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David Pryor, former Arkansas governor, senator, dies at 89

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, a Democrat who was one of the state’s most beloved political figures and remained active in public service in the state long after he left office, has died. He was 89. Pryor, who went undercover to investigate nursing homes while a congressman, died Saturday of natural causes in Little Rock surrounded by family, his son Mark Pryor, said. David Pryor was a heart attack and stroke survivor who was also hospitalized in 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19. “I think he was a great model for public service. He was a great role model for politicians, but just for everyone in how we should treat each other and how we can make Arkansas better,” Mark Pryor, a former two-term Democratic U.S. senator, said. David Pryor was considered one of the party’s giants in Arkansas, alongside former President Bill Clinton and the late U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers. He also served in the U.S. House and the Arkansas Legislature, and remained active in public life in recent years, including being appointed to the University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees in 2009. He also attended the inauguration of Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in January 2023. “David would be like a fish out of water if he were out of public service,” Bumpers, who served 18 years with Pryor in the Senate, said in 2006. “It’s his whole life.” In a statement Saturday, Clinton called Pryor “one of Arkansas’ greatest servant leaders and one of the finest people I have ever known,” saying he “fought for progressive policies that helped us put the divided past behind us and move into a brighter future together.” “David made politics personal — from his famed retail campaigning to his ability to calmly and confidently explain tough votes to his constituents,” Clinton said. “He was honest, compassionate, and full of common sense. He really loved the people he represented, and they loved him back.” Another former Democratic Arkansas governor, Mike Beebe, said Pryor, his “close personal friend and confidant,” was “exactly the kind of honest and pragmatic person who is always needed in public office.” “His personal style of homespun humor, quick wit, and genuine warmth, combined with his deep knowledge, gave him the ability to pass progressive legislation that was so beneficial to our state,” Beebe said in a statement. “His top priorities of Arkansas Comes First and focusing on the problems our aging population and taxpayer reform made him beloved by his colleagues and his constituents.” Warm thoughts and condolences came from both sides of the political aisle Saturday. Sanders mourned Pryor’s passing, saying his “charisma and moderate politics made him a force at the ballot box for decades.” “While the Senator and I came up in different political parties, I, like all Arkansans deeply appreciated his diligent stewardship of Arkansas and our interests during his time in public life,” Sanders said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “And we can all thank him for his role in burying the divisive racial politics that infected Arkansas government before his tenure.” Sanders’ Republican predecessor as governor, Asa Hutchinson, called Pryor “the quintessential public servant.” “He gave up other opportunities to serve Arkansas throughout his life and the public debate was elevated because of his service,” Hutchinson wrote on X. Arkansas Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton called Pryor “a true gentleman and a statesman.” “His example served and will continue to serve as inspiration for our fellow Arkansans,” Cotton said. The founder and publisher of the Ouachita Citizen weekly newspaper, Pryor started his political career in 1960 with his election to the Arkansas House. He served there through 1966, when he was elected to Congress after winning a special election to the U.S. House. During his time in the state House, Pryor gained a reputation as one of the “Young Turks” who were interested in reforming the state’s political system. Pryor said years later that the reforms he wanted didn’t come as quickly as he had dreamed in his younger days. “I guess I was a young reformer at the moment,” Pryor said in 2006. “I was going to change the world. I wanted it to change overnight, but it didn’t.” He experienced his first — and only — political defeat in 1972, when he challenged U.S. Sen. John McClellan’s bid for a sixth term in the Democratic primary. Pryor was able to force a runoff with McClellan, but he lost by about 18,000 votes. It was a defeat that stung Pryor decades later. “Following the McClellan race, I abandoned politics, or politics abandoned me,” he wrote in his 2008 autobiography, “A Pryor Commitment.” “I didn’t care who was governor or president. I avoided reading the paper for months on end. I just wanted to be left alone and, like General MacArthur, silently fade away.” Elected governor in 1974, replacing Bumpers, Pryor served four years before being elected to the U.S. Senate, where Pryor won passage of a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in 1988. He called the legislation — which expanded citizens’ rights when dealing with the IRS — the “cornerstone” of his congressional career. “I didn’t sponsor this bill to help Donald Trump or Lee Iacocca,” Pryor, who chaired the Finance Subcommittee on Internal Revenue Oversight, said at the time. “This is a bill that protects the average taxpayer.” He also focused on helping the elderly and went undercover while serving in the U.S. House from 1966 to 1973 to investigate nursing homes. He said they commonly found up to 15 beds in one room. “Even now, I recall clearly the loneliness, neglect, despair, anxiety and boredom — in particular the boredom — of those cold and sterile homes,” he wrote. “Essentially human warehouses for old people.” Pryor decided to not seek re-election in 1996, and he retired from elective office at the end of his term in early 1997. But he remained active in the public eye and in politics. He served two years as the inaugural dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, located next to the former president’s library in downtown Little Rock. He also temporarily chaired the state Democratic Party in 2008 after its chairman was fatally shot in his office. On the University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees, Pryor was an outspoken opponent of a $160 million plan to expand Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 2016 and criticized the “nuclear arms race” among college football programs. Pryor and his wife, Barbara, had three children.

