Science & Environment:
The Good: Disabled Mice Made To Walk Again
This week major efforts were made in healthcare for paralyzed patients as doctors successfully helped a paralyzed mouse regain it’s ability to walk. Zhigang He who led the team of physicians says: “For this fairly severe type of spinal cord injury, this is most significant functional recovery we know of…we saw 80 percent of mice treated with this compound recover their stepping ability.” While many efforts have been made to cure paralysis by focusing on regenerating nerve fibers, He decided to try an alternative route that used a combination of therapy, electrical stimulation and protein regeneration.
Researchers have known for sometime that electric stimulation has been the most useful treatment for spinal cord injuries, however, He and his team decided to create a pharmacological antidote with the same effects. Continued researched uncovered that when the spinal cord is severed, even partially, the body slows in producing a protein called KCC2 which is crucial to recovery regardless of treatment. He created a compound known for increasing the production of KCC2 which helped the remaining healthy nerves to receive signals from the brain.
The doctors treated mice for 8-10 weeks and successfully rehabilitated several mice who eventually regained use of their legs. The approach to treatment will likely inspire similar experiments on paralyzed patients who still have healthy nerves.
The Bad: Sickening Video Of Dominican Republic’s Polluted Coast Surfaces
As concerns about the environment continue to boil over across the world, a video has surfaced dispelling any naysayers claiming there’s an over exaggeration of conditions. The Dominican Republic is often seen as a luscious vacation destination however the video posted repaints the portrait of luxurious resorts and good times. The video taken near the shores of Playa Montesinos shows plastic pollution consuming it’s shores.
Environmental organizations are capitalizing on the attention the video is creating asking for people to do their part in protecting the planet as well as big businesses who offer plastic products such as supermarkets and restaurants. The clip was retweeted by the Environment Media Association’s twitter account demanding viewers to “retweet for our oceans”.
The issues of over accumulation began last year as a battle between city council members and their contracted waste management company argued over a “dramatic” hike in fees. The Lajun Corporation says that several municipalities have refused to pay their debts and have begun running a media campaign to force their hand. The mayor of Santo Domingo, Santos Junior has declared a state of emergency and asked the ministry of health to step in and prevent the spread of disease.
The Good: South Korean Government Ordered To Pay Families Of Ferry Drowning
Fours years after the tragedy that rocked the world from the waters of Seoul, South Korea, a court has concluded that the South Korean government is partially liable for the sinking of a ferry that killed over 300 people who were mostly high school students on vacation. A South Korean news agency has reported that a court has heard the suit filed by the victim’s families and has ordered the government to pay families 200 million South Korean won (US$177,000). In addition, they will be forced to pay the families who lost high school students an additional 40 million won (about $35,200).
After an investigation into the sinking, the court found that the crew, captain and coast guard were guilty of negligence; telling passengers to stay put as the ship sank. The captain, Lee Joon-seok has been tried and sentenced to life in prison for murder. The trajedy’s black mark has also affected the political atmosphere in South Korea after their President during the crisis, Park Geun-hye was not only impeached but also brought up on corruption charges after being mostly absent as the story initially unfolded fueling questions about his competency.
As Yoo Kyung-keun held back tears, she spoke of the children who had recently been rescued from the Thailand caves’, wishing the same care had been afforded their youth and wishing she was a Thai national.
The Bad: 300 Crocodiles Killed In Indonesia
Following the funeral of a victim identified as Sugito (most Indonesian people only have one name), Basar Manullang, the head of the local Natural Resources and Conservation Agency in West Papua confirmed Monday that 292 crocodiles were slaughtered after one attacked Sugito while he was looking for animal feed around a crocodile’s breeding nest. Although sympathies were extended to the family who lost their loved one, police say that the killing of the crocodiles was vengeful and unlawful. The family operating the nest was legally licensed and in good standing.
Authorities have begun strategizing how to prevent a second occurrence and are urging licensee’s to better protect their farm’s perimeters to prevent trespassers and innocents from wandering inside a dangerous zone unknowingly. Animal rights activists across the world have expressed outrage calling for punishment from those involved, however repercussions don’t seem to be a priority for Thai officials.
The Good: 2 CVS Employees Fired For Calling Police Over Coupon
As the 911 calls for blacks doing everyday things continues to rise and the outlandish stories continue to reach social media, CVS is the latest company to become the center of the discrimination conversation. Two employees were fired for calling police after a black women tried redeeming a coupon. In a statement issued by CVS to Camilla Hudson, who was the victim of the discriminatory treatment, they explained both employee’s had been let go and reassured Hudson that inclusion and diversity were a top priority for the company. The employee who was recorded in the video has been identified as Morry Matson who hasn’t commented on the events.
According to Hudson, she went to CVS in an attempt to redeem a coupon she had received by mail that expired on December 31st, 2018. After seeing the coupon, Matson said he believed the coupon to be fraudulent and wouldn’t accept it. After Hudson asked Matson, for his name and job title, she explains he became rude and walked away from her. After another employee is seen on video asking to leave the store before police arrive, Hudson states that she has no issue with law enforcement being called and spoke to law enforcement personnel when they arrived on the scene. Police never filed a report on the incident, detained or arrested Hudson.
The Bad: Wells Fargo Caught In Another Scandal
After Wells Fargo was caught deceiving customers into purchasing products they didn’t need and opening fake accounts in their names, the scandal ridden establishment is back at center stage to answer more questions about additional fraudulent products they offered to unwitting consumers. A petition in court claims that telemarketers and bank agents convinced people to purchase products they didn’t fully understand or need and has forced Wells Fargo to refund what’s expected to be millions of dollars.
Identity protection, pet insurance and debt collection were just a few examples of the dozens of “add-on” products brought up in the suit. Fargo has issued a statement claiming they are still calculating the costs of the refunds assuring customers: “If issues are found during this review, we will make things right with customers in the form of refunds or remediation.”
Coming off of a 4 million dollar lawsuit after it’s last scandal, Fargo and several other major banks are struggling to keep the trust of their customers. Citibank refunded 700 million to customers for deceptive marketing and retention tactics, and J.P. Morgan paid out 309 million for credit protection it did not actually offer to customers. The federal government has hit Wells Fargo with sanctions that will prevent the bank from growing it’s business until the problems are proven to be fixed and restitution paid to victims.
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