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US scientists score Nobel Prize for groundbreaking chilli sensory discovery

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US researchers David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian score the top prize for their “profound discovery” on receptors and touch.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to two US researchers working on the discovery of a lifetime.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded for the discovery of receptors for temperature and touch.

The two winners, US scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were announced on Monday by the secretary-general of the Nobel committee.

Julius, born on November 4, 1955 is in affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco while Beirut-born researcher Patapoutian is an affiliate of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in California.

The researches used chilli to identify the nerve sensors responsible for the skin responding to heat while other pressure-sensitive sensors were found that react to mechanical stimulation.

Such discoveries launched intense research into how heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli is sensed by the human nervous system.

Additionally, it’s helped enhance scientific understanding into the complex relationship between human senses and the environment.

Decades in the making

David Julius has been working on this research alongside his co-workers since the late 1990s.

Since then, he’s been trying to understand how the chemical compound capsaicin causes the burning sensation felt when coming into contact with chili peppers.

As part of the research, Julius and his fellow co-workers came up with a library of DNA fragments which matched to genes that are expressed in the sensory neurons.

A long, laborious search followed until a single gene that made cells capsaicin-sensitive was identified.  

Julius and Patapoutian then underwent further research, contributing to the groundbreaking discoveries they’ve made today.

A discovery “crucial for survival”.

The Nobel committee says it’s a “profound discovery” that is “crucial for our survival”.

Their research is helping other researchers develop treatments for a wide range of disease conditions, including chronic pain.

The scientists were awarded a gold medal and more than 10 million Swedish kronor.

It’s the first Nobel prize this year, with more to come over the next week.

Written by Rebecca Borg

Business

Reports of discrimination against pregnant and disabled workers at Amazon

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Amazon is under fire for allegedly discriminating against some of its pregnant workers and workers with disabilities

New York’s Division of Human Rights filed a complaint against the company with Governor Kathy Hochul announcing the move on Wednesday.

Amazon is being accused of failing to provide these workers with the correct pay, forcing them to take unpaid leaves of absence.

There are multiple reports that the company did not follow guidelines with its workers, one pregnant worker was initially given approval to avoid lifting packages over 11 kilograms, but was then made to lift heavy items anyway by a manager.

Amazon did not provide this worker with accommodation after they were injured and instead placed them on indefinite unpaid leave, according to the complaint.

The company is being examined for its failure to accommodate these workers, and allowing managers to override safety recommendations.

Such actions are against breach New York’s Human Rights Law which protects pregnant and disabled workers from discrimination within a workplace.

Amazon is now being urged to “pay civil fines and penalties to the State of New York” and to fix its discriminatory practices.

Amazon’s spokesperson has denied its wrongful conduct saying the company offers “the best available options to accomodate” such employees.

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New York man sues McDonalds for burgers not looking like photos on ads

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Those late night McDonalds ads with the crispy lettuce and soft bun, makes the mouth water…. but one New York man has beef to pick

The man says McDonalds and Wendy’s have misleading adverts that are unfair and deceptive.

He says make their burgers look much bigger than they actually are.

In a proposed class-action lawsuit, he is seeking $50 million in damages for himself and other similarly duped customers.

The chains did not comment immediately on the suit.

Rival Burger King was hit with a similar lawsuit in Florida in March, by the same law firms representing New Yorker Justin Chimienti.

While Burger King has yet to respond in court, an amended complaint shows that more unhappy customers have signed onto the suit.

According to complaints quoted in the BBC, the companies’ adverts are “unfair and financially damaging consumers as they are receiving food that is much lower in value than what is being promised.”

The “actions are especially concerning now that inflation, food, and meat prices are very high and many consumers, especially lower income consumers, are struggling financially,” they add.

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U.S. stocks plunge – markets have biggest daily drop in 2 years

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U.S. markets have had their biggest daily drop in almost two years, as investors evaluate the impacts of higher prices on earnings and the possibility of monetary policy tightening

The S&P 500 dropped by 4 per cent, while the Nasdaq fell the most amongst other major benchmarks.

Meanwhile, retailer Target down was down more than 20 points in its worst performance since 1987, and Apple and Amazon.com both slid.

The U.S. dollar rose against all Group-of-10 counterparts, except the yen and Swiss franc.

The S&P is slowly emerging from its longest slump since 2011, but rebounds are fragile amid tightening policy, the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.

It comes as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warns U.S. central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence inflation is in retreat.

Looking to other parts of the world, and Europe saw new-vehicle sales shrink for a 10th month in a row.

Over in the United Kingdom, inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher’s reign 40 years ago.

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