Tag Archives: edge

Wigan edge Huddersfield in fiery clash

Wigan secure a first away win since beating Salford on May 22 with narrow success over Huddersfield, but Adrian Lam’s side had to work hard to follow up last Sunday’s 16-12 success at the DW Stadium in fiery encounter

Last Updated: 16/07/21 11:01pm

Wigan's Liam Farrell was on target in win over Huddersfield

Wigan’s Liam Farrell was on target in win over Huddersfield

Wigan picked up a second victory over Huddersfield in the space of six days as they triumphed 14-12 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Friday night.

All the best action came in the second half of the contest, which saw Will Pryce – son of former Bradford, St Helens and Great Britain player Leon – score his first senior try for Huddersfield.

Pryce was also named man of the match but could not prevent Wigan ending a run of three away defeats, collecting a ninth win in Super League to keep pace for a top-six finish.

They did it the hard way, having to play without suspended 2019 Man of Steel Jackson Hastings and double Grand Final winner Sam Powell (concussion) from last weekend’s already-depleted squad.

The Cherry and Whites were also forced into an 11th-hour recall of hooker Amir Bourouh for his first Warriors appearance of the season following his loan spell at Championship club Halifax.

 Will Pryce scored his first senior try for the Giants

Will Pryce scored his first senior try for the Giants

The visitors also lost Joe Shorrocks to a first-half leg injury only for replacement Mitch Clark – who also touched down last weekend – to break the stalemate nine minutes from half-time with his first touch. Harry Smith added the extras as Wigan opened up a 6-0 lead.

An otherwise tepid first half ended with a mass flare up in the Giants’ half, although referee Scott Mikalauskas declined to penalise either side.

Harry Smith extended Wigan’s lead with a 49th-minute penalty given for Leroy Cudjoe’s high tackle on try-scorer Clark.

Huddersfield badly needed a response and it came from 18-year-old Pryce.

The former Siddal amateur had already shown glimpses of his potential before his career breakthrough on the hour. Half-back partner Olly Russell kicked the conversion to bring the home side back into contention.

Back to within two points, Giants sniffed a comeback win. Instead, Liam Farrell jubilantly raced over from Oliver Gildart’s pass as Wigan opened the gap once more.

On-loan Nathaniel Peteru’s converted 75th-minute try again raised Huddersfield hopes but Wigan held out.

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This post originally posted here SkySports | News

US stocks edge higher after Fed chief talks up ongoing stimulus

The S&P 500 closed slightly higher after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated in Congressional testimony Wednesday that the United States economic recovery still hasn’t progressed enough to begin scaling back asset purchases.

By Bloomberg

Megacap tech stocks led the S&P 500 marginally higher and bond yields fell as investors turned to defensive favorites with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell making the case for maintaining economic stimulus.

The S&P 500 closed slightly higher with Powell emphasizing in Congressional testimony that the U.S. economic recovery still hasn’t progressed enough to begin scaling back asset purchases.

Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft hit record highs. Bank of America dropped after second-quarter earnings failed to impress investors, while Wells Fargo & Co. gained.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield retreated below 1.4% and the dollar declined. Powell added that inflation is likely to remain high in coming months before moderating.

“This supports our view that the Fed wants the economy to run hot and will tolerate a near-term overshoot in inflation,” said Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. chief economist at Mizuho Americas.


A report earlier showed prices paid to U.S. producers rose in June by more than expected, indicating pressure is mounting on companies to pass along higher costs to consumers.

The June U.S. consumer inflation print on Tuesday topped all forecasts and pointed to higher costs associated with the reopening from the pandemic. Powell reiterated that Fed officials expect such pressures to be transitory but some commentators see a risk of more durable increases that could force a quicker-than-expected reduction in stimulus.

“The Fed remains laser-focused on the employment situation,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird. “So while the recovery in parts of the economy is totally complete and has even surpassed pre-covid levels, the fact that we’re still about 7 million short of pre-pandemic nonfarm payrolls, labor force participation is weak, and the unemployment rate is above 4-5% means the Fed will remain accommodative. But no doubt the inflation numbers are starting to put them in a bind.”

Global stocks remain close to a record and a range of other factors are influencing the outlook. They include the spread of the more contagious Covid-19 delta variant, the possibility of a peak in earnings and economic growth, and U.S. fiscal spending plans.

Oil fell with gasoline and distillate inventories rising as well as an increase in the U.S production during peak summer demand.

Here are some events to watch this week:

  • Bank of Korea monetary decision Thursday
  • Bank of Japan interest rate decision Friday

These are some of the main moves in financial markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.1% as of 4:05 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.2%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1%
  • The MSCI World index was little changed

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.5%
  • The euro rose 0.5% to $ 1.1835
  • The British pound rose 0.3% to $ 1.3859
  • The Japanese yen rose 0.6% to 109.97 per dollar

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined seven basis points to 1.35%
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined three basis points to -0.32%
  • Britain’s 10-year yield was little changed at 0.63%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 3.4% to $ 72.72 a barrel
  • Gold futures rose 1% to $ 1,828.20 an ounce

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This post originally posted here Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Richard Branson touches the edge of space

Richard Branson touched the edge of space on Sunday morning, fulfilling a life-long ambition and grabbing bragging rights from rival Jeff Bezos in the race to open suborbital space to commercial tourism.

The Virgin founder, 70, and five other crew reached a height of around 86km above the New Mexico desert to break into the lower reaches of space at 9.26am local time. Their Virgin Galactic spacecraft had been carried aloft under a specially designed carrier plane, before firing its rocket to climb at three times the speed of sound.

The launch followed a 17-year quest marked by delay and disappointment, during which Branson burnt through more than $ 1bn of his personal fortune. The flight had been pushed back by 90 minutes after a midnight storm blew up dust from the barren scrubland, delaying the craft’s rollout from its hangar at Spaceport America.

