The arguments between Amazon and Google are surely a thing of the past. In yet another promise meant to mend the broken relations, a few months ago, Amazon had promised to bring the Alexa smart assistant to Sony’s TVs running Android. In a recent development, Amazon has released a new app in the Google Play Store for Google’s Android TV platform, making it possible to use Alexa on selecte Android TVs of the Sony Bravia line-up. The Amazon Alexa Music, Cameras and TV Control app is available to download for free from the Google Play Store for those with compatible Sony Android TV sets.The app is currently available in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, France, Austria, and the Republic of Ireland. It allows the Sony Bravia TV users to listen to music from Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and much more. Once you install the app on your television sets, select a group for your TV and complete the guided Sony set-up. It will allow the subscribers to use an Alexa enabled speaker to view your cameras or play music through your TV. However, make sure that you have all the skills for music providers and cameras using the Alexa mobile app enabled. Amazon Alexa will also be able to change the channel, adjust the volume, switch inputs, and control media playback for your TV, as needed. The release came in after Amazon and Google decided to put an end to their rivalry in April and came to an agreement to be more accepting of each other’s respective products moving forward. In the past, Google and Amazon haven’t always gotten along. While there was a long absence of Prime Video on Android or Android TV devices, Amazon had also removed the Chrome cast from its store in the past. But it has since been promised that Prime Video will be rolled out for Android TV while the Amazon Fire TV devices will get the official YouTube app as well. aiAlexaAlexa on Google Play Storeamazon First Published: June 27, 2019, 10:36 AM IST
New Delhi: As the BJP crossed the 300 seat mark in the Lok Sabha elections, it was the ninth time that any single party has achieved such a feat.The BJP has already won 302 seats and was ahead in one seat in the 543-member Lower House of Parliament. In 1952, when the first Lok Sabha election was conducted, the Congress had won 398 of 543 seats under the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, as per the data available on the official Lok Sabha website.Nehru repeated the feat in 1957, by winning 395 of 537 seats and in 1962, by bagging 394 of 540 seats.In 1967, under Indira Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress won 303 seats out of 553.In 1971, the party represented by Indira Gandhi got a clear two-thirds majority by winning 372 of 553 seats.In 1977, when the sixth Lok Sabha election was held after the Emergency, the Janata Party, formed through the merger of four anti-Congress parties, won 302 seats out of 557.This government, however, was unstable and fresh elections were held in 1980, in which the Congress stormed to power yet again with 377 seats of 566.In 1984, after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the sympathy wave helped the Congress led by her son Rajiv Gandhi win 426 of 567 seats.Between 1989 and 2014, no single party emerged as a winner and all the governments formed were coalitions. Janata Partylok sabhaNarendra Modiparliament First Published: May 24, 2019, 7:58 PM IST
Apple’s updated MacBook Pro may be twice as fast, but can it handle the gains? From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for July 2019 Apple’s 12-inch MacBook and non-Touch Bar Pro are on the chopping block MacBook Pro 2019: Everything we know so far about Apple’s next laptops Apple’s Back to School Beats headphones promo returns, now includes Studio 3 Dan Baker/Digital TrendsIn its recent update to the MacBook Pro line, Apple has made some notable improvements to the 13- and 15-inch variants with the Touch Bar, leaving the less expensive variants without the Touch Bar untouched since 2017. However, that situation may change soon, and thanks to a recent filing with the United States Federal Communications Commission, we may see some of the recent updates Apple made on its more expensive Pro notebooks trickle down to the Touch Bar-less versions.Apple initially filed its documents for a device with model number A2159 with the regulatory agency back in February 2019, according to MacRumors, but the documents have since been pulled from the FCC’s website. According to the paperwork, the device has a 13-inch display with dimensions matching what is shipping on today’s 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar, suggesting that little will change to the notebook’s exterior case. This means that most of Apple’s efforts will be focused on the overall usability of the laptop rather than its design. Here are some potential areas that Apple could improve with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar in 2019:Improved keyboardWhen Apple initially launched the MacBook, it heavily promoted its entirely re-designed keyboard mechanism as part of an effort in slimming down the overall thickness of the design. Since the MacBook launched, that keyboard has been adopted across Apple’s notebook range, and it is now seen on the MacBook Air as well as the MacBook Pro. The new butterfly switch mechanism keys were prone to failure. Dust and debris that get trapped underneath the key caps can render the keyboard inoperable. People complained that the keys can either be unresponsive or get sticky, and repairs were often expensive. This prompted Apple to extend its keyboard warranty program.Over time, Apple has experimented further with the underlying key mechanisms, and it introduced a protective membrane layer that helped keep debris away from the delicate butterfly key switches with its third-generation keyboard design. Confusingly, when Apple introduced its refreshed MacBook Pro with Touch Bar earlier in 2019, it updated some of the materials used in the switch mechanism but kept the third-generation keyboard label intact. The change in materials should help improve the durability of the keyboard design and prevent key failure in the event dust gets trapped underneath the key caps. Hopefully, the changes introduced on Apple’s improved third-generation key switch design will make its way to the new Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro when it launches later this year.New Intel processorsDigital TrendsWithout having received any upgrades since 2017, Apple’s MacBook Pro without Touch Bar is starting to feel stale against more capable competitors, and an updated processor will go a long way in keeping the most inexpensive member of Apple’s Pro notebook family appealing to users. After all, not everyone needs or prefers a Touch Bar, and choosing a MacBook Pro without one shouldn’t mean you have to compromise on performance to hit the right wallet-friendly price.Current models without a Touch Bar start at $1,299, and at that price you’re getting a 7th-generation 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5 processor. For comparison, the more advanced 13-inch model with Touch Bar starts at $1,799 and ships with an 8th-generation 2.4GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, making it a more capable multitasking machine. And though it’s in a different class, even Apple’s MacBook Air, which starts at $1,199, benefits from an 8th-generation Y-series Intel processor.Apple’s more expensive configurations of the 15-inch MacBook Pro even ship with 9th-generation Intel chipsets, which the company claims to deliver twice the performance of prior models in some tests with eight cores of processing power. And with Intel having announced 10th-generation Ice Lake processors that will be landing on PC notebooks soon, the 7th-generation processor is starting to feel dated. Even though Apple likes to say that it doesn’t compete on specs to hit the performance levels that its users demand, upgrading to at least an 8th-gen processor (or perhaps a 10th-gen chip!) will make the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro look more competitive on paper against competing Windows notebooks and other laptops in Apple’s MacBook range.Touch IDRiley Young/Digital TrendsWhen it first arrived on Apple’s notebooks, Touch ID was an integrated part of the Touch Bar experience, but Apple brought this biometric security feature down to the $1,199 MacBook Air, a laptop that doesn’t even come with an option to add a Touch Bar. Like on the MacBook Air, Touch ID can be integrated into the power button of a redesigned MacBook Pro without Touch Bar and will go a long way in helping Apple accomplish its goal of making the computing experience more secure for more users.Touch ID would essentially help eliminate the need for users to remember passwords, and it would not only allow you to log into your Mac, but also to Apple services, like the Mac App Store to authenticate purchases. Additionally, you can lock documents, notes, and other system settings and access them without having to input — or remember — a password. Even if you don’t password-protect your files, Touch ID can be beneficial if you’re an online shopper. Touch ID not only makes it more secure to pay for goods online, but you won’t even need to enter your personal shipping or billing information on websites that support Apple Pay.And as Apple continues working with developers to help bring iOS apps to the Mac, Touch ID can help keep some of those apps safe for owners of the MacBook Pro without Touch Bar in the future. Editors’ Recommendations
