Yoga in the office? Firms should help us stay well, says public health chief

A standing desk is one of the ways firms can boost employees’ health.

Lunchtime yoga classes, providing help to remove ingrowing toenails and holding meetings while walking around the office – these are just some of the strategies that employers should use to boost staff fitness, according to the NHS public health chief.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, is also backing workplace running clubs, standing desks to improve posture and staff uniting to try to quit smoking as useful ways businesses can improve employee wellbeing.

In an interview with the Observer, Selbie made clear that Britain’s 5.5 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could do much more to tackle the £29bn annual bill for sickness absence while improving productivity and increasing profits at the same time.

“SMEs are the backbone of the nation’s workforce and can kickstart a revolution in helping their staff to improve their health. People spend 30, 40 or sometimes 50 hours a week at work. That’s a unique opportunity for employers to use that big chunk of someone’s week to care for their health,” said Selbie. His plea is aimed at the 5.5 million firms which make up 99% of all private sector businesses and employ 60% of those who work in the private sector.

“Forward-thinking companies are already offering help such as podiatry services to employees who are on their feet all day or group posture exercises for people who stand in the same position for a long time because of their job.

“Employers could adopt group exercise challenges, such as ‘Couch to 5k’ or lunchtime run clubs, and promote active travel like cycling to work. Being regularly active is one of the best ways to prevent and manage poor musculoskeletal health and combat stress, which are both major causes of sickness absence,” he added.

Employers should take a “bottom-up” approach to improving staff health and wellbeing by putting in place ideas that employees want, rather than things that would be “nice to have”, he said.

“We want to see every business take a custom-made approach to employee health by looking at what staff need. We encourage employers to create dynamic environments, workplaces where people can be more active, move more and change positions, with things like standing desks.”

Firms could encourage staff to hold “walking meetings” in the local park rather than sitting down in an office and always eat lunch somewhere other than their desk, Selbie said. Ergonomic assessments of posture could help identify stiffness and pain that may indicate that back problems are emerging which can then be tackled early.

He wants action to encourage more staff to cycle to work. HR Magazine recently found that 33% of employers believe that cyclists are more productive at work than non-cycling colleagues. In addition, 44% of bosses polled said cyclists were more productive

Firms could also use camaraderie between staff to help smokers quit. Selbie suggested using group workplace challenges, such as smokers all signing up to take part in Stoptober together, and that employers could alert workers when mobile bus clinics were due to be in the area.

The PHE boss wants businesses to help staff with their mental health too. “The main way to reduce stress levels is through training line managers in mental health and educating workforces to increase their mental health literacy, and to recognise the signs which indicate that they need support,” he said.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that small firms did not have the advantage of large corporations in being able to use their employees to get discount deals for gym memberships or private health providers, for example.

“The average small employer has around seven employees and their approach is often more akin to a family unit than it is a large business. So while many small businesses are not sedentary or desk-based in their work, we know that many are encouraging fitness breaks for running or gym classes, while others have indeed innovated through things such as walking meetings.

“The key is not to instruct or compel them, but for the small business owner and their team to come up with ideas that work for them.”

Selbie added: “Everyone benefits from a healthier workforce: employees, who will enjoy better health and be less likely to be off sick; employers, who will reap the benefits of increased productivity; and the NHS, which will have less poor health to deal with.”

and 89% thought that those who used two wheels had more energy during the day. Research by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has found that physically active staff take 27% fewer sick days.

[Source:-theguardian]

“It’s raining needles”: Drug crisis creates danger to public, environment

Activist Rocky Morrison, founder of the “Clean River Project” in Lowell, Massachusetts, holds up a fish bowl filled with used hypodermic needles found in 2016. Morrison leads a clean-up effort along the Merrimack River, which winds through Lowell.

 CHARLES KRUPA / AP

They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in playground grass. They wash into rivers and float downstream to land on beaches. They pepper baseball dugouts, sidewalks and streets. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere.

In Portland, Maine, officials have collected more than 700 needles so far this year, putting them on track to handily exceed the nearly 900 gathered in all of 2016. In March alone, San Francisco collected more than 13,000 syringes, compared with only about 2,900 the same month in 2016.

People, often children, risk getting stuck by discarded needles, raising the prospect they could contract blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV or be exposed to remnants of heroin or other drugs.

It’s unclear whether anyone has gotten sick, but the reports of children finding the needles can be sickening in their own right. One 6-year-old girl in California mistook a discarded syringe for a thermometer and put it in her mouth; she was unharmed.

