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Mini defibrillator batteries and super strength glue win at European Inventor Awards

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, June 8th, 2018

Shot of Dhulchaointigh playing with Mouldable glue and shot of hands working with battery for implantable defibrillators. Photo from Reuters video


Batteries that can last for five years inside the body and glue that resembles play-dough but can hold up to 400 times its own weight were among the winners at the European Inventor Awards that took place in France on Thursday (June 7).

The competition, organized by the European Patent Office, celebrates recent inventions that have made a marked impact on both the public’s needs and the scientific research community.

American inventor Esther Sans Takeuchi came up with batteries that can be placed in implantable defibrillators for up to five years, preventing the need for major surgery on the patient every year, as was needed with previous weaker batteries.

Using a special mixture of the metals lithium and silver vanadium, the batteries ensure that the heart keeps beating regularly in cardiac patients.

Another winner, Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, came across her winning product by accident when she left sawdust and silicone mixed together on a work desk. The resulting combination was a mouldable substance that could stick things together and then harden into a flexible rubber that can bear weights of up to two kilograms (4.4 pounds).

Medical innovations proved popular with an improved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, that can take 100 frames per second, bagging first place in the research category.

The winners, who go home with a trophy, do not receive monetary awards.

Patent examiners, as well as members of the public, weigh in on selected nominees in the annual European Inventor Awards. — Reuters

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France commits to combat racist content on social media

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe speaks at the Elysee Palace after a weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, France, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

France will toughen restrictions against racism and anti-Semitism on the internet and will actively contribute to the fight on a European level.

This was assured by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Monday over the fact that illegal online broadcasts of football matches are more quickly blocked than racist or anti-Semitic remarks.

For this reason, internet hosts and social media sites should be required to remove hateful speech, Philippe said.

Philippe said French President Emmanuel Macron’s government plan to fight on a European level for a legislative project that would force operators to withdraw hateful, racist or anti-Semitic content as soon as possible.

While the number of recorded hate crimes in France has decreased by 16 percent in 2017, the number of violent hateful actions has risen, the premier said. — Reuters

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France to launch international group targeting toxic gas attacks

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

France has asked some 30 countries to work together to preserve evidence of chemical weapons attacks and impose sanctions on those responsible after Russia ended an international inquiry into who is to blame for using toxic gas in Syria.

France will host a meeting on Tuesday in Paris to launch the initiative, French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told a United Nations Security Council meeting on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction last Thursday.

“Likewise, the restoration of a complete ban on chemical weapons is an overriding necessity. Impunity cannot be an option. This constitutes the merit of the joint investigative mechanism, the Jim, a mechanism whose dissolution is particularly regrettable. However, we can not throw in the towel. The criminals that have been identified as having used such weapons, be they state actors be they non-state actors, must be punished and those who may envisage such use should be deterred from so doing,” said the French ambassador.

The move comes after an international investigation into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria ended in November after Syrian ally Russia blocked for the third time in a month attempts at the United Nations to renew the inquiry, which Moscow has slammed as flawed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said accusations against the Syrian government were “baseless” and accused western states of ignoring a chemical weapons threat posed by extremist groups.

In the past two years, the joint inquiry of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had found the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin in an April 4, 2017, attack and has also several times used chlorine as a weapon.

It blamed Islamic State militants for using mustard gas.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Russia and the United States. The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons. — Reuters


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France to impose sanction after lapse in contaminated baby milk recall

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 12th, 2018

The French government on Thursday warns those responsible after a “major dysfunction” in a recall of contaminated baby milk.

“This is a serious matter. There has been unacceptable behavior, which should be punished,” said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Lactalis, one of the world’s largest producers of dairy products, in December issued a recall of all products made at its factory in Craon, Northwest France, after discovering salmonella bacteria at the site.

But several retailers admitted this week that they had continued to sell the brand’s milk even after the ban.

Supermarket chain Carrefour said Wednesday it had sold 434 boxes of Lactalis baby milk that should have been withdrawn after the ban and so as Systeme-U, Leclerc, and Auchan.

The issue prompted the company to organize a last-minute news conference where the spokesman said that the group had been proactive in organizing a “massive recall”.

“We agreed on this recall. There was no doubt on our side that we had to do this recall. And we decided on our own accord on December 19 on a second recall which happened on December 21 so that we could stop any possible future contamination,” said Lactalis group spokesman Michel Nalet.

Countries affected include Greece in Europe, Morocco, and Sudan in Africa, Peru in South America and Pakistan, Bangladesh and China in Asia, underlining the reach of the company and the difficulty in trying to trace all the potentially at-risk powder.

It was only in December, after around 30 infants fed with Lactalis milk had fallen ill, that the health ministry sounded the alarm.

The cases of infection were linked to products called Picot SL, Pepti Junior 1, Milumel Bio 1 and Picot Riz.

Lactalis could face charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering the lives of others. — Reuters




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