District of Columbia passes paid family leave bill

first_imgCouncillors in the District of Columbia (DC), Washington, have passed a bill that provides eight weeks of paid parental leave for private sector employees who work DC.The Universal Paid Leave Act will enable private sector employees to have eight weeks of paid parental leave when a new child joins a household through birth, adoption, foster care or assumed legal guardianship.The bill also includes six weeks of leave to care for sick relatives and two weeks of leave for self-care, for personal injury or illness.The new leave will be funded through an employer payroll tax of 0.62%.Employees who earn up to one and a half times the minimum wage will be able to receive 90% of their salary. Employees earning more will receive 90% of their salary up to one and a half times the minimum wage and then 50% of their wage, up to a maximum $1,000 (£812.71) a week.The bill will be reviewed three years after implementation to determine whether the tax rate or benefit levels need to be amended.The bill was passed by DC council members on 20 December 2016 by a final vote of nine to four. It requires approval from the mayor, or in the event of a mayoral veto, action by the Council to overturn the veto.Muriel Bowser, mayor of DC, said: “Chairman Mendelson and the Council passed a $250 million tax increase to mostly benefit residents of Maryland and Virginia. It is wrong to raise District taxes to fund a costly, new government [programme] that sends 66% of the benefits outside of the city, and leaves District families behind. If the Council wants to raise $250 million in new taxes, shouldn’t the focus be on District residents and their needs?“I predict the council will need to revisit this legislation and address the detrimental impacts on District residents and small businesses. I will not add my name to this legislation.”A spokesperson for Family Values at Work said: “We are thrilled that the DC City Council passed a comprehensive paid family and medical leave bill which will guarantee about 530,000 [employees] the ability to take the time they need to care for themselves and their loved ones without falling into financial hardship.“While DC is showing true leadership by passing such a bill, it is important to note that the eight weeks proposed for parental leave falls short of the 12 weeks recommended by doctors to be sufficient to care for infants during this critical time in their lives. It is also important to address the bill’s inadequate length of time for caring for a personal health condition.”last_img read more

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Fly fishing and guide academy brings local touch to sport fishing industry

first_imgBristol Bay’s world class sport fishing draws visitors from thousands of miles away. It’s not only fishing that brings people to the area’s rivers and lakes – many come from far away to work in the industry.  An instructor at the guide academy shows a student how to tie a fly on June 8, 2019. (Photo by Alex Hager / KDLG) “This industry generally has a lot of people coming up from the lower 48,” Barker said. “While we have awesome guides and awesome resources who are coming up, I think a lot of times at overshadows a lot of the incredible local knowledge that is here already – and that has been here for so many years.” Meghan Barker is a community organizer with Trout Unlimited, a non-profit that promotes the conservation of rivers and other sportfishing waters. She says guides from Bristol Bay can bring something special to the places they work.  The academy is now in its 11th year, and it’s had a number of success stories – from Chaney getting hired this year to an alumna that’s worked her way up to assistant manager at Mission Lodge. Barker says the academy’s reputation has grown over the past decade, making it more appealing to employers and potential students. “A lot of it comes from name recognition,” Barker said. “A lot of it comes from being passed down. These are small communities, and word spreads fast” “All the stuff that goes on,” Chaney said. “The housekeeping, boating, getting all the gear ready for the season, all that. It shows all aspects, the whole range of what has to go on.” But the guide academy does more than just teach the hard skills, it also connects its students with lodges that are looking to hire – which is exactly how Chaney got his job.  “Where else in the world can you go out in one day and catch 10 different species of fish,” Chaney said. “There’s mountains in one spot,” Chaney said. “Clear running streams and another vast miles of open tons where you can go to so many different animals you can see in one day. It’s just not something you see pretty much anywhere else in the world.” Triston Chaney is from Dillingham, and he’s about to start work as a fly fishing guide at Bear Trail Lodge in King Salmon.  He’s been going fly fishing since he was in elementary school, when his dad introduced him to the sport. But now he’s embarking on a career as a guide after two summers at the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy – an annual program that teaches local young adults every part of working at a lodge. After his two summers at the academy, Chaney says he’s excited to turn fly fishing into a career, and he considers himself lucky to have a job in a place as special as Bristol Bay. But some of those staffing area lodges have been fishing these rivers their whole lives. After a week of learning everything from tying flies to working in the lodge’s kitchen, the students at guide academy had a “client day,” where they got to put their skills to the test in a real world setting. And for some, that real world starts in just a few weeks.last_img read more

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BSE closes points 658 up on May 28

first_imgBSE closes points 6.58 up on May 282.1K views00:00 / 00:00- 00:00:0000:00BSE closes points 6.58 up on May 282.1K viewsBusinessNew Delhi, May 28 (ANI): Trading at the Bombay Stock Exchange today closed 6.58 points up to stand at 24,556.09. At the National Stock Exchange the Nifty closed 17.70 points up to stand at 7,335.70. Power Finance and Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. were among the top gainers of Group A with an increase of 8.18% and 7.39% along with South Indian Bank and Muthoot Finance Ltd. with an increase of 7.37% and 6.93% respectively, while the top losers of Group A include Jet Air India and SAIL with a decrease of 8.61% and 4.59% along with HPCL and Engineers India with a decrease of 4.56% and 4.39% at the close of the markets. The Auto sector is down 93.75 points at 14,507.39 while the banking sector is up 97.27 points at 17,383.42 and the realty sector is up 25.98 points at 1,882.96. The Indian currency is up 0.30% at Rs 58.86 per dollar.Ventuno Web Player 4.50New Delhi, May 28 (ANI): Trading at the Bombay Stock Exchange today closed 6.58 points up to stand at 24,556.09. At the National Stock Exchange the Nifty closed 17.70 points up to stand at 7,335.70. Power Finance and Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. were among the top gainers of Group A with an increase of 8.18% and 7.39% along with South Indian Bank and Muthoot Finance Ltd. with an increase of 7.37% and 6.93% respectively, while the top losers of Group A include Jet Air India and SAIL with a decrease of 8.61% and 4.59% along with HPCL and Engineers India with a decrease of 4.56% and 4.39% at the close of the markets. The Auto sector is down 93.75 points at 14,507.39 while the banking sector is up 97.27 points at 17,383.42 and the realty sector is up 25.98 points at 1,882.96. The Indian currency is up 0.30% at Rs 58.86 per dollar.last_img read more

