Most adults living unhealthy lifestyle – BBC News
Most adults living unhealthy lifestyles 4 December 2018 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright SPL The overwhelming majority of adults in England are so unhealthy they put their lives at risk, a survey suggests.
The data from the Health Survey for England showed nearly nine in 10 had at least one unhealthy trait.
That was classed as those who smoke, drink more than 14 units of alcohol, eat fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables, are obese or have low rates of physical activity.
Half of adults have two or more of these risk factors.
Although there are signs some people are giving up some of the unhealthy traits. Britain ‘needs to go on a diet’
The survey from NHS Digital has been published as the Office for National Statistics revealed the latest death rates linked to alcohol.
In 2017, nearly 7,700 people died in the UK from alcohol-specific causes – where the death was wholly attributable.
That is the equivalent to 12.2 deaths per 100,000 people – the highest rate since 2008.
Of the four UK nations, Scotland had the highest rate. What else has the survey suggested? Image copyright SPL
The annual survey asked 8,000 adults and 2,000 children about their lifestyles.
For the first time, it has compared the lifestyles of children with their parents.
It suggested children who have obese parents were around three times more likely to be obese than children of healthy weight parents.
Some 28% of children of an obese mother were also obese, compared with 8% of children whose mother was a healthy weight.
Meanwhile, 24% of children of an obese father were also obese, compared with 9% of children where the father was not overweight or obese.
Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said the findings highlighted the need to tackle the “increasingly obesogenic environments”.
“Children today are bombarded by promotions for unhealthy food and drinks in stores and on the high street and exposed to countless junk food adverts online and during the TV programmes they watch most.” Is there any good news? Image copyright Getty Images
Yes. Cigarette use is falling. In 1993 27% of adults were smokers, last year it was down to 17% with growing numbers turning to vaping.
Drinking alcohol to excess is also down.
It means the most common unhealthy lifestyle trait is low fruit and vegetable consumption.
Although there are high levels of unhealthy lifestyles, around four in 10 adults have no signs of ill-health developing yet.
This was classed as conditions such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels.
There are also strong signs that children are becoming healthier – or at least demonstrating less risky behaviours.
Last year just 5% of eight to 15-year-olds had tried smoking, down from 19% in 1997.
The numbers trying alcohol have dropped from 45% in 2003 to 14% in 2017.
Australian researchers discover unique cancer biomarker – Health – ABC News
Australian researchers discover unique cancer biomarker Share
By health reporter Olivia Willis Professor Matt Trau (left) with researchers Dr Abu Sina and Dr Laura Carrascosa (Supplied: Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, UQ) Share
Professor Matt Trau (left) with researchers Dr Abu Sina and Dr Laura Carrascosa
Supplied: Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, UQ Close
The discovery of a unique DNA signature common to multiple cancers could one day revolutionise the way we diagnose cancer, particularly in its early stages, Australian researchers say. Key points DNA from multiple cancers share a common unique genetic signature Cancer marker can be detected by simple blood test Further research required to see if test is useful for screening
The cancer marker was identified by scientists at the University of Queensland who have also developed a simple test to detect it in blood and biopsy tissue.
Senior researcher Matt Trau said it had been difficult to find a “simple marker” that would distinguish cancer cells from healthy ones.
“We never thought this would be possible, because cancer is so complicated,” said Professor Trau, whose paper is published today in the journal Nature Communications.
“Even for breast cancer, there are a dozen types, so we thought there would be different tests for different types of cancer.”
The researchers were surprised to find the marker appeared in every type of breast cancer they examined, as well as in people with prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma.
“That absolutely stunned us,” Professor Trau said.
“It seems to be a general feature for all cancer.” Researchers relied on epigenetics
Cancer is caused by changes in DNA, which controls the way cells function.
“Usually, the approach to find cancer markers … is to look at the sequence of DNA,” Professor Trau said.
Taking a different tack, he and his colleagues looked instead at patterns of molecules called methyl groups, which decorate the DNA and control which genes are switched on and off.
The position of these molecules forms part of the epigenome — a set of instructions that controls how genes are expressed. Epigenetics explained
The researchers found that in healthy cells, methyl groups are spread out across the genome.
But on the genomes of cancer cells, methyl groups were positioned in intense clusters at specific locations.
“Virtually every piece of cancerous DNA we examined had this highly predictable pattern,” Professor Trau said.
“If you think of a cell as a hard-drive … the epigenome is sort of like the apps the cell is running at any one moment.
“It seems that to launch cancer, you have to run a series of genetic apps.” Nanoparticles key to developing test for marker
The researchers developed a test which can detect cancer cells by picking up this epigenetic pattern in blood and biopsy tissue.