Just yesterday, eye tracking experts Tobii and Microsoft announced a collaboration to bring a new input method to Windows users everywhere. Everywhere where there’s a Tobii tracker, that is. And this Eye Control technology isn’t something that’s for a not so distant future. In fact, it might be coming in the Fall Creators Update coming soon. The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview, specifically Build 16257 for PCs, introduces a beta version of the feature, giving everyone, both those disabilities and fully capable users, some hands-free control over their computers. Eye Control is admittedly just as awe-inspiring as Minority Report air gestures, giving off a psychic vibe. That said, it gives your eyes one hell of an exercise instead of straining your arms and hands. For some people, though, it’s really the only way they’ll be able to conveniently use a computer.Eye Control basically lets you do anything you can do with a mouse using just your gaze. Move the cursor, make a mouse click or even type just by looking at areas of the screen. When Eye Control is activated, a few visual aids, like zooming in on UI controls, presenting left or right mouse click options, etc. to provide more complex actions than just pointing and clicking.You can also type text with Eye Control, though with a bit of effort. It works with a regular on-screen keyboard by just dwelling on the letter you need to type. But it also works with gesture typing, a.k.a. swipe typing, for more fluid eye movement. And if you pair typing with Microsoft’s own text-to-speech engine, users can “speak out” their thoughts when they can neither speak nor type themselves.This all presumes you have a compatible Tobii Eye Tracker accessory, which, at the moment, is limited to the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C. Eye Control will also support other models like the Tobii Dynavox PCEye Mini, PCEyePlus, EyeMobile Plus, and I-series in the future, as well as computers that have Tobii’s technology built-in.The Insider Preview also includes a view goodies for those less interested in Eye Control. A few visual improvements have been made to the Edge browser in line with Microsoft’s new Fluent Design language. And, in time for the Windows Subsystem for Linux’s full launch, the Windows Console (cmd.exe) finally, at long last, gets 24-bit color support, a feature that was 20 years in the making.SOURCE: Microsoft
Below you’ll see the Google Pixel 2 / The Last Jedi AR Stickers video spot. This release was made in concert with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which hits theaters later this week. OF NOTE: The video description suggests that the user might “battle Stormtroopers” in the app – but that won’t really work unless you’ve got some real movie magic up your sleeve.“Pixel’s new AR Stickers let you battle Stormtroopers from Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” said Google, “Team up with your favorite characters from Netflix’s Stranger Things, and express yourself with animated Foodmojis.”On the other hand – while you might not be battling the stormtrooper, the stormtrooper (and other stickers) DO react to you, and to other stickers. You can set a TIE fighter up on one end of the room and R2-D2 on the other – one will attack the other, and the other will flip directly out about it. Get close and personal with a stormtrooper and he’ll demand that you “move along” as such. Now, to see if we get the same experience on Google Pixel 2 as we do on Google Pixel 1. We’ll be keeping a keen eye out for these apps as they’re inevitably ported to other Android devices.This app does not work on its own – it’s part of the standard Google camera app. To access the apps functionality, go to the Camera app and tap the three horizontal lines button. That should bring up options for Slow Motion, Panorama, Photo Sphere, Lens Blur, Settings, and AR Stickers. Tap that AR Stickers icon and you’ll be on your way. Story TimelineARCore brings augmented reality to 100 million Android devicesARCore just killed Tango to battle ARKitGoogle’s best use of ARCore so far: Google Maps virtual positionAR Stickers coming to Pixel 2 exclusively (for now)Samsung adopts Google ARCore instead of rolling out its ownAR View for Amazon isn’t like Apple’s ARKit or Google’s ARCore Android users were gifted a set of AR “stickers” today from Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Google. To attain these stickers, users had only to download the AR Stickers app if they’d not already done so, then open up their standard Camera app. This new set of stickers was available initially only to those with a Google Pixel device. Those Pixel users who wish to take part in the release of these Star Wars AR Stickers should head over to Google Play and tap the install button. On a desktop computer, the user may also log in to their Google account and download this app remotely – just so long as they target a Pixel smartphone.
We’ve known for a while now that an update to Moto G line is on its way, and with this year’s Mobile World Congress about to begin it seems Motorola is about to debut its latest. An alleged product image has been leaked, showing the finalized design of the new Moto G6 Plus and highlighting its five different color options. Like most smartphone releases these days, the mid-range Android flagship will come in an assortment of colors from silver to green. The image was first published by Android Headlines, and, if accurate, shows the Moto G6 Plus in silver, gold, white, dark blue, and cyan color variants. It also offers a clear look at the back of the device, confirming a dual camera arrangement and flash. The new Moto G6 Plus is expected to feature a more premium design, with a curved glass rear and metal frame, while borrowing the overall look of the Moto X4. A fingerprint sensor will reside on the front of the phone, while previous rumors have indicated it will ship with a 3,250mAh battery. Interestingly, a “Play” version will also be made available with a 4,000mAh battery.Other key specs for the Moto G6 Plus include a 5.93-inch screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio, a Snapdragon 630 processor, and that it will come with Android 8.0 Oreo installed. We’ll know more in just a few days once MWC 2018 kicks off on February 26th.SOURCE Android Headlines Story TimelineMotorola, HTC confirm they don’t make older smartphones slowerMoto Z3, X5, G6 details arrive in massive leak dumpMoto Mod Gorilla Glass style shells protect your phone in styleMoto Z2, Moto Mods get some Valentines loveBest mid-range Android phones for 2018
Smartphones are fragile things, and they only seem to be getting less durable. This is especially true with Samsung’s Galaxy S like of phones, which last year adopted the company’s Infinity Display across all models. While the Infinity Display looks good, the fact that it wraps around the edges of the device doesn’t really instill much confidence when it comes to overall durability, and that showed in the Galaxy S8. Story TimelineGalaxy S9’s launch day is experiencing a few bumpsIt’s Galaxy S9 launch day: Here are the best dealsThe 5 Galaxy S9 must-have accessories on launch day Now that the Galaxy S9 is available, it’s time to put it through its paces, and SquareTrade is doing just that. In a new video published today, SquareTrade puts the Galaxy S9 through the wringer, subjecting it to a number of tests meant to discover the phone’s overall durability. The results aren’t very encouraging if you were hoping for a durable smartphone, but there is some good news in the end.READ MORE: Galaxy S9 ReviewSquareTrade begins with your run-of-the-mill drop test. In the video, we see the Galaxy S9 and S9+ dropped from a height of six feet, both face-up and face-down. In all cases, the phone showed some form of damage on the first drop, whether that was something simple like hairline cracks, or something far more severe, such as a shattered display with loose glass.In the bend test, SquareTrade discovered that the standard Galaxy S9 bent at 230 pounds of pressure, while it took 210 pounds to get the Galaxy S9+ to bend. Then we came to the tumble test, which subjected both phones to a rough ride in a glass and metal box for 60 seconds. Both phones took damage from during this test, so be sure to stay vigilant and make sure your phone doesn’t take a trip through the dryer. In the end, SquareTrade gives the Galaxy S9 a durability score of 71 – which represents medium risk of damage – while the Galaxy S9+ received a 76, or medium-high risk of damage. The company notes that the Galaxy S9 is more durable than the iPhone X and the Galaxy S8, which is certainly a bit of good news in an otherwise discouraging round of testing. Still, it’s important to remember that the Galaxy S9 took damage after a single drop, so if you’re planning to buy one, don’t expect it to stand up to a lot of abuse.
