Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 28

Search results for: Tina Donefski

28 The Contribution of Edgeworth, Bootstrap and Monte Carlo Methods in Financial Data

Authors: Edlira Donefski, Tina Donefski, Lorenc Ekonomi

Abstract:

Edgeworth Approximation, Bootstrap, and Monte Carlo Simulations have considerable impacts on achieving certain results related to different problems taken into study. In our paper, we have treated a financial case related to the effect that has the components of a cash-flow of one of the most successful businesses in the world, as the financial activity, operational activity, and investment activity to the cash and cash equivalents at the end of the three-months period. To have a better view of this case, we have created a vector autoregression model, and after that, we have generated the impulse responses in the terms of asymptotic analysis (Edgeworth Approximation), Monte Carlo Simulations, and residual bootstrap based on the standard errors of every series created. The generated results consisted of the common tendencies for the three methods applied that consequently verified the advantage of the three methods in the optimization of the model that contains many variants.

Keywords: autoregression, bootstrap, edgeworth expansion, Monte Carlo method

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27 The Profit Trend of Cosmetics Products Using Bootstrap Edgeworth Approximation

Authors: Edlira Donefski, Lorenc Ekonomi, Tina Donefski

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Edgeworth approximation is one of the most important statistical methods that has a considered contribution in the reduction of the sum of standard deviation of the independent variables’ coefficients in a Quantile Regression Model. This model estimates the conditional median or other quantiles. In this paper, we have applied approximating statistical methods in an economical problem. We have created and generated a quantile regression model to see how the profit gained is connected with the realized sales of the cosmetic products in a real data, taken from a local business. The Linear Regression of the generated profit and the realized sales was not free of autocorrelation and heteroscedasticity, so this is the reason that we have used this model instead of Linear Regression. Our aim is to analyze in more details the relation between the variables taken into study: the profit and the finalized sales and how to minimize the standard errors of the independent variable involved in this study, the level of realized sales. The statistical methods that we have applied in our work are Edgeworth Approximation for Independent and Identical distributed (IID) cases, Bootstrap version of the Model and the Edgeworth approximation for Bootstrap Quantile Regression Model. The graphics and the results that we have presented here identify the best approximating model of our study.

Keywords: bootstrap, edgeworth approximation, IID, quantile

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26 An Enhanced Digital Forensic Model for Internet of Things Forensic

Authors: Tina Wu, Andrew Martin

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The expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) brings a new level of threat. Attacks on IoT are already being used by criminals to form botnets, launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and distribute malware. This opens a whole new digital forensic arena to develop forensic methodologies in order to have the capability to investigate IoT related crimes. However, existing proposed IoT forensic models are still premature requiring further improvement and validation, many lack details on the acquisition and analysis phase. This paper proposes an enhanced theoretical IoT digital forensic model focused on identifying and acquiring the main sources of evidence in a methodical way. In addition, this paper presents a theoretical acquisition framework of the different stages required in order to be capable of acquiring evidence from IoT devices.

Keywords: acquisition, Internet of Things, model, zoning

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25 A Social Care Intervention for Improving the Quality of Life of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana

Authors: Tina Abrefa-Gyan

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Background: In Ghana and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS is a public health threat and also causes medical crises for many who are infected with the virus. Objective: This study tested a social care intervention developed to help improve the quality of life of those living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana. Method: Adult respondents (N = 248) were assigned to receive the intervention or usual care for six weeks. Results: Results of the study revealed significant differences between the treatment and control groups in their reports of quality of life. Respondents reported better quality of life upon receiving the intervention. Implication: This study sheds light on the positive relationship between the intervention and quality of life among those living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana. Conclusion: The intervention is innovative and novel in the setting. It will, therefore, help to reduce the risks such as depression, low cognitive functioning, and low physical functioning associated with low quality of life among people living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana in specific, and in sub-Saharan Africa in general.

Keywords: social care intervention, HIV/AIDS, Ghana, quality of life

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24 UWB Channel Estimation Using an Efficient Sub-Nyquist Sampling Scheme

Authors: Yaacoub Tina, Youssef Roua, Radoi Emanuel, Burel Gilles

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Recently, low-complexity sub-Nyquist sampling schemes based on the Finite Rate of Innovation (FRI) theory have been introduced to sample parametric signals at minimum rates. The multichannel modulating waveforms (MCMW) is such an efficient scheme, where the received signal is mixed with an appropriate set of arbitrary waveforms, integrated and sampled at rates far below the Nyquist rate. In this paper, the MCMW scheme is adapted to the special case of ultra wideband (UWB) channel estimation, characterized by dense multipaths. First, an appropriate structure, which accounts for the bandpass spectrum feature of UWB signals, is defined. Then, a novel approach to decrease the number of processing channels and reduce the complexity of this sampling scheme is presented. Finally, the proposed concepts are validated by simulation results, obtained with real filters, in the framework of a coherent Rake receiver.

Keywords: coherent rake receiver, finite rate of innovation, sub-nyquist sampling, ultra wideband

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23 Elitism: Navigating Professional Diversity Barriers

Authors: Rachel Nir, Tina Mckee

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In the UK, reliance has been placed on the professions to ‘heal themselves’ in improving equality and diversity. This approach has faltered, in part due to the global economic climate, and stimulus is needed to make faster equality progress. Recent empirical evidence has identified specific diversity barriers, namely: the cost of training; the use of high school grades as a primary selection criteria; the significance of prior work experience in recruitment decisions; and recruitment from elite universities. Students from majority groups and affluent backgrounds are advantaged over their counterparts. We as educators are passionate about resisting this. We believe that education can be a key agent of change. As part of this belief, the presenters have recently designed learning and teaching materials for the 2015/16 academic year. These are aimed at undergraduate law students for the purpose of 1) educating them on career barriers; 2) helping them to develop personal strategies to overcome them; and 3) encouraging them to address their own biases, both conscious and implicit, so that they, themselves, may be fairer employers and managers in the future.

