Just In: Scientists Invent Device To Treat Parkinson, Epilepsy

Scientists from University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) on the western U.S. coast have invented a wirelessly controlled neuro-stimulator that could provide fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson.

This is contained in a study that was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering in the U.S.

UC Berkeley researchers worked out a wireless artefact-free neuromodulation device (WAND) that is able to listen and stimulate with an electric current in the brain at the same time, said a study.

The closed-loop device works like a “pacemaker for the brain’’ by automatically monitoring the brain’s electrical activity and delivering electrical stimulation if it detects something gone awry.

With the ability to stimulate and record simultaneously, WAND can prevent the unwanted movements of brain current by adjusting in real time the stimulation parameters on its own if it detects signs of a tremor or a seizure.

WAND outperforms previous similar devices that are effective in preventing debilitating tremors or seizures in patients with various neurological conditions.

It can take several years for doctors to constantly adjust for optimal electrical stimulation to stop extremely subtle electrical signatures preceding a seizure or a tremor.

“The process of finding the right therapy for a patient is extremely costly and can take years,’’ said Rikky Muller, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley.

WAND beats other closed-loop systems in that it is capable of recording electrical activity over 128 channels, or from 128 points in the brain.

Muller said he and his team want to incorporate learning into their closed-loop platform to build intelligent devices in the future.

This is with the aim to determine the most optimal treatment for patients of neurological disorders.

Radio Nigeria

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Govt Shutdown: Our Embassy, Consulate Remain Open – US

The United States (U.S) government has said its Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos will remain open while the US government shutdown lasts.

In a statement on Monday made available to journalists in Abuja, the Embassy said earlier report to the contrary was incorrect.

The terse statement reads: “The U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos will remain open during the U.S. government shutdown.  This includes the Consular Sections.  Prior reports to the contrary were incorrect.

“American Centres and EducationUSA offices operating on embassy and consulate grounds that are managed by Mission Public Affairs Sections will remain closed throughout the shutdown.

“American Spaces, such as American Corners operated by partner institutions and located off embassy or consular grounds, however, will remain open.”

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UN Chief Sues For Peace In DR Congo Ahead Of Polls

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called on political actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to work together for a free and fair elections on Sunday.

Guterres, in a statement, also encouraged all Congolese citizens to seize “this historic opportunity” to participate in the consolidation of the country’s democratic institutions.

The UN chief also reminded those with a stake in the outcome of their “critical role” in preventing electoral violence, by refraining from any form of provocation and showing maximum restraint in what they say and do.

He urged everyone to protect and ensure safe access to health facilities in Ebola affected areas, amid serious concerns, expressed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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24 Patients Flee Ebola Treatment Center In Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo’s health ministry said that 24 patients have fled an Ebola treatment center in Beni on Thursday.

The patients had to flee when it came under attack by people protesting the cancellation of Sunday’s presidential election in the eastern city.

Ministry spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga told Reuters that 17 of the patients had already tested negative for Ebola, while seven had not yet been tested.

Ilunga said that three patients had already returned to the center while health workers were in contact with 17 others to coordinate their return.

Health officials have addresses and phone numbers for the remaining four, she added.

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US Withdraws Troops From Syria

The Trump administration says US troops are being withdrawn from Syria, after the president said the Islamic State (IS) group had been “defeated”.

The Pentagon said it was transitioning to the “next phase of the campaign” but did not give details.

Some 2,000 troops have helped rid much of north-eastern Syria of IS, but pockets of fighters remain.

It had been thought defence officials wanted to maintain a US presence to ensure IS did not rebuild.

There are also fears a US withdrawal will cede influence in Syria and the wider region to Russia and Iran.

Both the Pentagon and the White House statement said the US had started “returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign”.

The Pentagon said it would not provide further details of what that next phase is “for force protection and operational security reasons”.

The White House said the US and its allies stood “ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary, and we will continue to work together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding, support and any means of infiltrating our borders”.

President Trump said it was time to bring troops home after their “historic victories”.

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Breaking: UK Prime Minister Theresa May Says She Will Quit Office Before 2022 Election

British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that she will step down before the country holds its next scheduled national election in 2022.

Arriving at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, May said “I think it is right that another party leader takes us into that general election.”

Late Wednesday May survived a no-confidence vote among her Conservative Party lawmakers, triggered by unhappiness in the party at the way she is handling Brexit.

