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News Article | May 19, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

We already knew that fat could accumulate pretty much anywhere on our bodies, but we kind of thought our bones, at least, were a fat-free zone. Sadly, it turns out that's not at all the case. But just like all our other pudge, bone fat can also be blasted by exercise, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina. When you think about it, it makes sense that bones have fat; that's what makes bone marrow such a delicacy on some menus. But the way in which the bone marrow fat forms and its role in the body have both been a bit unclear to scientists, says UNC. So a study led by Maya Styner, a physician and assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, set out to investigate. "There's been intense interest in marrow fat because it's highly associated with states of low bone density, but scientists still haven't understood its physiologic purpose," said Styner. "We know that exercise has a profound effect on fat elsewhere in the body, and we wanted to use exercise as a tool to understand the fat in the marrow." Styner and her team raised two different groups of mice by giving them different diets starting a month after they were born. One group was fed a high-fat diet which turned them into obese mice, while the other received a normal diet that kept them lean. Then, at four months of age, half the mice from each group got a running wheel in their cage. While that might not seem like the most exciting gift to you and I, it turns out that mice really like to run, so it suited them just fine. The researchers then took a look at the bone marrow fat from all the rodents. They found that in the mice that exercised, the amount of fat and the size of fat cells in their marrow had reduced significantly. In fact the reduction was so significant that fat-wise, the marrow of the obese mice was pretty much identical to those of the lean mice – even the wheel-running lean mice. The researchers also found the mice who exercised had thicker bones and that this thickening was most pronounced in the obese mice. "Obesity appears to increase a fat depot in the bone, and this depot behaves very much like abdominal and other fat depots," said Styner. "Exercise is able to reduce the size of this fat depot and burn it for fuel and at the same time build stronger, larger bones." While the researchers were able to draw parallels between exercise and thicker, leaner bones, at this point they're not entirely sure about the relationship between marrow fat reduction and bone health. One theory is that when fat cells get burned inside the marrow, the energy released could be used by the body to beef up bone composition. Another theory involves cells known as mesenchymal stem cells, which lead to the creation of both fat and bone cells. It could be that exercise tips their production quotas to more bone and less fat. Interestingly, if this second theory turns out to be valid, mesenchymal stem cells also produce bone and fat in human, so the results could translate well. "If we want to take this technique to the human level, we could study marrow fat in humans in a much more reliable fashion now," said Styner. "And our work shows this is possible." Details of the study have been published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.


Prior to joining Tanger in 2000, Mr. Guerrieri was a Senior Accountant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP. He graduated from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina in 1995 with a master's degree in accounting and a bachelor's degree in business administration.  Mr. Guerrieri is also a certified public accountant. "I am honored and excited to take on an expanded role within Tanger," said Thomas J. Guerrieri Jr., Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller. "I have seen our business grow and change significantly since joining Tanger, and I am so pleased to be part of its next chapter." About Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. is a publicly-traded REIT headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina that presently operates and owns, or has an ownership interest in, a portfolio of 43 upscale outlet shopping centers in 22 states coast to coast and in Canada, totaling approximately 14.8 million square feet leased to over 3,100 stores operated by more than 500 different brand name companies. With over 36 years of experience in the outlet industry and one additional center currently under construction, Tanger Outlet Centers continue to attract more than 188 million shoppers annually.  For more information on Tanger Outlet Centers, call 1-800-4TANGER or visit the Company's web site at www.tangeroutlets.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tanger-appoints-thomas-j-guerrieri-jr-to-vice-president-chief-accounting-officer-and-controller-300460812.html


