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Spinal muscles in astronauts shrink after months in space — study

WASHINGTON -- Astronauts on long space missions experience a weakening of the muscles supporting the spine, and they don't return to normal even after several weeks back on Earth, US researchers said Tuesday. The study, funded by the US space agency NASA and published in the research journal Spine, provided new insights into the elevated rates of back pain and spinal disc disease associated with prolonged spaceflight. Back pain is common during prolonged missions, with more than half of crew members reporting spinal pain. Astronauts are also at increased risk of spinal disc herniation in the months after returning from spaceflight -- about four times higher than in matched controls. Back issues in astronauts are accompanied by a roughly five-centimeter increase in body height, thought to result from spinal unloading and other body …

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Air pollution may damage blood vessels even in healthy young adults: study

WASHINGTON -- Air pollution may cause blood vessel damage and inflammation, even in healthy young adults, a U. S. study said Tuesday. Air pollution is known to contribute to cardiovascular disease and related deaths, but it remained unclear how air pollution actually affects the blood vessels to increase the risk of disease. For this study, investigators analyzed the component of air pollution known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) -- the tiny pieces of solid or liquid pollution emitted from motor vehicles, factories, power plants, fires, and smoking. Study participants included 72 healthy, nonsmoking, adults in Provo, Utah, where the unique weather and geographical features periodically result in air pollution. During the winters of 2013, 2014, and 2015, these young adults, with an average age of 23, provided blood samples, which researchers then tested for …

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PBA to hold 2016 Rookie Draft on October 30

MANILA -- Aspiring PBA rookies take one step closer in achieving their dreams as all 55 applicants participate in the 2016 PBA Draft Combine this week. The two-day camp will be held at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Shaw. The aspirants will be pitted against each other as they try to make an impression in front of PBA coaches and scouts. The field will be divided into eight teams of six to seven players for the combine. Wednesday’s program will showcase their athleticism, agility, speed and other skills before displaying their skills on the court Thursday as PBA assistant coaches take over and pit them in a single-elimination tournament. The 2016 PBA Rookie Draft is on Oct. 30 at Robinsons' Midtown in Ermita, Manila.

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PH climbs 4 notches in Doing Business Report 2017

MANILA -- The Philippines has increased its ranking in the Doing Business Report 2017 by four notches to rank 99 from rank 103 last year. The Doing Business Report measures ease of doing business in an economy in areas such as starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency. The report was released by the World Bank-International Finance Corporation in Washington Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday midnight in Manila). The improvements in ranking of the country is attributed to four gains out of the ten indicators. These gains include: protecting minority investors, up by 18 notches to rank 137 from rank 155; dealing with construction permits, up by 14 notches to 85th place from 99th place; paying taxes, …

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CIAC, Qatar Airways agree to market Clark airport

The Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) and Qatar Airways have agreed to market the Clark International Airport (CRK), with the airlines laying down expansion plans to target upscale travelers going to destinations in Europe, the U.S. and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This came after President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement to utilize the Clark airport as an international gateway as a move to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said Monday that among the benefits from the recent trip of the president to China is the increase in flights through the CRK. Officials of CIAC led by its president and CEO Alexander Cauguiran met Monday with Qatar Airlines country manager Paolo Pausini on further cooperation and strengthened partnership in developing and making CRK more active. Qatar Airways …

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Indonesia makes preparations for Asian Games 2018

JAKARTA -- President Joko Widodo held a meeting to discuss the state of infrastructure readiness for the Asian Games slated for 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra Province. "I urged that all preparations must proceed on time because it is a question of our pride and will underline Indonesia's capability in hosting the games," Jokowi said here on Monday. The meeting was held in the Presidential Office in Jakarta and attended by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Coordinating Minister for Development of Human and Culture Puan Maharani, Minister of Youth and Sports Imam Nahrawi, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno as well as Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung. The president asked the ministers to focus on three main topics, namely infrastructure readiness, the competitiveness of Indonesian athletes and transportation facilities between Jakarta and Palembang, the …

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Filipino swimmers shine in Tokyo Invitational

Philippine Swimming League (PSL) bets in the 2016 Buccaneer Invitational Swimming Championship held recently at the St. Mary’s International School pool in Tokyo, Japan. Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh of Immaculate Heart of Mary College-Paranaque won all her three gold medals in the girls’ 9-10 years old category in record fashion. Mojdeh clocked 33.07 seconds in the 50m butterfly to erase the record of Japanese Natsuki Uchino (34.93) last year. Her time of 2:44.23 in the 200m Individual Medley eclipsed the 2:50.65 record established by Irene Kershaw on April 20, 2003. Mojdeh led the 200m freestyle relay team to the gold medal with a record time of 2:21.49, breaking the 10-year-old mark of 2:23.31 set by the Buccaneers-Japan team in 2006. Mojdeh’s teammates are Triza Tabamo, Shaine Sanchez and Julyiana Calibjo. Trump Christian Luistro of Hope Christian …

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Expanded NLEX Bocaue toll barrier opens in time for ‘Undas’

BOCAUE, Bulacan – The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) on Tuesday officially inaugurated the P287-million expansion of the Bocaue toll barriers at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Rodrigo Franco, president and CEO of the MNTC, said the expansion of the Bocaue toll barrier from 26 to 34 lanes will help lessen the surge in traffic volume, particularly this All Saints’ Day. “This project is part of MNTC’s continuing commitment to provide motorists with fast, safe and convenient travel and more importantly, value for money in terms of greatly enhanced facilities and services,” Franco said. The additional eight lanes is composed of four manual lanes, two Easytrip lanes and two mixed lanes. “The expanded toll plaza assures that motorists will continue to experience speedy toll transactions at the NLEX especially during peak hours,” Franco added. In …

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SOCCSKSARGEN to launch ‘Festival of First Peoples’

KORONADAL CITY -- SOCCSKSARGEN's regional tourism office has invited local and foreign tourists to take part in the "Tau SOX: Festival of First Peoples" that begins Wednesday. The festival will feature the cultures of the SOCCSKSARGEN region, which consists of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and Sarangani, and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Koronadal, Tacurong and Gen. Santos. Explaining the festival's name, director of the regional tourism office, Nelly Dillera, said “Tau SOX” simply means people of "SOX" or the SOCCSKSARGEN region. "Tau", Dillera said, was lifted from the Nusantau (Tau) Hypothesis that states that there have been TAU or people traveling to the NUS or south even in pre-historic times. The Nusantau Hypothesis says that “Nus” is an Austronesian root word which means “south” and “tao” or “tau” refers …

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Polio worldwide reduced by 99% since 1988 – UN spokesman

UNITED NATIONS -- On World Polio Day, which falls on Oct. 24, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that since the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988, polio worldwide has been reduced by 99 percent. "Despite that progress, as long as a single child remains infected with poliovirus, children in all countries are at risk of contracting the disease," Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. "There is no cure for polio, but polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life," he said. Over the past 12 months, in addition to polio endemic countries Pakistan and Afghanistan, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) have supported polio campaigns in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Djibouti, Jordan and Lebanon, he said. "Campaigns …

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