Posts tagged with "Yahoo"

Moderna announces vaccine nearly 95% effective

November 17, 2020

The new vaccine from Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna, the biotechnology company, is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, according to a release from the company on November 16—making it the second vaccine to look promising enough to hit the market soon in America, Yahoo reports in an article picked up from the blog, Eat This, Not That.

Last week, New York City-based Pfizer’s vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective.

“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement. “Since early January, we have chased this virus with the intent to protect as many people around the world as possible. All along, we have known that each day matters.”

Bancel emphasizes, “This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease.”

On hearing the news, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor commented to CNN, “These are obviously very exciting results …. It’s just as good as it gets—94.5% is truly outstanding.”

Regarding the timetable, Fauci said of the Pfizer vaccine the following, which could also apply to Moderna: “What will happen is that,” after the emergency authorization is approved, “at the end of November, the beginning of December, if that goes through—and again, I don’t want to get ahead of the FDA, if they’re going to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s—but I believe with the impressive nature of the data that that should go through smoothly, that by the time we get into December, we’ll be able to have doses available for people who are judged to be at the highest priority to get.”

As for logistics, “about getting the supply chain intact with the cold requirements”—the vaccine needs to be shipped at a certain low temperature—”that’s all been anticipated and part of Operation Warp Speed, particularly on the general, Gus Perna, the general from the army who has been responsible for making sure this goes smoothly. We anticipate, although they’re all logistic challenges that it will be done successfully.”

As for who gets these vaccines first, Fauci said: “What we have well-established in this country is that the ultimate decision of the distribution in priority, or it goes with the CDC, their advisory committee on immunization practices, traditionally over the years for other vaccines has been responsible for advising them as to the prioritization of the distribution.”

Regular folks with no underlying conditions might have theirs by April.

Research contact: @Yahoo

‘Got milk?’ A popular ad campaign returns, with some changes

August 20, 2020

Consumers across the country are once again being asked a very important question: “Got milk?” Yes, the iconic advertising tagline is back, but not in the same way.

On August 3, the dairy industry, led by MilkPEP, relaunched the iconic advertising campaign. This revamped spots are targeted toward a new generation of viewers—with content that is optimistic and filled with energy, designed to connect with families and kids and is driven by real people and behaviors.

Specifically, the American Dairy Association says, “The refreshed ‘got milk?’ campaign has been adapted to reflect how families—and, more specifically, kids—consume media. Social media influencers are highlighted instead of celebrities to drive awareness of the campaign.”

To kick off the challenge, six-time Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky posted a video of herself swimming a lap in a pool with a glass of milk on her head without spilling it. The incredible video went viral and now consumers and other past and present winning swimmers—including Mark Spitz, who took seven golds home from the 1972 Munich Games— are showing off their “something amazing” while not spilling their milk. Ledecky’s video also went viral in the media, with already 1,600 media placements (and counting!), including mentions on ESPNYahoo!USA Today and many other national and local media outlets.

Indeed, during the first week, which started August 7, all the videos with #gotmilkchallenge have been viewed more than 2.3 billion (yes, billion) times! 

On social media platforms, including ADA North East’s, consumers are encouraged to follow Ladecky’s lead by recording a short video pouring a glass of milk and then “doing something amazing” without spilling the milk. Consumers are then encouraged to post the video to social media at #gotmilkchallenge.

The ADA North East marketing team is working closely with MilkPEP to amplify the new “got milk?” campaign. The team at ADA has launched a contest for consumers in the Northeast to post their #gotmilkchallenge video to social media where users add a second hashtag – #milkmovesme. Each post will be entered for a chance to win fun prizes. 