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: grist.org

Coastal residents of poor and fast-growing tropical countries face rapid increases in the numbers of once-rare floods they may face as seas rise, with a new statistical analysis offering troubling projections for regions where sea-level data is sparse. Stark increases in instances of flooding are projected for Pacific islands, parts of Southeast Asia, and coastlines along India, Africa, and South America in the years and decades ahead — before spreading to engulf nearly the entire tropical region, according to a study led by Sean Vitousek, a researcher at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “Imagine what it might feel like to live on a low-lying island nation in the Pacific, where not only your home, but your entire nation might be drowned,” Vitousek said. The researchers combined a statistical technique used to analyze extreme events with models simulating waves, storms, tides, and the sea level effects of global warming. They created snapshots of the future — flood projections that can be difficult to generate with the limited ocean data available in some places. “If it’s easy to flood with smaller water levels coming from the ocean side, then gradual sea-level rise can have a big impact,” Vitousek said. “For places like the Pacific islands in the middle of nowhere that don’t have any data, we can make an assessment for what’s going to happen.” The study found that the frequency of formerly once-in-50-year floods could double in some tropical places in the decades ahead. The findings were published Thursday in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. “This is the first paper I’ve seen that tries to combine all these different elements in the context of sea-level rise,” said Richard Smith, a statistics professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who studies environmental change. “They’ve done it in a very systematic and well organized way.” The tropics are home to some of the world’s most vulnerable coastal residents, often living in houses made from flimsy construction materials, under governments that have limited ability to provide food, water, and care when disasters strike. “Many poor developing countries like Bangladesh are going to see greater frequency and magnitude of flood events — even with the best efforts to reduce emissions,” said Saleemul Huq, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh. Residents of these sweltering regions have released little of the greenhouse gas pollution that’s warming the Earth’s surface, melting ice and expanding ocean water, and causing seas to rise. Global temperatures have risen nearly 2 degrees F since the 1800s. “These vulnerable countries and communities need to be supported to improve early warning and safe shelters — followed by economic support to recover afterwards,” Huq said. All coastal regions face risks from rising seas, though the nature of the hazards varies. Seas are rising at about an inch per decade globally, at an accelerating rate with several feet or more of sea rise likely this century. Detailed information on water levels in many vulnerable places, however, is sparse. “Understanding of sea-level rise in the tropics is challenging because there’s a lack of long-term data,” said Benjamin Horton, a Rutgers professor who wasn’t involved with the study. “Tide gauges were installed for navigation in ports; big trade was between the industrialized nations of Europe and [the] U.S.” Unlike vulnerable cities and towns along the East Coast of the U.S., where frequent storms and big waves lead to large variations in day-to-day water levels, tropical coastlines tend to be surrounded by waters with depths that vary less. That means many tropical coastlines were not built to withstand the kinds of routine flooding that will be caused by rising seas.


News Article | May 17, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

"BLACKMARKET products are concentrated, pure and effective," said Harley Babcock, CEO of BLACKMARKET. "Each of our formulas are designed to accelerate progress toward a specific fitness goal or enhance a distinct training regimen. Not everyone works out the same or wants the same result, which is why no BLACKMARKET product tries to be everything to everyone." FIT uses a combination of very specific ingredients to maximize full potential in endurance, power, strength and stamina. PeakO2, a patent-pending blend of six adaptogens that improve the body's ability to uptake and use oxygen and boost physical endurance, power output and strength, is a key ingredient of FIT. In a clinical study conducted by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, PeakO2 users improved their power output, their time to exhaustion and overall exercise capacity. Additional FIT ingredients include: Beta-Alanine (CarnoSyn®) to enhance performance output and reduce fatigue by reducing lactic acid build up; Alpha GPC 50% to increase muscle power and explosiveness; Betaine Anhydrous to boost strength, power and muscle endurance; and Creatine Monohydrate to increase strength, power and cellular energy. Also included is a proprietary blend for energy and mental focus. "In the beginning, FIT was intended for the CrossFit audience to help them outperform, outlast and surpass their competition in multiple measurable parameters," said Babcock. "After testing FIT, its potential and benefits far surpassed our initial intentions and it became clear it was a product that would benefit any athlete who needed to sustain higher levels of intense activity for longer periods of time, whether that's an avid gym goer, someone just starting out with a workout program or a competitive athlete with high physical performance demands." In addition to the launch of FIT, BLACKMARKET'S customized pre-workout formulas also include ADRENOLYN CUTS, ADRENOLYN BULK, TONE and STIM. All BLACKMARKET products are manufactured in a company-owned, GMP-certified facility, where the company formulates, flavors, blends, packages, inspects and ships every bottle. For more information about FIT or any BLACKMARKET product, please contact Nicole Allen at nicole@nicoleallenpr.com. Additional information about BLACKMARKET can be found at www.blackmarketlabs.com. About BLACKMARKET Launched in 2009, BLACKMARKET hit the fitness market after the founder spent three years selling supplements inside a gym in Utah. BLACKMARKET learned the strengths and shortcomings of available supplements, and, most importantly, that there isn't a "one size fits all" solution to exercise supplementation. BLACKMARKET specializes in goal-focused, premium pre-workout formulas—each engineered to provide a unique combination of nutrients needed to accelerate progress toward a specific fitness goal or enhance a distinct training regimen. Our products are concentrated, pure and effective. BLACKMARKET is for the dedicated, the audacious and the unrelenting—those who demand excellence and refuse to settle. We do things the right way without compromise. It's easy to become disconnected from a product you don't make yourself, which is why we manufacture all our supplements in our own GMP-certified facility. We formulate, flavor, blend, package, inspect and ship every bottle. Learn more at www.blackmarketlabs.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/blackmarket-launches-new-tailored-pre-workout-formula-300458994.html


