Women ‘unsure how much to eat while pregnant’ – survey – BBC News

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Most women do not know how much they should be eating while pregnant, a survey has suggested.

The National Charity Partnership found only a third of the expectant mothers questioned got the correct answer.

Health watchdog NICE advises that in the first six months of pregnancy women do not need any extra calories.

But in the last trimester they require 200 extra calories a day – equivalent to two pieces of wholegrain toast with olive oil spread.

The National Charity Partnership (NCP), made up of Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco, says information on what pregnant women can eat is not reaching them.

Eating for two myth

Its research of 2,100 UK women suggests more than one in three expectant mothers think they have to eat 300 or more extra calories every day.

Meanwhile, 61% of the 140 women who were pregnant when questioned believed they should start taking on extra calories in the first or second trimester.

The NCP is working with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to debunk the myth of “eating for two” and make dietary requirements for pregnant women easier to understand.

Eating for two is the idea that women need to eat for both them and their unborn child when they are pregnant.

Over a quarter of pregnant women admitted they used “eating for two” as an excuse to eat unhealthy food all the time.

Alex Davis, head of prevention for the NCP, said the myth was “very unhelpful” for getting the right information out to mums.

“Eating healthily and consuming healthy portion sizes are important before, during and after pregnancy to increase the chances of conceiving naturally, reduce the risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications and stave off health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease in the long-term.”

So how much can I eat?

A woman normally needs to have 2,000 calories a day – this includes food and drink. But when you are in the last trimester of your pregnancy, you should eat 200 extra calories a day.

There is no need for any additional calories in the first six months.

What should I be eating?

  • Have a balanced diet – this is eating a variety of food from the five main groups of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes, protein like pulses, fish, eggs and meat, dairy such as milk and yoghurt and fats
  • Have a healthy breakfast every day to avoid snacking on high fat and sugar foods
  • Get at least your five-a-day of fruit and vegetables
  • Get fibre from wholegrain foods and nuts
  • Make carbs just over a third of the food you eat. Carbohydrates, including bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and oats, are an important source of energy
  • Have protein every day which can include fish, eggs and pulses
  • Eat two portions of fish a week, only one should be oily fish like salmon or mackerel
  • For dairy – try and choose low-fat options of milk, yoghurt and hard cheese
  • Limit food and drinks high in fat and sugar like fizzy drinks and biscuits
  • Choose healthy snacks such as salad vegetables, hummus, and vegetable soup

Source: NHS Choices

Professor Janice Rymer, vice president of education for the RCOG, said eating too much while pregnant “can be detrimental” to mother and baby.

“Women who are overweight during pregnancy are at an increased risk of having a miscarriage and developing conditions such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.

“They are also more likely to have a premature baby, require a Caesarean section, experience a haemorrhage after birth or develop a clot which can be life-threatening.

“In addition, overweight women have bigger babies who are themselves more likely to become obese and have significant health problems as a result.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40698876


Turkish activists decry attack on press freedom as journalists stand trial

Charges include claims that Cumhuriyet journalists helped the separatist Kurdistan Workers party and Glen movement

The trial of 17 reporters and executives from Cumhuriyet, one of Turkeys last standing opposition newspapers, is set to begin on Monday with rights activists decrying the continuing muzzling of free speech in one of the worlds largest jailers of journalists.

The charges include accusations that the newspapers journalists aided the separatist Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) and the Fethullah Glen movement, which is widely believed in Turkey to have orchestrated last years coup attempt, and complaints of irregularities in the elections of the organisations board of executives.

Rights activists say the trial is an assault on freedom of expression and the accusations are absurd, because Cumhuriyet, the countrys newspaper of record that is committed to secularism, has long warned of the dangers of the Glen movement, which itself has long been at odds with the PKK.

They argue that the other charges are an attempt at replacing the newspapers board of directors with government appointees more pliable to the ruling partys influence.

I have been a journalist for a long time and have dealt with this for a long time, said Aydn Engin, a veteran journalist with Cumhuriyet who is also standing trial on Monday, but had been released for health reasons. I will say that I am ashamed and in agony for my country because of these irrational accusations, he said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoan and his ruling Justice and Development (AK) party have, for years worked to dismantle or co-opt Turkeys free press. That crackdown has accelerated in the year since last Julys coup, with more than 150 journalists believed to be behind bars in Turkey, the highest in the world ahead of China and Egypt.

As of March this year, 173 media outlets had been shut down, including newspapers, magazines, radio stations, websites and news agencies. More than 2,500 journalists have been laid off as part of the closures and 800 have had their press cards revoked, according to the Republican Peoples party (CHP), the main opposition bloc.