The result is the Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital chip or SWORD 3.0. This chip allows the new Marvel line of hearing aids, starting with the Audéo, to allow direct connectivity to any Bluetooth device. The only requirement is that the audio source support Bluetooth Classic, in fact. But with support for Bluetooth LE, AirStream Technology for TV streaming, and Binaural VoiceStream for high-speed communicating between two hearing aids, the Phonak Audéo Marvel can stream from practically any device in the world today.And it’s not only audio output that it promises to do well. With new microphone inlets in the housing, the Audéo can simply talk through their hearing aids, delivering true hands-free phone calls while minimizing external noise and other people’s voices. And just like any modern “smart” device today, It has a smidgen of artificial intelligence to detect and classify audio to adjust the sound to better suit the type, from calls to audiobooks to streaming media to, yes, voice assistants. Phonak also provides smart apps designed specifically for the needs of hearing aid wearers, from real-time adjustments with myPhonak to live transcription of phone call with myCall-to-Text.Taking a cue from Apple and the new breed of wireless earbuds, the Phonak Audéo also adopts wireless charging capabilities to make users’ lives so much easier. Say goodbye to the hassles of replacing batteries. Just place them in their charging case and expect them to be juiced up, not to mentioned automatically turned on, when you take them out. The Phonak Audéo M will go on sale in the US by the end of November to bring not just streaming audio but convenience and AI to users who need it the most. Support for high-quality hearing aids is another thing that Apple’s iOS has over its rival Android. MFi-certified equipment are able to support binaural streaming media but only if you use an iPhone. Google has recently committed to its own Android Audio Streaming of Hearing Aids standard or ASHA but that’s still a year or so away, leaving those who need hearing aids locked into Apple’s smartphone.But even then, the situation is far from ideal in Apple land. Media streaming only works with iPhones and iPads, not Macs or MacBooks and certainly not non-Apple computers. Hands-free calls are also unsupported, requiring users to still lift up their iPhones to their mouths. Phonak realized that these competing companies may not have hearing aid users’ best interests in mind and so set out to carve out its own path. A lot of the advancements in smartphone technology, from multiple cameras to high-end audio output, have been made with the physically capable masses in mind. Accessibility is present but sometimes more like something tacked on. Worse, some even lock users into a specific platform or device, either by intention or by accident, leaving those with handicaps even more, well, handicapped. Hearing aid maker has had enough, waiting for platform and device makers to get their acts together. With the new Marvel line of hearing aids and its first member, the Audéo M, it is taking matters into its own hands to deliver “love at first sound”, no matter what smartphone you’re using.
The sources for the following information is varied, and only the FIRST is certain due to a court filing. That court filing appeared in January of 2016 during a court battle between Google and Oracle. As the court transcript revealed and we wrote, “Google paid Apple something along the lines of $1 billion in 2014 so that Apple would retain it as the web search engine of choice in the Search Bar feature on the iPhone.”Google’s payment there was for what’s known as traffic acquisition costs (TAC). “Court documents indicate that Google paid Apple $1B in 2014, and we estimate that total Google payments to Apple in FY 17 may approach $3B,” said Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi on CNBC on August 15th, 2017. “Given that Google payments are nearly all profit for Apple, Google alone may account for 5% of Apple’s total operating profits this year, and may account for 25% of total company OP growth over the last two years.”The latest per-year estimate for financial year 2018 (FY 18) comes from Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall. VIA Business Insider, Hall’s investor note suggested that Google’s TAC payment to Apple for FY 18 might be around $9 billion, and will likely ramp up to $12 billion in 2019.AdChoices广告That’d mean this was Google’s TAC bill each year:• 2014 $1-billion• 2015 ?• 2016 ?• 2017 $3-billion• 2018 $9-billion• 2019 $12-billionWhat made Apple’s costs ramp up at such a rate? According to Hall’s note, “We believe this revenue is charged ratably based on the number of searches that users on Apple’s platform originate from Siri or within the Safari browser.”Over at SearchEngineLand there’s a timeline which I’ll reproduce here in brief. They give all the sources there – most of which were straight from Google at press events. You can also head back to Internet Archive archived Google Zeitgeists for 2001 through 2007. This is TOTAL Google Searches, not just searches generated through Apple products.Total Google Searches Per Year:• 1999: 1-billion• 2000: 14-billion (very approximate)• 2001: 55-billion (rounded up)• 2002: 55-billion (rounded down)• 2003: 55-billion (rounded down) (maybe just copy-pasted?)• 2004: 73-billion• 2005: More than 73-billion• 2006: ?• 2007: ?• 2008: ?• 2009: 365-billion (and more)• 2010: ?• 2011: ?• 2012: 1.2-TRILLION• 2013: ?• 2014: ?• 2015: ?• 2016: 2-TRILLION (Based on Search Engine Land estimate)• 2017: ?• 2018: ?It’s pretty obvious Google’s searches are going up each year by multiples of previous years. As more of the world’s citizens get smartphones in their hand, searches continue to ramp up. But at which point does this growth level off? Surely there’s a point at which everyone is searching the maximum amount they’re able, and there’s no reason to think any more people would search than searched the year before?No matter which way you look at the situation, Google and Apple hold eachother’s fates in their hands. Or at least a significant amount of search traffic and/or services revenue. Next up: voice searches – and whether the always-on assistant will keep that searches-per-year number increasing at an extreme rate. Almost since birth, Google’s done business with Apple – be it by listing ads, running GPS maps, or by being a default for search on a smartphone. Apple and Google understand that it’s better for business that they collaborate and compete, rather than just one or the other. Today we’re going to talk about how Google paid Apple one massive amount of money for one key bit of preferential treatment in their MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, and so forth.