Keywords: career barriers, challenging professional bias, education, elitism, personal student strategies

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22 The Determinants of Voluntary Disclosure in Croatia

Authors: Zeljana Aljinovic Barac, Marina Granic, Tina Vuko

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Study investigates the level and extent of voluntary disclosure practice in Croatia. The research was conducted on the sample of 130 medium and large companies. Findings indicate that two thirds of the companies analysed disclose below-average number of additional information. The explanatory analyses has shown that firm size, listing status and industrial sector significantly and positively affect the level and extent of voluntary disclosure in the annual report of Croatian companies. On the other hand, profitability and ownership structure were found statistically insignificant. Unlike previous studies, this paper deals with level of voluntary disclosure of medium and large companies, as well as companies whose shares are not listed on the organized capital market, which can be found as our contribution. Also, the research makes contribution by providing the insights into voluntary disclosure practices in Croatia, as a case of macro-oriented accounting system economy, i.e. bank oriented economy with an emerging capital market.

Keywords: annual report, Croatian companies, disclosure index, voluntary disclosure

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21 The Role and Effectiveness of Audit Committee in Corporate Governance of Credit Institutions

Authors: Tina Vuko, Marija Maretić, Marko Čular

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The aim of this study is to analyze the role and effectiveness of internal mechanism (audit committee) of corporate governance on credit institutions performance in Croatia. Based on research objective, sample of 78 credit institutions listed on Zagreb Stock Exchange, from 2007 to 2012, has been collected and efficiency index of audit committee (EIAC) has been created. Based on the sample and created EIAC, conclusions are as follows: audit committees of credit institutions have medium efficiency, based on EIAC measurement; there is a significant difference in audit committee effectiveness, in observed period; there is no positive relationship between audit committee effectiveness and credit institution performance; there is a significant difference between level of audit committee effectiveness and audit firm type. Future research should contain increased number of elements in EIAC creation and increased sample, for all obligators who need to establish audit committee.

Keywords: corporate governance, audit committee, financial institutions, efficiency index of audit committee

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20 The Impact of Inpatient New Boarding Policy on Emergency Department Overcrowding: A Discrete Event Simulation Study

Authors: Wheyming Tina Song, Chi-Hao Hong

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In this study, we investigate the effect of a new boarding policy - short stay, on the overcrowding efficiency in emergency department (ED). The decision variables are no. of short stay beds for least acuity ED patients. The performance measurements used are national emergency department overcrowding score (NEDOCS) and ED retention rate (the percentage that patients stay in ED over than 48 hours in one month). Discrete event simulation (DES) is used as an analysis tool to evaluate the strategy. Also, common random number (CRN) technique is applied to enhance the simulation precision. The DES model was based on a census of 6 months' patients who were treated in the ED of the National Taiwan University Hospital Yunlin Branch. Our results show that the new short-stay boarding significantly impacts both the NEDOCS and ED retention rate when the no. of short stay beds is more than three.

Keywords: emergency department (ED), common random number (CRN), national emergency department overcrowding score (NEDOCS), discrete event simulation (DES)

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19 Use of Oral Communication Strategies: A Study of Bangladeshi EFL Learners at the Graduate Level

Authors: Afroza Akhter Tina

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This paper reports on an investigation into the use of specific types of oral communication strategies, namely ‘topic avoidance’, ‘message abandonment’, ‘code-switching’, ‘paraphrasing’, ‘restructuring’, and ‘stalling’ by Bangladeshi EFL learners at the graduate level. It chiefly considers the frequency of using these strategies as well as the students and teachers attitudes toward such uses. The participants of this study are 66 EFL students and 12 EFL teachers of Jahangirnagar University. Data was collected through questionnaire, oral interview, and classroom observation form. The findings reveal that the EFL students tried to employ all the strategies to various extents due to the language difficulties they encountered in their oral English performance. Among them, the mostly used strategy was ‘stalling’ or the use of fillers, followed by ‘code-switching’. The least used strategies were ‘topic avoidance’, ‘restructuring’, and ‘paraphrasing’. The findings indicate that the use of such strategies was related to the contexts of situation and data-elicitation tasks. It also reveals that the students were not formally trained to use the strategies though the majority of the teachers and students acknowledge them as helpful in communication. Finally the study suggests that an awareness of the nature and functions of these strategies can contribute to the overall improvement of the learners’ communicative competence in spoken English.

Keywords: communicative strategies, competency, attitude, frequency

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18 Simulation as a Problem-Solving Spotter for System Reliability

Authors: Wheyming Tina Song, Chi-Hao Hong, Peisyuan Lin

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An important performance measure for stochastic manufacturing networks is the system reliability, defined as the probability that the production output meets or exceeds a specified demand. The system parameters include the capacity of each workstation and numbers of the conforming parts produced in each workstation. We establish that eighteen archival publications, containing twenty-one examples, provide incorrect values of the system reliability. The author recently published the Song Rule, which provides the correct analytical system-reliability value; it is, however, computationally inefficient for large networks. In this paper, we use Monte Carlo simulation (implemented in C and Flexsim) to provide estimates for the above-mentioned twenty-one examples. The simulation estimates are consistent with the analytical solution for small networks but is computationally efficient for large networks. We argue here for three advantages of Monte Carlo simulation: (1) understanding stochastic systems, (2) validating analytical results, and (3) providing estimates even when analytical and numerical approaches are overly expensive in computation. Monte Carlo simulation could have detected the published analysis errors.

