#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – Nov.27 – The federal Unified Agenda is the Obama administration’s regulatory road map, and it lays out thousands of regulations being finalized in the coming months.

Under President Barack Obama, there has been a tradition of releasing the agenda late on Friday — and right before a major holiday.

“It’s become an unfortunate tradition of this administration and others to drop these regulatory agendas late on a Friday and right before a holiday,” Matt Shudtz, executive director of the Center for Progressive Reform, told The Hill newspaper.

The White House’s regulatory agenda for spring 2014 was released on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, when millions of people set out on weekend getaways or family vacations.

“It’s unfortunate because it’s an update on protections for Americans of all stripes,” Shudtz told the Hill. “It lays out the administration’s plan and it deserves more attention.”

But the White House may have a good reason to do so because its Unified Agenda for fall 2014 includes some 3,415 regulations– more than the last regulatory agenda, and one that includes 189 rules that cost more than $100 million.





#AceNewsServices – Nov.27 – “It is an epidemic. Or, at least, it’s very common,” New York-based spine surgeon Kenneth Hansraj told The Washington Post last week.

He was referring to something that is being called “text neck,” a purported condition of the spine related to the posture of bending forward to look at a phone.

Hansraj’s comments came in wake of a short article on the matter that he published in an obscure medical journal called Surgical Technology International. Last week my colleague Olga Khazan mentioned the paper in a brief post for our site that included Hansraj’s diagram of how flexing your neck increases stress on your cervical spine.

It was an interesting account of the suggestions of one private-practice neurosurgeon.

But the post and the illustration spread widely around the Internet, and the stakes elevated quickly.

In the past week, the study and the diagram have been published by hundreds of outlets, including The Chicago Tribune, Slate, NPR, Business Insider, The Sydney Morning Herald, NBC News, The Globe and Mail, Today, Time, Yahoo,Shape, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, and many others. New York‘s headline, for example, was “Look at How Texting Is Warping Your Spine.” At several publications, the story was the most popular post on the site. With claims of epidemic and implications of serious spinal damage, the story has elevated to something that maybe warrants a closer look.

Hunching over isn’t ideal, and it’s worth thinking about sitting or standing up straight when possible. But our necks are made to bend forward, and it’s not something that’s new to humans.

Texting invokes the same posture as holding a book:

Lauren Giordano/The Atlantic

Or a baby: 

Lauren Giordano/The Atlantic

Or a rock:

Lauren Giordano/The Atlantic

Physicists and engineers have taken to blogs and comments to argue over the accuracy of Hansraj’s calculations.

But whatever the exact numbers (we used Hansraj’s in our illustrations here), it is true that there’s more force on the base of the cervical spine when the head is bent forward. And the farther forward a person bends his head to look at their phone, the more force that puts onto spine.

That’s all true.

The question is whether that matters, and if so, how much.

One of the people who tweeted in discontent was Ian Dorward, a neurosurgeon at Washington University in Saint Louis. He rebuked The Washington Postthusly:

I talked with Dorward for his counterperspective on last week’s text-neck mania. Being a neurosurgeon, he not only knows a lot about spinal anatomy and biomechanics, but he also spends as much of his day bent forward over people’s exposed spinal cords as even the most angsty of Instagram-mongering tweens do over their text machines.

“To say that there’s this epidemic of ‘text neck’ is totally unfounded,” Dorward said. “All he [Hansraj] has is a computer model, and he doesn’t even spell out where these numbers are coming from.”

The reality is that an axial load, one applied from the top down onto the spine, at the weights in question is not dangerous. “People can carry a lot more than 60 pounds on top of their head if it’s actually an axial load,” Dorward said, noting that people have evolved to have their heads flexed in a variety of different angles and postures without issue.

“If you apply external weight to the head and then flex it forward, that would be a real issue,” he continued. “Certainly if you spend an inordinate amount of time leaning forward, it can cause musculoskeletal problems like exacerbating arthritis.” When he’s huddled over a surgical field in the operating room, Dorward wears loupes and a head lamp. The weight of those devices combines with the weight of his cranium to significantly increase torque on his spine. “The stresses that I’m applying to my spine are vastly greater than what someone would be experiencing when they’re texting,” he said. And that is, for someone in his line of work, a legitimate concern.

