’s market value on July 1 of each year and its physical condition on Oct. 31.Deputy assessor Keith MacLean-Talbot says increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes. The Canadian Press
A company logo is seen outside the Tata steelworks near Rotherham in Britain, March 30, 2016 [Representational Image].Reuters FileIndia’s Tata Steel and German major Thyssenkrupp AG have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Wednesday to build Europe’s ssecond largest steel enterprises, Tata Steel said in a filing in Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).”The proposed joint venture—Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel—would be focused on quality and technology leadership, and the supply of premium and differentiated products to customers, with annual shipments of about 21 million tonnes of flat steel products, ” the companies said in a statement.With this agreement, Tata’s plants in the Netherlands and UK will be combined with Thyssenkrupp’s German assets and would be managed through the entity’s headquarters in Amsterdam.”The joint venture would have a pro forma turnover of about €15 billion per annum (Rs1,15,000 crore). It currently employs about 48,000 people spread across locations and would be headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands,” the release said.Commenting on the deal, Tata Steel chairman N Chandrasekaran said, “The Tata Group and Thyssenkrupp have a strong heritage in the global steel industry and share similar culture and values. The strategic logic of the proposed joint venture in Europe is based on very strong fundamentals and I am confident that Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel will have a great future.” N Chandrasekaran takes home Rs 30 crore in FY 2017Reuters”This business combination creates a strong number 2 and is thus much better positioned to cope with the structural challenges in the European steel industry. With Tata Steel, we have found a partner with a very good strategic and cultural fit. Beyond a clear per performance driven orientation, we also share the same philosophy of corporate responsibility towards employees and society,” said Heinrich Hiesinger chairman, executive board, Thyssenkrupp.The proposed combination of businesses would be formed through a non-cash transaction framework, based on fair valuation where both shareholders would contribute debt and liabilities to achieve an equal shareholding in the venture, Tata Steel said in the release.Thyssenkrupp in a press statement added the negotiating parties will give each other access to confidential business to the extent permissible between competitors. “It is envisaged to sign a contract in early 2018,” the company added.
Wreckage from the USS Lexington, a US aircraft carrier which sank during World War II, has been found in the Coral Sea, a search team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen on 5 March. Photo: AFPWreckage from the USS Lexington, a US aircraft carrier which sank during World War II, has been discovered in the Coral Sea, a search team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced Monday.The wreckage was found Sunday by the team’s research vessel, the R/V Petrel, some 3,000 meters (two miles) below the surface more than 500 miles (800 kilometres) off the eastern coast of Australia.The search team released pictures and video of the Lexington, one of the first ever US aircraft carriers, and some of the planes which went down with the ship.Remarkably preserved aircraft could be seen on the seabed bearing the five-pointed star insignia of the US Army Air Forces on their wings and fuselage.On one aircraft, an emblem of the cartoon character Felix the Cat can be seen along with four miniature Japanese flags presumably depicting “kills.”The search team also released pictures and video of parts of the ship, including a name-plate, and anti-aircraft guns covered in decades of slime.The USS Lexington and another US aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown, fought against three Japanese aircraft carriers from May 4-8, 1942 in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first ever between carriers.The badly damaged Lexington, nicknamed “Lady Lex,” was deliberately sunk by another US warship at the conclusion of the battle.More than 200 members of the crew died in the battle but most were rescued by other US vessels before the Lexington sank.Admiral Harry Harris, who heads up the US military’s Pacific Command (PACOM) — and whose father was one of the sailors evacuated — paid tribute to the successful research effort.”As the son of a survivor of the USS Lexington, I offer my congratulations to Paul Allen and the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel for locating the ‘Lady Lex,’ sunk nearly 76 years ago at the Battle of Coral Sea,” Harris said in a statement.”We honor the valor and sacrifice of the ‘Lady Lex’s’ Sailors — and all those Americans who fought in World War II — by continuing to secure the freedoms they won for all of us,” he said.The USS Lexington was carrying 35 aircraft when it went down.The search team said that 11 planes had been found including Douglas TBD-1 Devastators, Douglas SBD-3 Dauntlesses and Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats.”Lexington was on our priority list because she was one of the capital ships that was lost during WWII,” said Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen.”Based on geography, time of year and other factors, I work with Paul Allen to determine what missions to pursue. We’ve been planning to locate the Lexington for about six months and it came together nicely,” Kraft said in a statement.Search teams led by Allen have discovered the wreckage of a number of historic warships including the USS Indianapolis, a US heavy cruiser which sank in the Philippine Sea in July 1945 after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.
