Appeals court rules in favor of ESPN

first_imgThe Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) is a public agency subject to public record laws, reversing a decision made in the trial court in Notre Dame’s favor.The University was sued by ESPN in January 2015, after Notre Dame refused to release incident reports related to student-athletes on two separate occasionThe St. Joseph County Superior Court issued a ruling in Notre Dame’s favor in April 2015. ESPN appealed the decision, and both parties presented their oral arguments to a three-judge panel on Feb. 25.The case hinges on NDSP’s status as either a private or public agency — under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA), if NDSP is considered a public agency, it would be required to release certain records. ESPN reporter Maggie Smith argued the duties of NDSP are equal to those of any public police department.“What we know from Notre Dame’s own crime logs is they arrest, search, interrogate for crimes such as rape, burglary, larceny, aggravated battery, counterfeit, drug possession, DUIs — these are not the actions of your library security guard who is there to make sure that kids don’t take books,” she said, according to an audio recording of the oral arguments available on the Indiana Judicial Branch’s website.Notre Dame attorney Damon Leichty argued the law was never intended to apply to private colleges and universities. However, since October 2014, two state officials — Public Access Counselor Luke Britt and Attorney General Greg Zoeller — have said they consider NDSP to be subject to APRA.Zoeller said in a statement that he considers the appeals court ruling to be “a qualified victory for public access and transparency, concepts my office long has supported. The public has the right to transparency and accountability when police power is being exercised,” according to the South Bend Tribune.According to the Court of Appeals ruling, NDSP does qualify as a “public agency” under APRA’s definition of the term because it exercises public functions.“It would not be appropriate for the Police Department, having availed itself of its statutory right to exercise these public functions, to then be able to circumvent public records requirements to which all other entities exercising these same functions are required to adhere,” the ruling stated.The case will return to the trial courts to determine which records NDSP will be required to produce.“We do not, as ESPN requests, find that the trial court must order the Police Department to produce the public documents ESPN sought,” the ruling stated. “We instruct the trial court to determine which of the records the Police Department was required to produce under APRA and then order the Police Department to produce only those records.”Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications at Notre Dame, said in an email that the University believes the Court of Appeals went “beyond the law.”“Since the opinion is not certified or final, it does not yet have effect, and the parties cannot act on it,” he said. “We will appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.”The appeals court ruling may have a reduced impact if Indiana House Bill 1022, a bill to change the public record requirements for private universities, is passed into law. The bill would require police departments at private colleges and universities to only release information about incidents that result in arrests or incarcerations, exempting a large portion of cases occurring on college campuses.The bill passed Indiana’s General Assembly last week and is now being considered by Gov. Mike Pence.Tags: APRA, ESPN, ESPN lawsuit, Indiana Court of Appeals, NDSPlast_img read more

Olympian Anju Bobby George resigns as Kerala Sports Council President

first_imgFollowing a spat with Kerala Sports Minister EP Jayarajan, Olympian Anju Bobby George today resigned as the president of Kerala State Sports Council. Eleven other members of the administrative board including Arjuna awardees Tom Joseph and Preeja Sreedharan also resigned today.”It is not wise to continue in this position when faced with such allegations. So I and other members of the board resign,” Anju announced to the media here.ANJU’S ALLEGATIONOn June 9, Anju had alleged that Minister EP Jayarajan had threatened her and accused her of corruption during her tenure with the Sports Council. “I had gone to meet him on a courtesy call. Instead of speaking about what we have done and what we plan to do, he said we were aligned to the previous government,” said the Olympic long jump athlete.”Sports is above any party or religion,” said Anju.Both, the Sports Minister and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had denied the allegations. After her resignation, EP Jayarajan said, “we did not ask her to resign. She wanted to resign, she resigned. Very happy. Media brought out the corruption in the Sports Council. May be she could not answer them that’s why she resigned.”Responding to allegations that her brother Ajith Marcose was appointed in the council due to her influence, Anju said “we do not have the authority to make appointments. We only act on government orders. He is a certified coach. Files can be checked to see his eligibility. I think his only ineligibility is that he is the brother of the Sports Council president.”advertisementAnju had written an open letter to the Sports Minister on June 11 requesting a probe into the corruption allegations not just during her tenure but the last ten years.last_img read more

