The new air traffic control tower at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, was officially opened and commissioned into service by Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, on Thursday, May 17.The tower is one of two built at Jamaica’s two major international airports, at a cost of $2.5 billion.Speaking at the opening ceremony, Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Nari Williams-Singh, outlined some of the features of the state-of-the art facility.“The tower is fitted with an industry-leading air traffic management system. This has positioned Jamaica as a leading air traffic management environment, with the most advanced equipment available on the market to improve the safety of air operations nationally and globally,” he said.“The system includes a new Voice Communications Control System; a Time Control System, an Automatic Terminal Information System, microwave, fibre-optic and copper infrastructure; a Meteorological System; a Fire Detection and Signaling System and an Airport Lighting system, with remote control functionalities” he added.Mr. Williams-Singh pointed out that the new technology will allow the Authority to satisfy international requirements and to remain apace with improvements to technology in aviation.“As we carefully manage the risks and complexities of new systems and technologies, we continue to foster the adoption of advanced avionics and satellite-based procedures, performance-based navigation (PBN) and other fail-safe mechanisms, procedures, systems and structures, which make our industry safer, more resilient, incident-proof and efficient,” he saidThe new towers were built under the JCAA’s comprehensive modernisation programme to upgrade and replace major components of its communications, navigation and surveillance systems.
(Chiefs cast ballots in Toronto for next national chief of Assembly of First Nations APTN/Photo)By Jorge Barrera and Tim FontaineAPTN National NewsTORONTO–Hundreds of First Nations chiefs began voting Wednesday morning for one of eight candidates vying to lead the country’s most influential organization for the next three years.The race for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations has featured the largest fields in its history, including four women who have ignited widespread support among the grassroots.It’s only the chiefs, however, who are allowed to cast their ballots for the candidates which include Ellen Gabriel, a Mohawk from Kanesatake, who rose to prominence during the Oka crisis, Joan Jack, an Ojibway lawyer from the Berens River First Nation and former Treaty 3 grand chief Diane Kelly, a lawyer from Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, and Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaq lawyer and professor at Ryerson University.The field also includes incumbent National Chief Shawn Atleo, George Stanley, Alberta AFN regional chief from the Cree First Nation of Frog Lake, Bill Erasmus, Dene Nation chief from the Northwest Territories and Terrance Nelson, the five-time former chief of Roseau River.According to the AFN, 515 chiefs and proxies (individuals casting votes for an absent chief) were registered to attend the Toronto gathering where the voting is being held.Voting began at about 9 a.m. and the results of the first ballot are expected after 12 p.m.Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day said he was voting according to the will of the majority of his community which he said backed Palmater. Day, whose community is in Ontario, said he polled his residents using Twitter, Facebook, email and over the telephone.“Our members have seen (Palmater) as outspoken against what isn’t right,” said Day, in a statement. “They have not seen that level of resistance and outcry (from incumbent national chief Shawn Atleo).”Scia’new First Nation Chief Henry Chipps said, while standing in line waiting to vote, that he was backing Atleo who he felt was the best candidate up to the job. Chipps’ community is based in British Columbia.Tyendinaga Mohawk Chief Donald Maracle said he would be voting for Gabriel in the first ballot and Atleo in the second ballot. Maracle, whose community is in Ontario, said he was pleased with the First Nations-Crown gathering held in Ottawa this past January that saw chiefs meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper.“I think it was a beginning. Hopefully there will be more of those,” said Maracle.Beausoleil First Nation Chief Roland Monague says he sees no consensus among Ontario leaders, but he’s decided to back Atleo.“I want someone who has already been to these communities and who knows our issues,” he said. “Better to go with someone who has already been there than to start all over again.”Other chiefs, however, were keeping their choices close to their chests.Chief Ray Sydney, from Kwanlin Dun First Nation in the Yukon, said he had two candidates in mind, but he wouldn’t reveal who they were. Sydney said he was looking for “integrity” in the candidates.Timiskaming Chief Terence McBride said he would decide who to vote for once he got into the voting booth.“They are all good candidates. They have a lot to bring to the table I suppose,” said McBride. “I guess the best one is going to win.”Atleo is expected to emerge in the lead following the first round of balloting, according to chiefs and observers surveyed by APTN National News. Opinions, however, vary wildly on the order of the rest of the field.Given that Atleo appears to have a lock on the large British Columbia voting block which could represent up to about 200 votes, some Ontario chiefs have spotted an opportunity to play kingmaker.Treaty 3 and Treaty 9 northern Ontario chiefs are considering backing Kelly as a block and holding their position on the premise that Atleo will need their support to take him over the top and strike a deal with them.Treaty 3 chiefs can bring about 28 votes to the table and Treaty 9 represents about 49 votes.Some northern Manitoba chiefs will also be voting strategically, supporting one candidate in the first round of voting and incumbent Shawn Atleo in any subsequent firstname.lastname@example.org@aptn.ca
