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بایگانی ماهانه: تیر ۱۳۹۵

Weak pound ‘could raise supermarket prices’

Publish Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:24:02 GMT

Supermarket prices could rise if the pound’s fall continues, retail analysts have said

Some 40 percent of food consumed in the UK is imported meaning “any long term change in exchange rates may threaten the current period of cheaper groceries,” according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Online supermarket Ocado also said the weaker pound could lead to ‘inflationary pressure’.

The pound has fallen about 11 percent against the dollar since the Brexit vote.

Tough competition from discount chains has helped to pushed the price of groceries lower over the past two years.

Kantar’s comments came as it said like-for-like grocery prices fell 1.4 percent in the 12 weeks to 19 June compared with a year earlier, marking the 23rd consecutive period in which prices have fallen.

In the 12-week period, the combined market share of German discounters Aldi and Lidl hit a record 10.5 percent as they continued to attract customers from traditional supermarkets.

The ‘big four’ grocers — Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons — continued to shed market share, according to Kantar.

Kantar’s data reflects the period ahead of the referendum vote. The company’s head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt, said: “The immediate economic uncertainty is unlikely to cause a substantial fall in grocery volumes, as demonstrated by the 2008 financial crisis when basic food, drinks and household sales proved resilient.

Historically, higher prices have led to consumers looking for less expensive alternatives such as own-label products, seeking out brands on promotion or visiting cheaper retailers.”

Changing sentiment

Kantar’s comments came as Ocado’s chief executive Tim Steiner also said that a weak pound could see prices rise.

Currency weakness may bring some inflationary pressure in the food market, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing given the deflation we’ve seen,” he said.

Steiner was speaking after the online supermarket reported an 18 percent rise in pre-tax profits to £۸٫۵ million in the six months to May 15.

He said the referendum vote had not affected demand so far, and he did not expect ‘a significant impact’ on the business.

Research firm Nielsen, which reported year-on-year supermarket takings rose 0.4 percent in the four weeks to the end of 18 June, marking the first rise in almost a year, said the Brexit vote could change shoppers’ behavior in the long term.

We can expect some change in consumer sentiment and, possibly, a return to low inflation next year — should sterling’s depreciation continue and global commodity prices strengthen,” added Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight.

Jon Copestake, chief retail and consumer goods analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said he expected the outcome of the vote to hit supermarkets sales due to higher import prices and consumers cutting spending.

He said discounters were best-placed to cope with the changes, while mainstream supermarkets would be hit the hardest.

It is difficult to anticipate anything but a worsening retail scenario along the same lines as what has come before,” he said.

Spaghetti Western film star Bud Spencer dies

Publish Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2016 16:04:50 GMT

Italian actor Bud Spencer, who starred in a string of spaghetti Westerns, died on June 27 in Rome aged 86, his family confirmed.

“With our deepest regrets, we have to tell you that Bud is flying to his next journey,” his family said on Spencer’s Twitter account in English.

According to AFP, Spencer, born Carlo Pedersoli in Italy in 1929, played in 16 films alongside Terence Hill, whose real name was Mario Girotti.

Spencer died in hospital in Rome, La Repubblica daily reported.

The news of his death prompted a flood of online.

“Ciao #BudSpencer We loved you so much,” tweeted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini hailed Spencer as “a great actor of our cinema industry, who over the course of his long career entertained whole generations”.

“Rest in peace Bud Spencer… My heart goes out to your family,” Hollywood star Russell Crowe wrote on Twitter.

Spencer was born in the southern Italian city of Naples, but moved with his family to Rome aged 11, where he became an excellent swimmer.

After World War II, the family moved again, this time to Rio de Janeiro, where the young Spencer quit his studies and started taking odd jobs, including in construction and as a librarian.

He later returned to Rome, where he went back to school and took up competitive swimming, and in 1950, he became the first Italian to swim the 100-meter freestyle in under a minute.

Over the next decade, he was crowned Italy’s swimming champion seven times.

But after the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he abandoned his swimming career.

He married the daughter of a film producer and had three children.

It was only at the age of 38, in 1967, that he starred in his first Western, ‘God forgives… I don’t!’

He and Girotti then decided to change their names — and the name he chose, Bud Spencer, was a tribute to his American actor Spencer Tracy.

