Google Voice users are complaining about some sort of issue that is preventing them from getting SMS texts. News of the bug first popped up online a couple days ago. Affected users explain that while they can successfully send out text messages using the service, replies sent to them don’t appear in the account, effectively ruining the usefulness of the platform for many people. Google Voice, of course, is Google’s free phone service that gives Google users a phone number that can be used like any others. Users can set up this number, give it out to people, and then have calls arrive on any existing phones, as one example. The service is used by private individuals and businesses alike; some people use it to avoid giving companies their regular phone number. Others use it as their primary voice service.The service has become an important tool for some people, and that makes the SMS bug particularly bothersome. Google posted a notice in its product forums yesterday advising that it believed it had fixed the problem, but many users are still reporting the bug today. Some users say they can now receive text messages on the Web platform but not on their mobile device.Google hasn’t posted any new updates in the thread, though it did advise users to post updates if they still experienced issues. The company has said that it is investigating the issue, but there’s no word on what may be wrong or how far along they are in the solution. There’s also no indication of how many people may currently be affected by the bug.
Apple’s future in foldable displays on devices of all sorts hit the rumor fan this week as a patent for said tech passed through the USPTO. This patent defines a device with a flexible display, one which “folds about a bend axis” and uses either OLED or micro-LED lighting technology for its display. This display folds along an axis and includes an inactive tail portion which bends about another bend axis. The patent described at least one device, if not a plurality of devices that’d all have the ability to fold in a number of different ways. One included a set of “depressed regions between adjacent pairs of ribs [that] may help enhance the flexibility by facilitating bending around bend axis.” They compressed, they expanded, they made this next-gen piece of hardware work in a way we’ve never seen (in the real world) before.Apple’s patent described the processes which may be gone through with to cut and cure displays to prepare for flexibility. They suggested in this document that the area cut – the flexible part of the device’s future structure – could be filled with a flexible material. Apple suggested these areas could be filled with “a liquid, a gel, foam, a solid polymer (e.g., a soft elastomeric polymer), a liquid polymeric material, or other flexible material.” The patent addresses the problem of repeated use of moving pieces, too. Not expressly, exactly, but to a small degree, Apple describes accommodation for such an unavoidable situation. “To accomodate either one-time bending or repeated folding and unfolding, the portions of display that bend are preferably resistant to damage (e.g., cracking of brittle layers, plastic deformation, delamination, etc.).”Apple continued, “To help enhance durability, display may be provided with enhanced flexibility regions. These regions may take the form of slots or other openings in the layers of display and may help reduce potentially damaging stresses in one or more of the layers of display during bending.”The bend was also described by Apple as occurring in “one or more” places on the device. “The bend portions may be flexed back and forth during use of device (e.g., when device is being opened and closed like a book) or may be placed in a permanent bent configuration (e.g., when an inactive portion of display is bent to accommodate mounting in a compact housing).”The background of this patent suggests that “electronic devices often include displays. For example, computers, cellular telephones, and other devices may use displays to present visual information to a user.” OF NOTE: This patent was filed all the way back in April of 2016 and made public by the USPTO just this morning. This means Apple’s been planning at least this one unique iteration of a folded display (the idea portion, here), for at least a year. Back in July of this year there was a report that LG had secured the rights to supply its flexible OLED panels to Apple. That was just a small part of the puzzle at that time – the bigger news was that Apple would use an OLED in the first place. Fast forward to October 11th – just yesterday – and a report surfaced once again of Apple using LG Display to make flexible OLED displays on a large scale. Story TimelineLG’s first flexible OLED phone due before the year is outLG Display flexible OLED mass production in Q4 (with an LG phone to use it)Flexible OLED viewfinder and camera array combine for panoramic FlexCamApple iWatch on docket as LG flexible OLED display deal madeWatch LG roll up its beautiful 18-inch flexible OLEDPolyera Wove wearable previews true flexible displayFlexEnable’s sci-fi wearable previews a flexible display future
HTC has just announced two U11 variants, including a larger U11+. Unfortunately, that one isn’t coming to the US, because HTC thinks it would be a bad business move for the market. Fortunately, there isn’t much that difference between the two, like the larger screen, the semi-translucent back cover, and Android 8.0 Oreo and a new radial menu launcher. But before you think that it is unfortunate that the last part isn’t available on the slightly older U11 yet, fortunately for you, you’re wrong and can now install that new launcher on your U11. Unofficially of course and at your own risk. There are actually two APKs made available over at the XDA forums. One is the new Sense Home that lets you swipe up from anywhere to pull app the app grid. While new to the U11+, it’s definitely not new to third-party app launchers like Nova Launcher, for example.More interesting, perhaps, is the Edge Launcher. It isn’t an app launcher replacement, despite what its name suggests, but works on top of one. It is, instead, an Edge Sense action that causes a customizable radial menu to pop up when you squeeze the U11+’s, or U11’s, sides. This is one of the new custom features so far found only in the U11+, which will probably trickle down to the U11. Someday.For now, if you’re dying to get your grip on these two HTC custom experiences, you can download them off XDA now. Do note that they have been extracted from a Taiwanese U11+ model, and, while many have positive feedback, your experience might be very different. The Edge Launcher is also only accessible from the Edge Sense settings and might be called “Quick Launcher” in some models.VIA: XDA
