Home' Greymouth Star : March 22nd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 5
Scientists find using ‘satnav’ switches off parts of brain
If you have long feared that
using a “satnav” navigation
system to get to your destination
is making you worse at finding
the way alone, research now
suggests you may be right.
Scientists studying what satnavs
do to the brain have found that
people using them effectively
switch off parts of the brain that
would other wise be utilised to
simulate different routes and
boost navigational skills.
Publishing the findings in the
journal Nature Communications
overnight, the researchers said
that when volunteers in an
experiment navigated manually,
their hippocampus and prefrontal
cortex brain regions had spikes
of activity. But these were not
seen when the volunteers simply
followed satnav instructions.
“ When we have technology
telling us which way to go ... these
parts of the brain simply don’t
respond to the street network,”
said Hugo Spiers of University
College London’sdepartment of
“In that sense our brain has
switched off its interest in the
streets around us. ”
The researchers said constant
use of satnavs would probably
effects, making users less able to
learn and navigate a city’s street
“Understanding how the
environment affects our brain is
Javadi, who worked on the
study before moving to the
University of Kent, said. “Satnavs
clearly have their uses and their
As an extension of the research,
the scientists also analysed the
street networks of major cities
around the world to visualise
how easy they may be to navigate.
London, with its complex
network of small streets, appears
to be particularly taxing on the
hippocampus, they said.
By contrast, far less mental
effort may be needed to navigate
Manhattan in New York, where
a grid layout means that at most
junctions the choice is only
between straight, left or right.
ban on flights
The United States and Britain have imposed
restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on
planes coming from certain airports in Muslim-
majority countries in the Middle East and
north Africa in response to unspecified security
The US Department of Homeland Security
said passengers travelling from a specific list
of airports could not bring into the main cabin
devices larger than a cellphone such as tablets,
portable DVD players, laptops and cameras.
Instead, such items must be in checked
Although civil liberties groups raised concerns
that US President Donald Trump was seeking
another limit on movement after a travel ban
from Muslim-majority countries was challenged
in the courts, Britain took similar steps.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister
Theresa May said there would be curbs on
electronic items in the cabin on flights from six
countries in the Middle East. The foreign office
said the measures would be implemented by
The moves were prompted by reports that
militant groups want to smuggle explosive
devices inside electronic gadgets.
The ban would continue for the “foreseeable
future,” a US government official said, adding
it was possible it could be extended to other
airports and other countries.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined
to talk about the intelligence that prompted the
new steps or explain why some countries were
left off the list.
Senator Bill Nelson, a F lorida Democrat, said
he “spoke to the intelligence community over
the weekend, and this is a real threat. ”
US officials say militant groups are known for
innovative bomb designs, including embedding
them inside computers. Yemen-based Al
Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) also
has boasted of one of the world’s most feared
bomb-makers, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.
French and Canadian officials said they were
examining their arrangements but neither
government was taking additional security
measures at this stage.
The airports covered by the US restrictions are
in Cairo; Istanbul; Kuwait City; Doha, Qatar;
Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh
and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and D ubai and Abu
Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.
The affected airports are ser ved by nine airlines
that fly directly from those cities to the United
States about 50 times a day, senior government
The carriers — Royal Jordanian Airlines,
Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian
Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc,
Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways
have until Friday to adopt the new policy,
which took effect overnight.
No US airlines are on the list because there are
no direct flights on them between the US and
the cited airports, officials said.
Britain said its restrictions would apply to
direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan,
Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
The British regulations affect British Airways,
Easyjet, Jet 2, Monarch, Thomas Cook,
Thomson , Atlas-Global, Pegasus, Egypt Air,
Royal Jordanian, Middle East Airlines, Saudia,
Turkish Airlines and Tunisair.
customers departing from affected airports to
arrive in good time at check-in.
A US government source said that while
the restrictions arose from reports of security
threats, some recent intelligence had arrived
that prompted the current alert.
US authorities believe there is a threat from
plots similar to an incident last year in Somalia,
where a bomb hidden in a laptop blew a hole in
the side of a plane but failed to down it, another
However, some experts questioned whether
the limited ban could improve security and said
it is complicated by aviation safety concerns
about lithium-powered batteries used in many
electronic items catching fire in the hold.
Some potentially affected said the ban was
“Security for some people, and other people
none? It’s not for everybody, right?” Mohsen
Ali, an Egyptian who spoke at New York’s John
F Kennedy International Airport where he was
waiting to meet a friend.
US officials said the decision had nothing to
do with Trump’s efforts to impose a travel ban
on citizens of six majority-Muslim nations.
On March 6, Trump signed a revised executive
order barring citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria,
Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from travelling to
the US for 90 days. Two federal judges have
halted parts of the ban although Trump has
vowed to appeal. — Reuters
A 100kg aircraft propeller which fell
off a Regional Express flight will be
recovered after being discovered in a
south-west Sydney national park.
Police guarded the propeller overnight
at the Georges River National Park
in Revesby where a crime scene was
established following the discovery.
The propeller, which sheared off Friday ’s
Rex flight from Albury to Sydney, was
spotted yesterday by a police helicopter.
It was located about 18km from the
airport after the Australian Transport
Safety Bureau calculated its likely
trajectory using data from the aircraft ’s
flight data recorder.
Investigators have been assessing how
best to pick up and then transport the
Police have confiscated five frozen, dead tigers
from a house in central Vietnam.