With ‘They call me Trinity’, he and Hill sprung to international fame, with Spencer playing a friendly giant of a cowboy who saves a widow and an orphan from danger while keeping his broad grin.

Throughout his career, he appeared in around 40 films.

He also dabbled in politics, running for office in regional elections in 2005 on the list of then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Saudis set strict conditions for Iran only: Hajj official

Publish Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2016 15:07:25 GMT

Some Saudi ambassadors to Islamic countries had claimed the content of the Hajj document Iranian and Saudis negotiators were trying to work out was the same, preemptively seeking to put the ball in Iran’s court for the cancellation of this year’s Hajj ritual for Iranians.
Tension between Tehran and Riyadh has been escalating since 464 Iranians lost their lives in a stampede in the area of Mina in September 2015 during the last Hajj.
Following the incident Tehran has been seeking assurances from Saudi Arabia to show strong commitment to safety of Iranian pilgrims.
Earlier in May, a six-member Iranian delegation departed Tehran for Saudi Arabia for a new round of talks on performing the annual Hajj. However, after several rounds of negotiations to hash out discrepancies over the issue, Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of Iran announced on May 29 that it won’t dispatch pilgrims this year to Mecca because of inconsistency at decision-making level by Saudis.
“We studied meticulously texts of memorandums of understanding Saudis had finalized with other countries, and none of restrictions considered for Iranian pilgrims had been included in the manuscripts,” Saeed Ohadi, head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of Iran, said in an interview with Tasnim on Sunday.
Prior to the remarks, Ohadi had threatened to publish the Hajj contract, which could come as a blow to Saudis’ international face.
Previously, Iranian officials had called the limitations “contrary to the dignity of Iranians”.
This is while Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia announced that the Iranian delegation had refused to sign an agreement regarding the planned arrangements for this year’s pilgrimage season.
The Saudis had demanded that all Iranian pilgrims must not carry the Koran and prayer pamphlets with themselves, Ohadi revealed.
“The differential memorandum of understanding that they (Saudis) emphasized that we should sign included items such as a ban on flying Iran’s flag, carrying the Koran and prayer books, as well as consular services.”
The row over hajj has been indirectly affected by differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia over other issues, most notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
While Saudi Arabia and certain Arab states have launched attacks on Yemen and been backing the militant groups in Syria to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has strongly criticized the Saudi-led attack on Yemen and been supporting the Syrian government nonstop.
“The MOU had been drafted under the direct influence of the interior and foreign ministries of Saudi Arabia,” Ohadi noted, blaming Saudis for sabotaging this year’s Hajj for Iranians for political reasons.
The prospect of an immediate solution seems distant as Tehran has announced it will file a case against Riyadh over the death of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims in the Mina stampede.
As recently as June 9, Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said Tehran is intent on filing a lawsuit at international courts against Saudi Arabia, citing complaints from the families of victims of the Mina tragedy.

Chile wins Copa America tournament, Messi announces retirement

Publish Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2016 08:26:23 GMT

By staff & agencies

Messi blazed a penalty over the bar in the shoot-out before Lucas Biglia missed to leave Chile’s Francisco Silva with the task of stroking home the winning spot-kick in New Jersey, USA.

It was a carbon copy of last year’s Copa America final, also won by Chile on penalties after a goalless draw.

This is the third defeat in a major final following losses to Germany in the 2014 World Cup and Chile in last year’s Copa.

The defeat also ensured Argentina’s 23-year wait for a major title.

The final had gone to penalties after finishing deadlocked at 0-0 after 120 minutes.

After the final, Messi announced his retirement from international duty.

“It’s not meant for me. For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said after defeat by Chile at the Copa America.

With Barcelona, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

But his only major international honour is 2008 Olympic gold.

Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final by Germany before two Copa America final defeats by Chile on penalties. Messi was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.

Opioids not ideal for sickle cell patients’ pain management

Publish Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:38:41 GMT

Opioid painkillers are slowly being questioned as the best option for pain management as studies suggest they may prolong pain or make it worse, and a new study suggests the drugs may not be the best option for sickle cell disease patients who often experience excruciating pain.

Some sickle cell disease patients with chronic pain could be getting worse because of their treatment with opioids, researchers at Johns Hopkins University report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, upi.com wrote.