“I just want more awareness that this is happening,” said Nancy Holmes, whose 11-year-old daughter stepped on a needle in Santa Cruz, California, while swimming. “You would hear stories about finding needles at the beach or being poked at the beach. But you think that it wouldn’t happen to you. Sure enough.”

They are a growing problem in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, two states that have seen many overdose deaths in recent years.

“We would certainly characterize this as a health hazard,” said Tim Soucy, health director in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, which collected 570 needles in 2016, the first year it began tracking the problem. It has found 247 needles so far this year.

Needles turn up in places like parks, baseball diamonds, trails and beaches – isolated spots where drug users can gather and attract little attention, and often the same spots used by the public for recreation. The needles are tossed out of carelessness or the fear of being prosecuted for possessing them.

One child was poked by a needle left on the grounds of a Utah elementary school. Another youngster stepped on one while playing on a beach in New Hampshire.

Even if adults or children don’t get sick, they still must endure an unsettling battery of tests to make sure they didn’t catch anything. The girl who put a syringe in her mouth was not poked but had to be tested for hepatitis B and C, her mother said.

Some community advocates are trying to sweep up the pollution.

Rocky Morrison leads a cleanup effort along the Merrimack River, which winds through the old milling city of Lowell, Massachusetts, and has recovered hundreds of needles in abandoned homeless camps that dot the banks, as well as in piles of debris that collect in floating booms he recently started setting.

He has a collection of several hundred needles in a fishbowl, a prop he uses to illustrate that the problem is real and that towns must do more to combat it.

“We started seeing it last year here and there. But now, it’s just raining needles everywhere we go,” said Morrison, a burly, tattooed construction worker whose Clean River Project has six boats working parts of the 117-mile (188-kilometer) river.

In Santa Cruz, California, the community group Take Back Santa Cruz has reported finding more than 14,500 needles in the county over the past 4 1/2 years. It says it has received reports of 12 people getting stuck, half of them children.

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“It’s become pretty commonplace to find them. We call it a rite of passage for a child to find their first needle,” said Gabrielle Korte, a member of the group’s needle team. “It’s very depressing. It’s infuriating. It’s just gross.”

Some experts say the problem will ease only when more users get treatment and more funding is directed to treatment programs.

Others are counting on needle exchange programs, now present in more than 30 states, or the creation of safe spaces to shoot up – already introduced in Canada and proposed by U.S. state and city officials from New York to Seattle.

Studies have found that needle exchange programs can reduce pollution, said Don Des Jarlais, a researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York.

But Morrison and Korte complain poor supervision at needle exchanges will simply put more syringes in the hands of people who may not dispose of them properly.

After complaints of discarded needles, Santa Cruz County took over its exchange from a nonprofit in 2013 and implemented changes. It did away with mobile exchanges and stopped allowing drug users to get needles without turning in an equal number of used ones, said Jason Hoppin, a spokesman for the Santa Cruz County.

Along the Merrimack, nearly three dozen riverfront towns are debating how to stem the flow of needles. Two regional planning commissions are drafting a request for proposals for a cleanup plan. They hope to have it ready by the end of July.

“We are all trying to get a grip on the problem,” said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini. “The stuff comes from somewhere. If we can work together to stop it at the source, I am all for it.”

Here’s what to do if you find a needle:

  • Don’t pick it up. You could get infected.
  • Call the proper authorities to come pick it up. Call a drug hotline or your local health department. Don’t call 911 unless there is a health risk, imminent danger, or an emergency.
  • If you opt to discard of it yourself (which is not advised), minimize hand contact. Use sturdy gloves, disposable tongs, a shovel or dustpan, and put needles in a puncture-proof container.
  • If you get poked, don’t suck the wound. Go immediately to your doctor, emergency room, or urgent care and ask about medical tests and immunizations.
  • Tell your kids about needle stick risks. Show them what a syringe looks like and use age-appropriate language to describe why they should stay away from it. Tell them if they see any needles to find an adult, who should follow the steps described above.

[“Source-cbsnews”]

 

Instead of taking over private schools, improve public schools: Delhi High Court

Instead of taking over the private schools, government should mull over to improve public schools in such a manner that the parents will opt for public school in the near future, observed Justice Manmohan.

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday, identifying the poor quality of education and infrastructure in government schools, questioned the AAP government whether its bureaucrats intend to send their wards in government schools or not.

Severed with poor quality education and poor infrastructures, public schools are in no way near comparison to private schools.

“Your standards have fallen so steeply that it will take time to come up to the mark,” the court remarked adding, “Can you and me decide where the child of a parent should go to study.”

Instead of taking over the private schools, government should mull over to improve public schools in such a manner that the parents will opt for public school in the near future, observed Justice Manmohan.