Keywords: Monte Carlo simulation, analytical results, leading digit rule, standard error

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17 Sustainability in Maritime Transport: Impact of Cruise Ships Routing in Coastal Navigation

Authors: Josip Dorigatti, Tina Perić, Gorana Jelić Mrčelić

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This paper makes a review of present researches on sustainable development, sustainable maritime transport and presents the problem of sustainability in the cruise ships industry. It deals with cruise ships' routing in coastal navigation and its impact on sustainability from environmental, economical, and social aspects. A review of researches available on maritime sustainability brings to the attention how sustainability from a maritime transport perspective is still not enough analysed and researched as it is the case in other industries. The paper emphasises how the operational part of the cruising industry, in particular cruise ships routing in coastal navigation, is not yet researched nor analysed from the aspect of sustainability. The author, based on his extensive senior officer experience in the cruising industry, makes an overview of cruise ship routing practice. Accordingly, based on present cruise industry trends, challenges are highlighted from the aspect of sustainable cruise ships routing in coastal navigation.

Keywords: sustainable development, maritime transport, cruise shipping, cruise ship routes, coastal navigation

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16 Assessment Methodology of E-government Projects for the Regions of Georgia

Authors: Tina Melkoshvili

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Drastic development of information and communication technologies in Georgia has led to the necessity of launching conceptually new, effective, flexible, transparent and society oriented form of government that is e-government. Through applying information technologies, the electronic system enables to raise the efficacy of state governance and increase citizens’ participation in the process. Focusing on the topic of e-government allows us to analyze success stories, attributed benefits and, at the same time, observes challenges hampering the government development process. There are number of methodologies elaborated to study the conditions in the field of electronic governance. They enable us to find out if the government is ready to apply broad opportunities of information and communication technologies and if the government is apt to improve the accessibility and quality of delivering mainly social services. This article seeks to provide comparative analysis of widely spread methodologies used for Electronic government projects’ assessment. It has been concluded that applying current methods of assessment in Georgia is related to difficulties due to inaccessible data and the necessity of involving number of experts. The article presents new indicators for e-government development assessment that reflect efficacy of e-government conception realization in the regions of Georgia and enables to provide quantitative evaluation of regional e-government projects including all significant aspects of development.

Keywords: development methodology, e-government in Georgia, information and communication technologies, regional government

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15 Impact of Education on Levels of Physical Activity and Depression in Taiwanese Vegetarians and Omnivores

Authors: Ya-Lin Chang, Chia Chen Chang, Yu-Ru Liang, Joyce Chen, You-Kang Chang, Tina Chiu

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Physical activity and mental health status are important for health. The purpose of this study was to examine levels of physical activities and depression in Taiwanese vegetarians (VEG) and omnivores (OMNI). Sixty-three vegetarians (20 males) and 56 omnivores (23 males) with an average age of 51 years were recruited for a food frequency validation study at Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital from July to September in 2016. Participants filled out a validated Chinese version international physical activity questionnaire-short-form (IPAQ), Beck Depression Inventory-II-Chinese version (BDI), food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a questionnaire on demographics and medical history upon recruitment. Total BDI scores were calculated for depression and the metabolic equivalent of task (MET) was calculated for physical activity levels. Mann-Whitney U tests and Chi-square test were used to compare demographics, physical activity levels and depression scores. VEG and OMNI did not differ significantly on MET (1441.9 ± 3387.3 vs. 1605.8 ± 2486.1. p=0.2652, respectively). VEG scored slightly lower on BDI compared to OMNI without statistical significance (5.6 ± 5.7 vs. 7.4 ± 6.3. p=0.06). In addition, we found that regardless of diet practice, those who held a college degree and above scored better on MET (1788.1 ± 2532.6 vs. 1215.5 ± 3425.5. p=0.0014) and BDI (5.2 ± 5.1 vs. 7.8 ± 6.7. p=0.03). In this cross-sectional study, Taiwanese vegetarians and omnivores scored comparatively on physical activity levels and depression. However, education is a significant determinant of physical activity and depression.

Keywords: BDI, diet, education, physical activity

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14 Compaction of Municipal Solid Waste

Authors: Jovana Jankovic Pantic, Dragoslav Rakic, Tina Djuric, Irena Basaric Ikodinovic, Snezana Bogdanovic

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Regardless of the numerous activities undertaken to reduce municipal solid waste, its annual volumes continue to grow. In Serbia, the most common and the only one form of waste disposal is at municipal landfills with daily compaction and soil covering. Municipal waste compacting is one of the basic components of the disposal process. Well compacted waste takes up less volume and allows much safer storage. In order to better predict the behavior of municipal waste at landfills, it is necessary to define compaction parameters: the maximum dry unit weight and optimal moisture content. In current geotechnical practice, the most common method of determination compaction parameters is by the standard method (Proctor compaction test) used in soil mechanics, with an eventual reduction of compaction energy. Although this methodology is accepted in newer geotechnical scientific discipline "waste mechanics", different treatments of municipal waste at the landfill itself (including pretreatment), indicate the need to change this classical approach. The main reason for that is the simulation of the operation of compactors (hedgehogs) at the landfill. Therefore, during the research, various innovative solutions are introduced, such as changing the classic flat Proctor hammer, by adding spikes, whose function is, in addition to compaction, destruction and shredding of municipal waste. The paper presents the behavior of municipal waste for four synthetic waste samples with different waste compositions (Plandište landfill). The samples were tested in standard Proctor apparatus at the same compaction energy, but with two different hammers: standard flat hammer and hammer with spikes.