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

WASHINGTON, DC -- Drinking just one glass of wine or other alcoholic drink a day increases breast cancer risk, finds a major new report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). The report also revealed, for the first time, that vigorous exercise such as running or fast bicycling decreases the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancers. Strong evidence confirmed an earlier finding that moderate exercise decreases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. "It can be confusing with single studies when the findings get swept back and forth," said Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, a lead author of the report and cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol -- these are all steps women can take to lower their risk." Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer systematically collated and evaluated the scientific research worldwide on how diet, weight and exercise affect breast cancer risk in the first such review since 2010. The report analyzed 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer. The report found strong evidence that drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer a day (about 10 grams alcohol content) increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9 percent. A standard drink is 14 grams of alcohol. For vigorous exercise, pre-menopausal women who were the most active had a 17 percent lower risk and post-menopausal women had a 10 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who were the least active. Total moderate activity, such as walking and gardening, linked to a 13 percent lower risk when comparing the most versus least active women. In addition the report showed that: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in US women with over 252,000 new cases estimated this year. AICR estimates that one in three breast cancer cases in the U.S. could be prevented if women did not drink alcohol, were physically active and stayed a healthy weight. The report points to links between diet and breast cancer risk. There was some evidence -- although limited -- that non-starchy vegetables lowers risk for estrogen-receptor (ER) negative breast cancers, a less common but more challenging to treat type of tumor. Limited evidence also links dairy, diets high in calcium and foods containing carotenoids to lowering risk of some breast cancers. Carrots, apricots, spinach and kale are all foods high in carotenoids, a group of phytonutrients studied for their health benefits. These links are intriguing but more research is needed, says McTiernan. "The findings indicate that women may get some benefit from including more non-starchy vegetables with high variety, including foods that contain carotenoids," she said. "That can also help avoid the common 1 to 2 pounds women are gaining every year, which is key for lowering cancer risk." Aside from these lifestyle risk factors, other established causes of breast cancer include being older, early menstrual period and having a family history of breast cancer. While there are many factors that women cannot control, says Alice Bender, MS, RDN, AICR's Head of Nutrition Programs, the good news from this report is that all women can take steps to lower their breast cancer risk. "Wherever you are with physical activity, try to nudge it up a bit, either a little longer or a little harder. Make simple food shifts to boost protection -- substitute veggies like carrots, bell peppers or green salad for chips and crackers and if you drink alcohol, stick to a single drink or less," said Bender. "There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but it's empowering to know you can do something to lower your risk." For the full report, contact communications@aicr.org or m.nelson@aicr.org The report is part of the Continuous Update Project (CUP), which monitors and analyzes research on cancer prevention from around the world and draws conclusions on how weight, diet and physical activity can reduce the risk of developing cancer. Reports are located here: http://www. . US CUP Panel Members include: Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; Steven Clinton, MD, PhD, The Ohio State University; Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD, Harvard School of Public Health; Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Previous reports from AICR and WCRF International have found that - in addition to post-menopausal breast cancer - excess body fat increases risk for ovarian, esophageal, colorectal, gallbladder, liver, endometrial, kidney, stomach cardia, pancreatic, and advanced prostate cancers. Breast data from SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2013, National Cancer Institute. Our Vision: We want to live in a world where no one develops a preventable cancer. Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk. We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR's Recommendation for Cancer Prevention, at http://www. .


