Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. ผู้พัฒนารายใหญ่ที่สุดของฮ่องกงกำลังเสนอของรางวัลรวมถึง iPhone ในขณะที่บริษัท Henderson Land Development Co. เสนอรางวัลเป็นทองคำแท่ง
มูลนิธิการกุศล Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation และ Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd. ของ Sino Group กล่าวเมื่อเดือนที่แล้วว่าพวกเขาจะเสนออพาร์ทเมนต์ใหม่มูลค่า 1.4 ล้านดอลลาร์ สำหรับผู้อยู่อาศัยที่ได้รับการฉีดวัคซีน
CK Group ของมหาเศรษฐี Li Ka-shing ประกาศเมื่อวันอังคารว่าจะสุ่มแจกบัตรกำนัลช้อปปิ้งมูลค่า 20 ล้านดอลลาร์ฮ่องกงให้แก่ผู้ที่ได้รับการฉีดวัคซีนครบ 2 เข็ม
บริษัท New World Development Co. กล่าวว่าจะเสนอเงินช่วยเหลือ 10 ล้านเหรียญฮ่องกงสำหรับผู้ที่มีรายได้น้อยที่ได้รับการฉีดวัคซีน
Jury awards $15 million in landmark case over embryos, eggs destroyed in fertility clinic tank failure
The devastating news landed in the inboxes of the fertility clinic patients early one morning in March 2018.
Atank storing frozen human embryos and eggs at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco had failed, potentially destroying the precious cells that scores of people hoped would one day bring them biological children. Some might still be viable, the clinic told them in the alert, but the full extent of the damage was unclear.
On Thursday, after more than three years of litigation in federal court, a jury in California awarded five of the patients who lost embryos and eggs a combined $15 million in damages – a historic verdict that could have far reaching consequences for the loosely regulated U.S. fertility industry.
Jurors found that the storage tank maker, Chart Industries, knew about a defect in its equipment that prevented accurate temperature monitoring but neglected to recall the units or warn the public about the problem. When the part malfunctioned in the Pacific Fertility Center tank, more than 3,500 frozen eggs and embryos prematurely thawed, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys. Jurors held Chart 90 percent responsible and Pacific Fertility Center 10 percent responsible for the failure.
The verdict appears to mark the first time a jury has awarded damages in a case involving the destruction of eggs and embryos, according to experts in family law. The outcome could serve as a bellwether not just for the hundreds of other plaintiffs with claims pending against Chart and the fertility clinic but for others whose dreams of becoming parents were dashed by similar errors, they said.
“This is a landmark case,” said Naomi Cahn, director of the University of Virginia’s Family Law Center. “In the past, many of these cases have settled, but here, we have a definitive jury verdict, holding the tank manufacturer primarily responsible, but with the clinic also responsible.”
In court papers, attorneys said that the eggs and embryos lost represented the only chance for some of the patients to conceive children. Adam Wolf, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said many of them were still struggling with the grief three years later.
“This is the material that helps people have children and start a family. When eggs and embryos are destroyed, it fundamentally alters people’s lives,” he said in an interview. “It should be a wake-up call for fertility clinics across the country that their mistakes can prove very costly.”
Representatives from Pacific Fertility Center and Chart didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment Friday.
Pacific Fertility Center was one of two clinics that in March 2018 separately reported problems in liquid-nitrogen tanks where thousands of eggs and embryos were kept. More than 4,000 eggs and embryos were lost at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Cleveland, affecting hundreds of patients. More than 150 families settled claims with the clinic in 2019 but other lawsuits are ongoing.
Other accidents and mishaps have plagued fertility clinics around the country in recent years. In some cases, clinics have used the wrong sperm or embryos, leaving patients to discover later that they aren’t a child’s biological parents.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against Pacific Fertility Center and Chart had her eggs retrieved and frozen in October 2016 and was paying to have them stored at the center, according to court records. She, like others in the lawsuit, was identified only by her initials to protect her privacy.
According to the lawsuit, she and other patients received an email from the center on March 11, 2018, about a week after the error was discovered, notifying them of “a very unfortunate incident.” The message described how storage tank No. 4 had lost liquid nitrogen for a brief period, which may have resulted in the loss of some eggs.
The lawsuit says that the tank systems made by Chart had for years “been failing in large numbers due to a defect that rendered the controllers unable to reliably detect changes in temperature and liquid nitrogen levels or sound alarms.”
The complaint alleged negligence, product liability, and other claims. Hundreds of would-be parents who stored eggs and embryos at the clinic eventually joined the case. A judge rejected a request to certify the lawsuit as a class action but allowed the litigation to proceed otherwise.
In court testimony, plaintiffs described how the trauma of losing eggs made them feel helpless.
“It’s really painful to be at a baby shower celebrating someone else’s family being built and knowing inside you’ll never get that,” one plaintiff told jurors. “So you start to pull back. You start to isolate.”
