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News Article | May 17, 2017
Patients treated by older hospital-based internists known as hospitalists are somewhat more likely to die within a month of admission than those treated by younger physicians, according to the results of a study led by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The findings, published May 16 in BMJ, reveal the largest gap in patient mortality--1.3 percentage points--between hospitalists 40 and younger and those 60 and older. The researchers note that the absolute difference in death rates was modest yet clinically meaningful--10.8 percent among patients treated by physicians 40 and younger, compared with 12.1 percent among those treated by physicians 60 and older. That difference translates into one additional patient death for every 77patients treated by physicians 60 and older, compared with those treated by doctors 40 and younger. "This difference is not merely statistically significant, but clinically important--it is comparable to the difference in death rates observed between patients at high risk for heart disease who are treated with proper heart medications and those who receive none," said study senior investigator Anupam Jena, the Ruth L. Newhouse associate professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and an internal medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Importantly, the researchers note, physician age made no difference in mortality outcomes for doctors who managed large numbers of patients. That finding, the research team said, suggests that treating more patients may have a protective effect on maintaining clinical skills. "Residency training sharpens the clinical skills of newly minted physicians because it exposes them to a great number of cases, but as physicians get farther away from residency their clinical skill may begin to decline somewhat," said study first author Yusuke Tsugawa, a researcher in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "Our observation that physicians' age is inconsequential so long as they treat a high volume of patients supports that notion." The differences in patient mortality rates between physicians in their 40s and 50s were far less pronounced--11.1 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively. However, patient death rates crept up at a regular pace as physicians got older. The difference in death risk persisted even when investigators accounted for patients' age and the severity of their conditions. Patient readmission rates were not affected by physician age, but cost of care was slightly higher among older physicians. The researchers caution that their study is strictly observational, showing only a link, rather than cause and effect, between physician age and patient outcomes. Additionally, the analysis focused on one subspecialty--hospitalists--and the findings may not apply to other specialists. However, the team added, the results warrant a more in-depth analysis to tease out precisely what factors may be contributing to the higher mortality seen among patients treated by older physicians. "Older physicians bring invaluable richness of knowledge and depth of experience, yet their clinical skills may begin to lag behind over time," Jena said. "The results of our study suggest the critical importance of continuing medical education throughout a doctor's entire career, regardless of age and experience." The link between clinical performance and physician age has long fascinated doctors, health care policy researchers and social scientists alike. Although older physicians' depth of experience can boost clinical performance, there has been a lingering concern that rapidly emerging scientific evidence, new technologies and changing clinical guidelines may prove challenging to keep up with and incorporate into practice. The study findings, the authors said, point to the importance of physicians participating in continuing medical education courses throughout the entire span of their professional lives. They also suggest that direct measurement of patient outcomes--rather than reliance on surrogate measures such as test scores--may be a more meaningful gauge of how physicians' skills evolve over time. To tease out the interplay between physician age and patient mortality risk, investigators analyzed more than 730,000 hospital admission records of Medicare patients, ages 65 and older, treated between 2011 and 2014 by more than 18,800 hospitalists. To further define physician characteristics and the hospital environment in which they practice, researchers linked patient admission records to data obtained from Doximity, an online professional network for practicing physicians, as well as to data from the American Hospital Association's annual survey, which collects and analyzes hospital infrastructure, staffing, demographics, organizational structure and service lines, among other factors. Co-authors included Joseph Newhouse and Alan Zaslavsky, of Harvard Medical School, and Daniel Blumenthal, of Massachusetts General Hospital. Yusuke Tsugawa was supported in part by the Abe Fellowship (Social Science Research Council and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership). Anupam Jena was supported by the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH Early Independence Award, under grant 1DP5OD017897-01). Harvard Medical School has more than 11,000 faculty working in 10 academic departments located at the School's Boston campus or in hospital-based clinical departments at 15 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children's Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and VA Boston Healthcare System.