From on board, Branson called it the “experience of a lifetime”.

The flight comes nine days before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is due to go higher in a rocket built by his private space company, Blue Origin.

The billionaires’ personal escapades cap a race to prove that their rocket companies are finally safe for commercial operations, opening up suborbital space as a tourist destination.

Branson had been scheduled to join a later Virgin Galactic test flight, but Sunday’s ride was hastily announced two weeks ago when it looked like he would be beaten to zero gravity by Bezos.

© Virgin Galactic/Handout via Reuters

In a sign of the marketing war for space tourists that lies ahead, Blue Origin poured cold water on Branson’s feat even before he took to the sky on Sunday. It pointed out that Virgin Galactic’s space plane does not reach the Karman line — the point, 100km above the Earth, that marks the internationally recognised boundary of outer space.

The criticism forced Branson on to the defensive in the days leading up to his flight. He pointed out that the US considers space to begin at a height of 80km and claimed that his company’s passengers would spend the same four minutes in zero gravity as Blue Origin’s.

Over the weekend, the Bezos camp also dismissed the VSS Unity as a “high altitude aeroplane” and highlighted supposed safety shortcomings, including the lack of an escape system in the event of an emergency and the fact that it has risen above 80km only three times before.

But in New Mexico, the moment belonged to Branson. Hundreds of press, company employees and guests gathered in the pre-dawn darkness to witness his launch, a testament to his skills as a master showman who has long used his appetite for personal risk-taking to polish the Virgin brand. Elon Musk, another billionaire space entrepreneur, visited Branson on Sunday morning to wish him well and watch the launch.

Asked after the flight if it had been important to win the billionaire space race against Bezos, Branson struck a magnanimous note.

“It really wasn’t a race . . . We wish Jeff the absolute best, and the people going up with him during his flight, he said, adding: “It was great this morning to find Elon in my kitchen at 3 o’clock to come and wish us the best.”

Virgin Galactic moved into the Spaceport two years ago but until Sunday had held only one test flight since then. It had been delayed for years by a 2014 accident when one of its spaceships broke apart, killing a test pilot. An earlier accident during a rocket test on the ground killed three employees who had been contracted to build Virgin Galactic’s spaceship.

Sunday’s flight — and Branson’s part in it — is ostensibly part of the series of tests that Virgin Galactic needs to go through before it opens up fully to commercial operations. The Virgin founder was said to be about to help assess whether the company had met its “cabin and customer experience objectives”. Two more test flights are planned before full commercial operations begin.

Italy edge out Spain on penalties to reach Euro 2020 final

Jorginho’s spot-kick seals progress for Italy who have not been beaten in their last 33 games.

Jorginho converted the decisive spot-kick as Italy beat Spain 4-2 on penalties after their Euro 2020 semi-final ended 1-1 after extra time on Tuesday, earning them a place in Sunday’s final against either England or Denmark.

Spain missed two of their spot-kicks, including one by substitute Alvaro Morata, whose late equaliser had taken the game into extra time.

After a cagey first half, Italy struck on the hour when a fast-paced break begun by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma ended with the ball falling for Federico Chiesa, who cut in from the left and curled in a superb finish.

Spain levelled 10 minutes from time when Morata, dropped from the starting team after a run of poor finishing displays, played a clever one-two with Dani Olmo to open up the Italian defence and calmly slot home to take his team into extra time for the third successive game.

Italy were not always on top in this game, though, with Spain the better side for long spells of an epic contest before Chiesa’s goal in a match watched by a crowd of almost 58,000.

For Spain, the failure to find a winner meant penalties again for a side that beat Switzerland in a shoot-out in the quarter-finals.

They had also beaten Italy on penalties at Euro 2008, but this time misses from Dani Olmo and then Morata saw Spain give up the advantage they had been handed when Manuel Locatelli failed with the first kick in the shoot-out.

The Italians celebrated at the end with a large contingent of their UK-based supporters, and a team that has been rejuvenated under Roberto Mancini continues to dream of winning a first European Championship title since 1968.

It is nine years since Spain mauled Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final in Kyiv to win a third consecutive major tournament, and this was the fourth consecutive European Championship in which these powerhouses had met.

Now unbeaten in 33 games, Italy go through to the final to face either England or Denmark, who will meet on Wednesday in the second semi-final.

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Read more here >>> Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Ralph Northam Reflects on His Journey Back From the Edge

RICHMOND, Va. — Just two years ago, nearly every national politician in the Democratic Party was calling for Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia to resign. A racist picture was discovered on Mr. Northam’s medical school yearbook page, and the physician-turned-politician said he did not know which person he was in the photograph — the white man dressed in blackface or the one in Ku Klux Klan regalia.

A series of twists helped Mr. Northam stay in office, including simultaneous scandals that engulfed his possible successors, a cross-generational coalition of Black activists who decided to defy national politics and stick by him, and a commitment from Mr. Northam’s administration to prioritize racial justice. And he followed through, shocking even his most ardent supporters, with a series of policy accomplishments that focused on racial equity.

Last week, as the ballot was set for Virginians to choose their next governor, Mr. Northam sat down for an extended interview to discuss his 2019 scandal and the personal and political evolution that followed. He reflected on what he has learned about race and his own white privilege, and how that understanding has changed his political priorities. He dismissed recent national concerns about critical race theory and so-called wokeness, saying his path of discovery has made him a better person.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

As a fact-checking thing, I know you said at the time you did not recall if you were either man in the racist photograph. Is that still true?

That is correct.

I wonder what your initial reaction was when it came out? Did you think your administration was over?

I guess it took a little while for the gravity of the situation to sink in. And then I talked to a lot of people, lots of friends and supporters, that were very hurt and upset by it. And there were some tenuous times that night, and the next day, as I was able to reach out and listen and talk to more people.

