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Virtual reality to help students experience dementia first hand

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New York, July 24: Virtual Reality (VR) simulations with models of real-life patients can help students experience dementia first-hand and gain better understanding of progressive cognitive diseases, including Alzheimer’s, say researchers.

By experiencing aspects of someone else’s journey, the students may gain a better understanding of, and empathy for, older adults and their struggles with dementia, said neurologists at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2018 in Chicago on Monday.

The VR simulation was incorporated into a training programme for about 20 high school students.

The goal of the VR training was to better prepare the young people to interact with older adults with Alzheimer’s and other dementias at long-term care facilities and adult day care centres.

“What we’re hearing from the students is that experiencing the virtual reality training before they volunteer improves their empathy and increases enthusiasm for working with the seniors,” said Daniel C. Potts of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

“It also may decrease the stigma and their negative attitudes about older people,” he added.

The researchers have created two Alfred and Beatriz modules.

The Alfred module is a live-action film, depicting the world as experienced by a 74-year-old with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), macular degeneration and high frequency hearing loss.

The Beatriz module includes five-minute stories of a middle-aged Latina as she experiences the early, middle and later aspects of Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

The stories take the participant through a digital version of what it’s like to be at the grocery store, struggling with other activities of daily living and sundowning — when dementia-related confusion and agitation get worse later in the day.

“Technology like this may be useful in expanding awareness about what it is like to have Alzheimer’s disease dementia,” said Beth Kallmyer, Vice President of Care and Support for the Alzheimer’s Association.

According to Neelum Aggarwal of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, for the students, “it’s a good check to see if they have empathy for their patients and are aware of any biases they may have towards people with dementia”.

The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

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Travel bug hits people, digital skills to boost recovery: Google

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After living months in isolation during the pandemic, the travel bug has hit millions of people and according to Google, 45 per cent of the top 100 questions related to travel in Search focused on the impact of Covid-19 and the desire to travel as safely and as soon as possible.

Google research, conducted with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), showed that 31 percent of people hope to plan leisure travel once they feel safe enough to do so, the company said in a blog post on Monday.

World Tourism day is coming up on September 27, and Search trends show that people have the travel bug. In August, the top queries were related to where and when people can travel ‘right now,'” said Pierric Duthoit, Senior Lead, Google Global Tourism Acceleration Centre.

Where do travellers want to go right now?

Heading to the beach and visiting rural areas or small towns are top of the list, particularly for Italians and the Dutch.

“Our data and analyses, available on our ‘Think with Google’ site, can help tourism businesses identify new trends in consumer preferences,” Duthoit said.

For example, as people increasingly search for local and outdoor tourism, businesses can react to these changing needs by doing marketing campaigns that highlight nature destinations, and they can prepare for an uptick in last-minute bookings.

“We’re partnering with government ministries, businesses and experts throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa to foster digital skills in the travel sector,” Google said.

“While this World Tourism Day marks a uniquely challenging period for tourism, it’s also an opportunity to prepare and find new ways to engage with would-be travelers,” it added.

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No restriction on accessing any website in Jammu and Kashmir: Centre

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory.

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There is no restriction on accessing any website, including social media sites, in Jammu and Kashmir, the Lok Sabha was informed on Sunday.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory. “There is no restriction on accessing any sites, including the social media sites,” he said in a written reply. Reddy said the internet services are already available in Kashmir on fixed line (without any speed-related restrictions) as well as mobile data services (at 2G speed) since January 24, 2020.

He said restrictions on accessing social media sites were also lifted on March 4, 2020. Further, high speed mobile data services too have been commenced in the districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir Division) and Udhampur (Jammu Division) with effect from August 16, 2020. The minister said fixed line internet connectivity is available without any speed-related restrictions, with Mac-binding.

He said the businesses have had access to internet through fixed line connectivity and internet kiosks opened in large numbers across the Valley without any speed restrictions.

Reddy also informed the Lower House that 2G mobile internet speed is not an impediment in Covid control measures, including dissemination of information to the general public as well as health workers.

Also, he said, e-learning apps and education/e-learning websites of the Government of India, Government of J&K are accessible over 2G internet for downloading e-books and other study material.

“Further, the restriction on high speed mobile internet services has not been an impediment in the administration of justice and the courts have taken special measures to conduct their proceedings during the pandemic by providing video links/URLs to lawyers and the litigants,” the minister said.

“Considering the overall security scenario and in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir issues orders from time to time regulating telecom and internet services in terms of the applicable rules and the principles laid down and directions contained in the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India..,” he added.

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FinCEN files: Big banks let $2tn ‘dirty money’ move around world

There have been a number of big leaks of financial information in recent years, including 2017 Paradise Papers. The 2016 Panama Papers – Leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca showed more about how wealthy people are using offshore tax regimes, the BBC said.

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New Delhi, Sep 21 : The FinCEN files show that the world’s biggest banks have allowed criminals to move “dirty money” around the globe. In total, these reports flagged more than $2 trillion in transactions, according to BuzzFeed News.

The BBC reported that Russian oligarchs used banks to avoid sanctions and moved their money into the West.

It is the latest in a string of leaks over the past five years that have exposed secret deals, money laundering and financial crime, a BBC report said.

The FinCEN files are more than 2,500 documents, most of which were files that banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017.

These documents are some of the international banking system’s most closely guarded secrets. Banks use them to report suspicious behaviour but they are not proof of wrongdoing or crime.

They were leaked to Buzzfeed News and shared with a group that brings together investigative journalists from around the world, which distributed them to 108 news organisations in 88 countries, including the BBC’s Panorama programme.

FinCEN is the US Financial Crimes Investigation Network. Concerns about transactions made in US dollars need to be sent to FinCEN, even if they took place outside the US.

Suspicious activity reports, or SARs, are an example of how those concerns are recorded. A bank must fill in one of these reports if it is worried one of its clients might be up to no good. The report is sent to the authorities, BBC said.

It has been revealed through these documents that HSBC allowed fraudsters to move millions of dollars even after it learned from US investigators that the scheme was a scam.

JP Morgan allowed a company to move more than $1 billion through a London account without knowing who owned it. The bank later discovered the company might be owned by a mobster on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

There is also evidence that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates used Barclays Bank in London to avoid sanctions meant to stop him.

Accoridng to BBC, the UK is called a “higher risk jurisdiction” like Cyprus, according to the intelligence Division of FinCEN. That’s because of the number of UK registered companies that appear in the SARs. Over 3,000 UK companies are named in the FinCEN files – more than any other country.

Deutsche Bank moved money launderers’ dirty money for organised crime, terrorists and drug traffickers. Standard Chartered moved cash for Arab Bank for more than a decade after clients’ accounts at the Jordanian bank had been used in funding terrorism.

There have been a number of big leaks of financial information in recent years, including 2017 Paradise Papers. The 2016 Panama Papers – Leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca showed more about how wealthy people are using offshore tax regimes, the BBC said.

According to BuzzFeed News, some entities have been flagged numerous times in the FinCEN Files. Mayzus Financial Services, an online payment processing company that served clients involved in a bitcoin ring, sets the record, appearing as a subject of 36 SARs.

Second is Kaloti Jewellery International, a Dubai-based precious metals company that was flagged as a subject in 34 separate SARs by eight different banks.

More than 250 SARs reference people with addresses in the US, and more than 120 with addresses in Russia. The UK, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, and Ukraine were also common locations for people, each appearing in at least 20 reports, it said.

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