The government has also exerted pressure on media outlets that do not toe the official line by pressuring advertisers not to do business with them and pursuing cases of defamation, or by slapping them with large, unpayable fines. After media outlets that once belonged to the Glen movement were seized, the government-appointed trustee boards that have transformed those newspapers and TV stations into a loyalist press.

These loyalist media outlets are often referred to as penguin media because a TV station that was fearful of antagonising the government during the Gezi protests of 2013 aired a documentary about penguins instead of broadcasting the protests.

That threat of a trustee board hangs over Cumhuriyet, a newspaper that was founded in 1924 and is the only serious newspaper in circulation that is vehemently opposed to government policies. It has described the crackdown after the coup in which the government dismissed or detained tens of thousands of civil servants, police and military officers, academics, judges and journalists as a witch-hunt, and has repeatedly criticised Erdoan as an authoritarian attempting to destroy democracy.

Erdoan has described democracy as a train before, said Engin, referring to a quote by the president that described democracy as a train that one can get off from once you reach you destination. Its going to be worse for Cumhuriyet. Maybe it will be a shut down, a quick and painless death, or we will suffocate slowly.

The newspaper has also joined calls for a ceasefire and peaceful resolution to the conflict with the PKK at a time when the government had opted for a security-focused response amid heightened tensions. The former editor-in-chief, Can Dundar, is in exile after being prosecuted for a 2014 article that revealed the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) was sending weapons across the border into Syria under the guise of humanitarian aid, a story that the authorities say was leaked by Glenist conspirators.

On Monday, a week of hearings is expected to begin in the Cumhuriyet case against 17 of the newspapers journalists and executives. The case will commence with a reading out of the indictment and opening defense statements, and they expect for the presiding judge to decide whether to release the defendants on bail by Friday.

This trial offers the government another opportunity to change course in its campaign against Turkeys independent media, said Tobias Garnett, a human rights lawyer with P24, an organisation that advocates for press freedom and supports Turkish journalists on trial. Journalism is not a crime. Prosecutors should stop dressing up legitimate criticism as terrorism and harassing journalists through the courts.

Blent zdoan, the managing editor of Cumhuriyet, said in an interview with the Guardian that the trial was not just about press freedom, but about the governments campaign in the aftermath of the coup more broadly.

Its not just a struggle for free press, he said. Our arrested colleagues are people of a high moral and intellectual calibre. Its for everyone who lost their jobs, those who have been on hunger strike. Theyre struggling for both of us. Thats why I believe its a new start.

The arrest of journalists has earned Ankara criticism from abroad. Late last month, the UN human rights councils working group on arbitrary detentions issued a legal opinion arguing that the arrest of the Cumhuriyet staff contravened the universal declaration of human rights and was arbitrary. The panel of experts called on the Turkish government to release the journalists.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/24/turkish-activists-decry-attack-press-freedom-journalists-stand-trial


North Carolina police chief helps addicts beat opioid addiction

Nashville, North Carolina (CNN)He’s only 24 years old, but he struggled with addiction for more than a decade. Thomas Spikes now owes his sobriety to none other than the chief of police in this small eastern North Carolina town.

“He saved my life for sure,” he said. “I owe a lot to him and the program.”
That program, called the HOPE initiative, is a collaboration between Nashville’s town manager, Hank Raper, and Chief Thomas Bashore. As deaths from opioids continue to dramatically rise across America, topping the list for unintentional deaths at a higher rate than car accidents, North Carolina saw more than a 340% increase from 2010 to 2016.
    “There’s no clear characteristic of what a heroin or opioid addiction looks like. It’s not a white problem, it’s not a black problem, it’s not a Hispanic problem, middle class, working class, upper class. It affects all peoples of all walks of life,” Raper said.
    So, the conversation began on how this small town of 5,400, where everyone knows their neighbors, could get ahead of the problem. The HOPE initiative, modeled after the innovative “Angel” program in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which opens the way for addicts to get police assistance and medical help without fear of arrest, is a way of rethinking law enforcement’s role in responding to this growing epidemic.
    “They walk into the front door, if they have drugs or paraphernalia on them at any time, they can turn it in to us at that time, and have no charges filed. And we facilitate them into recovery,” Bashore said.