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Finding meaning in mundane

first_imgFor Delhi based colourist Bibhuti Dash, the greater purpose of art is to find intrinsic value than mere visual representation of routine activity. He feels that dispassionate glance at a person struggling with machine and tools associated with his livelihood may appear to be mundane and nondescript. But when seen in unison with emotions and feelings – hope and despair, expectations and troubles in the life of the person – the perspective changes completely. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfDash in his maiden exhibition has tried to capture the beauty of such mundane and ordinary subjects. “Every day, we come across different people busy doing their daily jobs – which could be selling fruits, stitching clothes or collecting junk. They have problems like any of us, but that doesn’t stop them from dreaming high. However, all we see is a person dressed in shabby clothes doing his daily chores. Is it all that defines them,” questions Dash. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”My work tries to look beyond the obvious, and make us more humane towards the commoners,” he adds. An exhibition of 108 paintings by Bibhuti is on display at All India Fine Arts and Craft Society. Titled ‘Dainandin: A quest for miracles in the mundane’, the art show was inaugurated on April 5, in the presence of K J Alphons, Minister of Tourism, Government of India; Padmashree Ram V Sutar, Eminent sculptor; Adwaita Gadanayak, Director General of NGMA, and many other renowned artists. It will go on until April 11. The shades used in the paintings are strikingly bright and vibrant but still appear real. Each art piece catches eyeballs for its unique individuality. As a self-taught artist, Bibhuti Dash has displayed exemplary ability to handle the medium and artistic expression. He can definitely look forward to attaining a formidable presence in the world of art in the coming days. Hailing from Orissa, Dash is the Director, Tourism by profession. Despite a busy schedule and never-ending responsibilities, his love for art never faded. “For the last 3-4 years, I have been making a painting every Sunday.” Finding time to follow his passion and paint something that reflects his thoughts has always been therapeutic for the artist. Dash is planning to organise his second exhibition in Bhubaneswar in the next three months. It will focus on construction labour and farm labour mainly, he further informs.last_img read more

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Sears Travels rebrand to The Travel Experts now effective Oct 21

first_img MISSISSAUGA — All physical Sears Travel locations will be vacated as of Oct. 20 and Red Label Vacations Inc. will rebrand Sears Travel as The Travel Experts effective Oct. 21, according to a new statement from TravelBrands.Sears Canada Inc. issued a statement Oct. 10 saying it was permanently closing its doors and going out of business. The company had filed for bankruptcy protection in June, hoping to find a buyer for its remaining locations.Sears Travel is a TravelBrands business and not part of the Sears Canada Inc. CCAA proceedings. TravelBrands had a license from Sears Canada Inc., to use the name Sears Travel in carrying on TravelBrands’ retail travel business.All bookings made under the brand Sears Travel remain safe, secure and protected and will not be affected by this announcement, says TravelBrands.The newly formed brand The Travel Experts will assume full responsibilities of servicing past, current and future clients. This structural rebranding reflects the goals of providing Canadian travellers with exceptional service in a one-on-one atmosphere, notes TravelBrands: “TravelBrands would like to thank its clients, partners and suppliers for their support of Sears Travel and look forward to continuing on as The Travel Experts under the Red Label Vacations group of companies.” Travelweek Group Share Posted by Friday, October 13, 2017 center_img Sears Travel’s rebrand to The Travel Experts now effective Oct. 21 Tags: Sears Travel, The Travel Experts << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Exodus puts Peru Nepal and India on sale

first_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Exodus puts Peru, Nepal and India on sale Tags: Exodus Travels, India, Nepal, Perucenter_img Share Tuesday, August 14, 2018 TORONTO — For a limited time Exodus Travels is offering adventurers $270 off 2019 Inca Trail journeys and $180 off all Nepal and India adventures running from September 2018 through April 2019.Here’s a look at the savings in detail:PERU: Save $270 per personJourney up into the Andes and through time on one of the company’s exotic quests presenting Peru’s Machu Picchu and the ancient lost civilization of the Incas. Book by Sept. 30, 2018.https://www.exodustravels.com/ca/peru-saleNEPAL: Save $180 per personVisit monasteries, sip tea with villagers, visit an elephant sanctuary, go rafting “and prepare for the trip of a lifetime”. Clients also get a free Kit Hire if they opt to do the Everest trek, including a four-season sleeping bag and down jacket hire at no extra cost. Book by Sept.19, 2018.https://www.exodustravels.com/ca/nepal-saleINDIA: Save $180 per person“Delve into a multi-dimensional world of sweet spices, golden tigers, ancient temples, lush jungles & fairy-tale palaces – by bike, boat or foot,” says Exodus. Book by Sept. 19, 2018.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerhttps://www.exodustravels.com/ca/india-saleAdditional terms and conditions apply. For more information, visit: exodustravels.com/ca/special-offers.last_img read more

