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California fires: General Sherman and other sequoias given blankets

California fires: General Sherman and other sequoias given blankets

Science
AFPFirefighters are wrapping fire-resistant blankets around ancient trees as blazes tear through California's world-famous Sequoia National Park.Officials fear the fire could reach the Giant Forest, a grove of some of the world's biggest trees, within hours.The forest hosts some 2,000 sequoias, including the 275ft (83m) General Sherman, the biggest tree by volume on Earth and about 2,500 years old.The Colony and Paradise fires have been growing for a week.More than 350 firefighters, along with helicopters and water-dropping planes, have been mobilised to battle the blazes.They have wrapped several trees, including the General Sherman, with aluminium foil to protect them.National Park Service"It's a very significant area for many, many people, so a lot of special effort is going into protec...
Study: Some general anesthesia affects region of brain responsible for memory

Study: Some general anesthesia affects region of brain responsible for memory

Health
April 1 (UPI) -- Different general anesthetics used during surgical procedures cause chemical changes in patients' brains, affecting memory, a study published Thursday by PLOS Biology found. Three commonly used combinations of anesthetics, tested on mice, all changed brain activity in the hippocampus -- the region of the brain responsible for memory -- compared to "wakefulness," or not being under anesthesia, or natural sleep, the study showed. Advertisement All anesthetics tested in the study affected the stability of synaptic connections between brain cells in the hippocampus. Two of the three combinations also caused retrograde amnesia, a form of memory loss impacting events occurring immediately before surgery, the researchers said. "Anesthetic procedures are among the safest medical...
Group of U.S. attorneys general urge President Joe Biden to cancel $50K in student debt

Group of U.S. attorneys general urge President Joe Biden to cancel $50K in student debt

Business
Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A group of attorneys general from more than a dozen states called on President Joe Biden and Congress Friday to cancel up to $ 50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower, an issue that the new administration has yet to fully embrace. In a letter addressed to Biden, the group asked the president to take executive action supporting Senate Resolution 46 and House Resolution 100, two separate measures that aim to cancel the same debt. Advertisement "When borrowers are unable to manage their Federal student loan repayment, the consequences can be catastrophic," the group wrote in the letter. "As many as one in five federal student loan borrowers are in default. Many are unable to manage their debt due to disability, illness, or job loss." The attorneys general argue tha...
Canada’s governor general resigns after harassment report

Canada’s governor general resigns after harassment report

World
Canada’s governor general has resigned after an independent review of workplace harassment allegationBy ROB GILLIES Associated PressJanuary 21, 2021, 9:39 PM• 2 min readTORONTO -- Canada’s governor general resigned Thursday following an independent review of workplace harassment allegations.The governor general is the representative of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, and holds a mostly ceremonial and symbolic position.A person familiar with the matter confirmed the resignation of Julie Payette to The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Payette, a former astronaut, to the role in 2017.Trudeau's office hired an independent consulting firm in September ...
IRDAI imposes Rs 15 lakh penalty on Bharti AXA General Insurance Company

IRDAI imposes Rs 15 lakh penalty on Bharti AXA General Insurance Company

Finance
Regulator Irdai has imposed a total penalty of Rs 15 lakhs on Bharti AXA General Insurance Company in two different cases for violation of various provisions concerning motor insurance. In this first case, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (Irdai) slapped a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on the private sector insurance company for non-compliance with minimum obligations under regulations concerning third-party motor insurance business. It was alleged that during 2017-18, the private sector insurer has underwritten Rs 380 crore as against the minimum obligatory motor third-party insurance business of Rs 399.94 crore, resulting in a shortfall of Rs 19.94 crore. In percentage terms, the shortfall worked out to around 4.99 per cent of the motor-third party insurance business obli...