    Drugs, but no arrest

    So far the department has seen paraphernalia, syringes, cookers, pipes and injection “rigs” turned in. “We have actually had individuals who have brought in heroin bags and turned that over because they knew that they were going to get into recovery and they didn’t want that around when they got out,” Bashore said.
    Possession of heroin in North Carolina is a felony charge and having paraphernalia is a misdemeanor. Bashore and Raper met with the county’s district attorney to ensure he was on board with not charging people. He was in full support.
    HOPE, which is not an acronym but the town’s offer of help in capital letters, kicked off on February 9, 2016. Eight days into the program, the first addict came into the police department.
    “It was eye-opening, recalled Bashore. “That individual came in and we spent the better part of 7 hours getting him processed. Only then did I leave the hospital and come back to the police department to start calling facilities to start having him placed, after he left detox. You can spend hours on the phone, calling facilities, saying, “Do you have a bed?”

    Chief escorts addicts to detox

    Bashore has driven many of the 172 men and women of HOPE to a detox facility himself. He has built personal relationships with several rehabilitation facilities across the state that now alert him when there is space available. And the business card he passes out has his personal cellphone number.
    “My cellphone, it rings all the time. Each participant who comes through the program and all their family members have it. So, when they need something, they reach out,” Bashore said.
    HOPE has created a positive result between the police and the community. Bashore said he wants people to understand that substance abuse is a disease and the police department’s intention is to be “supportive not only for their benefit, but for the community benefit.”
    Since the program began, Bashore said, crime is down 40% in the town, about 45 miles northeast of Raleigh. “We’ve had a pretty significant drop in our crimes that are associated with substance-abuse disorder. Things like shoplifting and larcenies and breaking into cars.”
    HOPE is not limited to residents of Nashville. People from all over the state have walked through the police station doors, as well as people from California and Pennsylvania.
    The program comes at no cost to the participants. It is funded through small grants, fundraisers and donations.
    “The chief paid for the first two months that I was there and the rehab I was at,” recalled Spikes. Four months removed from rehab, he is now sober after being involved with drugs and alcohol for more than half his life.

    Unlikely friendship

    Spikes told CNN he first used drugs when he was 12 years old. “It started off with just smoking weed,” he said, “then occasional pills, and it progressed through the years.” His addiction became a $200 to $300 a day habit at its worst.
    Heroin became his drug of choice. He was caught with it in October 2016 and sent to jail. His arrest led to his first encounter with Bashore.
    Spikes was skeptical of police and their offer to help. “You don’t talk to cops, you don’t associate with them, they’re not your friends,” he said.
    That changed quickly. Spikes said he recognized Bashore was solely there to help him, no questions asked. The chief “never tried to pry into anything in my life in that era,” Spikes said, “(He doesn’t) care who you hang out with, what kind of drugs you do.”
    Spikes has cycled through countless rehab facilities, but said his life made a complete turnaround because of the chief and the HOPE initiative. “He saved my life for sure because if it wasn’t for the HOPE Initiative, I wouldn’t have gotten help.”
    As he hops back on the tiller in the hot summer sun, he smiles and says, “My life has done a 180. I’m working, I have a vehicle, a house, I have a beautiful girlfriend with a baby on the way.”
    And as for Bashore, he lives up to the name of his program. He hopes to continue to battle the opioid epidemic in his town, one addict at a time.
    “Of those 172 people that have come through the program, I’ve actually been to two funerals. Knowing what the alternative could have been for Thomas … (who) just recently disclosed to me that his girlfriend’s pregnant, he’s going to be a father,” he said. “So, that’s an amazing thing. That touches me deeply.”

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/23/health/north-carolina-police-help-opioid-addicts/index.html


    Honorary Alaska ‘mayor,’ Stubbs the cat, dies at 20

    (CNN)In today’s political climate, catty politicians claw for every vote, but the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, was different. His ability to unite through cuddles and his fondness for naps made him remarkable, and this mayor — Stubbs the cat — also proved that opposable thumbs aren’t necessary for success in politics.

    The honorary mayor of the small Alaska town, elected as a write-in in 1997 due to a paucity of viable human candidates, died at age 20, according to a Saturday news release from his owners.
    “He was a trouper until the very last day of his life,” Stubbs’ owners said. “You are are a remarkable cat and we will dearly miss you.”

