NPF Suspends Seven MLAs for Supporting Ruling NDPPs Lok Sabha Candidate

first_img Lok Sabha elections 2019Nagaland People’s Frontnagaland-lok-sabha-elections-2019National Democratic Progressive Party First Published: April 16, 2019, 11:14 PM IST | Edited by: Sohini Goswami Guwahati: The Naga People’s Front (NPF) has suspended seven of its MLAs from the both primary and active membership of the party for extending support to the ruling National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)’s candidate for the Lok Sabha election. The disciplinary action committee of the NPF had issued a show cause notice to the seven MLAs on March 28. The seven NPF legislators include Kejong Chang (Tuensang Sadar II), EE Pangteang (48 Moka), Eshak Konyak (Aboi), CL John (Tehok), BS Nganlang (Tamlu), N Thongwang Konyak (Mon Town) and Toyang Chang (Tuensang Sadar-I). In March, the MLAs had expressed their appreciation for developmental works initiated by the NDPP government led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. In a statement, NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu, said, “This attitude on your part is nothing short of wilfully defying the collective decision of the party to support a particular political party/candidate for the lone Nagaland Parliamentary Constituency in the 17th Parliamentary Election, which is sufficient to infer that your decisions and movements are all anti-party. Also, you have demanded that the show cause notice be withdrawn, rather than expressing your remorse for not being able to adhere to the party’s collective decision and directive. Such attitude factually demonstrates that you have some hidden agenda to further disintegrate the party which cannot be overlooked.” Liezietsu said the MLAs had been avoiding party meetings since March without any valid reason. The statement said the MLAs also failed to attend a meeting of all NPF legislators and senior party leaders held on March 30 at the NPF’s central office. “This meeting was indeed an opportunity to explain your position to the party. However, you have intentionally refused to attend the meeting which is nothing short of forfeiting your right to talk of inner party democracy and voluntarily giving up your membership from the NPF,” read the communique. last_img read more

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Meet Pragya Thakur Sanyasin at 14 Terror Suspect Cancer Fighter Now BJPs

first_img 2008 malegaon blasts casebhopal-s12p19Digvijaya Singhmadhya-pradesh-lok-sabha-elections-2019 First Published: April 17, 2019, 7:23 PM IST | Edited by: Sohini Goswami “It’s a ‘dharmyuddh’ and only the dharma would emerge victorious,” Thakur said as she set the tone of her electoral battle. “We need to fight and win against those who work against the rashtra (nation),” she said. Thakur, born in Kachhwaha village of Bhind district in the Chambal ravines of Madhya Pradesh, was mostly known as a religious preacher and sanyasin till 2008 when she landed in the Maharashtra anti-terror squad (ATS)’s custody for her alleged role in the Malegaon blasts.Born to an Ayurvedic physician, Dr Chandrapal Singh, who treated patients for free and read religiously read the Bhagwad Gita, Thakur developed a deep interest in the Hindu philosophy and spiritual world since a tender age and became an ascetic at 14.A daring and aggressive girl, Thakur, clad in jeans and shirts and sporting tomboyish looks, used to move around on a bike and remained involved in social endeavours aimed at the betterment of women. She was also known for beating up men who harassed women.Locals in Bhind claim Thakur had also set up an organisation, named Jai Vande Mataram Jan Kalyan Samiti, which was reportedly involved in ‘rescuing’ girls who eloped with boys of other communities.Under Swami Avadheshanand Giri, a seer who had several influential politicians among his followers, she remoulded herself in a new avatar: Sadhvi Purna Chetanand Giri Sharma. Later, she set up the Rashtriya Jagran Manch in Indore. A powerful orator, Thakur soon became popular as a preacher holding religious conclaves.By the time she completed her post-graduation in history from Lahar in Bhind, she was deeply influenced by the saffron ideology and joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS youth wing. She also had served in the Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of Bajrang Dal.As her popularity grew, BJP started inviting her for campaigns. Around that time, an MLA is also said to have proposed to her, but the young sadhvi declined the advances and she had devoted her life to a greater cause.Thakur’s life took an unpleasant turn in 2008 after the blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra when the ATS arrested her for her alleged involvement in the serial blasts.A bike registered in her name was found from the blast site and Thakur was arrested two days after the blasts on September 29. Her Jabalpur-based rented accommodation was also searched by the ATS.Thakur had, however, maintained that she had sold the two-wheeler to RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi years ago. She was also named as an accused in Joshi’s murder in 2008. But, she got a clean chit in the case in 2017.The National Investigation Agency (NIA) cleared Thakur’s name in the Malegaon case and she was granted bail in 2016.The sadhvi had, however, alleged extreme torture and abuse while in custody. She was also diagnosed with breast cancer and several other ailments during that time and spent several years at the Bhopal-based Ayurvedic College. She had even wrote to the President of India against custodial torture.BJP leader Uma Bharti, who had openly spoken about Thakur’s innocence after her arrest, had even offered her a ticket for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election in 2008.Thakur continues to walks with some discomfort and needs help climbing the stairs.“Hum taiyar hain, ab usi kaam me lag gaye hain (I am ready and have engaged myself in the goal,” Thakur said as she came to the BJP office to attend a party meeting in the afternoon on Wednesday. center_img Bhopal: The 2019 Lok Sabha election is witnessing several riveting battles with one of them being seen in the capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, where the BJP has named Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case, against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh, who has recently turned to ‘soft Hindutva’ after being targeted for minority appeasement.The former Union minister welcomed his opponent with a tweet as he geared up for a tough fight from Thakur and her hard Hindutva. मैं साध्वी प्रज्ञा जी का भोपाल में स्वागत करता हूँ। आशा करता हूँ कि इस रमणीय शहर का शांत, शिक्षित और सभ्य वातावरण आपको पसंद आएगा।मैं माँ नर्मदा से साध्वी जी के लिए प्रार्थना करता हूँ और नर्मदा जी से आशीर्वाद माँगता हूँ कि हम सब सत्य, अहिंसा और धर्म की राह पर चल सकें।नर्मदे हर! pic.twitter.com/LYAbpTObgY— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) 17 April 2019last_img read more

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Varun Dhawan and Taapsee Pannu Like Virat Kohlis Swag in Captains of

first_img Game OvericcICC Cricket World Cup 2019icc world cup 2019 First Published: May 25, 2019, 4:38 PM IST While Indian fans were mighty impressed with captain Kohli’s body language in the picture, actors Varun Dhawan and Taapsee Pannu could not help but admire the 30-year-old’s confidence in his team that exuded in his pose. Sharing the picture on his social media account, Varun wrote, “Yeahhh #virat (sic),” while Taapsee responded by writing, “This is such a cool picture ! Needless to say our Indian Man owns it totally! Captain with swag (sic).”See their respective tweets here: Yeahhh #virat https://t.co/VxvMty5ra5— Varun Dhawan (@Varun_dvn) May 24, 2019This is such a cool picture ! Needless to say our Indian Man owns it totally! Captain with swag https://t.co/8BizXbqdBw— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) May 24, 2019On the movies front, Varun’s last release Kalank failed to impress the audiences. He is currently shooting with Shraddha Kapoor for Remo D’Souza’s Street Dancer 3D. Taapsee, on the other hand, is eyeing the release of her suspense-thriller Game Over and has Saand Ki Aankh lined up for release later this year.Follow @News18Movies for more Virat Kohli’s fan following transcends all borders and Bollywood stars too seem smitten by his boss-like charm. Kohli is currently in England, where he will helm the World Cup squad and all eyes are set on his campaign at cricket’s biggest event, which officially kick starts for the men in blue on June 5 with a match against South Africa.Before the ten competing nations take on each other to be crowned the world champion, the captains of the respective teams posed with the ICC trophy in a customary gathering. Virat’s cool pose, as he rested on the couch like a champion, was enough to cue fans about the his confidence in the cause. Sharing the picture, official Twitter Handle of the cricket World Cup wrote, “Captains.”The captains. pic.twitter.com/4G2rtlfuVD— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) May 23, 2019last_img read more

