British surfers catch more than waves: Scientists find antibiotic-resistant bacteria


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In findings published Sunday in Environmental International, a team from Britain’s University of Exeter reports that surfers and bodyboarders are roughly three times as likely to house antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli and other bacteria that could easily become resistant, than other people who recreate in the coastal waters of the United Kingdom.

The epidemiological study was nicknamed the “Beach Bum Survey”. The project was performed on 143 regular surfers, body surfers and bodyboarders from around the United Kingdom. Each surfgoing participant was asked to recruit a non-surfing friend of the same sex and approximate age and who lived in the same part of the country to serve as a control, which resulted in a control group of 130.

All participants mailed in rectal swabs, and the researchers cultured the E. coli from those samples with a common antibiotic called cefotaxime. The antibiotic failed to kill the bacteria in about 9% (13 out of 143) of surfer and bodyboarder samples and 3% of the samples from the control group (4 out of 130). A deeper look into the genomes of the specific strains of bacteria found in the study volunteers showed that bacteria from surfers were four times as likely to possess genes that can be transferred from one bacterial strain to another, which can help antibiotic-susceptible bacteria become resistant. The study also involved examination of water samples from the coasts of England and Wales to estimate the risk of surfers and other beachgoers ingesting E. coli.

E. coli is a regular resident in the guts of humans and other animals. Most strains are harmless but others can cause serious disease. Like other bacteria, E. coli can undergo horizontal gene transfer, swapping genes from one bacterium to another. This can give the altered strain the ability to cause disease, survive in the presence of antibiotics or both.

Although the researchers expressed concern surfers might spread dangerous bacteria, Dr. Will Gaze, the University of Exeter Medical School professional who supervised the project, urged people not to avoid the beach: “We are not seeking to discourage people from spending time in the sea, an activity which has a lot of benefits in terms of exercise, well-being and connecting with nature”, he said. “It is important that people understand the risks involved so that they can make informed decisions about their bathing and sporting habits. We now hope that our results will help policy-makers, beach managers, and water companies to make evidence-based decisions to improve water quality even further for the benefit of public health.”

David Smith, science and policy officer of Surfers Against Sewage, which helped organise the volunteers, agreed the study was not meant to discourage surfing: “Water quality in the UK has improved vastly in the past 30 years and is some of the cleanest in Europe. Recognising coastal waters as a pathway for antibiotic resistance can allow policy makers to make changes to protect water users and the wider public from the threat of antibiotic resistance.”

One of the principal findings of this work was that existing methods may have been underestimating the prevalence of these bacteria in seawater. Previous studies have shown that even designated swimming beaches can be affected by runoff from farms or even sewage, and surfers swallow roughly ten times as much seawater as swimmers. Professor Colin Gardner of the charity Antibiotic Research UK says, these forms of runoff can have even higher concentrations of antibiotics than patients undergoing antibiotic treatment. “Research into new medicines to replace our archaic antibiotics has stagnated and unless new treatments are found, this could be potentially devastating for human health”, he warns.

The World Health Organization has reported that because so many kinds of bacteria are gaining resistance to common medicines, conditions such as pneumonia and gonnorhea may become more difficult to treat and have higher rates of sickness and death. Doctors often prescribe preventative antibiotics to patients undergoing surgery or radiation therapy, and this may also be impacted. Professor Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has described a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” scenario

The European Regional Development Fund and Natural Environment Research Council provided funding for the study.

The Facts About Insomnia


By Tom Houser

I hope that the facts about insomnia will help someone achieve a better night’s sleep. Just about everyone wants to wake up feeling rested, refreshed and ready to take on the new day. Unfortunately, many people do not get the rest they so desperately need and want. There are many resources available to the sleep deprived, whether it is online, at the local library or from your doctor. There is plenty of help available.