Story TimelineChrome T-Rex offline game parties with birthday hat, cakeChromebook Instant Tether coming to non-Pixel Android phones in Chrome OS 73Google Chrome may warn users of dangerous lookalike URLs The flaw had to do with the detection of incognito mode on the side of the web developer. Using the FileSystem API, Google incognito mode in Chrome stopped websites from saving temporary data in the device of the user. If the web developer set a simple check for this API’s use, they’d be able to see if the user were in incognito mode. Because this mode stops the tracking of the movements of the user, many web developers have taken to blocking their content from said users. This isn’t a major issue for most users, as they’ll more often than not just get their web browsing done at an alternate website. For those that wish to make incognito mode work as it was meant to work, a code change needed to be made. With the latest set of commits in Google Chrome, it’s clear that Google developers are making some changes to fix this miss. With the latest set of updates, Google will (likely) set incognito mode up to use a virtual file storage system that works (on the dev end) much like a real file storage system would. The only difference is an immediate delete of all data – once the user leaves the site. If you’d like to get ahold of this system update as fast as possible, you’ll want to dip in on a nightly build with Chrome Canary. There you’ll also be able to roll with the latest updates from the developers of Chrome, and have access to feature that might never come to the final version. You can also head to Google Play for Canary for Android. If you’re using iOS, you’ll just have to wait a while – maybe a few weeks? We shall see. Incognito Mode in Google Chrome (aka Private Mode) will be better in the near future – in a set of ways. Those that’ve used this mode in the past likely used it to avoid being tracked for advertisements and/or to make sure what they were looking at wasn’t part of their internet browser history. Today it’s become clear that there was an open exploit in the system – one that’s being rectified by Google right this minute.
Story TimelineAI algorithms could allow robots to learn to move without programmingMIT’s latest robot can move unknown objects with precisionRobotic exoskeleton “Guardian XO” purchased by U.S. Navy Engineers with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have taken the wraps off two newly developed creations: Water Cannon Robot and Hose Extension Robot. The two machines are designed to play an active role in helping extinguish fires that may be too hazardous for human firefighters, including fires that may form at chemical plants. The company conducted an open demonstration of the technology in Tokyo last week. Mitsubishi’s new Water Cannon Robot is exactly what it sounds like: an autonomous machine that features a powerful water cannon for extinguishing large fires. The companion Hose Extension Robot is capable of automatically laying 300 meters of fire hose to supply water for the Water Cannon Robot. Both the Water Cannon Robot and Hose Extension Robot work together with a reconnaissance and surveillance robot that can be acquired in both ground and aerial varieties for different situations. The machines are joined by a command system, and altogether they comprise the Firefighting Robot System.According to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the Firefighting Robot System was created under a project from Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency, which sought a system that could be used specifically for disasters involving industrial and energy infrastructure. Tokyo’s National Research Institute of Fire and Disaster conducted an open demonstration of the system on March 22.AdChoices广告A variety of technologies went into the robotic system, including modified chassis frames from ‘small farm buggies,’ laser sensors, GPS, and, of course, a fire hose. When deployed, the Water Cannon Robot can release 4,000 liters of water very minute at a 1.0MPa pressure.
A much smarter gearboxThe new 2020 7 Series will come with V12, hybrid, straight-six, and V8 engine options, but one thing is consistent: the eight-speed Sport Steptronic transmission. Previous iterations of the 7 Series have introduced features like GPS-connected gearboxes, which can look to the road topography ahead and avoid upshifts while you’re cornering. For the 2020 model year, it gets even cleverer. A direct link to the navigation system allows the most preferable gear to be selected for the road ahead. That means fewer unnecessary shifts during corners, for instance, or making more use of engine braking when you’re pulling up to a junction. The new 7 Series also taps into its cameras and radar sensors, to keep abreast of the road conditions around it. If you’re only going to be stationary for a short period, for example, the Auto Start Stop system won’t shut off the engine, since that’s actually less efficient than just keeping it running. Depending on the traffic conditions, the BMW can also choose whether to enable the coasting mode, saving gas in the process.BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assist goes hands-freeThe 7 Series still isn’t autonomous, but it can take over some driving situations for you – and allow you to take your hands off the wheel, too. Extended Traffic Jam Assist works on limited access, divided highways when congestion brings the flow of cars to under 37 mph. The 7 Series can handle acceleration, braking, and lane-keeping, while an interior driver-facing camera tracks whether the driver is paying attention to the road ahead. As with the transmission, there’s integration between Extended Traffic Jam Assist and the navigation data onboard. The BMW can automatically slow itself as corners, junctions, or turning circles approach in the route ahead. Cameras are used to spot speed limit signs, to automatically adapt the car’s pace accordingly.Parking Assistant Plus gets a memory for maneuversBMW includes Parking Assistant Plus as standard on the 2020 7 Series, allowing the car to automatically pull into parallel or perpendicular spaces. It can handle not only the steering, but the brakes and accelerator too, and pull out of parallel spots. What’s particularly special, though, is the new Back-Up Assistant. It’s effectively a type of automated reversing, which BMW suggests could be very useful when you’re trying to get out of a parking space with limited visibility. The car stores the steering movements that were made during the 7 Series’ last forward maneuver, when traveling at speeds up to 22 mph. It can then reverse for distances of up to 150 feet, along exactly that same line. The driver is in charge of the speed, and keeping an eye out for hazards, with a 360-degree top-down perspective on the dashboard display. They can even pull up a live, three-dimensional image of the car and its immediate vicinity remotely, through BMW’s smartphone app.BMW Night Vision meets super-smart headlightsInfrared cameras for night vision isn’t new: it’s available as an option on numerous high-end cars. Designed to give visibility where the regular headlights don’t necessarily reach, it shows a heat-sight view of the route ahead on the dashboard display. What the 2020 7 Series does is use its clever lighting to make potentially-overlooked perils even harder to miss.Night Sight is combined with obstacle detection, so that the car can identify people, larger animals, and other heat-emitting objects in the scene. The standard Adaptive LED headlights then use their Selective Beam marker light feature to add extra illumination to that object in the roadway ahead. The lamps can project two Dynamic Light Spots – effectively LED spotlights – to highlight the person or animal, without dazzling them. The 2020 BMW 7 Series is more than just a big grille and a lavish rear seat, it’s also the Bavarian automaker’s latest love-letter to technology. Gone are the days when it was enough for a luxury sedan to have soft leather and a couple of screens in the back. Now, if your flagship four-door isn’t also CES on wheels, you’re out of fashion. The 7 Series has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing new technologies, and this new 2020 7 Series is no different. What’s notable is just how much of what new gadgetry the car adds is actually under the sheet metal, out of sight of the driver. That means less time spent fiddling with controls – or, heaven forbid, digging out the user manual – and more time just driving. 2020 BMW 7 Series Gallery
The idea that Samsung is making a second Galaxy Fold is probably already unbelievable at this point, considering how the first one hasn’t even launched yet. The idea that it might be making a Galaxy Fold clamshell is also almost too ridiculous to consider. A new rumor, however, might bring some sanity to expectations but it is no less ambitious in its coverage. Not only will Samsung be increasing the foldable screen’s size, it will also complicate things by making it support the S Pen stylus. The first Galaxy Fold, which has yet to see the light of day in the wild, came with a 7.3-inch screen. Korean media now reports that the Galaxy Fold 2 will have an 8-inch screen, closer to the size of the likes of the iPad mini or Samsung’s own Galaxy Tab A. That, of course, increases the surface area, the cost, and the potential for things to go wrong.Samsung might not stop there if these industry sources are correct. Samsung reportedly will bring the Galaxy Note’s prized feature, the S Pen, to the Galaxy Fold. That may be dreamy and all that but it does raise one important question.For the Galaxy Fold to support the S Pen, it will need to embed a Wacom digitizer. So far, nothing like that has existed for foldable surfaces, although there have been odd Chinese digitizers that have been used on flexible drawing tablets. Unless Samsung switches away from Wacom, that feature doesn’t at all seem likely.AdChoices广告Compared to this, the rumor that Samsung will be launch a RAZR-like foldable clamshell (redundant?) sounds almost more plausible. Admittedly, having a phone that unfolds into a tablet you can write and draw on is probably a more useful device that could justify its price tag.