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AAP Sends Notice to BJP Gambhir Over Pamphlets Targeting Atishi Demands Apology

first_img 2019 lok sabha electionsaam aadmi partyarvind kejriwalatishi First Published: May 10, 2019, 11:21 PM IST New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday sent a notice to the BJP and its East Delhi Lok Sabha seat candidate Gautam Gambhir demanding an apology for the derogatory pamphlet allegedly circulated against Atishi, failing which “appropriate legal proceedings will be initiated”.Filed by advocate Mohammad Irsad from the AAP’s legal cell, the notice termed the pamphlets “offending publication” and alleged that those were published by Gambhir and the BJP. The notice demanded that both Gambhir and BJP render immediate “apology to the client (AAP), its leaders and candidate”.The AAP said the apology should be handed over to it personally in writing by BJP and Gambhir as well as should be printed in newspapers within 24 hours of receiving of the notice, failing which “appropriate legal proceedings will be initiated”.The legal notice states that the pamphlets indicated that Atishi “is a person of dubious origin” and had indulged in “impermissible activities of a nature at her workplace”. It also claimed that the pamphlets were a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.East Delhi AAP candidate Atishi on Thursday broke down while reading a pamphlet containing “obscene and derogatory” remarks against her that she alleged has been distributed in the constituency by Gambhir, a charge denied by the cricketer-turned-politician.Later on Thursday, Gambhir sent a notice to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Atishi demanding that they withdraw the allegation and tender an unconditional apology over the matter. last_img read more

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Ram Charan Dedicates His First Instagram Post to His Mother Says Somethings

first_imgThe adorable post quickly grabbed the attention of many, including Kalyan Dhev, Shruti Hassan and Niharika Konidela, among others. The Mumma’s boy looked absolutely child-like while sleeping on his mother’s lap in the grown-up version.The actor has now deleted the first photo he shared earlier and has set it as his display picture. On July 8, Charan made his debut on Instagram. He was welcomed to the social media app by a lot of colleagues and celebs, including Samantha Akkineni, Kiara Advani, Allu Arjun, Rana Daggubati and Tamannah Bhatia.On the work front, Charan will soon begin filming SS Rajamouli’s RRR with Jr NTR, Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn.Follow @News18Movies for more Tollywood actor Ram Charan created enough buzz on social media a few days ago after he made his entry into the world of Instagram. The Rangasthalam star joined Instagram on July 8 and shared an intense picture of his side-look. Days after his debut, the RRR actor has shared another first-picture on his Instagram and the post is a beautiful tribute to his mother.Taking it to the social media app on Thursday, the actor shared a throwback picture with his mom, with one half showing a childhood pic of him with his mother, while the other half showed him in the present time. He shared the picture with the post, “Somethings never change !! Dedicating my first post to u. Love u Amma. ❤#mamasboy #forever.” Ajay DevgnAlia BhattAllu ArjunJr NTR First Published: July 12, 2019, 3:46 PM ISTlast_img read more

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Congress Terms EC Enfeebled Commission Says it is Black Day For Democracy

first_img Abhishek SinghvicongressECLok Sabha elections 2019 First Published: May 22, 2019, 8:26 PM IST New Delhi: The Congress Wednesday dubbed the Election Commission as “Enfeebled Commission” after the poll body was learnt to have rejected the opposition parties’ demand for pre-verification of VVPATs with EVMs while counting and said it was a “black day” for democracy.Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi asked on what basis the commission had arrived at the decision as the Supreme Court ruling on VVPAT counting did not come under Rule 56-D as cited by it. He also questioned whether the EVMs were “electronic victory machines” for the BJP and the Model Code of Conduct was “Modi’s Campaign Code”, alleging that the poll body had succumbed to the pressure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.”It is a black day for democracy and it is very sad and unfortunate for an institution like the Election Commission,” he told reporters.Addressing a press conference, Singhvi said though the Congress or any other party had not received any reply or order from the EC on their complaints, the poll body has no logistical reason to reject the demand as it entails no extra time or burden on it.”Has the Model Code of Conduct become ‘Modi’s campaign code’ and EVMs ‘electronic victory machines’ for the BJP. Has the Election Commission become ‘Enfeebled Commission’ or is it ‘Eradicated Commission’ or ‘Eliminated Commission’ as it has succumbed to the pressure of PM and Amit Shah,” he claimed.The Congress leader also alleged that the EC had adopted “discriminatory” standards, “one for the aam aadmi (common man) and the other for two people, who are above the law — the prime minister and Amit Shah”.Questioning what could be the possible ground for rejection of the opposition’s demand, Singhvi said they have only asked for random checking of VVPATs at the beginning of counting so that a sample can be checked.Asked whether the Congress will move court against the EC’s decision, Singhvi asked, “Why should we?” He indicated that there was no enough time left to move the court. “We are appealing to the court of people. We have fought a clean battle. There is no time to go anywhere,” he said, adding that the EC’s decision had given rise to suspicion about its functioning.Singhvi said the demand made by the opposition was only to reinforce the credibility of EVMs and that of the EC. The Election Commission is learnt to have stuck to its plan of counting the paper trail machines slips at the end of counts and not in the beginning as demanded by opposition parties.It is also learnt to have decided to count postal ballots simultaneously with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) count due to the “sheer size” of the ballots received this time from service voters.Till now, the postal ballots were counted in the beginning followed by votes polled in voting machines. last_img read more

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Rahul Gandhis Insistent Offer to Quit After Poll Debacle Meets Unanimous Rejection

first_img congresscongress working committeecongress working committee meetingCWC First Published: May 25, 2019, 4:35 PM IST New Delhi: After suffering another rout at the hands of the BJP and Narendra Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was adamant about stepping down from his post but the top brass of the party unanimously rejected the idea at a meeting called on Saturday to conduct a post-mortem of the Lok Sabha election defeat. “We need Rahul Gandhi to guide us in these challenging times,” spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee. The Congress said that it appealed to Rahul Gandhi to carry on and has passed a resolution, authorising him to make large-scale changes to the party structure. “Congress CWC will do a full introspection of this defeat,” Surjewala said. But senior party leader and former defence minister AK Antony said the party’s performance in the election was not disastrous, despite it winning just eight more seats from the record-low of 44 in 2014.“I don’t agree that it was a disastrous performance, but we were not able to rise up to the expectations. Party will discuss this in details… today we had only general discussions,” he said after the four-hour meeting. According to sources, Gandhi had insisted that he wants to resign and told the Congress top leadership present at the meeting that he was ready to serve the party as “an ordinary worker”. Party leader Ambika Soni, when asked whether Rahul Gandhi’s leadership was questioned at the CWC meeting, replied, “Not at all.”News18 had on Thursday reported that the Congress chief had also offered to resign hours after the election picture became clear, with the grand old party once again failing to get even enough numbers to appoint a Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Sonia Gandhi, the UPA chairperson, had rejected the resignation offer and it was said that the proposal would be taken up at the Congress Working Committee meeting. The meeting, chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, was also attended by Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Uttar Pradesh (East) in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and chief ministers of three party-ruled states – Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh – and of the Union Territory Puducherry.The meeting of the party’s highest decision-making body went into the reasons behind the party’s debacle and discuss as to why its poll narrative failed to convince the people.Senior leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram was also present in the meeting alongside other party colleagues including AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sheila Dikshit, Mallikarjun kharge, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia.Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot also attended the meeting along with their Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel.Though the Congress improved on its 2014 tally of 44, it could win just 52 Lok Sabha seats this year. In 18 states and Union Territories, the party could not open its account.Murmurs are already appearing within the party over taking responsibility for its poor performance, with some of its leaders already sending in their resignations. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and Odisha Congress president Niranjan Patnaik have announced their resignations from the post.last_img read more