She secured victory by 200 votes to 117 after telling lawmakers at a private meeting that she would hand over power to another Conservative leader before the next election.

But May has not said what she will do if, as many expect, Britain faces an early national election triggered by divisions over Brexit.

AP

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Ex US President George Bush Dead At 94

Former United States President, George H.W. Bush, has died at age 94 in Houston, according to his spokesperson.

Bush’s death comes after his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, passed away on April 17 at age 92. Before her funeral, Bush was pictured in a wheelchair gazing at his wife’s flower-covered casket, in a moment that encapsulated their life-long love affair
The first sitting vice president to be elected to the presidency since 1836, Bush was also only the second person in US history to see his own son follow in his presidential footsteps when George W. Bush was elected in 2000.
In addition to the 43rd president, Bush is survived by his son Jeb, the former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate; sons Neil and Marvin; daughter Dorothy; and 17 grandchildren. His daughter Robin died of leukemia as a child, a tragedy that still moved Bush deeply late in his life. He will be buried alongside her and the former first lady at his presidential library in College Station, Texas.
Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time, according to the statement released by Bush’s spokesman Jim McGrath.
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Heads Of Chad Basin Countries Resolve To Crush Boko Haram

The one-day consultation with Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in N’djamena, capital of the Republic of Chad, convened by President Muhammadu Buhari, has ended with a renewed call for more arms.

The meeting was called to address the recent upsurge in terrorist activities in the region, and the Nigerian President rallied his colleagues from Chad, Niger Republic, and Republic of Cameroon to a fresh onslaught against insurgents, particularly the boko haram group.

“Times as these call for quick interventions and measures,”President Buhari stated, adding:

“As you are aware and have witnessed in recent times, there are new developments of security concern in our sub-region. The region in the recent past has witnessed increasing attacks, particularly on military formations by elements of the Boko Haram terrorists as well as the renewed kidnapping of people. These activities are aimed at weakening our collective resolve to eradicate them from the region.

“We must not cave in. The group’s renewed strategy of increasingly mining the general area as well as its recent deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance activities have proved to be critical factors in the resurgence of attacks in the region.”

Commending what he called the “untiring efforts” of the leadership of the LCBC, and officers and men of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), President Buhari noted that the efforts of those who strive to bring peace and stability to the region would never be forgotten.

“We are committed to ensuring that the ideals of restoring peace, stability and viability of the Lake Chad Region to its glorious state, for which some of you have paid the ultimate price is attained,” he vowed.

President Buhari submitted: “We must not relent and allow the enemies of the region to succeed in their quest to destabilize the area. We must reinvigorate our collective will and commitment towards eradicating terrorism from our region. We must remain focused and true to ensuring sustainable development.

“To this end, I have requested that bilateral and multilateral platforms of engagements by member countries affected by the conflict be revamped to ensure collective actions towards stamping out the remnants of the terrorists from the region.

“There is no gainsaying that also fueling the crisis are the twin menaces of poverty and the continued shrinkage of the Lake Chad, which have rendered the people of the region vulnerable to terrorist activities. Attention is drawn to the Lake and its resources, which have always been the source of livelihood for the millions of people that live within and around the basin.”

He charged the Presidents and Heads of Governments in attendance to make concerted efforts to ensure the actualization of efforts to recharge the Lake, through Inter-Basin Water Transfer, from the Congo Basin.

President Buhari stressed that if meticulously pursued, the project “has the capacity to unlock the economic potentials and provide solutions to the myriad of interrelated challenges confronting the region.”

As Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, President Buhari assured of his commitment to providing the required leadership and direction for the actualization of peace and security in the area.

He reiterated an earlier promise he had made to troops fighting terrorism: “We are committed to ensuring you have the requisite and enabling equipment to optimally function. Your welfare is, and would continue to remain our priority. Together, we shall restore the Lake Chad Region to its glorious days.”

In attendance at the consultation, apart from the Nigerian President, were, President Idris Deby of Chad, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, and Prime Minister of Cameroon, Philemon Yang, who represented President Paul Biya.

In a joint communiqué, the Heads of State and Governments, resolved to change the modus operandi, collaborate more, and renew assault on all forms of terrorism and criminal acts, till wholesome peace was restored to the region.

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Two Nigerians Arrested For N13m Fraud In Malaysia

Two Nigerians identified as Egwuasu Bernard Nnaemeka and Egwuasu Chimiezi Benjamin, both aged 32, were today charged at the magistrate’s court in Malaysia with criminal conspiracy.