      A life in the spotlight

      Stubbs served Talkeetna for 20 years. His office, at Nagley’s Store, became a destination for locals and tourists alike who sought sage council from the cat.
      And although Stubbs lacked the legislative and rhetorical prowess of a typical politician, he always did well in the polls.
      “Over 75% of visitors ask ‘Where’s the mayor?’ or come in with this statement ‘I have an appointment with the mayor,'” the news release said. “I think we heard those two statements over 100 times a day during our first year.”
      Stubbs’ career wasn’t completely free of controversy, though.
      In 2013, Stubbs suffered a vicious attack from a neighborhood dog that left him sidelined in a hospital.
      But even a punctured lung, fractured sternum and deep lacerations couldn’t keep him from his duties. Stubbs recovered and assumed all his previous mayoral responsibilities.

      A steady health decline

      Although he loved the attention as a kitten and younger cat, Stubbs’ life in the public eye eventually began to wear on him.
      He began a retreat from public life in 2015 due to old age, and he cut back on visits to the store, according to the news release.
      By 2017, Stubbs just wasn’t having it anymore.
      “Stubbs did a couple TV shows and more than a handful of interviews, but was not fond of the camera and all the people; it had gotten to be too much for him,” his owners said.
      In the wake of his death, his owners hinted another of their kittens, Denali, may assume his role.
      “We couldn’t have asked for a better understudy than Denali — he really has followed in Stubbs’ pawprints in just about everything.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/23/us/mayor-cat-stubbs-dies-at-20/index.html


      GOP Leaders Still Insisting Repeal Won’t Take Health Care Away From Millions

      Republican Party leaders are trying furiously to find 50 votes for some kind of legislation that would, one way or another, repeal the Affordable Care Act.

      The big focus of their efforts are a handful of relatively moderate senators from states where Obamacare has had a particularly strong impact on coverage. And although the campaign includes some old-fashioned political pressure, with President Donald Trump set this week to visit two of those states (Ohio and West Virginia), GOP leaders are also trying to use persuasion.In particular, they are still trying to convince those holdout senators that repealing the 2010 health care law wouldnt cause their constituents to suffer.

      So far those senators have been skeptical, and for good reason. The Congressional Budget Officehas projected that the GOP proposals under consideration would mean between 22 to 32 million people lose health insurance, depending on the specific bill. Multiple independent experts have come to similar conclusions.

      Meanwhile, a huge pile of research and datasuggests that when people lose insurance, they are worse off because they end up skimping on care they need, going into debt paying for the care they get, or some combination of the two. This is particularly true for people with the lowest incomes and most serious medical problems in other words, the people who need help the most.

      Not that it should require a bunch of academic researchers make these points. Each of the bills under consideration would drain more than $1 trillion over 10 years from Medicaid and tax credits for people who buy private insurance on their own.Obviously that is going to hurt, as anybody now depending on those programs for insurance can attest.

      But apparently neither data or common sense is enough to stop Trump administration officials, Senate leaders, and their outside allies from making their case. Publicly and privately, they continue to say repeal wouldnt cause a lot of pain.And lately they have been leaning heavily on two arguments in particular:

      Claim:CBO Projections Arent Reliable

      Last weekend, two administration officials wrote a Washington Post op-ed dismissing the agencys predictions as little more than fake news. It was merely the latest volley in a campaign to discreditthe CBO that Republicans have been waging ever since it first issued a devastating projection of what the initial legislation, in the House, would mean for insurance coverage.

      These attacks typically focus on a prediction that CBO genuinely got very wrong. The agency vastly over-estimated enrollment in the Affordable Care Acts exchanges. What Republicans never acknowledge is that on the most important prediction, about the total change in the number of Americans with insurance, CBO was extremely close especially if you adjust the projection for the Supreme Courts 2012 decision giving states extra leeway to avoid expanding Medicaid.

      Could CBO be making a bigger error now? Sure. Projections are subject to uncertainty, as the agency itself goes out of its way to stress.

      But error can run in both directions. And even if CBO has overestimated the coverage loss by a factor of two, an unprecedented error, that would still mean the current version of the Senate bill would lead to 11 million fewer people with health insurance. That would still be a very big number which is to say, it would still represent a whole lot of Americans struggling with medical bills if that repeal bill becomes law.

      Oddly, CBOs critics in the Republican Party dont seem to realize the potential fiscal implications of their argument. If actual coverage losses under the GOP plan would be smaller than the projections suggest, its also possible the federal government would end up spending a lot more money on Medicaid and insurance tax credits.

      In a sense, proponents of repealing and replacing the ACA are trying to have it both ways, Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, said. The Republicans are criticizing CBO for over-estimating the effect of the individual mandate and the losses in coverage, while benefiting from projections of big spending reductions that pave the way for tax cuts.

      Claim: Mostly People Would ChooseNot To Be Covered

      House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week repeated an argument he and other Republicans have made many times before. He called the CBOs most recent coverage prediction a bogus number because people will choose not to buy insurance.