The basic facts about insomnia focus on the problem itself, which is the inability to fall asleep when you absolutely want to. In addition, it includes the person getting little sleep or a poor quality nights sleep on a regular basis. Here is a list of the three main types of insomnia:

— Transient or Short-Term insomnia lasts one night or up to a few weeks

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— Intermittent insomnia is short-term but it does recur once in a while

— Chronic insomnia occurs at least three times a week and continues for periods of a month, year or an entire life

One of the main facts about insomnia is the constant and excessive sleepiness that the individual experiences. This results in the person feeling irritable, lethargic, restless and constantly tired. They are considered an insomniac. These particular symptoms are more common in the chronic sufferer.

Another of the facts about insomnia is that insomniacs are much more accident-prone. This is especially prevalent in driving accidents as someone falling asleep at the wheel causes one of five. This extremely dangerous situation costs many lives every year in North America. The problem of insomnia can also create issues in the home as well. People are much more irritable when they do not get enough rest and this leads to arguments and disagreements that would otherwise not have occurred if the person were not in an irritable and tired state of mind.

It is very important to know the facts about insomnia because this condition can affect the overall quality of life. If it is not treated, it can affect all areas of a person’s life, their work, their relationships and every other aspect of it. Sleep has two main states that alternate in cycles, thus resulting in different levels of brain cell activity. In reality sleep disturbances are a symptom of depression, insomnia then causes mood disorders. Some people turn to sleeping pills to combat their inability to sleep. However, there are some serious side effects known to have been caused by sleeping pills in the past.

In determining the facts about insomnia there are ways to improve ones sleep habits and help the person sleep better overall. One of the best ways to alleviate problems sleeping is to correct the physical and emotional factors that may be causing the insomnia in the first place. This means that changing ones lifestyle will go a long way in ending the sleep deprivation issues. Another treatment method is cognitive behavior therapy; this helps a person set their environment and routine plus the right frame of mind for sleep. Changes in diet and regular exercise can also bring about a better nights sleep.

About the Author: We provide information on the

facts about insomnia

along with information on

sleep deprivation effects

and other sleeping disorders. by D. Karlson

Source:

isnare.com

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Northrop Grumman and Airbus parent EADS defeat Boeing for $40 billion US airtanker contract


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Northrop Grumman and Airbus parent company European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V. (EADS) have unexpectedly defeated Boeing for a US$40 billion (GB£20.1 billion) contract to supply the United States Air Force (USAF) with 179 new aerial refueling tankers at a rate of 15 a year.

It is the biggest contract of its kind since the Joint Strike Fighter program. That contract was fought for between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Lockheed ultimately winning the contest.

JSA Research defence analysist Paul Nesbit said that Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operations across the aircraft’s fifty-year service life could push the value of the contract as high as US$100 billion. Northrop Grumman CEO Ron Sugar said in an interview “Everyone told us we were crazy, that we had no chance. But we took a big swing and in this case, we hit a home run.”

USAF officials said that the contract had been awarded based on competence, track record and competitive pricing, with UBS analyst David Strauss saying “The key decision was the amount of fuel the bigger plane could carry. In the armed services, you can never have too much gas in the air.” USAF also denied that creating jobs in the US was a factor; job supply had been the reason Boeing were expected to win, with the airframer promising 44,000 new positions at 300 suppliers in 40 states.

The Northrop Grumman KC-45 tankers – more often known as KC-30s – are based on the Airbus A330 MRTT. The first four aircraft will be assembled at the main Airbus factory in Toulouse, France but by 2010-11 production of the remainder will be carried out at a facility in Mobile, Alabama. This is thought likely to create 1,500 to 2,000 jobs and support 25,000 others. 60% of the parts will be supplied by domestic manufacturers. EADS had previously announced plans to shift much production to the US due to the current weakness of the dollar.