Experts said the verdict could bring closer scrutiny to the multibillion-dollar industry of fertility clinics and equipment manufacturers that has thrived as reproductive technologies have advanced and more Americans have turned to fertility treatments.
No government agency directly oversees assisted reproduction in the United States, and the only federal law that touches the process primarily regulates the manner in which clinics can advertise their pregnancy success rates. Private groups such as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine set industry standards for facilities that opt in, but the recommendations are voluntary and the organizations have no real enforcement power. At the state level, most assisted reproduction laws are limited to embryonic stem cell research, with little regulating the fertility industry’s procedures or practices.
“There is no licensure requirement, there’s no monitoring regime, no data registry for adverse events like this one,” said Dov Fox, director of the Center for Health Law Policy & Bioethics at the University of San Diego. “There’s no system of warnings or disclosures or any other measures to track reproductive facilities or hold the specialists accountable.”
Fox noted that the freezer units that store eggs and embryos were developed decades ago to hold livestock semen for breeding. Regulations have hardly evolved since, he said. “These tanks specifically, they’re not regulated any better than kitchen appliances or farm tools,” he said.
Policymakers may be reluctant to start crafting new rules after years of light-touch oversight. But the size and unprecedented nature of Thursday’s jury award may catch their attention.
“After a couple decades of very little action,” Fox said, “it could be the thing that alerts policymakers to the need for change.”
YouTube suspends Ron Johnson for a week after GOP senator touts questionable drugs to fight covid-19
YouTube has suspended Sen. Ron Johnson from uploading videos for one week after the Wisconsin Republicans account shared a clip in which he touted the supposed benefits of hydroxychloroquine and another drug in fighting covid-19.
According to Fox News Channel, a YouTube spokesperson said the video was in violation of Google’s policy against medical misinformation.
“We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus,” the spokesperson said, according to Fox News.
YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.
For months, former president Donald Trump had promoted hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer” for covid-19 and said he had taken the drug himself. But federal regulators have said it should be used only for hospitalized patients or in clinical trials, because of possible side effects, including serious heart-rhythm issues.
Last June, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that hydroxychloroquine did not prevent healthy people exposed to someone with covid-19 from getting the disease. It showed that the drug was no more effective than a placebo – in this case, a vitamin – in protecting people exposed to covid-19.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Johnson denounced what he described as YouTube’s “Covid censorship” and said the company has “accumulated too much unaccountable power.”
“Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives,” Johnson said. “They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies. How many lives will be lost as a result? How many lives could have been saved with a free exchange of medical ideas? Government-sanctioned censorship of ideas and speech should concern us all.”
Johnson spokeswoman Alexa Henning said the video in question was a virtual event hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club.
A full video of the event posted by the press club remained on YouTube until Friday evening, when it was also removed with a message saying it had violated YouTube’s community guidelines.
At one point during the interview, Johnson mentioned his support for hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug that some have touted on social media as something that could end the pandemic despite insufficient evidence that it works as a treatment for covid-19 – as well as the sometimes dangerous consequences when people take the animal version.
“Whether it’s hydroxychloroquine, whether it’s ivermectin, whether it’s multi-drug treatments for early treatment of covid, I think that is one of the real blunders of the previous administration and the current administration and our health agencies in completely ignoring – actually, not only ignoring, but working against robust research, robustly exploring the use of cheap, generic drugs that can be repurposed for early treatment of covid,” Johnson said during the event.
Johnson’s hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin claims are just the latest instance of the senator dispensing false or questionable information about covid-19 and downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic.
Last year, he suggested it would not be worth shutting down the economy even if 3.4 percent of the U.S. population – or more than 11 million people – might die of covid-19. In April, he said he was “getting highly suspicious” of the push to vaccinate as many people as possible against covid.
Johnson, who was elected as a tea party darling in 2010 and has since become a hard-right Trump loyalist, has also been embroiled in plenty of controversy unrelated to covid-19 in recent months. He has tried to downplay the severity of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which left five people dead and injured scores of police officers. At one Capitol Hill hearing about the insurrection, Johnson tried to distance Trump supporters from the riot and suggested without evidence that “antifa or other leftist agitators” had been among the rioters.
In March, Johnson intentionally delayed the passage of Biden’s coronavirus relief bill by forcing Senate aides to read aloud all 628 pages of the bill’s text. That same month, he appeared on a conservative news radio show to say that he had “never felt threatened” by Capitol rioters – but that he might have been scared if they had been Black Lives Matter or antifa protesters. His remarks prompted Democrats and some anti-Trump Republicans to call on him to step down.
Johnson, whose second term is ending in 2022, had originally promised he would not serve a third term but has lately said he would consider running again.
Published : June 12, 2021
By : The Washington Post · Felicia Sonmez, Amy B Wang
Gottfried Böhm, Pritzker-winning architect who sculpted in concrete, dies at 101
Gottfried Böhm, a third-generation architect who helped rebuild his native Germany in the decades after World War II, designing jewellike churches and light-filled civic centers en route to winning the Pritzker Prize, architectures top honor, died June 9 at his home in Cologne, Germany. He was 101.