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Confused by too many ecigarette options We found the best of the

first_imgThere are thousands of different e-cigarettes on the market these days, and of all those thousands, the best one we’ve ever used is the SXmini Q Mini. Don’t be fooled by the awful name — it’s an absolutely fantastic e-cig.Unfortunately, it’s also on the expensive end of the spectrum, so if you’re not ready to drop that much money quite yet, we’ve pulled together a list of the best alternatives in practically every category. Here’s a breakdown of the best e-cigarettes on the market, from no-commitment disposables to pro-level mods. Happy vaping!At a glance ProductCategory KangerTech Dripbox 160Best box mod San Francisco is now the first city in the U.S. to ban the sale of e-cigarettes The best hatchbacks for 2019 The best mini fridges on the market in 2019 The best 3D printers for 2019 The best backup cameras for 2019 Flawless Tugboat V3Best mechanical mod Blu DisposablesBest disposable e-cigarettecenter_img V2 Standard KitBest cig-a-like SXmini Q MiniThe bestWhy should you buy this: A wide range of features puts it in a class of its ownWho’s it for: Vapers who need the best in customizabilityHow much will it cost: $200Why we picked the SX Mini Q:At $200, the SX Mini Q is definitely on the super high end of box mods. However, there are few competitors out there that come close to what SX offers in its 200 watt top-of-the-line device. The construction is top notch, it’s a regulated mod (meaning power output won’t decrease as battery charge depletes), and it offers some of the most extensive vape customizability we’ve seen so far.Now, of course, those of us who vape know all about wattage, voltage, and temperature control settings. It’s essential to getting us the ‘perfect’ vape. Well, the SX Mini Q takes this all a step further. With a mode called SXi-Q, you can actually further customize how the device operates every half-second. For example, you could set the device to run at a warmer temperature initially, then switch mid-vape to a lower temperature. That’s pretty cool.Another cool feature? Something called “compensate temperature.” External temperature does play a part in vapor production, and on hot days you’ll notice less vapor production. Set this setting to whatever the temperature is outside, and the mod automatically adjusts.Also, tests show that this mod actually does reach 200 watts – something a few manufacturers have been criticized for. That’s a positive too, considering its high retail price. While we wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, the SX Mini Q is the one to buy if you’re an experienced vapor looking for the ultimate customizable mod.Blu DisposablesThe best disposable e-cigaretteWhy should you buy this: Wide availability and consistent performanceWho’s it for: Irregular smokers and vapers that need an occasional nic fixHow much will it cost: $10Why we picked the Blu:While Blu does get its fair share of criticism from vaping purists due to its relatively high cost and the fact that it’s now owned by Big Tobacco (the UK’s Imperial Tobacco to be exact), it still remains at the top of the heap.Among all disposables we tried, Blu consistently ranked near the top in terms of vapor production and useable life. While there are cheaper options out there, all seem to have some type of issue, whether it’s poor battery life, meager vapor production, or off-putting flavor.While we don’t recommend Blu’s rechargeable cig-a-like, its disposable line is definitely a top choice. You should figure to get at least two to three days use out of Blu’s disposable if you’re a pack a day smoker. It’s a great option for smokers too who may be in situations where smoking is a no-no. Five flavors are available, regular and bold tobacco, menthol, cherry, vanilla, and glacier mint, although most stories only carry the regular and menthol. Our favorite is the cherry though.Flawless Tugboat V3The best mechanical modWhy should you buy this: It’s American made and super durableWho’s it for: Those looking for a no-nonsense mod with big vapor productionHow much will it cost: $170Why we picked the Flawless Tugboat V3:Flawless’ Tugboat has been around for years, but it continues to sell well because it is a high-quality device – and the new V3 is no exception. The company does not cut corners and uses copper in the connections and body. Why is this important? Copper maximizes conductivity, which in turn gives you more power and better battery life – the latter a nagging problem for many mechanical mods.Better conductivity also results in overall better vapor production, and the Tugboat V3 ranks among the top in this category. A nice feature of this mod is also that it comes with a matching RDA, which gives it a very attractive appearance. We’re also fans of the firing button, which works a lot better than other mods we’ve tried.Over time with some of our spring button mods, we’ve found the spring begins to compress, sometimes resulting in inadvertent firing. While the V3 still uses a spring as well (many have switched to magnets), it’s a better quality spring and the stronger spring actually allows the device to be stood upright without firing – many cannot. If you’ve got the funds, this is the way to go.V2 Standard KitThe best cig-a-likeWhy should you buy this: Cheaper than Blu, with more optionsWho’s it for: Smokers who need the feel of a cigarette to quitHow much will it cost: $30Why we picked the V2 Standard Kit:While we picked Blu for its disposables, V2 by far is a better option for those looking for e-cigarettes that feel (and look) more like a traditional cigarette. Its starter kit is cheaper than Blu’s, as are its refillable cartridges. You also have a broader selection of flavors to choose from, which we find important too.Battery life in the V2 is comparable to competitors, and you should be able to get about 200 puffs per charge with the batteries included with the kit. Vapor production is comparable to other cig-a-likes on the market, and we are big fans of V2’s decision to offer a wide array of nicotine levels (five versus Blu’s two).Better yet? V2’s cig-a-like also has refillable tanks, which you’ll especially appreciate down the road if you’re new to vaping. While most beginners appreciate the simplicity of pre-filled tanks, more experienced vapers seem to prefer more customization. V2’s setup allows that, which puts it at the top of our list for sure.KangerTech Dripbox 160The best box modWhy should you buy this: It offers a perfect mix of value and performanceWho’s it for: Box mod fans on a budgetHow much will it cost: $60Why we picked the KangerTech Dripbox 160:While we did pick another (much more expensive) box mod as our top pick, we definitely wanted to include KangerTech’s Dripbox in our list. Over the past year or so, the company has made a big move into mods. You’re getting a ton out of just $60 here. Not only does the Dripbox 160 push out a stunning 160 watts of power, but it can also do temperature control too.While this technically includes an RDA, it’s a special type. There are holes in the bottom from which e-liquid held in the tank which is part of the mod itself. Squeezing this tank forces liquid up into the RDA, which then can be vaped. It’s a pretty cool idea if you ask us.Performance of this mod is almost the same as those two or even three times its cost, although we’ve noticed as battery charge decreases there is a noticeable drop in vapor output. This is due to the fact that power is unregulated just like a mechanical mod – something you’ll find on more expensive box mods. Still, overall at $60 you just can’t go wrong with the Dripbox.How we testTo help you navigate the wide world of vaping, we test extensively before putting together the most succinct and easily digestible reviews of every e-cig that crosses our desks. Here’s how we separate the best from the rest.Features/SpecsFor each vape and e-cig we test, we start with a rundown of the specs and noteworthy features. No beating around the bush here — we get right to it and explain what makes a particular vape noteworthy from the competition. Does it have a unique design? Is it more modifiable than most? The standard specs/features we go over include:Size/dimensionsBattery size / charging styleChamber/reservoir volumeHeating element typeMin/max temperature settingsConnectivity optionsDesign and Vapor QualityAfter the specs, we dive into an honest assessment of the device’s design. Can it fit in a pocket, or will you need to throw it in your bag? How does it feel in your hand? How does it feel in your mouth? Is it comfortable to hold and take a drag from? Is the button hard to find?Then we turn to the good stuff: the vapor. What kind of temperature settings does the unit have? How accurate are they? Is the vapor smooth, or harsh? Weak, or flavorful? Does it just taste burnt? There’s no truly objective way to relay this information, so we’ve put together a special testing system that helps us land on a more rounded opinion.Part one is a vapor comparison performed with a reference mod. We puff on both devices interchangeably and take note of the differences. This side-by-side test helps us tease out the review mod’s strengths and weaknesses and gives us a base for comparison.Part two is a visual test, where we take a good, long drag from the device in question, then exhale it in front of a plain background. We’ll put together a short, looping video of this, so you can see the thickness, color, and consistency of the exhaled vapor.Battery Life, and MaintenanceOver the course of our testing process, we keep a close watch on how long the device’s battery lasts, and let you know how our findings align with the specs listed on the box. Nobody wants to charge their vape every day (that’s what the iPhone is for, right?), so we’ll be honest with you about how long you can puff before it dies.For higher-end vapes, we’ll also provide some notes on repairability. No matter how nice your vape might be, there’s a good chance it’ll stop working properly for some reason or another after you’ve used it for long enough. If you’re using a cheaper vape it’s easier to buy a new one; if you spent over $100, DIY repairs will be a better option. So for the more expensive vapes we test, we’ll assess how difficult it is to clean or replace parts that are most likely to break/malfunction after prolonged use.Choosing the right device and buying smartAs you might expect, the best e-cig for you depends on your specific vaping needs. The casual smoker is best off with a rechargeable or disposable device given how affordable and widely-accessible they’ve become in recent years, while heavy smokers may want to consider a mod as they allow for a greater level of customization and longer battery life.We recommend testing out a few different models, if possible, so you’ll have a better idea of which type of model you like best. Additionally, everyday vapers will likely benefit from purchasing a back-up e-cigarette. It certainly doesn’t need to be top-of-the-line, but it’s never a bad idea to have an extra device to hold you over if your main e-cig ever malfunctions.Do note that the prices we list here are just a general guide. We have found some outlets that may have these cheaper. A word of caution though: watch out for Chinese suppliers, both websites and on eBay. In recent months, some manufacturers have begun to refuse service to those purchasing from these companies, both due to widespread counterfeiting and illegal sales.It’s always better to purchase locally anyway: these small businesses are locally-owned and you’re supporting the local economy. Better yet? Instant gratification and no need to wait for it to ship. SXmini Q MiniBest e-cigarrette overall Editors’ Recommendationslast_img read more