      The basis for this claim is that, according to the CBO, the vast majority of coverage losses in the first two years of passing repeal would be the effects of removing the individual mandate the financial penalty for people who decline to get coverage. And Ryans description certainly applies to some of those people. Absent the penalty, a significant number would opt not to pay for insurance particularly if, under the Affordable Care Act, they think their available options are too expensive.

      But thats not the whole story. Many people have no idea they are eligible for subsidized coverage or Medicaid until the mandate drives them to investigate options online or to consult with counselors at which point, these people are quite happy for the coverage.

      Take the mandate away and they never take that step. In fact, there is some evidence that repeal would depress insurance enrollment because some Americans would believe, mistakenly, they could no longer get assistance. Something similar happened after welfare reform, in the 1990s, when a significant number of legal immigrants stopped applying for Medicaid even though their eligibility hadnt changed.

      Removing the mandate also has a secondary effect on the market, one that becomes more important over time. The people most likely to decline insurance are the ones in relatively good health. That forces insurers to raise premiums and, in some cases, to raise them preemptively, as many are doing right now because the Trump administration has signaled it wont enforce the mandate aggressively.

      Saying that all of the insurance losses the CBO attributes to repealing the mandate are the result of individuals not being forced to buy insurance is at best incomplete and in reality quite duplicitous. Craig Garthwaite, health economist at Northwestern University

      Republican bills would cause premiums to rise for precisely this reason, the CBO and other experts say, pricing more and more people out of the market. (Eventually premiums would come down, but only because, thanks to weaker regulations, policies would be less generous and less available to people with pre-existing conditions.)

      The insurance market components of the ACA (the mandate, the subsidies, and the ban on pre-existing conditions) all work together they are inexorably intertwined, saysCraig Garthwaite, a health economist atNorthwestern University. Saying that all of the insurance losses the CBO attributes to repealing the mandate are the result of individuals not being forced to buy insurance is at best incomplete and in reality quite duplicitous.

      The CBO doesnt parse out how much each of these factors matter. But one thing clear is that, over time,effects of the mandate per se would actually recede, relatively speaking, because other changes in the Republican bill would be taking effect. Tax credits for people who buy insurance would get smaller. Federal contributions to Medicaid would decline, creating shortfalls that would lead states to cut coverage.

      In 2026, CBO predicts, 15 million out of 22 million newly uninsured would be people who would qualify for Medicaid if the Affordable Care Act remained in place.By and large, these would be people who had no affordable alternatives in the private market under GOP proposals.

      AsLoren Adler, associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative on Health Policy noted on Twitter, the main issue is many who lose coverage w/mandate repeal would lose coverage due to other [repeal] provisions regardless.

      Reality: Honest Defenses Of The GOP Bill Arent Very Popular

      An intellectually honest defense of Republican repeal plans is that they would mean fewer regulations of health insurance, lower taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and less government spending. Conservatives would argue these steps free up resources for other purposes and improves the economy, in ways that would ultimately matter more than making sure people have health insurance.Another intellectually honest defense of the GOP proposals is more philosophical that healthy and wealthy people shouldnt have to spend as much as they do now, in order to subsidize the costs of the sick and the poor.

      A different, but still intellectually coherent, argument for repeal focuses on the individual mandate specifically not on whether it works but on whether it should even exist. Many conservatives think its just plain wrong to penalize people for tuning down insurance. On that point, at least, its quite possible a majority of Americans agree.

      Sometimes Republican leaders and their allies make these arguments explicitly.But it turns out most people think health insurance is pretty important. And now that the Affordable Care Act has made coverage more available, they dont want to give it up,particularly if Republicans arent proposing to put something better in its place. That is probably why GOP leaders keep insisting their bills wont leave millions struggling to pay for medical care, when that is exactly what those proposals would do.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/republicans-health-care-obamacare-repeal_us_5974cc16e4b00e4363e01dae


      VCs love insurance, even if you dont

      Most people hate shopping for insurance, and they dont enjoy talking about it either. Thats probably why youre unlikely to hear about the industrys current transformation in conversation, even in startup circles.

      But make no mistake, there are vast sums of venture dollars going into insurance deals. Investment has risen dramatically, with VCs betting that, in the coming years, well see major shifts in both how we buy insurance and what types of items we insure with it.