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Artificial Intelligence ‘better than doctors’ at accurately judging eye problems

Artificial Intelligence is better than doctors in accurately assessing eye problems, according to new research. The clinical knowledge and reasoning skills of the ever improving technology are already approaching the level of specialist eye doctors, say University of Cambridge scientists. GPT-4 – a ‘large AI language model’ – was tested against medics at different stages in their careers, including unspecialised junior doctors, as well as trainee and expert eye doctors. Each was presented with a series of 87 patient scenarios involving a specific eye problem, and asked to give a diagnosis or advise on treatment by selecting from four options. GPT-4 scored “significantly better” in the test than unspecialised junior doctors, who are comparable to general practitioners (GPs) in their level of specialist eye knowledge. The findings, published in the journal PLOS Digital Health, also showed that GPT-4 gained similar scores to trainee and expert eye doctors – although the top performing doctors scored higher. The Cambridge research team say that large language models aren’t likely to replace healthcare professionals, but have potential to improve healthcare as part of the clinical workflow. The researchers believe that state-of-the-art large language models such as GPT-4 could be useful for providing eye-related advice, diagnosis, and management suggestions in “well-controlled contexts” such as triaging patients, or where access to specialist healthcare professionals is limited. Study lead author said Dr Arun Thirunavukarasu said: “We could realistically deploy AI in triaging patients with eye issues to decide which cases are emergencies that need to be seen by a specialist immediately, which can be seen by a GP, and which don’t need treatment. “The models could follow clear algorithms already in use, and we’ve found that GPT-4 is as good as expert clinicians at processing eye symptoms and signs to answer more complicated questions. With further development, large language models could also advise GPs who are struggling to get prompt advice from eye doctors. People in the UK are waiting longer than ever for eye care. “Large volumes of clinical text are needed to help fine-tune and develop these models, and work is ongoing around the world to facilitate this.” The team say the research is “superior” to previous studies because they compared the abilities of AI to practicing doctors, rather than to sets of examination results. Dr Thirunavukarasu, now an Academic Foundation Doctor at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Doctors aren’t revising for exams for their whole career. We wanted to see how AI fared when pitted against to the on-the-spot knowledge and abilities of practicing doctors, to provide a fair comparison.” He added: “We also need to characterise the capabilities and limitations of commercially available models, as patients may already be using them – rather than the internet – for advice.” The test included questions about several eye health issues – including extreme light sensitivity, decreased vision, lesions, itchy and painful eyes – taken from a textbook used to test trainee eye doctors. The textbook is not freely available on the internet, making it unlikely that its content was included in GPT-4’s training datasets. Dr Thirunavukarasu said: “Even taking the future use of AI into account, I think doctors will continue to be in charge of patient care. The most important thing is to empower patients to decide whether they want computer systems to be involved or not. That will be an individual decision for each patient to make.” GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 or ‘Generative Pre-trained Transformers’ – are trained on datasets containing hundreds of billions of words from articles, books, and other internet sources. GPT-4 powers the online chatbot ChatGPT to provide “bespoke” responses to human queries. ChatGPT has recently attracted significant attention in medicine for attaining passing level performance in medical school examinations, and providing more accurate and empathetic messages than human doctors in response to patient queries. The researchers pointed out that the field of artificially intelligent large language models is moving “very rapidly” and, since the study was conducted, more advanced models have been released – which may be even closer to the level of expert eye doctors.