Keywords: compaction, hammer with spikes, landfill, municipal solid waste, proctor compaction test

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13 Towards a Methodology for the Assessment of Neighbourhood Design for Happiness

Authors: Tina Pujara

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Urban and regional research in the new emerging inter-disciplinary field of happiness is seemingly limited. However, it is progressively being recognized that there is enormous potential for social and behavioral scientists to add a spatial dimension to it. In fact, the happiness of communities can be notably influenced by the design and maintenance of the neighborhoods they inhabit. The probable key reasons being that places can facilitate human social connections and relationships. While it is increasingly being acknowledged that some neighborhood designs appear better suited for social connectedness than others, the plausible reasons for places to deter these characteristics and perhaps their influence on happiness are outwardly unknown. In addition, an explicit step wise methodology to assess neighborhood designs for happiness (of their communities) is not known to exist. This paper is an attempt towards developing such a methodological framework. The paper presents the development of a methodological framework for assessing neighborhood designs for happiness, with a particular focus on the outdoor shared spaces in neighborhoods. The developed methodological framework of investigation follows a mixed method approach and draws upon four different sources of information. The framework proposes an empirical examination of the contribution of neighborhood factors, particularly outdoor shared spaces, to individual happiness. One of the main tools proposed for this empirical examination is Jan Gehl’s Public Space Public Life (PSPL) Survey. The developed framework, as presented in the paper, is a contribution towards the development of a consolidated methodology for assessing neighborhood designs for happiness, which can further serve as a unique tool to inform urban designers, architects and other decision makers.

Keywords: happiness, methodology, neighbourhood design, outdoor shared spaces

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12 Radiographic Predictors of Mandibular Third Molar Extraction Difficulties under General Anaesthetic

Authors: Carolyn Whyte, Tina Halai, Sonita Koshal

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Aim: There are many methods available to assess the potential difficulty of third molar surgery. This study investigated various factors to assess whether they had a bearing on the difficulties encountered. Study design: A retrospective study was completed of 62 single mandibular third molar teeth removed under day case general anaesthesia between May 2016 and August 2016 by 3 consultant oral surgeons. Method: Data collection was by examining the OPG radiographs of each tooth and recording the necessary data. This was depth of impaction, angulation, bony impaction, point of application in relation to second molar, root morphology, Pell and Gregory classification and Winters Lines. This was completed by one assessor and verified by another. Information on medical history, anxiety, ethnicity and age were recorded. Case notes and surgical entries were examined for any difficulties encountered. Results: There were 5 cases which encountered surgical difficulties which included fracture of root apices (3) which were left in situ, prolonged bleeding (1) and post-operative numbness >6 months(1). Four of the 5 cases had Pell and Gregory classification as (B) where the occlusal plane of the impacted tooth is between the occlusal plane and the cervical line of the adjacent tooth. 80% of cases had the point of application as either coronal or apical one third (1/3) in relation to the second molar. However, there was variability in all other aspects of assessment in predicting difficulty of removal. Conclusions: Of the cases which encountered difficulties they all had at least one predictor of potential complexity but these varied case by case.

Keywords: impaction, mandibular third molar, radiographic assessment, surgical removal

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11 The Development of Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry Method for Citrinin Determination in Dry-Fermented Meat Products

Authors: Ana Vulic, Tina Lesic, Nina Kudumija, Maja Kis, Manuela Zadravec, Nada Vahcic, Tomaz Polak, Jelka Pleadin

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Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by numerous types of molds. They can contaminate both food and feed so that they represent a serious public health concern. Production of dry-fermented meat products involves ripening, during which molds can overgrow the product surface, produce mycotoxins, and consequently contaminate the final product. Citrinin is a mycotoxin produced mainly by the Penicillium citrinum. Data on citrinin occurrence in both food and feed are limited. Therefore, there is a need for research on citrinin occurrence in these types of meat products. The LC-MS/MS method for citrinin determination was developed and validated. Sample preparation was performed using immunoaffinity columns, which resulted in clean sample extracts. Method validation included the determination of the limit of detection (LOD), the limit of quantification (LOQ), recovery, linearity, and matrix effect in accordance to the latest validation guidance. The determined LOD and LOQ were 0.60 µg/kg and 1.98 µg/kg, respectively, showing a good method sensitivity. The method was tested for its linearity in the calibration range of 1 µg/L to 10 µg/L. The recovery was 100.9 %, while the matrix effect was 0.7 %. This method was employed in the analysis of 47 samples of dry-fermented sausages collected from local households. Citrinin wasn’t detected in any of these samples, probably because of the short ripening period of the tested sausages that takes three months tops. The developed method shall be used to test other types of traditional dry-cured products, such as prosciuttos, whose surface is usually more heavily overgrown by surface molds due to the longer ripening period.