Motorola, under the ownership of Lenovo, is supposedly scaling back its Android lines down to three, the high-end Z, the mid-range G, and the entry-level E. That leaves no room for the Moto X, which isn’t exactly surprising. The Moto X was once Motorola’s high-end contender, back when it was still under Google. That role was taken over by the Moto Z line so there’s little differentiating factor for the X, save for the Android One Moto X4.The Moto X5 was leaked earlier this year but was never heard from again. It was supposed to be Motorola’s entry into the notched display arena. On second thought, maybe it’s good that it never came to be. But the X5 isn’t the only casualty of the Lenovo/Motorola downsizing.The company is reportedly also scaling back its Moto Mods plans and is dropping mods that it considers too niche to make a profit. This is almost in stark contrast to its excitement and zeal in encouraging third parties to innovate and experiment to their heart’s (and wallet’s) content. It is also almost an admission that its spin on modular phone concept has failed.If true, then Moto Mods might simply revolve around custom-designed backs and battery packs. No health addons, no gamepad, maybe not even a slideout keyboard. Strangely enough, there is now a leak of a VR Moto Mod, which could be the last Moto Mod worth getting. Motorola may be having a worse year than it is letting on. It has more or less confirmed that it has laid off a good number of its workforce in Chicago but assures that the Moto Z phones are going to be affected. It turns out, however, other lines might not be so lucky. A source now claims that Motorola has axed the Moto X5 and is looking into decreasing its expenditures on “more eccentric” Moto Mods for the Moto Z family. This is a hell of a Mod… pic.twitter.com/Mah61AYIZr— Evan Blass (@evleaks) March 9, 2018
The Phantom 4 Pro is one of DJI’s top-tier drones, a model used for professional production and other demanding tasks. The company has updated the transmission technology used with its newest model, switching from Lightbridge used with the Phantom 4 Pro and Advanced to OcuSync. The new technology offers low-latency and high-res video transmission. As well, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is up to 60-percent quieter than the previous model. This reduction in noise is due to new propeller blades and drivers, the company says. That aside, the drone features the same excellent 1-inch CMOS sensor camera with the ability to record video and rapidly capture still images.The drone includes smart features like obstacle avoidance, environment sensing, 3D mapping, and more. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 starts at $1,499 USD, though you can also get a “plus” bundle that includes a 5.5-inch remote controller display. There’s also optional DJI Goggles.AdChoices广告SOURCE: DJI Newsroom DJI has launched a modest update to its professional-tier Phantom 4 Pro drone. The new model, which is simply called the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, brings a couple updates over the previous model, retaining the same design as the regular Pro 4, but with some important changes. The drone is available now with various bundle options, including one that has first-person-view DJI Goggles.
It initially seemed that the smartphone world would be slowly transitioning to triple cameras, in no small part thanks to the Huawei P20 Pro. For now, though, Huawei can continue basking in the limelight as the likes of Apple and Samsung stay with their dual cameras. One OEM, however, is going to do one better, and we almost mean that literally. Just like its predecessor, the Xperia XZ3 is coming next month with just one camera on its back but it’s going to be a doozy. Story TimelineSony IMX586 will cram 48 megapixels into smartphone camerasXperia XZ3 renders show an odd design change It probably shouldn’t be a surprise. Just last week, Sony announced a new IMX586 image sensor for mobile devices. The tiny sensor packs a whopping 48 megapixels and utilizes Quad Bayer filtering to improve low-light photography. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that Sony will debut that new technology on its upcoming flagship.Those expecting a radical new phone in the Xperia XZ3 perhaps expect too much from the slow-moving Sony. Yes, it did introduce a new design in the Xperia XZ2 but mostly still kept features low-key. The Xperia XZ3 isn’t going to be that different either, though it will probably call to mind earlier version of s Samsung’s Galaxy Edge models.Confirmation of the camera, along with other specs, come from a Geekbench entry for a Sony H8416 spotted by Sumaho Info. It notes a 5.7-inch Full HD+ 2160×1080 screen, Snapdragon 845, 6 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage. It also shows there’s only one camera on its back, which is probably plenty considering it has 48 megapixels. Curiously, it lists the front camera as “not supported”.Unlike Samsung, Sony isn’t in a hurry to launch its new smartphone. It will do so right at the start of IFA, with an event scheduled on August 30. We definitely can’t wait to see if this new IMX586 sensor is as good as it sounds and if it will be enough to put Sony back on the favored list of smartphone cameras.
Run an Empire is described as a strategy AR game that takes place in the real world. Players walk, jog, or run through regions to claim land, taking it over from neighbors, friends, or anyone else nearby. The game doesn’t benefit only those who run fastest, though — the makers say that determination can beat “natural ability” in this game.Once a player has claimed a piece of land, they can customize it in the app by placing buildings and other structures. According to the company behind the game, the customizations span the range from stone age to space age. Those who are really into the game can take it further by teaming up on challenges or fighting to claim buildings, as well.The app works passively, at least when one is claiming land; the user runs it in the background on their phone while out for a walk or run. The game’s website says there’s planned support for teams, as well as making it available on wearables and possibly even bicycles. As for privacy, the team explains that runs are only submitted after they’re finished and others can only view the final result of the run. As well, things like names aren’t provided. The game previously launched in the UK and other limited regions, and is now launching globally for everyone to enjoy.SOURCE: Run an Empire Pokemon GO was praised for its ability to get people out of the house and walking around, that highlighting the potential of such games for encouraging fitness among users. A new game called Run an Empire uses similar technology to get people moving, this one designed specifically for walkers and runners. The concept is simple: build your empire by claiming land.