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Aumi Mini smart night light doubles as a notification light

first_imgStory TimelineYour Hue lights now play nicer (and smarter) with Xfinity HomeWemo Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer Light Switch now availableIKEA smart lighting price confirmed; HomeKit, Google Home, Alexa incoming The Aumi Mini is a smart accessory for your home, one that will make it a bit smarter but not be terribly obvious to anyone visiting. The item looks more sophisticated than your average night light, being a small white square that plugs into any USB wall outlet adapter. The light features a light strip around its edges that can glow in various colors and patterns; it features a touch input, light sensor, and WiFi.Once connected to your home WiFi, the light works with the companion Aumi app to dish up notifications from a bunch of the most popular apps, as well as from smart locks, emails, and timers. The light will notify the homeowner about important weather alerts, flash red if the network is down, show the outdoor temperature using lights, and can even notify you of stock market changes.Aumi Mini is being funded on Kickstarter, where the team behind it has exceeded its ~$22k funding goal with nearly a month left in the campaign. If you’re interested in getting one of these smart night lights for yourself, you can pledge $20 to get an early bird model. Shipping to backers is estimated to start in December, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, it is possible that plans will change or that the product will never reach production.SOURCE: Kickstarter Your phone and tablet and laptop all notify you of new messages, of course, and there’s a decent chance you have a smartwatch that does the same. If that’s still not enough, a new special nightlight will fill the void. Called Aumi Mini, this night light doubles as a notification light, alerting you to certain things including social media mentions via various lighting arrangements.last_img read more

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2017 Lincoln MKZ and MKZ Hybrid First Drive

first_imgLamentably, Lincoln was unable to provide me with any seat time in the twin-turbo version of the MKZ for the very good reason that none have been built yet – it’s slated for delivery in the fall of this year. This meant that my driving impressions were limited to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder model (the ‘base’ car) and the MKZ Hybrid. While I was pleased to note that Lincoln has stepped up the trim design in the new MKZ, I wasn’t as chuffed with a few inconsistencies in the finish on the doors and dash – a state of affairs I’m willing to attribute to the early-production character of the test cars I drove, as I have yet to encounter similar problems on other Lincoln vehicles.As I alluded to earlier, the engine compartment of the 2017 Lincoln MKZ contains a mix of ‘status quo’ and ‘wow!’ The latter reaction comes from the news that the sedan will be offered with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 pegged at 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, output that will be managed by a standard all-wheel drive system (with available torque-vectoring). It’s a huge statement from Lincoln to offer this level of performance after so many years of ceding the sporty sedan market to the competition, and it’s even more interesting to note that as of now, there are no plans to use this drivetrain in a Ford product. Of course, the MKC crossover was also introduced with a ‘unique to Lincoln’ 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine that eventually found its way outside the brand’s stables, but I will point out that the 3.0 TT in the MKZ isn’t being marketed under the EcoBoost nomenclature, and perhaps stands a better chance at remaining an exclusive. Want to be a luxury brand these days? Better get in line. Just like every automaker has felt the need to dive head-first into the crossover pool, so goes the desire to push the features needle into the premium red-zone regardless of how affordable a vehicle’s starting price might be. Bravely into this murky environment goes the 2017 Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedan, its moxie reinforced by both a redesign and an attitude adjustment under the hood aimed at grabbing the attention at previously-indifferent high end shoppers. Lincoln has been dinged more than most car companies when it comes to doing battle with mainstream models masquerading as luxury options. The reason? Parent-company Ford’s insistence on marketing well-equipped, platform-sharing sedans and SUVs at prices that undercut its own premium partner.Fortunately, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ manages to distance itself even further than the previous-generation car when it comes to offering customers something they won’t be able to find in a Blue Oval showroom. It starts with a conscious decision to back away from the flowing waves of chrome that previously defined Lincoln’s corporate front fascia in favor of mesh arrangement first seen on the Continental full-size sedan that’s slated to arrive later this year. It’s really hard to see any shared lines with the Fusion with whom the MKZ shares its chassis, and in fact, even in silhouette there’s nary a Ford curve to be found on the car. I know what you’re thinking: haven’t I seen this schnoz somewhere before? The answer is yes, as the Lincoln MKZ’s refreshed styling evokes more than a few other brands plying the luxury landscape (most prominently Volvo and Jaguar). Still, before crying ‘foul’ it’s important to remember that the MKZ distills current design trends that have influenced a broad spectrum of brands, which is not an uncommon occurrence in an increasingly crowded marketplace (see: Nissan Titan XD / Ford F-150, or almost any mid-size crossover).Lincoln has also pushed the quality of its interior materials – and the layout of its controls and dashboard – in a distinctly non-Ford direction. SYNC 3 makes its infotainment debut for the brand in the MKZ, and the result is a more simple interface for accessing navigation, media, and vehicle settings. Those who hate having to dig through touchscreen menus simply to turn on the heated seats, heated steering wheel, or climate controls will be happy to find dials, knobs, and buttons dedicated to the most commonly-used functions sitting right underneath the car’s LCD screen. Don’t get me wrong: the 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque produced by the gas-only Lincoln MKZ are certainly enough to be competitive in the mid-size luxury segment, at least at the entry-level. While acceleration is tuned more for the ‘quiet luxury’ customer that Lincoln is trying to attract with the sedan (as is the comfortable, and competent suspension system outfitted to the car), most drivers won’t have any complaints behind the wheel of the MKZ 2.0 in daily driving.The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a bit of a different story, as its 188 horsepower and somewhat noisy continuously-variable automatic transmission (replacing the six-speed autobox standard will all other MKZ editions) are a little outside the expectations in the mid-size luxury segment. While it might be the least engaging member of the MKZ family, there’s no questioning its ability to pinch pennies at the fuel pump: look for 40-mpg in combined driving, which is an outstanding figure. It also doesn’t hurt that the MKZ Hybrid is priced identically to the turbo four as you advance through the various trim and options packages, which means you don’t have to shell out more cash simply to save on fuel.Two days of driving the 2017 Lincoln MKZ revealed it to be a quiet, composed, and comfortable car packed with advanced safety gear and high end features (including massaging seats so tireless in their task that I was worried I’d have to take out a restraining order). Key for Lincoln, however, is how to get people to care about the MKZ when so many other vehicles – ranging from the Nissan Maxima to the Lexus ES to the Infiniti Q50 – are reading from the same playbook. Have we reached some type of luxury singularity, as predicted by an Alcantara-clad Kurzweil, where from this point on it will become harder and harder to distinguish one brand from the next based on content alone? It’s entirely possible, and that puts companies like Lincoln in tough to convince potential buyers to pay a little bit extra for a car that their neighbor might not recognize as a premium model- even one as competent as the 2017 Lincoln MKZ. Story Timeline2015 Lincoln MKC premium SUV unveiled with 2.3-liter EcoBoost engineLincoln Continental Concept quietly sneaks in luxuryLincoln’s 2017 MKZ scales up luxe and glitz with 400HP V62017 Lincoln Continental gives classic name to modern luxury2016 New York Auto Show Highlights: Genesis, Lincoln, Mazda, Audi, More!last_img read more

