ST. LOUIS (AP) — Washington University in St. Louis said Monday that it has stopped using sedated cats to train medical students how to insert breathing tubes down babies’ throats, effectively ending the practice in the U.S., according to a medical ethics group.
The university’s School of Medicine said in a statement that after a “significant investment” in its simulation center, it will now provide neonatal intubation training using only mannequins and advanced simulators, effective immediately.
The school said improvements in simulators made the change possible. Cats currently at the university are being adopted by employees of the medical center.
“In the 25-plus years the university has relied on cats in teaching this procedure, none was harmed during training,” the statement read.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a medical ethics nonprofit, applauded the decision, saying the practice was cruel to animals and unnecessary for students. The group said it was the last of the 198 U.S. pediatrics programs still using cats.
“The best way to teach emergency airway intervention is on human-relevant training methods. I commend Washington University for switching to modern methods,” said Dr. John Pippin, director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee.
Washington University’s use of cats has drawn criticism in recent years, with critics contending that the animals suffer pain and injuries ranging from cracked teeth to punctured lungs. Protests broke out in 2013 after an undercover video of the university’s training in pediatric advanced life support was released by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The video shows a trainee putting tubes down the throat of a sedated cat, sometimes struggling to get it right. However, the medical school continued using sedated cats in other training programs prior to Monday’ announcement.
But university officials have said the lab consistently met federal Animal Welfare Act standards, including passing an inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture soon after the PETA video.
Other teaching labs have used simulators for years, but Washington University previously cited research indicating that pediatric doctors in training only succeed in 20 percent to 35 percent of their initial attempts to intubate infants, justifying the need for animals in training.
The program previously used ferrets, too, but university spokeswoman Judy Martin said ferrets have not been used for many years.
The military operation to wrest Mosul from the Islamic State group could potentially become the single largest, most complex humanitarian operation in the world in 2016, a U.N. official said Monday.
Speaking via video-link from Iraq, Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said that in the worst case scenario, some 1 million civilians could flee the city with 700,000 of them requiring shelter — overwhelming emergency sites that currently only have the capacity to hold 60,000 people.
“Our capacity to support 700,000 people in the short-term — we couldn’t do it. And certainly if we had to mount a response over the intermediate-term, if they couldn’t go back to Mosul quickly, if there was too much damage in the city, then it would test us to the breaking point,” Grande said.
She said that the U.N. was especially concerned about the safety of the estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million civilians inside Mosul who may get caught in the fighting. She said officials were also concerned that IS had already booby trapped parts of Mosul and positioned snipers within the city.
“In the worst case scenario, we can’t rule out the possibility that there may be a chemical weapons attack. We also fear that ISIL, as they did in Fallujah, may try and hold civilian populations either as human shields or forcibly expel huge numbers of civilians in the face of an attack by the Iraqi security forces knowing the Iraqi forces will not fire on their own people,” Grande said, using another acronym for the Islamic State group.
Grande said she has heard reports of people charging as much as $10,000 to smuggle people out of Mosul ahead of the operation to retake the city that was launched Monday. She said that, so far, the U.N. hasn’t detected any population movements but that they were expected within the coming days.
Largely due to a lack of funding from the international community, the U.N. and its partners have only set up six emergency sites with a capacity to hold some 60,000 people. But Grande said in the next few weeks 22 emergency sites should be in place with a capacity to hold over 400,000 people — far short of the 700,000 people who could potentially flood out of the city.
“W, we’re still short and everyone who’s working on this operation knows that. We’re continuing to discuss with authorities what might have to happen,” Grande said.
Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell to IS in the summer of 2014. Weeks later the head of the extremist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the formation of a self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque.
If successful, the liberation of Mosul would be the biggest blow yet to the Islamic State group.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is testing the financial limits of its streaming video service as the rising cost of producing original programming pushes up subscription prices.
The latest reminder came Monday with the company’s third-quarter earnings report, which revealed that Netflix added 370,000 U.S. subscribers. That marks its second consecutive quarter of slowing U.S. growth since lifting a two-year rate freeze and increasing prices by as much as 20 percent for more than 20 million existing subscribers.
While the latest quarterly subscriber gain exceeded management’s modest projections, it fell far below the 880,000 U.S. customers that Netflix picked up at the same time last year. The deceleration occurred even though the latest period included the July debut of “Stranger Things,” which turned into one of the summer’s surprise hits.
Netflix is now faring far better overseas as it tries to diversify its video library to suit the tastes of 189 other countries. The company added 3.2 million international subscribers in the third quarter, surpassing the 2.7 million it gained at the same time last year when it was operating in about 130 fewer countries.
Investors were thrilled with the international progress and the better-than-expected showing in the U.S. Netflix’s stock surged nearly 20 percent to $119.91 in extended trading.
The drop-off in U.S. subscriber gains underscores the delicate balancing act the company is trying to pull off as it seeks to retain and attract customers while also financing its ambitious expansion overseas amid fierce competition from Amazon and HBO.
It’s an expensive challenge, which is why Netflix raised the price for its most popular U.S. plan from $8 to $10 per month. And the pressure to continue increasing rates every few years seems likely to continue, though Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Monday that that there are no plans to raise prices again anytime soon.
On average, Netflix said, it is collecting 10 percent more for its subscribers worldwide than a year ago. About 25 percent of the U.S. subscribers still covered by the rate freeze imposed in 2014 will have their prices raised by year’s end.