The development was made possible after they discovered that placing the cancerous DNA in a solution caused it to fold up into 3D structures.
It turns out these structures stick to gold, so when cancerous DNA is put into a solution with gold nanoparticles, it attaches to them and instantly changes the colour of solution.
“It’s just a simple blood test that you can see with a naked eye,” said Professor Trau. Further research is required to see if testing for the marker will be useful in cancer screening (Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, UQ) Share
Further research is required to see if testing for the marker will be useful in cancer screening
Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, UQ Close
The scientists tested the technology on 200 human cancer samples and Professor Trau said the accuracy of cancer detection is as high as 90 per cent.
“You can compare that with some of our frontline cancer detection techniques,” he said.
At this stage, the test can only detect the presence of cancer cells, not their type or the stage of the disease.
The research was funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the researchers are now working with the University of Queensland’s commercialisation company UniQuest to further develop the technology. Still early days
Elin Gray, a senior cancer researcher at Edith Cowan University, said the research was exciting piece of work that offered “a lot of potential”.
“It’s in early stages and will have to be validated … but I think it’s very interesting — it’s a totally different approach,” Associate Professor Gray said.
Dr Gray, who studies the cancer biomarkers of melanoma, said more work was needed to determine if the test would be useful as a screening tool.
“If it’s very sensitive, we could use it for early diagnosis of cancer … especially for cancers where there is no screening paradigm, like ovarian and pancreatic,” she said.
Therese Becker, a molecular biologist from the University of New South Wales, agreed the research was “interesting” and required further investigation.
“Like all good science, it raises a lot more questions,” she said.
Whether the biomarker is indeed common to all cancers also remains unclear, Dr Gray said.
“It is universal? We don’t know until it’s tested — it’s impossible to know.”
Professor Trau said the next stage of the research was to conduct more clinical testing.
“We certainly don’t know yet whether it’s the holy grail for all cancer diagnostics, but it looks really interesting,” he said. ABC Health and Wellbeing Newsletter Teaser Want more ABC Health and Wellbeing? Health in your inbox Get the latest health news and information from across the ABC. Sign up
France mulls wealth tax changes as protests intensify | World news
The French government has bowed to gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protesters and abandoned the fuel tax rise that has sparked more than three weeks of violence and seen parts of central Paris in flames.
Just a day after announcing a six-month freeze on the eco-tax, the Elysée Palace declared it was dropping the measure from the 2019 budget.
Hours earlier, the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, had said his government was prepared to reconsider the tax if other solutions could be found to make the transition to cleaner fuel without hitting people in their pockets, as he spoke to MPs during a debate on next year’s finance bill in the Assemblée Nationale.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, the Elysée said that Philippe and the president, Emmanuel Macron , “both wished the increase in the carbon tax be removed” from the budget for 2019.
“The citizen and parliamentary debate in the coming weeks and months will have to find solutions and funding that will meet the challenges of the ecological transition; solutions that will preserve the purchasing power of our citizens,” it added.
François de Rugy, the minister for ecological change, told a French TV news channel he had spoken to Macron to confirm that the eco-tax had been “cancelled for the year 2019”.
De Rugy added: “I had the president on the telephone a few minutes ago. He told me: ‘People have the impression there’s some sort of trick, that it has been suspended but it will come back afterwards.’”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Emmanuel Macron inspects the aftermath of protests in Paris. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
However, Macron has ruled out a return of the impôt de solidarité sur la fortune, or solidarity tax on wealth (ISF). The president reportedly told a meeting of the council of ministers on Wednesday: “We’re not going to unpick anything we’ve done in the last 18 months.”
Lifting part of the ISF was a pillar of Macron’s election campaign and one of the first fiscal measures he implemented on taking power in May 2017, leading to his nickname “ president of the rich ”.
Macron earlier called on all political, social and business leaders to issue a “clear and explicit” appeal for calm as France faced a new round of the gilets jaunes protests which are threatening to destabilise his presidency.
The gilets jaunes have called for further protests, while hauliers are being urged to strike and farmers have announced plans for demonstrations next week.
Speaking to the Assemblée National on Wednesday, a government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, told MPs: “Emmanuel Macron asks all the political and union organisations as well as business leaders to issue a clear and explicit appeal for calm.”
Griveaux added: “What we are living through is no longer political opposition, but opposition to the republic.”