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5 Things you need to know about the 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD

first_img 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Gallery The 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro seems prepped to bridge the gap between traditional, ‘yeah, it’s got four-wheel drive’ pickup fare and hardcore desert-racing rides like the Ford F-150 Raptor. The full-size truck delivers when it comes to attitude, and it certainly boasts all the right upgrades to tackle extra-harsh terrain, but at the same time it maintains a veneer of civilization that makes it livable on a daily basis. I spent a week behind the wheel of this trail-breaker and came away with 5 things you need to know about the 2017 Toyota TRD Pro.1. Extra Gear For Bugging OutThe 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is designed to take extra licks off-road as compared to lesser versions of the full-size pickup. To that end, Toyota has added equipment such as TRD-customized dual internal piston Bilstein shocks with external reservoirs at all four corners (that provide an extra 2 inches of wheel travel up front and 1.25 at the rear), 32-inch knobby Michelin tires wrapped around 18-inch rims, and a bigger sway bar out back. These work together with 10.6 inches of ground clearance and a low-range four-wheel drive system to deliver formidable trail prowess, provided the path you pick doesn’t get too narrow for the Tundra’s long wheelbase (you can only order the truck in either double or crew four-door cab sizes).AdChoices广告2. Big Visual Impact Compared To Standard TundraThe Tundra is already a truck with presence, but opting for the TRD Pro model adds significant flair to the overall presentation. My tester had been dipped in a handsome battleship gray that Toyota dubs ‘Cement,’ and it was a perfect complement to its slab-sided features, which were further set off by ‘TRD PRO’ emblazoned in raised lettering alongside each flank, as well as TUNDRA projecting from the tailgate like a fist coming at your face in a 3D movie. The pickup’s unique TRD Pro rims, bold TOYOTA block letters across the blacked-out front grille, and power bulge in the hood complete the non-conformist uniform, and of course you get a whole whack of TRD Pro badges throughout the interior to make sure your passengers remain intimately familiar with where your off-road loyalties lie.3. Good Power, Nice Sound, Decent RideSuspension, chassis, and cosmetic improvements round out the list of changes made to the 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, with virtually nothing else about the truck varying from what you’d find in a mid-range edition of the pickup’s playbook. This is in most ways a good thing, because it means you can use the Tundra like a truck, rather than deal with compromised towing, hauling, or ride comfort issues. The vehicle’s standard 381 horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 makes sweet music out of its TRD-stamped dual exhaust system, its six-speed automatic transmission is geared to spin the tires if you get on the gas a little too enthusiastically, and the suspension’s off-road focus doesn’t detract noticeably from on-road handling. The truck feels quick enough to be fun without overpowering the brakes or tires, and you can hitch up a trailer and haul just under 10,000 lbs if the mood should strike you.4. Barebones Interior FeelThe interior of my Tundra TRD Pro was a bit of a puzzler. Standard leather buckets are nice, but it took me three days before I could locate the tiny heated seat buttons shoved up under the center of the dash. Similarly, navigation is present with the Entune touchscreen audio system, but there’s no standard automatic climate control which means fiddling with big knobs to find the right temperature. It’s a weird mix of gear, but it reflects the affordable, roughly $44k price point for the TRD Pro, which is more about breaking trail than worrying whether you’re going to break a nail on the harder plastics in its cabin. If you’re seeking comfort, you can snag a Tundra Limited for roughly the same coin and trade all that rugged gear for a smoother day-to-day.5. A Bit Of A History LessonOne other bit of bad news about the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro isn’t specific to this model, but applies in general to the Tundra line-up as whole: it’s getting a little old. More than a little, in fact, as Toyota hasn’t really redesigned the truck since it first appeared back in 2007, opting instead for facelifts and feature updates over its decade-long existence. The lack of investment shows, particularly when compared against more modern full-size trucks from Ford, Ram, and GM. The Tundra is a ‘good’ truck, to be sure, but it’s facing off against a pack of ‘great’ trucks which puts it in tough to dazzle in their company.center_img Story TimelineStock Toyota Tundra to tow space shuttle Endeavor on the last leg of its final journey2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road ReviewDesert storm: Catching air in Toyota’s TRD at the 2017 Mint 400last_img read more

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New Porsche Macan unveil shows one sexy SUV

first_imgThat fancy LED taillight strip is meant to remind of the iconic 911 and the 918 Spyder and it does an excellent job of tying the Macan to the sports cars in the Porsche line. While the LED headlights are standard, buyers can option the Macan with Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS) to adaptively control light distribution.The new Macan gains some new options including a GT sports steering wheel that puts the Sport Response button into the steering wheel. That option is part of the Sports Chrono Package. Other options in the line include a heated windscreen and an ionizer inside to improve air quality. Porsche has added new colors to the Macan palette including Miami Blue, Mamba Green Metallic, Dolomite Silver Metallic, and Crayon.New interior packages are available for the Macan along with other interior options. Traffic Jam Assist with adaptive cruise control is a new option that lets drivers relax in traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h. That feature assists with the throttle, braking, and steering. Macan buyers get a new PCM system with an 11-inch touchscreen and full connectivity. The infotainment interface can be customized using predefined tiles. Air vents are redesigned and are now below the larger infotainment screen. The Connect Plus module is standard to connect the vehicle to a network. Porsche offers its intelligent all-wheel drive Porsche Traction Management system to improve driving dynamics. Pricing and exact availability are unannounced.SOURCE: Porsche Not too long ago Porsche offered up some photos of the new Macan SUV as it was undergoing testing in the mountains in South Africa. Fast forward a bit and Porsche has now unveiled the new Macan in Shanghai. The new Macan is a very attractive vehicle and has a three-dimensional LED taillight strip. The standard headlights are LED and the interior is heavily revised from the outgoing model.last_img read more