Courtesy of OHSUThe first sign of successful in vitro fertilization, after co-injection of a gene-correcting enzyme and sperm from a donor with a genetic mutation known to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.Scientists have been tinkering with the DNA in humans and other living things for decades. But one thing has long been considered off-limits: Modifying human DNA in any way that could be passed down for generations.Now, an international team of scientists reports they have successfully figured out a way to edit the DNA in human embryos — without introducing the harmful mutations that were a problem in previous attempts elsewhere. The work was published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.“It’s a pretty exciting piece of science,” says George Daley, dean of the Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the research. “It’s a technical tour-de-force. It’s really remarkable.”The research is ultimately aimed at helping families plagued by genetic diseases. The new experiment used a powerful new gene-editing technique to correct a genetic defect behind a heart disorder that can cause seemingly healthy young people to suddenly die from heart failure.The experiment corrected the defect in nearly two-thirds of several dozen embryos, without causing potentially dangerous mutations elsewhere in the DNA.None of the embryos were used to try to create a baby. But if future experiments confirm the techniques are safe and effective, the scientists say the same approach could be used to prevent a long list of inheritable diseases.“Potentially, we’re talking about thousands of genes and thousands of patients,” says Paula Amato, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. She was a member of the scientific team from the U.S., China and South Korea.Other diseases that might ultimately benefit from such an approach include Huntington’s disease, Cystic fibrosis, perhaps an inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease and cases of breast and ovarian cancer caused by mutations in the BRCA genes.Nonetheless, the work is setting off alarm bells among critics around the world.“I think it’s extraordinarily disturbing,” says Marcy Darnovsky, who directs the Center for Genetics and Society, a genetics watchdog group in Berkeley, Calif. “It’s a flagrant disregard of calls for a broad societal consensus in decisions about a really momentous technology that could be used good, but in this case is being used in preparation for an extraordinarily risky application.”“If irresponsible scientists are not stopped, the world may soon be presented with a fait accompli of the first [genetically modified] baby,” says David King, who heads the U.K-based group Human Genetics Alert. “We call on governments and international organizations to wake up and pass an immediate global ban on creating cloned or GM babies, before it is too late.”Amato and others stress that their work is aimed at preventing terrible diseases, not creating genetically enhanced people. And they note that much more research is needed to confirm the technique is safe and effective before anyone tries to make a baby this way.But scientists hoping to continue the work in the U.S. face many regulatory obstacles. The National Institutes of Health will not fund any research involving human embryos (the new work was funded by Oregon Health & Science University). And the Food and Drug Administration is prohibited by Congress from considering any experiments that involve genetically modified human embryos.Nevertheless, the researchers say they’re hopeful about continuing the work, perhaps in Britain. The United Kingdom has permitted genetic experiments involving human embryos forbidden in the United States.“If other countries would be interested, we would be happy to work with their regulatory bodies,” says Shoukhrat Mitalipov, director of the Oregon Health & Science University’s Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy.One major concern is safety to a developing embryo — whether genetically modified human embryos would indeed produce healthy babies. But on a broader level, any changes made in the DNA of an embryo would be passed down for generations. That raises fears that any mistakes in the editing that inadvertently caused new diseases could become a permanent part of that family’s genetic blueprint.Darnovsky and others also worry that modifying human DNA in an embryo could give rise to “designer babies.” That’s when parents pick and choose the traits of their children to try to make them smarter, taller, stronger or have other traits that make them seem superior. That’s not yet technically possible. But critics fear scientists are already moving in that direction.“The scenario is that you would have fertility clinics advertising to people who wanted to engineer their future children so that they could be presented as ‘enhanced’ — as biologically better than everyone else,” Darnovsky says. “It’s not a world we want to build. It’s not a world we want to live in.”Unscrupulous researchers could also rush the technology into fertility clinics to try to start creating babies they can bill as genetically enhanced before the technology has even been proved safe, and before a societal consensus has been reached about what applications should be permitted.“This is a strong statement that we can do genome editing,” says Harvard’s Daley. “The question that remains is: ‘Should we?’ We need a deeper public discourse around the ethical implications of this technology.”Darnovsky and some scientists argue that many couples who carry genetic diseases already have safer alternatives to this sort of gene editing. Couples carrying genetic diseases can go through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and have their embryos tested before being implanted in the woman’s womb.“I will admit to experiencing a sense of puzzlement,” says Fyodor Urnov, an associate director at the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, a nonprofit research institute in Seattle.“The question I have is: ‘Why did you folks bother, given that there is a safe, effective, approved and ethical way to attain exactly the goal you have set out to do without any of the significant logical and ethic hurdles of having to edit a human embryo?” Urnov says.Amato and the other scientists on the international team say their approach could offer an alternative for couples for whom those standard options won’t work or are less desirable. But they agree the work should only move forward with careful regulatory oversight to prevent abuse.“Anytime there’s a new technology there’s a potential for misuse. We have to acknowledge that,” Amato says. “Personally I don’t feel that’s a reason not to pursue the research if you think there’s a potential benefit that outweighs that risk. And I think if you can prevent serious disease in future generations, that makes it worthwhile to pursue this.”The advance was first reported last week in Technology Review, a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But the details were withheld and the researchers did not elaborate until the scientific paper had finished being vetted by other scientists for publication in Nature.For their experiments, the scientists obtained sperm from a donor carrying a mutation for the heart disorder cardiomyopathy. They then used that sperm to fertilize dozens of eggs obtained from healthy women.At the same time as fertilization, the researchers injected a powerful, microscopic gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9. The new technique makes it much easier than previous approaches to make very precise changes in DNA.Several scientists likened the approach to doing surgery on fetuses when they are in the womb. But this takes that idea much further, and involves repairing damaged DNA at a molecular level in the womb.“This is nano-surgery,” says George Church, a prominent Harvard geneticist who also was not involved in the research. “You’re doing it with the finest possible scalpel.”The editing tool very accurately cut into a mutated gene known known as MYBPC3, which causes cardiomyopathy. To the researchers’ surprise, the cut triggered the embryos to repair the defective gene on their own. This is a process that had previously been unknown, the scientists say.“The most exciting moment was when we realized the mechanism of repair,” Amato says. “It was fixing itself.”The researchers then let the embryos develop for several days so they could analyze them to see how well the experiments worked. In one part of the experiments involving 58 embryos, the approach corrected the mutation in more than 70 percent of the embryos, the researchers reported.“The gene defect was corrected with high efficiency,” Amato says.In addition, a detailed genetic analysis of the embryos concluded that the gene editing had not caused safety problems.“I think this is a significant advance,” Church says. “This is important.”In 2015, Chinese scientists reported trying to edit the DNA of embryos for the first time, also using CRISPR-Cas9. But that experiment involved embryos that could never develop normally. And while those researchers did succeed in editing the targeted defect, it also produced unintended defects elsewhere in the embryos’ DNA.The scientists who conducted the new experiments say they think they avoided those problems by injecting CRISPR at the same time the eggs were being fertilized by sperm.“That was key,” Mitalipov says.Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin, dismissed concerns about the work leading to designer babies.“This is not the dawn of the era of the designer baby,” says Charo, who co-chaired a committee formed by the National Academies of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine to determine whether such experiments should be permissible. The committee concluded earlier this year that gene-editing of human embryos could be allowed in rare cases when no other options are available — but only to treat diseases.“I do not think that the constant drum beat about the fear of designer baby is warranted, Charo says. “What this is, is a possible step toward being able to edit the DNA in human embryos that’s reliable and precise.”In the meantime, scientists in Britain have won approval to use CRISPR to edit the DNA in healthy human embryos to learn more about normal human development. A team in Sweden has started similar experiments.“I think this needs to be tightly regulated,” says Fredrik Lanner, a geneticist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm who is conducting those experiments. “This is very exciting. But it also could be a double-edged sword. So I think we really have to be extra cautious with this technology.”Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share