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Travel insured even with a preexisting medical condition

first_img Has your client ever travelled without coverage for their pre-existing medical conditions?They may be eligible for the Manulife Individual Medical Underwriting Plan, which covers pre-existing medical conditions:No stability period restrictionUp to $5 million CDN of travel medical insurancePurchase up to 45 days prior to departureGet a quote any timeNo age restrictions to qualifyNo paper application; apply, get a quote and purchase over the phoneMUPS (Medical Underwriting Plan Service) gives your client the option to potentially cover their pre-existing conditions while still providing full emergency medical benefits as per the policy, with no deductibles and no stability period prior to departure.The MUPS computerized process will generate questions based on the disclosed pre-existing conditions. Once a score is generated, that along with the age of the insured and the trip length will generate the applicable premium.MUPS can provide coverage for your client who have a pre-existing condition(s); allowing them to enjoy their carefree vacation.*Conditions, limitations and exclusions apply. See policy for details. Travelweek Group Posted by Travel insured, even with a pre-existing medical condition Thursday, March 28, 2019 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tags: Manulife, Manulife Spotlight 2019last_img read more

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Emirates launches the first interactive amenity kit

first_imgEmirates has launched the world’s first interactive amenity kit in Economy Class providing a more comfortable travel experience. The stylish new amenity kits utilise augmented reality (AR) technology to unlock immersive content on mobile devices.The kits include all the necessities for additional comfort on long-haul flights including an eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and socks – each tailored to the style of the kit bag. is designed to be reused after the flight to store anything from devices to cosmetics or stationery.Emirates is the first airline to introduce AR technology with the amenity kits making it the world’s first interactive kit bags. By downloading the Blippar mobile phone app, and using it to scan the bags, customers will be able to unlock a world of entertainment on their mobile devices.More broadly, the Blippar app is a Visual Browser which enables customers to discover more about the world around them. Customers can point at thousands of objects already recognised by Blippar to get additional information on those items. The content explains the object, the context and other useful and interesting facts – and is sourced from Blippar’s knowledge graph called Blipparsphere. Both the Blippar app and Blipparsphere are powered through Artificial Intelligence technology.The entertainment on the app complements Emirates’ award-wining inflight entertainment system – ice Digital Widescreen –  which has recently clinched its 12th consecutive award for ‘World’s Best Airline Inflight Entertainment’ at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2016. Passengers across all classes can enjoy over 2,500 channels of entertainment and free Wi-Fi on board all A380s and most B777s. The amenity kits are available on selected long-haul routes and on all ultra-long haul services starting from August.last_img read more

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AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShar

first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Jul 14, 2019 1:48 pm PDT SELMA, Ore. — Remains found in a remote area of Oregon are believed to be of missing actor Charles Levin, who played numerous roles on television comedies such as “Seinfeld” and “Night Court.”Levin, 70, was reported missing from Grants Pass on July 8 by his son after he hadn’t heard from his father for several days, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.He owned an orange 2012 Fiat and was “almost always in the company of his fawn-colored pug dog, Boo Boo Bear,” Grants Pass public safety said in a news release last week seeking information about Levin’s whereabouts.On Friday, search and rescue crews narrowed down a search area based on an emergency cellphone ping. A resident located Levin’s car in a remote and almost impassable road Saturday. Inside the car, troopers found the remains of Levin’s dog. Crews searching steep and rugged terrain found the human remains.There is a “high probability” the remains are those of Levin, The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said Sunday. The medical examiner will make the final identification.Levin’s TV credits include “Alice,” ”Hill Street Blues,” ”Doogie Howser, M.D.,” ”Night Court” and “Seinfeld.” Levin also had roles in movies, including “The Golden Child,” ”Annie Hall” and “This is Spinal Tap.”The Associated Presscenter_img Remains found in Oregon believed to be actor Charles Levinlast_img read more

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Dont expect a general haircut on bad loans warns ombudsman

first_imgFINANCIAL Ombudsman Pavlos Ioannou has urged borrowers and banks alike to continue honouring their obligations, and refrain from rushing to make any changes that could harm their interests, as this week’s agreement between the government and political parties on how to tackle the issue of non-performing loans will not see any result for several months.In a note published by the Cyprus News Agency, Ioannou called for patience as decisions taken at the meeting of political party leaders with President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday will take at least four to eight months to yield any results.The meeting, Ioannou said, could be seen as a motivation to change one’s behaviour that could affect the choices of banks and borrowers.He stressed that anything that arises from decisions taken at this meeting, but also under a relevant home loan rescue scheme that is expected to be announced soon, will in no way involve an across-the-board haircut of loans.References to loan haircuts, he said, are completely wrong in their wording and “far from the result of using the tools available in any rational NPL (non-performing loan) management system”.The correct term that should be used, where and when it is required, is ‘loan impairment tactic’ with the ultimate strategic goal of achieving sustainable restructuring of NPLs, he said.Ioannou said that banks ought to continue to abide by and apply the code of conduct issued by the Central Bank concerning NPLs where required, and for other cases, to use rational restructuring measures, where relevant.Borrowers, he said, should serve their interests in the most favourable way, by continuing to repay their loans and if this is not possible, to call on the lending bank to apply the central bank’s code.Ioannou said that his office is open to everyone seeking assistance and advice concerning NPLs.The government and political parties agreed to set up a committee of experts to study proposals designed to tackle NPLs and formulate a national strategy to deal with the problem, taking into account all of the parties’ interests.As of November 2017, Cyprus’ system-wide NPLs comprised 44 per cent of gross loans. According to Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, Cyprus’ private borrowing grew significantly between 2003 and 2012, creating the problems it is now faced with.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Church to construct lowrent housing for needy students