News Article | May 16, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the report that President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials (all times EDT): Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he is "not worried" that President Donald Trump disclosed classified information during discussions with senior Russian leaders. He says he had discussions Tuesday with three allies, including two who are NATO members, and says the issue "never even came up." Mattis says he doesn't have any details about Trump's conversation. He spoke briefly with reporters outside the Pentagon after the new Air Force secretary was sworn in. The White House has defended Trump's talks with the Russians as "wholly appropriate." Trump says he was sharing facts related to terrorism and airline safety. The revelations have drawn sharp criticism from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and raised questions about Trump's handling of classified information. The New York Times says the classified intelligence President Donald Trump divulged to Russian officials last week was provided by Israel. The Times cites current and former U.S. officials familiar with how the U.S. obtained the information about an Islamic State plot. Trump is set to travel to Israel next week on his first foreign trip abroad. In a statement, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said Israel has "full confidence in our intelligence sharing relationship with the United States" but he did not comment specifically on the veracity of the Times report. The White House has defended Trump's decision to disclose information to the Russians, saying it was "wholly appropriate." The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee says he wants to talk to one or more of the White House officials who were at the meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian officials in which the president shared intelligence about an Islamic State threat. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., says he wants to give the White House a chance to explain what happened. He says a president can share intelligence, although never things like sources and methods. He says he doesn't know if there is a transcript of the May 10 meeting, but somebody made notes. Burr and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee, talked to reporters after a closed meeting of the panel. White House press secretary Sean Spicer says unauthorized leaking of sensitive or classified information is "frankly dangerous," after President Donald Trump reportedly shared classified information with two Russian diplomats during a meeting in the Oval Office. Spicer says in a White House briefing the unauthorized leaks are a threat to U.S. national security. He drew a distinction between leaks and Trump's conversation with the Russians, saying the discussion with the Russian officials involved shared threats to the U.S. and Russia. A U.S. official says Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (sir-GAY' lahv-RAWF') during their meeting about an Islamic State plot. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr says he has yet to get an explanation from the White House on what happened in the Oval Office meeting where the president reportedly shared classified information with the Russians. Burr says he waited all morning to get a call from someone in the room who can tell him what happened. He says: "Maybe they're busy." Burr tells a small group of reporters in the Capitol that: "My major concern right now is that I don't know what the president said." Burr added: "I'd like to think somebody from the White House who was in the room is going to get on the phone and tell me what they said." President Donald Trump is ignoring questions about whether he revealed classified information to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week. Trump was asked about the disclosures after delivering statements alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn). He said only that he had a great meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (sir-GAY' lahv-RAWF') and that the U.S. wants to get as much help to fight the Islamic State and terrorism as possible. A U.S. official says Trump told Lavrov during their meeting about an Islamic State plot. According to the official, the information he revealed came from a U.S. intelligence partner. White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says Trump's disclosures where "wholly appropriate." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump's comments to Russian officials at the White House last week "undermined the trust that other countries will have with in us in terms of sharing their intelligence." Pelosi's comments come as House lawmakers return Tuesday to the Capitol after a week back in their districts. Pelosi led a congressional delegation to India and Nepal. Pelosi says Democrats will try to force a House vote on establishing an independent commission to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections and whether there was collusion from Trump associates. Democrats were expected to distribute on Wednesday a discharge petition on the matter. The tactic rarely succeeds because it requires a majority of the House to sign the petition. She asks, "What are the Republicans afraid of?" President Donald Trump's national security adviser says Trump didn't know where information that he shared with Russian officials came from. The adviser, H.R. McMaster, didn't deny that Trump had discussed information deemed classified. But McMaster tells reporters that the information was available through "open-source reporting." That typically refers to reporting that's publicly available, such as news accounts, academic reports or social media. McMaster says Trump hadn't been briefed on the source or method of the information. Trump was later informed that he had broken protocol. White House officials then reached out to the National Security Agency and the CIA in an effort to contain any damage. McMaster identified Trump's homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, as the official who contacted both agencies. The No. 2 Democrat in the House says Donald Trump's presidency is "dangerous." Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer told reporters that reports that Trump revealed classified information to top Russian officials was just the latest example of a White House riven by incompetence, chaos, confrontation, and conflicts of interest. Hoyer said, "I think there is an erosion of confidence among the American people and an erosion of confidence of the international community." Hoyer said that it's too early to consider impeachment proceedings against Trump, but that "it is time for Republicans to say, 'enough.'" CIA Director Mike Pompeo will brief members of the House intelligence committee later tonight. Pompeo will likely be grilled by lawmakers about published reports that President Donald Trump shared such highly classified information with Russian officials that it jeopardized a critical intelligence source. Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, says Trump's revelation "in no way" compromised intelligence sources and methods. The CIA wouldn't comment on Pompeo's schedule, but a congressional staffer said Tuesday that he was to brief the committee. The staffer, who was not authorized to discuss the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting had been previously scheduled. President Donald Trump's national security adviser says information that president shared with the Russians was "wholly appropriate" and based on "open source reporting." The adviser, H.R. McMaster, says Trump's revelation "in no way" compromised intelligence sources and methods. McMcaster did not deny that Trump discussed classified information. Trump said in a tweet earlier Tuesday that he had the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia. Trump's tweets did not address whether he revealed classified information about the Islamic State group, as published reports have said and as a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. National security adviser H.R. McMaster is standing by his statement denying a Washington Post report that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, McMaster said the "premise of that article is false." He added Trump did not have a "conversation that was inappropriate or resulted in any kind of lapse in national security. McMaster said the real threat to national security was leakers "releasing information to the press." The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump shared classified information with Russian officials that jeopardized an intelligence source. McMaster told reporters after the story broke: "I was in the room. It didn't happen." The Royal Court says Jordan's King Abdullah II and President Donald Trump have spoken by phone about the fight against terrorism and crises in Syria and the rest of the region. Tuesday's phone call came as published reports said Trump revealed highly classified information about the extremist group Islamic State to Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting last week. Jordan is a key ally in the U.S.-led international military coalition against the Islamic State group, which controls territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The Royal Court says arrangements for the phone call between Trump and Jordan's king were made last week. It said in a statement that the two leaders talked about the strategic cooperation between Jordan and the U.S., fighting terrorism and various regional crises. The Senate intelligence committee has reached out to the White House to request additional information on recent reports about alleged dissemination of intelligence information. Rebecca Watkins, a spokeswoman for committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., says Tuesday that the panel wants to know more about reports that President Donald Trump shared classified information with two Russian officials. A current U.S. official tells The Associated Press that the intelligence shared addressed a threat from Islamic State militants that a U.S partner shared with the United States. The official demanded anonymity so as to discuss the private meetings. President Donald Trump's national security adviser plans to brief reporters at the White House. The White House says H.R. McMaster will hold an on-camera briefing before noon. He was originally scheduled to appear with press secretary Sean Spicer, but Spicer plans to hold a separate, off-camera session with reporters later in the day, after McMaster's appearance. Reporters had been promised a briefing from McMaster about Trump's first overseas trip, which opens Friday. But McMaster is likely to face questions about reports that Trump shared classified intelligence information with Russian officials when they met in the Oval Office last week. McMaster has denied the reports, telling reporters Monday after the story broke: "I was in the room. It didn't happen." The Senate's top Democrat says Congress needs to have immediate access to a transcript of President Donald Trump's meeting at the White House last week with senior Russian officials. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says that if Trump has "nothing to hide," he'll turn over unedited transcripts to the House and Senate intelligence committees. If Trump refuses, Schumer says Americans will doubt that their president is capable of safeguarding critical secrets. The request came in response to published reports that the president revealed classified information about the Islamic State group in the meeting with Russian officials. Congress is investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including hacking Democratic emails. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain says reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week are "deeply disturbing." The Arizona Republican said Tuesday that it sends a troubling signal to U.S. allies and partners around the world. McCain also said in a statement that reports that the information was provided by a U.S. ally and shared without the country's knowledge could mean that other countries won't share intelligence with Americans in the future. He said the time Trump spent sharing sensitive information was time he did not spend focused on Russia's aggressive behavior, including interference in elections, and its illegal invasion of Ukraine. The Senate's top Republican says "we can do with a little less drama from the White House" so the GOP can focus on advancing the party's legislative agenda. Appearing Tuesday morning on Bloomberg Business, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was responding to reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about the Islamic State group to Russian officials. McConnell says, "I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda." He said the agenda is deregulation, tax reform and repealing and replacing the health care law. McConnell also says he recommended to Trump that he nominate Merrick Garland to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. Garland, the federal judge nominated to the Supreme Court last year by President Barack Obama, was denied a Senate hearing by McConnell. President Donald Trump says more attention should be paid to find who is leaking information to the media. The Washington Post first reported that Trump's closed-door remarks with the Russians jeopardize a valuable intelligence source on the Islamic State group. Trump defended himself in a tweet Tuesday by saying he had an "absolute right" to share what he wanted. In a follow-up tweet, Trump said he had asked ousted FBI Director James Comey and others "from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community." A senior European intelligence official tells The Associated Press that his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms President Donald Trump shared classified details with Russian officials. The official said Tuesday that doing so "could be a risk for our sources." The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. A senior German lawmaker has expressed concern about reports that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about the Islamic State group to Russian officials. Burkhard Lischka said in a statement to The Associated Press that "if it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters that would be highly worrying." Lischka, who sits on the German parliament's intelligence oversight committee, noted that Trump has access to "exclusive and highly sensitive information including in the area of combating terrorism." The Social Democratic Party lawmaker said that if the U.S. president "passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world." Germany is heavily dependent on U.S. intelligence. The Kremlin has dismissed reports that Donald Trump shared classified information with Russian officials last week as "complete nonsense." The Washington Post's report on Monday claimed that the revelation made by Trump during his meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dismissed the reports as "yet more nonsense" and said that Moscow doesn't "want to have to do anything with it," adding that "there is nothing to confirm or deny." President Donald Trump is using Twitter to defend his sharing of information with the Russians. Trump says he wanted to share with Russia "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety." He notes that as president, he has an "absolute right" to do this. The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump divulged highly classified "code-word" information that could enable the Russians to trace the source of the intelligence. Trump added a line in his tweet suggesting why he did it: "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism." Russia's foreign ministry spokesman has denied reports that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to senior officials during the Russian minister's visit to the Oval Office last week. The Washington Post reported on Monday that the revelation put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk. Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, on Facebook on Tuesday described the reports as "yet another fake." The reports came several days after the White House faced criticism for a possible security breach after it allowed a Russian news service photographer into the Oval Office to snap photos of Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week. Jordan says King Abdullah II is to speak by phone Tuesday with President Donald Trump. The Royal Court says arrangements for the call were made last week. The conversation will take place amid a report by The Washington Post that Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials at a meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence about the Islamic State extremist group at risk. Jordan is a key ally in the U.S.-led international military coalition against Islamic State, which controls territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, says Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull won't comment on a Washington Post report that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russian officials, or say whether the report will affect Australia's intelligence-sharing agreement with the U.S. Australia is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing program with the U.S., Canada, Britain and New Zealand. Turnbull declined to comment specifically on the report, but said during an interview Tuesday with Adelaide radio station 5AA that he is confident in the Australia-U.S. alliance. Turnbull called it "the bedrock of our national security." New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee said in a statement that the report was rejected by senior U.S. officials. Brownlee said a resolution to the situation in Syria requires a concerted effort from the U.S. and Russia. Brownlee said he hopes the meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov "is a step towards that." President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, The Washington Post reported. The disclosure late Monday drew strong condemnation from Democrats and a rare rebuke of Trump from some Republican lawmakers. White House officials denounced the report, saying the president did not disclose intelligence sources or methods to the Russians, though officials did not deny that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting. H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, said: "The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known." President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so. Trump's tweets did not say whether he revealed classified information about the Islamic State group, as published reports have said and as a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The White House has pushed back against those reports, but has not denied that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting between Trump and Russian diplomats. The Kremlin dismissed the reports as "complete nonsense." The news reverberated around the world as countries started second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S. A senior European intelligence official told the AP his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms that Trump shared classified details with Russian officials. Such sharing "could be a risk for our sources," the official said. The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly At the White House, Trump said in his tweets, "I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining ... to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism." Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, a senior U.S official told AP. The classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country, the official said. Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimize any damage. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly, would not say which country's intelligence was divulged. The disclosure put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the disclosure on Monday. The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have declined to comment. The U.S. official said that Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence in last week's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak. An excerpt from an official transcript of the meeting reveals that Trump told them, "I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day," he said. Kislyak has been a central player in the snowballing controversy surrounding possible coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. The revelations drew strong condemnation from Democrats and a rare rebuke of Trump from some Republican lawmakers. White House officials denounced the report, saying the president did not disclose intelligence sources or methods to the Russians, though officials did not deny that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting. "The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation," said H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser. "At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known." The revelations could further damage Trump's already fraught relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies. He's openly questioned the competency of intelligence officials and challenged their high-confidence assessment that Russia meddled in last year's presidential election to help him win. His criticism has been followed by a steady stream of leaks to the media that have been damaging to Trump and exposed an FBI investigation into his associates' possible ties to Russia. The disclosure also risks harming his credibility with U.S. partners around the world ahead of his first overseas trip. The White House was already reeling from its botched handling of Trump's decision last week to fire James Comey, the FBI director who was overseeing the Russia investigation. A European security official said sharing sensitive information could dampen the trust between the United States and its intelligence sharing partners. "It wouldn't likely stop partners from sharing life-saving intelligence with the Americans, but it could impact the trust that has been built, particularly if sharing such information exposes specific intelligence gathering methods," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak about such intelligence sharing. The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II was to speak by telephone with Trump later Tuesday. The revelation also prompted cries of hypocrisy. Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also disputed the report. He said Trump discussed a range of subjects with the Russians, including "common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism." The nature of specific threats was discussed, he said, but not sources, methods or military operations. The controversy engulfed the White House. Reporters spent much of the evening camped out adjacent to Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office, hoping for answers. At one point, an eagle-eyed reporter spotted a handful of staffers, including Spicer and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, walking toward the Cabinet Room. Muffled yelling was heard coming from the area near the room, but after a reporter tweeted about the noise, press staffers quickly turned up their television volume, blasting the sound to drown out everything else. Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin and Ken Thomas and Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report from Washington. Associated Press writer Paisley Dodds contributed from London.