“Your (Delhi government) schools are below the line. In United States of America people prefer to admit their children in public schools as the infrastructure and teachers are good. In our public schools, the teachers do not even turn up for classes. It’s not worth talking about the infrastructure,” the court said, noting that “choice of freedom for everyone, especially with regard to education, cannot be merely taken away by an order” with regard to nursery admission on the basis of the neighbourhood criterion.

What has prompted the Delhi High Court to step in?

Following the orders issued by the AAP government in the recent times asking the private schools to admit students in nursery from its neighbourhood, the private schools took the matter to the court.

The recent court’s observation came following the hearing of pleas challenging the AAP government’s recent order to private unaided schools to admit students in nursery using the neighbourhood norm.

The nursery admission guidelines have been bringing up major issues for the private schools lately.

The Delhi High Court had earlier slammed the AAP government for issuing the admission guidelines in a limited time where several parents were left confused and aggrieved.

Government’s stance for over this decision:

The Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Directorate of Education (DoE), claimed that the government has been taking due initiatives to improve public schools and guidelines imposed on the private unaided schools as a part of it, so that they will be allowed to go ahead with the decision. (neighbourhood norm).

“DoE has power to regulate rules with regard to schools here and the institutes should abide by these,” informed ASG to the court adding the last date for submissions of forms for nursery admission have been extended till February 14.

However, the court has opined that such practice will invite corruption as it will prompt the parents to provide false documents during the admission process just to secure admission for their wards.

source”cnbc”

DU: First public university to hoist “monumental” flagpole

The national flag will be hoisted at Hansraj college today, i.e. January 25, by Naveen Jindal, the member of Parliament and President, Flag Foundation of India.

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Delhi University is all set to hoist its first monumental flag on Wednesday, eleven months after the vice-chancellors of all central universities resolved to install the national flag “prominently and proudly” on their campuses.

As per the Flag Foundation of India, DU is the first public university to get a monumental flagpole in the country.

Resolution was adopted on February 18:

At a meeting chaired by the then HRD minister Smriti Irani on February 18 last year, the resolution to install the national flag on campuses was adopted with an aim of “instilling nationalism and pride” in students. The decision had come against the backdrop of a controversy over alleged shouting of anti-India slogans being raised at an event in JNU.

Flagpole to be similar like CP:

“The flagpole has been installed at Delhi University’s Hansraj college. It is similar to the one installed in Connaught Place’s Central Park,” said Shahnawaz Khan, CEO of Flag Foundation of India.

Who will hoist the national flag?

The flag will be hoisted at college on the eve of Republic Day on Wednesday by Naveen Jindal, the member of Parliament and President, Flag Foundation of India.

source”cnbc”

Hacker shows how easy it is to take over a city’s public Wi-Fi network

A buffer overflow in a single router model could have endangered thousands of Wi-Fi users

151025 free wifi hotspot
A sign advertises free WiFi at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Oct. 25, 2015. Credit: Martyn Williams
2COMMENTS
In a perfect example of how public wireless networks can be dangerous for privacy and security, an Israeli hacker showed that he could have taken over the free Wi-Fi network of an entire city.

On his way home from work one day, Amihai Neiderman, the head of research at Israeli cybersecurity firm Equus Technologies, spotted a wireless hotspot that he hadn’t seen before. What made it unusual was that it was in an area with no buildings.

It turned out that the hotspot he saw, advertised as “FREE_TLV,” was part of the citywide free Wi-Fi network set up by the local administration of Tel Aviv, Israel. This made Neiderman wonder: How secure is it?

For the next few weeks, finding a way to compromise this network became a side project to do in his free time. First he connected to the network through one of the access points spread around the city and checked what his new IP (Internet Protocol) address was. This is usually the public address assigned to the router through which all Wi-Fi clients access the internet.

He then disconnected and scanned that IP address from the internet for open ports. He found that the device was serving a web-based login interface over port 443 (HTTPS).

This interface displayed the manufacturer’s name — Peplink — but not other information about the device type or model. An analysis of the web interface didn’t reveal any basic vulnerabilities either, such as SQL injection, default or weak log-in credentials or authentication bypass flaws.

He realized that a more thorough analysis of the device’s actual firmware was required. Identifying the device and finding the exact firmware to download from the manufacturer’s website was not easy, because Peplink creates and sells many types of networking devices for various industries. However, he eventually pinned it down to firmware version 5 for Peplink’s Balance 380 high-end load balancing router.

The firmware used basic XOR-based encryption to make it harder for third-parties to reverse-engineer the firmware’s file system, but this was relatively easy to bypass. Once everything was unpacked and loaded into an emulator, Neiderman was able to access the CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripts that made up the router’s web interface.