At least in the US and other major markets, Sony’s Xperia phones have so far failed to secure a foothold. Even after its fairly laudable efforts to reinvent its line with a focus on AI and changing its design language. But for a certain group of Android users, Sony remains the only trustworthy option when it comes to developer-friendly devices. The company has proven that again with the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ3, now open ROM developers and modders alike. Of all the major OEMs in the market, Sony is the only one with a track record of actually helping developers develop custom ROMs and software for its phones. While there are some OEMs that do offer a smidgen of that, Sony’s Open Devices roster continues to grow even when it faces tough times in the market.Even better, that membership list isn’t limited to old or deprecated phones. In fact, Sony continually adds its latest flagships to the list year after year after year. Proof of that is the addition of the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ3, premium phones both launched only this year.With its Open Devices program, Sony provides tools and methods to unlock phones’ bootloaders to get the ball rolling. It also has guides for building the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version that ROM makers use for creating their custom experiences. It is also because of this that Jolla is able to sell a “Sailfish X” ROM that puts its own Linux-based OS on Sony devices.AdChoices广告That said, it’s not always a win. Despite giving users and developers that freedom, Sony is still bound by contracts and laws, specifically over DRM’d software. But for some, having lower quality photos or missing out on some features are acceptable sacrifices in the name of getting more open devices.
It replaces the previous Model X 70D, which Tesla Motors had announced was part of the line-up back in November 2015. As the name suggests, that had a 70 kWh li-ion battery. With the slightly bigger battery comes a slight bump in range. Where the 70D would go for 220 miles, according to Tesla’s EPA estimates, the new 75D will manage 237 miles according to today’s specifications.0-60 mph time is unchanged, at six seconds, but top speed has increased by 10 mph, to 130 mph in total. Unfortunately, the price has also increased along with the performance. The 70D had a cash price of $80,000, whereas the Model X 75D comes in at $83,000. Tesla points out that it’s eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and a state-based, income-limited incentive, too, as well as potential gas savings. Still, if you want serious SUV performance, it’s the more expensive Model X 90D and P90D that you should be looking at. They – priced at $95,500 and $115,500 respectively, before incentives and credits – offer as much as 155 mph and 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.According to Tesla’s online configurator, orders of the 75D today should see deliveries being made in June 2016. If you opt for one of the more potent versions of the truck, they’ll arrive in May the automaker says. It’s not been a perfect week for the Model X. Tesla was forced to recall 2,700 of the SUVs over faulty seat latches, warning owners not to allow anybody to sit in the third row until the mechanism was replaced. Still, with the seat supplier coughing up to cover the cost of the new parts, and the huge number of reservations Tesla saw for its upcoming Model 3 sedan – which will be the most affordable car the firm offers, priced from $35,000 before incentives and credits, when it hits forecourts in late 2017 – April probably works out to being a good month overall.For more on the Model 3, check out our full first-ride report from the launch at the end of March. Tesla’s big news today may have been the Model S refresh, but there’s been a quiet shake-up in the Model X line, too, with a new entry-level car. The electric SUV now kicks off in the shape of the Model X 75D, an all-wheel drive truck with a 75 kWh battery.
SlashGear: There’s a good length of time since it [Project ONE] was introduced. What’s it like so far with the feedback? There was a lot of excitement out of the announcement. There’s some time has passed, do you still feel the excitement?Tobias Moers: We’re working on it. It was not the final car we showed off in Frankfurt. Frankfurt was huge excitement regarding the brand. So now it’s back to zero, so we’re working on it.SlashGear: What are some aspects that you were working on?Tobias Moers: We’re bringing the first car together, that’s coming up. Then we hit the tracks in two to three weeks.SlashGear: Stepping back a bit, can you talk about the vision of Project ONE? What was the idea behind it?Tobias Moers: I never thought AMG was at the level to make a hypercar. I get approached by customers, “When are you going to do that? You should do something like that.” What we owned at that time was the Formula GT, and a year after that I started thinking about the hypercar. It was very clear that it’s not going to be another “me too” V8, V12, whatever because there’s enough in the market. I did have a clear vision of the future of performance, and it’s going to be electrified. Because it is a gain of everything. Increases performance, increases efficiency, downsize weight.SlashGear: Coming back now, what are the some of the specifics that you would either investigate deeper or expand your understanding?Tobias Moers: There’s nothing happening that I didn’t expect, but it needs more time sometimes. We are back in schedule now, with the first drivable in end of January, beginning of February.SlashGear: A little bit further down the line, is electrification a good path you see AMG going into as well?Tobias Moers: I think in the performance segment, electrification is a very important key for success in the future. You get almost everything. You have huge benefits on efficiency and you have huge benefits in performance.SlashGear: Moving to SUV segment, now that the GLC63 is out, do you think it’s the right decision for the AMG line?Tobias Moers: The customer gives out the answer: Yes. We just recently increased capacity in production so it’s more than good. The sales numbers last year show really the success. This gives us more visibility, more presence in the market.SlashGear: Do you think the MBUX (unveiled at CES 2018) is too digitized for the AMG line?Tobias Moers: No. It gives us additional possibilities. It needs a lot of creativity to figure out how it works. It depends on the segment. In a sports car like GT, you’ll like analog-driven cars. But in the meantime, our customers’ expectations is we should provide them both