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Knock, knock! Google Duo video call is here

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Erik Kay, engineering director at Google, introduces Allo and Duo on stage during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Erik Kay, engineering director at Google, introduces Allo and Duo on stage during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Now, all you need is a phone number to start a video call with any contact who uses an Android- or iOS-based smartphone.

Google on Tuesday launched Google Duo, pitting it directly against Apple Inc’s FaceTime, which allows video calls only between Apple devices.

Duo will also compete with Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) video-calling app Skype, Facebook Inc’s Messenger and even its own Hangout app.

Duo comes with a unique feature called “knock knock”, which lets a person to see live video of a caller before answering.

Google said video calls would work even on slower networks by “gracefully” reducing the resolution to keep the call going smoothly.

“For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call,” Justin Uberti, principal software engineer, wrote in a blog post.

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, said the app would be live worldwide in the next few days. — REUTERS

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New blood bring life to weary Warriors

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) moves the ball as center JaVale McGee (1) provides the screen against Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the first half at Staples Center, October 30, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports 

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With each passing trip to the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors add to the championship miles that threaten to stall their run.

The price of continued excellence in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the grind of long seasons and the challenge of sustaining concentration throughout.

Having reached the last three NBA Finals, winning two, the Warriors have shown signs of such weariness during their inconsistent 5-3 start to the campaign.

But helping to balance the redundancy of another Golden State regular season is the insertion of new faces.

Reserves like Omri Casspi of Israel, Nick Young and rookie Jordan Bell will not steal any headlines from Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant this season but their arrival is invaluable to the Warriors’ long journey.

“It’s always important to add some new guys, new blood to a championship team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Reuters following his team’s 141-113 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

“I think that’s where Omri, and Nick and Jordan Bell come into play. They will help us through the year for sure.”

When the Warriors enter each off-season to target acquisitions it is not just to retool, but to refresh.

Last season, veteran pick ups like David West, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee renewed the team’s spirit and helped propel another title run.

The Warriors are counting on the same effect from this year’s fresh faces.

Chemistry and good vibes aside, Casspi brings versatility at 6-foot-9 as a ball handler and passer; Young is a fun-loving streak shooter and Bell is a spry athlete.

“I think they’re better when you look at all the stuff they’ve added,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I think they had a great summer.”

The Warriors were a unit in command of all their weapons against Los Angeles on Monday, shooting and passing the Clippers out of the arena.

“Great teams have that balance where every night, no matter what lineup is out there you know what your identity is and how you’re going to get a win,” Curry said.

This year’s version of the Warriors are still finding that identity, and Kerr knows the season will include letdowns like the team’s blown lead defeats to Houston and Detroit this month.

Kerr remembers playing for the two-time defending champion Chicago Bulls who began their 1997-98 campaign with a lackluster 8-7 mark.

“There’s a mental fatigue (after winning championships) more than anything. You feel it after a number of years,” Kerr said.

“I can tell this year is going to be a lot harder than that first year (in 2014).”

Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto

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ASEAN overcomes communique impasse, urges non-militarisation in South China Sea

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, August 7th, 2017

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (C) links hands with ASEAN foreign ministers and their representatives as they take part in the ASEAN-Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministerial Meeting in Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay city, metro Manila, Philippines August 6, 2017.
Noel Celis/Pool

MANILA (Reuters) – Southeast Asian foreign ministers ended an impasse on Sunday over how to address disputes with China in the South China Sea, issuing a communique that called for militarization to be avoided and noting concern about island-building.

The South China Sea has long been the most divisive issue for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), with China’s influence looming large over its activities. Some countries are wary about the possible repercussions of defying Beijing by taking a stronger stand.

ASEAN failed to issue the customary statement on Saturday, over what diplomats said was disagreement about whether to make oblique references to China’s rapid expansion of its defense capabilities on artificial islands in disputed waters.

China is sensitive to even a veiled reference by ASEAN to its seven reclaimed reefs, three of which have runways, missile batteries, radars and, according to some experts, the capability to accommodate fighter jets.

The communique late on Sunday takes a stronger position than an earlier, unpublished draft, which was a watered-down version of one issued last year in Laos.

The agreed text “emphasized the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint”.