News Article | May 24, 2017
The chair of the bank that almost bankrupted Ireland has walked free from a Dublin court after being acquitted of misleading auditors about multimillion-euro loans. Seán Fitzpatrick was once head of the country’s biggest bank, Anglo Irish, which ended up requiring a €30bn (£26bn) government bailout and sent the country cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund for support. But on Wednesday, after the longest criminal trial in Irish history, a judge ordered the jury to acquit him on all charges. Later Fitzpatrick stood on the steps of the Republic’s criminal courts of justice and declared: “It’s wonderful day.” Twenty-four hours earlier Mr Justice John Aylmer had told jurors he was going to direct them to acquit Fitzpatrick. The former executive had pleaded not guilty to misleading the Anglo Irish bank’s auditors about loans to him and people connected to him. On Wednesday, the 126th day of an at times a bewildering and complex trial, Fitzpatrick’s defence had argued that the case should not go before the jury because of flaws in the investigation and in the prosecution case, which involved coaching witnesses and shredding documents. The trial judge told Fitzpatrick: “You are free to go; thank you very much for your attendance.” Apart from his “wonderful day” comment, Fitzpatrick refused to answer reporters’ questions. He told them: “I don’t want to be rude, but I’m not going to speak. I’m not making any comment.” Fitzpatrick had pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the Republic’s 1990 Companies Act. These include 22 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and five charges of furnishing false information in the years 2002 to 2007. The Irish director of public prosecutions had dropped some of these charges in the past four weeks. The case against Fitzpatrick at the Dublin circuit criminal court was a retrial after his first trial in May 2015 ended after weeks of legal argument over the flaws in the investigation by the Republic’s anti-corruption corporate watchdog. Ireland’s Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement said on Tuesday it accepted witnesses were coached during the investigation into Fitzpatrick and that their evidence was contaminated. It also admitted that other documents held by the watchdog were shredded by one its officials. He was said to be under enormous stress at the time. “Those actions clearly should not have occurred,” the ODCE said. The watchdog admitted there had been “serious failures” in its investigations into the Anglo Irish bankers’ loans. It also confirmed that some of the statements taken in evidence against Fitzpatrick were carried out by “civilian staff” who did not have proper training. Taoiseach Enda Kenny joined opposition parties in the Dáil in criticising the ODCE’s handling of the investigation. Kenny said if a government minister had performed as badly as some ODCE officials they would be sacked. Micheál Martin, leader of the main opposition party Fianna Fáil, also criticised the Garda Siochána for their role in the investigation into white-collar crime that he said had been proved to be “inept, negligible, wasteful and virtually redundant”. In 2009, Anglo Irish was nationalised, with the Irish taxpayer having to pay €30bn (£23bn) to rescue an institution that was once the preferred bank of builders and property speculators. The sharp practices at the bank during the Celtic boom, when it became the major financier for overstretched Irish developers and investors playing the global property market, caused national outrage. At a time of austerity cuts and the country losing its financial independence in the IMF/European Central Bank bailout programme, the sight of billions of taxpayers’ money being used to save Anglo Irish provoked widespread public anger. One of those who used Anglo Irish to play the global property casino was Ireland’s one-time richest man, Seán Quinn. Quinn is the former billionaire whose rise and fall while overborrowing from Anglo Irish personifies the collapse of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy. The 65-year-old County Fermanagh-born tycoon used to employ up to 5,000 people in construction and his family’s insurance corporation. He had been previously listed at the richest Irishman in history – with a personal wealth of about €4.7bn. But Quinn went bankrupt with huge debts, having bought a significant number of shares in the former Anglo Irish Bank with a view to buying a global property empire stretching from North America to parts of the former Soviet Union.
News Article | January 2, 2017
Ballistic composites are meeting demands for protective gear, equipment and shelter. Composites manufacturers are continually looking for ways to enhance the performance of materials, making them thinner, lighter and stronger. But producers of ballistic composites have a much greater incentive for improvement than most: the material changes they make can literally save lives. The most common types of composite ballistic materials used today are para-aramids (aromatic polyamides) such as Kevlar® and Twaron® and the newer high-molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE) or ultra-high-molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) such as Dyneema® and Spectra®. Military and police forces, the main customers for ballistic composites, have used one or both types for helmets, body armor, vests and shields and for armor components on tanks, helicopters, planes and other vehicles. Ballistic composites provide significant performance enhancement and weight reduction over metal ballistic materials in such applications. “When you replace metal with a non-metallic system like a standard polymer matrix composite material you’re significantly lessening the likelihood of degradation due to corrosion in extreme environments,” says Steve Taulbee, general engineer in the Office of the Director for the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen, Proving Ground, Md. The U.S. Army started investigating the potential of composite materials for ballistic applications (specifically Kevlar vests) at the end of the Vietnam War. In 1989, the Army fielded its first composite helmet in combat in Panama, made from a Kevlar fiber hardened by a thermoset resin matrix. The most recent iteration is the enhanced combat helmet (ECH), made with UHMWPE. “It improved ballistic protection by 35 percent over any and all of the previous generations of the Kevlar helmet,” says Taulbee. The Army is currently researching the use of UHMWPEs to reduce the weight of next-generation military aircraft, pursuing 3-D weaving with several industry partners, including Albany Engineered Composites and T.E.A.M. Inc. With military aircraft, there is a lot of pressure to reduce the weight of the armor without compromising protection, says Nick Baird, director of sales and marketing at Permali Gloucester Ltd. The company uses aramids, glass fibers and UHMWPEs to create ballistic protection for helicopters like the CH-47 Chinook and the AW101 Merlin. The materials have to resist vibration and crash loads and meet flammability specifications as well. Permali is investing heavily in the development of molded composite structures to provide mine and blast protection for vehicles. “We have shown that the right composite solution outperforms steel by resisting higher blast loads, by having lower dynamic deflection and by exhibiting ‘graceful degradation,’’’ says Baird. “Composites show very progressive behavior as you increase the blast loading, whereas steel fabrications tend to fail suddenly and catastrophically as you exceed their threshold.” In one case, Permali replaced a steel roof on a vehicle with a stronger, stiffer composite roof, providing a rigid and stable platform for a roof-mounted remote weapon station.