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Professor Tim Spector issues stark warning over ‘problems’ with viral pasta trend

Nutrition expert Tim Spector has spoken out about a major new pasta-related ‘big craze’ giving a warning over ‘problems’ that people ‘shouldn’t be fooled’ by. The professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and founder of the Zoe health app posted a new video on Instagram talking about the trend for people switching to gluten-free pasta – when they’re not a coeliac. He said people were switching because they believed it was healthier – but explained that as long as they’re not suffering from a health intolerance, people would be better advised to stick to the original types. He said: “What’s the healthy option when buying pasta? There’s a big craze at the moment for buying gluten-free pastas, thinking these are going to be good for you. But there are some problems. Most of the gluten-free ones are like this, made of rice and corn and emulsifiers, and actually have very little in the way of fibre or protein at 1.7% of fibre and around 3% of protein compared to regular wheat spaghetti, which actually contains nearly 6% protein and about 2% of find that if you want extra fibre.” Gloucestershire Live reports that he said that it would be better to choose something other than gluten-free spaghetti: “If you do want a gluten-free alternative, or you’re looking for something that is really packed with protein go for some red lentils and I’ve started using these in my cooking. “They’re getting better and better all the time, particularly if you really pay attention to that cooking time. And these guys have about the same amount of fibre as whole wheat spaghetti. But they have around 12% of protein. They’re absolutely packed with protein, so there are big differences between these pastas, they do make a difference. Start to think about it, look at those labels and make the healthy choice.” In addition to his remarks, he warned: “Don’t be fooled into thinking that if a product is gluten-free that means it’s healthier. For the majority of us who aren’t coeliac or don’t have an intolerance, wholegrain alternatives are often less processed, cheaper and healthier. It’s worth checking the labels for fibre and protein content to improve the impact of staples such as breads or pasta on your blood sugar and to ensure your microbes get a good meal too. “This corn and rice-based gluten-free pasta, contains around 3g protein and less than 2g of fibre per 100g, choosing a standard white pasta provides around 2g fibre and 6g protein, swapping to wholegrain pasta increases this to around 4g fibre and 6g protein and choosing a gluten-free alternative like this red lentil pasta contains 3.2g fibre and over 12g of protein. “Over 90% of us aren’t getting enough fibre and paying attention to our food labels and switching up our staples could make a difference to our health.”

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Rarely seen royal who is worth more than Kate Middleton, Anne, and Edward combined

This member of the royal family has more wealth than the Princess of Wales, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward combined – but he’s rarely seen in public. We’re all used to seeing working royals like the late Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, and her brother Prince Edward at various royal engagements, but there’s one member of the family who has an estimated net worth of £32 million despite remaining relatively under the radar in the UK. Prince Michael of Kent is the cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth, and according to Yahoo Finance, he has a staggering net worth, even though he’s a non-working royal – and is 52nd in line to the throne. Prince Michael was born in 1942 to Prince George and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. When he was born, he was seventh in line to the throne, but after Queen Elizabeth had children of her own, and those children had children – who now even have kids of their own – he slipped all the way down to 52nd. With a staggering net worth estimated to be around £32 million, Prince Michael is worth more than Princess Anne, Princess Kate, and Prince Edward combined – who are all worth a respective £8 million. And although he isn’t considered a working member of the royal family, he is still involved in around 100 charities and organisations, much like other members of The Firm. Prince Michael also undertakes around 200 public working engagements for the charity sector, funded by his own household, The Express reports. The prince’s charitable deeds range from his interest in transport to his passion for Russia, including when he led a rally of Bentleys from Brooklands Museum in the UK to Moscow, raising more than £25K for the Children’s Fire and Burns Trust. Educated at Eton, Prince Michael has a penchant for languages and in addition to being fluent in French, he had a “working knowledge” of German and Italian. He also became the first member of the Royal Family to learn Russian, of which he is a qualified interpreter. The prince’s bloodline also extends to the Romanovs, the last imperial family of Russia. His grandmother was first cousin to Nicholas II, making Michael a first cousin twice removed of the last Russian tsar. He married Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz – known today as Princess Michael of Kent – in 1978 and the pair have two children together, Oxford-educated banker Lord Frederick Windsor, and Lady Gabriella Kingston.