      So far this year, insurance-focused startups (excluding the Asian continent*) have raised more than $700 million, almost as much as they raised in all of 2016, which was itself an especially busy year for the space. Much of the funding boom comes from big insurers themselves, who are backing and leading more rounds for insurance startups, as well as companies in related areas like financial services. In the chart below, we look at funding growth over the past four years:

      Insurance investment totals are heavily driven by a few large rounds. Over the past year, the two biggest funding recipients are tech-enabled health insurer Bright Health and pay-by-the-mile auto insurerMetromile, which raised$160 millionand$153 million, respectively. In 2016, health insurance providerOscar Healthtook in$400 millionin growth funding, more than 40 percent of all insurance startup investment.

      At first blush it may seem like insurance and venture capital make an odd couple.

      There are plenty of smaller and mid-sized rounds getting done, too. Over the past year, at least 75 companies in the insurance space have raised rounds of $1 million or more, and about a quarter of those were for $20 million or more. They cover a big range of business models, as well, including new insurance categories, online platforms for comparing and purchasing coverage and tools for providers to better assess risk.

      One might be inclined to call these startups industry disruptors except that their biggest supporters seem to be long-established players in the space.

      We hear you like insurance

      As mentioned, a sizeable chunk of the financing comes from insurance companies themselves, many of whom have dedicated venture arms. The most active by round count looks to beAXA Strategic Ventures, the VC arm of French multinational insurer AXA. The two-year-old fund has invested intwo dozen companiesover the past two years, including a$6.5 millionround it led this month forQLoo, a celebrity-backed developer of AI-powered tools for mapping cultural tastes.MassMutual Ventures, the VC arm of insurance giant MassMutual, has also been keeping busy,backing 16 companiesover the past three years. In the chart below we look at a few:

      Well-known venture firms are also leading significant rounds.New Enterprise Associates, for instance, backed both Metromile and Bright Health, along withIndio, a seed-stage commercial insurance startup.AccelandBessemerhave also each made three insurance-focused investments in the past couple of years. And over the years, most of the biggest Silicon Valley firms have at least one investment in the space.

      But while it looks like large sums are going into insurance deals, the figures may underestimate the breadth of activity. One reason is that many fast-growing players in the insurance space operate in other industries too, such as financial services. A case in point isCredit Karma, the credit score unicorn that now offers auto insurance quotes alongside offers for credit cards and other financial products.

      What next?

      At first blush it may seem like insurance and venture capital make an odd couple. Venture capital is all about taking big risks for the potential of even bigger payouts down the road, while insurance is all about quantifying and mitigating risk.

      In small allocations, however, venture can actually be a strategy for reducing risk, as it allows large, entrenched players to track and take stakes in the upstart ventures that could reshape their industries. Its worth noting that many of todays largest insurance companies have histories that date back a couple of centuries. They didnt last this long without some ability to adapt to changing times.

      * Crunchbases tally of insurance investment totals excluded Asia, which sees fewer deals but some large ones. The biggest to date is Zhong An, a China-based online insurance company that raised more than $900 million two years ago.

      Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/22/vcs-love-insurance-even-if-you-dont/


      Consultation on changing legal gender to be launched – BBC News

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption The consultation on the 2004 Gender Recognition Act will begin in the autumn

      The UK government is considering plans to make the process of changing legal gender easier.

      Currently, people must be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a condition where a person’s biological sex and identity does not match.

      The equalities minister says she wants to reform the 2004 Gender Recognition Act to make the process less intrusive.

      LGBT campaign group Stonewall says the current system is “demeaning and broken”.

      The 2004 law says people wanting a change of gender to be legally recognised in the UK need to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

      This is issued by the Gender Recognition Panel, a judicial body which legally determines what gender an individual defines as.

      As well as a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the person applying must provide evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years.

      ‘Inclusive society’

      The most recent figures, for the three months between January and March 2017, show that 112 people applied to change their gender, with 88% of those being granted the certificate.

      Equalities Minister Justine Greening said when it was first introduced, the Gender Recognition Act was “cutting edge” but now it needs to be updated.

      The consultation on the law will begin in the autumn, she said.

      “This government is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality, and today we’re taking the next step forward.

      “We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them.”

      ‘Huge inequalities’

      The proposals come ahead of the 50th anniversary of Parliament voting for the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967.

      The Sexual Offences Act 1967 made private homosexual acts between men over the age of 21 legal.

      Suzanna Hopwood, a member of the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group, said reform was a key priority for removing “huge inequalities” for trans people.

      “It’s vital that this reform removes the requirements for medical evidence and an intrusive interview panel, and finally allows all trans people to have their gender legally recognised through a simple administrative process.”