News Article | May 3, 2017
Donald Trump has attacked the director of the FBI before he gives testimony on a probe into links between the President’s campaign team and Russia. James Comey is to outline results of a months-long investigation into potential coordination with the Kremlin publicly before members of Congress, although any information is expected to be heavily restricted. Mr Trump has repeatedly denied the Kremlin played a role in his shock election victory and took to Twitter to launch a new attack late on Tuesday. “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!” he wrote. “The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?” The President appeared to be referring to a probe into Ms Clinton’s use of her family’s private email server for official communications, which prompted an investigation into alleged violations of federal laws and State Department protocol. Video not available for syndication Comey confirms FBI is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election Mr Comey recommended no charges be filed in July, effectively closing the case, but then announced an investigation into newly discovered emails on 28 October. Mr Trump seized on the probe, calling his rival “crooked Hillary” and leading chants of “lock her up” at rallies as he lagged in polls, and it has been partly credited with his election victory despite closing two days before the vote. How Trump's first 100 days tore up relations with intelligence agents Speaking at the Women for Women International's annual lunch in New York on Tuesday, Ms Clinton said she took responsibility for her election loss but believes the FBI investigation played a key part. “If the election had been on 27 October, I would be your President,” the former Secretary of State said, adding that she was “on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter and Russian WikiLeaks [Democratic email leaks] raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off”. Ms Clinton also said misogyny ”played a role in this election”, conceding she made mistakes but concluding: “The reason I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last 10 days." The FBI and Congressional committees are now investigating alleged Russian interference in the vote after a US intelligence report concluded that “Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign” to damage Ms Clinton’s chances and undermine faith in the democratic process. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Analysts say details are unlikely to be released as counterintelligence investigations rarely end with criminal charges and court proceedings, although House and Senate committees have been holding public hearings and could publicise their findings. Last week, congressional officials said Michael Flynn, Mr Trump's first national security adviser, appeared to violate federal law when he failed to seek permission or inform the US government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organisations after a trip there in 2015.
News Article | May 3, 2017
The National Security Agency collected more than 151 million records about Americans' phone calls in 2016, despite a new system created by Congress to curb the agency's ability to collect bulk phone records, a new report revealed Tuesday. The report, issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, offered the first evaluation of the effects of the USA Freedom Act of 2015, legislation designed to curtail the federal government's sweeping surveillance of millions of Americans' phone records. The report found that the agency still collected vast amounts of records under the new system, despite having court orders to use the system on only 42 terrorism suspects in 2016. Under a controversial national security policy put in place by the Patriot Act after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the NSA has been collecting large amounts of metadata, the digital information that accompanies electronic communications. That information included what phone numbers were on the call, when the call was placed and how long it lasted, which was then saved in a database. Already heated debate over the programs authorized by the Patriot Act intensified in 2013 after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the ways in which the secretive US government agency was collecting data. The new system required federal agencies to seek a court order on a case-by-case basis to obtain call data from telephone companies. The report emerges as Congress prepares to decide whether to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, upon which the warrantless surveillance program is based. The law, set to expire at the end of the year, allows federal agencies to collect information on Americans as long as the target of the collection is a foreigner who happens to be communicating with someone in the US. The NSA said the large number of records can be attributed in part to duplication. A single call would be counted as two records because they were submitted separately by the two companies handling the call. The report said the FBI on one occasion in 2016 reviewed information about an American the NSA had collected under the surveillance program. However, the report didn't indicate how often the FBI searched for information about Americans within the program while investigating foreign intelligence cases. The report was published just days after the NSA said Friday it had stopped the warrantless collection of Americans' emails and texts that mentioned a foreign intelligence target in their messages. The decision to halt the once-secret form of wiretapping was seen as a victory for privacy advocates long critical of the practice. Virtual reality 101: CNET tells you everything you need to know about what VR is and how it'll affect your life. Solving for XX: The industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."