His son Paul, a fellow architect, confirmed the death but did not give a precise cause.
Böhm, who trained as a sculptor as well as an architect, often modeled his buildings out of clay or Plasticine, designing structures that rose like concrete mountains over a forest or town. Best known for monumental buildings such as the Neviges pilgrimage church and Bensberg City Hall, both built in Germany in the late 1960s, he also designed glass-and-steel theaters, office towers and apartment buildings.
In 1986 he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, often described as the Nobel Prize for architecture. “His highly evocative handiwork combines much that we have inherited from our ancestors with much that we have but newly acquired – an uncanny and exhilarating marriage,” the citation said.
Indeed, Böhm often spoke of linking the present and the past in his work, designing buildings that sat atop ruins, incorporated the structure of a neighboring 19th-century pub or evoked the medieval architecture of a nearby castle. He focused less on honing a particular style than on making sure each building made sense for its environment, whether on a rural hillside or in a bustling city center.
“New buildings should fit naturally into their surroundings, both architecturally and historically, without denying or prettifying the concerns of our time,” he said in his Pritzker acceptance speech. “You cannot just quote from history and above all you cannot take it out of context, in however humorous a fashion. On the contrary, history has a natural continuity that must be respected.”
In a phone interview, Paul Böhm said that his father had initially resisted becoming an architect, yearning to become a sculptor instead of following his father and paternal grandfather into the family business. History’s “natural continuity” apparently won out, although in a sense the elder Böhm never stopped sculpting. “His buildings have always been sculptures in some way,” Paul said.
Böhm kept going into the office even after he turned 100, working out of a building that his father, a church architect named Dominikus, had built in 1928, and that three of his four sons occupied after following him into the profession. As a boy, Böhm sat in the office sketching church windows.
He ultimately designed more than 60 churches and had projects worldwide, including in Taiwan and Brazil. But he spent most of his career working in Germany, where he designed a five-story Potsdam theater with curved, cantilevered roofs; a glass pyramid-shaped public library in Ulm; and a new city center in Bergisch Gladbach, which included a multipurpose performance hall with walls clad in terra-cotta tiles.
“He’s an individual expressionist, the kind of architect left over from the 1920s,” Philip Johnson, who received the inaugural Pritzker Prize in 1979, told the Christian Science Monitor after Böhm won the honor.
Böhm’s most revered building was the Mary, Queen of Peace pilgrimage church in Neviges, consecrated in 1968 and variously known as the Mariendom and Wallfahrtsdom. Along with a concrete chapel designed by Le Corbusier in Ronchamp, France, the church is often cited as one of the most important religious buildings of the postwar period.
Built on a hilltop where an image of the Virgin Mary had drawn pilgrims since the late 17th century, the church’s concrete exterior was strikingly geometric, topped by jagged cubes and pyramids with angles that suggested the tiled roofline of the surrounding town. Inside, the church opened up like a concrete cave, illuminated by narrow skylights and windows high above the floor.
Arthur Drexler, architecture director at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, once described the church as “a brooding apparition, a ghost from the medieval past inexplicably materialized in the midst of a bourgeois townscape.”
Böhm, who also designed door handles and vibrant stained glass windows for the building, had a rather more uplifting vision for the space. In an interview last year, he told the German broadcaster DW that he had built the church as a vast tent for the “wandering people of God.”
Gottfried Leo Böhm was born in Offenbach am Main, near Frankfurt, on Jan. 23, 1920. He was drafted into the German army during World War II and wounded during the Russia campaign in 1942, according to the New York Times. Four years later, he graduated from what is now the Technical University of Munich.
For his first independent building as an architect, he designed a chapel built on the ruins of St. Kolumba, a Catholic parish church in Cologne that was destroyed during the war. Consecrated in 1950, the building became known as Madonna of the Ruins, after a sculpture of Mary and Jesus that had survived the bombing. The chapel is now part of the Kolumba art museum.
After a few years of working with his father, Böhm sought fresh ideas during a months-long tour in the United States, where he worked with Cajetan Baumann, a Franciscan friar and architect, and met Bauhaus architects Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He took over his family firm after his father died in 1955, and collaborated for decades with his wife, architect Elisabeth (Haggenmüller) Böhm.
They married in 1948, and she died in 2012. In addition to his son Paul, survivors include three other sons, Stephan, Peter and Markus; a brother; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Although Böhm was part of a group of architects who helped rebuild Cologne after World War II, he came to believe that as much damage was inflicted by the postwar construction boom as by the war itself. New highways were carved through the city and old buildings were torn down, replaced by structures that were sometimes nice to look at but, in his view, did little to promote a sense of community.
“I think the future of architects doesn’t lie so much in continuing to fill up the landscape as in bringing back life and order to our cities and towns,” he declared in the catalogue of a 1986 exhibit of his sketches. In his Pritzker acceptance speech, he quoted advice his wife had given their children: “Our generation has built a lot, but your generation will have to work hard to heal all that.”