      Ms Greening also launched a survey to get LGBT people to help shape government policy in the future.

      The government wants people to share their experiences of the health service, in education and at work.

      Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40692782


      Where the elderly take care of each other — because no one else will

      Tokyo, Japan (CNN)In a elementary school turned nursing home, Tasaka Keichi jokes with a group of cheerful old women.

      At 70, he could be mistakenfor a resident, but Tasaka isn’t thinking of retiring anytime soon. Instead, the former tofu-maker is forging a second career as a caregiver to the elderly in Tokyo’s Cross Hearts nursing home.
      “I always had an interest in care-giving and pensioners don’t receive much in Japan so I’m really thankful that this opportunity existed here for me,” Tasaka told CNN.
        “I’m old too so I can understand what these seniors are going through. I actually feel like I’m hanging out with the residents here as opposed to caring for them”

        Catering to a ‘super-aged’ nation

        With its fast-declining birthrate and growing cohort of old people, Japan is considered a “super-aged” nation, where more than 20% of the population is over 65. By 2020, there will be 13 such countries in the world.

        To cope with a growing labor shortage that’s set to hit the care-giving and industrial sectors the hardest, and in the hopes of reinvigorating a stalling economy, the Japanese government has encouraged more seniors and stay-at-home mothers to re-enter the workforce.
        In many ways, Tasaka is a trailblazer for this incentive. For the past five years, he’s ferried daycare residents to and from their homes, and helped feed and provided companionship to others.
        He lives in one of the facility’s neighboring apartment complexes and is just one of a couple of dozen employees over 65, who work alongside both younger Japanese and foreign staff. In many countries, these jobs would be filled by foreign workers but Japan lacks a concrete immigration policy has resulted in older citizens staying in employment for longer.
        The facility — which has a waiting list of several hundred — sets their official retirement age at 70, but lets people who want to work do so until 80. The common retirement age in Japan is between 60 and 65, but doctors recently proposed raisingitto 75.
        Despite efforts to encourage more senior citizens to work for longer, 80.5% of companies in Japan still set their official retirement age at 60, according to a 2015 survey conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
        In 2013, the government passed a law requiring companies to raise the mandatory retirement age to 65. But full compliance isn’t required until 2025.

        This has created a situation where many companies rehire senior workers at lower salaries once they pass retirement age, according to Atsushi Seike, an economist at Keio University in Japan.
        “There should be more pressure on companies to extend mandatory retirement to 65 as a decline in wages really discourages older workers to continue working,” he said.

        Developing second careers

        Cross Hearts executive director Seiko Adachi told CNN that many of her more senior charges are motivated through their interaction with younger workers and older residents.
        “Growing old is the first step in losing something, whether that be your sibling, your parent, or your role in society … the good thing about elderly carers, is that they really understand how our elderly residents are feeling,” she said.
        “It’s also good preventative care for them as if they feel like they have a place to go, that will keep them going.”
        According to Adachi, the key to engaging more senior employees is by helping them focus on their care-giving job, not as a part-time wage-filler, but as a second career that they can really develop.
        For some, the possibilities appear endless.
        “I want to study for another care-giving license and take on a managerial role later on,” Tasaka said with a grin. “I don’t feel limited by my age.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/22/asia/japan-nursing-home-old-workers/index.html


        Calls for UN meeting as clashes continue in Jerusalem and West Bank

        Jerusalem (CNN)Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces broke out again across Jerusalem and the West Bank on Saturday, with the mood tremendously intense around Jerusalem’s Old City.

        A Palestinian man died at a hospital Saturday evening after he was injured in clashes with Israeli forces earlier, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
        The man was involved in a clash in the town of el-Eizariyah near Jerusalem, the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reported.
          Meantime, a rocket fired from northern Gaza exploded midair Sunday morning local time, with no injuries reported, the Israeli Defense Forces tweeted.
          With tensions rapidly rising, Palestinians called for more protests Sunday and the Israeli government planned meetings.
          One security session was expected to discuss the recent implementation of metal detectors at entrances to a key holy site in the Old City.
          The restrictions were imposed after two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting last week just outside the Old City and Temple Mount, also known as the Noble Sanctuary. The area is one of the world’s most important religious sites, revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims.
          Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday suspended all contacts with Israel until the metal detectors are removed.
          “I announce the freezing of contacts with Israel on all levels and the suspension of coordination until all the measures taken at al-Aqsa mosque have stopped,” Abbas said in a message tweeted by his Fatah Movement.
          The Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary was closed after last Friday’s attack, and reopened Sunday for worshippers, visitors and tourists, with added security measures.

