Tag Archive: Business

Cloud: Magnetic Floating Sofa » image 2

Cloud is a sofa concept designed for ultra comfort and relaxation. The soft floating upper part is supported by the magnetic force generated by the bottom base. No matter if you want to work and sit with comfort or simply a power nap to release the stress, you can always enjoy your time to relax on the floating cloud.

Cloud: Magnetic Floating Sofa » image 1

Cloud: Magnetic Floating Sofa » image 3

Designer: D.K.wei


Shhhh! Do not rustle this bizarre creature.

Behold! In what could be her boldest image shift to date (no, not really), Lady Gaga appears in Harper’s Bazaarwith NO MAKEUP.


What is going on? Who is this person? Is she Swedish? Is she iamamiwhoami? Is this going to presage an acoustic album? Will all her outfits be fashioned out of natural fibers on manual looms?

Perhaps the answers lie below.

“Don’t you think that what’s on the cover of a magazine is quite artificial?” she asks. “There’s this idea that it’s all natural, but everything’s been staged to look natural. It is also an invention. It’s just that my inventions are different. I often get asked about my artifice, but isn’t fashion based on the idea that we can create a fantasy?”

She may have lost me at “magazine.”

I love this new look but am not really buying the no-makeup thing. How many different swipes of very subtle makeup in similar shades to the features they are covering (can you tell I have no idea how to write about makeup…or anything) do you think this Bazaar effort took? I would guess 47.


U.S. pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas in the past decade, testing their drugs on poor people in such lands as Russia, China, Brazil and Romania. It is a $30 billion business, and today around 105 countries are allowing such large corporations as Merck and AstraZeneca to conduct clinical trials on their soil.

One country that has experienced a boom like no other in this industry is India, with its widely spoken English, an established medical infrastructure and welcoming attitudes towards foreign industry. Most importantly, these pharmaceutical companies are exploiting the country’s vast number of illiterate and poor people who are willing to become guinea pigs.

Zeina Awad, a reporter for Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” program, traveled to India to investigate clinical research being conducted there. She explored what role the United States regulatory agencies are playing in overseeing the clinical trials, and whether the testing complies with international ethical standards.

Her report, “Outsourced: Clinical Trials Overseas,” aired on Al Jazeera English recently.

New America Media Health Editor Viji Sundaram interviewed Awad about what she found.

Viji Sundaram: Your report seems to suggest that a combination of poverty and inadequate public health care is what drives many Indians to enroll in clinical drug trials as guinea pigs. Do they actually know what they are getting into?

Zeina Awad: The growth of the clinical-trial industry in India needs to be seen within the social and economic context of the country. According to the United Nations, 40 percent of people in India are illiterate. The gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Many risk not knowing whether the treatment their doctor is prescribing is [a proven] treatment or a part of a clinical trial. That aside, it’s also important to remember that in certain societies – and India is one of them – doctors are respected to the point of being revered. Their word is rarely questioned, so the likelihood of a person questioning their doctor about specific treatments is low.

Economics plays a role in a person’s decision-making. We met a young man in the impoverished community of Dharavi (Asia’s largest slum) in Mumbai, who told us that he enrolls in clinical trials as a way to make a living because he makes more money that way then when he works as a laborer. He also told us that he has many friends who do the same. Most of them don’t tell their families because there is some shame associated with doing this.

Sundaram: You report that some U.S. pharmaceutical companies chose patients for their tests at a hospital in Bhopal that was built as a memorial to the 1984 victims of the Union Carbide gas leak. Satinath Sarangi, the activist who is working to get justice for the survivors and one of the people you interviewed, said that 100 Bhopal survivors in six trials enabled the hospital to earn a whopping $220,000. How long were trials allowed to go on there?

Awad: Yes, it is ironic — and sad. The hospital in Bhopal was built by Union Carbide as part of their compensation for the victims of the 1984 gas-leak disaster. But after the scandal about drug testing on the gas leak survivors broke last year, the government took over and banned all testing.

The drug trials ran from 2004 until 2008. The complete lack of empathy of both the doctors we secretly recorded stood out to me. In addition to what one of them says in our film, he also told us he believes the reason why his hospital has been singled out was because others were “jealous” of the hospital’s performance. Some of the pharmaceutical companies and CROs [Clinical Research Organizations] who ran the trials refused to speak to us. Meanwhile, people who are almost always poor and often illiterate fell by the wayside.

NEW YORK >> McDonald’s Corp. is adding apples to all its Happy Meals and launching a nutrition-focused mobile phone app as part of a broader health push.


The changes that underscore how the restaurant industry is reacting to the demands of customers and regulators who blame it for health ills ranging from childhood obesity to diabetes.

Among other changes in McDonald’s new program:

— McDonald’s pledged to reduce sugars, saturated fats and calories through “varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations” by 2020. It didn’t give details. By 2015, it will reduce sodium by 15 percent.

— McDonald’s will introduce a new mobile app focused just on nutrition information.

— McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields and other executives will go on a “listening tour” in August to hear suggestions from parents and nutrition experts. The chain will also launch a new online forum for parents.

McDonald’s says the new directives are “absolutely not” related to impending regulations that will force the industry to curb the marketing of junk food to children and post nutrition information on menus.

Rather, the changes are a response to what customers were asking for, said Cindy Goody, McDonald’s senior director of nutrition.

“We’ve been in the nutrition game for over 30 years in providing nutrition information to our customers,” Goody said. “Now what we’re doing is we’re adding more food groups and … creating nutritional awareness.”

The nutrition talk also has helped McDonald’s grab business from other fast-food restaurants, even as the recession forced people to cut back on eating out.

McDonald’s has worked to paint itself as a healthy, hip place to eat, offering wireless access in restaurants and introducing smoothies and oatmeal, moves that other fast-food companies are now trying to replicate.

For Happy Meals, U.S. customers can already choose between apples or fries. But only about 11 percent of customers were ordering apples, the restaurant said.

So by the beginning of next year, McDonald’s will instead include a half-order of apples and a half-order of fries. Customers can get all fries or all apples if they ask.

Goody said the change is indicative of “incremental lifestyle modifications.” Asked why McDonald’s didn’t eliminate fries, she that “all foods fit when consumed in moderation.”

This isn’t the first time the world’s largest burger chain has tried to paint itself as an emissary of nutrition. In the ’80s it created a fitness program for middle schoolers featuring gymnast Mary Lou Retton. A decade ago, McDonald’s used spokesclown Ronald McDonald to encourage parents to get their children immunized and to tell kids to drink milk. In 2004, McDonald’s christened Ronald a “balanced, active lifestyles ambassador” and passed out pedometers to encourage exercise.



Not Ready for the crime

Eric Cogan, 33, was arrested in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in June after (according to police) presenting a holdup note to a teller at a TD Bank. To get to the teller, Cogan walked right by a sheriff’s cruiser parked in front of the bank and a deputy in uniform seated inside the bank’s entrance. [TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.), 6-11-2011]

In April, Matthew Hudleston, 33, pleaded guilty in Mobile, Ala., to robbing a Regions Bank, using a holdup note that mentioned a gun. He got away but was arrested after he returned a few minutes later to ask for the holdup note back. [Mobile Press-Register, 4-25-2011]

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