Rock Creek Edition buyers get special exterior and interior treatments meant to emphasize the rugged Pathfinder heritage. Buyers can choose the Rock Creek package on both 2WD and all-wheel-drive versions, in seven available exterior colors.Rock Creek Editions get special dark 18-inch wheels with 255/60R18 all-season tires all around. The grille is black mesh, and roof rails are black as are door handles and outside mirrors. The front and rear fascias have black accents.The license plate finisher is black along with black molded overfenders and black model, grade, and 4WD badges if equipped. The front doors also get unique Rock Creek Edition badges. Interior changes include Rock Creek Edition two-tone seating surfaces and badging. Stitching on the seats, door, console lid, and steering wheel are in a high contrast color, and there is premium metallic interior trim.Rock Creek editions come standard with trailer tow hitch and harness along with spash guards. Buyers can add to options to Rock Creek Editions including the SV Rock Creek Edition Technology package for $980 that adds navigation, NissanConnect, heated cloth front seats, heated steering wheel, and heated outside rearview mirrors. An SL Rock Creek Edition Premium Package costs $2,110 and brings a 13-speaker Bose stereo and power panorama roof. Nissan has announced a new option package for the 2019 Pathfinder SUV that aims to save buyers some cash compared to choosing individual options. The new option package is the 2019 Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition, and it is available on the SV, and SL trims levels. The package will add $995 to the MSRP of a standard Pathfinder SV or SL.
Initially, leaks suggested, Apple’s goal was ambitious. The company planned to make a full, driverless car of its own, rivaling Alphabet’s Waymo and projects underway at a number of automakers. Project Titan got underway in earnest in 2014, it’s believed, with Apple spreading the team around facilities in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, CA. Over time, though, the strategy changed. Faced with the complexities of building a whole car, Apple shifted its goals. Instead, Project Titan would attempt to carve out a niche for the company as a supplier, offering advanced electronics for things like driver-assistance systems. That could still be a lucrative business, but even with autonomous test vehicles out on the road, Apple’s progress in the segment is unclear. The company cut hundreds of jobs from Project Titan back in 2016 amid the change in strategy, but still had team members working on the systems. Now, more jobs have been shed. 190 employees will be laid off from April 16, Apple confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle. Word of the job cuts was first raised in a letter to the California Employment Development Department. 38 are engineering program managers, while 33 are hardware engineers and 31 product design engineers. The remaining 22 are software engineers. The nature of Apple’s testing, and the systems it’s trialing, are still a relative mystery. Project Titan remains one of the more secretive projects within the company, though periodic insight has been gained courtesy of regulatory reports. Apple, like others undertaking autonomous car trials on public roads in California, is legally required to file annual summaries of how those vehicles have performed. That data must include records on how many miles of autonomous testing were performed, as well as how many times the driverless system was disengaged so that a human safety driver could retake control. In Apple’s most recent filing, covering the period between November 31, 2017, and December 1, 2018, it reported just short of 80,000 miles of test driving. In the same period, Waymo’s cars drove almost 1.3m miles. As for disengagements, Apple’s vehicles required human intervention far more frequently. Its cars disengaged every 1.1 miles, whereas Waymo managed more than 11k miles between each disengagement. Where all this leaves Apple’s plans in the automotive space remains to be seen. At one point, the company was believed to be attempt to insert itself into dashboards, hoping to build partnerships for Apple-powered infotainment software. However leaks from negotiations between the company and traditional automakers have indicated that the reception there has been relatively frosty. At the same time, Google has scored a number of wins for Android in the same arena. The Polestar 2, the electric car announced today by Volvo and Geely’s performance EV brand, has an infotainment system completely built on Android. It features the Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Google Play Store. Audi, too, has inked a deal with Google to build its next-generation MMI infotainment system on Android. Apple’s self-driving car team is set to shed 190 jobs, with the Cupertino company confirming that it’ll be engineers that make up the majority of the layoffs. Project Titan, Apple’s internal name for the autonomous driving division, has had a tumultuous time over the past few years, amid changes of direction and evolving goals.