The French protests, like Brexit, are a raging cry for help from the disenfranchised | Pauline Bock Read more
The government was forced into a change of direction after last Saturday’s scenes of running clashes with police, torched cars and buildings, and smashed shop fronts in one of Paris’s most exclusive areas, as well as damage to the Arc de Triomphe in a third week of protests.
Before Wednesday evening’s announcement that the eco-tax rise was being abandoned, representatives of the gilets jaunes movement, which has no official organisation or leadership, dismissed the government’s concessions as too little too late.
Various gilets jaunes organisers have called for wider social reforms, including a rise in the minimum wage and higher taxes on international companies such as Google and Amazon.
Easing the ISF for the wealthy was described by one political commentator as Macron’s “original sin” and has been regarded as socially divisive at a time when French workers have felt increasingly squeezed financially.
The ISF was imposed on those worth more than €1.3m (£1.2m) including their main residence. It has been replaced by the impôt sur la fortune immobilière (ISI) , which in effect lifted or reduced the tax on certain properties, share portfolios and life assurances.
Last year, Philippe said the move would make the country more attractive to investors and stop wealthy people leaving France. The ISI came into effect in January and Griveaux has said it will take 18 to 24 months to see if it brings in more revenue.
The gilets jaunes have been calling for another day of action on Saturday while trying to organise some kind of popular leadership. Previous attempts have led to threats being made against protesters putting themselves forward to give media interviews or meet elected representatives.
Who are the gilets jaunes and what do they want? Read more
André Lannée suggested organising Facebook referend ums to elect two gilets jaunes representatives for every region.Once elected, he said, the group could then propose new legislation.
“We will arrive at the Elysée with a demand. It will be an official delegation, legitimate as it has been elected by popular referenda. We are not going to smash anything up, there is no interest in smashing up our country.” He concluded: “We let nothing go; we continue.”
Across the country, protests and blockades by high school students opposed to plans to introduce criteria for university entrance – at present it is open to anyone with a baccalauréat pass – added to the air of crisis and insurrection in France.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry claimed 142 shops and businesses had been seriously damaged by last Saturday’s clashes in central Paris. An additional 95 were less seriously damaged.
France’s main unions are planning a joint meeting on Thursday and transport leaders are to meet the government minister Élisabeth Borne after calls for a hauliers’ strike from next Sunday.
Blockages at petrol refineries have led to fuel shortages in certain regions and gilets jaunes continue to block a number of refineries, roads and commercial centres.
Recent polls reflect conflicting findings: an IFOP survey found 72% of people in France support the gilets jaunes movement but not the violence. Another poll by BVA found 70% of people thought the freeze in the fuel tax rises should mean the end of the protests.
An IFOP poll showed Macron’s popularity had dropped to a new low of 23%.
Data problems hit O2 mobile network – BBC News
Data problems hit O2 mobile network 6 December 2018 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Getty Images Millions of smartphone users in the UK have lost their data services after the O2 network suffered technical problems.
O2 has 25 million customers, but also provides services for the Sky, Tesco, Giffgaff and Lycamobile networks which have another seven million users.
Many users took to Twitter to complain about the difficulties, which were first reported at about 05:30.
An O2 spokesperson said a software issue identified by a third-party supplier was to blame for the outage.
Ericsson, the Swedish firm that has close links with O2’s Spanish owner Telefonica, told the BBC it was aware of an issue and it was investigating.
O2 added: “We believe other mobile operators around the world are also affected. Our technical teams are working with their teams to ensure this is fixed as quickly as possible.
“We’d encourage our customers to use wi-fi wherever they can and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
O2 has the UK’s second-largest mobile network after EE, which is now owned by BT.
The company has said voice calls are not affected by the problem, but some O2 customers say they cannot make calls or send texts either.
The outage is having knock-on effects for other services that use the O2 network, including Transport for London’s electronic timetable service at bus stops, which has stopped working.
Are you an 02 customer who has been affected by loss of data? Tell us about your experiences by emailing
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285
No Single News Event Will Take Down Trump – The Atlantic
It won’t be a single news event that takes down the president.
Dec 4, 2018
Mikhaila Fogel Associate editor of Lawfare
Benjamin Wittes Editor in chief of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters “Today is the first day I actually thought Donald Trump might not finish his term in office,” said the legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin on CNN last Thursday.
“This is the beginning of the end for Trump,” declared Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general, on MSNBC .
“The deal may be among the biggest news in the nearly 18-month investigation,” wrote Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder, and Norman Eisen in The New York Times .
It happens this way every time: A big news event in the Trump-Russia investigation takes place, and commentators talk about it as though a house of cards were collapsing or a row of dominoes were falling. Each time, it’s the beginning of the end. Each indictment or plea is the “big one.” And then those expectations are disappointed. The sun rises the next day—in the east, as expected—and it sets in the west, as it did the day before. The Trump presidency endures.
