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Teenage Girls receive Lab-Grown Vaginas

Iranian surgical tecnologistFour girls successfully received lab-grown vaginal organs. The girls, between 13 and 18 years old at the time of surgery, were born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome. MKRH is a rare condition where the vagina and uterus are either underdeveloped or absent. Researchers deemed the operations a long-term success.

Reconstructive surgery breakthrough

Anthony Atala, Director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre for Regenerative Medicine led the research team.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” he said.

He added that the study gave a new option for patients in need of vaginal reconstructive surgery. Thanks to it, lab-grown vaginal organs could be used on patients with vaginal cancer or vaginal injuries.

Functionality equals success

Data gathered from checkups show that the organs had normal function.  The four girls answered Female Sexual Function Index questionnaires. Results show that since the surgeries (between June 2005 and October 2008), the girls had been able to experience normal sexual functions.

April 14, 2014 at 10:58 amHealth & Lifestyle

Russia’s Anti-Piracy Law ‘Not Working Effectively,’ Says Putin

Image by  Kremlin.ru | Wikimedia

Image by Kremlin.ru | Wikimedia

Despite having the toughest anti-piracy regime, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that such measures have proven to be ineffective.

‘Not working effectively’

At a meeting with House of the Federation Council members, Putin said that the August 2013 law against piracy did not quite meet its objectives.

“This is an extremely important area, and we still have very much to do here. Even after we have adopted these solutions for intellectual property protection in the field of cinema, recent analysis has shown that it does not work as effectively as we expected. The effect is that all of our protection is reduced to zero,” Putin told the meeting.

“It is necessary to consider additional steps to protect intellectual property rights,” added the president.

The law

The law passed on the first day of August 2013 dictates that site owners should respond immediately to requests from the government to take down infringing content, otherwise the ISP would block the domain.

Not a lot of sites, however, fell victim to this law. Websites simply followed through complaints and took own content upon request, thus avoiding the block.

The authorities are already working on a way to expand the law to have more each in terms of content, as the current version only covers video files.

April 2, 2014 at 2:58 amDirect Service

IP Address Can’t ‘Establish The Identity’ Of Pirate, Says Judge

Image by Collin Anderson | Wikimedia

Image by Collin Anderson | Wikimedia

A Florida District Court judge ruled that an IP address cannot determine the identity of a pirate downloading copyright infringing material.

Malibu Media’s Case

Malibu Media, LLC filed a case against IP address 174.61.81.171, arguing that the address shared one of the company’s films through BitTorrent without permission. The judge did not issue a subpoena, but instead requested that Malibu Media explain how they could pinpoint the real infringer behind the IP address.

The company explained that they used geolocation software that tracked the exact location and confirmed that the address belongs to a residential property and not a public hotspot.

No ‘good cause’

Judge Ungaro saw no concrete evidence that established how the software can identify who is behind the illegal download.

In the order, Ungaro wrote: “Plaintiff has shown that the geolocation software can provide a location for an infringing IP address; however, Plaintiff has not shown how this geolocation software can establish the identity of the Defendant.”

“There is nothing that links the IP address location to the identity of the person actually downloading and viewing Plaintiff’s videos, and establishing whether that person lives in this district,” wrote Ungaro.

March 28, 2014 at 1:29 amDirect Service

UK Must ‘Create Opportunities’ For Young Filmmakers, Says Director

Captain philips Oscar-nominated filmmaker Paul Greengrass says that the UK needs to support young directors and producers more for the industry to thrive.

‘Create opportunities’

At the annual David Lean lecture in the Bafta’s, the “Captain Phillips” director pointed out that only a very little percentage of aspiring directors in the UK get a second shot at making a film.

“Most British films, and it’s well over 80%, are made by inexperienced first-time directors,” said Greengrass.

He also stated how Hollywood productions move to the UK to create films due to lower production costs, at the expense of opportunities for home-grown filmmakers.

“Our industry is booming, which is good, but we have to use that historic opportunity to leverage the tax breaks we offer. Leverage  against the studios, in order to create opportunities for our own producers and directors to make UK-distinctive content, because that’s where the problem is,” said the filmmaker.

‘Respect’

“Directors should be treated as part of the creative process and with respect, as they are in America. We need to push for that,” said the mind behind “Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.”

Greengrass cited “Doctor Who” as an example to prove his point.

“The director who directed the first episode, the one who set that style, who contributed enormously to its success… That director earned by a wide, wide margin less in residuals (repeat fees) than the stuntman. That’s a fact,” he said.

March 24, 2014 at 3:45 amDirect Service

UK To Launch ‘Most Secure,’ Anti-Counterfeiting £1 Coin

The old Royal Mint building

Image by Julie Cookson | Wikimedia

The United Kingdom will soon roll out the coin they dub the “most secure in the world” in 2017: a new £1 coin.

Anti-counterfeiting measure

According to the Royal Mint, 3% of all £1 coins – or roughly 45 million pieces – in circulation are counterfeit, and that this new design – equipped with the latest security measures – would be the way to restore the confidence of the public with the UK currency.

The current £1 coin has been already 30 years old, and many have expressed concerns with its vulnerability to creating fake copies.

‘Pioneering’

Chancellor George Osborne broke the news on Twitter, with a photo of the new coin and the caption: “Today I will deliver a Budget for  resilient economy – starting with a resilient pound coin.”