Keywords: citrinin, dry-fermented meat products, LC-MS/MS, mycotoxins

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10 Grassroots Feminist Organizing in the Shadow of State Feminism in Ethiopia

Authors: Tina Beyene

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In this paper examines the state of grassroots feminist activism in the backdrop of state feminism in Ethiopia. Specifically, I examine the impact of the Charities and Societies Proclamation (aka CSO law), a 2009 law that banned so-called foreign NGOs—i.e., those receiving more than 10% of its operating budget from non-local sources— from working in the areas of human rights, democracy, governance, and gender equality. Viewed as government retribution for the NGO opposition to the government in the 2005 elections, the law aimed to halt the work groups such as the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), who were defined as a “foreign” NGO. Based on interviews with prominent Ethiopian women’s rights leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I assess how grassroots feminist organizing adapts to state suppression on the one hand, and the aggressive entry of the state into women’s rights work on the other hand. While the 2009 law has slowed down the work of women’s rights activism, displaced feminists view feminist advocacy as cyclical and the state as neither fully adversarial nor an ally but rather as an instable entity that at times provides political openings to push ambitious feminist agendas. Grassroots activists are regrouping and developing new political responses strategies such as coding rights issues to fit state mandate; dissembling rights work in permissible social provision language; rechanneling political work into informal spaces and unregistered social clubs; innovating new funding partnerships, and reassembling as privately held research and advocacy companies. my study reveals how grassroots feminist politics operates in the shadow of a hostile state and within the confines of local politics.

Keywords: grassroots feminism, ethiopian feminism, civil society and gender, state feminism

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9 Design and Emotion: The Value of 1970s French Children’s Books in the Middle East

Authors: Tina Sleiman

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In the early 1970s, a graphics revolution - in quantity and quality - marked the youth publications sector in France. The increased interest in youth publications was supported with the emergence of youth libraries and major publishing houses. In parallel, the 'Agence de Cooperation Culturelle et Technique' (currently the International Organization of the Francophonie) was created, and several Arab countries had joined as members. In spite of political turmoil in the Middle East, French schools in Arab countries were still functioning and some even flourishing. This is a testament that French culture was, and still is, a major export to the region. This study focuses on the aesthetic value of the graphic styles that characterize French children’s books from the 1970s, and their personal value to Francophone people who have consumed these artifacts, in the Middle East. The first part of the study looks at the artifact itself: starting from the context of creation and consumption of these books, and continuing to the preservation and remaining collections. The aesthetic value is studied and compared to similar types of visuals of juxtaposed time periods. The second part examines the audience’s response to the visuals in terms of style recognition or identification, along with emotional significance or associations, and the personal value the artifacts might hold to their consumers. The methods of investigation consist of a literature review, a survey of book collections, and a visual questionnaire, supported by personal interviews. As an outcome, visual patterns will be identified: elements from 1970s children’s books reborn in contemporary youth-based publications. Results of the study shall inform us directly on the aesthetic and personal value of illustrated French children’s books in the Middle East, and indirectly on the capacity of youth-targeted design to create a long-term emotional response from its audience.

Keywords: children’s books, French visual culture, graphic style, publication design, revival

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8 Mechanisms of Action in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in People with Physical and/or Psychological Conditions: A Systematic Review

Authors: Modi Alsubaie, Willem Kuyken, Rebecca Abbott, Barnaby Dunn, Chris Dickens, Tina Keil, William Henley

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Background: Recently, there has been an increased interest in studying the effects of mindfulness-based interventions for people with psychological and physical problems. However, the mechanisms of action in these interventions that lead to beneficial physical and psychological outcomes have yet to be clearly identified. Purpose: The aim of this paper is to review, systematically, the evidence to date on the mechanisms of action in mindfulness interventions in populations with physical and/or psychological conditions. Method: Searches of seven databases (PsycINFO, Medline (Ovid), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, ClinicalTrials.gov) were undertaken in June 2014 and July 2015. We evaluated to what extent the studies we identified met the criteria suggested by Kazdin for establishing mechanisms of action within a psychological treatment (2007, 2009). Results: We identified four trials examining mechanisms of mindfulness interventions in those with comorbid psychological and physical health problems and 14 in those with psychological conditions. These studies examined a diverse range of potential mechanisms, including mindfulness and rumination. Of these candidate mechanisms, the most consistent finding was that greater self-reported change in mindfulness mediated superior clinical outcomes. However, very few studies fully met the Kazdin criteria for examining treatment mechanisms. Conclusion: There was evidence that global changes in mindfulness are linked to better outcomes. This evidence pertained more to interventions targeting psychological rather than physical health conditions. While there is promising evidence that MBCT/MBSR intervention effects are mediated by hypothesised mechanisms, there is a lack of methodological rigour in the field of testing mechanisms of action for both MBCT and MBSR, which precludes definitive conclusions.