The tiger carcases were discovered, with their
organs removed, during a raid on a house in
the north central Nghe An province, according
to Tran Minh Son, deputy head of the Nghe
An Provincial Police Department for the
He said no arrests were made in Monday’s
raid, which followed a tip-off, as the house’s
owner was abroad.
“If we collect enough evidence, we will take
criminal proceedings against the violator,” Son
The tigers are alleged to be Indochinese tigers
weighing around 100kg to 150kg each, without
internal organs, Viet Nam News reported.
Tigers, which are endangered worldwide, are
sometimes illegally trafficked from Vietnamese
tiger farms for use in east Asian traditional
A kilogram of pure tiger bone paste can sell
for up to $US5000 ($7098) on the black market.
Tiger paste is used to treat ailments such as
headaches. — D PA
Frozen tiger carcases seized
Spider venom saves brain from stroke
The deadly venom of Australia’s Darling
Downs funnel-web spider may one day be used
to treat stroke patients.
Researchers at the University of Queensland
and Monash University have discovered a
protein found in the DNA of the spider’s venom
can protect the brain from damage in the crucial
hours after a stroke.
“ We believe that we have, for the first time,
found a way to minimise the effects of brain
damage after a stroke,” Professor Glenn King,
from the UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience,
During a stroke, brain cells die because of
a lack of oxygen and glucose caused by an
obstruction to blood flow to organs.
Hi1a works by blocking acid-sensing in
channels in the brain, the key drivers of brain
damage after stroke.
Preclinical studies in rats, published in
journal Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences of the United States of America,
showed a single dose of Hi1a administered up
to eight hours after a stroke protected brain
tissue and drastically improved neurological
King said this protein offered an “exceptional”
level of protection during a reasonably lengthy
window of opportunity for treatment.
“Hi1a even provides some protection to the
core brain region most affected by oxygen
deprivation, which is generally considered
unrecoverable due to the rapid cell death caused
by stroke. ”
Stroke is one of this country’s biggest killers
and a leading cause of disability, striking
someone in Australia every 10 minutes.
King says this unlikely small protein holds
great promise for the future treatment of
“This world-first discovery will help us provide
better outcomes for stroke sur vivors by limiting
the brain damage and disability caused by this
devastating injury,” he said.
The researchers are now working to secure
financial support to fast-track this promising
stroke therapy towards clinical trials. — AAP
Middle East, nor th African airpor ts focus
A scandal the over sale of expired meat
in Brazil is an “economic embarrassment ”
the president says and several countries
have suspended some meat imports from
the South American nation.
President Michel Temer sought to play
down the scandal, calling it a “fuss” and
noting that only three of the more than
4000 meatpacking plants in Brazil have
been forced to close.
Still, he acknowledged that it has
caused “an economic embarrassment for
the country” as he spoke to a conference
organised by the Council of the
The European Union, China, Hong
Kong and Chile have halted some meat
imports from Brazil, a major blow to the
struggling economy of a country that is
among the world’s largest exporters of
Brazilian investigators charge that
health inspectors were bribed to
overlook the sale of expired meats. Police
also allege that the appearance and smell
of expired meats was improved by using
chemicals and cheaper products like
water and manioc flour.
Brazil’s trade associations for beef, pork
and poultry producers warned that the
scandal could have a massive effect on
employment and the economy because
the sector’s exports represent 15% of
total exports. Beyond that, cattle-raising
is an integral part of Brazil’s culture,
Sunday barbecues are a weekly rite, and
country music from the grasslands is
popular throughout Brazil.
So far, Brazil’s government has barred
the exports of meats from 21 plants being
investigated, but that has not fully allayed
concerns of the countries it exports to.
Sales for internal consumption in Brazil
are not affected. — AP
Centrist Emmanuel Macron’s bid for
power in France gathered pace overnight
when he won support from a junior
minister in the Socialist government
while the interior minister resigned amid
scandal in a new twist to the topsy-tur vy
Voters rated Macron as the strongest
performer of the five leading candidates
who took part in the first debate of the
presidential election campaign, watched
by nearly 10 million viewers, according
to snap opinion polls.
His front-running status was reinforced
by an endorsement from a junior
minister in Socialist President Francois
Hollande’s administration, the first
government member openly to back the
independent politician in preference to
the Socialist candidate, Benoit Hamon.
In addition to the endorsement from
biodiversity minister Barbara Pompili,
of the ecology party, Macron also won
backing from Bernard Poignant, a close
adviser to Hollande.
The turbulent election campaign was
rocked again by the sudden resignation
of Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux
over press reports he paid his daughters
from public funds for summer jobs in
parliament when he was a lawmaker.
The hiring of family members by
politicians has become a sensitive issue
after conser vative candidate Francois
Fillon became embroiled in a similar
scandal over parliamentary assistant jobs
for his wife and two of his children.
Le Roux quit after financial prosecutors
opened an inquiry into the allegations
against him, although he insisted he
did nothing wrong. Le Roux’s quick
resignation contrasts with Fillon’s
dogged refusal to step down as candidate
even after magistrates opened a formal
investigation against him.
New twist in
Specials available South Island only, price valid until Sunday 26 March 2017 or while stocks last. Trade not supplied. Due to current
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only available to Clubcard Members at New World South Island stores when they scan their Clubcard at the time of purchase.
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Kellogg’s Beauty &
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290g, Special K Original
300g, Coco Pops
Original 375g or
60-108s or Ultimate
Red or Green
Product of Chile or
Edam, Mild or Colby
Medal Ale or
Summit Lager 330ml
24 Pack Bottles
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