Clarification – After publishing this story representative from the AFN wrote to APTN to clarify their position.They said they understand the resolution to be a step toward a public inquiry and noted the following: “AFN resolutions 02-2011, 01-2012 and 04-2013 specifically call for a national inquiry and it is a focus of the AFN’s National Action Plan to End Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls. Further, the resolution that mandated to work towards the roundtable (04-2014) specifically states it is a step towards an inquiry. These resolutions and the Action Plan are all publicly available and on the AFN website as are many public statements calling for a national inquiry. The AFN has been and will continue to be very vocal in its calls and action towards a national public commission of inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, as reiterated in the AFN’s Opening Remarks at this Special Chiefs Assembly.”APTN National NewsWINNIPEG – Rinelle Harper stood on the podium before the chiefs pleading to them to call for an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women on the first day of the Assembly of First Nations special assembly earlier this week.It was one of the first public statements by the 16-year-old since she was sexually assaulted, viciously beaten and left for dead by a Winnipeg river last month.“I ask that everyone here remembers a few simple words – love, kindness, respect and forgiveness,” Rinelle told the crowd as her parents and older sister stood by her. “As a survivor, I respectfully challenge you all to call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.”Chiefs from across Canada backed a roundtable voting unanimously in favour of two resolutions aimed at including women and families in the debate.One called for the inclusion of relatives of missing and murdered Indigenouswomen while the other wants the federal government to formally announce its participation in the roundtable and provide resources for Native women’s councils to take part.Chief Cathy Merrick of Manitoba’s Cross Lake First Nation burst into tears when her resolution on families of missing and murdered Indigenous women was passed Thursday. There are no resources to support mourning families or help them participate in the roundtable expected in February, she said.“Families should be given that support. When they go out looking for their loved ones, they have no support,” she said. “It’s 2014. We should be able to support them. We have to do something.”An RCMP report released earlier this year put the total of missing and murdered women at 1,181. Indigenous women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, but they account for 16 per cent of female homicides.Although the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women has been a key focus of the three-day assembly meeting, no one moved a formal resolution demanding the federal government call a national inquiry. Instead, the focus was aimed at empowering and including those on the front lines of the issue.Ghislain Picard, the assembly’s interim leader who lost his bid to become national chief Wednesday, raised the possibility of First Nations holding their own inquiry given Ottawa’s steadfast refusal to call one.“Every other day, there is a case being reported … about a missing person in this country,” Picard told the chiefs. “We need to act on it quickly rather than having a government remaining indifferent on the issue.”Chief Fawn Wapioke, of Iskatewizaagegan First Nation in Ontario, said an inquiry isn’t the only way to explore the issue. Wapioke brought forward the resolution calling for adequate support allowing women’s councils to drive the discussion at the roundtable.Women need to lead the discussion into missing and murdered Indigenous women, she said. That conversation can happen at a gathering of neighbours or a national roundtable meeting, Wapioke said.“We can’t have that paternalistic approach where somebody else tells us what’s good to us,” Wapioke said. “It needs to be facilitated and led by the women.“We’re all impacted. We’re all affected by what has happened and what’s been happening. That’s our future.”The Conservative government has repeatedly rejected calls for an inquiry, while the NDP and Liberals have promised to call one if either forms government after the next election.Perry Bellegarde, who was elected national chief, said Tuesday he would continue to fight for a national inquiry to examine all the factors that contribute to missing and murdered Indigneous women.“It’s homelessness. It’s poverty. It’s all those things we need to address,” he told delegates. “I’m going to push hard for that.”It’s not immediately clear if he was one of the chiefs who voted for a roundtable.Grand Chief David Harper, who represents Manitoba northern First Nations and is related to Rinelle, said Tuesday the teen is coming to grips with what she now represents to so many. At first, Harper said, the teen was reluctant to speak, but “now she is starting to understand why she has to speak out.”Elders have told Rinelle that she has been given “a gift,” he said.“A gift for those who cannot speak for themselves, those who have passed on,” Harper said. “You’re the voice for them.“This is why she is doing what she has to do now. Even though she didn’t want it, it is given to her.”– with files from The Canadian Press