Keywords: MBCT, MBSR, mechanisms, physical conditions, psychological conditions, systematic review

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7 Comparison of Fatty Acids Composition of Three Commercial Fish Species Farmed in the Adriatic Sea

Authors: Jelka Pleadin, Greta Krešić, Tina Lešić, Ana Vulić, Renata Barić, Tanja Bogdanović, Dražen Oraić, Ana Legac, Snježana Zrnčić

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Fish has been acknowledged as an integral component of a well-balanced diet, providing a healthy source of energy, high-quality proteins, vitamins, essential minerals and, especially, n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC PUFA), mainly eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5 n-3 EPA), and docosahexaenoicacid, (22:6 n-3 DHA), whose pleiotropic effects in terms of health promotion and disease prevention have been increasingly recognised. In this study, the fatty acids composition of three commercially important farmed fish species: sea bream (Sparus aurata), sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and dentex (Dentex dentex) was investigated. In total, 60 fish samples were retrieved during 2015 (n = 30) and 2016 (n = 30) from different locations in the Adriatic Sea. Methyl esters of fatty acids were analysed using gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detection (FID). The results show that the most represented fatty acid in all three analysed species is oleic acid (C18:1n-9, OA), followed by linoleic acid (C18:2n-6, LA) and palmitic acid (C16:0, PA). Dentex was shown to have two to four times higher eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acid content as compared to sea bream and sea bass. The recommended n-6/n-3 ratio was determined in all fish species but obtained results pointed to statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) in fatty acid composition among the analysed fish species and their potential as a dietary source of valuable fatty acids. Sea bass and sea bream had a significantly higher proportion of n-6 fatty acids, while dentex had a significantly higher proportion of n-3 (C18:4n-3, C20:4n-3, EPA, DHA) fatty acids. A higher hypocholesterolaemic and hypercholesterolaemic fatty acids (HH) ratio was determined for sea bass and sea bream, which comes as the consequence of a lower share of SFA determined in these two species in comparison to dentex. Since the analysed fish species vary in their fatty acids composition consumption of diverse fish species would be advisable. Based on the established lipid quality indicators, dentex, a fish species underutilised by the aquaculture, seems to be a highly recommendable and important source of fatty acids recommended to be included into the human diet.

Keywords: dentex, fatty acids, farmed fish, sea bass, sea bream

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6 Cross-Sectional Study Investigating the Prevalence of Uncorrected Refractive Error and Visual Acuity through Mobile Vision Screening in the Homeless in Wales

Authors: Pakinee Pooprasert, Wanxin Wang, Tina Parmar, Dana Ahnood, Tafadzwa Young-Zvandasara, James Morgan

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Homelessness has been shown to be correlated to poor health outcomes, including increased visual health morbidity. Despite this, there are relatively few studies regarding visual health in the homeless population, especially in the UK. This research aims to investigate visual disability and access barriers prevalent in the homeless population in Cardiff, South Wales. Data was collected from 100 homeless participants in three different shelters. Visual outcomes included near and distance visual acuity as well as non-cycloplegic refraction. Qualitative data was collected via a questionnaire and included socio-demographic profile, ocular history, subjective visual acuity and level of access to healthcare facilities. Based on the participants’ presenting visual acuity, the total prevalence of myopia and hyperopia was 17.0% and 19.0% respectively based on spherical equivalent from the eye with the greatest absolute value. The prevalence of astigmatism was 8.0%. The mean absolute spherical equivalent was 0.841D and 0.853D for right and left eye respectively. The number of participants with sight loss (as defined by VA= 6/12-6/60 in the better-seeing eye) was 27.0% in comparison to 0.89% and 1.1% in the general Cardiff and Wales population respectively (p-value is < 0.05). Additionally, 1.0% of the homeless subjects were registered blind (VA less than 3/60), in comparison to 0.17% for the national consensus after age standardization. Most participants had good knowledge regarding access to prescription glasses and eye examination services. Despite this, 85.0% never had their eyes examined by a doctor and 73.0% had their last optometrist appointment in more than 5 years. These findings suggested that there was a significant disparity in ocular health, including visual acuity and refractive error amongst the homeless in comparison to the general population. Further, the homeless were less likely to receive the same level of support and continued care in the community due to access barriers. These included a number of socio-economic factors such as travel expenses and regional availability of services, as well as administrative shortcomings. In conclusion, this research demonstrated unmet visual health needs within the homeless, and that inclusive policy changes may need to be implemented for better healthcare outcomes within this marginalized community.

Keywords: homelessness, refractive error, visual disability, Wales

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5 Ochratoxin-A in Traditional Meat Products from Croatian Households

Authors: Jelka Pleadin, Nina Kudumija, Ana Vulic, Manuela Zadravec, Tina Lesic, Mario Skrivanko, Irena Perkovic, Nada Vahcic

Abstract:

Products of animal origin, such as meat and meat products, can contribute to human mycotoxins’ intake coming as a result of either indirect transfer from farm animals exposed to naturally contaminated grains and feed (carry-over effects) or direct contamination with moulds or naturally contaminated spice mixtures used in meat production. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is mycotoxin considered to be of the outermost importance from the public health standpoint in connection with meat products. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of OTA in different traditional meat products circulating on Croatian markets during 2018, produced by a large number of households situated in eastern and north Croatian regions using a variety of technologies. Concentrations of OTA were determined in traditional meat products (n = 70), including dry fermented sausages (Slavonian kulen, Slavonian sausage, Istrian sausage and domestic sausage; n = 28), dry-cured meat products (pancetta, pork rack and ham; n = 22) and cooked sausages (liver sausages, black pudding sausages and pate; n = 20). OTA was analyzed by use of quantitative screening immunoassay method (ELISA) and confirmed for positive samples (higher than the limit of detection) by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method. Whereas the bacon samples contaminated with OTA were not found, its level in dry fermented sausages ranged from 0.22 to 2.17 µg/kg and in dry-cured meat products from 0.47 to 5.35 µg/kg, with in total 9% of positive samples. Besides possible primary contamination of these products arising due to improper manufacturing or/and storage conditions, observed OTA contamination could also be the consequence of secondary contamination that comes as a result of contaminated feed the animals were fed on. OTA levels obtained in cooked sausages ranged from 0.32 to 4.12 µg/kg (5% of positives) and could probably be linked to the contaminated raw materials (liver, kidney and spices) used in the sausages production. The results showed an occasional OTA contamination of traditional meat products, pointing that to avoid such contamination on households these products should be produced and processed under standardized and well-controlled conditions. Further investigations should be performed in order to identify mycotoxin-producing moulds on the surface of the products and to define preventative measures that can reduce the contamination of traditional meat products during their production on households and period of storage.