But the more I started thinking about it, I understood what’s going on. I know why these people are hurting. And I’m committed to learning, to listening and learning. And then having the pulpit, if you will, to really make some significant changes.

At the time, you articulated, as you do now, understanding the pain that the photograph caused. How did you feel comfortable saying, “Hey, these people are hurting, and they’re calling for me to resign, but I still won’t.”?

I know myself. I know how I was raised. I know that I got into this job because I want to help people. So I knew if people stuck with me, we could bring good.

I know that you compiled a reading list about race, and you did a listening tour. What were some of the things you read, and what did they teach you?

There were a number of books that were recommended. I have one by Robin DiAngelo called “White Fragility.” There was “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” One of the documentaries that I’ve watched a couple times is “13th.” Very powerful — that was probably what put things in perspective for me.

But the most powerful thing was people that were willing to sit down with me, and that I was willing to listen and learn from them. I was in the sixth grade when they desegregated schools, and my family chose to keep me in public schools, which was a great decision. I experienced white privilege and Black oppression, but I really never took the next step and have people explain to me why it was so important. The listening has made me a better person.

As a white person, we — people that look like me — need to take on that burden of educating the folks that we are associated with regarding racism, and white supremacy, and Black oppression and white privilege. That burden, for far too long, has been on people of color, rather than, ‘Let’s get some help from folks that look like me.’

I talked to people who met with you on that listening tour. And they say it was pretty explicit, that you were promising a change in priorities for your administration, that you were promising policy change. Was that the offer you were making?

I never looked at it as like, Let’s make a deal here. But what I did say is that I’m here to listen and I’m here to learn. And I’m in a position as governor and having a cabinet and working with legislators to really turn a lot of what we learn into action.

But some of the policy accomplishments that you’re touting around racial justice now would not have happened if not for the 2019 scandal? Is that accurate?

Absolutely.

So what was it about that moment that changed you?

It has really opened my eyes. It made me a better-educated and more-informed person. So it’s helped me to understand when people talk about Black oppression. And I don’t know that I was able to do that before February 2019. Not that my intentions weren’t there, because I’ve always tried to treat people equally and fair, but I understand more now.

I want to be clear. You’re saying this wasn’t a horse trade of politics, but that you changed personally and that was reflected in your policy priorities?

I meet with my cabinet every Monday morning. And I made it very clear from when this happened that we were going to work on equity and take what we learned and turn that into action.

Isn’t that rather a painful admission? That it took that moment of racist scandal for a Democratic governor to make racial equity a top priority?

Yes, I would have liked to have understood all this when I was, you know, sworn into office, but it wasn’t like that. I went to integrated schools from the sixth grade on, and I was actually a minority. I knew there were people that didn’t have rides after school when we practiced ball and we’d give them a ride home. And my mother and I, we used to go around and make sure people have something to eat on holidays. But the history, the 400 years of our history, I’ve learned a whole lot of that stuff, which I wish I would have known, since February of ’19.

Well, you’ve read a lot about race and whiteness over the last two, three years. Do you think a politician who wasn’t white could have survived this?

Every situation is different. Some of it’s about the timing. About what’s going on in your political career, and what’s going on in history and society and the time. I just made the decision that the best thing to do for Virginia was to listen and learn.

I was reading this week about Loudoun County in Virginia, where there’s been a big moral panic around some of the books you mentioned — saying that such teachings amount to an anti-white message in critical race theory. What would you say to white parents who are frankly afraid of the things you say have helped you grow?

Critical race theory is a dog whistle that the Republicans are using to frighten people. What I’m interested in is equity.

And part of this listening tour has been with young people, and it’s helped me reflect on my own education. Because what we’re teaching, and what we’ve been taught, is not only inadequate but inaccurate. Our textbooks are inadequate and inaccurate, as is who’s teaching them.

I think there are a lot of white people that are open-minded and want to do better. And you may be able to teach them something that they never really realized. But there’s some people that don’t want to lose their parking spots.

Do you share the fears of some Democrats that what you’re describing is leaning too far into a so-called wokeness? And that it is bad politically?

No, I think the more we know about our history, the better.

The more I can learn about you, and the more you can learn about me, we’ll figure out that we have a lot more in common than divides us or separates us.

It is my understanding that you apologized to Black Virginia leaders for your news conference moment in 2019, in what seemed like a moment of levity, when you indicated you might moonwalk. Is that true? Do you regret that?

I don’t even want to go back and look at it. It was a difficult time, that press conference. I could no more moonwalk now than that picture behind you. Rather than getting ready to moonwalk, I was trying to think of something that was lighter to say. You don’t know me, but I can’t dance, for one thing. I was trying to think of something to say, and my wife told me that this wasn’t the best time.

Did you see the racial justice policy of the last two years as repaying a debt that you owed?

One of my proudest moments was being at Greensville Correctional Center and signing legislation to get rid of the death penalty. That’s another example of how Black oppression still existed in a different form. Doing things like that make me feel good about what I’ve done. But is it vindication for what I did, or what I’ve been through? I don’t really look at it like that. But, I think, having my eyes opened and being able to listen to so many people have helped me be able to really get involved with pieces of legislation like that.

I hear what you’re saying. I also think — as a Black person — isn’t this also a story of how someone can rise to be governor without ever learning that history? Isn’t there also a story of immense privilege here?

There’s no question about that. And I think if you look at my life, it’s been a story of privilege. I have had a life of privilege, and that’s why I want to level the playing field.

Author: Astead W. Herndon
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Microsoft is literally giving you money to use its Edge browser

For almost a decade now Google Chrome has been the world’s most popular browser. Back in May 2012 Chrome overtook Internet Explorer as the number one web browser, and since then has never looked back – going from strength to strength to command a frankly ridiculous lead. According to NetMarketShare stats, last month Chrome had a staggering 69.51 percent chunk of the browser market.
But for the first time since moving into top spot, Chrome may be facing the biggest challenger to its throne in the shape of Microsoft Edge.

