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B.J. Thomas Dead: Grammy-Winning Country Artist Was 78

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B.J. Thomas, the Grammy Hall of Fame inductee and award-winning country singer behind hits like “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” has died. He was 78.

Representatives confirmed that Thomas died today at his home in Arlington, Texas on May 29 due to complications from stage four lung cancer. He first announced the diagnosis in March.

“I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country, and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you,” he said in a statement at the time.

Born in Hugo, Okla., Thomas grew up in Houston, Texas where he absorbed a wide range of influences, from Hank Williams’ traditional country to the soul of Jackie Wilson and Little Richard. From humble origins of singing in church, Thomas first found success with a cover of William’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in 1966, which became his first million-selling single.

Over his career, Thomas won five Grammys, sold 70 million albums worldwide and has eight No. 1 hits and 26 Top 10 singles. Among his hits were “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” and “Hooked on a Feeling.” Thomas’ hit single “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, won the best original song award at the Academy Awards as part of the classic Paul Newman and Robert Redford film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Sales soared to over 2 million copies and has continued to find its place in beloved movies, such as “Forrest Gump” and “Spider-Man 2.”

Not much later, Thomas fell into substance abuse. He cited meeting his wife Gloria as a turning point, at which point he became a born-again Christian, quit drugs and turned to gospel music as a way of expressing his faith. His 1976 album, “Home Where I Belong,” earned a Grammy and a Dove Award.

Beyond his beloved hits, Thomas also sang the theme song for the sitcom “Growing Pains,” “As Long As We’ve Got Each Other,” and voiced several commercials for companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. He also appeared in the film “Jory and Jake’s Corner,” and penned his autobiography, also titled “Home Where I Belong.”

Thomas is survived by Gloria, who he was married to for 53 years; their three daughters, Paige Thomas, Nora Cloud and Erin Moore and four grandchildren, Nadia Cloud, Keira Cloud, Ruby Moore and Billy Joe Moore. Funeral plans are still in the process, but will remain private. In-memoriam donations can be made to Mission Arlington, Tarrant Area Food Bank and the SPCA of Texas.

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Matilda Kullu, ASHA warrior from Odisha who fought Covid, superstition to enter Forbes Power list- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

ROURKELA:  It was yet another busy day for Sundargarh-based ASHA worker Matilda Kullu who was ignorant of the fact that she has made it to the Forbes India’s W-Power 2021 list for her work during the Covid-19 outbreak in Odisha.

Oblivious of the media attention, the 45-year-old ASHA worker spent the Saturday attending a vaccination programme, sector meeting, doorstep health checkup of newborns and other routine works. Donning the roles of a health worker, counsellor and motivator for Gargadbahal and villages nearby under Bargaon block of Sundargarh district since 2005, Matilda has stood by one and all during the difficult times of Covid-19 to save precious lives.

For her dedication and achievement, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated the ASHA worker. “I congratulate Matilda Kullu, ASHA worker from Bargaon tehsil of Sundargarh district on being named in Forbes India W-Power 2021 list. She represents thousands of dedicated Covid Warriors who are at the forefront to save precious lives”, he tweeted.

She has also been felicitated by the local administration for her exemplary services in the fight against Covid-19.  Even after being infected with the coronavirus during the second wave, Matilda resumed her duties after a fortnight and did not hesitate to work for additional hours.

“When the country shut down after the Covid outbreak and people remained indoors, it became our duty to take people with symptoms for Covid test, ensure that they take medicines and isolate themselves. Our primary responsibility now is to vaccinate all”, she says. At a time when villagers resorted to traditional cures including sorcery and black magic, Matilda and her likes took upon themselves to make people understand the importance of medical care and succeeded.  “It was only possible through several years of awareness camps about the ills of black magic. People are less superstitious now but it will take some years more to root out the practice”, she says.

Apart from creating awareness among villagers on health services, her duties include medical care for pregnant women and nursing mothers, antenatal/postnatal check-ups, immunisation, sanitisation, promoting hygiene, administering polio and other vaccines, conducting surveys and so on. Although the monthly Rs 6,000 incentive does not suffice in meeting her family’s basic needs, this has never discouraged her from carrying out her responsibilities towards people at the grassroots.  Sundargarh chief district medical officer Dr SK Mishra said ASHAs are the backbone of rural healthcare and Matilda is an inspiration for all of them.