General Arthur Lichte, head of USAF’s Mobility Command, said it is hoped the first aircraft can be tested in 2010 and in operation three years afterwards. USAF’s chief of staff General Duncan McNab stated “The tanker is the number-one procurement priority for us right now. It is the first step in our critical commitment to recapitalize our aging fleet to move, supply, and position assets anywhere.”

At a time when our economy is hurting, this is a blow not only to our state, but more than 40 states across the country who would help build this national plane.

There is still a possibility of Boeing challenging the decision; Boeing themselves were successfuly challenged by Lockheed and Sikorsky in 2006 over a US$10 billion contract to supply search and rescue helicopters to the Pentagon. A statement by Boeing given by Boeing spokesman William Barksdale said “Obviously we are very disappointed… Once we have reviewed the details behind the award, we will make a decision concerning our possible options.”

Washington senator Patty Murray, who hails from the same state where Boeing bases their commercial airliner operations, said in a critical statement “We are shocked that the Air Force tapped a European company and its foreign workers to provide a tanker to our American military. At a time when our economy is hurting, this decision to outsource our tankers is a blow to the American aerospace industry, American workers and America’s military.”

Washington representative Norm Dicks said he too was “shocked”, releasing a statement saying “This decision is even more disappointing because the Air Force had previously favored the Boeing 767 tanker and we were prepared to move forward with the production of 100 tankers in 2003, before the process was halted due to the Boeing scandal. I regret that it has taken so long to respond to what was—and is—an urgent need to replace these older aircraft. And even more regrettable is the decision to award the contract to Airbus, which has consistently used unfair European government subsidies to take jobs away from American aircraft workers.”

Kansas senator Sam Brownback said “It’s stunning to me that we would outsource the production of these airplanes to Europe instead of building them in America. I’ll be calling upon the Secretary of Defense for a full debriefing and expect there will be a protest of the award by Boeing.” Todd Tiahrt, a Kansas representative, said “We should have an American tanker built by an American company with American workers. I cannot believe we would create French jobs in place of Kansas jobs.”

A group of Washington politicians released a joint statement saying “We will be asking tough questions about the decision to outsource this contract… At a time when our economy is hurting, this is a blow not only to our state, but more than 40 states across the country who would help build this national plane.”

Alabama Governor Bob Riley said “To say this is a great day for Alabama is a monumental understatement. This will go down in history as one of our greatest days.” Ralph Crosby, EADS’s North America CEO and ex Northrop executive commented the business has “committed our full resources to support this vital program for our prime contractor, Northrop Grumman, the Air Force, and the war fighters that this system will serve for decades to come. We already have begun the work necessary to expand our U.S. industrial footprint in support of this important program.”

EADS chief executive Louis Gallois commented “This major selection is a win-win for our customers, for allied industrial cooperation and for EADS. It signals a quantum-leap forward in our commitment to the US defence customer, reflects and supports our global strategy to increase EADS’s industrial presence in key markets and our goal to balance the company’s defence and commercial portfolios.” General Arthur Lichte said “This will be an American tanker, flown by American airmen with an American flag on its tail and, every day, it will be saving American lives.

Boeing had initially agreed to lease 100 tankers, but in 2003 a scandal erupted when it emerged that Boeing executive Michael M. Sears arranged a job for USAF official Darleen Druyun while negotiations were still underway. Both served jail sentences for corruption charges and a competition was opened up to award a new contract.

Appalachia Mountains coal company plays State politics


Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Massey Energy Co., the fourth largest coal producer in the U.S., filed a federal lawsuit against the Governor of West Virginia, Joe Manchin.

Massey’s CEO Don Blankenship alleged that Gov. Manchin acted in retaliation against the company’s coal mining operations because the company spent $650,000 in an advertising campaign to defeat the governor sponsored pension bond proposal. The $5.5 billion bond proposal, intended to shore up the state’s sagging pension plan, was defeated in a special election held in June.