Keywords: Croatian households, ochratoxin-A, traditional cooked sausages, traditional dry-cured meat products

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4 Prevention and Treatment of Hay Fever Prevalence by Natural Products: A Phytochemistry Study on India and Iran

Authors: Tina Naser Torabi

Abstract:

Prevalence of allergy is affected by different factors according to its base and seasonal weather changes, and it also needs various treatments.Although reasons of allergy existence are not clear but generally, allergens cause reaction between antigen and antibody because of their antigenic traits. In this state, allergens cause immune system to make mistake and identify safe material as threat, therefore function of immune system impaired because of histamine secretion. There are different reasons for allergy, but herbal reasons are on top of the list, although animal causes cannot be ignored. Important point is that allergenic compounds, cause making dedicated antibody, so in general every kind of allergy is different from the other one. Therefore, most of the plants in herbal allergenic category can cause various allergies for human beings, such as respiratory allergies, nutritional allergies, injection allergies, infection allergies, touch allergies, that each of them show different symptoms based on the reason of allergy and also each of them requires different prevention and treatment. Geographical condition is another effective factor in allergy. Seasonal changes, weather condition, herbal coverage variety play important roles in different allergies. It goes without saying that humid climate and herbal coverage variety in different seasons especially spring cause most allergies in human beings in Iran and India that are discussed in this article. These two countries are good choices for allergy prevalence because of their condition, various herbal coverage, human and animal factors. Hay fever is one of the allergies, although the reasons of its prevalence are unknown yet. It is one of the most popular allergies in Iran and India because of geographical, human, animal and herbal factors. Hay fever is on top of the list in these two countries. Significant point about these two countries is that herbal factor is the most important factor in prevalence of hay fever. Variety of herbal coverage especially in spring during herbal pollination is the main reason of hay fever prevalence in these two countries. Based on the research result of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, pollination of some plants in spring is major reason of hay fever prevalence in these countries. If airborne pollens in pollination season enter the human body through air, they will cause allergic reactions in eyes, nasal mucosa, lungs, and respiratory system, and if these particles enter the body of potential person through food, they will cause allergic reactions in mouth, stomach, and other digestive systems. Occasionally, chemical materials produced by human body such as Histamine cause problems like: developing of nasal polyps, nasal blockage, sleep disturbance, risk of asthma developing, blood vasodilation, sneezing, eye tears, itching and swelling of eyes and nasal mucosa, Urticaria, decrease in blood pressure, and rarely trauma, anesthesia, anaphylaxis and finally death. This article is going to study the reasons of hay fever prevalence in Iran and India and presents prevention and treatment Method from Phytochemistry and Pharmocognocy point of view by using local natural products in these two countries.

Keywords: hay fever, India, Iran, natural treatment, phytochemistry

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3 Survey Study of Key Motivations and Drivers for Students to Enroll in Online Programs of Study

Authors: Tina Stavredes

Abstract:

Increasingly borderless learning opportunities including online learning are expanding. Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS) conducted research in February of 2017 to determine the level of consumer interest in undertaking a completely online distance learning degree program across three countries in the Asian Pacific region. The target audience was potential bachelor degree and post-degree students from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The results gathered were used to assess the market size and ascertain the business potential of online degree programs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Secondly, the results were used to determine the most receptive markets to prioritise entry and identify the most receptive student segments. In order to achieve the key outcomes, the key points of understanding were as follows: -Motivations for higher education & factors that influence the choice of institution, -Interest in online learning, -Interest in online learning from a Singapore university relative to other foreign institutions, -Key drivers and barriers of interest in online learning. An online survey was conducted from from 7th Feb 2017 to 27th Feb 2017 amongst n=600 respondents aged 21yo-45yo, who have a basic command of English, A-level qualifications and above, and who have an intent to further their education in the next 12 months. Key findings from the study regarding enrolling in an online program include the need for a marriage between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors and the flexibility and support offered in an online program. Overall, there was a high interest for online learning. Survey participants stated they are intrinsically motivated to learn because of their interest in the program of study and the need for extrinsic rewards including opportunities for employment or salary increment in their current job. Seven out of ten survey participants reported they are motivated to further their education and expand their knowledge to become more employable. Eight in ten claims that the feasibility of furthering their education depends on cost and maintaining a work-life balance. The top 2 programs of interest are business and information and communication technology. They describe their choice of university as a marriage of both motivational and feasibility factors including cost, choice, quality of support facilities, and the reputation of the institution. Survey participants reported flexibility as important and stated that appropriate support assures and grows their intent to enrol in an online program. Respondents also reported the importance of being able to work while studying as the main perceived advantage of online learning. Factors related to the choice of an online university emphasized the quality of support services. Despite concerns, overall there was a high interest for online learning. One in two expressed strong intent to enrol in an online programme of study. However, unfamiliarity with online learning is a concern including the concern with the lack of face-to-face interactions. Overall, the findings demonstrated an interest in online learning. A main driver was the ability to earn a recognised degree while still being able to be with the family and the ability to achieve a ‘better’ early career growth.