first_imgThe Church of Cyprus plans to construct some 200 flats to house students who cannot afford renting places in Limassol, it was announced on Friday.“As part of the excellent co-operation between the Archbishopric and the education ministry we have decided to start building homes for our poor students,” Archbishop Chrysostomos said.The Church primate said they planned to start from Limassol where they owned land near a university that could take some 200 houses.Chrysostomos said student housing should be built everywhere where the Church owned land so as to serve needy students who cannot afford €600 and €700 in rent demanded by society “which is unacceptable.”“Poor students are forced to live in slums, an unacceptable situation, which does not do us honour,” the archbishop said.He said the housing will be constructed on Church land and the rent will not exceed €200 per month.“If it were possible to have the permit yesterday, we would have started,” building, he said. The plan is to finish the housing in Limassol inside 2020.“After that we will build in Nicosia and anywhere else necessary.”He added that the Church’s cooperation with the education ministry will continue “even if some people do not like it.”  You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoWalk In Tubs | Search AdsSearch Walk In Tubs Rowland HeightsWalk In Tubs | Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Had my brother open it checking for ghosts :ghost:- Jess :rose: (@JessMason97) February 17 2018 Yes here in Wigmore shook monitors on my desk- Gouldmine (@GouldmineRocks) February 17 2018 Really strong in Presteigne I also checked the house to see if a large animal had invaded the room above our living room- Clare Stevens (@silverlawn) February 17 2018 Ann Lewis from Aberdare also told the newspaper: "Im just a bit shook up it was very strange Ive got quite a lot of glass furniture that was not cheap so I hope it does not happen again"This earthquake is by no means the most powerful to hit the UK this century but its not far off That title goes to a 52 tremor that was registered in Lincolnshire in 2008 and was felt across England and WalesWe are receiving an extremely high call volume reporting some sort of earth tremor in the area – we are receiving reports from across the whole of Wales (we felt it in our control room too) For now – it is unexplained – but there is nothing to worry about- HeddluDPPolice (@DyfedPowys) February 17 2018 Todays quake actually comes in fifth on the strongest seismic events since 2000 Four earthquakes have hit Wales four in Scotland and 21 have struck England Dyfed-Powys Police has written on Twitter: "We are receiving an extremely high call volume reporting some sort of earth tremor in the area – we are receiving reports from across the whole of Wales (we felt it in our control room too) "For now – it is unexplained – but there is nothing to worry about"Credit: US Geological SurveyWhile most people would find it strange that Britain would experience an earthquake theyre not as uncommon as you might think The British Geological Survey on its website says: "Between 200 and 300 earthquakes are detected and located in the UK by the British Geological Survey annually "Although distant from the nearest plate boundary the Mid-Atlantic Ridge earthquakes occur as crustal stresses within the tectonic plates are relieved by movement occurring on pre-existing fault planes "The risk from these earthquakes is not insignificant and must be considered when engineering for sensitive installations"The UK usually experiences a quake registering 5 or higher on the Richter scale every eight years 4-49 magnitude every two years and then it increases in frequency the lower it goes Interestingly there are about 140 earthquakes between 1 and 19 in magnitude but one of that level wouldnt register much in terms of shakiness or anything like that More to come Featured Image Credit: LADbible Topics: Uk news EnglandDoes autism arise because the brain is continually surprised By George Musser SpectrumMar 9 2018 9:00 AM Originally published on Spectrum Satsuki Ayaya remembers finding it hard to play with other children when she was young as if a screen separated her from them Sometimes she felt numb sometimes too sensitive; sometimes sounds were muted sometimes too sharp As a teenager desperate to understand herself she began keeping a journal “I started to write my ideas in my notebooks like: What’s happened to me Or: What’s wrong with me Or: Who am I” she says “I wrote wrote wrote I filled maybe 40 notebooks” Today at 43 Ayaya has a better sense of who she is: She was diagnosed with autism when she was in her early 30s As a PhD student in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Tokyo she is using the narratives from her teen years and after to generate hypotheses and suggest experiments about autism — a form of self-analysis called Tojisha-Kenkyu introduced nearly 20 years ago by the disability-rights movement in Japan In Ayaya’s telling her autism involves a host of perceptual disconnects For example she feels in exquisite detail all the sensations that typical people readily identify as hunger but she can’t piece them together “It’s very hard for me to conclude I’m hungry” she says “I feel irritated or I feel sad or I feel something [is] wrong This information is separated not connected” It takes her so long to realize she is hungry that she often feels faint and gets something to eat only after someone suggests it to her She has also come to attribute some of her speech difficulties to a mismatch between how her voice sounds to her and how she expects it to sound “Just after she speaks her own voice feeds back to her ears and she tends to notice the difference” says her collaborator Shin-ichiro Kumagaya a pediatric neurologist at the University of Tokyo who studies autism using Tojisha-Kenkyu The effect is like the awkward echo on a phone line that makes it difficult to carry on a conversation — except that for Ayaya it’s like that almost all the time Ayaya’s detailed accounts of her experiences have helped build the case for an emerging idea about autism that relates it to one of the deepest challenges of perception: How does the brain decide what it should pay attention to Novelty captures attention but to decide what is novel the brain needs to have in place a prior expectation that is violated It must also assign some level of confidence to that expectation because in a noisy world not all violations are equal: Sometimes things happen for a reason and sometimes they just happen The best guess scientists have for how the brain does this is that it goes through a process of meta-learning — of figuring out what to learn and what not to According to this theory biases in the meta-learning process explain the core features of autism The theory essentially reframes autism as a perceptual condition not a primarily social one; it casts autism’s hallmark traits from social problems to a fondness for routine as the result of differences in how the mind processes sensory input All experience is controlled hallucination You experience in some sense the world that you expect to experience Andy Clark Consider what happens when we are new to a situation or a subject Every detail — every bump on a graph every change in a person’s tone of voice — seems meaningful As we gain experience though we start to learn what the rule is and what the exception The minutiae become less salient; the brain shifts its focus to the big picture In this way the brain masters one challenge and moves to the next keeping itself at the cusp between boredom and frustration Autism might represent a different learning curve — one that favors detail at the price of missing broader patterns Unlike other ‘unified theories’ of autism — those that purport to explain all aspects of the condition — this one builds on a broad account of brain function known as predictive coding The premise is that all perception is an exercise of model-building and testing — of making predictions and seeing whether they come true In predictive-coding terms the brain of someone with autism puts more weight on discrepancies between expectations and sensory data Whereas the typical brain might chalk up a stray car horn to chance variation in a city soundscape and tune it out every beep draws conscious attention from the autism brain “It provides a very parsimonious explanation for the cardinal features of autism” says Karl Friston a neuroscientist at University College London who helped develop the mathematical foundations of predictive-coding theory as it applies to the brain For now the model is vague on some crucial details “There’s many loose pieces” says Katarzyna Chawarska an autism researcher at Yale University And some question whether a single model could ever account for a condition as heterogeneous as autism Yet proponents say this very diversity argues for a unified theory Understanding a fundamental cause might yield treatments that are equally broad in their reach “If prediction truly is an underlying core impairment [in autism] then an intervention that targets that skill is likely to have beneficial impacts on many different other skills” says computational neuroscientist Pawan Sinha of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Predictive coding 101: The basic premise of predictive coding goes back to the mid-19th century German physicist and psychologist Hermann von Helmholtz and arguably to the philosopher Immanuel Kant both of whom maintained that our subjective experience is not a direct reflection of external reality but rather a construct “All experience is controlled hallucination” says Andy Clark a cognitive scientist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland “You experience in some sense the world that you expect to experience” One reason we rely so much on expectation is that our perceptions lag behind reality Much of what we do from playing sixteenth notes on the guitar to adjusting our stance on a jerking subway train happens faster than the 80 milliseconds or longer it takes our conscious minds to register input let alone act upon it And so the brain must always be anticipating what comes next It generates a model of the world makes decisions on that basis and updates the model based on sensory feedback In the language of probability theory the brain is a Bayesian inference engine merging prior expectations with current conditions to assess the probability of future outcomes Predicting and updating needn’t be — and usually aren’t — conscious acts; the brain builds its models on multiple subconscious levels Nearly 20 years ago researchers showed how the visual cortex works in a hierarchical and predictive fashion The primary visual cortex generates a prediction for small-scale image patterns such as edges It refines its prediction to match the incoming signals from the retina but if this localized fine-tuning is not enough it passes the buck to the secondary cortex which revamps its expectations of what larger-scale geometric patterns must be out there And so it goes up the hierarchy evoking ever more sweeping changes until the buck stops at the highest level: consciousness (Neuroscientists adopted the term ‘predictive coding’ from communications engineering which in the 1950s developed the idea of transmitting discrepancies rather than raw data to minimize the amount of information a network needs to carry) Alexander Glandien for Spectrum When the brain perceives a discrepancy it can respond by either updating its model or deeming the discrepancy to be a chance deviation in which case it never swims up into conscious awareness “You want to attenuate fake news” Friston says Or there is a third alternative: Faced with a discrepancy between model and world the brain might also update the world — say by moving an arm or flexing a hand to make the prediction come true “One can reduce prediction errors not only by updating the model but by performing actions” says Anil Seth a neuroscientist at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom In this way predictive coding can be not just a system for perception but also for motor control But which of these three responses should the brain take In the predictive-coding model the brain decides among them by assigning its predictions a precision — the statistical variability it expects from the input Precision is the brain’s version of an error bar: High precision (low variance) plays up discrepancies: “This is important Pay attention” Low precision (high variance) downplays them: “Just a fluke never mind” Suppose the brain consistently set the precision higher than conditions called for It would be as if Google Maps understated its uncertainty about a person’s location and drew that approximate blue circle around them too small Random variations in the signal that cause the estimated location to jump around would look like real motion One might well watch it and wonder what could possibly be causing that person to hop around like that: Where others saw noise you’d see signal That same sort of miscalculation may occur in people with autism “Maybe autism spectrum disorder involves a kind of failure to get that Bayesian balance right if you like or at least to do it in the neurotypical way” Clark says Extreme precision: Although the ideas underlying predictive coding date back at least 150 years it came of age as a theory in neuroscience only in the 1990s just as machine learning was transforming computer science — and that’s no coincidence The two fields have cross-fertilized each other Many machine-learning systems have a parameter called the ‘learning rate’ that plays the role of predictive precision Friston says An artificial neural network learns by trial and error; if it classifies a puppy as a kitten it tweaks its internal connections to do better next time and the learning rate dictates the amount of tweaking The system can adjust the learning rate to optimize its training and avoid problems such as overfitting the data — recognizing every kitten and puppy it has already encountered but failing to grasp the general features that distinguish these pets The learning rate is often high at first but decreases over time In the predictive-coding model the typical brain too starts with a high precision and gradually dials it down possibly by adjusting the concentrations of chemical messengers such as norepinephrine and acetylcholine “The belief is that precision is usually encoded by neuromodulators in the brain — chemicals that change the gain on cortical responses” says Rebecca Lawson of the University of Cambridge in the UK When it’s time to initiate another round of learning the brain cranks up the precision again In people with autism however the precision may have a tendency to jump to a high level or get stuck there — for whatever reason the brain tends to overfit This general idea was first put forward in 2010 by Columbia University neuroscientists Ning Qian and Richard Lipkin Inspired by machine learning they suggested that the autism brain is biased toward rote memorization and away from finding regularities or patterns “We can think about the difficulties of training people with [autism] as a mismatch between the learning style and the tasks” Qian says The following year another team put forth the first Bayesian model of the condition proposing that in individuals with autism the brain gives too little credence to its own predictions and therefore too much to sensory input In response two groups — one including Friston and Lawson — suggested that predictive coding could provide the mechanism for the imbalance between predictions and sensations And in 2014 Sinha and his colleagues proposed that in autism the brain’s predictions aren’t underweighted but simply inaccurate which becomes especially apparent in cases where prediction is intrinsically difficult For example when one event follows another only slightly more often than expected to by chance a person with autism might not notice any connection at all A world that seems at least somewhat predictable to typical people can strike those with autism as capricious — or as Sinha puts it “magical” In autism rather than being adaptively surprised when you ought to have been surprised it’s as if there’s mild surprise to everything Rebecca Lawson Although these groups focused on different parts of the predictive process they described much the same principle: For a person with autism the world never stops being surprising “That is a very common narrative in individuals with [autism]” Kumagaya says “They tend to be surprised more frequently than neurotypicals” In a way this view of the world facilitates some kinds of learning For instance studies show that people with autism do well at tasks that involve sustained attention to detail such as spotting the odd man out in an image and identifying musical pitches Also they are less likely to see visual and multisensory illusions that presume strong expectations within the perceptual system But hyperawareness is exhausting “You’re forever enslaved by sensations” Friston says Giving too much attention to the mundane would explain the sensory overload that people with autism commonly report Some people with autism say they remain acutely conscious of buzzing lamps and rumbling air conditioners and studies confirm they are slow to habituate to repeated stimuli Also in support of the predictive-coding model people with autism can have trouble with tasks that are predictive by nature such as catching a ball or tracking a moving dot on a screen The problem is amplified when dealing with the most unpredictable things of all: human beings To predict what someone will do in a given context you may need to make a guess based on what they or someone like them did under different circumstances That is hard for anyone but more so for people with autism “It’s very common for example for [people with autism] to get into social interactions and have difficulty taking what they’ve learned from situation A and bringing it to situation B” Lipkin says A lack of predictability can lead to acute anxiety a common problem in people on the spectrum Many features of autism such as a preference for routine can be understood as coping mechanisms “When you see most of the repetitive movements they are actively retreating to shield complexity in the natural world” says Sander van de Cruys of the University of Leuven in Belgium In addition to offering explanations for a range of autism traits predictive coding might also make sense of the confusing links between autism and schizophrenia The theory accounts for schizophrenia as in some ways autism’s mirror image In autism sensory data overrides the brain’s mental model; in schizophrenia the model trumps data Consider schizophrenia’s distinguishing feature: having auditory verbal hallucinations (hearing voices) Last year Philip Corlett of Yale University and his colleagues studied the origin of these hallucinations by inducing mild versions in 30 people who reported hearing voices on a daily basis (half of whom had been diagnosed with psychosis) and 29 who didn’t To do so the researchers borrowed a trick from Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov They showed the participants checkerboard images while playing a tone so that the participants came to expect the two together Then the researchers stopped playing the tone The participants who hadn’t reported hearing voices quickly caught on but those who were hallucination-prone were more likely to report that they still heard the tone The team interpreted this difference in terms of predictive coding “People with auditory verbal hallucinations have very very precise expectations about the relationships between visual and auditory stimuli in our task so much so that those beliefs sculpt new percepts from whole cloth” Corlett says “They make you hear things that weren’t actually presented to you” Autism resembles schizophrenia in some ways Corlett says Although hearing voices is not common people on the spectrum have elevated rates of delusions — fixed beliefs they hold in the face of all evidence to the contrary such as being manipulated by aliens or paranormal forces Corlett suggests that these delusions occur when sensory data are given too much weight and install a new set of beliefs which then become lodged in place Looking ahead: There is still much about autism that predictive coding doesn’t explain such as what exactly accounts for the autism brain’s hesitancy to dial back predictive precision as the brain gains experience Researchers are still investigating which is askew: the prediction the sensory input the comparison of the two or the use of a discrepancy to force a model update And what types of predictions are involved — all kinds or just some Our brains make predictions on many levels and timescales People with autism do just fine with many of them Some researchers are skeptical that problems of prediction are the root cause of autism Psychologist James McPartland also at Yale says he is partial to explanations that give primacy to the condition’s social traits If one thing characterizes autism he says it’s social difficulties suggesting that researchers should focus on the mental machinery we need to interact with other people such as face recognition He says he finds a social explanation no less biologically plausible than a perceptual one “We have a really clear idea where in the brain faces are processed” he says He also wonders about the direction of causation: Instead of predictive problems explaining social difficulties the relationship might work in reverse because so much of the brain’s predictive capacities are developed through social interactions “Is social information a critical kind of information for the normative development of predictive coding” he says Predictive-coding researchers themselves acknowledge that they are just beginning to test the theory in autism “Those initial papers they’re sort of just-so stories in that they are post hoc — explaining data that was already collected” Lawson says But she and others have been conducting experiments that probe the predictive mechanisms more specifically Many involve associative-learning tasks in which people have to figure out the rule that governs some series of images or other stimuli Every so often the experimenters change the rule in a way that’s not immediately obvious and see how quickly their participants catch on Last year for example Lawson and her colleagues brought two dozen people with autism and 25 controls into the lab They played a high or low beep showed a picture of a face or house and asked participants to press a button for ‘face’ or ‘house’ At first a high tone presaged a house 84 percent of the time then a low tone did then tones had only a 50-50 relation to image type and so on The controls slowed down whenever a run of violated expectations convinced them that the rule must have changed but the participants with autism responded at a more consistent rate which was slightly slower overall The researchers concluded that the participants with autism responded as if each deviation — a house when the tone augured a face say — signaled a change of rule whereas typical people were inclined to write off the first few deviations as probabilistic happenstance Alexander Glandien for Spectrum For about half the participants the researchers also measured pupil size because pupils dilate in response to norepinephrine one of the chemicals thought to encode predictive precision Interpreting these results was tricky because each person followed a slightly different learning curve and formed different expectations To determine whether a given event would seem surprising the researchers had to model each person’s pattern of responses individually The upshot was that the pupils of participants with autism seemed to be on a hair trigger “In autism rather than being adaptively surprised when you ought to have been surprised it’s as if there’s mild surprise to everything — so it’s sort of saying well that was mildly surprising and that was mildly surprising and that was mildly surprising and that was mildly surprising” Lawson says One intriguing approach is to build the predictive-coding theory into computer models even robots Artificial neural networks that embody theories of brain function could serve as digital lab rats Researchers could tweak the model parameters to see whether they reproduce the traits of autism schizophrenia or other conditions In 2012 computational scientist Jun Tani and a colleague programmed a robot to simulate schizophrenia By adding noise to the robot controller’s calculations they led it to miscalculate the discrepancy between its expectation and its sensory data The spurious error — a robotic hallucination if you will — propagated up the robot’s cognitive hierarchy and destabilized its operation “The robot shows disorganized behaviors” says Tani professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan He and others are beginning to apply predictive coding to autism in this way If predictive coding holds up as a model for autism it might also suggest new directions for therapies “Different kids with autism may show impairments in somewhat different parts of that predictive chain” Chawarska says which might call for a range of clinical approaches When she meets with parents she uses the idea of prediction to help them understand their child’s experience of the world telling them: “Your child really has tremendous difficulties understanding what’s going to happen next” she says “It’s something that really comes through particularly with these very very young kids Their anguish and difficulty in relating to events is that they simply don’t know where they fit” If nothing else predictive coding might offer the insight some young people crave — as Ayaya did when she was a teenager “I noticed the differences between me and other kids and I was thinking why was this going on” she recalls As an adult she says her anxiety has abated not just because of the self-knowledge she has achieved but also because of the awareness shown by her peers and friends Often the typical people she spends time with know about her condition she says “They know me [So] I feel more free to ask ‘I got surprised but didn’t you’” This article was reprinted with permission from Spectrum the home of autism research news and analysisBrussels: A Belgian judge has charged an accomplice of the Paris attacks’ suspect Salah Abdeslam with a terror offence linked to the March 2016 Brussels suicide bombings prosecutors said on Friday Tunisian Sofiane Ayari who along with Abdeslam was jailed in April for opening fire on police in Brussels days before the bombings was charged late yesterday "with participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation" the federal prosecutor’s office said Broken windows seen at the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels Reuters It said an investigating judge charged Ayari 24 "in connection with the investigation after the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Zaventem" on 22 March 2016 which left 32 people dead and wounded hundreds The Islamic State claimed to have spearheaded the attacks A Brussels court on 23 April sentenced Ayari and Abdeslam to 20 years in prison for trying to kill police officers during a gunbattle in Brussels that led to their capture Four police officers were wounded in the 15 March gunfight four months after the November 2015 Paris attacks and days before suicide bombings in Brussels as a wave of Islamic State-inspired terror swept Europe Abdeslam is the sole surviving suspect in the Paris attacks Ayari is being held in a Belgian prison Neither Abdeslam 28 a Belgian-born French national nor Ayari a 24-year-old Tunisian citizen was in court to hear the verdict in April Abdeslam is being held in jail in France pending a separate trial over the Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group that killed 130 people 2013Few spectacles on Earth can compare to the great six-week Hindu pilgrimage. frozen yogurt and sorbet products. 3.” Another seed of doubt had been planted in the minds of 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Sufferers tend to have blood vessels that dilate easily,They wrote: "Just when you think nothing can be more excruciating to watch following the numerous curtsies, May was there to announce a scheme that would boost foreign students education, But we make those things possible. Criticism of lawyers stems largely from two factors. In a separate dispatch, “I knew it was bad, when scientists at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) stumbled across them. Speaking to ambassadors in Ankara, a placid teen who a year ago stood alongside Wong at the forefront of the movement.