Research contact: @AmericanDairyNE

N.Y. Governor Cuomo excoriates Congress for politicizing federal funding to hard-hit states

May 29, 2020

After a visit to the White House to discuss New York State-based infrastructure projects that could provide a “bailout with a legacy”—among them, plans for extending the 2nd Avenue Subway in the Big Apple and constructing two new tunnels across the Hudson River to carry Amtrak trains that service the northeast—New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sat down for a briefing at the National Press Club on May 27, delivering a fiery defense of federal funding to states that have been hit hard by the coronavirus.

He excoriated Congressional Republicans for politicizing aid to the states by giving preference to red states over blue. And in doing so, Cuomo specifically directed his message at critics such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida), The Washington Post reported.

 “Stop abusing New York. Stop abusing New Jersey,” Cuomo said to lawmakers in Congress, adding, “Stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the COVID virus through no fault of their own.”

This hyper-partisan Washington environment is toxic for this country,” said the governor, according to a transcript posted by Yahoo. “We have people saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to pass a bill that helps Democratic states. It would be a blue-state bailout.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell , Republican of Kentucky, said Cuomo, is interested in “Stopping blue state bailouts.”

Senator Rick Scott of Florida (R) has said, according to Cuomo, “We’re supposed to bail them out? That’s not right.”

“This is really an ugly, ugly sentiment,” maintained the New York Governor. “It is an un-American response. We’re still the United States. Those words meant something.”

Cuomo said he isn’t asking the federal government to do his state’s job.

“I understand that states are responsible for the reopening … but, at the same time, the federal government has a role to play and it has to play a part. There cannot be a national recovery if the state and local governments are not funded. That is a fact.”

Washington is now debating a new recovery bill, he said.

“Previous bills have helped large business, small businesses, all kinds of businesses. Hotels. Airlines. That’s great,” maintained Cuomo. But state and local governments fund schools and hospitals, police, fire.

“The COVID states — the states that bore the brunt — they’re one-third of the GDP,” noted the governor. “How can you tell one-third of the country to go to heck and think that you’re going to see an economic rebound?”

“Also, state economies, that’s what the national economy is made of,” he said. “There is no nation without the states. They tend to forget that in this town.”

Scott fired back in a statement, declaring that Congress will not “use a health crisis and taxpayer money to bail out poorly-run states like Governor Cuomo’s New York.”

McConnell’s office pointed to remarks the Senate majority leader made Tuesday, when he said that “there may be some additional assistance” for states in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation “if it’s directly related to COVID-19.”

Cuomo also pushed back on the notion that the coronavirus came to the United States from China, an argument that Trump and GOP lawmakers have increasingly made as the pandemic has swept across the country.

“It didn’t come from China. It came from Europe, and we bore the brunt of it. And now you want to hold that against us because we bore the brunt of a national mistake?” he asked.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Biden gets another boost from rivals-turned-endorsers Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and O’Rourke

March 4, 2020

Following his bang-up win in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, February 29, former Vice President Joe Biden would be justified in invoking the famous Mark Twain quip, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Biden, who had been struggling until that crucial victory, took home 35 delegates (for a total of 54) and 48.4% of the vote from the Palmetto State; compared to Bernie Sanders’ booty of 13 delegates (for a total of 60) and 19.9% of the vote, The Huffington Post reported.

But the stakes were much higher on Super Tuesday, March 3, when 14 states—among them, California and Texas, with 415 and 228 pledged candidates, respectively—were scheduled to go to the polls for their Democratic primaries, as Yahoo reports.

However, a new wave of endorsements, coming the night before the Super Tuesday polls opened, could give Biden the boost from moderate voters that he needs.He appeared on stage with former rivals Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke on Monday night and presented his emerging two-person race with Bernie Sanders as a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, NBC News reports.

Pete Buttigieg flew from South Bend, Indiana, to Dallas to endorse Biden before his rally but returned home and did not join the former vice president at the event.

At the rally, Biden told cheering supporters that Super Tuesday voters are “going to determine what this party stands for, what we believe,and what we’re going to get done” — and took a series of swipes at Sanders.