The Windows 10 makers have been on a huge offensive to make Edge a Chrome contender ever since the launch of the Chromium-powered version last year.

Besides dropping support for Legacy Edge, as well as Internet Explorer in the future, Microsoft has regularly been adding to the Edge experience with feature-packed updates often.

As it stands Edge is the second most popular browser in the world, holding an 11.57 percent slice of the market at last count.

This is compared to 7.76 percent a year ago.

READ MORE: Windows 10’s first blockbuster update of the year is out now

If you haven’t been tempted to join the growing number of people using Edge for their web surfing needs, then Microsoft’s latest scheme might be enough to make you cross over. The Redmond-based tech giant is literally offering people money to use its Edge browser. This is thanks to cashback rewards that will be offered via Bing Rebates, which is coming to Microsoft Edge.

As reported by MSPoweruser, the arrival of Bing Rebates on Edge means people shopping on Bing.com will be able to earn cashback from over 1,200 retailers. Edge users will also be able to shop from over 300 retailers directly earn cashback. To activate the feature, you’ll have to sign in to your Microsoft Rewards account and have Bing Rebates enabled.

You will then be able to view available Bing Rebates by clicking on a blue tag that appears in the address bar on Microsoft Edge. Sadly, while the Microsoft Rewards scheme is available in the UK – Bing Rebates is not.

At the moment this feature, which only just launched in October, is solely available in the US.

Seeing as the feature is relatively, hopefully Microsoft will rollout the money saving tool to other regions in future.

In a blog post describing how Bing Rebates works, Microsoft said: “Bing Rebates, a feature that makes earning cash back easy, is now live in the U.S.! Shoppers on Microsoft Bing can find deals easily from participating merchants right from the search results page. You no longer have to look for cashback offers across multiple websites; now, when you search for products, brands or categories, you’ll see great Bing Rebates offers right in the search results.

“Getting Bing Rebates on your purchases is easy. All you have to do is sign in to Microsoft Rewards, search for a product like you normally would, and click on a search result with a cashback offer. You’ll see confirmation about the Bing Rebates offer being activated. Once you land on the merchant page and complete your purchase, you will receive a confirmation email within two to three days about the cashback earned. After 90 days, if the merchant confirms your purchase, you can transfer the cashback you earned via PayPal. You need to join Microsoft Rewards in order to cash out your earnings.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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‘On That Edge of Fear’: One Woman’s Struggle With Sickle Cell Pain

NASHVILLE — She struggled through the night as she had so many times before, restless from sickle cell pain that felt like knives stabbing her bones. When morning broke, she wept at the edge of her hotel-room bed, her stomach wrenched in a complicated knot of anger, trepidation and hope.

It was a gray January morning, and Lisa Craig was in Nashville, three hours from her home in Knoxville, Tenn., preparing to see a sickle cell specialist she hoped could do something so many physicians had been unable to do: bring her painful disease under control.

Ms. Craig, 48, had clashed with doctors over her treatment for years. Those tensions had only increased as the medical consensus around pain treatment shifted and regulations for opioid use became more stringent. Her anguish had grown so persistent and draining that she sometimes thought she’d be better off dead.

She was willing to try just about anything to stop the deterioration of her body and mind — and her hope on this day in January 2019 rested in a Nigerian-born physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who had long treated the disease, which mostly afflicts people of African descent.

That morning, she slipped on a cream-colored cardigan and a necklace with a heart-shaped pendant. She played some Whitney Houston before sliding behind the wheel of her black S.U.V. Her husband, in the passenger’s seat, punched their destination into his phone’s navigation system.

“Live as if everything is a miracle,” reads a framed quote on Ms. Craig’s beige living room wall, and that’s exactly what she was hoping for.

People with sickle cell, a rare, inherited blood disorder caused by a mutation in a single gene, typically endure episodes of debilitating pain as well as chronic pain. Roughly 100,000 Americans and millions of people globally, mostly in Africa, have the disease. Red blood cells that carry oxygen become stiff and curved like crescent moons, clogging blood vessels and starving the body of oxygen.

Promising developments in gene therapy have given people with the disease hope that a cure is on the way for an illness that often causes organ failure and premature death. But the first such therapy is more than a year from regulatory approval. It will almost certainly be extremely expensive, cannot reverse the disease’s damage to tissues and organs, and may come too late for people whose bodies are so battered by the disease that they might not survive the grueling treatment.

Most people with sickle cell are searching for something far more basic: a way to prevent or manage the disease’s devastating complications — strokes, depression and, above all, pain.

That search can be rocky, as I learned following Ms. Craig over two and a half years of struggle and heartache. I joined her on doctor’s visits, shared meals with her family, parsed her medical records, sat in on a therapy session and tagged along as she ran errands around Knoxville and relaxed at home. I saw moments of anger, sadness and agony, but also determination, joy and love.

Her efforts to find relief were complicated by a national opioid epidemic and the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the challenges of navigating a medical system that often mistreats Black people like her. At the same time, doctors were changing how they treated sickle cell as emerging research suggested that narcotics could actually worsen pain.

Ms. Craig felt doctors were prone to stereotyping her as an addict cadging narcotics and didn’t believe in the extremity of her suffering.

Racist myths persist in medical care, like the idea that Black people tolerate more pain than white people. Such stereotypes have led Black patients to receive poor care, extensive research suggests. That can be especially problematic for sickle cell patients like Ms. Craig, who describe rushing to the emergency room in agony and waiting hours to be seen, only to be sent home still in pain after doctors tell them that their lab results are fine and they should not be suffering.