The Massey lawsuit, filed last Tuesday on July 26 in the U.S. District Court in the W.V. southern district, was referred to by Gov. Manchin as having less to do with the bond proposal than with the newly increased state “severance tax” on coal. Nearly 40 million tons of coal production will be subject to the 56-cent tax.

According to Blankenship, that tax amounts to $22.4 million in additional costs for the company, but he denied the increase has anything to do with the lawsuit.

The company reported profits that almost tripled during the second quarter compared to a year ago. Of the company’s rosy earnings picture, Blankenship urged states to “show some frugality” by not placing tax burdens on coal to solve state budget shortfalls. He said his company is “playing a role” because there was no need for the bond sale and the state can afford to make payments into the pension system.

Blankenship acknowledged during a conference call the now-rescinded June 30 permit by the W.V. Department of Environment Protection (DEP). At issue was the department’s permit for mining operations near the Marsh Fork Elementary School, in Sundial, W.V. The school rests at the base of a mountain selected by Massey for “Mountain Top Removal” (MTR) mining techniques. Along with the mining equipment, a coal preparation plant and a sludge pond were established on the mountain. Protest groups, mainly the Coal River Mountain Watch and Mountain Justice Summer, presented a list of demands to Massey officials that included shutting down the preparation plant, ceasing all MTR mining above the Marsh Fork Elementary School, and abandoning plans for a second coal silo near the school. They also ask that the Marsh Fork school be cleaned up or relocated. The state permit for a second coal storage silo was rescinded by the DEP the same day Massey filed the Manchin lawsuit.

Gov. Manchin in June said that Blankenship could expect tougher state scrutiny of his business affairs since the Massey media campaign against the pension bond proposal. “I think that is justified now, since Don has jumped in there with his personal wealth trying to direct public policy,” he said at an appearance at an American Electric Power event in Putnam County.

Wikinews 2014: An ‘Original reporting’ year in review


Wednesday, December 24, 2014With the English-language Wikinews continuing to increase the amount of original content published, we take a look back at some of the eighty-plus original reports from our contributors during 2014.

Airborne sedan smashes into dental office in Santa Ana, California, US


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A car accident involving the car occupants and a dentist’s office happened on Sunday night in Santa Ana, California. A white Nissan sedan which was apparently driving too fast hit the raised concrete median on the road, after which it was launched into the air, slamming straight into the wall of the second floor of a two-story dental practice building, where the car got wedged.

According to the police, the car approached from a side street. The room of the dental office penetrated by the sedan was used as a storage space. A fire department crane was used to extract the vehicle from the building, which took several hours.

There were two people in the sedan. One of them managed to escape from the hanging vehicle on his own, while the other one remained trapped inside it for over an hour. They were both hospitalized with minor injuries, according to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). According to the police, the driver of the car admitted narcotics use, and after toxicology tests the case is to be submitted to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The moment of the accident was captured by surveillance video from a bus which the car narrowly missed when becoming airborne.

According to OCFA spokesperson Captain Stephen Horner, there was a small fire after the crash, which was extinguished quickly.

Founder of Alibaba Group Jack Ma talks about e-commerce in Taiwan


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Following the success of “Chinatrust Global Leaders Forum” in 2005, Chinatrust Commercial Bank (CTCB), the forum organizer, invited Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, to give the main address on the subject of “Cross-Strait e-Commerce Development” yesterday.

“We (CTCB) held this forum originally with a speech-style type, and hoped participants absorb good experiences from some world-class notabilities. At the first holding, we invited Dr. Edward Prescott forecasting the future of global economics and this invitation was finally respected by financial people in Taiwan. With trendy transformations and global popularization of the Internet in the presence, we finally decided to invite Jack Ma to share experiences from his successful management theory.” Jeffery Koo (Chairman of CTCB) remarked at the opening.