News Article | May 8, 2017
Highly-Decorated Cyber Security Expert, Former NSA Director of Operations, and Senior Manager with CIA To Help Guide Strategic Development Initiatives. NEW YORK, NY – May 8, 2017 - Balabit, a leading provider of Privileged Access Management solutions, announced today that the former Director of Operations at the National Security Agency, Ronald (Ron) Moultrie, has joined Balabit’s Advisory Board. Mr. Moultrie joins Balabit’s Advisory Board during a period of exceptional growth in demand for the Company’s award-winning Privileged Access Management solutions, which enable organizations to protect themselves and their assets against malicious insiders and external cyberthreats. Moultrie brings to the Board more than three decades of proven leadership experience and uniquely well-informed cybersecurity insight, having held senior management roles in the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other organizations within the Intelligence Community. Ron led the NSA’s SIGINT Enterprise from 2010-2015, responsible for over half of the NSA’s workforce and multi-billion dollar annual budgets, retiring as the Director of Operations. He is widely acknowledged as an accomplished security visionary and an expert in driving innovative technological development and strategic planning and execution on a global scale. Balabit will leverage this expertise as it further hones and advances its product strategies and development roadmap. “We deeply value Ron’s leadership and insight, and look forward to working closely with him as we define and bring to market the next generations of Balabit’s award-winning security solutions,” said Balabit CEO and Co-Founder Zoltán Györkő. “The threat landscape continues to evolve and morph hourly. Ron’s acumen – developed and field proven as he successfully directed exceptionally complex situations and security challenges for the U.S. military, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – will, we know, make him an invaluable member of Balabit’s Advisory Board.” Moultrie was the first African-American in NSA’s history to lead its global operations and is also one of the Agency’s most decorated officers. Ron is currently the President and CEO of Oceanus Security Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm that works with clients to develop strategies for optimizing security and technology. He holds a Bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Maryland, earned a Master’s degree from the Defence Intelligence College, and completed Senior Executive studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. About Balabit Balabit is a leading provider of Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Log Management solutions with a mission to help businesses reduce the risk of data breaches associated with privileged accounts. Balabit’s integrated PAM solution protects organizations in real-time from threats posed by the misuse of high risk and privileged accounts. Solutions include Privileged Session Manager and Privileged Account Analytics, which together help organizations prevent, detect, and respond to cyber attacks involving privileged accounts, including both insider threats and external attacks using hi-jacked credentials. Working in conjunction with existing security tools, Balabit Privileged Access Management enables a flexible and people-centric approach to improving security without adding additional constraints to working practices. Founded in 2000, Balabit has a proven track record, with 25 Fortune 100 customers and more than 1,000,000 corporate users worldwide. The company operates globally with offices across the United States and Europe, together with a network of reseller partners. For more information, visit http://www.balabit.com/, read the Balabit blog, or follow on Twitter via @balabit, LinkedIn or Facebook. The syslog-ng™, the syslog-ng Store Box™, the Shell Control Box™ and the Blindspotter™ as well as the Balabit™ names are trademarks of Balabit S.A. All other product names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.
