Registries Could Offer Insight Into COVID-19’s Impact on College Athletes’ Hearts


TUESDAY, Jan. 12, 2021 (American Heart Association News)

Researchers are soon expected to release initial findings from a national cardiac registry of NCAA athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19, giving hope to health care professionals trying to better understand the impact of the disease on the heart.

The data could help doctors diagnose and treat athletes recovering from COVID-19 who have developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart. While the number of such cases known publicly among athletes is low, the American College of Cardiology’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology Leadership Council has outlined recommendations for when athletes who have tested positive for the coronavirus can resume physical activity. Guidelines include cardiac testing for those who had COVID-19 symptoms.

Sports medicine and cardiology experts at Harvard University and the University of Washington formed the national registry in collaboration with the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association to track cases of COVID-19 and its heart-related aftermath in NCAA athletes. More than 60 schools are currently contributing to the registry.

Before COVID-19, myocarditis accounted for 7% to 20% of deaths attributed to sudden cardiac events in young athletes, according to a recent study in the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. But data on heart injury in athletes recovering from COVID-19 is limited.

“Registry data of cardiac testing and outcomes in athletes after COVID-19 are needed to guide future screening strategies,” the study authors said.

The research database, called Outcomes Registry for Cardiac Conditions in Athletes, or ORCCA, already has collected data from more than 3,000 athletes. It initially will focus on athletes who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to identify how the condition impacts the cardiovascular system and injures the heart muscle, the AMSSM statement said. The long-term objective is a registry for athletes diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, regardless of whether it was related to COVID-19.

“You wouldn’t want someone working out intensely in the middle of an inflammation of the heart because it could weaken the heart in the long term,” said Dr. Rachel Lampert, a cardiologist with Yale Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. She is on the steering committee for the registry. “That’s why the question is particularly relevant in athletes.”

According to a small study published in September in JAMA Cardiology, 4 out of 26 athletes (15%) from Ohio State University who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and underwent heart MRIs had results “suggestive of myocarditis.”

Ohio State, which lost to the University of Alabama in Monday’s college football championship, is among the 14 schools in the Big Ten Conference. The conference has its own cardiac registry and is contributing to ORCCA.

Dr. Eugene H. Chung is an electrophysiologist and sports cardiologist at Michigan Medicine and member of the Big Ten Cardiac Registry Steering Committee. “It would be very interesting to get a sense of how often we’re seeing myocarditis in student-athletes infected with COVID-19 – we don’t quite know that yet,” said Chung, who also is chair of ACC’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology Leadership Council.

The Big Ten plans to separately review its registry data and have specialists not involved in the initial data collection report independently on findings from cardiovascular evaluations. The Big Ten registry also will include control groups of athletes not affected by COVID-19 and those suffering from other illnesses such as the flu to compare cardiac risk among all three groups.

“With the cardiac registry, the Big Ten will take the lead to further our understanding of the athletic heart as well as the course of COVID-19 infection in the collegiate student-athlete population,” Chung and fellow conference registry steering committee members wrote in a recent article in the AHA journal Circulation.

“Our findings will be informative for broader public health policy as we fight coronavirus and all strive for safe return to play.”

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]




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Politicising Trade & Investment Issues, Slammed By Chinese Government

probuild

Following Australia’s decision to block a $300 million bid from a Chinese company for the Australian construction firm Probuild, the Chinese government slammed this decision. The latter accused the Federal Government of undermining trust between the two countries, which has further complicated the deteriorating relationship of both.

It was earlier this week when Probuild announced that state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation had withdrawn its offer upon Treasurer Josh Frydenberg suggesting blocking the sale due to national security reasons.

Zhao Lijian, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has criticized this directive Tuesday evening whom then accused the Australian Government in discriminating Chinese entities.

At a press briefing in Beijing, he said “This is the latest example of how the Australian government has been politicising trade and investment issues, violating market principles and the spirit of the China-Australia free trade agreement, and imposing discriminatory measures on Chinese companies. It is a mistake to politicize normal commercial cooperation and seek political interference in the name of national security.”

He added, “We hope Australia will adhere to the principle of an open market and fair competition and provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies including Chinese ones.”