For most people, though, the point remains that good posture is generally good when possible, but texting is not an imminent threat to spinal health.

In his paper Hansraj goes on to talk about power posing, how posture and assuming certain stances seems to affect a person’s hormonal milieu. Research has shown that assuming “high-power” postures—sitting up straight and throwing your shoulders back and aligning your ears over your shoulders—can lead to very real elevations in testosterone, serotonin, and tolerance for risk taking. That’s cool stuff to consider, but a separate issue from the hypothetical scourge of text neck.

“People are walking around now while texting, falling into water fountains and lakes and walking into traffic—that’s a real danger,” Dorward added.

The more important idea that has been studied with regard to biomechanical forces on the spine is related to the American “epidemic” of obesity. As a person gains weight, their center of gravity moves forward, and that can drastically increase force on a person’s lumbar spine.

“That’s a real problem for spine disease,” Dorward said.

“Looking down at your phone is really not.”



#AceWorldNews – ROME – Nov.27 – A Russian tourist has been fined 20,000 euros ($A30,000) for engraving a big letter ‘K’ on a wall of the Colosseum, the latest act of vandalism by tourists at the ancient structure AP reported. 

' Tourist Fined and Sentenced for Vadalism '

‘ Tourist Fined and Sentenced for Vadalism ‘

The news agency ANSA reported that the 42-year-old tourist was given a summary judgment on Saturday of a fine and a suspended four-year jail sentence.

He was spotted by a guard as he used a pointed stone to carve the 25cm tall letter.

Union leaders, citing recent acts of vandalism, have complained about the lack of personnel to properly monitor Rome’s archaeological treasures – with increasing numbers of visitors seeking to leave their trace on antiquity, causing incalculable damage.

It was the fifth incidence of vandalism by foreign tourists at the Colosseum this year.



#AceNewsServices – Nov.27 – The newest outpost of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) became operational today, while a new head of its Guinea office was named and the World Health Organization reported that the number of cases had stabilized in Guinea, had stabilized or declined in Liberia but may still be on rise in Sierra Leone.

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors, meanwhile, approved a $70 million project for Côte d’Ivoire to promote the West African country’s pro-active measures to prevent the spread of Ebola. 

“So far, the Ivorian Ebola response plan has been working efficiently, with no recorded case. However, continuous support to Côte d’Ivoire remains essential to help the country respond effectively in case of necessity” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and Guinea. There is over 800 miles of border between Côte d’Ivoire and both Guinea and Liberia, and the epicentre of the epidemic is in the eastern part of these countries – near Cote d’Ivoire’s western border, the World Bank reported.

The World Health organization (WHO), in in its lates update issued today, said there have been 15,935 reported cases of Ebola virus disease with 5,689 reported deaths as of November 23, and that “case incidence is stable in Guinea, stable or declining in Liberia, but may still be increasing in Sierra Leone.”

UN News Centre 



#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – Nov.27 – The Obama administration unveiled an ambitious plan Wednesday that it said would improve public health by slashing the ozone pollution that causes smog The Hill reported. 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy framed the update to the ground-level ozone standard as an imperative, bringing agency rules in line with the latest science to protect the nation’s most vulnerable populations from a range of respiratory illnesses including asthma.



#AceBreakingNews – WASHINGTON – Nov.26 – Under the president’s new amnesty, businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers because of a quirk of Obamacare Washington Times reported. 

President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.

Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover.




#AceWorldNews – DETROIT – Nov.26 – Detroit Police arrested five people protesting the Ferguson, Mo., decision late Tuesday for trying to walk into the I-94 freeway Freep reported. 

Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said the arrests came around 9:30 p.m. Names were not available.

In a confrontation on Detroit’s east side, protesters were shouting “Let them go” at police.

In a city with its own history of racial tensions, the Tuesday night marches were among several in Detroit as angry and anxious voices called for justice in the shooting death of a teenager in Ferguson, Mo.

Outraged over the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, protesters gathered in half a dozen spots in Detroit throughout the day, with one group shutting down the northbound I-75 highway for a few minutes during rush-hour traffic.