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Investors Have Bought a Virtual Plot of Land for $2.4 Million, but Why? – MakeUseOf

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Investors Have Bought a Virtual Plot of Land for $2.4 Million, but Why?  MakeUseOf

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Chances of unborn baby contracting Covid-19 virus extremely limited: Study | Health

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According to a study led by UCL researchers with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the NIHR Great Ormond Street Biomedical Research Centre, it is only possible for an unborn baby to contract Covid-19 if their gut is exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research was published in the ‘BJOG – An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Journal’.

Although the study did not look specifically at mothers with Covid-19 and whether their infection was transmitted to an unborn baby, it found that certain fetal organs, such as the intestine, are more susceptible to infection than others.

However, researchers said, that opportunities for the Covid-19 virus infecting the fetus are extremely limited, as the placenta acted as a highly effective and protective shield, and evidence suggested fetal infection, known as vertical transmission, is extremely uncommon.

Researchers set out to understand how newborn babies could have developed Covid-19 antibodies, as it had been reported in a small number of cases.

Specifically, they wanted to know if and how the virus could be passed from an infected mother to the unborn fetus.

To answer this question, researchers examined various fetal organs and placenta tissue to see if there was any presence of the cell surface protein receptors, ACE2 and TMPRSS2. These two receptors sit on the outside of cells and both are needed for the SARS-Cov-2 virus to infect and spread.

Researchers found the only fetal organs to feature both the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 were the intestines (gut) and the kidney; however, the fetal kidney is anatomically protected from exposure to the virus and is, therefore, less at risk of infection.

Therefore, the team concluded that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could only infect the fetus via the gut and through fetal swallowing of amniotic fluid, which the unborn baby does naturally for nutrients.

After birth ACE2 and TMPRSS2 receptors are known to be present in combination on the surface of cells in the human intestine as well as the lung. The gut and lung are suspected to be the main routes for Covid-19 infection, but in younger children, the intestine appeared to be most important for virus infection.

Senior author, Dr Mattia Gerli (UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science & the Royal Free Hospital) explained, “The fetus is known to begin swallowing the amniotic fluid in the second half of pregnancy. To cause infection, the SARS-CoV-2 virus would need to be present in significant quantities in the amniotic fluid around the fetus.”

“However, many studies in maternity care have found that the amniotic fluid around the fetus does not usually contain the SARS-CoV2 virus, even if the mother is infected with Covid-19. Our findings, therefore, explain that clinical infection of the fetus during pregnancy is possible but uncommon and that is reassuring for parents-to-be,” Gerli added.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and UKRI Covid-19 rapid response initiative, provided the most definitive information, to date, regarding the susceptibility of the human fetus to Covid-19 infection.

Fetal organs and tissues were made available via the Human Developmental Biology Resource (HDBR) biobank, which assisted embryonic/fetal research. None of the organs and tissues from donated fetuses was from Covid-19-infected mothers and, in line with ethical guidelines, the research team did not test for Covid-19 antibodies.

Co-senior author Professor Paolo De Coppi (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital) said, “We have shown that the fetal intestine, which is in contact with amniotic fluids swallowed by the baby, is susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, the placenta acts as a natural barrier, and with the limited evidence of amniotic fluid containing the virus, our study should provide reassurance to mothers.”

The authors highlighted that the biggest risk to the fetus during pregnancy is if the mother becomes very unwell with Covid-19 infection. In this instance, the virus may be present in high concentrations in the amniotic fluid. In addition, it could damage the placenta, which can lead to preterm birth.

Co-author, Professor Anna David (UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health and UCLH NIHR Biomedical Research Centre) added, “Vaccination against Covid-19 is known to be safe in pregnancy and reduces the chance of Sars-CoV2 infection to very low levels. The results of this study provide definitive information regarding the susceptibility of the human fetus to Covid-19 infection. Our findings support current healthcare policy that vaccination in pregnancy is the best way for mothers to protect their unborn baby from Covid-19 infection.”

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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