Keywords: distance education, student motivations, online learning, online student needs

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2 A Scoping Study and Stakeholder Consultation on Mental Health Determinants among Arab Immigrants and Refugees in North America

Authors: Sarah Elshahat, Tina Moffat

Abstract:

Suboptimal mental health is a considerable global public health challenge that leads to considerable inequalities worldwide. Newcomers are at elevated risk for developing mental health issues as a result of social exclusion, stigmatization, racism, unequal employment opportunities, and discrimination. The problem can be especially serious amongst Arabic-speaking immigrants and refugees (ASIR) whose mental wellness may have already been affected by exposure to political violence, persecution, hunger or war in their countries of origin. A scoping review was conducted to investigate pre- and post-migration mental health determinants amongst ASIR in North America (the U.S. and Canada), who are a rapidly growing population in both regions. Pertinent peer-reviewed papers and grey literature were located through a systematic search of five electronic databases (Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Anthropology Plus, and Sociology Database). A stakeholder consultation was implemented to validate the analyzed findings of the included 44 studies. About 80% of the studies were carried out in the US, underscoring a lack of Canadian ASIR-mental health research. A gap in qualitative, mixed-method, and longitudinal research was detected, where approximately two-thirds of the studies adopted a cross-sectional method. Pre-migration determinants of mental health were related to the political unrest, violence and armed conflict in the Arab world, increasing post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological distress levels among ASIR. English language illiteracy and generational variations in acculturation patterns were major post-migration mental health triggering factors. Exposure to domestic violence, stigmatization, poverty, racialization, and harassment were significant post-migration mental health determinants that stem from social inequalities, triggering depression, and distress amongst ASIR. Family conflicts linked to child-rearing and gendered norms were considered as both pre- and post-migration mental health triggering factors. Most post-migration mental health protective factors were socio-culturally related and included the maintenance of positive ethnic identity, faith, family support, and community cohesion. Individual resilience, articulated as self-esteem and hope, was a significant negative predictor of depression and psychological distress among ASIR. Community-engaged, mixed-methods, and longitudinal studies are required to address the current gap in mental health research among ASIR in North America. A more thorough determination of potential mental health triggers and protective factors would help inform the development of mental wellness and resilience-promoting programs that are culturally sensitive to ASIR. On the policy level, the Health in All Policies framework of the World Health Organization can be potentially useful for addressing social and health inequalities among ASIR, reducing mental health challenges.

Keywords: depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological distress, resilience

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1 Hanta Virus Infection in a Child and Sequelae

Authors: Vijay Samuel, Tina Thekkekkara, Shoma Ganguly

Abstract:

There is no reported Hanta Seoul virus infection in children in the UK so far, making it quite challenging for clinicians in diagnosing, predicting and prognosticating the outcome of the infection to patients and parents. We report a case of a ten-year-old girl who presented with pyrexia associated with headache, photophobia and abdominal pain. The family had recently acquired two pet rats six weeks ago. She appeared flushed with peri-oral pallor, coated the strawberry tongue, inflamed tonsils and bilateral cervical lymphadenopathy. Her liver and splenic edges were palpable. Investigations showed that she was thrombocytopenic with deranged renal and liver functions. An ultrasound abdomen demonstrated a mildly enlarged spleen, peripancreatic lymph node and an acalculous cholecystitis. In view of her clinical presentation, a diagnosis of leptospirosis was considered and she was commenced on intravenous benzylpenicillin. The following day she became oliguric, developed significant proteinuria and her renal function deteriorated. Following conservative management, her urine output gradually improved along with her renal function, proteinuria and thrombocytopaenia. Serology for leptospirosis and various other viruses were negative. Following discussion with the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory at Porton hanta virus serology was requested and found to be strongly positive for Seoul hanta virus. Following discharge she developed palpitations, fatigue, severe headache and cognitive difficulties including memory loss and difficulties in spelling, reading and mathematics. Extensive investigations including ECG, MRI brain and CSF studies were performed and revealed no significant abnormalities. Since 2012, there have been six cases of acute kidney injury due to Hantavirus infection in the UK. Two cases were from the Humber region and were exposure to wild rats and the other four were exposed to specially bred pet fancy rats. Hanta virus infections can cause mild flu like symptoms but two clinical syndromes are associated with severe disease including haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, which may be associated with thrombocytopenia and Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. Neuropsychological impairments reported following hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and following Puumala virus infection have been reported. Minor white matter lesions were found in about half of the patients investigated with MRI brain. Seoul virus has a global distribution owing to the dispersal of its carrier host rats, through global trade. Several ports in the region could explain the possible establishment of Seoul virus in local populations of rats in the Yorkshire and Humber region. The risk of infection for occupationally exposed groups is 1-3% compared to 32.9% for specialist pet rat owners. The report highlight’s the importance of routinely asking about pets in the family. We hope to raise awareness of the emergence of hantavirus infection in the UK, particularly in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Clinicians should consider hantavirus infection as a potential cause of febrile illness causing renal impairment in children. Awareness of the possible neuro-cognitive sequele would help the clinicians offer appropriate information and support to children and their families. Contacting Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory at Porton is a useful resource for clinicians in UK when they consider unusual infections.

Keywords: Seoul hantavirus in child Porton, UK Acute kidney injury

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