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Kia Separated Sound Zone tech lets you listen to your own tunes

first_imgEach passenger gets an audio feed tailored to their needs including music, hands-free phone calls, and vehicle alerts. Passengers are still able to converse freely with this system according to Kia. The SSZ tech creates and controls the acoustic fields of the car to isolate sounds. The “many” speakers in the vehicle use scientific principles to reduce or increase audio levels of sound waves. That prevents the overlap of sound waves being heard in each seat and creates an effect like current noise cancellation systems without needing headphones. Kia thinks this tech will be increasingly important as automation takes over driving duties leaving passengers using more entertainment on long trips.The system allows each passenger to connect their smartphone via Bluetooth and listen to their own music without interfering with the audio streams of other passengers. Hands-free calls can also be isolated to specific passengers. AdChoices广告The tech is also able to eliminate unnecessary sounds for passengers but keep them for the driver. This means navigation sounds or driver alerts from the car. Kia thinks that is a particularly big deal for people with sleeping babies in the car. SSZ has been in development since 2014 and is expected to land for vehicles in the next one to two years.SOURCE: Kia We all know the pain of being in a car for a long trip and being forced to listen to the music someone else likes when you hate the genre. Kia has some new tech is it talking up that could mean you never have to hear dad’s easy listening music again. The tech is called Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) and it allows each passenger to listen to different music without having to resort to headphones.last_img read more

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New legislation seeks mandatory alert system for kids left in cars

first_imgNewly proposed legislation seeks the mandatory inclusion of forgotten child alerts in all new vehicles. The technology, which is currently available as third-party accessories, alerts drivers to the presence of a child in the back seat of a vehicle, helping reduce the number of tragic hot car deaths. The full legislation will be published for the public to read in coming days. Though they don’t all work in exactly the same manner, these child alert systems are generally designed to remind drivers to check the back seat of their vehicle before they leave the car. The system helps remind parents who may otherwise become distracted — these situations have tragically resulted in the death of babies and young sleeping kids who were left in a hot car.The new legislation was announced by Senators Richard Blumenthal, Maria Cantwell, and Roger Wicker, as well as US Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Tim Ryan, and Pete King. The finalize text for the House legislation is being polished and will be made available for the public to read in ‘coming weeks,’ according to the politicians.Assuming the bill was passed, automakers would be required to include these alert systems as a default feature in all of their new consumer vehicles (released after the bill went into effect). There’s no word on specific requirements for these systems, though they’re not likely to be complex; we’ll get more details when the text is published in the near future.Talking about the new proposal is Congressman Tim Ryan, who said:No child should endure the tragedy of dying while trapped in a hot vehicle. The unfortunate reality is that even good, loving and attentive parents can get distracted. Studies have shown that this can happen to anyone, anywhere. That is why I am proud to work with Representatives Schakowsky and King on this important legislation. Our cars can already alert drivers when they leave their keys in the car, their lights on, or their trunk open – none of which are life threatening. It is not unusual for the government to mandate safety features to protect lives. Cars are mandated to have seat belts, interior trunk-releases, and rear backup cameras. Our legislation would move us one step closer to getting this inexpensive technology in every car on the road to help save the lives of children nationwide. Story TimelineUS Senator proposes bill to ban loot boxes in games for kidsTexting on the crosswalk in NY will result in $50 fine under new billlast_img read more

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The IRS Gears Up For Health Law Tasks FineTuning Health Law Messages

first_imgThe IRS Gears Up For Health Law Tasks; Fine-Tuning Health Law Messages News outlets report on the moving parts involved in the next phase of the health law’s implementation. Meanwhile, legislators consider what the sweeping measure might mean for their states. Politico: Can The IRS Handle Obamacare?Now that the health care law’s future is finally secure, it’s up to the Internal Revenue Service to make sure the money flows. … The agency is charged with shouldering some of the law’s most nitty-gritty technical details, from making sure Americans receive the insurance premium tax credits they’re eligible for, to incorporating more than 40 changes to the Tax Code, to collecting penalties from individuals and businesses that fail to meet the law’s insurance requirements (Cunningham, 11/20).CQ HealthBeat: Enroll America Gears Up For Coverage Expansion EffortThose spearheading a broad-based, privately funded educational campaign to enroll the uninsured in health plans as part of the health care overhaul are in the closing stages of pinpointing what messages they will use and which audiences the effort will target. The campaign’s goal is to fully develop its strategy by year’s end and to launch in mid-2013, in time for the Oct. 1 start of the open enrollment period in the new state insurance exchanges (Reichard, 11/19).The Associated Press: Indiana Legislative Leaders Ponder Health CostsIndiana’s top lawmakers said Monday they’re not sure what to expect from the federal health care law other than greater costs at a time the state’s budget is already stretched thin. Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long said the state no doubt would have to absorb some hidden expenses, even if the federal government sets up Indiana’s online exchange allowing consumers and businesses to shop for insurance. That coupled with a potential Medicaid expansion could make the law a long-term burden on Indiana taxpayers, he said (LoBianco, 11/19). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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First Edition April 24 2014