The new design takes its inspiration from the three pence piece from the early ‘70s.

Royal Mint chief executive Adam Lawrence said that the new, technologically advanced manufacturing of the coin can be the start of a revolutionary change in how countries create coins.

“It is our aim to identify and produce a pioneering new coin which helps to reduce the opportunities for counterfeiting, helping to boost public confidence in the UK’s currency in the process,” said Lawrence.

March 20, 2014 at 5:53 amFinance

Mysterious Flight 370: The Search Expands To Indian Ocean

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 started in the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam and has expanded into the vastness of the Indian Ocean.

The search continues

Malaysia_Airlines_B777

Image by Charaka Ranasinghe | Wikimedia

As days passes by, the wider the search area for the missing plane becomes.

“It’s a completely new game now,” said Cmdr. William Marks of the U.S. 7th Fleet, which is helping in the search.

“We went from a chess board to a football field,” he added when asked to describe the situation.

U.S. officials believe the plane may have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

‘Look further’

USS Kidd, a destroyer from the U.S. Pacific Fleet, headed for area to help with search.

“A normal investigation becomes narrower with time, I understand, as new information focuses the search,” said Hishammuddin Hussein, the minister in charge of defense and transportation, in a statement. “But this is not a normal investigation. In this case, the information we have forces us to look further and further afield.”

March 18, 2014 at 5:21 amDirect Service

US Investment Firm Increases Stakes In Man Utd

Old_Trafford

Image by André Zahn | Wikimedia

Baron Capital, an investment firm in the US, is recently building up stakes in an English club, Manchester United. The club is listed in New York as Manchester United PLC.

Almost a Quarter

Through a stock listing, the Glazer family has sold 10 per cent of its holding in the club back in 2012. But now, Baron Capital is reported to have bought around 24 per cent of those shares.

The shares of Man Utd were down 0.9 early March 11 at $15.71.

Investment Strategy

In spite of such a huge financial move, many experts say that it is simply an investment strategy.  According to financial analyst Andy Green, Baron’s move looks nothing like a takeover.

“This is absolutely not the start of any takeover,” said Green. “You could buy all the shares available on the stock market and you would still only have 10 percent of the club and about 1.3 percent of the votes …. They have a reputation as a long-term investment company.”

Manchester United is one of the most lucrative brands in the sports world, though it is currently struggling in the Premier League season.

March 13, 2014 at 5:04 amFinance

Twitter Bans Explicit Content On Vine App

twitter logo

Image by Denise R

Social media site Twitter has officially banned pornographic content on its video-sharing app Vine.

‘Not a good fit’

Twitter changed its content policy to remove explicit content from Vine, an app that allows users to share videos.

“We’ve found that there’s a very small percentage of videos that are not a good fit for our community,” the company said in a blog post.

The changes go into effect immediately.

Naughty content

As social media sites grow, there’s an increasing tendency that more users share explicit content even though it has already been part of the web culture since the beginning.

But Twitter’s move shows it’s no longer comfortable with that type of content.

Meanwhile, Vine issued a statement regarding Twitter’s latest move.

“For more than 99% of our users, this doesn’t really change anything. For the rest: we don’t have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet – we just prefer not to be the source of it,” said Vine.

March 10, 2014 at 3:31 amE-Commerce

Thousands Of Guatemalans To Evacuate After Pacaya Volcano Eruption

Pacaya Volcano

Image by gregw66

On March 2nd, the Pacaya Volcano erupted and began expelling lava and ash, forcing authorities to relocate approximately three thousand residents of the area.

Eruption Timeline

Officials noted low-level eruptions at the Mackenney crater on February 16th, making it the first eruptive activity monitored at the summit. Prior to this, experts recorded a paroxysmal activity on January 10th, leading to the collapse of the crater floor. On February 25th, the Pacaya Volcano continued to perform mild low-level explosions at the Mackenney Crater. On Saturday, March 2nd, officials observed stronger explosions and the descent of lava flow.

Precautionary Measures

The Pacaya National Park is working with the National Disaster Management Centre to determine whether they need to relocate the three thousand residents of Patrocinio and El Rodeo. According to Humberto Morals, the director of the park, they have already blocked access to the areas surrounding the volcano. Furthermore, officials have redirected flights from the area.

The Guatemalan Government issued a warning, letting people know that they should stay alert and be prepared to evacuate their homes in short notice.

March 4, 2014 at 7:25 amDirect Service

Venezuelan Protesters Vow To Continue “Democratic Fight”

Flag of VenezuelaVenezuela celebrates the death anniversary of former President Hugo Chavez with a weeklong holiday. On its first day, students took to the streets, demanding the government to end the crackdown on protests and release activists who have been in jail for weeks.

Calming the Tensions

Earlier this week, President Nicolas Maduro included Thursday and Friday to the scheduled long carnival weekend. For many, this is the way of the government to calm the growing tension among its citizens.

Sending a Message

On Thursday, hundreds of students gathered in east Caracas, manning burning street barricades and clashing with the authorities. It was their way of telling the government that no holiday will distract them.

According to Juan Requesens, the government wants to demobilize demonstrators with a decree that combines the commemoration of the Caracazo and the Carnival. He says, “Maduro is mistaken… We’re not going to leave our democratic fight for six days at the beach.”

March 3, 2014 at 6:36 amInfo Tech