Farmers are constantly spraying pesticides on their crops to combat an array of viral, bacterial, and fungal invaders. Scientists have been trying to get around these chemicals for years by genetically engineering hardy plants resilient to the array of diseases caused by microbial beasties. Most attempts so far confer protection against a single disease, but now researchers have developed a rice plant that fights multiple pathogens at once—without loss to the crop yield—by hooking up a tunable amplifier to the plant’s immune system. “For as long as I have been in this field, people have been scratching their heads about how to activate a defense system where and when it is needed,” says Jonathan Jones, who studies plant defense mechanisms at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, U.K. “It is among the most promising lines of research in this field that I have seen.” Plants don’t have a bloodstream to circulate immune cells. Instead, they use receptors on the outsides of their cells to identify molecules that signal a microbial invasion, and respond by releasing a slew of antimicrobial compounds. Theoretically, identifying genes that kick off this immune response and dialing up their activity should yield superstrong plants. Plant biologist Xinnian Dong at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has been studying one of these genes for 20 years—a “master regulator,” she says, of plant defense. The gene, called NPR1 in the commonly studied thale cress plant (Arabidopsis thaliana)—a small and weedy plant topped with white flowers—has been a popular target for scientists trying to boost immune systems of rice, wheat, apples, tomatoes, and more. But turning up NPR1 works too well and “makes the plants miserable, so it is not very useful for agriculture,” Dong says. To understand why, consider the human immune system. Just as sick people aren’t very productive at work when their fever is high, plants grow poorly when their own immune systems are overloaded. Likewise, keeping the NPR1 gene turned on all the time stunts plant growth so severely there is no harvest for the farmers. To make NPR1 useful, researchers needed a better control switch—one that would crank up the immune response only when the plant was under attack, but otherwise would turn it down to let the plants grow. Two papers published in this week from Dong’s team at Duke, in collaboration with researchers at Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China, describe the discovery and application of such a mechanism. While investigating an immune system-activating protein called TBF1 in Arabidopsis, Dong discovered an intricate system that speedily instigates an immune response. It works by taking ready-to-go messenger RNA molecules that encode TBF1, and quickly translating these molecules into TBF1 proteins, which then kick-start an array of immune defenses. Dong quickly recognized that a segment of DNA, which she calls the “TBF1 cassette,” was acting as a control switch for this plant immune response, so she copied that TBF1 cassette from the Arabidopsis genome and pasted it alongside and in front of the NPR1 gene in rice plants. The result is a strain of rice that can rapidly and reversibly ramp up its immune system in bursts that are strong enough to fend off offending pathogens but short enough to avoid the stunted growth seen in previously engineered crops. The researchers demonstrated that their rice was superior compared with regular rice by inoculating their leaves with the bacterial pathogens that cause rice blight (Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae) and leaf streak (X. oryzae pv. oryzicola), as well as the fungus responsible for blast disease (Magnaporthe oryzae). Whereas the infections spread over the leaves of the wild rice plants, the engineered plants readily confined the invaders to a small area. “These plants perform very well in the field, and there is no obvious fitness penalty, especially in the grain number and weight,” Dong says. The research could be a boon for farmers in developing countries someday, says Jeff Dangl, an expert on plant immunity at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study. For instance, rice blast disease, which the plants effectively combatted, causes an estimated 30% loss of the annual rice crop worldwide. “In the developing world, when farmers that can’t afford fungicide get the disease in their fields, they can lose their whole crop,” Dangl says. Julia Bailey-Serres, a plant biologist at the University of California, Riverside, is excited about the study too. “They haven’t done large trials yet to show how robust it will be, but our back of the envelope calculation shows that this really could have a big impact,” she says. “It could easily be applicable to multiple species of crops,” she says, adding that “it is impressive that it worked across two kingdoms” of fungal and bacterial pathogens. But all are careful to note that it is still early days for immune-boosted crops. For one, the particular kind of uplift conferred by NPR1 is unlikely to provide protection against plant-munching insects. A second caveat is that the study only tested the rice’s response to microbes that parasitize living host cells; their defense against a different class of pathogens that kill cells for food is still untested. “I would keep the champagne on ice until there are a few more pathogen systems tested in the field,” Jones says. Still, Jones says he’s hopeful the work—and more like it—could eventually lead to the end of pesticides. “I like to imagine in 50 years’ time my grandchildren will say, ‘Granddad, did people really use chemicals to control disease when they could have used genetics?’ And I’ll say, ‘Yeah, they did.’ That’s where we want to get to.”