Biopsies can detect cancer, X-rays a broken bone. But there is no definitive clinical test to determine when a sickle cell patient is suffering a pain crisis.

“This is the essence of the problem,” said Dr. Sophie Lanzkron, the director of the Sickle Cell Center for Adults at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. “There is no objective measure of crisis. The gold standard is the patient tells you, ‘I am having a crisis.’”

The intensity of the disease as well as the subjectivity of treatment mean that a visit to a new doctor can feel like the cruelest game of roulette. And the weight of that pressure bore down on Ms. Craig as she parked at Vanderbilt and hobbled into the elevator. Would the doctor help her?

“Chest hurts,” she told her husband.

“You’ll be all right,” he assured her.

The throbbing pounded the little girl’s body. It was in her arms and legs, and it often made her sob.

Lisa’s parents were baffled. Her mother gave her warm baths and body rubs, and took her to the doctor frequently. But the pain persisted.

Then one day in the late 1970s, when Lisa was about 5, her parents drove her from their home in Knoxville to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Doctors ran tests and discovered the cause: sickle cell disease.

At the time, widespread screening for the illness in newborns was still about a decade away. Lisa was the only person in her extended family ever to have it diagnosed.

“That was something that was unheard-of,” she said.

Her mother was often her protector, coddling her when the pain set in, while her father urged her to carry on.

Flare-ups of pain made her miss out on slumber parties, ice skating and plenty of school. But for all the restrictions, no one ever questioned whether her pain was real.

At the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital where she was treated, the rooms were decorated with ocean- or circus-themed wallpaper. Nurses gave her games and puppets and tried to make her smile.

“Pain medication was given because people believed I was in pain,” she wrote in her journal decades later.

The medicines gave her relief, but also set her body on a path complicating her treatment decades later: She needed opioid painkillers to live comfortably.

A crisis was brewing in society that complicated efforts to treat pain caused by sickle cell: the spread of addiction to opioids fueled in large part by reckless, even criminal marketing of the drugs by major pharmaceutical companies.

Research showed that people with sickle cell were no more likely to become addicted to opioids than other chronic pain sufferers, and that their use of narcotics had not skyrocketed as it had in the general population.

In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released stringent guidelines on prescribing narcotic painkillers, though it carved out exceptions for sickle cell.

A few months later, Ms. Craig’s doctors began cutting back on the amount of intravenous narcotics she was given for pain crises. She argued that the reduced doses were not working. Her hematologist, Dr. Jashmin K. Patel, urged her to take hydroxyurea, a chemotherapy drug that is a standard treatment for the disease, saying it would reduce her pain, according to medical records. Ms. Craig had tried it, but had an unusually severe reaction, with mouth sores, hair loss and vomiting, so she stopped. She said she felt that the doctor wasn’t taking her complaints about the side effects seriously. (Most patients can take the drug successfully.)

“Why do you dear doctor still bully me to take it,” Ms. Craig wrote in her journal on Sept. 17, 2017.

She didn’t want a doctor who preached to her, she wrote, but one who listened, because as someone “who deals with how MY body works with this disease don’t you think my expertise outweighs yours.”

Over the past decade, even some of the best-informed sickle cell specialists have begun reconsidering their reliance on long-term opioid therapy. They have found little evidence to suggest that sickle cell patients who regularly take opioids see their quality of life improve. And their concern about long-term reliance on narcotics is especially high in patients like Ms. Craig, who are living well into middle age with a disease that used to kill its sufferers in childhood or early adulthood.

Dr. Lanzkron at Johns Hopkins said her patients would “end up on these ridiculous doses” and “still have the same level of pain.”

“It’s a terrible treatment,” she said.

So the specialists started trying to teach people with sickle cell how to lessen and tolerate pain with techniques including therapy, meditation and hypnosis.

Ms. Craig had tried everything — warm baths, elevating her feet, steady breathing. She hated feeling dependent on pills. Yet she dreaded the way a simple ache crescendoed to feel like a thousand bee stings or a hand smashed in a door.

In July 2018, her need for relief led to conflict during a visit with Dr. Patel. Alarm bells began ringing in Ms. Craig’s head when the doctor stepped into the room accompanied by a stenographer.

Dr. Patel said she was concerned that Ms. Craig was not taking hydroxyurea as she was supposed to, according to medical records reviewed by The New York Times. She told Ms. Craig that she was not going to increase her pain medication, noting in the file that Ms. Craig had called two weeks earlier for a refill.

Ms. Craig said in an interview that she had never asked for an increase in medication and that Dr. Patel was twisting her words and ignoring her concerns. Neither Dr. Patel nor the practice where she worked responded to requests for comment.

Voices were raised, feelings hurt. Eight days later — on July 18, 2018 — Ms. Craig got a letter from Dr. Patel saying she was no longer welcome at the practice, “because of your lack of cooperation in your medical treatment, non-compliance with treatment recommendations and frequent narcotic requests before agreed time-frame.”

After she was kicked out of Dr. Patel’s practice, Ms. Craig went to Dr. Wahid T. Hanna, a veteran oncologist at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, who had treated dozens of sickle cell patients.

By December 2018, familiar tensions arose. Dr. Hanna grew suspicious of her request for narcotics. She had gone through the 120 Oxycodone pills that he had prescribed a month earlier and wanted a refill.

On several visits, Dr. Hanna repeated a refrain as if he were saying it for the first time: He was puzzled that she had pain because she had a generally less severe version of sickle cell.

“So really, I don’t have any justification why should you have pain,” he told her on one of those visits.

“I’ve always had pain,” she replied, according to a recording Ms. Craig’s husband took of the meeting.

Months earlier, Tennessee had enacted some of the nation’s most stringent restrictions on doctors prescribing opioids during a deadly epidemic, though there were exceptions for sickle cell patients.