first_imgToday’s headlines include a number of reports about how the health law is playing in midterm election campaigns.   The Wall Street Journal: Small Businesses Find Benefits, Costs As They Navigate Affordable Care ActMany small businesses won a reprieve from having to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act until 2015 or later. But the law is already having a lasting impact on how lots of owners choose to run their companies. Some owners have begun to weigh strategies that might help them avoid complying with the law later on, such as opting out of providing the required coverage and instead paying a federal penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker after the first 30. Others have begun restructuring their businesses, reducing their employees’ hours, for example, or trimming their total head counts to fewer than 50 full-time workers (Needleman and Loten, 4/23).Politico: Study Questions Obamacare Impact On Canceled PlansMillions of the plans that were canceled because they did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements probably would have been canceled anyway — by the policyholders, a new study suggests. Last fall, as cancellation letters arrived in mailboxes around the country, opponents of the law cited them as evidence that President Barack Obama had lied to Americans when he promised, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” (Wheaton, 4/23).The New York Times: Southerners Don’t Like Obamacare. They Also Don’t Want To Repeal It.Despite strong dislike of President Obama’s handling of health care, a majority of people in three Southern states – Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina – would rather that Congress improve his signature health care law than repeal and replace it, according to a New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll (Tavernise and Kopicki, 4/23).The New York Times’ The Upshot: Health Law’s Middle-Ground Approach Leaves It UnlovedThe legacy achievement of the Obama administration has also become its largest political conundrum. Many Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act — but for different reasons, coming from different sides. To get the law through Congress (barely), the administration chose a middle ground that relies on the private insurance system and a mandate that individuals buy insurance. To many Americans, especially conservatives, that approach involves too much government involvement. To many others, the approach involves too little; they would prefer that government insure most people directly, as it does for older people through Medicare. Obamacare, however, exists in a middle ground between the two (Kopicki, 4/23).The New York Times’ The Upshot: Despite Poll, Problems Lurk For Democratic Incumbents In SouthOther Democrats face a similar challenge: In every contest, at least 10 percent of Democratic supporters oppose the Affordable Care Act and say they wouldn’t vote for a candidate who disagrees with their stance. All four Democratic Senate candidates in these states support the law (Cohn, 4/23).Los Angeles Times: New Senate Polls Offer Three Lessons And Some Hope For DemocratsBoth Beebe and Beshear have backed expansion of healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Beshear, in particular, has attracted national attention for Kentucky’s successful introduction of the new law. Both have expanded Medicaid coverage in their states. Jindal and McCrory have opposed the law and have blocked Medicaid expansion. Jindal’s position on healthcare could be an issue in Louisiana’s Senate race. The Democratic incumbent, Sen. Mary Landrieu, attacked Republicans in a recent interview for blocking Medicaid expansion (Lauter, 4/23).The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Four New Americans For Prosperity Ads Take On ObamacareAmericans for Prosperity, the limited-government group that has spent $35 million attacking Democrats over the Affordable Care Act, released four ads on Tuesday—in New Hampshire, Louisiana, Colorado and Michigan.Here’s a roundup of fact checks of these ads (Kessler, 4/24).The Associated Press: Technology Group To Decide Cover Oregon’s FutureThe technology committee will decide whether Cover Oregon should ditch its glitch-filled website and replace it with the federal government’s health insurance marketplace, or try to fix the existing system with the help of a new IT contractor. The decision comes nearly seven months after Oregon’s exchange was supposed to go live so that residents could use it to compare and buy health insurance plans (4/24).The Washington Post: Gansler Calls Maryland’s Health Exchange A ‘$200 Million Failure’ In Latest TV AdMaryland gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler on Wednesday released his third television ad on health care, promising to “get tough” on proposed rate hikes by insurance companies and calling the state’s online health exchange “a nearly $200 million failure.” The 30-second spot, which Gansler’s campaign said will debut Thursday in the Baltimore market, is Gansler’s latest attempt to call attention to problems with the exchange, for which he has sought to pin blame on Democratic rival Anthony G. Brown (Wagner, 4/23).The Washington Post: Va. Lawmakers Fail To Override Any Of Governor’s VetoesThe General Assembly returned to the Capitol for its annual “veto session” to consider the 60 bills McAuliffe amended and four of the five he had vetoed. (The fifth veto had been sustained during the regular session.) It took no action on the overdue state budget, which has been deadlocked by an impasse over Medicaid. But rancor over the budget and Medicaid spilled over into Wednesday’s work in floor speeches and Republican claims that the governor had vetoed the red-light bill to retaliate against the Democrat who opposed expansion (Vozzella, 4/23).The Associated Press: Virginia Lawmakers Sustain McAuliffe VetoesThe General Assembly did not take up the state’s proposed $96 billion two-year budget. Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked on whether the budget should include expanding Medicaid eligibility to about 400,000 low-income residents. State government could shut down if no budget is passed by July 1. At a news conference, Senate Democratic Leader Richard L. Saslaw of Fairfax accused Republican lawmakers who oppose Medicaid but have state-funded health insurance of being hypocritical. On the House floor, Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, accused McAuliffe of “extorting” the entire state by insisting on a budget that includes expanding Medicaid eligibility (4/23).The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: A Year After Arizona Approved Medicaid Expansion, Brewer Still Fighting For ItArizona Gov. Jan Brewer fought harder than any Republican governor last year to push through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Almost a year later, she’s still fighting opposition to it on two fronts. First, she vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have capped the Medicaid program. … Even if Brewer had signed the bill, it’s unlikely the law would have taken effect in Arizona. It would have had to pass review by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which had already warned that the Arizona bill ran counter to the goals of the Medicaid program (Millman, 4/23).The Associated Press: Louisiana: Medicaid Expansion Is Rejected AgainLawmakers have again turned away efforts to expand the state Medicaid program under the federal health care law, with the Senate health committee voting 6 to 2 on Wednesday against an expansion (4/24).The New York Times: Forecast Cut On Spending For HealthThe Congressional Budget Office has reduced by one-third its estimate of how much more states will spend on Medicaid in the coming decade because of the Affordable Care Act. In early February, the budget office estimated that state spending on Medicaid and a related program for children would be $70 billion higher from 2015 to 2024 because of the law’s coverage provisions. In a new report, the budget office puts the cost at $46 billion (Pear, 4/23).The Associated Press: Wellness Programs Grow More Popular With EmployersMore companies are starting or expanding wellness programs that aim to reduce their medical costs by improving their employees’ health. They’re asking workers to take physical exams, complete detailed health assessments and focus on controlling conditions such as diabetes. Along with that, many companies also are dangling the threat of higher monthly insurance premiums to prod workers into action (4/23).The Wall Street Journal: Aetna Raises Outlook On Strong Quarterly GrowthThe company raised its full-year operating earnings forecast to $6.35 to $6.55 a share from its prior view of at least $6.25 a share. The insurer in February said it expects to lose money on its business in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces this year, with the demographics of enrollees skewing slightly more than expected toward people likely to rack up higher costs. Still, the company noted that individual insurance represents a small part of operating revenue (Rubin, 4/24).NPR: Costly Hepatitis C Pill Shreds Drug Industry Sales RecordThe launch of Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-day pill for hepatitis C, is shaping up as the most successful ever. The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill in December. And then Gilead Sciences was off to the races. The company said it sold $2.27 billion worth of Sovaldi in the quarter that ended March 31. $2.27 billion! The boffo number beat Wall Street’s estimate for the quarter by more than $1 billion (Hensley, 4/23).The Associated Press: Feds: Home Health Company Paying $150 M SettlementAmedisys Inc., a Baton Rouge-based home health company, will pay $150 million to resolve allegations that it inflated Medicare billings and had improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday. Amedisys and its affiliates make up one of the nation’s largest home health providers, operating in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to a Justice Department news release (4/23).The Wall Street Journal: Amedisys To Pay $150 Million to Resolve Medicare Fraud AllegationsThe Department of Justice had been investigating allegations that between 2008 and 2010, Amedisys billed Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary, and misrepresented patients’ conditions to increase its payments from Medicare, the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia said in a statement Wednesday. Based in Baton Rouge, La., Amedisys provides at-home nursing care and physical therapy in 37 states (Whalen, 4/23).The Associated Press: Mississippi: Governor Signs Abortion RestrictionGov. Phil Bryant signed a bill on Wednesday to ban abortion starting at the midpoint of a full-term pregnancy. Supporters say the measure will protect women’s health; opponents say it is unconstitutional (4/24).The Wall Street Journal: Creditors Seek To Force D.C. Hospital Into BankruptcyA group of businesses owed more than $2.5 million by Washington, D.C.’s Specialty Hospital is seeking to push the troubled health-care facility into bankruptcy. Creditors of Specialty Hospital of Washington LLC, which runs the city’s only long-term acute-care hospitals, Wednesday filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the facility in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del (Fitzgerald, 4/23). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: April 24, 2014 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

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Report Finds Lack Of Competition Among Medicare Advantage Plans

first_img Modern Healthcare: Robust Medicare Advantage Competition Almost Nonexistent The New York Times: With Mergers, Concerns Grow About Private Medicare As some of the nation’s largest health insurers plan to merge, a new report raises fresh concern over the lack of competition in the private Medicare market. The analysis, released on Tuesday, concludes “there is little competition anywhere in the nation.” The report from the Commonwealth Fund, a research group, looked at the market share of insurance companies offering private Medicare Advantage plans in 2012. The authors found that 97 percent of markets in United States counties were “highly concentrated,” in which a small number of insurers dominated. The lack of competition was worse in rural markets. (Abelson, 8/25) Modern Healthcare: Kidney-Care Providers Consolidate To Manage Costs, Patient Care This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Wall Street Journal: Gauge Shows Trader Unease On Merger Outcomes Report Finds Lack Of Competition Among Medicare Advantage Plans The study by the Commonwealth Fund finds that in 97 percent of markets a small number of insurers dominate, which could raise concerns about some high-level insurance company mergers. Also in industry news, health analytics company Inovalon is acquiring the consulting firm Avalere Health and two large kidney-care providers plan consolidations.center_img Modern Healthcare: Inovalon To Acquire Avalere For $140M The largely consolidated dialysis sector has been quiet on the M&A front of late, but the transition to value-based payment models could be renewing the drive for scale. Two large kidney-care providers announced transactions Monday that will increase their footprints, provide more leverage with payers and allow them to gain access to additional patient data. The deals are expected to close by the end of 2015. (Kutscher and Rice, 8/24) Competition among Medicare Advantage plans more closely resembles local oligopolies instead of a buzzing market overflowing with options for seniors, a new study from the Commonwealth Fund shows. The lack of competition is especially relevant as the U.S. health insurance market teeters on the precipice of further consolidation. Aetna and Anthem are undergoing federal scrutiny over their deals that would drastically enlarge their Medicare Advantage memberships. (Herman, 8/25) The gap between the price offered and the trading price of a number of companies that are subject to pending takeover bids widened dramatically last week, a sign of investor nervousness about deals whose outcome could help determine whether the merger boom continues. … For patient, steel-nerved investors, though, there could still be big profits to be made. A wager placed Friday that Aetna Inc. will complete its $34 billion takeover of rival health insurer Humana Inc., for example, is set to return some 22% should the deal close on schedule in late 2016. The spread, which largely reflects nervousness that regulators will reject the deal and possibly an accompanying tie-up between Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp., rose from 21.2% a week earlier. That is a relatively modest move showing that not all spreads widened dramatically last week. (Raice and Hoffman, 8/24) Inovalon, a publicly traded healthcare analytics company, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire healthcare consulting firm Avalere Health. The purchase price is $140 million, which is composed of $135 million of cash and $5 million of restricted stock. Inovalon said the deal would significantly expand its footprint in the pharma/life sciences market, which it estimates could be worth $30 billion or more. (Aguilar and Conn, 8/24) last_img read more