modes. The best choice is having different modes, different styles, different possibilities. And digitalization gives us the key for doing so.AMG definitely has a long road ahead of it. It has just broken into the SUV market, considered to be where the future is at in consumer cars. Its Project ONE is also an ambitious undertaking that has yet to be tested, both in the market but, more importantly, first on the tracks. The latter happens in just a few weeks and car enthusiasts will definitely be all eyes on the first test runs. Interested buyers, on the other hand, will have to wait next year at the earliest. Almost all car makers have made promises about putting a street-legal race car on the road, by which they really mean a road car with race car power and speed. AMG, on the other hand, intends to put a literal one in consumer’s hands. At least that was the big splash it made in Frankfurt last September when it unveiled the Project ONE hypercar, which not only leave other road cars in its dust but even looked like an F1 speed demon. At the North America International Auto Show (NAIAS), Vincent Nguyen, SlashGear’s Editor-in-Chief got a chance to sit with Tobias Moers, Chief Executive of AMG, to get his insight on Project ONE, electrifying the future, and, of course, the MBUX. Story TimelineMercedes-AMG Project One and more to debut at Frankfurt International Motor ShowMercedes teases AMG Project One, its 1,000HP hybrid F1 supercarThis is the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE: an F1 car for the roadProject One And Electrification Take Center Stage at Frankfurt for Mercedes-Benz
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. At a Capitol Hill hearing, physicians offered thoughts about Republican efforts to change the way they are paid by Medicare. Meanwhile, Speaker John Boehner said the House may again consider a bill that would use money slated for prevention efforts to fund high-risk insurance pools.CQ HealthBeat: Medicare Doctors Pay Legislation Still In Planning Phase In HouseHouse members continue to build agreement on replacing the formula that dictates payments to Medicare physicians but have not yet come out with a timeline for advancing a proposal. Witnesses at a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday largely praised the outline from GOP committee leaders that would put in place a three-part system for Medicare physician payments (Ethridge, 5/7).Medpage Today: Uniform Quality Measures Sought For An SGR RepealDoctors need quality measures from a single source and more avenues to qualify for value-based payments under a post-Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) reimbursement system, physician groups told Congress Tuesday. As Washington lawmakers work to repeal and replace the SGR, which determines physician payment, and replace it with a system that rewards high-quality care, medical societies offered their views on how to measure quality in a hearing before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Multiple panelists voiced support for National Quality Forum (NQF) Standards. The NQF is a Washington-based body formed in 1999 to review, endorse, and recommend health care performance standards (Pittman, 5/7).And in other news -The Hill: GOP Weighs Second High-Risk Pools VoteSpeaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated Tuesday that GOP leadership could bring back a bill to strengthen part of ObamaCare. The measure to shore up the law’s temporary high-risk insurance pools, lacking enough support for passage, was recently pulled from the House floor before its final vote (Viebeck and Baker, 5/8). Doctors Praise GOP’s Plans For Medicare Pay But Seek Uniform Quality Measures
A federal appeals court has ruled that drug manufacturer Actavis PLC’s attempted switch of patented Alzheimer’s medication, which halted distribution of the old drug before its patent expires this summer, violates U.S. antitrust law. The decision unsealed this week explains the ruling last week by a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that requires the Irish company to keep distributing Namenda until 30 days after its patent expires on July 11. (Virtanen, 5/29) GAO Report: Govt.’s Reliance On AMA And Its Data Could Result In Flawed Medicare Rates In other news, a federal appeals court ruled that drug manufacturer Actavis’ attempted switch of patented Alzheimer’s medication is in violation of antitrust law. The New York Times: Federal Investigators Fault Medicare’s Reliance On Doctors For Pay Standards The Associated Press: US Appeals Court: Alzheimer’s Drug Swap Is Anti-Competitive This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The government relies too heavily on advice from the American Medical Association in deciding how much to pay doctors under Medicare, and the decisions may be biased because the doctors have potential conflicts of interest, federal investigators say in a new report. This reliance on the association, combined with flaws in data collected by the influential doctors’ group, “could result in inaccurate Medicare payment rates,” the investigators said. (Pear, 5/31)
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has received more campaign cash from drug companies than any candidate in either party, even as she proudly declares the industry is one of her biggest enemies. Clinton accepted $164,315 in the first six months of the campaign from drug companies, far more than the rest of the 2016 field, according to an analysis by Stat News. (Ferris, 10/17) Politico Pro: Rubio Blasts Drug Company ‘Profiteering’ Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Friday urged Congress to rein in Medicare cost increases next year, expected to hit millions on the government health insurance program even as Social Security benefits stagnate. Medicare expects Part B premiums, which cover doctor’s visits and outpatient care, to rise 52 percent next year, which could hit around 16.5 million people. At the same time, a lack of inflation will keep beneficiaries of Social Security from getting an increase in the amount they receive each month. (Lopez, 10/16) And she is pressing the Republican presidential candidates to speak out on the matter. “I am deeply concerned by how this could harm Medicare beneficiaries,” Mrs. Clinton said in a statement. “This is outrageous and senseless, and Congress must act to fix the law. I support efforts by the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress to try to resolve this quickly. At a time when out-of-pocket medical costs are already rising, we cannot afford to let Republican obstructionism pile additional costs on our seniors. I urge the Republican