“My question is, with the way the state is regulating the narcotics and all that, we could be questioned,” Dr. Hanna said. “We could be red-flagged.”

If Ms. Craig had pain, Dr. Hanna said it might have been from arthritis or the heavy periods she complained of. Those could be managed without opioids, he said.

“We do this every time I come, and I’m not understanding,” Ms. Craig said.

“I’m saying this because we can be questioned,” Dr. Hanna said, and if the authorities asked him whether he saw a lot of pain in someone with her kind of sickle cell, “I’d say usually I don’t.”

“You can’t say 100 percent that it’s not possible,” Ms. Craig said.

“I want to take care of you, but I want to do it right,” he said.

In that moment, Dr. Hanna said in a later interview, “I did not know whether her pain requirements were genuine or not.”

Her red blood cell count was stable and her iron was low — metrics that, Dr. Hanna said, suggested that her sickle cell was not that severe. But experts who treat sickle cell say that iron and hemoglobin levels do not indicate how severe the disease is.

Still, Dr. Hanna reduced her narcotic dosage, encouraged her to use over-the-counter pain medicines and scheduled her for an iron infusion, which he told her would make her “feel like a different person.”

Days after another disappointing visit to Dr. Hanna in December 2018, Ms. Craig sat on a light green leather couch beneath a painting of an ocean in her therapist’s office, choking back tears.

“Putting up with somebody belittling me and making me feel less than is not worth it,” she told her therapist.

It was difficult enough to control her physical pain, but reining in the mental anguish proved equally troublesome.

A former preschool teacher who speaks with wide-eyed animation, Ms. Craig has not been able to work full time since 2005 because of her unpredictable pain. She finds purpose where she can, taking care of her family, picking up the occasional odd job, babysitting for relatives and friends.

She exercised as her doctors advised, took 15 minutes a day to “be selfish” as a friend suggested and wrote prayers on brown slips of paper that she sealed in a jar. She listened as her therapist explained that there was no shame in trying to get prescriptions to relieve pain.

But all around, the signals told Ms. Craig otherwise: the constant stream of news about the opioid crisis and, one evening shortly before her Vanderbilt visit, a heated discussion with an aunt at the family dining room table.

“You can’t just come on in there and just say: ‘Look, this is the drug I take. And I know this’ll work,’” said her aunt, Nanette Henry Scruggs, who used to work at a hospital.

“The hospitals tell people all the time to be your own advocate,” Ms. Craig said.

Times were changing, her aunt explained, because doctors had overmedicated pain patients and now risked losing their licenses.

“You don’t understand it because you have the disease,” Ms. Scruggs said.

And you don’t understand it because you don’t,” Ms. Craig fired back, her voice straining with emotion. “And you’re not the one that they look at and go, ‘Oh, she’s just exaggerating her pain.’ When I want to saw my own freaking legs off, that’s a problem!”

Many sickle cell patients feel frustrated that doctors don’t believe patients know what works. Often, that’s narcotic doses much higher than the average person requires. Yet asking for specific medications can fuel distrust, compounded by many doctors’ lack of familiarity with sickle cell.

Only one in five family physicians said they were comfortable treating sickle cell, according to a 2015 survey. Even hematologists rarely specialize in it, with a greater focus on cancers of the blood, which are more prevalent.

Ms. Craig lamented that sickle cell patients did not seem to get the sympathy given to people with other devastating illnesses. Somebody needed to change that, she told her aunt, “and I’m going to be that somebody.”

Sickle cell patients are not abusing, are not the major cause of people overdosing,” Ms. Craig told her.

I’m not saying that,” her aunt said, later adding, “She’s thinking I’m against her.”

I’m not saying you’re against me, but you’re definitely not standing shoulder to shoulder with me,” Ms. Craig said.

Ms. Craig was now worked up, and her husband, Jeremy, urged her to calm down. He has long been her champion, but Ms. Craig worried her disease was a drag on her family. Jeremy, 45, their daughter, Kaylyn, 19, and their son, Mason, 15, have endured her at her weakest and angriest. They accompany her on middle-of-the-night emergency room runs and wake up when she paces their single-story brick home in the middle of the night because of pain.

Still, they have always looked out for her. Her husband first learned that she had sickle cell when they were dating and she told him that she was having a pain crisis. He drove her to the emergency room at 2 a.m., kissed her on the forehead and told her he loved her. She was sold. And because he was white, there was a lower chance that he would carry the sickle cell mutation, meaning it was less likely that their children would have the disease — something she also found appealing.

For Mr. Craig, simply watching his wife suffer was not an option. He always looked for solutions and thought he’d come up with one as he scrolled through his cellphone one evening in their dim living room: marijuana.

“I think you should try it,” he said.

Ms. Craig waved him off, but he insisted that it would be safe to try in states where it was legal.

“What if it works?” he asked.

“What if it doesn’t,” she replied. “I’m done talking to you about that whole situation.”

“If we go to Washington State,” he insisted.

“I’m not going,” she said, cutting him off. “To me, that feels like an addict.”

Still, she was desperate for help as her relationship with Dr. Hanna deteriorated. A social worker suggested she consult specialists at Vanderbilt.

She made the appointment. Just a few days before the visit, she made her fourth trip to the emergency room in six weeks for a pain crisis. The doctor gave her intravenous Tylenol and four oxycodone tablets. After four hours, she was still in pain and left the hospital, as she had many times, without relief.

“I want to be extremely honest with u and let you know I am tired,” she wrote to me on Facebook at 1:16 a.m., after getting home from the emergency room. “I feel beaten down by these doctors as if I am an addict.”

She was hurtling, she said, toward “a dangerous level of depression.”

Ms. Craig fidgeted and sweat beaded around her lip, forehead and eyes. It was Jan. 18, 2019, and, at last, she sat in an exam room at Vanderbilt.