Sickle cell disease, which affects mostly black Americans, is a genetic blood disorder that causes hemoglobin in red blood cells to change shape, clogging up blood vessels, cutting off oxygen to the body and causing severe pain for the roughly 100,000 people in the US who have the condition.

During episodes of clogged blood vessels, called crises, patients are often treated for pain with strong opioid painkillers.

Improved treatment of the condition, however, has led to patients living longer with it, developing chronic pain conditions, which are often treated with long-term prescriptions for opioid-based drugs.

Questioning whether the long-term use of these drugs actually improved the condition of patients — especially considering recent research in animals suggesting the drugs can make pain worse the longer they are used — researchers involved with the recent study found those on opioids may actually be in worse condition.

“We need to better understand how long-term opioid use affects pain sensitization and determine if certain people are more sensitive to these effects so we can prescribe the best treatment option for each individual patient,” Dr. Pat Carroll, director of psychiatric services for the Johns Hopkins Sickle Cell Center for Adults, said.

“We also need to learn more about how sickle cell disease may sensitize the nervous system.”

For the new study, researchers recruited 83 people with sickle cell disease, 57 of whom were women and 26 were men, with an average age of 39. Of the patients, 29 were treated for chronic pain associated with sickle cell using long-acting opioids and 54 were not being treated with the drugs.

Filling out questionnaires between January 2010 and June 2014, the patients recorded daily pain, crises, function and any use of healthcare services for 90 days.

Overall, patients prescribed opioids for pain reported 32 percent higher levels of clinical pain, central sensitization and depression, as well as more days in crisis.

Participants not on long-term opioid treatment plans had lower levels of central sensitization, and reported three times less noncrisis pain intensity than those on the drugs.

“We need to be careful and skeptical about giving increasing doses of opioids to patients with sickle cell disease who are in chronic pain if it isn’t effective,” Carroll said.

“Too little is known about the effects of long-term opioid management of chronic pain.”

Ayatollah Khamenei urges firm action on inflated salaries

June 24, 2016

Citing remarks from Imam Ali (AS) about how to deal with sedition, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Hadhrat Ali (AS) recommends that under conditions of sedition, where it will become very difficult for people to distinguish right from wrong, we have to act such that nothing will be in the interest of sedition.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution noted: “Under conditions of sedition, like the issue of the [calendar] year 1388 [post-election riots], words, silence, action and even viewpoints should not boost sedition.”

Ayatollah Khamenei added: “Of course some people may have no inclination for adopting firm and explicit position against sedition due to their own special views, but one should not be exploited in favor of sedition either.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution cited another point from Nahj al-Balagha regarding exploitation of an official post for accumulating wealth and special advantages, saying: “Holding such a view vis-à-vis responsibility, which is in fact a sort of trust, will belittle and humiliate human being.”

On this issue, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution referred to the recent issue of inflated salaries received by some officials, saying: “The issue of astronomic salaries is, in fact, an infringement upon values, but everyone must know that this issue is one of exceptions and most organs’ directors are clean-handed people, but even this few number is still very inappropriate and must be dealt with.”

Referring to President Rouhani’s order to First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri to follow up on the issue, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “This issue must not be a matter of time. It must be seriously pursued and the public must be kept abreast of its result.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said: “According to information I’ve received, most directors of organs have received reasonable pays and inflated salaries are related to a few number of directors, and even these few cases must be deal with firmly.”

In the concluding part of his speech, Ayatollah Khamenei again cited Imam Ali (AS)’s wise pieces of advice in Nahj al-Balagha, saying: “One must always watch out for his tongue because many problems of mankind stem from the tongue.”

“The problems emanating from the failure to watch out for the tongue may sometimes have only personal aspects, but in some cases it also gives rise to social problems. One has to be careful on this issue,” the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said.

Prior to Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech, President Rouhani presented a report about the most important measures and activities of his administration.
At the end of this meeting, evening prayers were led by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution. Then the guests broke their fast along with Ayatollah Khamenei.

Daily Newspaper

Publish Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 07:29:48 GMT

Researchers find new genetic target for PTSD treatment

Publish Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:33:58 GMT

Although genetic risk factors for post traumatic stress disorder have been identified before, researchers in a recent study in Los Angeles went looking for genetic factors that affect the manifestation of symptoms in the disorder, finding a potential target for new treatment.

