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January 14, 2011

Fifteen flu sufferers die in Wales in one week

Fifteen flu sufferers die in Wales in one week

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Friday, January 14, 2011

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Over the course of the last week, fifteen people who have suffered from influenza have died in Wales, as reported to the Welsh Assembly Government. The total amount of flu-related deaths in Wales since October 2010 has now increased to 27.

Cquote1.svg Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity. Cquote2.svg

Dr. Tony Jowell, Chief Medical Officer of Wales

On Tuesday, 49 people were being treated in critical care beds in hospitals around Wales, according to health officials. With twelve reported admissions, Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board had the highest amount of critical care patients in Wales. Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board has the second highest total number of patients experiencing this critical care in the country, with eleven being cared for. Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board have nine important care admissions each. Cwm Taf NHS Trust contains five of such patients, while Hywel Dda NHS Trust has three.

The age group of 25–34 years old had the largest amount of meetings with general practitioners; the rate of consultation was 147 people for every 100,000. For all age groups, 93 people out of every one hundred thousand have been consulting with a GP; on January 5, the total figure stood at 85 meetings per 100,000.

“Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity,” said Dr. Tony Jowell, the Chief Medical Officer of Wales. “Most healthy people will recover from flu-like illnesses within five to seven days with plenty of rest and drinking non-alcoholic fluids. On the issue of vaccination against seasonal flu, whilst we have been working to make stocks of the vaccine that was developed against swine flu available to be used where supplies of seasonal flu vaccine have run low, we are now well into the flu season.”

According to Media Wales, 13 patients experiencing flu-related symptoms were getting treatment at Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest on Tuesday. Meanwhile, five were receiving hospital treatment at Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth. Also, Carmarthenshire NHS Trust in Llanelli and West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen both had a solitary patient.

Jowell also commented: “People in at-risk groups are at a higher risk of complications from seasonal flu, and the best protection is early vaccination. A press and publicity campaign has been running since October and has included television, radio and bus adverts to let people know if they are in an at-risk group, and that the vaccine is available free of charge to those groups from GPs. We have also encouraged health boards and GPs to ensure that their patients and front line NHS staff are vaccinated against seasonal flu.”

Throughout the United Kingdom, 62 individuals reportedly died in the last week, as the result of suffering from influenza. The majority of these victims were suffering from swine flu. In most of these cases, the sufferers were aged between 15 and 64. However, nine of the fatalities were of children aged below fourteen.



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November 24, 2010

UK students protest for second time this month

UK students protest for second time this month

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

At least three hundred students gathered outside the gates of Cardiff University.

Mass-walkouts took place today in cities throughout the United Kingdom, as students campaigned against rising tuition fees and government cuts.

Protests took place for the second time in as many weeks in places such as Aberystwyth, Cambridge, Southampton, Liverpool, and Brighton. Events included a ‘study-in’ at the Edinburgh Liberal Democrat headquarters, a 10am protest in Trafalgar Square attended by thousands, and a ‘dress in red’ march in Manchester.

In Cardiff, at least a hundred students rallied outside the main gates of Cardiff University‘s main building, in an event organised by a group named Actions Against Cuts Cardiff, with the support of a member of the National Union of Students executive committee. Occupations of university buildings have also begun in Birmingham, Plymouth, and the Royal Holloway.

In London, students are infuriated by what they say is London South Bank University‘s decision to ban anti-cut related meetings from their campus earlier this month. One student described it as “undemocratic and scandalous” as, according to the students, they were forced out of their booked room by security guards, and prevented from partaking on any on-campus meetings — but South Bank University maintains that it was a “misunderstanding” due to a double-booked room. Dr. Phil Cardew, Pro Vice-Chancellor of LSBU, maintained that “freedom of speech lies at the very heart of the higher education community whether it is academic, political or social debate”, and that “the students were encouraged to continue their discussions in the Students Union”.

A police van was vandalised in Trafalgar Square.

Not all the demonstrations were peaceful. Central London saw two officers injured as the police attempted to hold back the protesters, a police van attacked and vandalised, and three arrests were made. Police, keen to make sure that the 30 Millbank occupation was not repeated, were out in force, clashing with students in Cambridge, where two arrests were made, and kettling protesters of up to a thousand, according to protest organisers, as dusk approached.

The group that organised the protests, the “National Campaign Against Fees And Cuts” (NCAFAC), told students in the run-up to the protests to not “be afraid of blocking traffic if you have enough people”. On their blog, they stated that “[they] would like to see university students planning to march around their campus, bursting into lecture theatres and spreading the word”, a move that would breach many University codes of conduct. When contacted by Wikinews, the group did not respond to requests for clarification.

Universities are facing more than £900m ($1.4bn) cuts in the next three years. This protest comes as, earlier this month, 50,000 students and lecturers took to the streets in a National Union of Students organised rally, which culminated in the violent occupation of the Conservative Party campaign headquarters at 30 Millbank. In Westminster, a student suspected of throwing a fire extinguisher off the headquarters’ roof pleaded guilty in court today, under the charge of violent disorder, and will appear in Southwark Crown Court at a later date for sentencing, the maximum of which is five years imprisonment. Some protesters involved in the 30 Millbank occupation led an ‘energising meeting’ in Cardiff yesterday, prior to today’s demonstration.