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Perspectives More Transparent Pricing System Would Help Untangle Confusion Around High Costs

first_img Last month we got a glimpse at what’s inside the Trump administration’s draft executive order to control drug pricing, and overall it was a pretty big win for drug companies. They would be in line to get more power to charge monopoly prices overseas and be allowed to give even fewer discounts to hospitals with poor patients. (Linette Lopez, 7/11) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Baltimore Sun: Marylanders Misled By Drug Pricing Bill Faced with increasing prescription drug costs and congressional gridlock, some states have enacted meaningful reforms. In April 2017, New York State became the first public payer in the United States to authorize limits on prescription drug costs based on their therapeutic benefits.1 Under its new budget legislation, the state can identify high-cost drugs, determine a value-based price, and use enhanced powers to negotiate supplemental rebates to achieve this target price for its Medicaid program. (Thomas J. Hwang, Aaron S. Kesselheim and Ameet Sarpatwari, 7/10) For once, Celgene Corp. is late to the party. Celgene’s frequent and aggressive pursuit of partnerships with other companies is one of its hallmarks. It’s helped power the biotech to a $100 billion market cap from near $30 billion five years ago. But its latest deal, announced Wednesday evening — a potential billion-dollar-plus tie-up with BeiGene Ltd. of China, to access an immune-boosting cancer drug candidate — won’t do much to enhance its dealmaking reputation. (Max Nisen, 7/6) Bloomberg: Celgene Is Tardy To This Cancer-Drug Party Perspectives: More Transparent Pricing System Would Help Untangle Confusion Around High Costs Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues. JAMA: Value-Based Pricing And State Reform Of Prescription Drug Costs center_img In May, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh declared victory when the General Assembly passed House Bill 631, giving him the power to sue certain drug companies for “excessive” price increases. In doing so, unfortunately, Marylanders were misled about these new powers to police drug prices. In reality, this legislation will decrease competition and raise prices, neither of which will benefit patients, employers or taxpayers in the state. (Chester Davis, 7/11) Prescription drug costs are a hot political issue, not as much because of the share of the U.S. health care dollar they consume but because consumers pay a larger share of their drug costs out of pocket than they do for other health care. The lack of price transparency for prescription drugs is a large part of the problem, and making pricing more transparent throughout the process could help in finding viable solutions. (Grace-Marie Turner, 7/11) San Antonio Press-Express: Taxpayers Paid For The Research, Deserve Low Drug Prices Forbes: Price Transparency Is Critical To Drug Pricing Solutions Business Insider: Trump Drug Refund Policy Doesn’t Work When American taxpayers finance drug research, they have earned the right to buy the resulting medication for a reasonable price. … Instead, taxpayers’ wallets are hit twice for too many medications — once when they pay for drug research through their hard-earned tax dollars and again when a pharmaceutical company, which used that research, engages in price gouging. (Rep. Lloyd Doggett, R-Texas, 7/5) last_img read more

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Apple cancels plans for revolutionary quantum dot iPhone camera Report

first_img This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. According to a recent report, Apple has cancelled its plans to introduce quantum dot camera technology to the iPhone range with a very costly backtrack.The Telegraph has reported that Apple has cancelled its partnership with Nanoco for the development of quantum dot cameras. Shares of Nanoco dropped by 80% last week after news that a major customer, officially unnamed, had dropped out of the project which was reportedly worth £17.1 million ($21.7 million), more than half of Nanoco’s current revenue.This news surely means we’ll have to wait a while longer to see groundbreaking quantum dot tech reaching iPhone cameras.Related: Best iPhonesQuantum dots can enhance image quality by improving colour accuracy. A version of the technology has already been used to some extent with QLED TV screens but we’ve yet to see it in action on a smartphone screen or camera yet.The accurate colour representation could give a boost for iPhones over other camera competitors such as the Google Pixel 3 and the Huawei P30 Pro, both of which offer market-leading camera quality. We were impressed by the iPhone XS‘ camera performance in areas such as dynamic range but in general, we felt it was losing ground compared to its Android competitors.Related: Best Camera PhonesWhile this news might be considered as a setback for Apple, we’ve already heard exciting rumours for its upcoming new flagship, the iPhone 11. It’s expected to have a rear triple camera set-up, which has been seen frequently on Android phones but would actually be a first for Apple. Hopefully, this translates as a big step-up in quality from the cameras on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.Fortunately, we won’t have to wait much longer to see the next model in the series unveiled, as it is expected to be announced in late September and to go on sale shortly afterwards. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editorlast_img read more

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The Google Pixel 4 second camera mystery may have been solved

first_imgWe’ve seen the back of Google’s Pixel 4, in the literal sense, but Google hasn’t served up any knowledge of the function that additional camera lens will actually perform.Now, hiding in plain sight within the latest Android Q beta, we may have learned the truth. As spied within the Google Camera v6.3 app, there’s a couple of apparent references to a telephoto lens.Found by the eagle-eyed folks at XDA Developers, there’s a new SABRE_UNZOOMED_TELEPHOTO field, and one sensor ID reading ID_REAR_TELEPHOTO, surely suggesting the identity of that second rear camera lens.Sabre is the assumed codename for the Super Res Zoom mode on Pixel 4 smartphone, which is due out in October running the completed Android Q operating system. There are other camera hints within the code string too. One reference refers to a front IR sensor, which could mean “infrared” and could be used for facial recognition and an Apple Face ID-like biometric security tool.Related: Pixel 4 features we want to seeElsewhere in the latest Android Q beta it has emerged that Google is making Night Sight one of the main modes on the camera. The code also suggests there’ll be new options for segmenting and optimising the sky. It’s not precisely clear what either would do, but improvements are always welcome, even for one of those most proficient camera modes out there.Google has done a fantastic job of creating arguably the best smartphone cameras, despite only focusing on the one rear lens. The Pixel 4 will be the first device in the history of the range to have multiple rear cameras, which Google confirmed by posting an image as the back of the device. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Well, since there seems to be some interest, here you go! Wait ’til you see what it can do. #Pixel4 pic.twitter.com/RnpTNZXEI1— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) June 12, 2019Elsewhere we’re fully expecting the phones to offer the Qualcomm 855 system-on-a-chip, combined with 6GB of RAM. Android Q will be available out of the box, of course. Google will also release a Pixel 4 XL device, if history is repeated.center_img This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editorlast_img read more

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