With Alibaba Group now entered into the Hong Kong market, Ma sees a bright future with partners’ cooperation. He said: “A successful company is decided by flexible wisdoms more than its scale.” Those words echoed some of the quotes he used in his speech at the forum: “Rich is a sum by team collaborations and accumulating several experiences but not money. Several valuable things can’t buy with money. A company should have a long-term consideration and planning to meet success with creative, better, and different products and services.”

He not only taught some strategies but also cited Chinese stories on Three Kingdoms and Tang Dynasty to point out key factors (visions, ambitions, bosoms, and actual strengths) which determine the success or failure of a company leader.

Earthquake, tsunami combo caused devastation in Pichilemu, Chile


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pichilemu, Chile – Last Saturday, Chile was hit by a 8.8 earthquake. Many coastal towns were also hit by a tsunami, and Pichilemu was one of them. Its inhabitants were surprised by the giant waves that destroyed the most of the costanera and that reached the city square.

Pichilemu, that means in Mapudungun language small forest, is one of the most famous Chilean resort towns in the central zone of Chile. It is recurrently visited by surfers from all the world, because the Punta de Lobos beach is considered one of the best for surf practice worldwide.

Central Pichilemu was not severely damaged by the earthquake, but the tsunami caused significant destruction. The Fishermen Creek, located in front of the beach, was completely destroyed, and its machines are now unusable. Most of the Agustín Ross architecture that characterized the city, three of them being National Monuments of Chile, were damaged. The Agustín Ross Mirador, a famous location in front of the beach, located less than 200 meters from the Fisherman Creek, was completely destroyed. Its famous balustrades were washed away or thrown asunder. Many restaurants, kiosks and a circus were affected by the tsunami.

The rural parts of Pichilemu, like Ciruelos, Rodeillo and Espinillo feature houses constructed from adobe. Many were more than 100-years old, and were destroyed or are now uninhabitable.

The most powerful aftershock was produced almost 40 kilometers in front of the coast of Pichilemu, at the 03:10 local time (07:10 UTC) in March 2, with an intensity of 5.5 in the Richter scale, according to the USGS.

The Intendant of the O’Higgins Region, Juan Núñez, had a meeting with the Governor of the Cardenal Caro Province, Loreto Puebla, the Mayor of Pichilemu, Roberto Córdova, and naval and military authorities, juntas de vecinos representatives. They decided to leave the Carabineros police force to maintain the security of the city.

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The Arturo Prat square was severely damaged by the earthquake and later by the tsunami. In the left picture, can be seen some kiosks, all of them were destroyed, as can be seen on the right picture. Image: Diego Grez.

A boat that was originally in front of the Fisherman Creek of Pichilemu, was thrown almost a block away by the powerful tsunami that hit Chile last Saturday. Image: Diego Grez.

A fair was located in front of the beach, called Feria Internacional Artesanal, where Peruvian and Chilean craftsman were selling their crafts. All of their premises were destroyed, and later looted by the people that were passing by the costanera. Image: Diego Grez.

This is how looked the Agustín Ross ‘Mirador’ (balcony) in the past. Image: Diego Grez.
The Famous Agustín Ross balcony (mirador), before and after the earthquake and tsunami. Image: Diego Grez.

A strong aftershock was originated around Pichilemu, in March 5, 2010, at 12:34:32 AM at epicenter (03:34:32 AM UTC). Image: USGS.

American journalist in Iran freed from prison


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On Monday, Iran released Roxana Saberi, an American journalist with Iranian and Japanese parentage, from prison. Saberi was arrested in April and accused of spying.

“[Saberi will be] released today,” said one of Saberi’s defense attorneys, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi. He added that after being released, Saberi “is entitled to leave Iran immediately.” She is, however, forbidden from practicing journalism for at least five years in Iran.

Her freedom comes after an Iranian court met in a private session for five hours then ruled that her eight year prison sentence was suspended. She was convicted on April 18 and her trial lasted only one day.