Ken White: Three remarkable things about Michael Cohen’s plea
This time it was the new plea deal from Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer. On Thursday, Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress, related to how long into the 2016 campaign he pursued building Trump Tower Moscow—and who exactly was aware of his efforts. In the surprise criminal information that formed the basis of his plea, Cohen admitted that, although he had told Congress the project had ended in January 2016, in advance of the Iowa caucus, planning for the project continued well into June 2016. What’s more, a person named in the criminal information as “Individual 1” but identifiable as Trump, along with his family members and his campaign officials, were briefed on Cohen’s efforts along the way. Additionally, Cohen was in contact with senior Russian officials about the matter.
The admission that the Trump Organization was working secretly—colluding, one might say—with the Russian government on a business deal late into the campaign and that Trump knew about this activity led many observers, including those Quote: d above, to treat this latest plea as the turning point for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
But the underlying metaphors are wrong. There is no sudden bend in the path of the investigation. There is no house of cards. The dominoes will not fall if gently tipped. The administration is not going to come crashing down in response to any single day’s events. The architecture of Trump’s power is more robust than that.
Joshua Zoffer and Niall Ferguson: Mueller and a blue House could bring down Trump
We need to stop thinking of it as a fragile structure waiting for the right poke to fall in on itself. Think instead of the myriad investigations and legal proceedings surrounding the president as a multi-front siege on a walled city that is, in fact, relatively well fortified.
Siege warfare is not a matter of striking precisely the correct blow at the correct moment at a particular stone in the wall. It is a campaign of degradation over a substantial period of time. While those inside the fortified city may rely only on the strength of their walls and their stored resources, the attackers can take their time. Volleys of projectiles—arrows or trebuchets—pepper the city walls and those atop them, while the strength of the defending army diminishes as soldiers slip away and food dwindles. Moreover, active conflict is an episodic, not a constant, feature of siege warfare; the enemy army can encamp outside the walled city and blockade it without firing a shot. Over time, the walls and defending forces become degraded to such a degree that the invaders are able to scale the walls and sack the city.
No, Mueller and his forces are not a Mongol horde, but the Trump White House is very much under siege.
Mueller’s army isn’t the only force encircling Trump’s fortress, but it is the largest and most active force, and it actually has several distinct encampments. One contingent of Mueller’s forces is charged with investigating efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 election. In this capacity, the special counsel’s office has indicted individuals associated with the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that has spread disinformation and propaganda on social media. His office also indicted 13 members of the Russian military intelligence organization, the GRU, in connection with deliberately hacking into the Democratic National Committee server and passing the fruits of that hack to WikiLeaks “to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
Read: Is WikiLeaks a Russian front?
The immediate threat this particular force poses to the castle right now involves its evident interest in Roger Stone and the group of people around him. The GRU indictment does not name Stone, but he has publicly admitted that he is the person referred to in the indictment “who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump” and who corresponded with a fake hacktivist persona used by the Russians.
This front of the siege has become hot in recent months and will likely remain an area of intense activity over the coming weeks. Recently, Jerome Corsi publicly shared a draft statement of offense in connection with a plea agreement offered him by the special counsel’s office. The document details contact between Corsi and an individual reported to be Stone regarding WikiLeaks’ planned release of the hacked material. Moreover, in the coming weeks, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on whether Andrew Miller, another Stone associate, is obligated to testify before Mueller’s grand jury. Miller had appealed a contempt citation, contending that Mueller’s appointment was unconstitutional. Stone and Corsi both seem to expect indictments.
This front is likely to remain active and to generate big news events. But note as well if and when either man or both face charges, that will not be the sky falling for Trump any more than last week’s Cohen plea was. It will be just another set of stones blasted out of the city walls.
Last week’s events revealed another force surrounding the castle, also under Mueller’s command: the investigation of Trump’s efforts to do financial business in Russia. The president, while insisting there was “ NO Collusion with Russia, ” admitted that he “ lightly looked ” into building a tower in Moscow months into the 2016 campaign. Trebuchets from the Cohen front sounded into Friday evening, when Cohen’s lawyers filed a sentencing memorandum as a follow-up to the guilty plea. In the memo, Cohen’s legal team said that Cohen “remained in close and regular contact with White House–based staff and legal counsel to Client-1,” another euphemism for Trump. It’s unclear to what extent this investigation is one and the same with the main Mueller collusion force, but it is evidently an active matter, too.