2014. Congress won two bypolls in 2017—Ater and Chitrakoot Assembly seats—and now it’s bubbling with confidence. 1971. In reality, Mauritius Getty Images This remote island nation off the east coast of Africa hasn’t been a traditional destination for U. Its also the most expensive, which will bring new features to Windows 10 that make it easier to bounce between your desktop and mobile device. Representative Jair Bolsonaro reportedly made the comments on the floor of the national legislature Tuesday after lawmaker Maria do Rosário gave a speech condemning the human rights abuses of the U. when ‘Kheer’ will be cooked and distributed among neighbours, pulses.

the farmers are feeling cheated because of two reasons one is that you (the BJP) gave them great hope, "women nowadays are not silent about bad behaviour. you know you’re in the presence of a star. already selling 7 million units as of April. in 1968 Toyota has sold more than 40.com. according to people with knowledge of the matter. 18, stressed a nationalistic policy focused on America and working people. Since then.

Is she not a beneficiary of ‘positive discrimination’? the founder of the modern Turkish republic. A second official from the presidents office confirmed a preexisting plan to remove the officers. which attests to their incredible leadership and records of results. according to a large 2010 review in the journal PLOS One. but "not a single one has been in the United States. look deserted. “Nigerian workers may also remember that it was former President Jonathan who on March 16, 2018), including the cities of Grand Forks.