“With more revenue, we can reinvest to further improve Netflix to attract new members from around the world, while continuing to delight our existing customers,” Hastings wrote in a letter reviewing the third-quarter results.
After spending $5 billion on original programing and licensing rights to other shows this year, Netflix has earmarked another $6 billion for next year. Only Walt Disney Co. and NBC are spending more on programming, based on an analysis of 2015 data, according to the research firm IHS Markit. Netflix expects to offer 1,000 hours of original shows and movies next year, up from 600 hours this year.
But the price increases that help finance new shows threaten to become counter-productive if they drive away too many of the existing 47.5 million U.S. subscribers or discourage potential new customers from signing up.
Netflix does not disclose how many of its subscribers cancel each quarter, but Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter estimates that about 1 million U.S. households opened new accounts from July through September. That means about 600,000 subscribers abandoned the service during the third quarter, if Pachter’s calculations are accurate.
Even at $10 per month, RBS analyst Mark Mahaney contends that Netflix remains a bargain for the average U.S. subscriber, who watches about 60 hours of programming each month, more time spent viewing other popular cable TV channels. By Mahaney’s calculations, the average Netflix subscriber in the U.S. is paying the equivalent of 17 cents per hour of programming watched versus a range of 25 cents to 38 cents per hour for every hour of programming watching on AMC, FX, CNN, CBS, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.
For that reason, Mahaney believes Netflix will still be able to raise its monthly prices by a few more dollars during the next four years and still reach 160 million worldwide subscribers in 2020. Netflix ended September with nearly 87 million worldwide customers.
For now, Netflix is leaning on its streaming and DVD-by-mail business in the U.S. to subsidize unprofitable overseas operations. The company is promising to make money internationally next year. Overall, Netflix’s third-quarter earnings nearly doubled from the same time last year to $51.5 million, or 12 cents per share.
Netflix had hoped to expand into China on its own, but said Monday that it will instead license some of its content to other providers that already have cleared the country’s regulatory hurdles governing the kind of video that can be shown there.
LOS GATOS, Calif. (AP) — Netflix Inc. (NFLX) on Monday reported third-quarter profit of $51.5 million.
On a per-share basis, the Los Gatos, California-based company said it had net income of 12 cents.
The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 6 cents per share.
The internet video service posted revenue of $2.29 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Twelve analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.28 billion.
Netflix shares have fallen 13 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased 4 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Monday, shares hit $99.80, up less than 1 percent for the year.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on NFLX at http://www.zacks.com/ap/NFLX
Keywords: Netflix, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia man arrested in a sting operation has pleaded guilty to trying to help the Islamic State group, and faces up to 20 years in prison.
Twenty-six-year-old Haris Qamar (keh-MARR’) of Burke admitted in federal court in Alexandria on Monday that he used the handle “newerajihadi” on Twitter to promote the Islamic State.
Prosecutors say Qamar worked with a government informant to film and photograph landmarks in the D.C. region, including the Pentagon, for use in propaganda videos to encourage lone-wolf attacks.
After Monday’s hearing, Qamar’s father said his son lost touch with reality as he adopted the online persona of an Islamic radical.
WASHINGTON (AP) — After a week of revelations and allegations about Donald Trump’s behavior toward women, a third party twist lends an unprecedented level of uncertainty to one conservative stronghold.
The Associated Press this week moves Utah to a tossup after recent polls there showed a narrowing gap between the Republican nominee and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
While Clinton may not have much upside in a state defined by its relationship with the Mormon church, support for independent Evan McMullin and Libertarian Gary Johnson adds unpredictability to usually Republican Utah.
Two polls conducted in Utah this week, by Monmouth University and Y2 Analytics, showed a 6-point Trump lead and a tie between Trump and Clinton. But both surveys showed McMullin not far behind, earning support from about 2 in 10 likely voters, and Johnson from about 1 in 10.
In both polls, about 7 in 10 Utah voters expressed an unfavorable view of the major party nominees.
After the release of a 2005 video of Trump making sexually predatory comments to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush, the Church of Latter-day Saints-owned Deseret News newspaper published an editorial calling for the GOP nominee to step aside, saying: “What oozes from this audio is evil.”
McMullin, who is still mostly unknown to Utah voters, appears to have the greatest potential to capitalize on distaste for the GOP nominee. Though running as an independent, he’s a Republican and a Mormon, born in Utah and a graduate of Brigham Young University.
The AP analysis is of the map as it stands today. It considers preference polling, recent electoral history, demographic trends and campaign priorities such as advertising, travel and on-the-ground staff.
AP also this week moves the 2nd Congressional Districts in Maine and Nebraska to toss-ups. Both states award a single electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district.
Polls show Clinton ahead of Trump nationally, and she maintains edges in enough states to win the White House if she can hold on to her current leads.
SOLID DEMOCRATIC: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state (200 total electoral votes).
LEANS DEMOCRATIC: Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin (72 total electoral votes).
TOSS-UP: Florida, Maine 2nd District, Nebraska 2nd District, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah (76 total electoral votes).
LEANS REPUBLICAN: Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri (43 total electoral votes).
SOLID REPUBLICAN: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming (147 total electoral votes).
Follow AP Polling Editor Emily Swanson on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/EL—Swan
Want to chart your own path along the Road to 270? Figure out how Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can get the Electoral College votes they’ll need to win the White House with AP’s interactive map: http://elections.ap.org/content/road-270-0