Dr. Adetola A. Kassim strolled in, chomping gum. He shook hands with her and her husband.

“So what brings you?” he asked.

For half an hour, Ms. Craig guided him through her arduous journey: hip replacement, seizures, blood clots. Pain crises usually came right before her period, she told him, and he said that researchers were exploring whether there was a link between sickle cell pain and menstruation.

Dr. Kassim, who heads Vanderbilt’s adult sickle cell program, is a native of Nigeria who has specialized in treating the disease for more than 20 years. As he listened to her medical history and symptoms, he contemplated the riddle of treating her.

“What you’ve had over the years is an interplay of your disease with other chronic health problems,” he told her. “I’m going to think about it carefully because you’re a little complicated.”

He told Ms. Craig that he needed to run tests to figure out the underlying causes of her chronic pain. Did she, for instance, have arthritis? Since hydroxyurea had so many side effects for her, he wanted to try another drug, Endari.

And he wanted to manage her pain with sparing narcotic use. He worried she was susceptible to hyperalgesia, a condition in which prolonged opioid use can alter patients’ nerve receptors and actually cause more pain.

In many ways, he was echoing Dr. Hanna. She needed to take fewer narcotics. Sickle cell probably was not the cause of some of her pain. But he never questioned whether she was hurting. He listened. He laid out a plan.

“You can’t just come in one day and be like a cowboy,” Dr. Kassim said in a later interview. “You’ve got to win their trust and begin to slowly educate them.”

After she left his office that day, Ms. Craig leaned her head on her husband’s shoulder. “I feel like we should have come here a long time ago,” she said.

Three months after her first visit with Dr. Kassim, pain radiated through her lower back, left hip, elbows and knees. She was out of hydrocodone, and her next refill was more than a week away.

“Continue alternating between Aleve and extra strength Tylenol,” Karina L. Wilkerson, a nurse practitioner in Dr. Kassim’s office, counseled her in an email, prescribing a muscle relaxer and telling her: “Rest, heat and hydrate.”

Days later, the pain was so unrelenting that Ms. Craig went to the emergency room and got a dose of intravenous narcotics.

She felt as if history was repeating itself. She was trying to wean herself from opioids, to rely mostly on over-the-counter meds, to use heat and ice, but it was not working.

“I feel like I’m a junkie,” she said in an interview, her voice cracking.

The pain returned a day after she left the hospital. With four days until her next visit to Dr. Kassim, she sent another message to ask whether there was anything more to be done, careful not to request hydrocodone. A nurse wrote that she could be prescribed more muscle relaxers, but “we cannot fill any narcotics for you before your appointment.”

Ms. Craig felt as if she was back where she started. Dr. Kassim was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, yet she was still enduring pain.

“A part of me knew we’d be back in this position,” she said, “that it was too good to be true.”

One day last May, Ms. Craig had spent a lot of time on her feet at a family gathering after a relative’s death. As she settled in for the evening, a family friend dropped off two children she had agreed to babysit, and she braced for the inevitable result of a busy day: pain.

In the past, she would have taken a hydrocodone earlier in the day as a maintenance dose. But she had been seeing Dr. Kassim for more than a year, and although pain continued to gnaw at her, she was starting to buy into his advice. She had paid close attention to Facebook groups and news from medical journals with the latest developments on sickle cell. In her 48th year battling the disease, her perspective was changing.

She had come to realize that no matter how much hydrocodone she took or how well versed her doctor was in the disease, her pain did not disappear — and that the medical consensus had shifted against relying mainly on narcotics.

“It’s like a defeated acceptance,” she said.

In the wee hours of the morning after the family gathering, she began to hurt. Her hips throbbed. She tried to sleep on her left side, then her right. She lay on her back and elevated her feet. Nothing worked.

Still, she held off on the narcotics. Most people with sickle cell remember a crisis when their pain was “at a zillion and you were sitting in that emergency room, waiting for them to call you, and all you wanted to do was pass out,” she said. “We live on that edge of fear.”

She held off until about 11 a.m., when she took a hydrocodone. It provided enough relief to keep her out of the hospital — just the kind of progress Dr. Kassim wanted from her.

He sought to address the underlying triggers of her pain: sickle cell, worn joints, her menstrual cycle, nerve damage and prolonged opioid use. The main thing, he said, was to stabilize her quality of life. That goal motivated her.

But the spread of the coronavirus has interfered with their plan.

Dr. Kassim told Ms. Craig during a visit in February of last year that he wanted her to get an M.R.I. to better understand the underlying causes of her pain. But the pandemic hit, and she was not able to get that imaging until December. It revealed some of the pain triggers that Ms. Craig will have to get under control: a bulging disk in her back, and arthritis in both hips and her left shoulder.

She held off going to physical therapy for fear of catching Covid-19, but is now planning to go since she has been vaccinated. She has tried to tolerate the pain and avoid the hospital, but not always successfully. There were three visits in a week last June and a five-hour wait during a September visit.

Through the past year, she has grown more resolute, trying to raise awareness and support for people with the disease in Knoxville. She had masks made with the words “sickle cell” printed across the front. She has resolved to live with the disease, not suffer from it.

“It’s just my life,” she said. “The one I’ve been dealt.”

Author: John Eligon and William DeShazer
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

NBA 2K21 and TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2

Show off your handles on the hardwood or your reflexes on the road, all in this weekend’s Free Play Days. NBA 2K21 standard edition and TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 are available for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play from Thursday, May 13 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Sunday, May 16 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

  • NBA 2K21
  • TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2

NBA 2K21
The NBA Playoffs are almost upon us, and NBA 2K21 is the perfect way for fans to get into the game. Enjoy best-in-class gameplay and one-of-a-kind immersion into all facets of NBA basketball and culture with the full game this Free Play Days weekend.

TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2
Enjoy the unique experience of TT Isle of Man 2 with Free Play Days. Race across an over 60 km long ultra-technical track at breakneck speed requiring realistic riding skills, challenge your friends, and become the best motorcycle rider in the most dangerous race in the world.

Don’t miss out on this exciting Free Play Days for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members! Learn more about Free Play Days here and stay tuned to Xbox Wire to find out about future Free Play Days and all the latest Xbox gaming news.

How to Start Playing

Find and install the games here on Xbox.com. Clicking through will send you to the Microsoft Store, where you must be signed in to see the option to install with your Xbox Live Gold membership. To download on console, click on the Subscriptions tab in the Xbox Store and enter the Gold member area to locate the Free Play Days collection on your Xbox One.

Keep the Fun Going

Purchase the game and other editions at a limited time discount and continue playing while keeping your Gamerscore and earned achievements during the event! Please note that discount percentage may vary by region.

Author: Dean Shimabukuro, Sr. Marketing Program Manager, Xbox
This post originally appeared on Xbox Wire

Asia's share markets edge up on recovery signals

Asia's share markets edge up on recovery signals© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A passersby wearing a protective face mask is reflected on screen displaying the Japanese yen exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and stock prices at a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo

By Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asia’s share markets were mostly higher Tuesday as regional equity investors looked to signs of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as major economies around the world reopen.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up by 0.05% on the back of a positive lead from Wall Street overnight.

Hong Kong’s opened 0.3% higher at 28,441.95.

Australia’s S&P/ASX200 edged up 0.22% to 7,044.3 as the Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep the official cash rate on hold at 0.1% for May as it waits for further signs of the domestic economy’s rebound from the pandemic led downturn.

A statement following the decision at 0430 GMT will be monitored for indications whether the unprecedented quantitative easing programme there could start to be tapered.

On Monday, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy was doing better but was “not out of the woods yet” as the central bank prepared to release a study on the disparate effects of the pandemic on the country’s different demographics.

“The economy is reopening, bringing stronger economic activity and job creation,” Powell said in remarks prepared for delivery at a conference of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

“That is the high-level perspective – let’s call it the 30,000-foot view – and from that vantage point, we see improvement. But we should also take a look at what is happening at street level.”

Japan and mainland China’s markets remained closed on Tuesday for holidays dampening trading volumes across the region.

The brighter tone in Asian markets came after a stronger session on Wall Street.

The rose 0.7% to end at 34,113.23 points, while the gained 0.27% to 4,192.66 with most of the gains concentrated in industrial and commodity shares.

The dropped 0.48%, to 13,895.12 as technology stocks lagged stocks investors saw as beneficiaries of a pandemic recovery.

Energy stocks also gained on the back of higher oil prices.

In the Asian session, was trading up 0.15% at $ 67.66 while U.S. light crude was 0.12% higher at $ 64.56.

” gained (in U.S. trading) as easing restrictions in the U.S. and Europe raise hope of stronger demand. The European Union is planning to ease restrictions on vaccinated travellers over the summer,” ANZ economists said in a note to clients.

“This comes as several countries emerge from lockdowns amid a fall in new infections of the coronavirus.”

U.S. Treasury yields fell on Monday after data showed manufacturing activity growth slowed in April amid supply chain challenges and rising demand fueled by the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and fiscal stimulus.

Focus is now expected to turn to services data due on Wednesday and non-farm payrolls numbers on Friday.

The benchmark 10-year yield, which hit a session low of 1.578%, was last down 3 basis points at 1.6011%, holding well below a 14-month high of 1.776% reached on March 30.

X: Therefore doesn`t .

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

Time to ditch Chrome? As Google loses users, Microsoft Edge gets a massive boost

When it comes to web browsers, Chrome remains the undisputed champion. This hugely popular Google software has long reigned supreme and accounts for more than half of all traffic from PCs worldwide thanks to its vast user numbers. However, while it leads the pack by a sizeable margin it has lost some ground in recent months whilst one of its competitors is quickly gaining traction. Microsoft’s all-new Edge browser has been making progress since its reboot in January 2020 and is now the second most popular browser on the planet.
The latest set of figures from Statcounter have also revealed how many people have flocked to Microsoft Edge in recent months. The latest figures show that Edge now beats Mozilla’s Firefox in the global rankings for desktop browsing with an 8.03 percent share. That’s impressive growth considering Statcounter records Edge with a measly one percent share around one year ago.

Statcounter has also confirmed that Apple’s Safari software, which is preinstalled on all iPads, iPhones and Macs, is currently second with a 10 percent share. Google is, of course, way out in front with a whopping 67 percent share of all desktop browsing.

Although that may sound impressive, the number of people using Google Chrome to binge Netflix, shop online, browse social media and work has actually declined in the past four months. According to Statcounter, Chrome has lost around three percent of its users, which could be a sign that some users are switching to Edge.

READ MORE: More Samsung TV owners offered a swathe of free content and that’s not all

If you weren’t already aware, following its reboot early last year, Microsoft Edge is now based on the same Chromium platform as Google Chrome, which means it gets many of the features, updates and useful extensions found within Google’s own browser. However, despite sharing code – Edge isn’t simply a carbon copy of Chrome. There are a number of gains when using Edge over Chrome, with tests showing it’s faster and much better for battery life when browsing on Windows and Apple laptops.

Microsoft will now be looking to continue the charge with Edge coming pre-installed on all new Windows 10-powered PCs.

Microsoft is also moving to purge the previous version of Edge, which was built on the company’s own technology and was notoriously slow compared with the likes of Chrome and Safari, from PCs across the globe.

From April 13, Microsoft will release a monthly security patch for Windows 10 that will uninstall the previous unpopular Microsoft Edge from any PCs that still have a copy lying around on their hard drive. That could only go to boost the user numbers further and could give Google even more cause for concern.