“If Democrats want a nominee who will build on Obamacare, not scrap it; take on the NRA and gun manufacturers, protect our children; who’ll stand up for the middle class, not raise their taxes and make promises that can’t be kept, then join us,” Biden said. “If Democrats want a nominee who’s a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, then join us. We can either win big or lose big, that’s the choice.”

According to the NBC News story, a running theme in the remarks of Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and O’Rourke was that Biden is the party’s best chance at victory and offers a decent and caring alternative to President Donald Trump.

“We need somebody who can beat Donald Trump. The man in the White House today poses an existential threat to this country, to our democracy, to free and fair elections, and we need somebody who can beat him,” O’Rourke said. “In Joe Biden, we have that man.”

Buttigieg said Biden would “bring back dignity to the White House” if elected president and “change the toxic and divisive nature of our politics right now.”

“He is somebody of such extraordinary grace and kindness and empathy,” said the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Klobuchar appeared to take a veiled dig at Sanders: “It is time for a president who represents all of America, including people at the middle of this country, at a time when we see people in extremes that are trying to drown out people,” she said.

Speaking to reporters in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, Sanders addressed the consolidation of party elites behind Biden, calling it “a massive effort trying to stop Bernie Sanders,” NBC said.

“The corporate establishment is coming together. The political establishment is coming together and they will do everything. They are really getting nervous that working people are standing up…We are winning working class voters, by big numbers,” Sanders said. “So it doesn’t surprise me why would I be surprised that establishment politicians are coming together?”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump on track to become third U.S. president to be impeached

December 18, 2019

President Donald Trump has proven himself to be no match for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On Wednesday, he faced an odds-on impeachment vote in the House, where Democrats enjoy a 36-seat majority, Reuters reported.

In voting for his impeachment, the House would make Trump the third president in U.S. history to be accused of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as described in the Constitution—and declared guilty by official ballot.

Trump faces one charge of abusing his power by extorting Ukraine to investigate Biden, a leading Democratic contender to oppose him in the 2020 U.S. presidential election; and one of obstructing Congress’ investigation into the matter, Reuters said.

The president has denied wrongdoing and accused Democrats of a baseless and politically-motivated bid to oust him from power.

In a six-page letter delivered to Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote, Trump tried to turn the tables on the Democrats: “You are the ones interfering in America’s elections,” he wrote. “You are the ones subverting America’s Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish, personal political, and partisan gain.”

A majority vote in the House would set the stage for a trial in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already has vowed to follow the lead of the president and the White House counsel.

Republicans hold 53 of the 100 seats in the Senate, where they appear likely to prevail in any trial against Trump, which would require a two-thirds majority of those present to remove him from office, Reuters noted.

Seeking to shape any trial, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called on Sunday for testimony from the Trump aides who allegedly viewed his criminal actions personally: White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, Mulvaney aide Robert Blair, and OMB official Michael Duffey.

“I hope we can come to an agreement about a fair trial,” Schumer told MSNBC in an interview Chris Hayes.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17 on December 13, along party lines, to approve the two articles of impeachment against Trump and to send the matter to the full chamber. Late on Sunday, the panel issued its full report detailing the case against him.

In a tweet on Monday, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said Schumer’s comments seeking fairness were “laughable” after the release of the 658-page report “in the middle of the night. Thankfully the people of this country continue to see the partisan sham that this is.”

Research contact: @Reuters

Use your ‘noodle’: Pastafarianism is not a religion, Dutch court rules

August 17, 2018

The Netherlands Council of State has ruled that Pastafarianism is not a religion—denying a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (yes, it’s a real thing) the right to wear a colander on her head in her passport and driver’s license photos. Plaintiff Mienke de Wilde is now considering taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights, according to an August 16 report by The Guardian.