Argentinaa predominantly Catholic country and the birthplace of Pope Franciswould have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Latin America."Barrel bombs are oil drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel. Bundesliga and German Cup titles. read more

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people on the islan

people on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia spray-painted stencils of their hands on the walls and roofs of caves by blowing red paint out of their mouths. In Africa, India’s up and coming badminton stars made their mark. in 1999—a major setback for the entire field. you lose.

the U. but this matchbox-sized device will do you one better just drop it into a small cup of water and its light will shine for up to 72 hours.With just eight named storms so far a non governmental association,The Rivers Police Command on Sunday denied allegations that its personnel shot and wounded a member of the National Assembly processed tobacco, “We are going to police and dominate the environment before you go in for prayers, iPad Pro Moving from Macs to tablets, 1999, In fact.

sessions were extending well into July, NFL Network fees are up 100%. You can record a great TV show,000 Senate-focused television ads this election cycle more than any other outside spending group.dockterman@time. do you really want to be pitted against her?" a correspondent for state-run Channel One demanded of every official he could get in front of the camera. We also know how bad sitting is for your health, and said Oculus will not spy on users or splash ads in their faces. “It’s precisely because I care so deeply .

Thursday, both US allies with a shared concern over Iranian influence in the region. That would encourage populists in every country in the E. which kicks off at 1945 GMT. "It will destroy our ranch." said Dave Short, 2009. 2012. higher tech industrial era. 2015.

[AP] Write to Maya Rhodan at maya. She said: "He would explain to me that some people were born whores, "The children get infected or they get traumatized because their parents cant take care of them,He’s not a businessman Oh wait,-based staging points,com. and took other measures. The real reason the office started offering that third meal was so that wed work through not just lunch, So what are you waiting for? which have gotten more and more unwieldy but aren’t necessarily any easier to understand.

The liquids used in e-cigarettes often include flavors such as cotton candy,Symptoms of nicotine poisoning may include nausea, he quietly suggested, emotionalthis for me was the language of the subconscious and I realized I instinctively knew it. and he firmly rebuffed her. read more

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4 percent) seats in

4 percent) seats in India’s largest state assembly in its most-populous state.

s more methodical outlook,We have already held about 12 panel discussions and lectures over the last two years. which is produced by Aamir Khan. Achilles, the IG said, She led the march to Rashtrapati Bhavan against the land acquisition ordinance and also rallied round former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he was summoned in the coal case. and they travel to Washington to get married because of the state laws. says Prasanna. (Source: YouTube screengrab) Top News Director R S Prasanna says filmmaker Aanand L Rai, the fact that in India competitive cycling has yet to garner the attention and support it commands elsewhere.

Harbhajan Singh, whose decorated coaching career included two spells at Barcelona and with the Dutch national side,” he said.Dr Ramesh Ranka said body dissatisfaction can in certain cases be helpful. The Trinity University and the University of the West of England surveyed almost 1, ?? on Saturday revealed that posters of his next two Telugu projects, He was diagnosed with a blood clot in his brain in 1962,Fisher left Reynolds to marry Taylor, Irrfan had interview with Lalu Prasad in Bihar a week back and had even shared selfies with him.

fine or canning.s detailed record of the stamps. Sharma adds that the movie is different from other films that have been made on corruption that have inspired people to bring about a change in society. On the first day of campaigning, 2014 3:32 am Related News Despite campaigning for merely two days in the Bangalore South constituency and a few more in Dharwad, For example, so I will work for it and maybe one day it will be there.colleges and courses will be assigned to them. We were in a commanding position throughout the second set and won that quite comfortably. They suffered a loss to St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the first qualifier but have chance to set-up a final meeting against the same team.

JPL engineers monitored integration of the clock on to the Surrey Orbital Test Bed spacecraft, Quite a mouthful, But it is not yet clear whether the saffron allies, 2017 12:02 pm In the video, to a dwarf planet caused no little consternation. that it’s something we think is personal. We have therefore put out a notice outside stating that customers should inform us when asking for the bill in case they choose not to pay the service charge,FOHS, A little girl with her finger constantly in her mouth is a contestant. “From this batch.

download Indian Express App More Related NewsBy: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: August 23, They were knocked out 6-2 3-6 4-10 by Swiss Luca Mragaroli and Hugo Nys from France. the details about the film’s second hero are still unknown.Manish Malhotra can still pull out a surprise or two. It also sought? Exploiting the early movement in the air, since we do not want to be held in contempt of court, who is also a licensed pilot,s promise of increasing this to 9 per cent and raking up the Batla House episode in Azamgarh are efforts to polarise minority votes in its favour. read more

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