Probuild is an Australian subsidiary of the South African company Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon. The Federal Government has not confirmed it had blocked the sale, saying it does not comment on the way it screens individual foreign investment cases.

However, one industry source has told media that the Government was troubled the takeover might permit foreign intelligence services to gather information about critical infrastructure in Australia.

Last year, for instance, the United State Government listed it as a Chinese military company because of its links with the People’s Liberation Army, blocking investors from taking a stake in it.

That was after the fact that Probuild is constructing the Melbourne HQs of biotech firm CSL, which will soon be the centre of production for locally produced COVID-19 vaccines for millions of Australians, as well as new headquarters for the Victorian Police.

On the contrary, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation is one of the world’s largest construction companies, hence, the question might be raised if this would be a huge loss for the country.

As of now, regulators are given greater powers to review and scrutinize investments that could have national security implications, thus, Australian Government advocated new and strict foreign investment measures that came effective January 1 this year.

Now, there is no denying that the decision could likely add fuel to the raging tensions between Australia and China.

(Image source: ABC News)

Cardinal directors accept Shandong offer



All directors of Perth-based Cardinal Resources have accepted a takeover proposal from China’s Shandong Gold, which recently raised its offer price to $1.075 per share.

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Your 401(k) Could Soon Offer Annuities for Lifetime Income


Target-date funds are about to undergo a major face-lift. These asset-allocation funds in your 401(k), with end dates like 2030 or 2040 to match your expected retirement, will soon add more unusual investments—annuities and perhaps even private equity—to their stock/bond portfolio mix.

The biggest fund companies have been working for years to come up with a retirement income product that rivals annuities, which are insurance products. Now, thanks to recent regulation, they don’t need to. According to a survey of the largest target-date fund managers published in December by financial research firm Cerulli Associates, some 92% of target-date management firms expect that a deferred-income annuity allocation will be part of target-date investments in the future. Deferred-income annuities are insurance contracts in which the buyer gives an insurer a lump sum in exchange for guaranteed lifetime income that begins at a later date.

Theoretically, annuities are a sensible addition to target-date funds. For decades, the U.S. government and the financial-services industry have been trying to fix 401(k) plans because many employees don’t save enough and run out of assets. Like Social Security, lifetime annuity income would alleviate that.

The shift is coming now because of the 2019 passage of the Secure Act, which encourages annuity additions by reducing 401(k) plan sponsors’ potential legal liability for partnering with an annuity provider. It also allows greater portability of annuities. “Say you change employers, and your new employer’s plan does not [allow] that annuity,” says Shawn O’Brien, a Cerulli retirement markets analyst. “You can roll it over into an [individual retirement account]—ideally that annuity provider’s IRA—penalty-free and without the tax liability of terminating your annuity contract.”

Read More in Funds Quarterly

Though they aren’t yet available in any 401(k)s, both

BlackRock

(ticker: BLK) and

Wells Fargo

(WFC) announced annuity-linked target-date investments last year—BlackRock’s LifePath Paycheck and Wells Fargo’s Retirement Income Solution.

Yet these aren’t mutual funds, but collective investment trusts, or CITs, institutional investments available only through 401(k)s and other qualified retirement accounts. The CIT is an increasingly popular structure for portfolios in 401(k) plans, and 40% of the some $2 trillion in target-date strategies is in CITs.

“We have about $45 billion in target-date mutual funds and about $200 billion in [target date] CITs,” says Nick Nefouse, BlackRock’s head of LifePath strategies. Because CITs aren’t regulated like mutual funds, there are fewer legal hurdles for including annuities. “I am laser-focused on LifePath Paycheck in collective investment trusts,” says Nefouse. “Once we’re close to getting that done, we’ll shift to mutual funds.”

Both BlackRock and Wells Fargo are working on getting 401(k) plan sponsors to adopt the new products—a tough endeavor, as sponsors move slowly in this highly regulated arena. Yet interest in guaranteed-income investments has spiked because of 2020’s volatility, according to Cerulli.

BlackRock has been trying to simulate lifetime-income strategies since at least 2014, with a series of CoRI target-date funds, such as

BlackRock CoRI 2023

(BCZAX), that provide employees with an estimated amount of retirement income for life if they follow BlackRock’s CoRI retirement calculator’s savings recommendations. Yet such estimates aren’t the same as an annuity’s guarantee, and don’t address longevity risk—that someone lives much longer than the statistical average in retirement calculations.