candidates for president to call on their congressional majority to end the games and protect our seniors.” The statement from Mrs. Clinton came as the Obama administration is urging Congress to adjust the increase in health insurance premium increases, which could affect almost a third of Medicare beneficiaries. Discussions [are] taking place among leaders in Congress to resolve the problem, but there is a concern that House Republicans may not be persuaded to address it. (Haberman, 10/16) When Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of an older generic drug by more than 5,000 percent last month, the move sparked a public outcry. How, critics wondered, could a firm charge $13.50 a pill for a treatment for a parasitic infection one day and $750 the next? The criticism led Turing’s unapologetic CEO to say he’d pare back the increase – although no new price has yet been named – and the New York attorney general has launched an antitrust investigation. The outcry has again focused attention on how drug prices are set in the United States. Aside from some limited government control in the veterans health care system and Medicaid, prices are generally shaped by what the market will bear. (Appleby, 10/19) Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declined to accept a maximum campaign donation from the CEO of a company that increased the price of a drug used by HIV and AIDS patients by hundreds of dollars, choosing instead to donate the money to a Washington health clinic. (Levine, 10/17) The New York Times: Hillary Clinton Puts Republicans On Spot On Looming Entitlement Threat Kaiser Health News: No Ready-Made Rx For Rising Drug Costs The Associated Press: Clinton Wants Congress To Fix Spike In Medicare Bills Reuters: Clinton Urges Congress To Cap Medicare Cost Increases Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio blasted pharmaceutical company “profiteering” on high-cost prescription drugs during a campaign stop this week — a sign that drug prices are becoming a lightning rod for both parties in the election. (Norman, 10/16) In the meantime, Clinton has also received more than $160,000 in campaign donations from the drug industry, The Hill reports. And a major Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, refuses a campaign donation from one drug company executive who raised prices for one HIV drug. On the Republican side, Marco Rubio speaks out against drug company “profiteering.” The Hill: Clinton Tops 2016 Field In Drug Industry Donations The Huffington Post: Bernie Sanders Refuses Donation From CEO Who Raised Drug Price And KHN looks at what — if anything — can be done about surging drug prices — Hillary Rodham Clinton is urging Congress to fix an “outrageous and senseless” expected increase in Medicare deductibles and premiums. Clinton says she is “deeply concerned” by news that there will be no cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits next year. As a result, some Medicare bills are set to increase for many, unless Congress acts to prevent it. (Thomas, 10/16) Clinton Calls For Cap On Medicare Cost Spikes The Democratic presidential hopeful wants Congress to act to stave off Medicare premium and deductible increases for some beneficiaries after Social Security benefits stagnated. The increases for many would amount to an additional $54 per month in costs. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
State Highlights: Md. Website Will Help Consumers Compare Costs For Common Medical Procedures; NYC’s Public Hospital System To Get Infusion Of Funding Media outlets report on news from Maryland, New York, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Minnesota. Chicago Tribune: Legislators Want Answers On Illinois’ Failure To Screen Babies For Deadly Krabbe Disease The Washington Post: Maryland To Offer Online Shopping Tool For Common Medical Procedures The Baltimore Sun: New Website Will Let Maryland Consumers Compare Hospital Rates For The First Time Moody’s Investor Service downgraded Einstein Healthcare Network’s credit rating by one notch, to just above junk bond status, citing the nonprofit system’s large and unexpected loss of $23 million on an operating basis in the year ended June 30, a decline in liquidity, and uncertain state funding. Einstein said in a statement that it “remains committed to providing high-quality care while balancing the demands of today’s challenging health-care environment. There are initiatives already underway which we believe will put the organization in a stronger financial position moving forward while increasing access to care.” (Brubaker, 10/18) The Baltimore Sun: Maryland Health Department Gets $7.5 Million To Support Home Visits For Families The Maryland Health Care Commission, the state’s independent regulatory agency, is unveiling a website on which people scheduling a hip replacement, knee replacement, hysterectomy or vaginal delivery can see price differences among different providers for the same procedure. The site is launching amid rising health-care costs and as some consumers turn to insurance plans with high deductibles. (Itkowitz, 10/18) utraged by a Chicago Tribune report, state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, is asking officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health to explain at a legislative hearing next week why they never implemented a 2007 law that mandated screening Illinois babies for a deadly genetic condition. Flowers, chair of the Illinois House Health Care Availability and Access Committee, was a co-sponsor of the law that added Krabbe disease to the state’s newborn screening program a decade ago. (Callahan, 10/18) The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: Einstein Healthcare Network Credit Downgraded Summa Health’s Barberton campus introduced a new cancer-fighting tool, the Elekta Versa HD, this month. The radiotherapy treatment device is designed to provide speed and precision for cancer-management professionals to more accurately target tumors. (Nader, 10/18) The head of New York City’s public hospital system said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has agreed to disperse hundreds of millions in aid to the agency, ending a funding dispute that left the hospitals dangerously low on cash. Stanley Brezenoff, interim president and chief executive of NYC Health + Hospitals, said in a letter to agency employees Wednesday that the state had agreed to distribute some $380 million in federal and city funds under the state’s control to the system over the coming months. (Gay, 10/18) A new website — wearthecost.org — being launched Thursday by the Maryland Health Care Commission will help