Viewpoints: Health Law Does Not ‘Guarantee’ Better Health; Electronic Health Records Sound Good–Until You Try To Use Them Forbes: Can Obamacare Save Your Uninsured Friends?As evidence of a need for universal health care, [New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof] cites his own friend—Scott Androes who died this month of prostate cancer after he put off seeking medical attention in part due to lack of health insurance. … Kristof argues that President Obama’s health care reform will keep others like Scott from befalling the same fate. … However, evidence shows that government-funded care is by no means a guarantee of better health outcomes. … On average, a 52-year-old American such as Scott would have nearly four times the chance of getting the PSA test used to screen for prostate cancer than his “modern” European counterpart with national health insurance (Chris Conover, 10/22).Los Angeles Times: Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens Refill Drugs Without OK, Patients Say [S]ome people may fail to take their medications regularly, and that can have serious healthcare repercussions. CVS and other pharmacies are behaving responsibly when they take the initiative in encouraging compliance with doctors’ orders, which might include automatic refills. But CVS seems to have taken this objective to a different level by creating metrics that measure nearly every activity undertaken by a pharmacist (David Lazarus, 10/23). The Washington Post: Disparity In Pay Divides Doctors Recently, a medical student confided in me a thought that few in our profession would dare say aloud: “We may have come to medical school to help people, but we choose our specialty careers based on potential salaries.” … [Specialists] train longer and in many cases pay higher insurance rates, but these factors don’t fully explain the chasm. We’ve now reached a critical point where the income disparity is harming the general population (Dr. Manoj Jain, 10/22). The Wall Street Journal: Physician, Steel Thyself For Electronic Records The electronic medical record, or EMR, is a computerized system that allows physicians to record patient information electronically instead of using paper records. … At first I thought EMR sounded like a good idea. Then our practice started using one. … With all the data entry the electronic system requires, my laptop presents a barrier between my patient and me, both physically and metaphorically. It’s hard to be both stenographer and empathetic listener at the same time (Dr. Anne Marie Valinoti, 10/22). The Star-Ledger: Will Chris Christie Wing It On Health Care Reform?Republican governors are being urged to thwart Obamacare by refusing to sign on to those exchanges. The political implications are obvious for the governor whom many Republicans see as the front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination in the event Barack Obama is re-elected. That’s Chris Christie, and last week, the Democrats acted to force his hand on Obamacare. They passed a new version of a bill they passed last spring that would have created an insurance exchange in New Jersey. Christie vetoed that bill in May on the grounds that the court had not yet decided on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. That has since been decided in Obama’s favor. But Christie’s stalling for time again (Paul Mulshine, 10/23).The New York Times: We Need to Talk About Our Eggs OB-GYNs routinely ask patients during their annual exams about their sexual histories and need for contraception, but often missing from the list is, “Do you plan to have a family?” OB-GYNs are divided on whether it’s their responsibility to broach the topic with patients. … [We must] expect OB-GYNs to bring up family planning at every annual visit, so that women have the information they need to choose to take charge of their fertility. Perhaps more women will think about freezing in their early to mid-30s, when their chances of success are greater (Sarah Elizabeth Richards, 10/22). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
The ads, including a 30-second TV spot that will run in a dozen states and Washington, D.C., are designed to increase pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to stop proposed 2.3 percent cuts to these private plans. In addition, some analysts predict earnings drops for some insurers if the cuts go forward.Reuters: Health Insurers Launch TV War Over Medicare Advantage CutsThe health insurance industry is escalating its lobbying battle against a proposed Medicare Advantage pay cut to insurers by launching a television and online advertising campaign to garner public support among the program’s 14 million beneficiaries. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a leading Washington-based trade group, said a 30-second commercial titled “Too Much” would be shown in a dozen states and the Washington, D.C., area in hopes of dissuading the Obama administration from imposing a 2.3 percent cut in government payments next year (3/6).CQ HealthBeat: AHIP Launches Ad Campaign In States Slamming Proposed Medicare Advantage CutsThe health insurance industry is targeting states with high Medicare Advantage enrollment as well as influential members of Congress in a television and online ad campaign that raises the pressure yet another notch on the Obama administration to roll back proposed cuts in private plan payments. America’s Health Insurance Plans launched TV ad buys Wednesday on cable in the Washington, D.C., area, as well as ads with state-specific Medicare Advantage enrollment numbers in New York, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, where MA plans are popular, AHIP officials said in a news release (Norman, 3/6).The Associated Press: Analysts Predicts Medicare Advantage Earnings SlipA Goldman Sachs analyst says forecasts for some health insurer earnings per share next year could slide as much as 10 percent if steep Medicare Advantage funding cuts materialize. Analyst Matthew Borsch said in a Wednesday morning research note that insurers like Humana Inc. and Universal American Corp. face the most exposure to potential cuts. Medicare Advantage makes up a higher proportion of total enrollment for those insurers compared to other companies in the sector (3/6).In other Medicare news – The Medicare NewsGroup: Medicare’s Middlemen Await Word From CMS To Put In Play Sequesration CutsMedicare’s middlemen, the companies that will carry out the administrative work of the automatic budget cuts set to hit Medicare providers on April 1, are waiting for directions from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to put in play provider payment reductions. The updates to the payment systems will ultimately lead to $11 billion in reduced payments to hospitals, doctors and other health care providers for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. These middlemen are Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), the private companies that handle the bulk of the entitlement program’s administrative claims processes. They will implement the 2 percent across-the-board payment reductions, mandated by sequestration, which is the result of the federal government’s inability to reach a deficit-reduction deal totaling $1.2 trillion. This means a .02 cent cut for every $1 paid to health care services providers, such as doctors, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, insurers, medical device suppliers and home health companies (Sjoerdsma, 3/6). Health Insurers Launch TV Campaign Opposing Medicare Advantage Cuts This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