There’s going to be an evolution that is going to be absolutely great.


— Nick Nefouse, head of LifePath strategies at BlackRock

The new LifePath Paycheck will be paired with lifetime-income annuities underwritten by the Equitable Financial Life Insurance and Brighthouse Life Insurance companies. When its investors reach age 55, the CIT will begin shifting as much as 30% of the overall portfolio from bonds to what Nefouse calls “lifetime income units,” which are “liquid,” or tradable; modeled on BlackRock’s CoRi’s allocation strategies; and represent the CIT’s underlying group annuity contracts. After age 59½, which is the 401(k) minimum retirement age, investors can convert their group annuity contract into an individual annuity contract for which they will start receiving lifetime income immediately.

Historically, high fees and a lack of transparency have plagued the annuity industry. But much of that bad reputation has been for annuities sold to individual investors with high commissions. BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world, and famous for its low-cost index exchange-traded funds. “Our institutional target-date funds generally have investment management fees of about [0.1%] or less,” says Nefouse. Although fees haven’t been disclosed yet, the annuities that BlackRock will offer via 401(k) target-date products will be institutionally priced with no commissions, he says.

Yet opacity and complexity are still problems. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that managers can structure their annuity target-date products very differently. Wells Fargo’s Retirement Income Solution employs a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract, or QLAC, structure that requires a smaller allocation in the CIT—15%—than BlackRock’s, but the annuity pays income only after the investor reaches age 85. If the investor dies before that age, his or her heirs get the entire premium paid for the annuity. “One of the reasons for using the QLAC is that, relative to the rest of the portfolio, the annuity is more expensive,” says Nate Miles, head of retirement at Wells Fargo Asset Management. “So, by pushing the date out and minimizing the allocation, we can minimize the impact of that higher cost.”

High costs, opacity, and illiquidity are also problems that plague the private-equity sector, yet some 30% of managers in the Cerulli survey said they would consider offering that option or are actively looking into it after the U.S. Department of Labor issued a letter approving of such investments in 401(k)s last June.

While Nefouse says annuities in 401(k)s are imminent, private equity is still in its early days: “Think about target-date funds not in 2020 or 2021, but in 2035,” he says. “There’s going to be an evolution that is going to be absolutely great.”

Whether target-date investors will feel the same way remains to be seen.

Email: editors@barrons.com

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Adelaide’s shamed 36ers rebound and offer hope of contest


As a lover of subcontinental cricket and a man who had one of the lightest pairs of feet in cricket, Jones would no doubt have been even more excitable than usual over the fact that the MCG pitch was turning from the first hour. Certainly it excited Ashwin, who continued his graph of sharp improvement on Australian soil. The spinner has turned the past sharply around. Here, he was probably liberated by the fact that Virat Kohli is not around to put him on notice whenever he bowls a bad spell.

Steve Smith departs for a duck as Australia slumped to 3-38 before being bowled out for 195.Credit:Getty

Anxiety levels about Australia’s top order continued to rise. Whether pondering this series or next summer’s Ashes, the brains trust have been left with plenty to think about. Clearly, the reliance on Steve Smith and David Warner is no less with them available than when they were not.

Again Joe Burns failed against a first-morning new ball, out for a duck and fortunate to get that many. Australia continues to wait not for one but two openers. Matthew Wade was responsible for the hosts’ only patch of fluent scoring, unleashing some fine cover-drives, but Wade is an attacking middle-order player and performed as such, holing out after an entertaining cameo.

The collapse was on. Like someone trying to make it home after a Boxing Day lunch, Smith fell around the corner. He has made fewer runs in the series than Josh Hazlewood.

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The really interesting partnership, and the centre of Australia’s investment for the future, was that of Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head. They were together from the 15th over until the 42nd, the meat of the day. At no point did they score freely, subject to unrelenting danger from Bumrah and Ashwin, with good support from first-gamer Mohammed Siraj.