Researchers rein in slicehappy gene editor CRISPR

first_img“I think that this is a potential breakthrough,” says Jin-Soo Kim, a molecular biologist at Seoul National University who was not involved with the work. But the quest to perfect CRISPR doesn’t have a clear end. “No drugs are free of off-target effects,” he notes. With CRISPR-based therapies still far from human testing, no one knows just how precise is precise enough.CRISPR relies on a DNA-cutting enzyme called Cas9 attached to a short strand of RNA that guides it to specific point in the genome. When the RNA finds a complementary—or nearly complementary—sequence, Cas9 makes its slice. There are already several approaches to prevent unintended slicing. Shortening the length of the guide RNA makes it more sensitive to mismatched sequences, but it can also create entirely new off-target effects. Some labs have experimented with a version of Cas9 that cuts through a single DNA strand instead of two. That means two Cas9 enzymes bearing two different guide RNAs have to recognize their target sequences to cut both strands—a more demanding matching process. But doubling the number of RNA guides adds bulk, which could make it harder to deliver a CRISPR-based treatment into cells.In the new work, published online today in Nature, Joung and colleagues took a different approach. They modified the Cas9 enzyme itself to change the way it interacts with DNA. They first altered some of the “residues” on the enzyme’s surface that presumably help the guide RNA pair with its matching DNA strand. One set of modifications created a new variant of Cas9, called Cas9-HF1, that appears to be much more discriminating in its cuts. The researchers made seven different edits guided by seven different RNA strands, each known to produce off-target effects with Cas9. But Cas9-HF1 showed no detectable off-target effects in six of these cases—and just one errant slice in the seventh, they report. Joung adds that the apparent slice could actually be the result of a sequencing error.The results come on the heels of a similar feat, led by CRISPR pioneer Feng Zhang of Harvard University and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, published last month in Science. That team modified Cas9 to change how it interacts with a different part of a cell’s DNA. It, too, dramatically improved CRISPR’s specificity. But it’s hard to compare those results directly with the new paper because they used slightly different methods to measure off-target effects.Joung claims his group’s measurements are roughly 10-fold more sensitive than the one used in the Science paper. Both studies rely on methods that attach molecular tags to all points in the genome where a double-stranded break has occurred, before sequencing the short, flagged segments to count the cuts in various genes. Joung’s team claims to detect edits that occur in at least 0.1% of the genome. Zhang says the method used in his paper has been validated down 0.3%, and it may be even more sensitive.Does detecting just a couple of faulty cuts in a thousand matter? Absolutely, Joung says. “A lot of therapeutic strategies envision manipulating millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of cells, potentially. So one in 1000 sounds pretty good, but that number can become quite large.” He argues that the field needs tests that root out these potentially harmful effects at frequencies of 0.01% or even lower.Others are less focused on increasingly sensitive tests. Because CRISPR will never fully be rid of off-target effects, the key question for a given therapy is not strictly how many unwanted cuts it makes, but whether it disrupts any essential genes, says Jiing-Kuan Yee, a molecular biologist at the research center City of Hope in Duarte, California. Each therapeutic application will require its own carefully selected Cas9 molecule—and modifications like those in the two recent papers might be combined.“Pretty soon, I think everybody’s going to start using these modified Cas9s,” he says. “The [off-target] problem will still be there, but it’s going to be much, much reduced.” Click to view the privacy policy. 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Countrycenter_img Email Keith Joung remembers the first time he took CRISPR for a spin. In late 2012, the pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston assembled the components of the new gene-editing technology and fiddled with the DNA of a zebrafish embryo. “It was so easy to do,” he says. “It was just stunning.”CRISPR—the highly efficient set of molecular scissors recently selected as Science’s Breakthrough of the Year—might be easy to use, but it’s not perfect. Joung and his colleagues soon found that these scissors could get too slice-happy, cutting DNA in unexpected and unwanted locations. In early experiments, the group observed that these off-target effects could occur at some DNA sites with nearly the same frequency as the desired edits. That’s a problem if CRISPR is to form the basis of human therapies, for example, repairing the defective genes that cause muscular dystrophy or hereditary liver disease. Researchers’ primary concern is that cutting into an unwanted gene could cause uncontrolled growth and cancer.Now, Joung and colleagues have found a way to make CRISPR more precise. In a new study, they modified its cutting enzyme to reduce off-target effects below detectable levels.last_img read more