VICTORIA, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:AUPH/TSX:AUP) (“Aurinia” or the “Company”), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the global immunology market, today announced that the first patient has been dosed in AURORA, the Company’s Phase 3 confirmatory clinical trial evaluating voclosporin for the treatment of lupus nephritis (LN), an autoimmune disease caused by lupus that involves extreme inflammation and failure of the kidneys. “ Dosing our first patient today is an important milestone for the Company,” said Neil Solomons, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Aurinia. “ Our Phase 3 trial design is nearly identical to that of our successful Phase 2 AURA trial which demonstrated the potential of voclosporin to increase both speed and rates of remission in patients with active LN. We remain dedicated to advancing this treatment and making a meaningful impact in the lives of patients suffering from LN and those around them.” AURORA is a 52-week global double-blind placebo controlled study, designed to demonstrate that voclosporin added to the current standard of care of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) can increase overall renal response rates in the presence of extremely low steroids. The primary endpoint is complete renal response at 52 weeks. This trial will recruit ~320 patients and is intended to support full marketing approval of voclosporin for patients with LN across multiple regulatory jurisdictions. “ Lupus nephritis is a devastating disease which if not managed, can be life-threatening. There is no approved medication to treat the condition which mostly affects women in their childbearing years,” said Mary Anne Dooley, M.D., M.P.H., Adjunct Professor of Medicine at University of North Carolina School of Medicine and principal investigator for the study. “ The AURA Phase II results showed great promise and if replicated in Phase 3, voclosporin has the potential to change the current treatment paradigm for LN.” About AURORA The AURORA study is a 52-week global double-blind placebo controlled Phase 3 study that will compare the efficacy of one dose of voclosporin (23.7mg BID) to placebo when added to current standard of care of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF, also known as CellCept®) in achieving renal response (formerly referred to as complete remission) in patients with active LN. Both arms will also receive low doses of corticosteroids as part of background therapy after a stringent taper. For further questions on the trial or interest in participating, please see our website (http://www.auriniapharma.com/for-patients-physicians/clinical-trials) or contact us at clinicaltrials@auriniapharma.com. About Voclosporin Voclosporin, an investigational drug, is a novel and potentially best-in-class calcineurin inhibitor (“CNI”) with clinical trial data in over 2,200 patients across indications. Voclosporin is an immunosuppressant, with a synergistic and dual mechanism of action that has the potential to improve near- and long-term outcomes in LN when added to standard of care (MMF). By inhibiting calcineurin, voclosporin blocks IL-2 expression and T-cell mediated immune responses. Voclosporin is made by a modification of a single amino acid of the cyclosporine molecule which results in a more predictable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic relationship with potential for flat dosing. In addition, Voclosporin is more potent than and has an improved metabolic profile versus cyclosporine. The Company anticipates that upon regulatory approval, patent protection for voclosporin will be extended in the United States and certain other major markets, including Europe and Japan, until at least October 2027 under the Hatch-Waxman Act and comparable laws in other countries. About Lupus Nephritis (LN) LN, an inflammation of the kidney caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (“SLE”), represents a serious progression of SLE. SLE is a chronic, complex and often disabling disorder that affects more than 500,000 people in the United States (mostly women). The disease is highly heterogeneous, affecting a wide range of organs & tissue systems. It is estimated that as many as 60% of all SLE patients have clinical LN requiring treatment. Unlike SLE, LN has a strong surrogate marker, proteinuria, which correlates with meaningful longer term clinical outcome. In patients with LN, renal damage results in proteinuria and/or hematuria and a decrease in renal function as evidenced by reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and increased serum creatinine levels. LN is debilitating and costly and if poorly controlled, LN can lead to permanent and irreversible tissue damage within the kidney, resulting in end-stage renal disease (ESRD), thus making LN a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. About Aurinia Aurinia is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing therapies to treat targeted patient populations that are suffering from serious diseases with a high unmet medical need. The company is currently developing voclosporin, an investigational drug, for the treatment of LN. The company is headquartered in Victoria, BC and focuses its development efforts globally. www.auriniapharma.com Forward Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements related to Aurinia’s ability to execute a successful Phase III program and voclosporin potentially shifting the treatment paradigm for LN. It is possible that such results or conclusions may change based on further analyses of these data. Words such as "plans," "intends," “may,” "will," "believe," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon Aurinia’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Aurinia’s actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, the risk that Aurinia’s analyses, assessment and conclusions of the results of the AURA-LV clinical study set forth in this release may change based on further analyses of such data, and the risk that Aurinia’s clinical studies for voclosporin may not lead to regulatory approval. These and other risk factors are discussed under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in Aurinia’s Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2016 filed with Canadian securities authorities and available at www.sedar.com and on Form 40-F with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov, each as updated by subsequent filings, including filings on Form 6-K. Aurinia expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in Aurinia's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based, except as required by law.