After missing the first two games of the season due to a suspension, junior running back Jordan Hall has become Ohio State’s most reliable source of offense for the last two games. In Miami, Hall rushed for 87 yards, which at first glance may not seem like a lot. But in a one-dimensional offense that only accumulated 209 yards, two field goals, and 35 total yards of passing, Hall was the one good thing to come out of the disaster in South Beach. Against Colorado on Saturday Hall put up similar numbers on the ground. He rushed for 84 yards and had a touchdown. “It definitely felt good to be out there the whole game because last week felt like I let my team down because I couldn’t play in the second half,” Hall said. “So it definitely felt good.” Hall’s worth was much more than in head coach Luke Fickell’s pro-style offense. Hall was able to make a huge difference on special teams. “Coach says we want to use special teams as a weapon,” Hall said. Hall was that weapon. In the third quarter, after Colorado had narrowed the margin to 17 after a 47-yard field goal from CU kicker Will Oliver, Hall took the ensuing kick-off 90 yards down the field to give OSU a first-and-goal. Sophomore running back Carlos Hyde punched it into the end zone on the next play for a five-yard touchdown run. After the game, Hall was laughing at himself for his inability to take the kick return to the end zone himself. Hall was caught five yards short. He said he received playful ridicule from his teammates after the return. “They already said what they had to say on the sidelines,” Hall said. “So I ain’t worried about it.” Fickell said Hall gave the Buckeyes much needed lifts in the game against Colorado. “Obviously Jordan (Hall) can do a lot of different things. He can be a weapon back there. People have to be aware where he’s at, kicking the ball to him, whether it’s punts or kickoff returns,” Fickell said. In two weeks, senior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron returns to the field after a five-game suspension for his involvement in the tattoo scandal. Herron along with former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, senior wide receiver DeVier Posey, senior defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and senior offensive lineman Mike Adams received a five-game suspension for their involvement that led to former head coach Jim Tressel’s forced resignation. Coach Fickell has said all along that every player has to earn their starting roles each week, and nothing is assumed. Hall said that when Herron returns, it will just add one more weapon opposing teams have to prepare for. “We’re just going to feed off each other and just make the defense have to… account for all of us,” Hall said. “I think when he gets back, it will definitely spark the offense even more.” To start the season, Hall was suspended for the games against Toledo and Akron for receiving impermissible benefits from a former booster at a Cleveland-area charitable event earlier in the year. The NCAA reinstated his eligibility before the Miami game. It was determined that Hall took $200 from the booster, and was ordered to repay it to a local charity. Hall said that while the running game looked good against Colorado, there is always room for improvement. Between Hall, Hyde, freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, sophomore running back Jaamal Berry and freshman running back Rod Smith, the OSU running attack picked up 226 yards on the ground. “I think you can always get better,” Hall said. “I think we’re just going to have to keep working and practicing and use it on the field on Saturdays.”
Exane BNP Paribas has raised its target for French cable operator Numericable and upped its recommendation on the company’s stock from neutral to outperform. In a note entitled ‘All’s well that merges well’, the bank’s analysts set a target of €50 for Numericable stock, up from €34.According to Exane BNP Paribas, the fusion of Numericable and SFR is “fundamentally attractive”. It predicts that the combined entity will deliver annual average operational free cash-flow of up to 16% between now and 2020. Synergies between Numericable and SFR, notably from high-speed fixed-line internet, are estimated at €7 billion, up from €4 billion previously.Exane BNP Paribas says that Numericable is best-placed amongst French operators to benefit from consolidation of the sector. How well it performs could depend on which of its competitors succeeds in merging with Bouygues Telecom, which failed to secure a rival deal with Vivendi for SFR.According to Exane BNP Paribas, the best case for Numericable would be if Free buys Bouygues Telecom, while the latter’s acquisition by Orange would be less favourable. If Bouygues remains independent, the resultant downward competitive pressure on fixed-line pricing could prove harmful, however.