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found blocking a gene associated with fear learning prevented mice from learning fear, or even expressing it after learning fear, suggesting new ways to treat the effects of PTSD, UPI wrote.

Biomarkers have previously been identified thought to help predict risk for PTSD, though researchers in the new study were specifically looking for genes that may indicate risk for ‘high’ or ‘low’ expression of symptoms, they say.

“We’re suggesting that instead of focusing only on the genes that are thought to cause a disorder — for example, PTSD or anxiety disorder — it is important to discover those genes that can have a profound effect on how severely an individual is impacted by their disorder,” Dr. Pat Levitt, a professor of pediatrics, neuroscience, psychiatry and pharmacy at the University of Southern California, said in a press release.

For the study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers tested mice with a wide range of high and low anxiety to see how well they learned to detect threats — normal fear learning.

When fear learning is exaggerated, symptoms of anxiety and PTSD can develop.

Researchers mapped the genomes of 65 mouse strains, finding genes related to fear acquisition and fear expression, finding one, the Hcn1 gene, is necessary for both.

Researchers found blocking expression of the Hcn1 gene prevented the mice from displaying fears they had already acquired, and by blocking the gene before entering a situation where they may learn fear, the mice did not acquire the instinct.

Dr. Allison Knoll, a post-doctoral researcher at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, said, “By understanding the biological origins of individual behavioral differences — in this case a measure of anxiety — we can move beyond a single disorder diagnosis and treat the dimensions that produce a behavior spanning a multitude of diagnoses.”

PSA finalizes €۴۰۰m joint venture with Iran Khodro

PARIS–(BUSINESS WIRE) — The PSA Group and Iran Khodro signed the final joint venture agreement on Tuesday to produce latest-generation vehicles in Iran. This 50/50 joint venture is expected to invest up to €۴۰۰ million over the next five years in manufacturing and R&D capacity.

The agreement not only marks the beginning of a new chapter in the two partners’ history but will also open up new possibilities for customers in Iran, who will be offered vehicles built to the highest comfort, safety and environmental standards in this long-standing Peugeot market.
Commenting on the agreement, Jean-Christophe Quémard, Executive Vice-President, Middle East & Africa, said: “Today marks a crucial milestone in our project with Iran Khodro. The two partners conducted discussions as announced during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Paris in January 2016. I am proud to be bringing the best in PSA Group technology to our Iranian customers.”
This investment will contribute to the development of a competitive manufacturing base for producing, launching and marketing Peugeot 208, 2008 and 301 models, fitted with latest-generation engines.
The agreement provides for the creation of a joint venture on an industrial site in Tehran to produce new latest-generation Peugeot vehicles, on a platform that will also be used by Iran Khodro to develop its own vehicles, the capacity to export joint-venture products across the region, and the restoration of contractual relations for the production of Peugeot-branded vehicles currently sold in Iran.
The first vehicles will roll off the production line at the Tehran plant in the second half of 2017.
The Iranian market reached a peak of 1.6 million vehicles in 2011. It should quickly regain this level and reach 2 million vehicles a year by 2022. Current estimates put the number of Peugeot cars on the road in Iran at more than 4 million.
Iran is a key component of PSA’s development strategy in the Middle East & Africa region, which is the PSA Group’s third-fastest growing international market.
(Source: businesswire.com)

Iran thwarts bomb attacks in several cities

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, in a statement on Monday, said that security forces had recently foiled several bombing plots by Takfiri-Wahhabi groups in Tehran and several other provinces.

The statement added that Iranian forces also arrested a number of terrorists and seized bombs and a large cache of explosives, Press TV reported.

Another senior Iranian official said on Sunday that authorities had apprehended several people suspected of planning bomb attacks in the capital Tehran.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani made the remarks during a speech in the capital.

Noting that the arrests were made over the last few days, Shamkhani added that the attacks were planned for the holy month of Ramadan.

“Wherever it may occur in Iran, any suspicious move will be swiftly detected; this is thanks to the presence of the people and capable and experienced organizations,” he said.

In May, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi announced that 20 terrorist groups that had planned to detonate bombs and cause insecurity across the country had been dismantled.

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