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Britain’s Got Talent act leaves judges ‘gobsmacked’ with incredible impressions

Britain’s Got Talent has returned for another year of incredible performances and questionable acts. On Saturday’s episode of the popular ITV show, music teacher Mike Woodhams appeared on stage to showcase his talent of impersonating other singers. The 37-year-old from Milton Keynes told judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli that he teaches years three to six at his day job. He started his performance by putting his hood up, confusing the judges on the panel. James Blunt’s face from his music video Your Beautiful then appeared on the large screen behind him. The audience was shocked as he impersonated the singer down to the mannerisms. He also impersonated Boyzone, Gabrielle, Macy Gray, Anastacia and Heather Small. The judges and the audience were wildly impressed by the seamless changes to his voice and gave him a standing ovation. Notoriously grumpy Simon even gave the teacher a thumbs-up, which shocked hosts Ant and Dec who were watching from the sidelines. “You should be proud, it’s the best vocal impressions I have heard in a very very long time,” Bruno told Mike. An impressed Amanda added: “I just loved it, what a talent. You’re just amazing. I was just gobsmacked, I’ve never seen anything like you, you’re super talented.” Simon then shared his thoughts and said: “I’m so surprised because you really undersold yourself I would just say going forward, really start believing in yourself and you’re the kind of act I believe could win this show.” Earlier this week, Simon revealed he has worked out who this year’s winner will be. He promised “an absolute party” in which the rulebook appears to have been thrown out the window. The music mogul admitted he and the other judges, along with hosts Ant and Dec, have made their predictions on which act could win this year’s talent competition. “This year, when we were discussing the finals, we went round the room and said who we think might win and there was one person everyone gravitated towards,” he explained. “It’s going to be interesting. I’m excited for this year, let’s see who the public picks as their winner.” That said, he also admits they could all be way off the mark when it comes to who clinches the £250,000 cash and slot at the Royal Variety Performance. “You can just never predict who the public will love.” Follow Mirror Celebs on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Threads.

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One in six teens ‘bullied online over weight’ with users of one social media site more at risk

One in six teenagers have been bullied online over their weight, reveals new research. And the figure was even higher among those on social media with almost seven out of 10 X users reporting being cyberbullied about their body, according to the study. Twitch was the second highest social media platform linked to weight-related bullying, suggest the findings published in the journal PLoS One. The international sample of more than 12,000 10 to 17-year-olds – from Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, and Mexico – showed that almost 17 per cent of adolescents had suffered weight-related bullying online. Each additional hour of social media use equated to a 13 per cent increase in weight-related bullying, according to the research team. The study, led by Dr Kyle Ganson, an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada, also involved researchers from Cambridge University and the University of California, San Francisco, in the United States. Dr Ganson and his colleagues investigated weight-related cyberbullying among adolescents across different types of recreational screen time and more specifically, across six different social media platforms. The participants provided the number of weekday hours they spent “watching YouTube,” “on social media (messaging, posting, or liking posts),” “watching TV shows, series, or movies,” “playing games on smartphones, computers, or game consoles,” and “browsing, reading websites, googling, etc,”. They also noted whether or not they used any of six different social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, and Twitch. In addition, they answered the question “Do you get teased or made fun of because of your weight?” Those surveyed spent an average of 7.5 hours total on recreational screen time every weekday. Almost 17 per cent also reported weight-related bullying sometimes, a lot, or all the time, with a 13 per cent increase in bullying reported for every additional hour of screen time reported. Almost 70 per cent of Twitter users reported being bullied, while Twitch was the second-highest social media platform linked to weight-related bullying. The associations between screen time, social media use, and weight-related bullying were strongest for adolescents in Canada, Australia, and the UK, according to the findings. Girls were more likely to experience weight-related bullying than boys when using Twitch or playing video games. The researchers say further research is needed to address the “growing” social issue. Dr Catrin Pedder Jones, a Cambridge University research associate, said: “Adolescents across six diverse countries who use social media are more likely to experience weight-related bullying victimisation. This experience can have adverse effects, including poor body image, disordered eating behaviours, and anxiety and depression symptoms.” She added: “There is a strong need to make social media and online spaces more accepting and safer for young people to engage in.”