consumers compare these types of costs among hospitals and bring more transparency to hospital pricing practices. While patients can request all or some of this data from other agencies and the hospitals themselves, the commission said the website compiles the information all in one place and in an easy-to-navigate, consumer-friendly way. The commission hopes the website will arm users with more information to help them make more informed decisions when choosing a hospital. (McDaniels, 10/19) The Wall Street Journal: New York City Public Hospital System To Get Relief From State Chicago Sun Times: Suit: Suburban Couple Defrauded Millions From Medicare This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Pioneer Press: Roseville Care Center At Fault In Resident’s Death, Health Department Says Colorado is spending more per inmate on health care as the state’s prison population ages, according to a national report released Wednesday. The report, from the Pew Charitable Trusts, found that Colorado spent $6,641 per inmate on health care in the 2015 fiscal year. That placed the state in the middle of the pack nationally: 21st for the highest spending and about $900 per inmate more than the national median. (Ingold, 10/18) The federal government has filed a lawsuit accusing a south suburban couple of defrauding Medicare out of millions of dollars through false claims by their medical companies. The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, accuses Gateway Health Systems Inc. and its owners – 58-year-old Ajibola Ayeni and his wife, Joy H. Turner-Ayeni – of violating the federal False Claims Act by seeking and accepting Medicare payments for fraudulent services, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. (10/18) Denver Post: Colorado Spending More On Prison Inmate Health Care, Report Finds The resident was fine when Sunrise Assisted Living staff checked in around 9 p.m. When staff returned around 12:30 a.m., the resident’s neck was wedged between a bed and a transfer pole, and the resident was no longer breathing, according to a report by the Minnesota Health Department. The department determined earlier this month that the Roseville facility was at fault for neglect, having placed the pole too close to the bed. (Chavey, 10/18) Cleveland Plain Dealer: Summa Health Cancer Institute Adds New Device To Reduce Treatment Times A federal grant of almost $7.5 million to the Maryland Department of Health will go to helping teach parenting skills and provide other resources to pregnant women and parents of young children, health department officials said Wednesday. The department will use the funds from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to support local agencies that make home visits to women and parents through the state’s Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The goal of the program is to help the families raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn. (Cohn, 10/18)
advertisement In his court filings, Kurgan says the bank appears to have taken “illegitimate documents Baker produced during the receivership” at face value, rather than conducting a fair and objective review.“RBC DS ought to have provided Kurgan the opportunity to respond to any alleged concerns it may have had before purporting to end its employment relationship with him on the basis of the allegations of a convicted fraudster,” he says in an April filing.Instead, Kurgan alleges in the court documents, RBC tried to “bully” him into “leaving the firm quietly” and when he refused their offer to buy his book of business for far less than he thought it was worth, he was terminated on Feb. 8, 2018.Neither Kurgan’s allegations nor the bank’s responses and counter-allegations have been tested in court, and RBC said in an emailed statement Thursday that it could not comment on questions posed by the Financial Post while the matter is before the courts.“We are unable to comment on pending litigation,” Louise Armstrong, a spokesperson for RBC, said.———–Long before media reports revisited the collapse of Lake Shore, the tale of Baker’s downfall was documented in real time by media outlets and wire services including Reuters, Bloomberg and the Chicago Tribune. Those stories — dating back to 2007 — chronicled allegations that Baker hid millions of dollars in trading losses, embezzled funds, and misled hundreds of investors. They do not mention Kurgan.Baker and Kurgan agree that they met while both were working at Refco in Toronto in the 1990s, and that Kurgan did some trading for Lake Shore, the commodities trading and hedge fund business that landed Baker in the sights of authorities in the United States, first as a fugitive in Germany, and then in U.S. prisons including the notorious Fort Dix in New Jersey.Baker was the only person charged in the Lake Shore debacle In responses filed in court, RBC denies that its employees knew about Kurgan’s entanglement with Lake Shore when he was hired. Even if they had, the bank says, they were not aware of the full extent of his involvement with the firm or with Baker.Royal Bank says it first learned of Kurgan’s connection to Lake Shore and Baker when he advised his superiors at the bank in early August, 2017, that a reporter had contacted him and was working on a story about Baker and his release from prison and return to Canada, according to court documents.RBC’s review turned up ‘a number of concerns that had not been adequately addressed’ by Kurgan In a statement of defence and counterclaim to Kurgan’s wrongful dismissal suit, RBC said it conducted an initial review of Lake Shore, Baker, and Kurgan’s alleged involvement after the newspaper stories were published, between November 23, 2017, and Jan. 25, 2018.That review turned up “a number of concerns that had not been adequately addressed” by Kurgan, including a business agreement he had signed with Baker in 2001, his association with a Lake Shore company called FTG, and what the bank called inconsistencies in responses he gave to a Canadian regulator, court documents say. As a result, the bank told the court it decided to “forego any further review of this matter” and “looked to end the employment relationship with the plaintiff (Kurgan).”For his part, Kurgan says he wasn’t given the opportunity to respond to any of the alleged concerns, even though he offered on “multiple occasions” to meet with RBC, and to bring in Meredith, his long-time lawyer, according to filings in his wrongful dismissal suit.The RBC Plaza which headquarters the Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto. More What set the wheels in motion for his dismissal, court documents allege, were reports in the