Sorin AlexandrescuTwo of the most powerful figures in Romanian media have been sentenced after guilty verdicts were delivered in a blackmail case involving the pair and a local cable operator.Intact Media Group founder Dan Voiculescu and Antena TV Group CEO Sorin Alexandrescu were sentenced to two years and three years and six months respectively yesterday.Voiculescu’s daughter, and Intact Media president, Camelia Voiculescu, received a two-year suspended sentence.The charges included extortion and and conspiracy to blackmail. A RON350,000 (€78,000) fine was levied on the Antena Group. The former tax authority (ANAF) boss, Serban Pop, was sentenced to two years, on associated charges.Dan Matiescu, the former director of Intact Publishing, was acquitted. Charges relating to the Antena 3 news channel also resulted in an acquittal.Voiculescu is businessman, politician and founder of Intact. He will serve his time concurrently with a 10-year sentence handed down in 2014 in a case related to the privatisation of Romania’s Food Research Institute.Antena TV is Intact’s broadcast operation and with Alexandrescu at the helm, operates a raft of channels including the Antena services as well as the Euforia, Zu TV and recently launched Happy TV channels. Antena 1 is its flagship channel, claiming a year-on-year increase of 18% in primetime viewing share through April.Antena told TBI it planned to appeal the verdicts in ten days, the soonest local law allows, and while the legal situation plays out it will continue operating as usual.“Intact Media Group will appeal against the Court’s decision of today, May 12 2016, with regards to the case involving the group’s representatives and the main local cable company,” said Intact.“With a history of 25 years on the Romanian media market, Intact Media Group is fully capable to manage all its ongoing projects as well as to develop new undertakings,” it added. “The group thanks its public and its partners for their support and loyalty.”The court case dates back several years, and centres on dealing between Antena and Intact and cable company RCS&RDS.Alexandrescu was arrested in 2013, accused of blackmailing an RCS&RDS executive amid a politically-charged dispute concerning carriage of Antena channels in 2012, an election year in Romania.The charges were brought following an investigation by Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate.As the case was unfolding Alexandrescu, speaking to DTVE sister title TBI, was critical of local regulators and competition authorities.“I would say, quite strongly, that the difficulties we see in this market are due to the weakness of the authorities,” he said. “We have a Competition Council Authority which is, I would say, quite favourable [in its decisions] when it comes to all the problems that are created by one big Romanian operator – the biggest one.”
The BBC reported record-breaking online stats on Saturday thanks to high audience figures for the royal wedding and FA Cup final.The BBC said that Saturday was “the biggest ever day for BBC Online” with audiences consuming 11.9 petabytes (11.9 million gigabytes) of data, peaking at 2.8 terabits per second when people got their first glimpse of Meghan Markle’s dress.Prior to that, the largest peak of BBC Online traffic was on Jan 2, 2018 with audiences consuming 10.2 petabytes and with peak traffic reaching 2.6 terabits per-second.A BBC spokeseperson told DTVE that this wasn’t driven by a major sporting or national live event like the wedding, but by strong performances that day for BBC series EastEnders and McMafia.The royal wedding was also the second most-popular live event ever on the BBC iPlayer with 1.9 million live requests, according to BBC data.The largest ever live event on the iPlayer was the England vs. Wales Euro 2016 football match, which attracted 2.05 million requests.On TV, the BBC logged an average audience size of 8.7 million people for the royal wedding and a peak audience rating of 13.1 million.Separately, content delivery network (CDN) Limelight Networks monitored the online traffic spikes experienced during the royal wedding by its customers, which include the BBC, Sky and Channel 4.Limelight recorded an average increase of 225% in viewership during the wedding, with the UK seeing a 119% increase in viewers and the US a 343% increase.The three biggest peaks in traffic included, in order of total viewership: the first appearance of the bride; the bride and groom’s first kiss; and the beginning of the formal procession.“The royal wedding demonstrates the growing pressures high-profile events can put on a broadcaster’s network,” said Jon Smith, managing director of EMEA at Limelight Networks.“Without the right CDN in place these additional requests from viewers just cannot be met, resulting in the loss of customers and the loss of revenue.”Nielsen reported that an estimated 29.2 million US TV viewers tuned into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, which was carried live by 15 networks – including ABC, BBC America, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, Telemundo and Univision.