Saberi was originally arrested in April and sentenced to eight years after being charged with purchasing alcoholic beverages and reporting without the proper media credentials. During her trial, Iranian officials accused her of spying and sending information to U.S. intelligence agencies overseas. At the time, according to Iran’s national media, Saberi admitted to spying.

Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live music venues in Edinburgh, Scotland are awaiting a review later this year on the 2005 licensing policy, which places limitations on the volume of amplified music in the city. Investigating into how the policy is affecting the Edinburgh music scene, a group of Wikinews writers interviewed venue owners, academics, the City of Edinburgh Council, and local band The Mean Reds to get different perspectives on the issue.

Since the clause was introduced by the government of the city of Edinburgh, licensed venues have been prohibited from allowing music to be amplified to the extent it is audible to nearby residential properties. This has affected the live music scene, with several venues discontinuing regular events such as open mic nights, and hosting bands and artists.

Currently, the licensing policy allows licensing standards officers to order a venue to cease live music on any particular night, based on a single noise complaint from the public. The volume is not electronically measured to determine if it breaches a decibel volume level. Over roughly the past year there have been 56 separate noise complaints made against 18 venues throughout the city.

A petition to amend the clause has garnered over 3,000 signatures, including the support of bar owners, musicians, and members of the general public.

On November 17, 2014, the government’s Culture and Sport Committee hosted an open forum meeting at Usher Hall. Musicians, venue owners and industry professionals were encouraged to provide their thoughts on how the council could improve live music in the city. Ways to promote live music as a key cultural aspect of Edinburgh were discussed and it was suggested that it could be beneficial to try and replicate the management system of live music of other global cities renowned for their live music scenes. However, the suggestion which prevailed above all others was simply to review the existing licensing policy.

Councillor (Cllr) Norma Austin-Hart, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Sport Committee, is responsible for the working group Music is Audible. The group is comprised of local music professionals, and councillors and officials from Edinburgh Council. A document circulated to the Music is Audible group stated the council aims “to achieve a balance between protecting residents and supporting venues”.

Following standard procedure, when a complaint is made, a Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) is dispatched to investigate the venue and evaluate the level of noise. If deemed to be too loud, the LSO asks the venue to lower the noise level. According to a document provided by the City of Edinburgh Council, “not one single business has lost its license or been closed down because of a breach to the noise condition in Edinburgh.”

In the Scotland Licensing Policy (2005), Clause 6.2 states, “where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in a premises, the board will consider the imposition of a condition requiring amplified music from those premises to be inaudible in residential property.” According to Cllr Austin-Hart, the high volume of tenement housing in the city centre makes it difficult for music to be inaudible.

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer, venues are given temporary licences that allow them to operate for the duration of the festival and under the condition that “all amplified music and vocals are controlled to the satisfaction of the Director of Services for Communities”, as stated in a document from the council. During the festival, there is an 11 p.m. noise restriction on amplified music, and noise may be measured by Environmental Health staff using sophisticated equipment. Noise is restricted to 65dB(A) from the facades of residential properties; however, complaints from residents still occur. In the document from the council, they note these conditions and limitations for temporary venues would not necessarily be appropriate for permanent licensed premises.

In a phone interview, Cllr Austin-Hart expressed her concern about the unsettlement in Edinburgh regarding live music. She referenced the closure of the well-known Picture House, a venue that has provided entertainment for over half a century, and the community’s opposition to commercial public bar chain Wetherspoon buying the venue. “[It] is a well-known pub that does not play any form of music”, Cllr Austin-Hart said. “[T]hey feel as if it is another blow to Edinburgh’s live music”. “[We] cannot stop Wetherspoon’s from buying this venue; we have no control over this.”

The venue has operated under different names, including the Caley Palais which hosted bands such as Queen and AC/DC. The Picture House opened in 2008.