It said that after extensive discussions, concerns were voiced by some members about land reclamation “and activities in the area which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tension and may undermine peace, security and stability”.

ASEAN’s deadlock over the statement highlights China’s growing influence on the grouping at a time of uncertainty over the new U.S. administration’s security priorities and whether it will try to keep China’s maritime activities in check.

Several ASEAN diplomats said that among the members who pushed for a communique that retained the more contentious elements was Vietnam, which has competing claims with China over the Paracel and Spratly archipelago and has had several spats with Beijing over energy concessions.

Another diplomat, however, said there was no real disagreement on the contents of the communique and stressed that the initial draft was seen by some members as weak.

Also on Sunday the foreign ministers of ASEAN and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but seen by critics as a tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power.

Reporting by Martin Petty and Manuel Mogato; Editing by Gareth Jones

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Eating pure oats may be okay for celiac sufferers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, May 5th, 2017

Scottish porridge oats are seen in London May 13, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

(Reuters Health) – People with celiac disease have to avoid most grains, but oats may be an exception that’s safe, according to a recent research review, so long as the oats are uncontaminated by traces of other grains.

More studies are needed to see whether so-called pure oats available in the real world don’t provoke celiac symptoms. If proven safe, oats could provide celiac sufferers some of the benefits of eating grains that they miss out on following a gluten-free diet, researchers say.

“Oats, compared to other cereals, are a source of good quality proteins, vitamins and minerals and they improve palatability and the texture of gluten-free food,” said study coauthor Dr. Elena F. Verdu.

“For a person diagnosed with celiac disease, adding oats to a gluten-free diet could not only increase food options but also help them follow a better gluten-free diet and have a higher quality of life,” said Verdu, a gastroenterology researcher at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects roughly one of every 100 people in the U.S. For sufferers, consuming even trace amounts of the gluten protein in wheat, barley and rye can trigger an immune response that damages the intestines. Over time, this immune attack can lead to malnutrition, osteoporosis, chronic inflammation and a variety of other problems.

People with celiac disease are also at heightened risk of heart disease and some recent research suggests that might be in part because avoiding gluten causes them to miss out on the heart-protective benefits of eating whole grains.

Oats don’t contain the same celiac-provoking protein found in other grains, the study team writes in the journal Gastroenterology. However, Verdu told Reuters Health, issues have been raised regarding potential adverse reactions to oats by celiac patients, and this has reduced the enthusiasm of adding oats to the gluten-free diet in many cases.

“The first study suggesting that oats may be harmful for patients with celiac disease was published more than 50 years ago. Since then, the addition of oats to a gluten-free diet has remained clouded in controversy,” she said in an email.

For this reason, the review team decided to evaluate the existing evidence. They re-analyzed data from 28 previous studies that included oats in gluten-free diets for people with celiac disease. Eight of the studies were controlled clinical trials; the rest were observational.

The researchers looked at any negative effects on symptoms or blood tests for up to one year of oat consumption.

“In our study, we found no evidence that addition of oats to a gluten-free diet affects symptoms or activates celiac disease. However, it is very important to stress that there were few studies in some of the analyses, the quality of the studies was low and most of them were conducted outside of North America,” Verdu said.

Although the consensus is that pure oats are safe for most patients with celiac disease, contamination with other cereal sources that may contain gluten needs to be avoided, Verdu added.

“The purity of oats will depend on the country of origin and local regulations, and this is why we were surprised to see that most recommendations in North America are still based on studies performed in Europe,” she said.

“Patients who follow a gluten-free diet are sometimes able to consume small quantities of gluten-free oats without adverse reaction,” said Hannah Swartz, a clinical dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Patients who have the most success with including oats in their diet ensure the oats are certified gluten free, and wait one or more years after following a gluten free diet to ensure that gut inflammation has subsided,” she said.

“Patients with celiac disease must first ensure that the oats they are adding are certified gluten free oats. Regular oats used in products that are labeled ‘gluten free’ such as some mainstream cereals are not recommended for patients with celiac disease as there remains the possibility of cross contamination with gluten containing grains during the processing of the oats,” she said. —  By Shereen Lehman

SOURCE: bit.ly/2py8RwW Gastroenterology, online April 18, 2017.

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