Guest Writer Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. August 21, 2014 Next Article Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Y Combinator Until now, Y Combinator — the prestigious accelerator program that vaulted some of Silicon Valley’s most buzzed about companies, including Drobox, Airbnb and Reddit – was primarily a tech incubator.But the accelerator is expanding its horizons. This year, for the very first time, it is pursuing health-tech startups, Reuters reported. “It’s the right time for us to try health care,” Sam Altman, Y Combinator’s president, said, noting that there’s been a recent and significant decrease in both “cost and cycle time.”Related: Google Wants to Build a Model of Perfect Human HealthWhile Altman conceded the move may unsettle venture capitalists, at least initially (“When we move into a new area, [they] usually don’t like it,” he said), it’s not that big of a surprise. Venture capitalists across the country are suddenly pouring money into health technology companies. In 2013, according to the National Venture Capital Association, the biotechnology industry received 15.6 percent of all venture funding. Only the software industry, at 30.2 percent, took in a larger slice.In addition, 2013 saw digital health startups, which include companies developing wearable tech and software/hardware solutions for specific diseases and conditions, take in almost $2 billion in funding, according to the venture fund Rock Health.Related: 5 Startups to Watch at Y Combinator’s Demo DayWhile it was a record year for funding in the space, this year’s funding total is going to blow last year’s away: According Rock Health’s 2014 mid-year report, the first half of 2014 saw digital health companies take in a whopping $2.2 billion.Altman took over as president of Y Combinator when the accelerator’s co-founder, Paul Graham, stepped down in February. On Tuesday, the first class of Y Combinator startups under Altman’s tenure graduated from the program. They included a high percentage of health and biotech startups including The Immunity Project (a startup attempting to develop an HIV vaccine), Glowing Plant (which develops genetically engineered plants that function as air purifiers), UBiome (a startup that analyzes bacteria) and Ginko BioWorks (which is currently working to treat antibiotic resistant germs). Related: 5 Questions Every Startup Should Ask Before Choosing an Incubator 2 min read Enroll Now for $5 This Is Y Combinator’s Next Hot Area of Investment –shares Add to Queue Laura Entis
2 min read Next Article 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List –shares Add to Queue The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. December 9, 2014 First-Class Macadamia Nut Case Prompts Korean Air Exec to Step Down This story originally appeared on Reuters A Korean Air Lines Co executive, whose dismay over the way she was served macadamia nuts led to a plane returning to its gate to expel the cabin crew chief, has stepped down as head of in-flight service, the airline said on Tuesday.Korean Air apologized for Friday’s incident at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in which Heather Cho, a vice president of the airline, took issue with a crew member for substandard service.However, Cho, the 40-year-old daughter of the airline’s chairman, Cho Yang-ho, will remain a vice president with the South Korean flag carrier, the airline said late on Tuesday.The incident aboard an Airbus A380 jumbo jet that had been pushed back from its gate bound for Incheon, near Seoul, provoked outrage in South Korea when it was reported on Monday.”I am sorry to our customers and the Korean people that I unintentionally caused social uproar and I ask forgiveness from anyone who has been hurt by me,” a company official, speaking to Reuters by telephone, quoted Heather Cho as saying late on Tuesday.”I take responsibility for the incident,” the official quoted her as saying.The airline said late on Monday that although Cho was responsible for supervising in-flight service, it was “excessive” that the plane was returned to the gate to expel a crew member in a non-emergency situation.Cho was seated in first-class when she took issue with a flight attendant who handed her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a dish, according to an industry official briefed on the matter, who declined to be identified.Cho summoned the cabin crew chief to ask whether the flight attendant was following the in-flight service manual, and the crew chief could not answer promptly, the airline said.Cho “took issue with the cabin crew chief’s qualifications,” and the plane was returned by the pilot to its gate to expel the crew chief, the airline said.The flight arrived in Incheon 11 minutes behind schedule.South Korea’s transport ministry said on Monday it was investigating the incident.Heather Cho is the oldest of Cho Yang-ho’s three children, who are all executives with the airline.(Additional reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Tony Munroe) Airlines Apply Now » Reuters
Register Now » Microsoft Pays Woman $10,000 for Unwanted Windows 10 Update. Here Are 5 Times the Upgrade Came at the Worst Moment. It’s no secret that PC users have been fuming these past few months over Microsoft’s pushy Windows 10 update. Finally, one of these victims has seen glory.Terri Goldstein, a small-business owner based in California, sued the company and won $10,000 for her unwanted Windows 10 update with claims that her PC didn’t function properly after. “I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein tells The Seattle Times. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted an update.” Like Goldstein, many PC users and companies are angered by the interruptions the upgrade has caused. Here are five horror stories from people who received the automatic update at the seemingly worst possible moment.1. During a live newscast.Metinka Slater, a meteorologist for Iowa’s KCCI Channel 8, was reporting the day’s weather during a live broadcast when the Windows 10 upgrade notification appeared over the map behind her. Taken by surprise, Slater briefly found herself reporting on the software update rather than the forecasted rainfall.2. During a nine-hour gaming marathon.Many online gamers are complaining that the blue “window of doom” pop-ups have made their games unplayable and forced them to exit — a major problem for competitive gamers like Erik Flom, who has a following of nearly 130,000. A forced installation caused Flom to panic, and his expletive-laden outrage was captured live on the video-streaming service Twitch. After facing the emotional distress of having to break during a nine-hour gaming marathon, Flom realized nothing could be done to stop the upgrade.3. During a radio show.Popular radio host Thom Hartmann’s server went offline when his system suddenly decided to upgrade in the middle of this show, interrupting his YouTube livestream.Our youtube stream is down because the computer it runs out of is “automatically” updating to Windows 10 WITHOUT our permission. Grrrrrrr.— Thom Hartmann (@Thom_Hartmann) March 11, 20164. During final exams. The update may even threaten students’ grades. With summer approaching, the last thing stressed-out students need is a delay as they scramble to finish final exams. A student complained on a Reddit forum that she got up from her desk for a couple of minutes and came back to find her PC in the middle of an update.5. During a visit to the doctor.On a more serious note, Windows 10 has presented some inconvenience in the workplace, even in one doctor’s office. A Reddit user reported: “I needed to set up my department’s bronchoscopy cart quickly for someone with some sick lungs… when I turned on the computer it had to do a Windows update.” Seriously, Microsoft? Rose Leadem Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. June 28, 2016 Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Add to Queue Windows 10 –shares Next Article 3 min read
Radiation impairs the quality and viability of human sperm, and these effects are expected to be greater on fresh sperm than on frozen samples, which are cryopreserved in special cryostraws and transported in cryotanks. So our first step was to investigate gravity conditions and frozen sperm samples. Our best option will be to perform the experiment using real spaceflight, but access is very limited.”Dr Montserrat Boada from Dexeus Women’s Health in Barcelona Source:European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 24 2019Zillionaires like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who see the ‘colonization’ of space as an answer to the Earth’s ever threatened resources will be reassured to learn that human sperm retains its complete viability within the different gravitational conditions found in outer space.In a study reported today at the 35th Annual Meeting of ESHRE investigators said that the lack of difference in a range of sperm characteristics observed in frozen sperm samples exposed to microgravity and those maintained in ground conditions ‘open the possibility of safely transporting male gametes to space and considering the possibility of creating a human sperm bank outside Earth’.The results are presented here in Vienna by Dr Montserrat Boada from Dexeus Women’s Health in Barcelona, whose group worked with microgravity engineers from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona. The Aeroclub Barcelona-Sabadell of Spain was responsible for the parabolic flights to create microgravity conditions.As background to the study, Dr Boada explained that, while the effects of microgravity on the cardiovascular, musculo-skeletal and central nervous systems are well known and tested in space flight, relatively little is known about the effects of different gravitational environments on human sperm and eggs. ‘Some studies suggest a significant decrease in the motility of human fresh sperm samples,’ said Dr Boada, ‘but nothing has been reported on the possible effects of gravitational differences on frozen human gametes, in which state they would be transported from Earth to space.’The study was performed using a small aerobatic training aircraft (CAP10), which can provide short-duration hypogravity exposure. The plane executed a series of 20 parabolic maneuvers, providing 8 seconds of microgravity for each parabola. Overall, ten sperm samples obtained from ten healthy donors were analyzed after exposure to the different microgravities found in space and ground gravity.Related StoriesRecurrent pregnancy loss may be caused by sperm DNA damage, finds studySperm quality among Swiss men in ‘critical state’, say expertsLong-term cryopreservation of semen does not affect future clinical outcomesThe sperm analysis comprised a full range of measurements currently performed for fertility testing – concentration, motility, vitality, morphology and DNA fragmentation – and results found no difference whatsoever in any of the parameters between the microgravity space samples and the control group samples from Earth. Indeed, said Dr Boada, there was 100% concordance in DNA fragmentation rate and vitality, and 90% concordance in sperm concentration and motility. These minor differences, she added, ‘were more probably related to heterogeneity of the sperm sample than to the effect of exposure to different gravity conditions’.Dr Boada described this as a preliminary study and her group will now move on to validate the results and then to larger sperm samples, longer periods of microgravity and even fresh sperm. ‘But we do need to know,’ she added. ‘If the number of space missions increases in the coming years, and are of longer duration, it is important to study the effects of long-term human exposure to space in order to face them. It’s not unreasonable to start thinking about the possibility of reproduction beyond the Earth.’Dr Boada noted that one reason for using frozen sperm in this study was the known effect of radiation on fresh sperm.