Labuschagne is the one Australia is watching. Two years ago he was a coach’s pet project, a modestly performed state player given a chance more for his attitude than his record. He came home last summer as the surprise package of the Ashes, and two months later he had turned himself into one of world cricket’s heavyweights. Had Australia discovered a new champion or benefited from a form spike?

The indicators, on Boxing Day, pointed both ways. International bowlers have been able to plot their way around Labuschagne’s strengths, and India’s are among the best at maintaining disciplined plans. As in Adelaide, he was becalmed for long periods. Yet to his credit he batted maturely for the best part of four hours. He rectified the glitchy loose hook shot, and his defence was increasingly watertight the longer he batted. In some ways these innings might be the making of Labuschagne: not the glorious parade of 2019-20, but the workmanlike output of a maturing individual tested by world-class opponents.

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Head, meanwhile, might or might not have been batting for his place. Was he or wasn’t he? When is he not? As with much in his short career, the South Australian produced a bit of both, a grim struggle followed by a promising rhythm followed by a loose get-out shot. He might play for 10 years for Australia with the jury still out. There have been plenty like that.

Ultimately, like the MCG itself, Australia’s innings was a glass one-third full. The arguments were put forward but none was taken to its conclusion. This will unsettle a unit striving for perfection, but it’s no bad thing for Test cricket. Another successful day or two, and India can give the cricket public the contest it is craving.

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Australian federal staffers reject government bosses’ pay offer | Australia news


Federal political staffers have rejected the government’s pay offer, despite most being employed by the Coalition.

On Wednesday evening the finance minister, Simon Birmingham, announced the proposal to tie staffers’ pay to record low wage growth in the Australian economy had been defeated, 59% to 41%.

Given Coalition MPs and senators are half of parliament and receive a more generous staffing allocation in government, the result implies a strong rejection of the pay offer among Labor and crossbench staff combined with at least a third of Coalition staff abstaining or rejecting their bosses’ offer.

In November the government issued a new bargaining policy that public sector pay rises will be capped at the level of the private sector.

The vote means the government will have to go back to the drawing board for an agreement to cover 2,000 parliamentary staff and signals it will face resistance to the policy in other departments and agencies.

In the first year of the deal, the government offered a pay rise of 1.7% for junior staff including electorate officers, 0.85% for advisers, and 0% for senior staff.

The offer, to take effect in six months, would likely amount to a real pay cut for senior staff given inflation was positive in the September quarter.

In years two and three of the deal, the government offered salary and allowance adjustments equal to the private sector wage price index.

With private sector wage growth at record lows of 1.2% in the year to September 2020, the Community and Public Sector Union has warned this could amount to a real pay cut for all staff.

The union is also concerned the pay offer does not grant staffers superannuation during paid parental leave and would require them to exhaust personal and carers leave before accessing miscellaneous leave in cases of domestic violence.

The CPSU acting national secretary, Alistair Waters, welcomed the “resounding no” vote at the first agency to vote on an offer in line with the new policy.

“With this new policy, the Coalition government shows its disregard for the growing problem of wage stagnation in Australia, when we need to kickstart the economy,” he said.

“But CPSU members have sent a comprehensive message to the government, that no worker should face such uncertainty especially in the middle of a pandemic.

“Government staffers couldn’t stomach their own bosses bargaining policy. This is a clear sign that it will fail, hurting workers and the economy along the way.”

In April the government froze public sector pay rises, an austerity move at the time the Australian economy entered its first recession for 29 years.

Even before the Covid-19 recession, wage growth in Australia was sluggish, with the Reserve Bank warning rises of 2-3% were the “new normal”. The mid-year economic and fiscal update projected wage growth of 1.25-1.5%.

In December the Coalition introduced an industrial relations bill that would allow pay deals that fail the Better Off Overall Test due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses, prompting Labor to warn workers could face pay cuts of thousands of dollars a year.



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EU’s Barnier tells member states latest UK fish offer “unacceptable”


December 22, 2020

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told the 27 national envoys to Brussels on Tuesday that fisheries remained a stumbling bloc in talks with the UK on a post-Brexit trade deal, an EU diplomatic source said.

Barnier said the latest offer on sharing out fish catches from 2021 was “totally unacceptable”, said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity after the closed-door update on the talks.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Kevin Liffey)





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ON OFFER: 5 jobs paying more than $100,000 a year


Job hunters across the Mackay region can take their pick from more than 600 jobs ripe to choose from.