One of the venues which has been significantly affected by the licensing laws is the Phoenix Bar, on Broughton Street. The bar’s owner, Sam Roberts, was induced to cease live music gigs in March, following a number of noise complaints against the venue. As a result, Ms Roberts was inspired to start the aforementioned petition to have Clause 6.2 of the licensing policy reviewed, in an effort to remove the ‘inaudibility’ statement that is affecting venues and the music scene.

“I think we not only encourage it, but actively support the Edinburgh music scene,” Ms Roberts says of the Phoenix Bar and other venues, “the problem is that it is a dying scene.”

When Ms Roberts purchased the venue in 2013, she continued the existing 30-year legacy established by the previous owners of hosting live acts. Representative of Edinburgh’s colourful music scene, a diverse range of genres have been hosted at the venue. Ms Roberts described the atmosphere when live music acts perform at her venue as “electric”. “The whole community comes together singing, dancing and having a party. Letting their hair down and forgetting their troubles. People go home happy after a brilliant night out. All the staff usually join in; the pub comes alive”. However licensing restrictions have seen a majority of the acts shut down due to noise complaints. “We have put on jazz, blues, rock, rockabilly, folk, celtic and pop live acts and have had to close everything down.” “Residents in Edinburgh unfortunately know that the Council policy gives them all the rights in the world, and the pubs and clubs none”, Ms Roberts clarified.

Discussing how inaudibility has affected venues and musicians alike, Ms Roberts stated many pubs have lost profit through the absence of gigs, and trying to soundproof their venue. “It has put many musicians out of work and it has had an enormous effect on earnings in the pub. […] Many clubs and bars have been forced to invest in thousands of pounds worth of soundproofing equipment which has nearly bankrupted them, only to find that even the tiniest bit of noise can still force a closure. It is a ridiculously one-sided situation.” Ms Roberts feels inaudibility is an unfair clause for venues. “I think it very clearly favours residents in Edinburgh and not business. […] Nothing is being done to support local business, and closing down all the live music venues in Edinburgh has hurt financially in so many ways. Not only do you lose money, you lose new faces, you lose the respect of the local musicians, and you begin to lose all hope in a ‘fair go’.”

With the petition holding a considerable number of signatures, Ms Roberts states she is still sceptical of any change occurring. “Over three thousand people have signed the petition and still the council is not moving. They have taken action on petitions with far fewer signatures.” Ms Roberts also added, “Right now I don’t think Edinburgh has much hope of positive change”.

Ms Roberts seems to have lost all hope for positive change in relation to Edinburgh’s music scene, and argues Glasgow is now the regional choice for live music and venues. “[E]veryone in the business knows they have to go to Glasgow for a decent scene. Glasgow City Council get behind their city.”

Ms Martina Cannon, member of local band The Mean Reds, said a regular ‘Open Mic Night’ she hosted at The Parlour on Duke Street has ceased after a number of complaints were made against the venue. “It was a shame because it had built up some momentum over the months it had been running”. She described financial loss to the venue from cancelling the event, as well as loss to her as organiser of the event.

Sneaky Pete’s music bar and club, owned by Nick Stewart, is described on its website as “open and busy every night”.”Many clubs could be defined as bars that host music, but we really are a music venue that serves drinks”, Mr Stewart says. He sees the live music scene as essential for maintaining nightlife in Edinburgh not only because of the economic benefit but more importantly because of the cultural significance. “Music is one of the important things in life. […] it’s emotionally and intellectually engaging, and it adds to the quality of life that people lead.”

Sneaky Pete’s has not been immune to the inaudibility clause. The business has spent about 20,000 pounds on multiple soundproofing fixes designed to quell complaints from neighboring residents. “The business suffered a great deal in between losing the option to do gigs for fear of complaints, and finishing the soundproofing. As I mentioned, we are a music business that serves drinks, not a bar that also has music, so when we lose shows, we lose a great deal of trade”, said Mr Stewart.