Benjamin Wittes: It’s probably too late to stop Mueller .
Mueller’s forces also include a major encampment focused on obstruction of justice. This force has so far not done anything the public can see, but it may be getting ready to launch some kind of report against the castle. And this report, whenever it materializes, may prove devastating. But note that the day such a report is completed will also not be the “big one”—the cataclysmic event that causes the house of cards to collapse. After all, any report would likely have to undergo a lengthy approval process, either from within the Justice Department or by the courts, or both. It might have to be approved by Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, before being released. It may have significant classified components. Even if the findings in this report are of bombshell proportions, given that it is unlikely Mueller will reject Office of Legal Counsel guidelines against the indictment of a sitting president, the damage that bombshell will inflict will ultimately be determined by Congress, and its detonation would likely be substantially delayed.
The forces in the castle have actually fought off one part of the besieging fighters. Paul Manafort has floated in and out of headlines throughout the siege. He was the first person, along with his longtime business associate Rick Gates, to be charged by the special counsel in October 2017 for various financial crimes. After his first conviction and subsequent guilty plea and cooperation agreement , his “flipping” appeared to pose a major threat to Trump. But that threat seems to have passed. The special counsel has declared that Manafort is still lying and has breached his plea agreement, and will file a memo this week detailing the extent of Manafort’s breach. This sucks for Manafort, but it’s great news for the folks in the castle. He’s almost certainly useless at this stage as a witness for Mueller. The part of the siege represented by Manafort has, at least for now, lifted.
Possibly more threatening, if less high profile, is Michael Flynn, the former national-security adviser, who is expected to appear for sentencing on December 17. Flynn’s sentencing hearing has been delayed for months, signaling active cooperation of some sort. Back in December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in relation to conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He’s been silent since. Nobody knows what his cooperation with Mueller has consisted of—and thus how worried the forces in the castle should be about the Flynn encampment.
Cohen’s sentencing memo highlighted the presence of some allied forces around the castle separate from Mueller. It described, for example, Cohen’s cooperation with prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, the prosecutors who reached Michael Cohen’s first plea agreement back in August. You remember this force: Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, and two counts of campaign-finance violations involving hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. This front is also active. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that David Pecker, CEO of American Media Inc., has been granted immunity in the criminal investigation related to the investigation into Cohen. Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was also granted limited immunity in this case. This front could explode at any time, but again, if and when it does so, the sun will rise and set the next day then too.
Read: What Michael Cohen’s guilty plea means for Trump
Cohen’s Saturday sentencing memo also put the spotlight on a non-federal front in this siege: New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s civil suit against the Trump Foundation for “a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade,” for which she seeks $2.8 million in restitution. As the Cohen sentencing memo notes , Cohen has cooperated extensively with this suit as well as with investigations run by New York tax authorities.
There is also an encampment made up of private litigants. Trump is facing civil litigation regarding possible violation of the Emoluments Clause pending in the District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs are Democrat lawmakers. He also faces additional lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of his appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general following the forced resignation of Jeff Sessions.
Finally, there’s the big new army marching on the Trump fortress, with an expected arrival of January 3, 2019: The leadership of the new Congress has already promised to intensify oversight of this administration. Representative Adam Schiff, incoming head of the House Intelligence Committee, has hinted at a restart of that committee’s moribund investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Other committees will be aggressive as well.
Meanwhile, the castle’s defenders are slipping away at night: John Dowd , the president’s personal lawyer, has left matters in the dubious hands of Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow. The White House counsel’s office is a ghost town. Ty Cobb and White House Counsel Don McGahn are both gone. The office now appears to be manned by acting White House Counsel Emmet Flood and a skeleton staff of 25 lawyers (of the estimated 40 it would require to handle its workload).
So what will the big one look like, if not some Mueller-lobbed bombshell? When the walls are finally breached, how will we know that it really is the beginning of the end? Here’s a hint: The big one will not be a legal development, an indictment, or a plea. It will be a political development—that moment when the American political system decides not to tolerate the facts available to it any longer. What does that look like? It looks like impeachment. It looks like enough Republicans breaking with the president to seriously jeopardize his chances of renomination or reelection. The legal developments will degrade the walls. But only this sort of political battering ram can breach them.
Not all sieges succeed. Mont-Saint-Michel, a tiny fortified island off the coast of France, withstood English siege for the entirety of the Hundred Years’ War. If the political system does not come to care about what we are learning, it doesn’t matter how many boulders Mueller hurls against the walls of Castle Trump; the forces laying siege to it will, like the defeated Ottoman Empire after the siege of Vienna, eventually slink away into the snow.
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