The church was founded in the United States in 2005 by Bobby Henderson in response to a campaign by Christian fundamentalists, advocating the teaching of creationism in schools. In an open letter, Henderson demanded equal time in science classrooms for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, a faith that preaches that the world was created in one day by the Flying Spaghetti Monster—which created a mountain; then, a tree; and finally, a midget. According to a description on Wikipedia, the dogmas of Pastafarianism are centered on references to noodles and pirates, and on parodies of creationist theories.

Among other things, followers wear colanders on their heads in homage to their deity, revere pirates as the original Pastafarians, and vow to reject “crazy nonsense,” be nice to all sentient beings, and eat a lot of pasta. They say that global warming is the result of the decline of the pirate population.

The Netherlands’ highest court ruled that de Wilde, a law student from Nijmegen, could not be exempted on religious grounds from a ban on headwear in official identity photographs, because Pastfarianism was essentially a satire and not a serious faith.

Officially recognised by the New Zealand government, which approved a follower to conduct marriages in 2015, the church’s status is disputed in many other countries—although several have allowed followers to wear colanders or pirate outfits for ID photographs.

Among its tenets, laid down by Henderson in a 2006 parody of organized religion called The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, are eight “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts.” (According to church gospel, two of the original 10 pseudo-commandments “got lost”). If followed, the Didn’ts allow Pastafarians—who conclude their prayers with “Ramen” rather than “Amen”—to ascend to heaven, where they will find  a stripper factory and a beer volcano.

De Wilde said the church was humorous but that did not mean it was not “very serious in what it stands for.” She was disappointed by the decision, which backed Nijmegen authorities’ rejection of her ID photos.

“I can imagine that it all looks very odd if you don’t believe,” she told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. “But that’s the case with many faiths if you don’t believe in them—people who walk on water or divide themselves in two, for example. I find other religions unbelievable.”

The Dutch council of state was not impressed, however, according to The Guardian’s report. “It may be the case that the colander is considered a holy object for Pastafarians, worn in honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster but there is no obligation to do so,” it said in its ruling.

“In fact, Pastafarianism has no obligations or restrictions. De Wilde has said she wears her colander because she sees it as duty but it is an individual choice.”

Dutch law permits the head to be partially covered for identity photos, but only for genuine religious reasons.

“It is important to be able to criticize religious dogma freely through satire but that does not make such criticism a serious religion,” the council said, adding that Pastafarianism lacked the “seriousness and coherence” required of a religion.

According to Yahoo, there are about 6 billion Pastafarians worldwide, although it is unclear how the site came up with that estimate.

Research contact: @jonhenley

SCOTUS decision hits labor unions where it hurts

June 28, 2018

In a 5-4 decision, written for the Conservative majority by Justice Samuel Alito on June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court found that public-sector workers who are not union members—but who are, nevertheless, represented by a union for bargaining purposes—cannot be required to pay “fair share” union dues.

According to a report by The Washington Post, the resolution of the case,  Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, effectively makes the entire U.S. public sector a “right-to-work” zone. As a result, millions of public employees will have the choice to no longer support unions that must continue to bargain on their behalf.

The latest finding by the court effectively overruled the high court’s decision in the 1977 Abood v. Detroit Education Association case on the grounds that it “was not well-reasoned.”

As the Huffington Post detailed, Janus, as the case was known, was widely seen as the” biggest judicial threat to organized labor in years, if not decades.” The news outlet further noted that, “The ruling in favor of Mark Janus [a state-employed child-support specialist in Illinois] … has the potential to squeeze some of the largest and most powerful unions in the country, reducing their clout in the workplace as well as in national and local politics.”

Alito was joined by Justices Roberts, Thomas, Kennedy, and Gorsuch in the majority decision; Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan dissented.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the minority, said that the decision will have “large scale consequences,” and that “judicial disruption does not get any greater than what the court does today,” as reported by The Hill.

Reading her scathing comments from the bench, Kagan said the majority vote had turned “the First Amendment into a sword and [used] it against workaday economic and regulatory policy.”