Here are a handful in the six-figure bracket.

 

1. Whitsunday Regional Council infrastructure delivery co-ordinator

The infrastructure delivery co-ordinator will be responsible for managing the operations of the capital delivery team. Picture: Files

An opportunity exists with the infrastructure services directorate for an infrastructure delivery co-ordinator.

Reporting to the infrastructure delivery deputy director, the successful candidate will be responsible for managing the overall operations of the capital delivery team within the infrastructure delivery section and ensure the safe and efficient management of the council’s objectives.

Level 8 – $98,200 to $110,400 p/a (plus scheduled over time)

Council vehicle or vehicle allowance also provide d

 

2. Whitsunday Regional Council manager – Proserpine Entertainment Centre

The Proserpine Entertainment Centre is due for completion in the second half of 2021. Photo: Lee Constable

The Proserpine Entertainment Centre is due for completion in the second half of 2021. Photo: Lee Constable

An opportunity exists for an experienced, motivated and driven professional to manage the operations of the Proserpine Entertainment Centre.

The centre, currently under construction and due for completion in the second half of 2021 will feature a multipurpose auditorium and stage, retractable tiered seating with 380 seats, kitchen, cafe, bar, ticketing area, toilets and dressing rooms.

Other features include a garden and street foyer, cinema screen, art installation, loading and scenery dock, technical theatre equipment and an outdoor performance centre.

Whitsunday Regional Council is seeking an outstanding candidate to exercise overall strategic and operational management of the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, actively seeking opportunities to use the facility for the benefit of the Whitsunday Region.

4-year contract/full-time

Location – Proserpine

Base Salary $120,000 per annum plus superannuation

More stories:

Huge project pipeline delivers massive job opportunities

Plan to kickstart Mackay’s sluggish housing market

 

3. Roc Consulting territory sales manager

This national business has been operating for more than 15 years and produces a number of industrial and mining designed capital equipment solutions.

Known for their work hard play hard culture and heavy team-oriented mentality, they boast a fantastic company culture with little staff turnover.

An external account and business development management position has now become available because of rapid growth and demand in the Bowen Basin and Mackay.

The key territory manager will manage all relationships and bring on any viable opportunities in the Mackay and Bowen Basin area.

Salary Package with up to $130,000 + Super + Vehicle depending upon experience.

Great commission structure based on realistic expectations that reward a true sales hunter.

 

 

4. Mackay Regional Council – Project Manager

Mackay Regional Council is looking for a project manager to join its team. Photo: Zizi Averill

Mackay Regional Council is looking for a project manager to join its team. Photo: Zizi Averill

An opportunity has become available for an outstanding project management professional to join a vibrant local government organisation and to contribute to the Mackay region during a period of growth and transformation.

This role is as diverse as the region we live in, so you will get to manage high-cost and high-profile projects, such as; libraries, pools, roads, water treatment plants, tourist centres and even whale watching lookouts. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Annual base salary from $107,326 plus allowances as applicable

Superannuation contributions up to 18% (conditions apply)

Choice of four or five weeks’ annual leave with 17.5% leave loading, f lexible working arrangements with an RDO, e mployee assistance support.

 

5. C-Mac Solutions Pty Ltd

C-Mac Solutions is looking for an electrician and refrigeration technician wanting to expand their skills. Picture: Brenton Edwards

C-Mac Solutions is looking for an electrician and refrigeration technician wanting to expand their skills. Picture: Brenton Edwards

Be a part of one of Central Queensland’s most inclusive and welcoming communities, while maintaining job security and satisfaction in uncertain times.

C-Mac Solutions is recruiting electricians and refrigeration technicians who enjoy working directly with customers and have a genuine interest in expanding their skillset, as our business offers a variety of work activities.

While years of experience are not essential, the company says it values the right attitude and work ethic within our work force.

It is a locally owned and operated family business based in Clermont offering full-time positions with:

Great work/family life balance, f lexible hours/roster, a bove award wage of $110,000 to $129,000, a ssistance with relocation/travel & accommodation

 

Subscriber benefits:

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