The two Nigerians who are believed to be masterminds of a Macau Scam syndicate, were accused defrauding a former teacher Nor Faizah Othman, 48, between April 21 and June 12, 2017, causing her to suffer a total loss of RM148,490 (about N12,946,980).

The suspects who were denied bail, were charged under Section 120(B)(1) of the Penal Code, read together with Section 411 of the same Act, which carries a maximum penalty of five years’ jail and a fine. Nov 23 was fixed for mention and appointment of counsel for the suspects, who pleaded not guilty to the charge read before magistrate Nurunaim Abdullah.

It was gathered that the duo, who were studying at a private higher learning institution entered the country in 2016.

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U.S. Consulate Supports Robotics Workshop For 303 Teachers, 187 Students

For the second consecutive year, the United States Consulate General in collaboration with RoboRave International, a U.S.-based tech academy, has concluded a week-long robotics workshop for 303 teachers and 187 students.

The participating students and teachers were from 29 public and private schools across Lagos, Ogun, and Edo states as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

RoboRAVE International Director of Global Programs Russ Fisher-Ives and RoboRAVE North America Director Brian Montoya facilitated the series of workshops in Benin, Lagos, and Abuja from October 21-27.

Throughout the training, students were taught the basics of programming a robot to perform various tasks while teachers learned various aspects of implementing an integrated approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Speaking at the grand finale of the workshop held at the Zone Tech Park in Gbagada, Lagos, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Russell Brooks, explained that the workshop was designed to stimulate the interest of the participating students in math and science, as well as careers in the STEM fields.

Mr. Brooks discussed the importance of STEM education to Nigeria’s future prosperity and economic competitiveness. According to him, developing robotics skills can place students on a track to future careers in computer science and artificial intelligence.

“The U.S. Mission in Nigeria is committed to supporting programs that provide youth with access to quality technological learning opportunities. We are also passionate about building teacher confidence and capabilities in the areas of robotics and STEM,” Brooks said.

The robotics workshop supports the U.S. Mission’s goal of promoting STEM education in Nigeria as a driver of sustainable economic growth.

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Blasphemy: Pakistan Court Overturns Death Sentence On Christian Woman

A Pakistani court has overturned the death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, a case that has polarised the nation.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

She always maintained her innocence, but has spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.

The landmark ruling has already set off violent protests by hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws.

Demonstrations against the verdict are being held in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan. Clashes with police have been reported.

The Red Zone in the capital Islamabad, where the Supreme Court is located, has been sealed off by police, and paramilitary forces have been deployed to keep protesters away from the court.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisarm, who read out the ruling, said Asia Bibi could walk free from jail in Sheikupura, near Lahore, immediately if not wanted in connection with any other case.

She was not in court to hear the ruling, but reacted to the verdict from prison with apparent disbelief.

“I can’t believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?” AFP news agency quoted her as saying by phone.

The trial stems from an argument Asia Bibi, whose full name is Asia Noreen, had with a group of women in June 2009.

They were harvesting fruit when a row broke out about a bucket of water. The women said that because she had used a cup, they could no longer touch it, as her faith had made it unclean.

Prosecutors alleged that in the row which followed, the women said Asia Bibi should convert to Islam and that she made three offensive comments about the Prophet Muhammad in response.

She was later beaten up at her home, during which her accusers say she confessed to blasphemy. She was arrested after a police investigation.

BBC

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$66 Million Fraud: Ibori Loses Appeal In UK

A former Governor of Delta State, Mr James Ibori has lost the bid to appeal his conviction by a UK court.

In a swift response, he has instructed his lawyers to file a case at the European court of human rights.

A UK court had convicted Mr Ibori and Bhadresh Gohil, his lawyer, of money laundering.

Mr Ibori, who served as Delta governor from 1999 to 2007, pleaded guilty to a 10-count charge of fraud involving sums amounting to at about $66 million.

He was slammed a 13-year jail term of which he served six years and returned to Nigeria in February 2017.

Mr Ibori had sought to appeal his 2012 conviction in a bid to upturn the ongoing trial to confiscate his assets.

He alleged misconduct by British police and prosecutors, which, he argued, tainted the judicial process.

However, an appeal court sitting on Wednesday struck out the ex-governors case.

The ruling will allow British prosecutors to resume efforts to confiscate tens of millions of dollars’ worth of assets and return them to Nigerian public coffers.

The assets have been frozen for years while the case has been dragging through the courts.

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