Many students do not understand the reasoning behind the cuts. The Trotskyist student group, Cardiff University Socialist Students, wonder why, compared to the “£120 billion the government throws away every year on evaded, avoided and uncollected taxes”, the “few billion” required to pay tuition fees is “tiny”. The group also advocates cutting the Trident nuclear deterrent in order to pay for fees, and wonder why the vice-chancellor of the university was awarded a 4% pay rise (to £275k p.a.) compared to last year, whilst during the economic recession.

Last week, three hundred sixth-formers marched in Finchley, Margaret Thatcher’s old constituency, throwing shirts at the local Tory headquarters, echoing the phrase “They ripped the shirts of our backs”. Lower income college students are hit badly by the budget cuts, as plans to abolish Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the up-to £30 a week subsidy for 16-19 year-old full-time students with household incomes of £30,810 or less.

The protests were primarily organised on the popular social networking site, Facebook. One Facebook user said earlier this week that the protests were “a perfect opportunity for students to show how disappointed we are with Nick Clegg”, who was advised by security officers earlier to desist from cycling from his home in Putney to Downing Street over fears that he could be pounced upon by angry students en route.



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April 5, 2009

Welsh University announces intelligent robot conducting biology experiments

Welsh University announces intelligent robot conducting biology experiments

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Adam is a robot developed by Welsh Aberystwyth University researchers which combines artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation to independently conduct and analyse biological laboratory research.

“What’s new and exciting about Adam is [it is] the first time we’ve managed to show that a computer can not only think up new scientific ideas, but experimentally test them and decide whether they’re true,” said Ross King, a computer science professor and lead researcher at Aberystwyth University, “Adam makes up its own mind what to do. It decides what experiments to do, what to test.” He says that for other lab experiments the hardware is already in place, the only step needed is to change the software.

The artificial intelligence alone spans three computers which holds the databases and analytical software to enable Adam to think. For the yeast experiment, Adam was loaded with databases which hold known information relating to yeasts and organisms. Adam compared all fields in the database to find the areas of missing information from which he devised 20 hypotheses.

Adam’s AI is connected to robotic arms, sensors, incubators and cameras which enable Adam to start over 1,000 individual experiments every day and follow their progress over a week.

A part of the process is that Adam’s AI can cycle and analyze the results of the experiments as well doing routine repetitious lab work. Following Adam’s testing, King’s team manually tested three of Adam’s hypotheses and found that the robot’s conclusions were correct, and each was a breakthrough to the scientific community.

Adam has spawned discussion amongst researchers. William Melek, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Ontario’s University of Waterloo, has noted that to set up the AI needed for subsequent experiments involving new biological variables and criteria, the human expertise would be time consuming to customize it. The usefulness would be limited therefore to the allotment of human input needed to set up Adam.

David Waltz of Columbia University and Bruce Buchanan of the University of Pittsburgh say that “For the foreseeable future, the prospect of using automated systems as assistants holds vast promise as these assistants are becoming not only faster but much broader in their capabilities — more knowledgeable, more creative, and more self-reflective,” They note the potential of such lab assistants which may more efficiently process the research data.

It was reported that Adam cost about $1million in production costs and this was weighed against the costs of hiring lab techs. King said, We made many mistakes and learned from Adam. Eve is a much cleaner design.”

Eve is the second AI computer under development by Professor King’s research team. Eve’s artificial intelligence will be enhanced to analyze compounds needed for medicinal drugs which may treat killer diseases such as malaria.



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March 19, 2005

Europe marks second Iraq invasion anniversary

Europe marks second Iraq invasion anniversary

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Today, Saturday the 19th of March, thousands across Europe marked the second anniversary of the US-led war on Iraq with protest marches and rallies for peace.

Anti-war march in London: In London, UK, police said 45,000 people took part in a march following the traditional route; a Hyde Park start, past the US Embassy and finishing in Trafalgar Square. According to organisers, almost 100,000 people took part. There were no reports of violence or unrest at the rally.

In Istanbul, Turkey, about 15,000 people marched to protest against the continued US presence in Iraq.

Athens, Greece, was brought to a standstill by more than 5000 trade unionists who marched to the US Embassy.

Meanwhile, more than 400 miles away from London, in the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth, about two hundred people also took part in a peace rally. The first annual All Wales Peace Festival (Gwl heddwch a chyfianwnder Cymru gyfan) took place on an unseasonably warm and sunny day for mid-March in the coastal town.

Lasting about an hour, the rally made its way around the streets of the town, making its way to the ruined castle that overlooks the town, where the crowd heard speeches by a number of individuals, including Ken Booth, the head of Aberystwyth University’s renowned International Politics department. There was no suggestion of violence at the rally, with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds making up the march.

Police presence at the march was moderately heavy yet restrained, with the police evidently not wishing for a repeat of the scenes two years ago when authorities were taken completely by surprise as protesters brought much of the town to a halt and occupied the council tax offices for two hours.

Attendance at all protests was a mere shadow of that just before the start of the 2003 war, when London saw over a million take to the streets to protest the imminent invasion.

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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