A selection of health policy stories from Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, Missouri, Massachusetts, Georgia and Florida.Stateline: Some States Lag In Using Electronic Health RecordsLess than a decade ago, nine out of 10 U.S. doctors updated their patients’ records by hand and stored them in color-coded files. Today, nearly half of all office-based physicians type their clinical notes into computers and maintain electronic files that include patients’ demographic information, complaints, procedures, test results and prescribed drugs. This greater use of electronic health records is supposed to help doctors and hospitals better coordinate their patients’ care and allow them to meet the cost-containment goals in the Affordable Care Act. Nationwide, 48 percent of office-based doctors used electronic records in 2013, up from 40 percent in 2012 and 11 percent in 2006. While the doctors and hospitals in some states are forging ahead, in other states they are lagging behind (Vestal, 3/19).Los Angeles Times: In Health Care, What Makes Maine Different? Many of the nation’s healthiest communities are wealthy and have large numbers of college-educated residents. But northern Maine is among a handful of telling exceptions, making it an important guidepost as the country searches for ways to improve health. … [N]orthern Maine ranks high on national measures of health, according to a yearlong review of health care data from communities around the country that The Times conducted with help from public health researchers (Levey, 3/19).Minnesota Public Radio: Insurers, Doctors Warn Lawmakers: Don’t Tinker With Insurance Rules To Aid SE Minn.When the state’s new health insurance marketplace posted premium rates last fall, southeast Minnesota stood out as the region with the highest costs and fewest coverage options. State lawmakers from Faribault to Winona want to change that. They’re already hearing warnings, however, from insurers and doctors that tinkering with state rules that dictate how much insurance can cost and how distant doctors can be from their patients could drive health plans from the market and hurt care (Richert, 3/18).The Washington Post: Number Of Staffers With Health Coverage Emerges As Issue In Race For Governor In Md.In Maryland’s Democratic primary for governor, you’re more likely to be getting help with health insurance coverage if you work for the campaigns of Anthony Brown or Heather Mizeur than Doug Gansler. Brown, the state’s lieutenant governor, and Mizeur, a delegate from Montgomery County, both offer employer-sponsored plans to staff members on their gubernatorial campaigns. Seventeen of Brown’s 25 employees are covered, as are five of Mizeur’s 12 paid staffers, according to campaign spokesmen (Wagner, 3/18).St. Louis Public Radio: The Doctor Shortage In Rural Missouri: Are Advanced Practice Nurses A Solution?Lisa Schofield regards her business as an example of the future of health care in rural Missouri. … In addition to having the second highest percentage of uninsured residents among all counties in the state, Ozark faces the usual problem of doctor access (Joiner, 3/18).WBUR: Report: In Mass. Health Care, System Skewed So Rich Get RicherA report released today by the Healthcare Equality and Affordability League (H.E.A.L.) — a partnership between the for-profit Steward Health Care System and the union, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East — finds that disparities in hospital costs and financing across the state are driving “a vicious cycle” of inequality in health care. The result, according to this analysis, is that medical care is becoming less affordable for lower-and middle-income families in Massachusetts, and the disparities in hospital financing are “compromising the viability of community hospitals.” The group is calling for new, and what they call more “fair” reimbursement rates so that poorer, community hospitals (with a greater proportion of Medicare and Medicaid patients compared to the higher-cost Boston teaching hospitals) can continue to serve the lower-income patients, among other financial recommendations (Zimmerman, 3/18).Minnesota Public Radio: Mental Health Centers Abruptly Shut In East Central Minn.; Officials Scramble To Aid ClientsState and county officials are working to find a way to find care for people with mental illness in east central Minnesota after a major mental health care provider abruptly shut its doors Monday. Riverwood Centers closed its clinics and mobile crisis services. The nonprofit was the designated mental health provider for Chisago, Isanti and Pine counties and also provided crisis services to Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties. It’s not clear how many people are affected (Helal, 3/18).Minnesota Public Radio: Newborn Blood Sample Bill Clears House HurdleA bill that would allow the state health department to keep newborn blood samples and test results indefinitely cleared its final House committee today. The House Civil Law Committee narrowly approved the legislation on a 9 to 8 vote. Supporters say the legislation would help Minnesota rebuild its newborn screening archive. In January the health department was forced to destroy 1.1 million blood spot cards because the agency didn’t have the authority to store them (Minor, 3/18).The Atlanta Journal Constitution: Abortion Bill Passes Georgia LegislatureLegislation that would bar the state employee health insurance plan from covering abortions in most cases received final passage Tuesday from the Georgia Legislature, sending it to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. … The bill makes no exception for rape or incest, only allowing consideration of a medical emergency involving the life of the mother (Torres, 3/18).The Atlanta Journal Constitution: A Down-Sizing Of Rural Hospitals Seen As A Solution For Struggling Health Care FacilitiesWhen state Rep. Sharon Cooper publicly mused in January about closing some rural hospitals because their communities are too small to support them, she may have unwittingly revived a discussion among state leaders about what to do with the facilities. Gov. Nathan Deal is set to speak at a rural caucus meeting at 12:30 p.m. today on the topic of healthcare. His office won’t comment on what he’ll say, but a meeting Department of Community Health meeting last week offers a hint. At the meeting, commissioner Clyde Reese said board members would soon be asked to approve a plan for a “step-down rural access for communities that have lost their hospitals.” That could clear the way for struggling hospitals, or even those recently shuttered, to more easily drop expensive offerings and scale back to limited services such as emergency care (Bluestein, 3/19).Georgia Health News: A Health Care Q&A With Gov. DealNathan Deal has been involved in many high-profile decisions on health care while serving as Georgia’s governor. Deal, who is running for re-election this year, has staked out his opposition to the Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare) and to expanding the state’s Medicaid program. He has also supported changes to the health plan covering state employees and educators, following a wave of criticism that occurred after a new benefits framework debuted Jan. 1.Georgia Health News recently emailed questions to Deal on a wide range of major health care issues in the state. We received his reply Monday, shortly before the scheduled close of the 2014 General Assembly (Miller, 3/18).Georgia Health News: Senate Hopefuls Share Views On Health CareHow do the U.S. Senate candidates in Georgia differ on covering the uninsured? What are their ideas for improving health outcomes while controlling costs? What would the candidates do about decreased federal funding for Georgia hospitals? Seven candidates for the Senate seat in 2014 answer these and other health care questions in a newly released election guide from Healthcare Georgia Foundation (Miller, 3/18).Georgia Health News: 39th Day: Votes On Medicaid, Drug Tests, AbortionAn anti-Obamacare bill that appeared dead in the Senate apparently still had a pulse late Tuesday afternoon, the 39th and penultimate day of the 2014 General Assembly session. But another bill targeting an Affordable Care Act provision passed the Senate as expected and now moves to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.That second bill, HB 990, would require legislative approval of any expansion of Medicaid in Georgia. The bill is sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton), who has argued that Georgia can’t afford Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents under expansion, as outlined by the ACA (Craig, 3/18).The Associated Press: Assisted-Living Facilities Face New ScrutinyThe public could read anonymously posted reviews and complaints of assisted-living facilities and owners of such facilities would face higher fines for repeated serious violations under a measure passed unanimously by the [Florida] Senate on Tuesday. Senate Bill 248 also requires increased licensing for homes that handle mentally impaired residents and requires a rating system be in place for assisted-living facilities by March 2015 (Miller, 3/18).Minn Post: Late-In-Life Care: Fragmentation And Complexity For The Chronically IllIf this day is typical, 106 Minnesotans will die before midnight. Of those passings, 16 will be unexpected. Most of the other 90, though, will represent the sad culmination of lingering diseases (Schmickle, 3/18). State Highlights: Maine’s Health Problems; Minn. Insurance Costs This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