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — While Democrats may trot out any number of demands or maneuvers to influence the selection of the next director of the FBI, here's a reality check: Republican President Donald Trump fired James Comey, and he and his party will decide who's next. And they're not wasting time. Trump said Monday the selection process for a nominee for FBI director was "moving rapidly." Democrats irate over Comey's abrupt ouster, and concerned by the inclusion of politicians on the list of possible replacements, are demanding Trump not select a partisan leader. Although they're likely to mount considerable pressure before and during the confirmation process, they don't control enough votes to influence the outcome since Republicans hold a 52-seat majority in the Senate. "If they can keep all 52 together, then it won't matter," said Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. If Republicans "start to lose a couple, or two or three look like they're not on board, that could create more pressure on the majority leader and the president to perhaps do something other than what they were planning on doing." The next director will immediately be confronted with oversight of an FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, an inquiry the bureau's acting head, Andrew McCabe, has called "highly significant." The person also will have to win the support of rank-and-file agents angered by the ouster of Comey, who was broadly supported within the FBI. And the new director will almost certainly have to work to maintain the bureau's credibility by asserting political independence in the face of a president known for demanding loyalty from the people he appoints. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein interviewed eight candidates Saturday, including some who were not among the names distributed a day earlier by the White House. The list includes current and former FBI and Justice Department leaders, federal judges and Republicans who have served in Congress. Among those interviewed was McCabe, though it's not clear how seriously he's being considered. It'd be unusual for the White House to elevate an FBI agent to the role of director, and McCabe during a Senate hearing last week broke with the White House's explanations for Comey's firing and its dismissive characterization of the Russia investigation. FBI directors have predominantly been drawn from the ranks of prosecutors and judges. Comey, for instance, was a former United States Attorney in Manhattan before being appointed deputy attorney general by George W. Bush. His predecessor, Robert Mueller, was a U.S. attorney in San Francisco. One contender who could prove politically palatable is Michael Garcia, a former U.S. attorney in Manhattan with significant experience in terrorism and public corruption investigations. He was appointed by FIFA in 2012 to investigate World Cup bidding contests. He later resigned after he said the global soccer organization had mischaracterized a lengthy investigative report he had produced. The FBI Agents Association has endorsed former Republican congressman Mike Rogers, an ex-FBI agent and former chair of the House intelligence committee who had collegial relationships with his Democratic counterparts. Senate Democrats have insisted that Trump should not pick a politician as the next FBI director. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the choice should be "certainly somebody not of a partisan background, certainly somebody of great experience and certainly somebody of courage." One Republican whose name had been mentioned as a possible candidate, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, said Monday that he had taken himself out of the running. Given the partisan uproar over Comey's firing, Democrats seem unlikely to support any FBI candidate put forward by Trump. But the nominee will require only a simple majority vote in the 100-member Senate, meaning Republicans can use their 52-48 majority to confirm the next director without needing Democratic votes. Democrats are demanding appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and ties to Trump's campaign, and have discussed trying to slow down the confirmation process or other business of the Senate as a way of drawing attention to the demand. Senate rules requiring unanimous consent or 60-vote thresholds on various procedural or legislative steps give Democrats the ability to slow the Senate to a crawl and delay committee hearings. Given the Republicans' narrow Senate majority, the larger consideration for the White House is that some GOP senators also insist on a non-partisan choice as the next FBI director. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on "Meet the Press" that Trump has is obligated "to pick somebody beyond reproach outside the political lane." Graham said under the circumstances he wouldn't be able to support his colleague Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, who is under consideration. Some House Republicans, who technically have no role in the pick, have spoken out about the need for non-partisanship and independence. "The FBI is America's pre-eminent law enforcement agency. As such, it needs to be led by a person of unquestioned character and completely divorced from partisan politics," GOP Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma wrote in an opinion column circulated Monday. House Democrats are weighing their own steps related to the firing. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is asking House Speaker Paul Ryan to join in a call for Rosenstein to brief House members, as he will do for senators Thursday. Democrats will also try to use a procedural maneuver to force a vote on legislation calling for an independent commission to investigate Russian election interference, although they're unlikely to prevail.


Matera A.G.,University of North Carolina | Wang Z.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Year: 2014

One of the most amazing findings in molecular biology was the discovery that eukaryotic genes are discontinuous, with coding DNA being interrupted by stretches of non-coding sequence. The subsequent realization that the intervening regions are removed from pre-mRNA transcripts via the activity of a common set of small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs), which assemble together with associated proteins into a complex known as the spliceosome, was equally surprising. How do cells coordinate the assembly of this molecular machine? And how does the spliceosome accurately recognize exons and introns to carry out the splicing reaction? Insights into these questions have been gained by studying the life cycle of spliceosomal snRNAs from their transcription, nuclear export and re-import to their dynamic assembly into the spliceosome. This assembly process can also affect the regulation of alternative splicing and has implications for human disease. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

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