It didn’t take long until the researcher found a buffer overflow vulnerability in the CGI script that handled the log-out process. The flaw could be exploited by sending a very long session cookie to the script and successful exploitation resulted in arbitrary code execution and full control over the device.

Neiderman presented his findings and reverse-engineering efforts Thursday at the DefCamp security conference in Bucharest, Romania. He declined to say whether he actually tested his exploit on the live Peplink Balance routers used to operate Tel Aviv’s free Wi-Fi network, because that could land him in legal trouble.

However, when he reported the flaw to Peplink the company confirmed and patched it in a subsequent firmware update, so the firmware on FREE_TLV’s routers was certainly vulnerable when Neiderman found the flaw.

While finding vulnerabilities in routers is not uncommon, this case stands out because it shows that skilled hackers could potentially attack thousands or tens of thousands of users by compromising large public Wi-Fi networks like those run by municipalities.

By controlling a router, attackers can snoop on all unencrypted user traffic that passes through it and capture sensitive information. They can also launch active attacks, like redirecting users to rogue web servers when they’re trying to access legitimate websites or injecting malicious code into non-HTTPS web pages.

Large networks are typically standardized and use the same type of equipment throughout to allow for easier management. A vulnerability that allows a compromise of one of the network’s access points is likely to allow the compromise of all of them.

Attacks like these are why users are strongly encouraged to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service when they’re accessing the internet over public or untrusted Wi-Fi networks.

Neiderman said that he was impressed with how Peplink responded to his report and how the company handled the vulnerability. He stressed that this attack was also possible because of the insecure way in which the network’s routers had been deployed. Their administration interfaces shouldn’t have been exposed to the Internet.

source”cnbc”

As IPO market improves, will Spotify be the next big name to go public?

NYSE president Tom Farley (R) celebrates with Japan's Line Corp. CFO In Joon Hwang (2nd L) and Chief Global Officer Jungho Shin (middle) and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Jun Masuda (2nd R) during the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 14, 2016.

NYSE president Tom Farley (R) celebrates with Japan’s Line Corp. CFO In Joon Hwang (2nd L) and Chief Global Officer Jungho Shin (middle) and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Jun Masuda (2nd R) during the company’s IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 14, 2016.

AdvancePierre Food Holdings capped a good week for the IPO markets. They priced 18.6 million shares at $21, the middle of the price talk of $20-$23, and opened at $23.50. That’s a respectable opening for a food company, particularly following the success of US Foods in late May.

AdvancePierre is following a typical pattern for IPOs this year: investors want companies that are profitable or have a clear path to profitability. The company is indeed profitable, enough to pay a dividend of 2.6 percent at the midpoint of the price range.

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It caps a strong week for IPOs, and it’s about time. As I’ve said time and time again, the most important determinant of the health of the IPO market is the state of the overall stock market. With the S&P 500 at historic highs, the IPO business is running out of excuses.

Line’s strong debut yesterday, up 27 percent, has a lot of IPO watchers finally declaring the long IPO winter over.

“The success of Line is sending a clear message that the IPO market is open for business,” Kathleen Smith of Renaissance Capital told me.

They run the Renaissance IPO ETF (IPO), a basket of the 60 most recent IPOs, which is up 22 percent since the February 11th bottom, outperforming the S&P 500’s roughly 17 percent gain.

It’s not just Line–while there have been far fewer IPOs than normal this year (44), they have produced an average return of 18 percent, a respectable showing.

And the big-name IPOs have had surprisingly strong returns:

Recent IPOs:
(from initial price)

Twilio: 178 percent

Acacia Communications: 128 percent

BATS Global Markets: 36 percent

MGM Growth: 26 percent

Line: 23 percent

US Foods: 9 percent

SecureWorks: 6 percent

Line, MGM Growth, and US Foods are the three largest IPOs of the year, and the fact they have had such strong showings will encourage others to step forward quickly.

Smith noted that on Monday, five roadshows launched–more than we’ve seen in a single day all year.

Next week, we get Patheon, the world’s largest contract drug manufacturer (it would be the fourth largest IPO this year), and the week after Talend, which helps companies standardize big data bases. Talend would be the second enterprise software company to go public after Twilio.

How about those Silicon Valley unicorns waiting to public? A lot of interest is focused on Spotify. They completed a $1 billion convertible debt offering at the end of March. The interest rate is 5 percent, but the rate increases 1 percent every six months until it reaches 10 percent or until they conduct an IPO.

[“source-gsmarena”]