The Associated Press: Clinton Pushes Back Against GOP On Veterans’ Health Issues Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined steps to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday, casting herself as a protector against proposals to privatize the sprawling health care system for those who have served in the military. In a pre-Veterans Day event, the Democratic presidential candidate said she would seek to improve veterans’ health care, modernize veterans’ benefits system and address an unwieldy bureaucracy that was exposed in a scandal involving chronic delays for those seeking medical care or to have their claims processed. (Thomas, 11/10) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton offered her vision for veterans’ health care Tuesday, promising to fight full-fledged privatization while allowing the government to contract with private providers for a range of health services. In her proposal, Mrs. Clinton struck a balance between support for traditional government-run veterans health programs while acknowledging that many veterans want to access care from private providers as well, given the system’s failings. (Meckler and Kesling, 11/10) The Wall Street Journal: Hillary Clinton Vows To Fight VA Privatization Hillary Clinton Details Steps To Improve VA Health System Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate, made clear her opposition to completely privatizing health care for veterans, instead striking a balance between the traditional system of care and and some vets’ interest in seeing private health care providers. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Kaiser Health News: How To Get A Cheaper Prescription Before Leaving The Doctor’s Office One out of every 4 people with Type 1 and 2 diabetes rations insulin. Adeline Umubyeyi is among them. She’s a college grad with a professional job and health insurance who still sometimes goes to bed without dinner — because skipping a meal allows her to skip a dose of her costly insulin. On Episode 5 of “An Arm and a Leg,” meet Umubyeyi and take a 98-year journey with host Dan Weissmann as he traces insulin’s origins. (Weissmann, 7/10) Stat: What We Know — And What We Don’t — About Trump’s ‘Most Favored Nation’ Drug Pricing Policy Kaiser Health News: Watch: High Cost Of Insulin Sends Americans To Canada To Stock Up Shares of drugmakers are rallying on hopes of greater pricing flexibility. The blocking of a Trump administration rule that would have required drugmakers to disclose their products’ pricing in television ads is expected to help pharmaceutical and biotech companies avoid some of the near-term pricing pressures that had weighed on those stocks in recent months. (Wursthorn, 7/9) The Hill: Trump Misleadingly Says Prescription Drug Prices Have Gone Down Pioneer Press: Diabetics From Minnesota Make Trek To Canada In Search Of Affordable Insulin A new report, published by the Center for Global Development in June, finds that as countries move up the ladder of economic development, it becomes harder for government agencies, hospitals and health care companies to buy drugs at reasonable prices. The report compares the range of prices that seven low- and middle-income countries pay for 25 medicines, including acetaminophen for pain relief, bisoprolol to treat high blood pressure, insulin to treat diabetes and omeprazole to treat heartburn. (Lu, 7/8) CQ: More States Eye Importing Canadian Drugs The Wall Street Journal: Drugmakers Rise After Trump Pricing Rule Is Blocked A key holdup in Ohio’s state budget stalemate centers on how to deal with pharmacy benefit managers.The middlemen in the Medicaid drug supply chain were targeted by both branches of the legislature. But House and Senate members remain far apart on what they see as a solution. (Rowland, 7/8) President Trump on Sunday wrongly claimed drug prices declined in 2018, saying bipartisan cooperation on the issue would “get big results.” “Last year was the first in 51 years where prescription drug prices actually went down, but things have been, and are being, put in place that will drive them down substantially,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “If Dems would work with us in a bipartisan fashion, we would get big results very fast!” (Budryk, 7/7) Columbus Dispatch: Dispute Over Reining In Drug Middlemen Key In Ohio Budget Impasse At a time of worrisome increases in drug prices, Minnesota is joining a growing number of states that regulate a set of powerful but little-known companies that critics say are contributing to the problem. Known as pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, these companies are hired by health insurers to manage their drug benefits, and they influence what drugs are available, where consumers can buy them, and ultimately the price consumers pay at the drugstore counter. (Howatt, 7/6) The Star Tribune: Minnesota Is Aiming For More Transparency On Drug Prices Merck & Co. is walking away from nearly $7 million in taxpayer-funded state and local incentives aimed at luring to Austin a major technology innovation center operated by the pharmaceutical giant, a project once heralded as the private-sector anchor of a developing medical district around the University of Texas Dell Medical School. Merck spokeswoman Pamela Eisele on Tuesday attributed the move to “internal priorities and events” that have slowed the New Jersey-based company’s hiring in Austin since the incentive deals were announced in July 2017. (Sechler, 7/2) Austin American-Statesman: Merck Walks Away From $7M In Incentives For Austin Tech Hub The weary travelers on the bus, most of them diabetics from Minnesota, erupted into cheers at the GPS announcement: “Welcome to Canada.”They had just spent 15 hours on a chartered bus traveling from the Twin Cities to buy insulin in London, Ontario. There they can buy the life-saving drug for a tenth of the price it is being sold for in Minnesota. (Pross, 77) Insulin is a vital drug that some 7.4 million Americans must take daily to manage their diabetes. But its price nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016, leaving some patients with no choice but to turn to black-market drugs or traveling to Canada, where insulin can be 90% cheaper. KHN senior correspondent Sarah Varney reports in collaboration with PBS NewsHour about the skyrocketing cost of insulin — and the trend’s deadly consequences. (Varney, 7/10) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Kaiser Health News: ‘An Arm And A Leg’: The Full Story Of Insulin And Its Cost ― No Sugarcoating It In June, Florida became the third state, after Colorado and Vermont, to enact a law permitting drug imports from Canada, but the first with both a Republican-controlled legislature and a GOP governor. (On June 24, Maine, which has a Democratic governor, also opened the door to Canadian drugs.) Though the imports are conditional on approval of the Health and Human Services Department, the law’s enactment puts further pressure on President Donald Trump to follow through on his campaign pledge to reduce drug prices. (Cunningham, 7/8) As Countries Move Up Rungs On Economic Ladder It Actually Gets Harder To Pay Affordable Prices For Drugs News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing. NPR: Drug Prices Can Take A Surprising Turn When A Poor Country Gets Richer In an era of low reimbursements for drugs they dispense — especially under the Ohio Medicaid program — hundreds of Ohio pharmacies have closed, creating more than a dozen areas with no easy access to medicine and a pharmacist’s care. Scores of other places across the state are one closure away from joining them, according to a Dispatch analysis of state pharmacy data. (Caruso and Schladen, 7/7) When Mary Kay Gilbert saw her doctor in May for a skin infection on her leg, she wasn’t surprised to receive a prescription for an antibiotic cream.But Gilbert, 54, a nurse and health consultant, was shocked when her physician clicked on the desktop computer and told Gilbert the medicine would cost $30 on her Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan. “I was like, ‘Wow — that’s pretty cool that you know that information,’” she recalled telling the doctor in Edina, Minn. (Galewitz, 7/10) Columbus Dispatch: Pharmacy ‘Deserts’ Appear In Ohio As Stores Close Amid Drug Pricing Debate President Trump’s surprise promise to pen an executive order ensuring the U.S. gets the best deal around the world for drugs has left more questions than answers for the nation’s top drug pricing experts. Trump made it sound easy ….But in the United States’s complex drug pricing system, minute details matter. Those details could mean the difference between Trump dismantling the nation’s existing drug pricing system in favor of a central price-setting scheme more akin to those employed in European nations, or making much smaller — albeit still significant changes — within the existing system, experts said. (Florko, 7/9)