          It is home to the Western Wall — which was part of the walls around the Second Jewish Temple and is one of the holiest places for Jews to pray — and the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.
          Egypt, France and Sweden called Saturday for United Nations Security Council consultations Monday on ways to lower tensions in Jerusalem, Sweden’s chief political officer at the United Nations wrote on Twitter.
          The envoys of the Middle East Quartet — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — said in a statement they are “deeply concerned by the escalating tensions and violent clashes taking place in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.”
          The statement went on to say, “They strongly condemn acts of terror, express their regret for all loss of innocent life caused by the violence and hope for a speedy recovery to the wounded.”
          Noting the particular sensitivities surrounding the holy sites of Jerusalem, and the need to ensure security, the Quartet envoys called on all sides to show restraint, refrain from provocative actions and work toward de-escalating the situation.
          They added: “Envoys welcome the assurances by the Prime Minister of Israel that the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem will be upheld and respected.”

          Victims identified

          Three people killed Friday in an attack in the Halamish settlement in the northern West Bank were identified by Israeli police on Saturday.
          Police Superintendent and spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter, “Names of three Israelis murdered in Friday night attack by Palestinian terrorist, Yosef Solomon age 70, Chaya Solomon age 46, Elad Solomon age 36.”
          The Israeli army said the three Israelis were killed when a young Palestinian man from a nearby village breached the security of the settlement and carried out a stabbing attack. The Palestinian, who was shot and wounded at the scene, is in custody.
          A fourth Israeli was wounded in the attack, Magen David Adom, Israel’s ambulance service, told CNN.
          Three Palestinians were killed and many people reportedly were hurt during clashes Friday.
          Mohammad Fityani, a spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jerusalem, told CNN its crews had dealt with 109 injured people by 3 p.m. local time, and that 72 of them were taken to the hospital.
          Tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City boiled over into skirmishes after the midday prayer.
          In one instance, a CNN team outside Herod’s Gate saw Israeli police start forcefully pushing worshipers back and pointing their weapons at them. The officers then fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the worshipers and move them back.

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/22/middleeast/jerusalem-west-bank-clashes/index.html


          Pence calls on GOP to ‘step up to the plate’ on health care bill

          (CNN)Vice President Mike Pence is increasing the pressure for Republicans to pass health care legislation, calling on senators to “step up to the plate” and keep their seven-year promise.

          The elevated rhetoric comes as the Republican health care legislation hangs by a tenuous thread.
          The Senate is expected to vote on a plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act next week, but what exactly that will be has yet to be announced. The Senate Republican leadership is urging members to pass a procedural vote to begin debate, but with Arizona Sen. John McCain out as he deals with newly diagnosed brain cancer, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose one member of his conference and still advance a bill.
            As of now, there’s no indication the votes are there.
            “We’re going to vote on whether to proceed to a bill,” Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said Thursday. “And I know people are fixated on what bill are we going to vote to proceed on — but the problem with that is that this is a unique process where every senator can offer amendments to change the bill. So it really is irrelevant what technical vehicle we proceed to. This is just strictly, are we going to start the debate, so people can offer amendments and so we can at some point finish.”
            President Donald Trump echoed Pence in a tweet Saturday morning.
            “The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace,” Trump wrote. “Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!”
            “ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction,” he continued in a follow-up tweet. “It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!”
            Pence reiterated the message Saturday night, saying he and the President “are going to keep fighting every single day until this Congress puts this bill on [Trump’s] desk.”
            “President Trump said it plainly the other day when he had every senator over to the White House,” Pence added. “He said he had pen in hand. He’s ready to act and the Senate health care bill, we believe, is the right bill at the right time to begin to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
            For now, the Trump administration is trying to come up with some kind of Obamacare replacement bill that will satisfy moderates. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma has been meeting in both group and individual settings with moderate hold-outs, hoping to convince them that there is a way to protect low-income people in their states once Medicaid expansion ends.
            A new Congressional Budget Office score Thursday showed that Republicans had more than $200 billion more to spend on health care and still make their budget target. That may give leaders and the White House some room to negotiate.
            But spending more money to win votes is making some Republicans uncomfortable.
            “It’s beginning to feel like there is a lack of coherency in what we’re doing, and it’s almost becoming a bidding process. Let’s throw $50 billion here, let’s throw $100 billion there. And again, it may write itself, but it’s making me uncomfortable right now,” said Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/22/politics/pence-ohio-gop-dinner/index.html