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The House votes for possible TikTok ban in the U.S., but don’t expect the app to go away anytime soon

In 2020, federal courts blocked an executive order issued by then-President Donald Trump to ban TikTok after the company sued on the grounds that the order violated free speech and due process rights. His administration brokered a deal that would have had U.S. corporations Oracle and Walmart take a large stake in TikTok. The sale never went through for a number of reasons; one was China, which imposed stricter export controls on its technology providers. Dozens of states and the federal government have put in place TikTok bans on government devices. Texas’ ban was challenged last year by The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which argued in a lawsuit that the policy was impeding academic freedom because it extended to public universities. In December, a federal judge ruled in favour of the state.

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Letters: Canada should abandon NATO and its relentless war machine

We are disappointed that the StarPhoenix has not run a story or a photo that would let Saskatoon residents know about these rallies, which will continue. Michael Murphy, Saskatoon An upside seen for down spouts I think that the city has to get serous about legislating that existing homeowners and new builds must put their down spouts leading only to their property — not the alley! This change would save our alleys from becoming muddy, save the city maintenance (especially in the spring), save homeowners tax money, save existing alley exit garage owners from getting stuck and our garages from becoming muddy. This would also create a new job to rejig the ends of down spouts. It is quite easy. Al Ritchie, Saskatoon Share your views The StarPhoenix welcomes letters to the editor. Click here to find out what you need to know about how to write one in a way that will increase the odds it will be published. Send letters to letters@thestarphoenix.com. Our website is your destination for up-to-the-minute Saskatoon news, so make sure to bookmark TheStarPhoenix.com and sign up for our newsletters so we can keep you informed. Click here to subscribe.

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Phil Tank: Saskatoon council hopefuls may be putting campaigns at risk

Potential candidates can legally raise money for their campaigns right now, but they are technically not allowed to spend it until June 1. People are allowed to spend now on printing signs and pamphlets or booking facilities, provided that none of those elements are used prior to June 1. So you can spend money on designing a website, but that site cannot go live until the campaign period starts after May 31. The penalties for contravening this bylaw can include disqualifying a candidate from holding office, so prospective hopefuls should pay attention. If found guilty, people can also be fined. And, if you’re thinking these are the typical city hall fines like $50 for, say, offences like jaywalking or hitchhiking, think again. Anyone found to be violating the bylaw can face a fine of up to $5,000 and an additional $5,000 a day. And someone found guilty may also be required to pay for the cost of the investigation. That adds up. If those penalties seem harsh, consider that the people campaigning for a spot on Saskatoon city council are essentially applying to become a board member of a billion-dollar corporation.

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Doug Cuthand: Agricultural benefits deal shows need to update treaties

We were promised that when the First Nation requested it, they would receive a schoolhouse on the reserve. There was no discussion about boarding schools or removing the children from the home to be indoctrinated in a foreign religion. The spirit of the treaty was neglected repeatedly. And, third, there were oral promises made in the negotiations that were not reflected in the written text. The oral record has been retained by our people and is also part of the record in the book on the treaty negotiations by lieutenant-governor Alexander Morris. For example, the treaties one through 11 were negotiated separately, but the original text was used. In this matter, the treaties are incremental. When asked if the negotiations would reflect this, Morris stated that what was given to one would be given to all. So, education was added to Treaty 4, medical care to Treaty 6 and they applied to all the treaty signatories. The treaties reflect the arrogance of the colonization to come. Since the government wanted the land for agriculture, it was assumed that our people would follow suit. But, in a few years, the settlers began to develop the renewable and non-renewable resources; they expanded to manufacturing and other forms of commerce.

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