He believes there is a better way to go about handling complaints and fixing public nuisances. “The local mandatory condition requiring ‘amplified music and vocals’ to be ‘inaudible’ should be struck from all licenses. The requirement presupposes that nuisance is caused by music venues, when this may not reasonably be said to be the case. […] Nuisance is not defined in the Licensing Act nor is it defined in the Public Health Act (Scotland) 2008. However, The Consultation on Guidance to accompany the Statutory Nuisance Provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 states that ‘There are eight key issues to consider when evaluating whether a nuisance exists[…]'”.

The eight key factors are impact, locality, time, frequency, duration, convention, importance, and avoidability. Stewart believes it is these factors that should be taken into consideration by LSOs responding to complaints instead of the sole factor of “audibility”.He believes multiple steps should be taken before considering revocation of licenses. Firstly, LSOs should determine whether a venue is a nuisance based on the eight factors. Then, the venue should have the opportunity to comply by using methods such as changing the nature of their live performances (e.g. from hard rock to acoustic rock), changing their hours of operation, or soundproofing. If the venue still fails to comply, then a board can review their license with the goal of finding more ways to bring them into compliance as opposed to revoking their license.

Nick Stewart has discussed his proposal at length with Music is Audible and said he means to present his proposal to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Adam Behr, a music academic and research associate at the University of Edinburgh who has conducted research on the cultural value of live music, says live music significantly contributes to the economic performance of cities. He said studies have shown revenue creation and the provision of employment are significant factors which come about as a result of live music. A 2014 report by UK Music showed the economic value generated by live music in the UK in 2013 was £789 million and provided the equivalent of 21,600 full time jobs.

As the music industry is international by nature, Behr says this complicates the way revenue is allocated, “For instance, if an American artist plays a venue owned by a British company at a gig which is promoted by a company that is part British owned but majority owned by, say, Live Nation (a major international entertainment company) — then the flow of revenues might not be as straightforward as it seems [at] first.”

Despite these complexities, Behr highlighted the broader advantages, “There are, of course, ancillary benefits, especially for big gigs […] Obviously other local businesses like bars, restaurants and carparks benefit from increased trade”, he added.

Behr criticised the idea of making music inaudible and called it “unrealistic”. He said it could limit what kind of music can be played at venues and could force vendors to spend a large amount of money on equipment that enables them to meet noise cancelling requirements. He also mentioned the consequences this has for grassroots music venues as more ‘established’ venues within the city would be the only ones able to afford these changes.

Alongside the inaudibility dispute has been the number of sites that have been closing for the past number of years. According to Dr Behr, this has brought attention to the issue of retaining live music venues in the city and has caused the council to re-evaluate its music strategy and overall cultural policy.

This month, Dr Behr said he is to work on a live music census for Edinburgh’s Council which aims to find out what types of music is played, where, and what exactly it brings to the city. This is in an effort to get the Edinburgh city council to see any opportunities it has with live music and the importance of grassroots venues. The census is similar to one conducted in Victoria, Australia in 2012 on the extent of live music in the state and its economic benefit.

As for the solution to the inaudibility clause, Behr says the initial step is dialogue, and this has already begun. “Having forum discussion, though, is a start — and an improvement”, he said. “There won’t be an overnight solution, but work is ongoing to try to find one that can stick in the long term.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of Music Venue Trust, said she is unable to comment on her work with the City of Edinburgh Council or on potential changes to the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy. However, she says, “I have been asked to assess the situation and make recommendations in September”.

According to The Scotsman, the Council is working toward helping Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. Deputy Council Leader Sandy Howat said views of the entertainment industry needs to change and the Council will no longer consider the scene as a “sideline”.

Senior members of the Council, The Scotsman reported, aim to review the planning of the city to make culture more of a priority. Howat said, “If you’re trying to harness a living community and are creating facilities for people living, working and playing then culture should form part of that.”

The review of the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy is set to be reviewed near the end of 2016 but the concept of bringing it forward to this year is still under discussion.