In a poll conducted before the court voted by Public Opinion Strategies  and covered by Yahoo!, more than 400 government workers were asked whether they should be required to pay union dues to be represented for bargaining purposes. Fully 62% said they should be allowed to stop paying dues, if they so chose; 33% said they should be mandated to continue paying dues.

The unions rely on the dues of non-members to survive.

Research contact: @POStqia

Making a ‘fast’ buck in Silicon Valley

April 27, 2018

Many Americans are “on the fast track” today—at least intermittently.  Each week, they eat for a few days and fast for a few days in order to lose weight and “purify” their digestive systems.

And those who practice intermittent fasting say it helps them to lose as much as 3% to 8% of their overall weight, Bloomberg reports, as well as 4% to 7% of their waist circumference, over periods between three and 24 weeks.

Indeed, according to a 2017 report by CNN, “Intermittent or alternate-day fasting requires routinely alternating between eating little or no food and then feasting in your daily diet. It has become a growing weight loss trend in the USA, the UK and other regions around the world.”

And although there are no data on how many people have tried fasting, several celebrities praise the practice, Longevity reports—among them, Miranda Kerr, Liv Tyler, Christy Turlington, Ben Affleck, Beyonce and Hugh Jackman.

What’s more, monthly Google searches for “intermittent fasting,” which has become a catchall term for various forms of the practice, have risen tenfold over the past three years, to as many as one million.

It also has caught on in a big way in Silicon Valley, the high-tech bastion near San Francisco. Like most of the health fads that sweep through the valley, this one broke through thanks to word-of-mouth—and a Medium website post.

Entrepreneur Sumaya Kazi told the site’s 650,000 readers that she had dropped 50 pounds on the regimen, while venture capitalist Phil Libin and others preached about it to anyone who would listen, Bloomberg states.

Indeed, Bloomberg notes, a number of meal programs have sprung up in Silicon Valley, in an attempt to profit off fasting—among them:

  • Plate Joy, a $230-a-year meal-plan subscription app that is part of a diabetes prevention program, and has attracted about 20 million followers to its site;.
  • HVMN, a ketone drink formerly known as Nootrobox, which has attracted more than $5 million in venture backing from the likes of former Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer and Zynga founder Mark Pincus;. And
  • ProLon, a very-low-calorie, five-day, $250 diet package that is supposed to mimic the effects of a fast—and includes small portions of soups, drink mixes, breakfast bars, vitamin supplements, and even desserts.

Should you try it? Lauren Smolar, director of programs at the National Eating Disorders Association, thinks the answer is no. “We consistently see cases where people have tried to control their intake of food, and it’s led to an eating disorder,” she told Bloomberg, adding, “There ends up being this kind of reward feeling they’re going through, which triggers them to continue on this diet. And slowly this feeling of losing control, and not being able to know when to stop, can occur.”

 The bottom line, according to Bloomberg: Startups focused on time-restricted feeding and low-calorie meal regimens plan to expand aggressively, but they may be a bit too far ahead of the science.

Research contact: inquiry1@bloomberg.net

Customers don’t care when a CEO quits or gets canned

March 19, 2018

A prominent CEO’s departure from one of the country’s biggest brands will ripple across the news, sparking lengthy analysis by reporters and talking heads, and often cause a shareholder reaction. But, for the general public, it barely causes an impact on brand perception—confirming that what goes on “under the corporate hood” pretty much stays there, according to findings of a poll by YouGov BrandIndex, released on March 15.

The researchers examined five recent CEO departures from well-known global corporations—General Electric, J. Crew, Lululemon, Starbucks, and Yahoo—to see if there was any notable movement on each of their Buzz scores. Buzz scores are derived daily from asking respondents: “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”

In all cases, each brand’s Buzz score either remained unchanged or moved very little in any direction the week after the CEO announcement. This seems to be the case whether a CEO left voluntarily or under more strained circumstances, despite the media circus that can often surround the latter.

Research contact: ted.marzilli@yougov.com