News Article | May 8, 2017
Highly-Decorated Cyber Security Expert, Former NSA Director of Operations, and Senior Manager with CIA To Help Guide Strategic Development Initiatives NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 8, 2017) - Balabit, a leading provider of Privileged Access Management solutions, announced today that the former Director of Operations at the National Security Agency, Ronald (Ron) Moultrie, has joined Balabit's Advisory Board. Mr. Moultrie joins Balabit's Advisory Board during a period of exceptional growth in demand for the Company's award-winning Privileged Access Management solutions, which enable organizations to protect themselves and their assets against malicious insiders and external cyberthreats. Moultrie brings to the Board more than three decades of proven leadership experience and uniquely well-informed cybersecurity insight, having held senior management roles in the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other organizations within the Intelligence Community. Ron led the NSA's SIGINT Enterprise from 2010-2015, responsible for over half of the NSA's workforce and multi-billion dollar annual budgets, retiring as the Director of Operations. He is widely acknowledged as an accomplished security visionary and an expert in driving innovative technological development and strategic planning and execution on a global scale. Balabit will leverage this expertise as it further hones and advances its product strategies and development roadmap. "We deeply value Ron's leadership and insight, and look forward to working closely with him as we define and bring to market the next generations of Balabit's award-winning security solutions," said Balabit CEO and Co-Founder Zoltán Györkő. "The threat landscape continues to evolve and morph hourly. Ron's acumen -- developed and field proven as he successfully directed exceptionally complex situations and security challenges for the U.S. military, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence -- will, we know, make him an invaluable member of Balabit's Advisory Board." Moultrie was the first African-American in NSA's history to lead its global operations and is also one of the Agency's most decorated officers. Ron is currently the President and CEO of Oceanus Security Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm that works with clients to develop strategies for optimizing security and technology. He holds a Bachelor's degree (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Maryland, earned a Master's degree from the Defense Intelligence College, and completed Senior Executive studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. About Balabit Balabit is a leading provider of Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Log Management solutions with a mission to help businesses reduce the risk of data breaches associated with privileged accounts. Balabit's integrated PAM solution protects organizations in real-time from threats posed by the misuse of high risk and privileged accounts. Solutions include Privileged Session Manager and Privileged Account Analytics, which together help organizations prevent, detect, and respond to cyber attacks involving privileged accounts, including both insider threats and external attacks using hi-jacked credentials. Working in conjunction with existing security tools, Balabit Privileged Access Management enables a flexible and people-centric approach to improving security without adding additional constraints to working practices. Founded in 2000, Balabit has a proven track record, with 25 Fortune 100 customers and more than 1,000,000 corporate users worldwide. The company operates globally with offices across the United States and Europe, together with network of reseller partners. For more information, visit www.balabit.com, read the Balabit blog, or follow on Twitter via @balabit, LinkedIn or Facebook. The syslog-ng™, the syslog-ng Store Box™, the Shell Control Box™ and the Blindspotter™ as well as the Balabit™ names are trademarks of Balabit S.A. All other product names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.
News Article | February 24, 2017
Cyber Security Summit, which has been advancing the national conversation about cyber security as a public-private partnership effort since 2011, is pleased to announce that defense industry executive and national security attorney Andrew Borene has been named as Chairman Emeritus. Borene has served as both Chair and Co-Chair of previous summits in the Twin Cities. As Chairman Emeritus, Borene joins the previously announced Co-Chairs of the 2017 Event: Mike Kearn, VP at US Bank, and Elizabeth Stevens, Director at UnitedHealth Group. Borene is presently an executive advisor from Booz Allen Hamilton to the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). A former Pentagon attorney and U.S. Marine intelligence officer, Borene has also been a Senior Fellow with the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute and a Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. Stevens announced the award saying, “Andrew’s expert guidance and collaborative spirit have shaped the Cyber Security Summit as it has grown into a diverse gathering of global thought leaders. This new honorary title of Chairman Emeritus both acknowledges the strategic leadership role he has played – and ensures Andrew’s legacy remains connected to the summit into the future.” Cyber Security Summit is a public-private collaboration with support from industry, government, and university leaders who gather to discuss security trends and solutions. The Summit includes senior executives, risk managers, military representatives, policymakers, lawyers, academics, and technology leaders. Topics, content and speakers are driven by an Advisory Board composed of leaders from diverse critical infrastructure operators and commercial market sectors. Cyber Security Summit 2017 will take place Oct. 23-25 in Minneapolis. Visit www.cybersecuritysummit.org to learn more. Dr. Massoud Amin, Chairman, IEEE Smart Grid; Chairman, Board of Directors, Texas Reliability Entity; Director, Board of Directors, Midwest Reliability Organization; Director and Professor, Technological Leadership Institute and ECE, University of Minnesota Anne C. Bader, Principal, Bader Resources LLC; Founder, The International Cybersecurity Dialogue; Senior Associate Fellow, the Institute of Statecraft Mike Johnson, Senior Fellow & Honeywell/James J. Renier Chair, Director of Graduate Studies - MS in Security Technologies, Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), University of Minnesota
News Article | February 27, 2017
In a report out Monday, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property says the annual losses range from about $225 billion to $600 billion. The theft of trade secrets alone costs the United States between $180 billion and $540 billion annually. Counterfeit goods cost the United States $29 billion to $41 billion annual; pirated software costs an additional $18 billion a year. The findings echo those of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which in 2015 pegged the annual cost of economic espionage by computer hacking at $400 billion. The commission labels China the world's No. 1 culprit. Including Hong Kong, China accounts for 87 percent of counterfeit goods seized entering the United States. The report says the Chinese government encourages intellectual property theft. The commission is led by former Republican presidential candidate and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who also served as U.S. ambassador to China, and Adm. Dennis Blair, a former director of U.S. national intelligence. "The vast, illicit transfer of American innovation is one of the most significant economic issues impacting U.S. competitiveness that the nation has not fully addressed," Huntsman said. "It looks to be, must be, a top priority of the new administration." Explore further: Report urges US to go on offense on China hacking (Update)