Financial Post and The New York Times about Philip Baker, Kurgan’s former friend, who had returned to Toronto after serving a portion of a 20-year prison sentence in the United States for fraud. Baker had given a series of interviews about his fall from grace as head of Chicago-based Lake Shore Group of Companies.He named Kurgan — who was never implicated in Baker’s crimes — as a business partner in an operation that, at its peak, stretched to London, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands.Toronto-born Philip Baker pleaded guilty in 2011 to defrauding investors while running a global commodities trading and hedge fund business. Kurgan, a mild-mannered 61-year-old, vehemently denies that he was a partner and has never been sanctioned or charged. He doesn’t deny knowing Baker and doing some trading for a Lake Shore account for commissions, but points out that during the time Lake Shore operated, from 2002 to 2007, he was employed at Toronto-based trading firms Refco Futures Canada Inc. and MF Global Canada Co. In legal filings and interviews with the Financial Post, alongside his lawyer, Kurgan said that he cooperated with authorities looking into the wrongdoing at Lake Shore, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission.There was never a hint of culpability on John’s partJohn Kurgan’s lawyer Michael Meredith Featured Stories Email May 24, 20191:52 PM EDT Filed under News FP Street Reddit However, their versions of the depth of Kurgan’s association with Lake Shore and other ways in which their lives intersected could not be more different.While Baker claims they were partners and that Kurgan was the head trader at Lake Shore, Kurgan maintains he was just helping a friend who was down on his luck by signing a few documents and doing limited trading for commissions.“I’m just kind of keeping track of the trades I’m doing. There’s other traders,” Kurgan said of his time working with Lake Shore more than a decade ago. “I didn’t co-found this company. I didn’t own this company. I worked … for Refco, I worked for MF Global, I worked for RBC. I didn’t work for this company.”Baker was the only person charged in the Lake Shore debacle.Facing criminal charges including fraud, embezzlement, and obstruction of justice, Baker was extradited to the United States from Germany, where he had been living. He pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud in 2011, admitting to falsifying Lake Shore’s marketing materials to cover up large trading losses. The same year, Kurgan was recruited and hired by RBC Dominion Securities, the wealth management arm of Canada’s largest bank.RBC came knocking when one of the Canadian firms Kurgan was working for — MF Global — ran into problems completely unrelated to Baker and Lake Shore. RBC sought to hire Kurgan and obtain his client list, according to the documents filed in his wrongful dismissal suit.Kurgan’s court filings recount a recruitment process that involved a handful of meetings and discussions with RBC employees. The documents outline one meeting, during which a Lake Shore proceeding Kurgan was involved in was specifically discussed with Paul Sinel, described as an assistant manager at RBC Dominion. However, his LinkedIn page says he is now retired.The discussion took place outside the Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto, according to Kurgan’s filing, and the topic was a motion Lake Shore’s receiver had made to add FTG Capital Canada to Lake Shore’s receivership proceeding. FTG was a company that had been incorporated by Kurgan in the 1990s.“Kurgan advised Sinel that that he had retained legal counsel to respond to the motion and that the motion to add FTG had been dismissed,” the document says. “Kurgan further advised Sinel that he would be happy to discuss this further with RBC DS and to answer any questions they might have with respect to the Lake Shore proceedings. No one at RBC DS took Kurgan up on his offer.”The court filing notes that the receiver’s report, published in April of 2011, “was and remains accessible to the public” and “was accessible at the time RBC DS recruited Kurgan to the firm” that fall.In his lawsuit, Kurgan says James McElrea, a commodities trader at RBC, was also aware of his involvement with Lake Shore, and had spoken about it with George Corneil, who the document describes as the vice-president of futures at RBC.“Corneil assured McElrea that the matter was closed,” according to Kurgan’s filings, which add that the bank “did not have any concerns about Kurgan’s involvement at that time, and was content to have Kurgan join the firm to obtain his book of business.”However, in a court document filed in response, RBC strenuously denied that its officials were aware of Kurgan’s ties to Lake Shore.“Corneil never made such an admission to McElrea” and was not aware of Kurgan’s “association with Lake Shore or Baker,” one of the documents states.If he did disclose his association with Lake Shore, “which is not admitted but specifically denied, such disclosure, or any related discussions, did not involve the irregularities … including the plaintiff’s (Kurgan) involvement with Lake Shore and/or … with Baker,” adds a document filed in April, 2018.Despite its concerns about the Lake Shore matter after the fresh media reports following Baker’s return to Toronto, RBC says it tried, before Kurgan’s dismissal, to negotiate his exit in early 2018 through its business succession program. The program is described as a financial industry framework that effectively transfers the management of clients from one advisor to another at the bank.But as the two sides dug in, the drama intensified. After Kurgan was dismissed without cause, the bank’s court filings say, RBC discovered that confidential information had been “improperly transferred” to Kurgan’s personal unsecured email without the bank’s permission.That discovery a month after his dismissal gave the bank justification for “summarily dismissing” Kurgan with cause, the documents say.The bank demanded that the confidential information be returned or destroyed, and made a counterclaim against Kurgan for the return of $235,967.82 it says was “improperly” paid to him in termination pay and severance.Kurgan countered in his court filings, saying that the information was contained in an email was sent to him “without his knowledge, consent or direction.” And he added his own salvo, accusing RBC of deploying “harsh” and “malicious” tactics and suggesting the bank may have been motivated by a desire “to prevent any further press highlighting its own involvement in the Lake Shore proceedings.”Royal Bank had money tied up in the now-defunct firm, which came to light during Lake Shore’s bankruptcy proceedings For more than six years, John Kurgan worked as a specialist in commodities and futures trading at Canada’s biggest bank. He became a senior vice-president at Royal Bank of Canada’s wealth management unit, where he was the top commodities trader in 2016 and took in more than $3.2 million in revenue for the bank. He was rewarded for his work with offers of trips to Mexico, California, and Miami Beach.All that changed in late January last year, when Kurgan says he was called into a meeting with two of his superiors and told “it would be best if he voluntarily retired.” The meeting is described in documents he filed in a wrongful dismissal suit against the bank in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice in February last year.Kurgan was told that a decade-old entanglement with a disgraced hedge fund manager in the United States, a one-time friend, had become a “reputation risk” for the bank, according to court documents.John Kurgan was RBC’s top commodities trader in 2016 and took in more than $3.2 million in revenue for the bank Barbara Shecter As originally reported in the Financial Post, Royal Bank had money tied up in the now-defunct firm, which came to light during Lake Shore’s bankruptcy proceedings in the United States in 2010. A document filed in an Illinois court that year contained a submission from Royal Bank, which was among those asserting claims on Lake Shore’s remaining funds. The Canadian bank weighed in on how available Lake Shore funds should be distributed about those with claims to them.The document did not say how much money Royal Bank believed it was entitled to in the Lake Shore proceedings, but it indicated the bank was part of a group fighting for about $13 million of a $100 million pool of money that had been frozen by authorities.In a statement to the Financial Post in 2017, Royal Bank said the bank “had a very small number of investors who (had) requested exposure to the fund.” The bank’s spokesperson at the time added that Lake Shore funds were never on any list of recommended investments for clients in Royal Bank’s retail channel.In court documents filed last year in response to Kurgan’s wrongful dismissal suit, RBC “specifically denies” that he was terminated due to concerns about exposure of its own involvement in Lake Shore.It’s not clear if Monday’s private mediation will be the final chapter ‘Reputation risk:’ Former RBC trader alleges he was fired on the word of a ‘convicted fraudster’ Years after the collapse of disgraced hedge fund Lake Shore Group, the effects continue to ripple through Bay Street “I helped them with whatever I could, and what I couldn’t, I couldn’t,” Kurgan said in an interview, recalling a discussion with U.S. authorities that took place in 2008. “When I came out of that meeting at the end, everybody thanked me, shook my hand, (and said) thanks for helping us, assisting us.”“There was never a hint of culpability on John’s part,” added his lawyer Michael Meredith.More importantly, Kurgan contends that officials at RBC were aware of his association with troubled Lake Shore more than seven years ago when he was being recruited — long before the two stories featuring Baker and his tale of disgrace were published in late 2017. In court filings, he also alleged that key players at the bank were aware of a previous attempt to “implicate” him in Lake Shore’s collapse, prior to his hiring at RBC Dominion Securities. The curious case of a disgraced ex-hedge fund manager and the trader he says was his partner Donald ex machina: The strange role of a mogul-turned-President in the ongoing saga of Conrad Black The return of Boaz Manor: Co-founder of failed hedge fund Portus turns up at U.S. blockchain startup under new identity The allegations, which have not been proven in court, are at the heart of the wrongful dismissal suit, which heads into mediation on Monday after working its way through the courts since early last year. Kurgan is seeking more than $5 million for wrongful dismissal and other damages, according to court documents, claiming the termination “effectively ruined (his) ability to ever work in the industry again” and “wrongly and unfairly telegraphed to both clients and prospective employers … that Baker’s allegations have credence.”RBC denies that its employees knew about Kurgan’s entanglement with Lake Shore when he was hired Comment John Kurgan is seeking more than $5 million for wrongful dismissal and other damages, according to court documents.Peter J Thompson/National Post Recommended For YouU.S. FDA approves Karyopharm Therapeutics’ blood cancer drugOntario Cannabis Store pulls affected CannTrust products amid Health Canada probeUPDATE 2-FDA approves expanded label for Regeneron/Sanofi’s DupixentTrump pick for Fed seat says doesn’t want to pull rug from under market -CNBCAP Explains: US sanctions on Huawei bite, but who gets hurt? Peter J Thompson/National Post Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The New York Times Twitter RBC clients who had exposure to Lake Shore “had requested such exposure,” the bank said. “As part of the bankruptcy proceeding involving Lake Shore, Royal Bank of Canada sought a distribution of the receivership assets on behalf of its clients that had sustained losses.”It’s been years since Lake Shore was wound down, but the ripples flowing from the firm’s existence will be felt Monday in the private mediation scheduled for Kurgan’s wrongful dismissal suit. It’s not clear if that process will be the final chapter.“Mr. Kurgan hopes that the parties will reach a reasonable and fair resolution on Monday,” Meredith, his lawyer, said Thursday. “But if not, he is fully resolved to carrying the matter through to trial and looks forward to obtaining a just result.”• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: 1 Comments What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Share this story’Reputation risk:’ Former RBC trader alleges he was fired on the word of a ‘convicted fraudster’ Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Facebook Sponsored By: Join the conversation → ← Previous Next →
Road trips are a make or break factor for mass adoption of electric vehicles in the US. Unlike much of Europe and many other parts of the world, the US does not have a train system that connects most cities in the country (Amtrak in the Northeast being an exception). As such, most Americans either fly or rely on their cars when they go on vacation to Disneyland or Disney World, to visit relatives a few states away, or to take their child to college hundreds of miles awaySource: CleanTechnica Car Reviews RSS Feed